The archetype of the wounded healer is one that we must eventually confront if we intend to be authentic healers. Chiron, the ruler of Virgo, is the prototype of the wounded healer. Chiron was a priest from the tribe of Centaurs, mythological half-human and half-horse creatures. The Centaurs were wild, untamed, and dangerous yet Chiron was held apart as a brilliant scholar, teacher, and healer. He took a poisoned arrow to his thigh and although he was able to heal the wounds of all others he was never able to heal his own. Because of this failure he gave up his immortality and became a constellation of stars who continues to guide others to their own healing. Astrologically the asteroid Chiron shows us where we are wounded and how to heal those wounds through service. Anyone who is heavily aspected in Virgo, has Chiron and/or the north Node placed in Virgo, or has significant planets or aspects in the sixth house must confront his wounded healer as part of the life path. All those who are drawn to a healer’s path must do the same. Truly, anyone who dares step into the labyrinth to heal himself must ultimately find peace with Chiron.1 The wounded healer shows up in many ways. The shadow of Chiron is someone who wishes to fix everyone else while blind to her own flaws and inconsistencies. Someone who judges others while refusing to make healing changes in his own life is working the shadow side of this archetype. In therapist relationships the unaware wounded healer may alternately see himself as completely healthy and the guest as diseased or only sees her own disease thereby losing perspective on the guest’s needs. The wounded healer may feel her pain deeply reflected in the pain of her guests, which blurs the boundaries and triggers her to act out her own unresolved wounds.
Oftentimes the unaware wounded healer seems extremely benevolent but is busily absorbing the fears of his guests rather than allowing them to make their own changes and truly heal. This creates not only a karmic imbalance but also a saturated healer who ultimately loses track of where he ends and his guests begin. It is in these ways that unhealthy healer/guest attachments begin, healers end up taking on the illnesses of their guests, boundaries are breached, and energetic binds are formed. Another danger of the unaware wounded healer archetype playing out is the healer who is so consumed with her guests’ problems that she ignores or minimizes her own. She may dream of feeling healthy and well but delays her self-care because someone else needs her. This may make her feel somehow important and worthy but it ultimately leads to a depleted and sick individual.
Perhaps one of the most dangerous manifestations of the wounded healer archetype is when the healer feels ultimately responsible for the health and well-being of his guests. This is too great a burden for anyone to bear and it is not karmically responsible. We are here to learn to be authentic and whole human beings, not to suffer for others. We have enough to explore and heal in our own lives! When we presume to take on the sufferings of others we ill-will them to be weaker, smaller, and inadequate. This suffering on the behalf of others, which on the surface may seem noble, is ultimately cruel and demeaning. Our job is to show people how strong and brilliant they are through our own honest example. It is our job to be relentless in our own authenticity and to encourage others to do the same. In this way we join Chiron in the Stars as beacons shining our brilliant lights.
1. To begin, take an inventory of why you are drawn to energy healing. Is it to heal a physical, emotional, or spiritual illness in yourself? Is it to pass healing to others? Is it to save the world? Is it to help heal someone you love? Is it to be a superhero? Be honest in your answers. Self-healing requires brutal honesty and recognition. The answers are more complex than they may seem on the surface.
2. Then look at your closest relationships. Are you the person everyone calls when they need something? Do you feel like your relationships are balanced with an easy flow of give and take? Do you get what you need from your partner, friends, and family members? Do you feel heard and valued for yourself in your relationships? How many of your relationships would you call healthy? How many are not?
3. Next look at your traits. Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable with others or do you feel a need to keep a distance? What control mechanisms do you employ to stay safe with others? How do you let others know what you want, need, desire in any given moment? Are you willing to say no when you feel your boundaries are being pushed too far? How often do you fudge the truth to save someone else’s feelings? Or to protect your own?
4. Now look at your habits. Do you eat the way you should? Get enough exercise? Are your sleep patterns healthy? Are you willing to stand up for what you need?
5. What is your relationship to Chiron? Do you see any of the tendencies of the wounded healer in yourself? Check your astrological relationship with Chiron. Where does he live in your chart (which house)? In what sign does he sit? What does that placement tell you about your wound?
Each astrological placement is wholly unique but offers clues as to how Chiron may be acting in your life. Chiron’s house placement and aspected planets are also very important but this simple snapshot may be useful when you are taking your inventory and learning to relate to Chiron in your individual natal chart.
Chiron in Aries (or the first house) speaks to the wounded warrior. This is someone who must make peace with his own self-worth beyond action for action’s sake. Anger, frustration, and a driving need to be a hero may show up in the life-path. In order to heal this placement he must find inner peace and stillness within movement. This happens when he stops long enough to feel his own pain. It is then that this person becomes the superhero who rescues others from their own pain by being present enough for them to feel it.
Chiron in Taurus (or the second house) speaks to wounds of abandonment. This is someone who may have issues of security, poverty, and fears associated with loss. To heal, this individual will need to learn to be her own strong person and may need to guard against accumulating wealth, relationships, and worldly possessions just to feel safe. Her fear of not having enough must be sublimated in the bliss of knowing she is inherently supported by the All. She must learn to feel safe regardless of external circumstance. She then inspires trust by being trust.
Chiron in Gemini (or the third house) speaks to the wounded communicator. This is someone who has to watch his words that they do not wound and may be easily wounded by the harsh words of others. Gemini is a quick thinker and with this placement an individual may create elaborate mental constructs to avoid feeling wounded. This person must take down those constructs and learn the power of words to heal or harm. Once done, this individual leads the way to unbinding the negative patterning of others and our larger group mind.
Chiron in Cancer (or the fourth house) speaks to the wounded empath. This is someone who feels her wounds and the wounds of others so deeply in the emotional body that she may create impenetrable walls to avoid feeling vulnerable. The danger with this placement is never allowing anyone close enough to hurt her. This person must learn to love herself enough to let others close and must taste the beauty of her own vulnerability. When she does this she serves as an empathic conduit who helps others to cleanse by her very presence.
Chiron in Leo (or the fifth house) speaks to the wounded ego. This placement may indicate some- one who seems very confident (or invisible) but is deeply insecure. Behind the bluster and narcissism is someone who is tragically fragile and fears others will see through the carefully crafted facade. This person must go deep into himself to find his ego elevated and celebrate his wounds as integral parts of him rather than causes for shame. Once he achieves this he shines like the sun warming others in his radiant, if sometimes brilliantly wounded, corona.
Chiron in Virgo (or the sixth house) is the wounded healer. This is a person who may be so self-absorbed in her own wounds that she disregards the pain of others or she is so absorbed in the wounds of others that she doesn’t notice where she is wounded and never confronts her shadow self. This placement must learn to serve in order to heal. Oftentimes her own suffering is the catalyst for learning to give. At that point she becomes a healer of body and soul who tirelessly cares for others in the same way she has learned to care for herself.
Chiron in Libra (or the seventh house) is the wounded lover. This person may have idealized romantic partnerships so much that she is looking for her prince charming in every frog. Unfortunately the more frogs she kisses the more disillusioned she becomes until she realizes that the wound must be healed in herself before she can be a good partner to anyone. She must drop expectations of the other and allow him to be as he is before he can transform into her prince. Then she is capable of the deepest, most spiritual love possible with another incarnate being. She is the muse of sacred sexuality and intimacy.
Chiron in Scorpio (or the eighth house) is the wounded shaman who mediates between the worlds. A shaman escorts others between the realms of light, life and death, and through the archetypal realms. This individual must face the big issues of sex, death, and transformation to truly heal. The deep places call to them and they may be plagued with nightmares, demons, and seemingly irrational fears until they confront the underworld and balance the light and dark in themselves. Once balanced these individuals offer a compassionate hand to hold during the darkest nights of the soul.
Chiron in Sagittarius (or the ninth house) is the wounded idealist. This placement is one of a scholar and philosopher who must confront his own logical and spiritual inconsistencies to fully heal. This placement requires relentless intellectual honesty. The danger for these natives is creating fallacious philosophical constructs that prop up a world-view rather than speaking to their deeper truths. Once they reject the inadequate presuppositions of others, they become inspirational teachers and guides who hold up a light so others can find their own.
Chiron in Capricorn (or the tenth house) is the wounded creator. This individual must confront his need to prove himself to the world through the accumulation of titles, power, and influence. It is important that this placement look deep into himself for true self-worth rather than killing himself with a relentless drive to succeed and to be noticed for that success. The danger is sheer obsessive-compulsive, workaholic tendencies combined with the need to achieve which will drown out the Soul’s true drive to make the inner Song manifest. But when confronted, this placement has the ability to create lasting structures that encourage true healing.
Chiron in Aquarius (or the eleventh house) is the wounded telepath. Because this placement has an innate understanding of what others are thinking she may feel himself exposed and violated by the most commonplace interactions. Because of this she may withdraw from the social interactions that actually nourish and feed his energetic connections. Once he learns to safely navigate the group-mind, he helps others to know what it means to be truly connected in a shared mind within a greater organism. He willingly gives his hard-earned knowing to benefit the All.
Chiron in Pisces (or the twelfth house) is the wounded mystic. This individual has to forge a spiritual connection to the Divine in order to heal. She may feel somehow betrayed by God and the traditional religions and for whatever reason may resist deep connections with her spiritual self. But she is deeply psychic and soulful and so she must learn to connect in these ways or risks losing herself in addiction or delusion. When she allows herself to drown in Light she becomes more alive and offers her very substance as priest, conduit, and Voice.
Knowing your Chiron placement leads to ongoing conversations with this aspect of yourself. We are each made of the archetypal substance of these astrological beings and interact with them via our shared light. As we grow in authenticity we artfully uncover deeper truths about ourselves and our conversations change accordingly. Ideally we grow in wisdom and that certain peace which surpasses understanding.
The inventory and subsequent conversations with Chiron are extremely important and will shift and change as you develop as a healer and human being. Remember, though, it is easy to trick ourselves into believing we are in harmony when really our lower ego may be managing our process. We inherently know when we are in balance or when we are buying into our egoic PR agent’s spin, but we must keep checking in regularly. The state of our health, relationships, and spiritual connections are indicators that we are moving forward in the labyrinth and not telling ourselves self-congratulatory fairy tales.
Self-healing must be an integral part of daily life or we will not maintain balance. This cannot be overemphasized. When we start taking shortcuts our energetic integrity gets shaky. How you choose to integrate self-healing into your life is wholly individual but make it routine. The basic hand positions for self-healing are the same as healing on others: the chakras and the joints. However, certain chakra points can be rather cumbersome and it is really unnecessary to go through the motions. The energy is intelligent and will go where it needs to anyway. Just step into your healing space, ground, and hold your hands over your heart or wherever they are drawn and allow the Light to move through you, healing as it flows. Using StarLight on yourself reinforces that it is important in your life, that you are willing to heal on what- ever level is appropriate, and that you deserve the healing Light as much as anyone else. It also refines your ability to chart new territory energetically. Your own system is a map with dense layers of unmarked territory. The more you navigate your inner realms the better equipped you are to act as guide to those newly exploring their own territory.