Whether you read that a full moon is going to require challenging reflection on a relationship or you’ve discovered that you’re in the midst of your Saturn return, you’ve probably noticed that the sky likes to dole out homework assignments. While adding even more work to your overflowing pile might feel like the last thing you need, the lessons astrology aims to teach us tend to be completelycalled for, as you’ll generally realize while you’re in the thick of a particular test or after the fact. And Chiron retrograde, which began on July 15 and lasts until December 19, 2021, is the latest astrological opportunity to lean into discomfort for, ultimately, your own benefit.
Here, all the details on Chiron, what its retrograde means, and how you can take advantage of this astrological event.
How Chiron Functions in Your Chart
If you’ve never heard of Chiron, you’re far from alone. Many astrologers relegate it to the world of astrological “extra credit,” preferring not to work with it in readings and forecasting. But others have found it useful, especially when tackling emotional wounds and trauma.
Chiron, a comet that sits between Saturn and Uranus, was discovered in 1977 and named after the centaur in Greek mythology who was a healer and a teacher who could not heal himself, points out CafeAstrology. The placement of the comet in your natal, or birth, chart speaks to a wound you carry with you throughout your life, which you have an opportunity to heal and transform into wisdom that you share with others, as a teacher. It’s also an area in which you have amplified sensitivity and insecurity — but also a great deal of self-awareness.
For instance, if you have Chiron in the cardinal air sign Libra, ruled by beauty-conscious Venus and the ruler of the seventh house of partnership, you might struggle to see yourself as attractive or to find balance and reciprocity in relationships. So your Chiron work is around your self-image and requires that partnerships you enter into exist on an equal playing field where you and the other are meeting halfway.
The house where Chiron is in your birth chart matters too, of course. Say you have Chiron in the tenth house of career and public image in Gemini. You might feel like no matter how much you work and “prove” yourself in a Gemini-like way (through communication, technology), you can’t seem to be recognized for your efforts and achievements. You feel like you need that applause, those kudos from bosses and people who are respected in your field, yet you might struggle to speak up and express your needs. But once you master these battles, you could be a wonderful mentor to others in your professional field.
You can find Chiron in your natal chart (the symbol looks like a K above an O or a key) or via CafeAstrology’s online calculator.
What It Means When Chiron Is Retrograde
Chiron takes about four years to move from sign to sign, although it spends 7 to 8 years in Aries and Pisces and only one to two years in Virgo and Libra. It entered Aries on April 17, 2018, retrograded back into Pisces on September 25, 2018, and finally moved back into the cardinal fire sign on February 18, 2019 where it’ll remain until June 19, 2026.
And now, from July 15 to December 19, it is retrograde, appearing to move backward from our vantage point on earth. And just like all of the other planets when retrograde, Chiron’s effect moves from external to internal during its backward turn. This means instead of dealing with your wound through outward, everyday concrete moments in life, you’ll be reflecting on them and doing some potentially challenging but rewarding inner work.
Chiron retrograde can be a valuable moment for paying attention to your dreams, journaling, or addressing past trauma alongside a therapist.
But because it is in Aries, the impatient, competitive cardinal fire sign, ruled by go-getter Mars, you could feel a sense of urgency and even an adrenaline-pumping rush to contend with your Chiron wounds and insecurities in a fast and furious way. Aries isn’t exactly comfortable sitting with tough, painful, complicated feelings, so Chiron’s retrograde in the fiery sign might have you feeling like you just want to rip off the bandage in order to move on with your life. Unfortunately, a push for speediness runs counter to Chiron’s purpose. So the best way to deal with that Aries impatience is to lean into the brave, gung-ho, fearless side of the sign while doing your best to slow down and take this chance to heal one step at a time.
When You’ll Feel Chiron Retrograde the Most In 2021
Like other retrogrades, the day you’ll feel the retrograde the most is the day on which Chiron stations (meaning actually goes) retrograde and direct — aka July 15 and December 19. But it’ll also be felt more when activated by meet-ups with other planets. A few examples:
July 19: Mercury in Cancer squares Chiron, making it difficult to open up about your wounds and insecurities.
August 2: Messenger Mercury in Leo trines Chiron, improving your ability to discuss internal pain and trauma.
August 4: The self-image-ruling sun in Leo trines Chiron, bolstering confidence and a sense of empowerment that can be derived from dealing with emotional baggage.
October 3: The sun in Libra opposes Chiron, stirring you to reflect on how you’re dealing with old wounds.
October 20: The full moon in Aries falls in the same sign as Chiron’s retrograde, amplifying sensitivity and the intensity of your healing process.
How to Make the Most of This Chiron Retrograde
Being tasked with the daunting work of examining our deepest insecurities and painful emotions is never going to sound like a good time, but it’s part of being human. Just as the planets do when they go retrograde, Chiron’s backward turn urges us to take a time-out from the daily grind to care for ourselves mentally and emotionally.
By tapping Aries’ courageous side and moving through the healing process, you could find you’re feeling not only more centered but more prepared to cut out toxic ties, habits, and patterns. Aries might not adore pouring grueling time and energy into emotional work, but they also have zero tolerance for relationships and behaviors that leave you feeling weaker. That said, you can harness the power of the wounded healer’s retrograde in the no-BS fire sign to stop making excuses and eliminate what’s no longer serving you. In turn, you’ll walk away wiser, stronger, and possibly even prepared to guide others down the same path.