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Crystals, Astrology and Magic
This talk is part of my research into the history of birthstones for a Masters Degree in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology.
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Crystal Blessings – Revisited
It is always such a joy when I hear how crystals have changed people’s lives. When Joginder, who runs the Tree of Life in Birmingham, was introducing me last year he told the story of how he’d been in despair, feeling very lonely and finding it impossible to meet a partner who was on the...
Another long blog for you to savour at your leisure as I’ll be travelling again with little time to write, although I did jot down the first part of this while in Greece teaching The Crystal Zodiac. I’d like to invite you to take the Chiron journey with me. You need to know nothing about astrology or crystals. Only to be receptive to healing your karmic wounds with an open heart (see below).
The course in Greece was based on my book of the same name, using the visual astrology of The Zodiac Pack backed up with appropriate birthstones and crystals for the signs. We were also exploring the planets through the crystal nets in Sue and Simon Lilly’s Crystal Doorways.’ (Something we’ll also be doing on the astrological retreat at Hawkwood in July if you’d like to join us http://www.hawkwoodcollege.co.uk/all-courses-and-events/well-being/experiential-astrology-and-the-souls-journey-with-judy-hall). For the most part we were using the crystals and colours from that book. They are not traditional colours and associations as I wanted to do something that would remove in-built expectations. We all need a shake up and new approach now and then. The intention was that the crystals would give us an intuitive understanding of our birthchart and our soul’s intention for our sojourn here on earth.
But there was one ‘planet’ where I simply had to revert to my own crystal association. It’s by no means traditional because the ‘planet’ Chiron was only discovered in 1977 and is still the cause of much controversy today. In my experience, Chiron may be ‘only a lump of rock’ as one astrologer put it – I’ve heard that said about crystals too – but size definitely isn’t everything. This is the wounded healer planet. Indicator both of the karmic wound and the means to heal and integrate the gifts it offers, Chiron is a key to soul healing.
Similarly Chiron’s crystal – Charoite – is a soul healer crystal. The first time I held this intensely purple stone Chiron popped into my mind. I’ve used it to represent Chiron ever since. So, for, for me, the Chiron net had to be Charoite.
We were laying the nets on the table around which the group were sitting and allowing the nets to expand to encompass us. So, for the most part, it was a case of my leading the group to connect to the net through holding a crystal of the same type. But Chiron was different. Well it is the maverick planet after all. With its eccentric orbit, it is a true wanderer – the original meaning of ‘planet’. (You’ll find Chiron’s myth further down along with his astrological meaning.) We had to take a journey based on a dream I’d had many years previously. The result was a very deep shamanic connection, you’ll find the directions at the end of the blog.
Back in the 1980s some friends and I visited Astypalea, a remote Greek island. I’d read a travel article about this timeless island and been captivated. It was so unspoiled. I simply had to go. On the last day of our stay we took a taxi to the far end of the island. The guidebook had pictures of a wild, pristine sandy beach with a tiny Greek church perched high on the cliffs above. What we hadn’t realised was that this was where the path to the beach began. No wonder the taxi driver smiled as he promised to return for us many hours later. As we climbed down – and down – the smell of the wild thyme, sage and oregano was strong. Sheep and goat bells tinkled and far below the cool waves called.
Suddenly the path divided. One branch tumbling to the beach like a waterfall frozen in rock. The other led into a cleft in the cliff. Grateful for the shade, we stepped through into a mini gorge that soon became a cave. From the rank aroma and heaps of dung, it seemed to be where a Greek shepherd stabled his horse. Retreating to the entrance we rehydrated ourselves and slid down to the beach for a welcome swim.
Slumbering in the intense heat of the afternoon, I dreamed. I was back at the entrance to the gorge. A sound between a whinny and a human voice invited me in. I was given a drink redolent with herbs. When I pierced the gloom a centaur stood before me, half man, half horse. He knelt so that I could climb onto his back. Now, as a Sagittarius, traditional astrology says I should have a natural affinity with horses. Sadly I do not. Whilst I can admire one from a distance, put me on his back and even the most docile horse will start rearing and prancing. I even have that effect on donkeys. So it was with some trepidation that I climbed onto Chiron‘s unsaddled back and clutched his mane. Immediately he rose up and galloped out of the gorge moving diagonally across the cliff side. Rocks, bushes, nothing impeded his swift flight. And I was revelling in it. Feeling totally one with this beast, who could only be called magnificent despite it being an overused cliché.
Chiron took me to a place of healing and becoming. The scent of the herbs all around me infusing my skin like a balm. I was exceedingly sad when it was time to leave and my steed returned me to the beach just in time to begin the long climb back. Why didn’t he deposit me at the top? We have to make the effort. To do our own work. Chiron teaches that it cannot be done for us. I needed that climb. I still had a long way to go. I’ve made that journey in my mind many times since then, always trusting Chiron to lead me where I need to go.
A poem written by astrologer Margaret Koolman sums up how I felt when I finally stood at the top of that cliff. It feels like Chiron speaking directly to my soul:
Touching the edge of the precipice.
Can I jump knowing not if I can fly?
Considering all responsibilities,
who will miss me if I go?
Rocks and grass at my feet –
and the vast blue space that calls my soul –
is it not time to go now?
And yet how can I leave?
Yours is not to leave this dear ground, this earth.
Yours is to be – here, and look
so that the vision is available
to all who seek
and nothing is lost.
Hold the blue-beyond lightly in your mind,
and the dear earth in your heart.
And know that life supports your efforts to grow, with love.
Margaret Koolman, Jan.30th 2014
Once we’d climbed back up the cliff we sought sanctuary in the cool of the tiny church while waiting for our cab. I lit a candle in thanks, but having sat quietly for awhile contemplating the dream, I grew restless and walked around the church. I knew from the guidebook that it had been built on the site of an ancient goddess temple. So much of that older building had been embedded into the fabric of the church. Even the altar had carvings of the goddess beneath its crocheted lacy cloth, and the columns that had been incorporated lent a sinuous grace to its walls. It was a place of multi-dimensional holiness. Divinity layered on top of divinity.
And the present day reality
As I sat on a bench in Lefkas in 2015 recalling the dream while waiting for my lift, the bin lorry arrived. So I metaphorically threw in all the baggage I could let go, especially the Astypalea memories as they were tinged with the sadness of a relationship that failed to fulfil its promise. But I kept the dream. This was the day we were to do the Chiron net, so the timing was perfect. We could take the Chiron journey (see below) and once again I could do the necessary healing and incorporate the gifts from that long ago experience.
After the group’s meeting with Chiron in his crystal net, we ended our journey by entering the chapel and sinking down into its earliest foundations. I found myself leading the group to meet the gods and goddesses who were located ‘above’, but who, according to the ancient Greeks, interfered – or assisted depending on your point of view – in the day to day lives of humanity. It was the perfect way to connect to the celestial energies that reside within each one of us. We then journeyed deep into Gaia, Mother Earth to anchor our souls. We re-membered that we are indeed creatures of stars and stones.
Glyph: The most commonly accepted glyph, a K over the circle of spirit, illustrates how Chiron acts as a channel for spiritual authority to manifest on earth, healing the duality of existence.
Keywords: woundedness, suffering, fragmentation, healing, paradox, dilemmas, renunciation, initiation, fusion, the shaman, the key, the maverick.
Chiron is a paradox. The mythological Chiron was both healer and warrior. He was immortal and could not die and yet was
mortally wounded and in constant pain. In the end, he renounced his immortality, took on someone else’s pain, and was elevated to a place in the heavens. With the head of a man and the torso of a horse, he was a fusion between the instinctual self and self-consciousness. This planet is the urge to resolve the dilemmas and paradoxes of the disparate parts of the Self. In uniting opposites and embracing extremes, Chiron offers the gift of healing.
From the astronomical point of view, Chiron is not a planet at all and this maverick visitor to the zodiac moves in an erratic, elliptical orbit which passes between Saturn and Uranus, and then between Saturn and Jupiter bringing impersonal energies which formerly lay beyond consciousness into awareness. When situated between Saturn and Uranus, Chiron raises the vibrations in the physical body and stimulates the chakras. When it moves into orbit between Saturn and Jupiter, it seeds potential from the outer planets but can act as the conduit for their energies to pour down to earth.
In this role, Chiron is a cosmic messenger who acts as a bridge between the worlds and urges integration of the known with the unknown. Chiron’s placement in the chart is the point where there has to be a reaching out beyond the purely personal to bring into awareness all that separates and wounds the soul. It indicates what must be integrated into, and eliminated from, life in order to achieve wholeness. It also enables the bringing into conscious awareness of the transformatory energies offered by the outer planets.
Chiron is believed to be a comet that became trapped within the solar system. In esoteric literature, comets came into the solar system and swept up the collective psychic debris that had been generated across aeons of time. This debris was incinerated and transmuted in the comet’s tail. Chiron’s entrapment suggests that humanity can no longer rely on this cosmic clearing process. It is now necessary for each individual to take responsibility. Humankind must look at the causes of suffering, a Chiron concept, which is largely created out of ignorance and greed. Much of this suffering is caused by not being part of the greater whole, or of the whole Self, resulting in fragmentation. Chiron urges the giving up of this separation and the fusing of the instinctual nature with the spiritual self.
In past life astrology, Chiron represents the soul’s woundedness, the pain that is carried forward from life to life. It is the point where the soul is vulnerable to being wounded by outsiders and by itself because it resonates with past pain. In the chart, Chiron is where healing is needed and where suffering must be set aside. This healing is not merely a question of ‘making it better’. True healing goes to the core, it may entail a descent into darkness and acceptance of a part of the self that will always be wounded, and yet in embracing that pain rather than rejecting it, healing comes.
Anyone with a strong Chiron in the chart meets suffering early in life and carries the theme of the wounded healer. The wound may be physical or mental but the potential is there to reach beyond this and Chiron is strong in the charts of healers and shamans. Shamans link the unseen forces, the spiritual realm, with the physical world and act as a go-between. Having been through many levels of initiation, and died to the old Self, the power of the spirit is activated. Chiron is both healer and warrior. His sword is held ready to cut away all that is diseased and outworn, at a personal or tribal level. He can cut through the patterns of the past to offer creative solutions to seemingly insoluble problems. This is the planet that accompanies transitions and inner healings, the one that aids rebirth into the Aquarian age of brotherhood and equality.
Past Life Stumbling Blocks: unhealed wounds and fears, personality splits, scapegoating.
Associations: holistic health, chiropody, chiropractic, herbs, healing tools, shamans, renunciation, scapegoat, keys, horses, spiritual warrior, war.
Careers: doctor, nurse, counsellor, warrior, paramedic, holistic healer, therapist, chiropractor.
Places: Greece, hospitals, schools, war zones
[Extracted from The Astrology Bible, c. Judy Hall, Godsfield Press]
Briefly, Chiron’s story is that he was a centaur (half man, half horse) who was rejected at birth by his mother and fostered by the gods. His father, a god, was Saturn; his grandfather, Uranus. He became a great teacher and healer, and was given the gift of immortality. Paradoxically, he taught healing and warfare, just one of many apparent contradictions associated with this planet. So, he is the spiritual warrior. Then he was wounded but, because he was immortal, he could not die. He is the archetypal Shaman. According to some sources, Chiron’s wound was in ‘the thigh’, which is often a euphemism for castration and loss of procreative power. Chiron may indicate where physical generative power has to be sacrificed in order to achieve a ‘higher’ level of creative energy. A transmutation of power.
Chiron was the product of an illicit union between Saturn and Philyra, daughter of Oceanus, the primeval deep. Caught in flagrante delicto by his wife; Saturn changed into a stallion and galloped off. When Philyra gave birth it was to what she perceived as a monster: half man, half beast, a centaur who represented the fusion and reconciliation of the bestial nature and the higher nature of man. Philyra prayed to the gods to have her child taken away, and she was answered. Chiron was raised by Apollo and the other gods who taught him many skills but principally those of healing and warfare – another reconciliation of opposites. His gift, however, became his curse when he was -accidentally -wounded by one of his pupils with poison from the Hydra. The wound could not heal, and being immortal Chiron could not die. He underwent a long period of agony until he was able to give up his immortality by taking on the burden of Prometheus, he who had stolen fire from the gods and been condemned to forever have his liver pecked out. Chiron descended into the underworld but was then elevated to a place in the heavens by the gods.
[Extracted from Patterns of the Past, Judy Hall, Wessex Astrologer.]
Settle yourself where you will not be disturbed. Switch off your phone. Breathe gently establishing an even rhythm, and close your eyes.
You are standing next to a tiny white painted church. Way below you, you can glimpse the turquoise blue sea. To the side of the church a gate leads you through the monastery garden. You can smell the flowers and pluck an apricot to savour on the way down. Breathe in its scent as you bite into it and release its sweetness onto your tongue. Soon you step out onto the hillside the rich smell turns to that of herbs. Sage, thyme and wild oregano release their fragrance as you brush past them on the narrow path. Around you, you can hear the tinkling of bells and feel the heat of the sun golden on your skin. The path is steep and winding.
As the path corkscrews down it takes a sudden turn around a cliff. In front of you is a narrow cleft in the rock. As you enter the cleft a strong smell of horse greets you. As you move deeper, you see that there is a cave mouth and a presence hidden in its depths.
As you approach, Chiron steps out and invites you to travel with him. Kneeling, he allows you to climb onto his back. He takes you out of the gorge and onto the hillside until you reach a place of healing and dreaming. Here you can lie on the soft grass of the hillside and drink the herbs he offers. He helps you to release your karmic wounds, to soothe your soul, and to find the gift and the learning that was within the experience.
When you are ready to leave, Chiron invites you to mount his back once more. He takes you up to the church and suggests that you spend a few moments in its peaceful sanctuary.
When you are ready, feel the connection your feet make to the floor and to the earth beneath. Open your eyes. Bring your awareness back into the room. Breathe deeply. Move your fingers and toes. Stand up and stamp your feet.
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