I have been noticing in my recent coaching how our defence mechanisms defend us against the core fear that we are not in control of our lives, that we might be subject to a malign fate that we cannot prevent, something that no actions on our part can ward of. Thinking of the sequence of the planets and Saturn’s clear role in our defence mechanisms, you can see this last personal planet as the bastion against the uncontrollable power of the transpersonal universe represented by the outer planets. Saturn is concerned with trying to create systems and structures which somehow encapsulate and quantify our lives so that they are not subjected to unexplainable and uncontrollable forces. Saturn wants a causal relationship – if I do X I mitigate the chance for Life/Fate to do Y. Chiron sits between these two planets spanning the bridge between the personal and interpersonal realms, mediating between our ability to control and determine our lives and the great forces of the cosmos. It represents the pain of knowing that life is not fair and will not conform to our attempts to control or manipulate it to fit our fixed pictures of how we feel it should or ought (lovely Saturnian words) to be. It will not be tamed, controlled and quantified in the way that Saturn wants in order to limit it.
This sense of unfairness seems to be embodied in the Chiron myth. It feels wrong that it should have been his friend Herakles who by accident brushed his thigh with the arrow tipped in the Hydra’s blood. It seems unfair to us that we should suffer when we do not feel responsible for the people or factors that cause our suffering. The Uranian response is to live in the stratosphere where we are not subject to these earthly experiences, where they are impersonal and therefore not subject to personal things like suffering. Suffering and emotions are unnecessary, personal aberrations which apply to others but not ourselves. To allow the personal is to open oneself to suffering. Thus Uranus is happier with the cool analytical world of redesigning the framework or process to eliminate any possible cause of future ugly personal issues. The search for enlightenment in many ways can be a defence against the ugly limitation of being human and subject to suffering and discomfort. I remember Ram Dass relating that after spending time in India he began to notice that he had a series of people/events that “bought him down” – cities, his parents, certain people. In the end he realised that he was getting caught by the things he was avoiding getting caught by. He decided that he might as well take the curriculum and be human.
Much of the issue that Uranus has with his ugly children is his distaste for the fact they are not perfect. Virgo is generally associated with perfectionism, but Virgo seems more concerned with the physical environment and also in some ways (being ruled by Chiron) with what is already disordered and how to mend it again – think of the environmental movement with its focus on all the damage and our responsibility to clear it up. My experience is that Uranus is concerned with the perfection of the mind. The values/principles/ideas which are not tainted by the earthly reality of messy human existence or even practical implimentation. Yet these ideas and this interpersonal realm can only be manifested through the material realm and the shock of reality always shatters even our strongest principles. The perfect principles of the French revolution became dominated by rampaging mobs; the perfectly conceived processes and ideas founder on anomalies and practicalities, always Saturn (Kronos) castrates his father. Even the defence mechanisms of independence and dissociation founder on the reality of painful isolation from others and lack of development. Yet reversed, somehow coming to terms with reality and accepting it, including it’s disillusioning ugliness does bring enlightenment, does bring insight and awareness. If we can look at the ugliness of life just as it is and accept it, something magical happens; something in us shifts. Somehow, the depressing and disillusioning coming to terms with reality brings us genuine fire from the gods and allows us to turn reality into a universal understanding. The fact we all suffer and are mortal is the universal element that binds us all together and helps us to see beyond our individual limits and develop an understanding which truly is enlightened.