I read yesterday about Pholus, Chiron’s kin who was the guardian of the wine-groves, a Centaur also, but one that, unlike Chiron, was mortal. He too was kind, wise and honourable. He died when a poisoned arrow struck him in the foot. Where Chiron is the rainbow bridge between Saturn and Neptune, Pholus promises another step on that journey; after we have acknowledged and reconciled our torment we can personalise Neptune (because the orbit of Pholus crosses between Saturn and Neptune).
Chiron rules the astrologer, the tarot-reader, the acupuncturist, the herbalist, the chiromancer. That is the Uranian energy distilled and given practical expression (Saturn). How do you awaken it? You acknowledge your pain and use it to bring forth (and it will be a difficult birth, mind) compassion. I have never struggled with compassion except in the necessity to hide it. The realisation that so many in the world equate compassion with weakness is at the heart of that unevolved and benighted mindset that creates the trick of perception which makes it possible to worry about what car we drive while children starve in distant countries. There is an unacknowledged pain (I would bet) repressed into an entire swathe of humanity that experiences daily the confusion, doubt and uncertainty of living an act; of pretending that you, as a Chirotic force in the world, cannot admit to being what you are. The shame, or at least, the expectation of hard-stares that accompanies any declaration of your compassionate faith in astrology, or acupuncture or whatever it is you practise is just the tip of the iceberg. We have a duty to be compassionate actually, even if we are mocked for it, and it is as much (if not more) a duty to ourselves as it is to anyone else. One day you will help somebody who helps you in return, as has been happening to me these last few days and weeks and then the gift of Chiron is realised.
So, Pholus. Here is – arguably – an even more fleeting and intangible gift. The divine is given practical expression. This is truly the keynote that defines evolution, it is the astrological key for satori, for enlightenment, and again, you might imagine it is as much in our own interest to awaken Pholus too even if our motives are almost never selfish or tawdry or even doubtful.
I am interested in Pholus because as Neptune squares itself in my astrology from his current position he is flattening my Pholus in 22 degrees Aquarius. Pholus is also the only object of even minor significance in my 5th house which is otherwise strangely untenanted. (Although my daughter has both Chiron and Pholus rising, with Pholus a mere 7 minutes from the Ascendant).
Liz Seddon writes of Pholus: “It offers an opportunity to let go of old structures and beliefs, to own up to our past mistakes, to forgive our selves and those who have inflicted our pain and to gain new insight and awareness. As the fog lifts, we should have gained a new perspective on what we are about and where we are going. There will be some sort of order again in our life. We have been transformed and are now able to move on to another stage.” She also hints at the mediumistic promise and this makes an element of sense. After all, where Chiron brings the transpersonal but ultimately scientific faculty to the pursuit of higher awareness and self-realisation, Pholus, in the spirit of Neptune, creates an ability to access the subtle realms; for the astrologer who wishes to add another string to his bow (an aptly Centaurian analogy) it is a principle worth working toward. Thus, Chiron first, Pholus will follow.