My complex relationship with the 5th House — Chiron in Leo.
If you’re unfamiliar with the more in-depth parts of astrology, you might not have heard of Chiron (Begins with a K-sound, rhymes with Byron.) Don’t worry, its definitely an obscure piece of the practice. When I received my first natal chart reading, I didn’t pay much attention to it, as I was really only concerned with my Big Three. As my adult life continues to roll on, I’ve become more familiar with my outer-system placements, and found that the archetype of Chiron visits me more through navigating my spiritual/mental health. Its a placement that I believe we could all benefit from engaging with a little more.
So, what — or who — is Chiron and why the heck does it — or he — matter? To begin, I’ll lay out some brief context.
In Greek Mythology, Chiron is known as “the wounded healer,” the centaur son of the titan Cronos and a water nymph named Philyra. After he was abandoned by his mother in young infancy, Apollo adopted and raised him. He was given an education in “the healing arts, music, and prophecy, while… Artemis taught him archery and hunting.” (Psychology Today, 2021.) Centaurs were known to be a violent, brutish, and lustful species. But Chiron grew up to be a maverick amongst his kind; he was wise, compassionate, and intelligent. Widely respected, he was a mentor of heroes such as Achilles, Asclepius, and Herakles. At the end of Chiron’s story, he is caught up in a centaur skirmish and wounded by friendly fire, accidentally shot by Herakles. The arrow, coated with Hydra venom, makes his wound impossible to heal. Seeing as he is half a god, he cannot die either, so he is left in unending pain. He strikes a deal with the gods, sacrificing his immortality. He does this not only to end his own eternal suffering, but also to relieve his friend Prometheus from lifelong torture. Remember that whole situation with the eagle and his liver? Girl, The Crucifixion could neva!
(…Don’t come for me, Christians. I USED TO BE ONE OF YOU.)
To learn more about the myth of Chiron, you can read an abridged version of it here.
In scientific astronomy, the body called 2060 Chiron was originally classified as a minor planet, discovered by Charles Kowal in 1977. Its orbit sits between Saturn and Uranus, and is described as “unique and erratic,” according to Cafe Astrology. It gained official recognition as a comet in 1989, all the while keeping its status as a minor planet, seeing as its orbit is still consistent enough and maintains its spot within our main solar system.
As far as astrology is concerned, Chiron is symbolically associated with the archetype of the wounded healer. This placement rules feelings of pain, difficulty, and insecurity in one’s personality. In one’s birth chart it points to the areas of uphill climb. Upstream swim, if you will. Chiron shows us the places in our lives where we must do the most healing, and engage in the most work on ourselves.
On the date of my birth, Chiron was close to my midheaven at 3 degrees Leo, which is the sign that rules the 5th House of the zodiac. It was occupying the 10th house in my chart, but that’s a detail we can come back to.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
Leo is a fixed fire sign. Think of its elemental energy like a bonfire: Simply by existing, it commands a fair amount of respect. Due to its small and contained nature however, it still must be fed, maintained, and controlled. Just for comparison, the other fire signs are Aries and Sagittarius. Cardinal Aries is more like a hot and quick hay fire, while Mutable Sagittarius I’d liken to the gentle, silent glow of embers.
If Leo were a person, I would imagine him as a 13 year old boy. He’s got a lot of intrinsic curiosity for the world. He is mischievous, adventurous, creative, playful, and a little cocky. Very much still suspended in childhood, but for the most part he is knowledgeable and independent enough to feel capable of learning on his own. He might not have all the answers to who he is, but he fully embodies the process of figuring it out, with an easy vigor. “Oh, I just can’t wait to be king!” Like a bonfire, he still needs to be cared for and guided, lest the flame get the better of him and he gets seriously hurt, or worse: he allows the fire to become something uncontrollable or even dangerous.
Historically, Leo is characterized by the image of the Lion: Loud and proud, fearsome, majestic, and striking. He walks around like he runs the freakin’ place… but that’s justified! He is the King Of The Jungle, after all. What I love about lions the most is that their females do the hunting. So while Papa loafs around, shows off his fancy hair and his *BEEG STRAWNG MASSUHLS,* Mama’s having none of his nonsense. She’s too busy, ya kno… ensuring survival for the family and such. Typical.
(*That was my horrific attempt at phonetically spelling out “big strong muscles” in an Arnold accent… you’re welcome.)
The 5th House of the Zodiac is generally known as the house of pleasure, specifically through creativity. Fulfillment of the spirit through innovation and creating. Maybe this looks like enjoying an artistic hobby like music or painting, putting in work to design a new technological invention, or even having some hot and steamy sex. All of those things are pleasurable and creative in their own right. The 5th house lends to feelings of invigoration, accomplishment, and self-satisfaction. Since this encompasses the joy of procreation to some degree, it also dips into the archetype of childhood, which touches back nicely to the metaphor about the 13-year-old boy I made earlier.
Chiron isn’t the only body in my chart which is affected by Leo energy. My Sun and Mercury live in the 5th house. But, here’s the plot twist: Those two signs are both in Pisces. I don’t entirely understand why it works like that, but I’ve received my birth chart numerous times from several different sources and its been the same every time. *shrug* So at least I know its not a mistake. This just goes to show that Astrology is extremely complex, and I am convinced that its going take a lifetime of studying it if I’m going to even try to understand all that it can offer. Anyway! I digress.
It should be mentioned that I have always been an extremely creative human. From an age earlier than I can remember, I’ve been inexplicably driven to nurture my hobbies in some way or another. My grandmother put together a bin full of arts and craft supplies that I was always using throughout primary school. As a young teenager I was very into drawing, playing music, and photography. At this time I was also introduced to astrology and became deeply identified with “being a Pisces.” At one point, I recall creating a collage about Pisces and putting it into the clear cover on my school binder. One of the artists I followed on a website called DeviantArt had posted a series of these beautiful Mucha-style, Art Nouveau fairies for each of the zodiac signs, complete with crescent arches, vines and all. You can bet, my Pisces fairy was featured front and center on that collage in my binder. Around this time I remember being heavily invested in my hobbies, because that’s the simplified idea of what I thought Pisces was. Hindsight has shown me that this isn’t the entire picture, but I can put the equation together now and understand that my Sun in the 5th house was alive and unobstructed as I let myself embody my natural love for artistic expression.
This continued up until I finished high school. Chiron made his first appearance, almost simultaneously with the onset of my adulthood. This sense of existential heaviness started to settle on me. It looked like self-doubt and powerlessness, limitation and self-suppression. I felt it as I came in touch with the dark pieces of my childhood, which I hadn’t previously had the ability to consciously acknowledge. My sense of confidence, which was now tightly tied to self-expression through accomplishment, had started to dwindle. The thing is, adulthood brings with it a weighty depth that you have no choice but to load up and carry. This drive for creating has never completely gone away — I mean, how could it? But I have noticed that as I’ve grown older, my time and attention isn’t set on prioritizing creativity like it used to be. There will be pockets of time here and there, where I allow myself to relax and braid a twine bracelet, or noodle around on the guitar. Aside from pursuing my writing, I’d say that’s about the extent of my creative endeavors now. Chiron has woven himself throughout my spirit and given me a sense of sacrifice, like the same one he made for Prometheus all that time ago, before modern man.
Make no mistake: Despite having taken parts of myself away from the desire to create, the desire is still very much present. My brain is very proficient at devising all sorts of new ideas. I could spend hours creating entire business models and writing product pitches. Sometimes the ideas come out of no where. They’re like intrusive thoughts, only they’re vastly more wholesome and have nothing to do with things like crashing your car or stabbing your dog. They have more to do with things like solving a common household problem, or putting some kind of new organizational system together at work. As another example, I’ll be scrolling through my extremely dangerous Instagram feed, and I’ll come across an artist who makes something that inspires me. The feelings I get are sparkly and exciting, and I think to myself, “Oh my goodness, I can do that! I should learn how to do that!” I become giddy like a little kid, and my brain spins fantasies about being able to make a living off this potentially new hobby. But Chiron seems to come back to me and say, “Settle down, now. Be realistic.” Its usually a sad moment. But all the same I have to admit, if I gave in to every one of those impulses I’d be a manic train wreck. So its for the best, I suppose.
Since Chiron lives in my 10th house, he is also active in the areas of my life that have to do with social status. It is easy to imagine that Leo thrives on having good social status. As I look back on times when I was trying to acquire it, I mainly feel inadequacy. Keeping close friendships is a recurring place of difficulty, so I compensate for the inadequacy, attempting to impress people by making things for them or doing them favors. Sometimes this backfires, so that I can appear too needy and smothering. I can tell it makes others uncomfortable, so I feel myself recoil and shrink. Chiron is there with me in the times when I visit shame. He helps me recognize that there is a wounded child within me who is only trying to receive love and feel connection.
Often, I put pressure on myself to move up the ladder at work. Its difficult for me to recognize when I have set unrealistic standards. Authority, independence, and proficiency are my main sources of confidence. In this respect, its painful for me to be in positions where I’m back at the bottom. Especially if it means being bad at what I’m doing. Appearing stupid or insufficient is a source of real vulnerability. It leaves me identifying with powerlessness. So when I finally become good at something, I tend to latch onto it tightly and stay in my lane. This allows me to breathe a little bit and gain control, but it only works so much. It has mostly resulted in a form of… atrophy? Maybe that’s the word. Growing pains feel unendurable for me.
Life has been a great deal of having to prove myself. Within this process there is a tug-of-war with my capabilities, or maybe more accurately put, my perception of what my capabilities realistically are. When I am not feeling empowered, I get into a rut by underselling myself, undermining my worth, and being overly cautious. Once the rut is dug, I have a frustrating habit of making a nice cozy bed there. This could also have a bit to do with my Mars placement in Cancer as well, as I am very good at hiding and being defensive. Believe me, I don’t like it. I’m not proud of it. In breaking my self-destructive or limiting patterns, this is the steepest part of the hike for me.
When circumnavigating Chiron, we can’t forget that along with being wounded, he is also a healer. Admittedly, I am only beginning to come online with this piece of the archetype. My therapist and I are at a point in my treatment where she is helping me heal unresolved pieces of the past. As the muscle gets stronger, I gain the insight needed to uncover things that I hadn’t seen before. Through this, the pain comes back again, but the idea is that you get better at coping with it. She assures me that this is indeed what they call, The Process™. Bodybuilders get sore when they make gains. They meet resistance when adding weight to the bar. Muscle is built because of several different things: In part by being repetitive and consistent, as well as resisting the urge to succumb to discouragement, not just by lifting the weight itself. Practice makes improvement, and as long as I have the ability to show up and push through one more time, I can keep at it. Chiron was wise, compassionate, and kind. He gave invaluable gifts to those who let him mentor them, and if we let him be our mentor in spirit, we can receive those gifts too.
Calculating my birth chart has honestly been one of the best things I’ve done for myself, as its helped me gain so much insight into learning who I am, and it continues to give me nuggets of buried treasure. Focusing on each placement and giving it the space to show itself to you throughout your life can serve as structure to a much needed spiritual practice. Examining the symbolism, mythology, and archetype behind each placement can provide a framework through which life just makes more sense. Chiron being the small celestial body that he is, has been a tiny but no less imperative piece of this puzzle for me.
If you’re curious about your birth chart, you can calculate yours here. On the zodiac wheel, Chiron’s symbol looks like an “OK,” and almost resembles the shape of a key. The sign that he occupies and the house that the placement lives in, will be the starting point for you to interpret that which may trouble you in life. Its fun to imagine that this key shape could be another analogy to his role in realizing wholeness. He could just be the key to finding the wounded pieces of you that remain hidden within. Let him be the guide who takes you along the road to healing too, because you deserve to become someone who loves all aspects of themselves. We all do.