Mythologically, astrologically, and numerologically, the major influence around age 49-50 is an energy that marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. Relating to mythology and astrology this influence is Chiron, a planet discovered in 1977. It has the properties of an asteroid, a planet, a comet, and a Pluto-like object. It’s a maverick in the sky, not easily defined or classified.
Numerologically 49 is associated with the number 7 – 7×7. Any number squared indicates a time to bring energy and power to the next level.
Mythologically, Chiron was the child of Kronos (Saturn) and Philyra, his mistress. Kronos was married to Rhea and when she figured out that Kronos was unfaithful to her she flew into a rage. Kronos immediately turned himself into a horse in an attempt to disguise himself to escape Rhea’s wrath. At that moment Chiron was conceived. Philyra, seeing her son for the first time was horrified. He was a centaur – half man, half horse. Shocked, she turned herself into a tree. Chiron was then raised from infancy by mentors and surrogate mothers.
He grew up to be gentle, learned and wise – a mentor himself, a teacher of healing, famous for his knowledge of medicine and music. He taught the use of medicinal herbs and plants. The healing art of Chiropractics is named after him.
At one point, later in life, Chiron was shot by a poison arrow in the lower half of his body – the animal half – and from that day foreword, doomed to suffer eternally. After years of suffering he struck a deal with Zeus, pleading for himself as well as the long suffering Prometheus. Zeus agreed to free Chiron from his suffering in exchange for his agreement to start a new life as a constellation in the sky.
Chiron has a highly irregular orbit. It takes 50 years for him to orbit the Sun once. At age 49-50 we all experience Chiron’s return to the place he occupied at the time of our birth. Astrologically our 50th birthday is highly significant. It is defined by the “Chiron Return” destined to happen only once in a lifetime unless one lives to be 100.
At age 50, living any semblance of a lie becomes intolerable. Jody Foster famously “came out” on stage at the Golden Globes during her Chiron return saying the following: “This feels like the ending of one era and the beginning of something else – scary, exciting, and now what? Well I may never be up on this stage again, on any stage for that matter.”
Significant is the part about never being up on stage again – any stage. It alludes to the end of an era of playing a role that does not represent who we are, and the beginning of an era of authenticity.
It’s common for there to be some kind of crisis at age 50, some life interrupting change or growing awareness that necessitates a gathering of strength, power, and the courage to be who we truly are. The life of a Shaman reflects the Chiron message. Shaman’s usually have an early life experience of near-death, disease, or insanity. It’s that crisis, that wounding, that initiates the development of power to bridge humanity with healing forces beyond normal reach.
Chiron defines our distorting wound – its specific nature, the realm of life affected, and when it occurred. This wound distorts our outlook, our behavior, and our potential until age 49-50. At this time we raise our awareness to a level that allows the distortions to end and a natural re-alignment to take place. But it may be experienced as upheaval.
Healing and progressively integrating various disconnected pieces of ourselves is the point of all struggle, of every challenge, of every life lesson. Consistently there must be a confrontation with “that which makes us sick” accompanied by opportunities to grow and learn.
Chiron functions as a bridge by closing separations between the roles we play, the life we live, and our authentic self. Healing is defined by Chiron as “closing separations.”
“Sickness” and the long healing process that ensues, are the means we use to eventually arrive at a new place of strength, integrity, freedom, and spiritual receptivity. We have to work hard and suffer through many healing stages and set-backs to be able to know who we are and to be able to structure our life in ways that reflect that.
For those born between February of 1961 and April of 1968 Chiron resides in the sign of Pisces. For those born between May of 1968 and June of 1976 Chiron resides in the sign of Aries. These time periods represent very different kinds of wounds, very different life distortions, and lessons, but the same predictable healing process.
Chiron in Pisces can find themselves attached to suffering – a feeling that suffering, in and of itself, is noble rather than an impetus to relieve it, or abandon it, and move on. Aries is afraid and lacks confidence in his ability to make his mark on the world. Anger and anger turned inward (depression) replaces the need to take risks in order to prove themselves to themselves. They must eventually know that they can be highly effective in shaping their life and making their mark on the world.