Chiron's perihelion (2/14/96) is a big event. Astronomers the world over are studying its motion, composition, gravity and everything else they can think of. Astrologers, likewise, are watching Chiron with increasing interest, anticipating the effects this perihelion will have on humanity in general and on individuals.
In my research on Chiron, I discovered many people whose lives were shaped by this giant comet, and any of their lives would be good to study in light of the coming perihelion. But the one I have chosen made Chiron so much a part of his life, that I couldn't think of a better subject.
Once upon a time, the "past" was immutable. Saturn, which astrologically symbolized absolute limits, rigid structures and unchanging laws, was the last, farthest planet. The "scientific revolution" during the time of Galileo and Newton established the laws of physics, proclaiming time as a uniform constant. Astrologically, the ringed planet fit this definition of time quite well.
Even after Uranus' discovery in 1781 proved that Saturn was not the endmost planet, the basic laws of physics remained unchanged, with time still looked upon as an absolute. In 1846, Neptune pushed the limits of our solar system even further, and there were some mystics who sought ways to travel outside the limits of time. But in science, time was still perceived as changeless.
However, in 1879 a man was born who would change the course of human history by permanently altering our understanding of the universe, including the very nature of time itself. This man was Albert Einstein. Most people know Einstein for his theories of relativity. Even if one doesn't really understand the concepts, one doubtless knows that E=mc2. But there may be no awareness of just how many other major breakthroughs came from this man. For example, thanks to Einstein we know that light consists of extremely tiny particles. In our day-to-day life, there are many things we take for granted that depend upon his theories, such as fluorescent lights, lights that turn on automatically when darkness arrives, TVs, CD players, remote controls, microwave ovens, even computer screens and laser printers. He even authored the first known laws of quantum theory. And of course, if it weren't for Einstein, we would not be utilizing nuclear energy--nor stockpiling thermonuclear bombs.
When I decided to look at Einstein's chart, I expected to find a prominent Chiron because Chiron is a door opener and Einstein opened so many doors for humanity. I wasn't disappointed. But I didn't expect the prominence of another body--Pholus!
According to his birth certificate1, Einstein was born March 14, 1879, 11:30 am in Ulm, Germany. Chiron2 is one of a whole stellium of bodies that fall in his tenth house. It is semisextile (30 deg.) his Mercury and Saturn, trine his Uranus, semisquare (45 deg.) his Sun and square his Lunar Nodes. But the most important Chiron aspect is its close conjunction to Neptune. This is one of the major keys in understanding the man and his accomplishments.
With a Pisces Sun, Neptune was Einstein's ruling planet and shaped his basic sense of self and how he expressed it. Neptune gives Pisceans a vast imagination and an ability to perceive whole pictures (gestalts) while the rest of us are straining to see a small piece of the puzzle. His Sun was also intimately connected to Neptune via a close semi- square. And since Pisces was on his MC, Neptune was a main factor in shaping his career, his aspirations and even his reputation. Whenever Einstein tuned into his ruling planet, he also tuned into Chiron, the body of wholemaking, opening doors and one's personal quest.
In addition to Chiron and Neptune, there is also an element of Uranus to his sense of self. When a planet is discovered, the degree it occupies is forever sensitized and brings its essence to anything touching that point. Uranus was discovered in the 25th degree of Gemini, square the Sun in the 24th degree of Pisces, which is the exact degree of Einstein's Sun. So there was a Uranian quality to Einstein's basic nature even though the Sun made no aspect to his natal Uranus. (And, of course, Uranus in the third house ruling his ninth helped to shape his original thinking processes.)
Pisces is also ruled by the planet Jupiter, the planet of the abstract mind, the planet that enables us to expand our horizons and to search for meanings. So this body, too, shaped Einstein's sense of self and his career focus. Einstein's Jupiter is 27 Aquarius 29 and sat alone in his ninth house. Or it did, until I discovered that his Pholus3 is 27 Aquarius 05, less than half a degree away. What Pholus represents is directly linked with his higher mind, that part which works with symbols and knits together theories.
If you are not familiar with Pholus, you should know that it is a minor planet that was discovered in 1992. We do not know a great deal about it yet, but we can speculate on its meaning, based on its orbit and mythology. Pholus moves between the orbits of Saturn and Neptune, so it links those bodies the way Chiron links Saturn and Uranus. Saturn is the traditional perspective, Neptune the dreams and fantasies outside of the tradition. Saturn represents those laws that appear immutable, Neptune the dissolution of illusions that hold us to a limited view of existence. So Pholus bridges the gap between a subjective perception of reality and an understanding of more universal laws; between the accepted view of physical laws and the unlimited explorations possible via the imagination. If Chiron represents the bridge linking past and future, Pholus is the shadowland uniting the tangible, material, structured world (Saturn) with the limitless world of dreams, universal truths and the cosmos (Neptune).
In mythology, Pholus was a rarity like Chiron: a centaur who was kind and gentle. He died from one of Hercules' arrows during the same ruckus that caused Chiron to receive the wound that would not heal. While there are several versions of this story, they all make the point that Pholus was quite mortal, and his death was accidental, the result of poison that had been meant for one of the other centaurs. Perhaps another aspect of Pholus, then, is an awareness of mortality and how death can come at any time.
With Jupiter conjunct Pholus, Einstein's desire to learn, expand his understanding and interpret his findings was united with this ability to see the connections between apparent reality and universal truths. He would be able to comprehend concepts that boggle the minds of ordinary humans and, in turn, restate them in terms that are much easier to understand. His philosophy of life (Jupiter) was in part shaped by a deep awareness of his mortality (Pholus), and an awe of the universe. He needed to search for universal laws which would give him inner peace, not only about this life, but also about the next one. He once summed up the very essence of his beliefs by saying, "The cosmic religious experience is the strongest and the noblest force behind scientific research."
Even though there is no aspect between Neptune and the Jupiter/Pholus conjunction, Neptune's essence was very much a part of Einstein's philosophies. When the watery planet was discovered in 1846, it was located in the 27th degree of Aquarius. Since Einstein's Jupiter/Pholus is right there, it would forever influence his higher mind.
With Chiron and Pholus both so strong in his chart, it is not surprising that Einstein was a staunch pacifist for most of his life. After all, both Chiron and Pholus died as a result of wounds inflicted by weapons. They must have given him a basic hatred of warfare.
As a child, Einstein sometimes seemed almost retarded, and learned to talk quite late. He dropped out of high school, doing quite poorly while there. For many people with Chiron in the tenth, interaction with the world does not really begin until the first time transiting Chiron squares natal Chiron. If they have genius potential, it often fails to materialize before this transit, although sparks of brilliance may show earlier. He also had Saturn closely conjunct Mercury, which is likewise known for giving a slowness to mental development, although it does serve to deepen the intellect.
Chiron reached its perihelion two days after his 16th birthday, so it was extremely strong in his solar return for that year. In his natal chart, Chiron was transiting his fourth house, opposition natal Mercury and Saturn. He made the decision to do something with his life, moved to Switzerland and took the entrance exam to the university. Unfortunately, he failed on his first attempt, but Chiron's influence served to mobilize his focus. He worked very hard over the coming year, and was accepted for admission the following year. While he still had not come into his own, the Chiron transit had opened his mind and he began to orient himself toward the future.
That perihelion's influence also showed up in another way. When he moved to Switzerland, he petitioned for his German citizenship to be canceled, and began working to become a Swiss citizen. While he was studying for his second attempt at the entrance exam, he received official acceptance that his German citizenship was renounced, but it took five more years before he became a Swiss citizen. So for five years, he was without any country at all. Just like Chiron, the maverick, who wears no brand of the herd, Einstein carried no citizenship to any state. Perhaps this helped to shape his strong opinions against nationalism, and for the idea of a one-world government.
After graduating from college, it took him a long time to find a job, but he finally was hired as clerk for a patent office on June 23, 1902, with Chiron at 12 Capricorn in close conjunction to his descendant, and Saturn at 26 Capricorn right on his Mars. Financially, the job was nothing special; he would never get rich here. But seeing all the inventions of others, day after day, stimulated his mind and spurred him on to give serious thought to scientific questions he had wondered about since childhood.
Author Barry Parker, PhD4 says that "The year 1905 ranks as one of the most important in the annals of physics." In early 1905, Chiron in Aquarius transited Einstein's North Node, and entered his eighth house, swiftly moving to sextile his Mercury; at the same time, Uranus in Capricorn was squaring his Mercury and Saturn. Neptune's transit at 5 Cancer at this time must also have had an influence, helping to dissolve any outmoded ideas. During this period, he was working quite hard on some scientific papers that led to a major turning point for him, and also for humanity.
On March 1, with Chiron almost exactly sextile his Saturn, and Uranus still squaring Mercury and Saturn, he published the first of those papers, breaking ground with a new photoelectric theory. At the same time, Saturn was approaching his Jupiter/Pholus conjunction and would be exact in mid-March, helping him to crystallize his understandings and organize them in a well ordered framework that he could share with others.
By the end of the month (March 29), Chiron formed a square to his natal Chiron, Uranus's square to Saturn was exact, and Jupiter was almost exactly conjunct his Chiron. In early April, he published his second major paper (on molecules).
The following month he produced the third, on Brownian movement, right near Chiron's station (May 12th, 6 Aquarius 43, closely square both natal Chiron and Neptune). But what happened to him at the Chiron station was much more significant.
For years, he had been struggling for a solution to the problem of electric/magnetic fields, and on the effect motion had on them. Finally, in May, he decided that he had had enough. He told an associate that the problem was insurmountable and he was abandoning the whole area. Somehow, letting go must have done the trick, for when he awoke the next morning everything else seemed to disappear and he knew the answer. Chiron has been connected to a Zen Buddhist concept known as Satori, a great insight that occurs when we step outside of the vicious circle of our limited logic and perceive the interconnectedness of all things. Einstein experienced a moment of Satori, and the paper that resulted on special relativity, according to Dr. Parker5, "is now considered to be one of the most important physics papers ever published."
In 1980, an astrologer named Glenn Murray6 and I discussed the Chiron keyword known as Kairos or Chiros. Normal clock time is the province of Saturn or Chronos. But Chiros is another kind of time. As Glenn wrote, "This represents a sort of timeless time--the time you notice when you're with someone you love, for instance, and 20 minutes seems to last for hours, or vice versa. Chronological time ceases to apply or have meaning." Time after time, I have seen this aspect of Chiron in action.
On that night in May, Einstein entered Chiros. He came to he conclusion that the key to his problem was the concept of time itself. Newton was wrong about time; it was not an absolute. Rather, time itself could change, depending upon the relation between the observer and the observed. (For example, a clock in motion would run slow in relation to a clock that did not move, as seen by one who was observing the latter; and the swifter the clock moved, the slower it would run. This is the principle known as Time Dilation.) Furthermore, he said that it was the speed of light that was a universal constant, the same for all observers. Length, mass, and time itself alter, but not light.
In addition to clock time, Saturn is connected to structured systems and rigid mindsets. Chiron and Pholus travel beyond Saturn, not restricted by the latter's walls. Einstein was once asked how he arrived at his understanding of time and space. He replied, "The reason, I think, is that a normal adult never stops to think about problems of space and time. These are things he thought about as a child. But my intellectual development was retarded and I began to wonder about them when I was grown up."
A small child has hardly any sense of the passage of time. Tomorrow, next week or next year mean much the same to a child. They live very much in the Now, in Chiros. And it was by becoming again like a little child, not controlled by Saturn's rigidness, that Einstein was able to perceive the true nature of time.
Einstein published one more paper that year, which expanded on the special theory, stating the relationship between mass and energy as that famous equation, E=mc2. This was submitted for publication on September 27, only five days after Pluto had reached its station at 22 Gemini 44, squaring his Sun by less than a degree. Chiron was 1 Aquarius 26, only 3 minutes from his North Node. And Saturn was 27 Aquarius 09, only 4 minutes away from his Pholus.
Those five papers, especially the two on special relativity, sent shock waves around the scientific world. Some scientists embraced the ideas immediately, others thought them nonsense, but no one remained indifferent. The ideas were too powerful.
But Einstein was not content. While his theory explained much, the more he thought about it, the more he realized that it was incomplete. What was missing?
On November 8, 1910, there was a Chiron station at 27 Aquarius 52, falling o his Jupiter/Pholus, with Pluto at 27 Gemini 37. Within the following weeks, he began to work to resolve his dilemma and arrive at a more complete theory. This would occupy his time for the next five years.
On June 26, 1915, Chiron went Stationary Retrograde at 22 Pisces 41, less than a degree from his Sun. The pieces he had been working on for the past several years began to fall together. Thanks to another scientist's paper called "Space and Time," he became aware that relativity makes more sense if you view the universe as having four dimensions, with the fourth one being time. He began to put together his next masterpiece. Pluto squared his Mercury in November as he put the finishing touches to his General Theory of Relativity. This he completed on November 25 with Chiron at 18 Pisces 07 conjunct his Sun/MC midpoint at 18 Pisces 10, only four days before its station. And the paper was published March 20, 1916, when Chiron was 22 Pisces 37, less than a degree from his Sun and almost exactly on the position of its June station.
The General Theory shows that space and time are not separate, but are two parts of a new concept, space-time. Matter and energy are actually part of the same thing, called matter-energy. Gravity is, basically, a curving of space-time. And it is matter-energy which brings about the curvature of the space-time around it. The General Theory, combined with the Special Theory, totally revolutionized physics, and the world as we know it. But it took one more event before Einstein's name became a household word--the verification of his theories.
Scientists knew that on May 29, 1919, an eclipse was coming which would be ideal to test Einstein's theories. If he was correct, the light of a star near the eclipsed Sun would be bent a very precise amount by the curvature of space. So astronomers began planning to study the eclipse in detail.
As the scientists made their preparations, Einstein's mind was not totally focused on his theories. He had not gotten along with his wife Mileva for some time, and on February 14 the divorce was settled. Uranus was conjunct his Jupiter/Pholus, while Saturn was square his Pluto. On March 28, Chiron passed over his Mercury, and his thoughts were going a mile-a-minute, back and forth between the coming eclipse, and the woman Elsa whom he would soon marry. Chiron passed over his Saturn April 15 as he was in the midst of plans for the wedding. On June 2, with Jupiter square his natal Venus and Pluto sextile his Chiron, the wedding took place. (A honeymoon was certainly one way to take his mind off the results of the eclipse. It would be a while before he would know if his theory was verified, since the scientists had to study the data.) On September 27, 1919, Einstein was informed that the photos of the eclipse had proven his theory about the bending of the starlight. Chiron now was only minutes away from exact conjunction to his Saturn. (By the way, during the eclipse, Chiron was almost exactly sextile the Sun and closely trine Neptune in Leo.)
On November 6, with Chiron exactly conjunct his Mercury, he was interviewed by reporters from all over the world. The following day, as Uranus went stationary direct right on his Jupiter/Pholus conjunction, and Jupiter trined his Venus, the front page story in The London Times read, "Revolution in Science. Newtonian Ideas Overthrown." This brought him immediate fame, and both he and his writings were suddenly in demand all over the world.
Over the next few years, he received so many invitations to speak that he couldn't accept them all. He received countless honorary degrees from universities, which is funny when you consider how difficult it had been for him even to get into college in the first place. A book he had written explaining relativity to the non-scientist broke a publishing record for the number of editions printed.
Still, he was not content to rest on his laurels but continued to search for universal truths. With his strong Neptune, he set his sights on discovering the laws that would pull everything together. He believed that the universe was created according to some orderly plan and said on many occasions that God does not play dice with the universe. Throughout the 1920s, he set out to find this set of laws, which he called the Unified Field Theory.
In the Fall of 1922, just after Chiron passed over his Venus, he learned that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. At this point, a controversy arose because both Germany and Switzerland claimed him as a citizen. This issue dragged on for the next 1-1/2 years, as Chiron went back and forth over his Venus, never moving more than four degrees away. At the end of December 1923, Chiron went stationary direct at 16 Aries 31, only 28 minutes away from his Venus. Einstein resolved to end this dispute once and for all and accepted the German citizenship. This became official February 7, 1924 with Chiron only 15 minutes past his Venus.
From July 6, 1927 through January 31, 1929, Chiron crossed Einstein's natal Chiron five times, the final time occurring only two weeks after it went stationary direct at 5 Taurus 25. During this period, he worked hardest on his new theory. Just before his 50th birthday, with Chiron about 6-1/2 Taurus, he presented a paper on the Unified Field to the Prussian Academy in Berlin. As you can see, Chiron was at his Chiron/Neptune mid-point, and only a degree from each body. This paper was the result of a monumental effort.
Yet the theory fell far short of his intent. Some scientists feel that he would have accomplished even greater works if he had devoted his time, instead, to exploring quantum mechanics. But Einstein stuck to his belief in a Unified Field Theory, unable to accept such concepts as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Often he would repeat his saying about God not throwing dice, implying that the atom's apparent randomness would become predictable once the Unified Field laws were discovered.
Fearing the growing anti-semitism in Germany, Einstein took his family and left that country forever in the Fall of 1932. This was the second time that he renounced his German citizenship, and once again he was without a country. (He would become an American citizen eight years later.) Chiron was about 28 Taurus retrograde, closing in on its square to his Jupiter/Pholus.
On August 21, 1933, there was a solar eclipse at 27 Leo 42 opposing his Jupiter/Pholus. He decided then to come to America, and in October he settled his family in Princeton, New Jersey and began working at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he would continue until he retired in 1945.
During 1936-37, Einstein began to go through a very painful change in his views of pacifism. He had begun to question his beliefs before he moved to America. But in light of Hitler's purging, and eventually murdering, millions of people, Einstein realized that Hitler had to be stopped. Using force and violence against him would be less evil than allowing him to prevail. Pluto opposed Einstein's Mars at this time and Chiron in Gemini squared his Sun.
On August 2, 1939, with Chiron at 14+ Cancer on the USA Sun and transiting Mars conjunct Einstein's Mars, he wrote a letter to President Roosevelt explaining the physics of nuclear fission that would be necessary in order to develop a bomb.
The nuclear bombs, never used on Germany, were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 with Neptune at 4-1/2 Libra closely opposition Einstein's Saturn (Chiron at 1-1/2 Libra was also opposite that Saturn). Note that Chiron would reach perihelion about three weeks later at 4 Libra 29. When a reporter asked Einstein his thoughts on the bombing of Japan, Einstein replied that the world was not ready for E=mc2.
Chiron was even significant when Einstein passed from this plane. In 1905, Chiron in Aquarius made a "last quarter" square to his natal Chiron. He took us then into a new world, with new definitions of time and space. On April 18, 1955, as Chiron was once again square his natal Chiron from Aquarius, he passed away. Perhaps it served anew as a doorway for him to another world, and all eternity in which to explore it?