I'm away at Glastonbury Festival at present (look for an astrologer in a yurt in the Healing Field and you will find me!), so I've set up a few pieces to be published while I'm away. Below is an extract from an article on Chiron by Liz Greene:
The will to live is a great mystery. Every medical practitioner, with any experience of life-threatening illness, knows that the will to live can affect physical as well as psychological well-being, and survival often depends upon the sick person's desire for life, rather than on the doctor's ministrations. Nor is the will to live necessarily what we claim we feel. We may cry out that we want life; but somewhere inside, we want to go home, and this longing for oblivion may be more powerful than any conscious declaration of intent to "get better". Some people react to conflict, pain and disappointment with a creative response that transforms their perspective and even their circumstances. Other people become bitter and hopeless and live in a grey twilight world, or entirely lose their will to live.
There are not only active suicides amongst those who have inwardly given up, but also those self-architected "accidental" deaths which, although unconscious, are nevertheless fuelled by a powerful yearning to bring an end to suffering and unhappiness. Self-destructive behaviour does not always involve the obvious gesture of the bottle of pills or the knife slash to the wrist.
There is no easy formula to determine why some individuals rise to life's challenges, despite severe misfortunes and handicaps, while others turn their backs on the future, even if fortune favours them. Moreover, loss of the will to live may not always result in self-destruction. It may be expressed as the urge to destroy others, as though, on some deep and inaccessible level, the projection of hopelessness and victimisation onto another gives the suffering individual the illusion that he or she is strong and in control of life. Thus the individual who has, secretly, lost the will to live may, in extremis, try to deprive others of joy -and perhaps even of life - by finding a scapegoat who can be burdened with all the despair that is felt within.
This mystery may have its origin, as so many mysteries do, in the enigma of inherent individual character, and the birth chart can provide us with many insights into the patterns which underpin that character. With any polarity in life, we, as astrologers, always need to look at a polarity of planets; and the polarity of hope versus despair, the will to live versus hopelessness, may be illuminated - at least in part - through the symbolism of the polarity of the Sun and Chiron.
I do not believe we can really understand either of these planets without considering the meaning of the other one. Although they are not in actual aspect in every individual's chart, nevertheless they are both present in every chart, and they form an energy dynamic within the personality. A direct aspect sharpens this dynamic and often becomes the focus of the individual's journey, but the polarity exists in each of us regardless. All the planets, up to and including Saturn, serve the development of the individual ego, best symbolised by the Sun itself; in fact, we might even say that the personal planets "serve" the Sun as the centre of individuality. But Chiron lies at the interface between Saturn and the outer planets, and therefore mediates collective issues which impinge on and wound the individual. By its nature, Chiron's collective implications signify something collectively "unhealable", because the wound exists in the collective and is ancestral. By its nature, the Sun reflects each individual's sense of purpose and meaning in life, and these are intimately bound up with the will to live and to become oneself. Each of these planets needs the other; but if the balance tips too far to one or the other, certain psychological difficulties may ensue.