The stories and legends that make up Greek mythology speak to us about the human soul: its fears, desires, struggles, and passions. The emotions they express are relevant to all of us because they flow through our system; hence their importance and interest to psychology.
Chiron, the wise centaur: How his story helps Psychologists and Psychotherapists to be better
In Greek mythology, there is a character who is particularly relevant to psychologists, psychotherapists, doctors, and other professionals dedicated to restoring physical or emotional health.
This is Chiron, the wise centaur, who reminds us of the importance of being generous in this noble profession and at the same time, knowing when to ask for help, as this is part of the essence of human beings.
Chiron, whose name in Greek is Χείρων, shows us human vulnerability. This wounded healer and his relationship with wisdom, as well as the teaching of the arts of medicine and psychology, are especially relevant to those who dedicate themselves to these professions.
The Legend of Chiron, the Disciple of Apollo Who Inspired Achilles and Aeneas on Their Path to Spiritual Healing
The story goes that, although the gods are revered and dwell in Olympus, they also have sufferings that they cannot control or cure. This makes them close to us, the common human beings who populate the earth and who one day arrived without much explanation.
According to legend, the god Cronus fell deeply in love with Philyra, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Faced with Cronus’ obsessive harassment, the nymph asked Zeus to turn her into a mare to dissuade his intentions. However, Cronus noticed Philyra’s action and turned himself into a horse to possess her.
From this union, Chiron was born, who was half-man and half-horse.
Philyra is known for giving birth to Chiron after a torturous delivery. However, upon seeing the fruit of her womb, she asked Zeus to turn her into a linden tree so she wouldn’t have to nurse the child and later abandoned him.
Chiron, on the other hand, grew up under the protection of his adoptive father Apollo and in the shadow of his mother’s tree.
Endowed with kindness and wisdom, he showed great interest in poetry, writing, and above all, healing sciences, such as medicine and its remedies, offering relief to the sick and spiritual strengthening to the dying.
Over time, many became disciples and friends of Chiron, including Achilles, Aeneas, and Asclepius, who sought his advice and followed his example.
The Wisdom of Pain: The Story of Chiron, the Wounded Healer in Greek Mythology
One day, Chiron was accidentally injured by an arrow poisoned with the blood of the Hydra, which was shot by his friend Heracles (known as Hercules) during a fight with other centaurs. The wound affected one of the legs of his two-formed body and left him gravely injured.
To this suffering was added the pain of having been abandoned by his own mother. Despite this, Chiron decided to open up to others in search of the relief necessary for his ailments.
Chiron acquired wisdom and knowledge by experiencing pain and suffering, which allowed him to accept and heal both the wounds of his body and those of his soul. His closeness to the pain of others gave him the ability to be a wounded healer, capable of healing the wounds of others, even though he couldn’t heal his own.
Despite being immortal, Chiron condemned himself to eternal pain. However, instead of becoming bitter or directing his anger towards others, he used his pain as a source of learning and wisdom. Thus, he became the greatest healer in Greek mythology.
The constellation of Sagittarius: Zeus’ tribute to the sacrifice of Chiron
During his quest Hercules found Prometheus, the Titan who had given fire to men and had been punished by Zeus chained to a rock in the Caucasus.
Every day, an eagle would eat his liver, which would then grow back, condemning him to never-ending pain. Hercules took pity on Prometheus and decided to help him, freeing him from his punishment.
But Hercules was not the only one who showed a great act of love and sacrifice. Chiron, upon seeing his friend suffer, decided to take Prometheus’ place in his punishment. As a result, Chiron died freeing both Prometheus and himself from suffering.
In recognition of Chiron’s act of love and sacrifice, Zeus placed him in the sky as the constellation of Sagittarius, although some sources also identify him as the constellation of Centaurus.
This story reminds us that even in the darkest moments, love and compassion can prevail, and that sometimes what seems like a tragedy can be a gift in the end.
Moreover, it shows that we are not 100% self-sufficient and that sometimes we need to turn to those close to us to find the healing and support we need. Ultimately, everyone has something to offer, and we can all learn from each other.
The etymological origin of operating rooms in the myth of Chiron
The word “operating room”, the place where surgeries are performed, has its roots in the name of Chiron, the centaur of Greek mythology who was known for his ability as a healer and physician.
Chiron is an archetype of the wounded healer, someone who has the capacity to heal others’ pain despite their own suffering. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, studied this myth and used it to explain the concept of the psychologist as both patient and healer. Jung also drew upon Chinese philosophical theories of Yin and Yang, which explain the polarity present in our psyche.
There is a bright side and a dark side that struggle for dominance, but only through their integration can we attain inner peace and wisdom.
From March 9 to March 15, 2023, Jupiter, the planet of expansion and abundance, will join with Chiron, the wounded healer asteroid. This rare and powerful event will unlock a portal to receive potent healing energy in the deepest corners of our mind, body, and soul… read more»