You zodiac sign is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your astrological makeup, and if you've rarely resonated with your sun sign, it's likely because this makes up only a small portion of your personality. Rather, your entire birth chart — the position of the planets at the time and location at which you were born — offers you a more holistic astrological self-appraisal. If you've ever looked up your birth chart, you'll recognize the more obvious zodiac placements, like your rising sign, moon sign, or Venus sign. But knowing lesser-known birth-chart aspects, like Chiron (denoted by a key symbol), adds nuance to your astrological profile that sometimes helps everything else just click.
"When looking at a birth chart, someone's Chiron placement will always stick out to me, because in addition to representing our childhood wound, [Chiron is] our greatest superpower," Miami-based clairvoyant astrologer Valerie Mesa tells POPSUGAR. "My favorite thing to point out about Chiron is the fact that its symbol looks just like a key, and that key is precisely what unlocks our greatest potential in due time."
What Is Chiron?
Originally dubbed an asteroid when it was first discovered in 1977, Chiron is now classified as a minor planet and a comet, according to Britannica, and its orbit runs between structure-hungry Saturn and chaotic Uranus if that gives you any indication of its overall vibe. It was named after the centaur Chiron in Greek mythology, who was not like other centaurs in the sense that Chiron is said to have been more educated and wiser than his fellow centaurs. Additionally, while other centaurs possessed the upper body of a human and a horse's lower body, Chiron's front legs were human.
What Does Chiron Mean in Astrology?
In astrology, Chiron is typically known as the "wounded healer," a nod to Chiron's history as a teacher, his knowledge of medicine, and his inability to heal himself after being struck with a poisonous arrow — an event that resulted in a long period of pain and, eventually, in his tragic, albeit noble, death. Deeply personal and complex, your Chiron sign mirrors these themes of chronic pain. It's essentially the area of life in which you're wounded and vulnerable, representative of a lifelong burden you carry.
"This [also] showcases humility and strength in character, similar to the way we, as humans, go through life carrying our own pain and burdens, despite how outgoing and approachable we seem to the rest of the world," Mesa says.
Of course, wounds are just one part of what this minor planet represents; Chiron was a healer, too. Knowing this, Chiron also signals the areas in which you have the most opportunity to help others grow through what you've learned and endured. But reaching that point isn't easy and often requires years of reflection and individual growth. "Depending on the energy or aspects surrounding your natal Chiron placement, it's only when we actually rise above our pain or feelings of inadequacy that we can reap the benefits of this strange comet," Mesa says.
What Is a Chiron Return and When Does It Happen?
Similar to a Saturn return or other planetary returns, individuals also experience a Chiron return when the comet finishes a revolution through the zodiac signs and returns to the sign it was in when you were born. A full Chiron revolution takes around 50 years — right around the time of the proverbial "midlife crisis" — bringing about a "spiritual rebirth" that can be even more challenging than a Saturn return, according to Mesa.
"It's almost like you have no choice but to return back home to yourself and take care of business, so to speak. Imagine traveling for years and years and suddenly returning back home to an empty house you barely recognize," she says. "[A Chiron return is] definitely not as tragic, but that lack of familiarity is what propels us to dig deeper and become reacquainted with our higher self . . . It's a period of intense healing, but it also requires some sort of surrender in the process."
What Is My Chiron Sign and What Does It Mean For Me?
Outside of visiting a professional astrologer who's able to read your birth chart in full, the easiest way to find your Chiron sign is to use an online Chiron-sign calculator. You'll need to know your date, location, and time of birth to get the most accurate assessment, which will usually tell you the zodiac sign, degree, and astrological house Chiron falls in for you.
As you learn your Chiron sign, it's important to remember that this aspect of your chart is deeply personal, and decoding how it applies to you specifically will require some introspection on your own life experiences. Generally, each zodiac sign's overarching characteristics will give you an indication of how your deeper wounds might manifest — most often by embodying too much or too little of those characteristics. Mesa uses Aries — bold, impulsive, independent — as an example. "There's a need to reflect on one's reasoning behind the fear of being a leader or the unconscious tendency to dismiss others' opinions entirely," she says of Chiron in Aries.
Below, Mesa offers her insight as to the possible wounds or difficulties each Chiron sign might experience throughout their life and, in turn, how each could possibly transform their experiences into healing and growth for others.
Aries (March 21-April 19)
For Aries, your Chiron wound may revolve around your sense of "autonomy" and the expression of your "individual identity," whereas your healing capabilities can allow you to "see the strength in others" and act as their guide as they learn to embrace their own power.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Taureans can feel the pain of Chiron in situations surrounding their "self-worth and their sense of security." However, this lends itself to a keen ability to see good and value where others might not.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Chiron in Gemini can involve vulnerabilities or hardships involving "communication, siblings, or versatility." But given Geminis' quick-witted nature, their healing powers speak to their gifts with words and their ability to "recognize infinite perspectives."
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Chiron in Cancer indicates pain surrounding emotional foundations and expressions — in "feeling safe." Once confronted, however, this experience can allow Cancers to deeply understand the "unspoken emotions in others" and provide supremely nurturing environments.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
For a Chiron in Leo, themes like creativity, authenticity, and happiness may be the source of great struggle. But beyond this, a Leo's unadulterated joy and encouragement can offer others much happiness and healing in return.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Naturally, Chiron in hyperfocused, detail-oriented Virgo can mean deep-rooted struggles with overworking or harping too much or too little on life's minutiae. That said, your superpower with Chiron in Virgo lies in your resourcefulness and your "ability to serve."
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
For Libra, Chiron could signal pain surrounding injustices, imbalances, or a fixation (or lack thereof) on maintaining harmony. However, this focus on balance makes someone with Chiron in Libra a "powerful mediator rooting for the underdog."
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
With Chiron in dark, intense Scorpio comes pain surrounding your deep-rooted fears, along with a "fear of intimacy and a lack of trust." On the flip side, confronting this lifelong struggle gives you a unique gift to sense what lies "beneath the surface."
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Chiron in Sagittarius can spell trouble with "fear of the unknown" or with feelings of pessimism. Your superpower with this placement, however, involves your forward-thinking mindset — the ability to be a "brilliant truth-seeker with unique philosophies."
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
In Capricorn, Chiron may have to do with a "lack of nurture" or "extreme reservations" that hold you back in life. But your unique ability to heal can have much to do with perseverance and instilling your drive in others.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
With Chiron in Aquarius, you may be prone to hardships or wounds surrounding feeling unsupported or disregarded, as if you lack community. Your magic, understandably, lies in your unrelenting originality and independence and your refreshingly unique mind.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
When your Chiron is in dreamy Pisces, your deepest wounds may revolve around feelings of "disillusionment or hypersensitivity"; you may experience much difficulty with setting boundaries. The healing on the other side of these wounds, however, is overflowing creativity and compassion for others, and even "deeply psychic" abilities.