Cycles and returns

I had the very great privilege to attend the closing Chiron Centre Conference a couple of weekends ago. Chiron Centre? What the?

Trust me. It’s special. This is why.

Among the very many things I’ve studied in my life, one of the more left field subjects is astrology. Not the ‘should I get out of bed today?’ daily stars kind, but a much deeper system based on human psychology and development. Are you smirking? ‘Course you are.

Plenty of people, including my beloved, have mocked astrology as an unworthy subject. As I also hold a science degree, a lot of people see it as a contradiction within me, fancy against logic.

But the astrology I learned isn’t the astrology most people are familiar with. It isn’t about predicting the future (that would be arrogant) or investing invisible power in lumps of rock circling the sun (they are indeed just lumps of rock). The brand of astrology I was privileged to learn was based on the ideas of the eminent forefathers of modern psychology (Jung, Freud etc) and I was taught by people who are qualified therapists (yes, with ‘acceptable’ mainstream qualifications).

In 2000 I proudly graduated with my Diploma of Psychological Astrology after completing AstroSynthesis at The Chiron Centre. The Centre was established by Glennys Lawton and Brian Clarke in the late 1980’s. These two amazing people inspired their students to evolve and realise their potential through their study. They fostered altruism in their pupils, along with a tolerance and a deep symbolic understanding of the life cycles and transitions all of us experience in our lives.

This year is a big year for me astrologically – the Chiron return. It’s been about ten years since I practised astrology, but when I saw the Chiron Centre was closing a spark of knowing told me I had to join in its final celebration. I felt like I was being called home.

In the opening session I listened to Elders of the craft speak with eloquence and humour about the mythology of Chiron, what it meant to them, the impact it had on their lives, how they understood it astrologically. A few days before I’d had a consultation with Brian surrounded by piles of out-of-print astrology and mythology books. Those books had been in Brian’s office for as long as I could remember. They bore silent witness to the many consultations I’d shared with Brian and Glennys over the years. The books now lay on tables with white price tags, waiting for a new owner to love them. I wandered past them, touching their covers, feeling something uncertain and new.

The thing about AstroSynthesis and the Chiron Centre, was that it was more than a course, more than a place. Stuff happened there. Synchronous stuff, weird and funny and coincidental stuff. The magic of the Centre seemed to travel with its students, spilling out into their lives. It was a place where honesty was valued, where dysfunction was acknowledged and given an opportunity to heal. Touching the covers of those sentient books was like waving farewell to very old friends.

I was surprised how emotional I felt. I thought I’d long left the Chiron Centre and all that had happened there behind. But as I dwelled on the strange feelings of loss I realised the Chiron Centre was the place where I grew up. When I started there I was a confused, somewhat delusional twenty-something. By the time I left I had evolved into someone more certain of herself, more resilient, certainly more tolerant and understanding.

Hangin' with my Elders - Brian Clarke & Glennys Lawton
Hangin' with my Elders - Brian and Glennys xx

I felt like my childhood home was being packed up and my parents were moving away. I realised Glennys and Brian were like the God-Parents I never had. Twenty years my senior, for the past 20 years they have provided me gentle, good-natured, honest guidance through some of the toughest transitions in my life.

And here I am, facing yet another big life transition and I am losing them and the safe, accepting space they provided. I drew great comfort just from knowing they were there. Now they are not. Now I embark on a different return, to look for that sense of home within, after the journeying through it without.

So many odd little affirming things happened over those three days. A long series of ‘oh wow’ moments that made me remember there is more to life than the long list of every-day tasks I face each day. Life is a cycle. It contains many cycles within it. Each is a burst toward life, growth to fullness, waning and finally death, before it all begins again. I have learned that life, and emotional and spiritual growth, has its own rhythms and timing. All our forcing and pushing and controlling won’t make an iota of difference as to when something is ready to be healed, heard, said, felt, written, or released.

For all things there is a season...

As I close the door on that chapter of my life I am reminded anew of what I learned there: connection is everywhere - in everything. All we need is to be open and aware enough to notice it.


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