The archetype of the wounded healer is one that we must eventually confront if we intend to be authentic healers. Chiron, the ruler of Virgo, is the prototype of the wounded healer. Chiron was a priest from the tribe of Centaurs, mythological half-human and half-horse creatures. The Centaurs were wild, untamed, and dangerous yet Chiron was held apart as a brilliant scholar, teacher, and healer. He took a poisoned arrow to his thigh and although he was able to heal the wounds of all others he was never able to heal his own. Because of this failure he gave up his immortality and became a constellation of stars who continues to guide others to their own healing. Astrologically the asteroid Chiron shows us where we are wounded and how to heal those wounds through service. Anyone who is heavily aspected in Virgo, has Chiron and/or the north Node placed in Virgo, or has significant planets or aspects in the sixth house must confront his wounded healer as part of the life path. All those who are drawn to a healer’s path must do the same. Truly anyone who dares step into the labyrinth to heal himself must ultimately find peace with Chiron.
The wounded healer shows up in many ways. The shadow of Chiron is someone who wishes to fix everyone else while blind to her own flaws and inconsistencies. Someone who judges others while refusing to make healing changes in his own life is working the shadow side of this archetype. In therapist relationships the unaware wounded healer may alternately see himself as completely healthy and the guest as diseased or only sees her own disease thereby losing perspective on the guest’s needs. The wounded healer may feel her pain deeply reflected in the pain of her guests, which blurs the boundaries and triggers her to act out her own unresolved wounds. Oftentimes the unaware wounded healer seems extremely benevolent but is busily absorbing the fears of his guests rather than allowing them to make their own changes and truly heal. This creates not only a karmic imbalance but also a saturated healer who ultimately loses track of where he ends and his guests begin. It is in these ways that unhealthy healer/guest attachments begin, healers end up taking on the illnesses of their guests, boundaries are breached, and energetic binds are formed. Another danger of the unaware wounded healer archetype playing out is the healer who is so consumed with her guests’ problems that she ignores or minimizes her own. She may dream of feeling healthy and well but delays her self-care because someone else “needs” her. This may make her feel somehow important and worthy but it ultimately leads to a depleted and sick individual. Perhaps one of the most dangerous manifestations of the wounded healer archetype is when the healer feels ultimately responsible for the health and well being of his guests. This is too great a burden for anyone to bear and it is not karmically responsible. We are here to learn to be authentic and whole human beings, not to suffer for others. We have enough to explore and heal in our own lives! When we presume to take on the sufferings of others we ill-will them to be weaker, smaller, and inadequate. This suffering on the behalf of others, which on the surface may seem noble, is ultimately cruel and demeaning. Our job is to show people how strong and brilliant they are through our own honest example. It is our job to be relentless in our own authenticity and to encourage others to do the same. In this way we join Chiron in the Stars as beacons shining our brilliant lights.