THE CENTAURS AND PASSION, by Juan Antonio Revilla

(Homepage: The Astrology of the Centaurs)

It is thanks to passion, in whatever form, that we feel alive. But if passion lasts too long we die, so that we capitulate before "culture" or "reality" to survive. The same with revolution: it ends soon because that is its nature. We will be renewed, history will change and we will be free... for a while. It always dies.

Such is the nature of the Centaurs. They represent raw impulses and needs in man that clash with the normal order of things, as if they were all "sick". They will appear coming from the opposite side of the Sun, from the "otherness" of our lives, making us face a lost part of ourselves, so that the experience becomes both intense and healing, making us more whole. However, it also makes us very fragile and vulnerable, so that it is the cure and its opposite at the same time.

Unlike the main-belt asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, the centaurs are "different". These strangers behave "wildly"; they have a tendency to approach the Sun "vertically", like comets. And they come from afar. They belong to our Solar System but come from the opposite direction of the Sun like fragments that have never been integrated and therefore are very unstable.

That's why I think the Centaurs share the themes of wound-poison-death, because they represent all the things that we have a very hard time integrating in our lives, such as lust and pain, that bring us agony. In this respect they are very different from the main-belt asteroids, which are much more civilized. Obviously, the Centaurs are not, and the price for that type of behavior is fragmentation, marginality and death. No wonder Pluto is their king.

The poison and the agonizing wound is present in the story of the three named Centaurs. Think about it... it reminds me of Parsifal, and the wound of Amfortas, that paradigmatic story of the human soul and the wound that never heals... The poison of death, the agony, the pain and the lust... yes! The lust of the Centaur! Like Tristan and Isolde and the potion of love-death.

Passion, collective or individual, is the bullet-like cathartic quality of this type of eccentric and highly inclined orbits of which Pluto is the King. Passion takes us out of history only to make history, out of our regular lives into a vortex that cracks our feelings in order to renew them. Passion brings death so that new life can be. This is Pluto, and this is how it is related to the bullet-type centaur orbits. Lust and passion are like two poles of the same thing. They need redeeming; they need love. Yes! But they move the world...

We shouldn't forget planetary hierarchy. It is not the nature of the Centaurs to give us integrity. That's for the Sun. What they do is catalysis and purging, touching and releasing, putting in motion our cluttered vitality. They are bringers of our fragmented truths floating around us like jetsam. They will move us inside but without direction. They will confront us with our own unbalances and cultural conditionings.

Think, for example, in some of the "hospitable" characteristics of Chiron, like fostering and therapeutics, Chiron being, I feel, more well behaved than the other Centaurs (a fact shown in its orbit of relatively low inclination and eccentricity compared to some of his kin). There is something incomplete, something abnormal, there is a lack, an imbalance, there is pain, a striving for something that's missing. There is absence of the real parent, for example, absence of the real child... or I am sick, abandoned, in need of medicine or a vaccine to help me regain my ability to be normal, to be human, to be whole...

So it is that after a while we surrender to be relieved from the pain, because we are all Centaurs. The wound is inherent to the human condition, exquisitely represented in the hospitable and tragic figure of Chiron. We all share in our unredeemed duality between passion and culture, and, as Chiron did, we all pay our prize.

The centaurs are like "Pluto octaves", dynamically and physically, only smaller and closer to us. They are indeed cometary visitors in our lives, full of magic power, like comets, and maybe like shamans are today figures of forgotten times and lands, "psychopomps", that catalyze our soul life. Astronomically, they cross the realm of the giant planets, traveling among them. Their orbits are chaotic, unstable, "in pain". They are objects from afar running amok in a realm which is not theirs, coming to the Sun at right angles instead of circling it, and, unlike the other planets, they will die soon. This is the price they for their their freedom.

Imagine their orbits: they are very elongated, coming "squarely at us" and moving very fast, as they approach their closest distance to the Sun... even --at least in Chiron's case-- displaying a coma, an "aura" of "numinosity", and then begin to go away from us almost to disappear in very slow motion. This type of movement is a catalyzer, it "hits", opens, awakens, and, like the arrows of Hercules, inflicts pain, even to the point of desolation and death.

There are many other cometary orbit crossers, traveling in the near-Earth region. The centaurs, however, are "distant", acting in the realms of Saturn-Pluto, and this seems to be the reason for their more encompassing action, when compared with the ones closer to us. They put us in contact with what is beyond our reach, like death, pain or lust, like wild nature and alien creatures.

They come, touch, and go, like messengers from another world. I would never forget that there is nothing "light" about the Centaurs motion. They are really slow, more profound, coming from darker areas of our lives. Such as our wounds. They are deep. But I am not saying everything is bleak... only that they are not comparable with the larger planets. Chiron was wise and hospitable, but he was still a Centaur, and this ultimately was his wound. We all are crippled in one way or another, like Chiron.

When something touches a primal wound, everything becomes very intense. We undergo "our passion", we make contact with what is raw in us... I have always felt that this is very plutonian... well, yes, it is. But maybe it is the Centaurs role, wounded and crippled, to bring this tremendous plutonian power to us, to make it human, to make us laugh. We would be all dead and frozen in Pluto's world.

When two people meet in spiritual intimacy, an impregnation occurs. This can be illustrated if I encounter an angel, or if I go and live in the world of dolphins for a while. It is dangerous, but I feel a fire inside that tells me to go for it. It is a "visitation" which is experienced with great intensity, as if without time, but this timelessness and intensity cannot last. That's how we humans are. But the fruits of the impregnation will stay with us forever.

This is why the centaurs can relieve us from our pain and heal, not in the way of the doctor, but in the way of the shaman.

Sounds grim, but I realize it is thanks to them that there is freedom. Thanks to them I will never become stagnant, I will never stop wondering. I will always be alive because I will never be the same once they have touched me with the healing power of their mortal wound!

San Jose, Costa Rica, February 5, 1999.