The Wounded Healer





Although centaurs are usually dismissed as raucous barbarians, Chiron is the exception to the rule: a brilliant, civilized culture hero. Chiron has always been considered different from the other centaurs. In ancient times, debate raged as to whether centaurs were spirits or transformed/possessed humans like werewolves. Chiron is always considered an immortal. His origins are divine: Kronos in the form of a stallion had sex with Philyra, an Oceanid. Chiron is the result of their union and thus half brother of Zeus and the other Olympians. Chiron is renowned as the tutor and foster-father of heroes including Achilles, Jason, and Heracles.

Chiron lives in a cave on Mount Pelion in Thessaly. Mount Pelion is called “Philyra’s Bridal Chamber” and may be the site of his conception, too. He’s not a solitary spirit; his whole family lives together and may be venerated together,too. Permanent residents of Chiron’s cave include Philyra, his mother, and Chariklo, his wife. His many daughters come and go, as do the heroes he tutors. Jason was raised in the cave; Achilles was nursed here. Chiron’s daughter, Endaïs, may be the mother of Peleus, Achilles’ father, which makes Chiron his grandfather as well as his tutor. Chiron gave Heracles music lessons, suffering a head injury when Heracles hit him with a lyre; nothing compared to what he would do to him later.

During his fourth labor, Heracles stopped to party with the centaurs. Very drunk, he accidentally wounded Chiron, his old friend, with a poisoned arrow. As an immortal, Chiron didn’t and couldn’t die hut suffered excruciating agony. To relieve him, Zeus placed him in the heavens as the constellation Sagittarius. Chiron is the archetypal wounded healer who heals everyone hut is unable to help himself.

Chiron is a musician, healer, herbalist, prophet, and sorcerer. He restores eyesight to the blind and reputedly never lifts his hand in anger. There is little he doesn’t know. He is generous with his knowledge and an excellent teacher.


An old man with a white beard and the hindquarters of a pony


Chiron, officially discovered in 1977, is a mysterious space object, a dual asteroid/ comet, sometimes also classified as a planetoid.


Achilles; Asklepios; Chariklo; Heracles; Kallikantzari; Kronos; Oceanid; Olympian Spirits; Silenus; Zeus


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.