MYTHIC THEMES CLUSTERED AROUND
The Greek series, "Mythic Themes Clustered
Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Centaurs, Demeter & Persephone,
Hecate & Other "Dark" Goddesses, Icarus, Medusa & Pegasus, Pan
[others are forthcoming]
The Centaur in Greek art
[Source unknown -- possibly from the Perseus Project but I can no longer find it there]
From the academically impeccable Perseus Project at Tufts University comes this rich page with access to translations of Classical texts relating to centaurs. There are also pages of art, including 3+ pages of gorgeous Greek vases featuring centaurs. (Note: scroll down past the opening general "header" info.)http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/CENTAURS.html
This is Carlos Parada's scholarly, detailed page on centaurs with extensive hypertext to Classical sources. There are two wonderful illustrations of centaurs on this page (also on the linked Cheiron page and probably on many others as well -- I didn't have time to check further).http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/legend.htm
From "Cheiron" (see below for his page on "Cheiron the Wise") comes an attractive page entitled "Legend of the Centaurs," a good overview of material on centaurs as a group. The opening illustration is of an archaic Greek-period centaur -- it's well worth a look. Here is one version of the origins of centaurs:http://www.eliki.com/ancient/myth/centaur/...sinful Ixion [a primal king who murdered his father-in-law] fell in love with Hera, Zeus' wife and mother of the gods, and tried to approach her. Zeus made a being out of a cloud, Nephele, who looked exactly like Hera, and with this Nephele, the rain cloud, Ixion fathered Centauros, the first Centaur. Of course, this legend is currupted. In classical times it was unbelieveable that Hera, the goddess of matrimony, had sexual intercourse with anyone else than Zeus, but originally Hera and Nephele are the same person, the goddess of fertility and growth which rain is needed for....Note: all the pages on this site are well illustrated and intriguing. Unfortunately, the links are all broken. After sending many fruitless e-mails that got bounced back to me, and then experimenting with URLs, I finally "decoded" the broken links and offer the updates below. Sources aren't noted for the data on these pages, yet for non-specialist use, all are worthwhile.
Home page: http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/
"Cheiron the Wise" [see annotation below]: http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/cheiron.htm
"Centaurs of the North"[mostly Celtic but also Teutonic data]: http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/centnorth.htm
"Centaurs from Outer Space" [see annotation below]: http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/space.htm
Centaur Links: http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/centlink.htm
"European Horse Deities" [excellent range!]: http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/gods.htm
"The Magic of the Horse" [including sections on "The Real Horse Whisperers" and "The Magic of the Horse-shoe"]: http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/magic.htm
"The Icelandic Horse" [fascinating history]: http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/toelt.htm
Centaur Resources: http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/resource.htm
This page briefly surveys possible tribal origin-points for centaur mythology. The page also looks at two Greek myths concerning these origins: in one, Cheiron was the first of his race. Like the preceding site, the other version refers to their cloud-born nature, adding that --http://www.cc.gatech.edu/aimosaic/students/centaur/compendium/history.html...[From Hera's cloud-image] a monster, Centaurus, was born of this strange union, and when grown to maturity, he united with the mares of Mount Pelion and produced the race of centaurs....The page has several good illustrations (unfortunately not clickable, nor are sources provided for those who might like to see a larger version).
This is the "Centaur Compendium" by Anthony G. Francis, Jr., a Ph.D. candidate in Artificial Intelligence at the College of Computing of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Although unreferenced and far too brief, this is still an intriguing little page (it even provides a sketch of what a centaur's skeleton might have looked like). What I like best is the list of contemporary books in which centaurs play an important role. These range from works by C.S. Lewis to Anthony Francis himself, who adds wryly:http://www.travel-italy.com/ct/centaurs.html...(as yet unpublished, gripe, gripe)....
From "Classical Trivia: a Humorous Look at Roman & Greek Mythology" comes Victor Estevez' look at the birth of centaurs. The tone is light-hearted and I especially enjoyed his breezy re-telling of how centaurs came to be born from a cloud.
This is an odd, fascinating little page, "The Centaur of Vollos," part serious, part tongue-in-cheek, from Dr. Neil Greenberg, chair of the department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where a "centaur" has been reconstructed for display in the university library.http://www.bio.utk.edu/unistudy.nsf/ed40209576f6c3198525667a00778ed9/ed0c9a8950faea6f852566cf00640b65?OpenDocument
The site offers good material on centaur mythology, links to ancient texts, scholarly speculation, and much more.
Don't miss the link to Katherine Neville's Magic Circle about the North African mosaic (above) depicting two female centaurs (if you scroll up her page, there's eerie data on Nurnberg, the Norns and the nexus of 3 major European leylines: Grail, Siegfried & Fate lines).
Hypertext for "Hoax" will take you to Greenberg's fine essay, "Zoological Hoaxes as Catalysts for Critical Inquiry." Another hypertext link goes to a chatty, appealing essay by Art professor, Beauvais Lyons, who considers the role of hoaxes, fiction, and art in higher education. In visiting this site, just follow all the hypertext and allow yourself time to browse! (Note:a direct link to A. Mayor's piece is annotated below...)
This is wonderful lore and science -- "Relict Centaurs In The Roman Empire" by Adrienne Mayor. The essay is excerpted from her superb The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times (Princeton University Press, 2000). Here is her opening:With expanding exploration in the Roman era, information about exotic lands and incredible animals was eagerly consumed in Rome. Not only was evidence piling up that giants and strange monsters had once populated the entire earth, but new zoological discoveries held out the possibility that some creatures of the mythic era, such as Centaurs, might have escaped prehistoric destruction to roam unexplored landscapes....
CHEIRON, THE WOUNDED HEALER
Again from the remarkable Perseus Project at Tufts University comes this rich page full of Classical texts relating to Chiron (also spelled Cheiron). (Note: scroll down past the opening general "header" info.)http://www.psych.yorku.ca/orgs/cheiron/myth.htm
This is "The Myth of Cheiron," a brief entry-level page with useful hypertext if you only want a quick survey. There are also three links to excellent Cheiron-focused art, both ancient and more recent.http://www.largocanyon.org/pi/chiron/chiron.htm
Now we come to my favorite site on Cheiron -- a real gem by Patricia Barlow-Irick, a doctoral student in biology at the University of New Mexico. It opens briefly with a survey of astronomical data relating to "Chiron" the comet/planetoid/whatever (no one really knows as the "body" doesn't fit standard definitions). Then it moves into a wonderful interweaving of myth and astrology, including references as well as a long section based on astrologer Dale O'Brien's work. It's a beautifully written and deeply insightful re-telling of the myth. Here, for example, is a passage on Cheiron's relationships with his students:http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/cheiron.htm...These young heroes might arrive as premature infants, babes in arms, children or teenagers. Chiron and his wife provided them with a nurturing home environment.Barlow looks at the famous "wounded healer" theme with refreshing common sense:
The Heroes had individualized instruction according to their needs. It probably wasn't an outward-bound group camping experience, but rather a one-on-one intensive program. We can see this archetypal relationship between the master and the young man in the film portrayal of Luke Skywalker and Yoda. The character of Yoda was explicitly modeled by the film makers to match the myth of Chiron, in being a very odd looking creature with the patience and wisdom to train young heroes. From Chiron the young men may have learned the practical skills of hunting, wilderness survival, herbology, and celestial navigation. They undoubtedly had studies in math and music....Cheiron may have used astrology to determine the potentials of each of these young men, for they often exceeded his level of expertise and became the best and brightest in their field of interest. Asclepias surpassed mere healing, and learned to cure death. Orpheus became such a virtuoso that his music allowed him to enchant the guardians of the underworld, and bring his wife back from the dead. This career as teacher and mentor seems to have lasted thousands of years, and he might be still out there living a Yoda-like existence were it not for a set of unfortunate circumstances.......This wounded healer archetype has been the primary Chironic image in the minds of many astrologers, but Dale [O'Brien] suggests that it has been overblown, especially what he calls "the whiny wounded healer", an image which diminishes the value of recognition and development of inherent potentials of each life and focuses on self-pity. Dale suggests that the Wounded Healer archetype would probably be most applicable to interpretation of Chiron in Cancer, but elsewhere it is of limited value. The reductionistic practice of only looking at one's Chiron placement to determine in what area of life one is "wounded" should be avoided as there is a much larger and more complex story to be revealed by this planetoid....Don't miss this one if you're at all interested in Cheiron. By the way, she has another page about attending a Cheiron conference in Greece -- it's very personal, shifting between ancient Greece and Native Americans, but I found it moving, sensible, wise: http://www.largocanyon.org/pi/essays/expo4.htm: [3/17/02: updated link]
From a horse-lover who takes the name "Cheiron" comes a handsome page about his namesake called "Cheiron the Wise." It's a nice overview with a lovely opening image of Cheiron and Orpheus (the essay lists more of Cheiron's young students than I've seen elsewhere, although other sites go into more detail on some of these heroes). At the bottom are links to more of his pages -- the ones on centaurs in legend and outer space I've annotated elsewhere on this page; those on magic horses, horse deities, and Celtic and Teutonic "centaurs" will eventually find their way to some of my other pages: all are intriguing (note: under "Centaur Resources" you can even listen to 2 medieval-style pieces of music on horses).http://www.thezodiac.com/chiron2.htm
This is a completely unscholarly (yet hip & appealing) retelling of Chiron's life and double woundings, once in infancy when his mother abandoned him in disgust, and later in adulthood when Hercules injured him.http://www.bio.utk.edu/unistudy.nsf/ed40209576f6c3198525667a00778ed9/dad79f2e495f4662852567450053b8a5?OpenDocument
This is "Cheiron, the Wounded Healer," another page from Dr. Neil Greenberg at the University of Tennessee. It includes Chironic mythic data but what I especially like is that the "wounded healer" theme is put into the context of the work of C.G. Jung and Henri Nouwen. There are also excellent off-site links to journals and other resources.http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/7969/page7_e.htm
From Zane Stein comes a sensitively annotated page of links on Chiron, Chironic healing, the Wounded Healer, grief-work, and healing itself.
From astrologer Laura Laurance at Earthlore comes a beautifully illustrated page on Sagittarius. In addition to the usual astrological data, she includes relevant mythology:http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/7969/chiron.htm...In a tragic irony, Chiron was wounded with a poisoned arrow by his student and friend, Hercules. Being immortal, the centaur's agony was unbearable. Chiron forsook his immortality, and gave the mantle to Prometheus. Zeus set Chiron's image in the night sky to honor the memory of this noble teacher. To this day we recognize his form as the constellation of Sagittarius....
From Zane B. Stein comes "Chiron and Friends" (the opening page has a fabulous animation of the centaur Chiron opening a door filled with rainbow light). In addition to astrology, Stein focuses on the astronomical role of Chiron (considered both a minor planet and a comet):http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/7969/chironreturn.htmChiron is a major key to understanding, not only our solar system (in astronomy), but healing and wholemaking (in astrology.) It was discovered in 1977, and was so different from anything else ever found that a whole new category had to be invented for it. When Chiron was discovered to have company, in the early 1990's, this new category was given a name: The Centaurs. And these other bodies, too, are proving of major significance....The implications of the astrological data is also fascinating (under "Stuff to Order" Stein has a wide-range of materials if you're curious about where Chiron lies in your chart, what this means in terms of your relationships, etc. etc).
....Chiron spends most of its orbit between Saturn and Uranus, and astrologically is the bridge or link between those two bodies....
Also from Zane Stein is "The Chiron Return," an engrossing and tantalizing book-excerpt. Astrologically, the Chiron Return happens to each of us at about age fifty, shortly ahead of the second Saturn Return, and it involves kindred issues:http://htdig.nextra.at/0A/0A/12/fristei/space.htm...At birth, ones parents, and everyone else in the world, are worrying over some types of problems that relate directly to whatever sign Chiron transits. The obstacles they are trying to overcome are major issues, and pre-occupy much of the parents’ minds....I don't yet know where Chiron was when I was born but I'm certainly going to find out! <smile>
Of course each family is different, so the individual problems a family faces will take on different aspects of Chiron’s sign. For example, when the poor family was trying to stay alive during the Depression, Chiron in the sign Taurus brought out the Taurus survival instinct. But for a family that was wealthy at that time, entirely different Taurus issues had to be faced.
The common denominator of the Chiron sign, however, is the parents’ pre-occupation. What happens is that the child’s mind becomes imprinted with the importance of these particular problems. The child does not realize that s/he will have to face other problems later, which may be of equal or greater importance. Since More and Dad are so tense about what is going on at the time of the birth---the child becomes imprinted with the concept that solving these problems is 'priority one’....
This is "Centaurs from Outer Space" by "Cheiron." Here is his lucid opening:http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/7969/phil.htmIn astronomy and astrology, there are three different phenomena related to the Centaur: The two constellations of Centaurus and Sagittarius, the archer whose legend refers to the Centaurs, and a small planetoid which has been discovered in 1977 and given the name of Cheiron the wise Centaur. Chiron the planetoid was the first known of a special kind of astronomical objects of dual asteroid and comet nature called the Centaur objects....I never understood until I read this passage why a new class of "bodies" are called "centaurs" by astronomers -- it's because they have a dual nature, just as the half-horse, half-human centaurs do. The rest of the essay is also well done, touching on astronomy as well as myth. Note: this is the only site I've found so far that recognizes that there's another candidate for the role of Sagittarius: Krotos, the son of Pan and Eupheme --- Eupheme was the Muses' nurse and her son was raised with them: he became a hunter, artist, and good friend to his foster-sisters, the Muses.
Still on the subject of astronomical centaurs, this is "Riders in the Sky - The Centaurs" by astrologer Philip Sedgwick. He looks at the qualities of each "centaur" as it might be applied to one's astrological chart:http://www.thezodiac.com/chiron.htm...In a time when technology, the Internet and electronic obsessions reduce a healthy sense of humanity, the Centaurs appear to ground people back into their senses - the strongest being the sense of smell, Centaurs inspire us all to use the five basic senses to the fullest of their potential....Whether you're into astrology or not, the page is intriguing.
This is a brief but useful Q&A page on the role of the planetoid Chiron in one's birth chart. Special attention is given to the "wounded healer" theme:http://www.horary.com/hhcrl/galact.html...We learn, suffer and grow from dealing with this sensitive area of wounded instinct and trust.... but the wounding will never totally heal and go away.
This Chironian wounding can then, later in life and after much personal struggle, become a special area where we can help others by sharing our healing and teaching powers with them....
From astrologer Paul O. Hewit comes "The Galactic Center (26 Sagittarius)." This is something with which I'm totally unfamiliar --but now I'm fascinated. The Galactic Center ("GC") of the Milky Way is in 26-degrees of Sagittarius -- Hewit considers the implications for people with similar degrees of Sagittarius in their charts. Here is his opening:The Center of our Milky Way Galaxy is proving to be a fascinating and practical addition to my clients' charts. Having studied it for 12 years now, my observations would indicate that it is probably the second strongest spot in any astrology chart, following the Sun. It is a stunning source of energy, motivation, and aspiration. The Galactic Center is the Sun of our Sun. It is the source of most of the gravitational energy present in our galaxy, and probably the source of most of the energy in any chart, transformed through our own Sun....Hewit gives a whole list of famous people whose charts reflect the Galactic Center/Sagittarian role.
...I look at the GC by house position in every chart, and the Sagittarian theme works well. Solar arcs and transits to this spot in every chart bring up travel, educational, spiritual and philosophical themes in client discussions. One of the most devastating times for a client has been Solar Arc Pluto square the natal GC. A profound crises of faith and belief occurs almost every time.
Another very curious impact of personal planets in aspect to the GC is the "other worldly" psychological impact these aspects seem to create. Some clients with aspects to the GC speak of not feeling 100 percent human, or not feeling they have had human ancestory. Their inner dynamic is centered around feeling as if they have come to this planet from some other place. They describe thinking like a galactic ambassador, and feeling as if they are here representing energies, knowledge and civilizations that are extraterrestrial in origin....
Several Other Related Mything Links Pages:
Common Themes East & West: Animal Guides
Common Themes East & West: Star Lore & Astrology
Up to Europe's Opening Page
Up to Western Europe
Western Europe's Subdivisions:
Classical Traditions: /////// Ancient Greece ////// Ancient Rome
Celtic Traditions / Icelandic, Nordic, & Teutonic Traditions /
Medieval Life & Times / Arthurian Themes / Grail Lore/
Alchemy, Gnosticism, Hermetics / Fairy Tales & Folk Lore /
Down to Indigenous Peoples
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© 2000-2002 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
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Page created 6, 10-13 November 2000;
launched 13 November 2000.
5 February 2001 (changed bkgd);
16 & 17 March 2002: link check & misc. updates;
19 March 2002: all broken links now tracked down & fixed; only Eliki's is still "out."