What Best Serves Love: Chariklo’s Story

Chariklo loved to flow in the waters along the banks exploring the streams and smaller brooks and trickles that wandered through the woods and meadows. The leafy branches waved to her in the breeze as she swam by, with a swish of her mermaid tail, dancing in and out of the valleys toward the yonder hills and higher cliffs. There the waters became dark, flickering and more mysterious.

CHARIKLODanawaterfalls3 copyWatching the reflections of the rocky crags in the still water pools, she would stir them to make small whirlpools, a game for the small fish. Where the winds bent the grasses she found more fish friends. She had several favorite pools among the rocks where she would stretch out on warm stone slabs splashing her tail in the water, playing with the dragonflies, water spiders, watching sky and clouds drift by above and below, shaping pictures she would read like you read this book.

She could also read the ripples in the water, and see the underlying patterns highlighted by sunlight, moonlight and starlight, like a great shimmering flower from which everything came into being. She herself was crowned by a delicate band of light. Sometimes, when her halo sparkled in a certain way, and if she listened very carefully, she could hear the stars sing.

In the warmth of summer, when the grasses were tall and green, she put water lilies in her hair. She arranged flower petals, small leaves and river stones into mandalas on the rocks. But she especially loved the crisp scent of autumn leaves in the invigorating wind, stirring her heart. It was a busy time, when she would often see the reflection of various creatures making their way along the pathways on the spine of the hills. One day, she saw a most noble creature galloping across the hill above her hidden grotto. She had never seen this being before. He moved like a horse, yet had the torso of a human, so she thought. She rarely saw people, but heard about them. Yes, this one looked like a man-horse—a centaur! They lived in caves higher up among the mountains. He was glorious, his rugged face catching the Sun and his long dark hair streaming in the wind. He carried a small, laughing human on his back. They stopped just above where she was. She turned her head to look up. The centaur carried a crystal-topped staff, which he used to point into the distance at something across the great valley, turning his head to talk to the boy.

She was spellbound watching them. Suddenly he looked down and saw her, looking right into her eyes. She was startled. No one ever saw her, much less really looked at her. She quickly disappeared into the water, merging with the current and swam away. She could feel his eyes follow her. She thought about him that night when she listened to the song of the stars. Another day, not long after, she was laughing cheerily as she swam along with a school of small silvery fish. She had melted into the water, not even bothering to be in her mermaid-nymph shape. She loved to do this, feeling at one with the flow of life, loving the feel of being water, bubbling around rocks and rushing with the small waterfalls, dancing in the sparkling sunlight on the moving waters. As she and her silvery friends rounded a bend, from a stand of trees edging the stream emerged the Centaur.

As the waters moved into a forest she saw the centaur step out of the trees. Hearing her song among the merry sounds of the water, he seemed to see her again, even though she had no shape. He walked along the river’s edge, keeping up with her. She rushed along in a surge of water, yet he followed, with a fast trotting step or even a slow gallop. They played like this unti the sun went down, and for many days afterward he kept her company along the waterways. This way they came to know each other, enjoying their unusual companionship. He could sense her no matter what shape she took, even as one of the silver fish, or a lily pad. They were such different beings, but in their hearts they shared a deep love of Nature, its small delights and the ancient wisdom of the Earth, the rhythms of the waters and the seasons, the stories in the sky and the stars,

His name was Chiron. He was very wise, and knew so much, pointing out the patters of the stars and the planets crossing in front of them. She shared her water songs, that she had lerned from the bubbling brooks and broad streams, her visions translated into designs of flower petals and leaves. Sometimes he would bring one or more of the young boys that he was teaching the ways of Nature, to help them learn what they needed to know to fulfill their life purpose. The children would splash in water pools and sun themselves dry on flat rocks, learning from her the music of waters and how to see visions in the still pools beneath the skies.

The love and companionship of Chariklo and Chiron grew and yet she lived int he waters and he in the hills. They were made of different elements—she of water and air, he of earth and fire. She felt a growing desire to be with Chiron, a yearning that came from deep in her heart. She sought solace in the deeper waters and the darker shadows beneath the surface where the water lilies rooted in the mud. Her heart was heavy with loving and longing to join Chiron in his life of teaching and healing. She could imagine him so clearly in her heart and her mind’s eye—his noble form, glistening skin and hide, his glorious tail, his wise twinkling eyes. The longing and love became so strong that she found herself reaching beyond what she had ever known and been. Her nymph body started to shapeshift. Her mermaid tail changed texture and grew legs, become a horse’s torso. She found herself stepping out of the water onto the soft mosses of the river bank. She had become a centaur woman. She joined Chiron in his life and knew that she had found another wisdom, a wisdom of love, of how to shape herself into whatever best served her heart’s desire, her true love. For this act of love, she was crowned again, receiving a second halo from the star angels in honor of her loving wisdom. Chariklo remained a centaur for many a year and a day longer, caring for Chiron and his troop of young heroes, teaching them her special knowledge.

Tragedy struck. At a wedding party, a bottle of sacred wine was broken, spilling this special drink out. The wild centaurs, like a motorcycle gang roaring in to town, crashed the party and got drunk. Fights broke out, arrows were strung on bows. Chiron was accidentally wounded by a poisoned arrow and could not heal himself. His life became a burden as he lived in constant pain. When any other centaur or human would have died, Chiron was son of Saturn, part god, and was immortal. From her deep love, Chariklo showed Chiron how to shapeshift into his Starb body and find his place among the constellations. You can see The Centaur in the southern sky, next to The Scorpion. Chariklo retired back into the waters. A mermaid again she swam all the way to the sea and made her home among the coral reefs among distant islands.


NOTE: Astronomical Chariklo was discovered on February 15, 1997 by James V. Scotti of the Spacewatch program, orbiting between Saturn and Uranus, with an orbit of 62 years. “She” is the largest of the very small Centaur Objects, a new tribe in the solar system. Her discovery chart is extraordinary and beautiful (story for another time). In 2013 astronomers were surprised to find two slender rings circling this tiny object, like a double halo or a pair of wedding and engagement rings.