A Cool Chiron Return Romance

I knew the artist Francoise Gilot spent her 20s with the perma-famous artist Picasso. I did not know that she later enjoyed the most fabulous and enduring romance with Jonas Salk, the virologist best known for inventing the polio vaccine.

He was a multiple Scorpio – Sun, Ascendant, Mars, and Mercury – with the classic scientist-genius signature of Jupiter conjunct Uranus in Aquarius. Gilot is a Saggo – now nearly 100 and on her 2nd Chiron Return, she still paints every day, first thing in the morning. She paints in her pajamas and slippers and talks in terms of chasing the ‘bird of doubt’ from her shoulder. “Reason is no friend to the artist.”

Reason Is No Friend To The Artist

Imagine if your name was forever yoked with that of your first partner, someone you’d left decades ago and that that person was the only topic most people wanted to discuss with you.

Romantically, the artist Francoise Gilot is forever referred to as “Picasso’s Muse” or “the lover of Picasso.” Yes, she was with him for ten years from the age of 21 and they had two children together. But she left the man who said there were only two types of women – “goddess and doormats” – despite his threats*.

Years later, a successful artist and on the verge of Chiron Return, she met Jonas Salk, who had just completed his Chiron Return. “There was no way to find out who bewitched whom,” she said later. “All I know is that a powerful whirlwind was blowing.”

There Was No Way To Find Out Who Bewitched Whom

Interestingly, both were fulfilled as single people,  super-zealously immersed in their work, and valued solitude.

Nonetheless, Salk proposed to her with the pitch that even if “even if we’re not so happy, at least we’ll be like a citadel; we’ll be a fortress for each other.”

Françoise thought about it. Both felt exhausted by the world and sought a refuge. “In that case, let’s try,” she replied. Gilot was 48, an artist, a determined free spirit. Salk was 55, a scientist, averse to conflict. They would live half the year almost 6,000 miles apart. “All our friends on both sides predicted impending doom,” Gilot recalled.

But there was no doom, just a lot of tut-tutting. They were married in 1970 and were happily together – albeit spending half the year apart from one another – until Salk passed in 1995. 

Synastry-wise, both have the Moon conjunct their North Nodes, her Venus-Mercury in Scorpio was conjunct his Scorpio stellium and her Saturn was conjunct his Sun.  In the month that they met, neither seeking a relationship, Pluto was crossing Francoise Gilot’s Ascendant and Uranus was conjunct Jonas Salk’s Sun. 

Affinities sparked during Outer Planet transits always have extra heft and magic to them. But there is something so cool about a Chiron Return romance deliberately negotiated as a ‘fortress and refuge’ for two such ardent individualists.




  • If you attempt to take a step outside my reality—which has become yours, inasmuch as I found you when you were young and unformed and I burned everything around you—you’re headed straight for the desert.”  Picasso’s Threat to the young Francoise Gilot.

Francoise Gilot & Jonas Salk – photographer unknown
Steven Kent Johnson – Francoise Gilot’s Studio 2019
Francoise Gilot – Venus

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Sounds ideal. Lots of air to breathe and recharge. No domestic slavery trappings


Thanks, Mystic, for another good read on so many levels. Inspired by her art, way of living, and her relationship. Oh, and check out her quote on her relationship with Picasso – “a catastrophe I didn’t want to avoid”. How that resonates. Now it’s time to get up and make some art in my PJs! x


the choice of not avoiding the catastrophe is totally scorpio.


I had a full-on Chiron return love affair, which brought us both profound healing.

Penelope Darling

I love this!


I adored seeing The Surrealism exhibition in the 90’s as a high school student getting up close to the real works. It still feeds my soul and I’m someone that the security staff ask me to step back. I’m wanting to see the light against the brushstrokes and the dance of light casting shadows from myself onto the artwork. Life as an installation. Creativity is about seeing the art within and around and the communication can be made by any medium. What stands out for me here and thank you MM. The Picasso quote at the end, it’s the language… Read more »


Wondering how much my life and outlook could change if i were able to paint in my pyjamas and beautiful slippers each morning.

Get up so early but it’s all laundry and bed making and banking and cooking and … rushing off to early starting work.


I wonder what she said to Pablo Ruiz? I shall make myself into a beautiful cactus. Picasso was also a Scorpio and his 10th H Taurus is a Stellium including Chiron. Enough of him. She is my inspiration, painting twice a day at nearly 100!


I’ve always been skeptical of these types of relationships. Let’s call them ‘arrangements’. I look at that photo and I see him totally mesmerized, not so much her.
Actually I can’t help thinking he’s Larry David in a scene from Curb your Enthusiasm. Larry meets the ex of Picasso and asks her back to his place to see his etchings…


I said skeptical, not against this type of arrangement. In many ways it goes back to a system of marriage that existed for many thousands of years. Anagreement to support / protect / etc. one that has been more recently replaced by the idea that marriage is a relationship based on a romantic / Endless love connection,
I agree with you in that it’s a more mature sensible approach that gives support while allowing the free time required to not smother.
One day I’ll be sensible and mature but it might not happen till my next life.


It’s still very Haute Aries. And not that you aren’t that. I’m thinking of the one i know. This is the arrangement offered with complete generosity and authenticity of heart. As that Aries says, ” It is what it is.” And yours is exactly what it is, too: authentic, forcefelt, wondering and open. Always real.

Last edited 1 year ago by milleunanotte

I’m becoming more attracted to this kind of relationship as I get older. I used to have this exact opinion and then I’ve been through this strange period of being so disenchanted with passion and anything romantic or even sexual that it almost feels like E numbers/ sugar/ alcoholic buzz or something to do with marketing and the more traditional concept of the arranged marriage (as in chosen for its potential for security and longevity potential feels more liberating.
I blame Saturn in Capricorn.

Secret Sagg

My mother often said to me: the best type of relationship is to live nearby, visit often, and I wish I’d listened to her.

There’s plenty of studies which show how marriage and de-facto relationships (which are almost universally cohabitating) are more beneficial to men than women….


Oh so glad i was not being weird seeing him as Larry David! In a Scorpio Stellium’s case, perhaps Curbing One’s “Enthusiasm” without dampening it, with a Sagittarian 😀 lover, was or is an amazing love thing that carries the heart into other realms of life just beautifully. Space, wildness, authenticity and the art of one’s passions, routine and private life ❤


I want this type of relationship!!!


The toughest there is. Nobody gets to lie or hide quietly. And we all do that at times


Wonderful story. I’m going through Chiron return now with energising results (its conjunct my Aries MC and Eris in the 10th (And thanks to Mars transit) Love that Francois is still painting every day, we could all be doing something similar as an act of power, creativity is true power is it not.


Is this transit giving you life force for a creative act of power each day (or thereabouts)?


Agstar love what you have written here. Totally agree with you “an act of power, creativity is true power.”


I love this and their synastry so much.
I reconnected with a teenage boyfriend as we’re both going into our Chiron Returns. This resonates. It is undoubtedly my favourite relationship. I can’t describe it in the English or any other language. 💖

Lux Interior Is My Co-Pilot

I love this. Chiron return sounds so much cooler than “late 40s and early 50s”. ” It’s like cracking your own code.”


Love this. Couple goals for the unconventional and artistic.




Yes, yes, yes xox

Goldy Hawnbag

I love seeing unconventional relationships that work. And what a great pair. Had to look into it more and found this –

When asked in an interview how she had ended up with two of history’s most powerful men, Gilot replied: “Lions mate with lions.”


Heart warming, inspiring story…glad she grew out of a narcissist partner so early in life.


What a douche Picasso was.


Yeah, you do wonder how people live with douches for so long ?


Wonder how i did. Uh, wait, was trained to, cos cool and amazing people can still be douches, non?


He wasn’t a douche but an ahole. A holes are the charming mofos we love and love to hate.

Pearl Icicle

Picasso was wrong, she was a threat. Unfortunately the male dominated art world stood by his art and not hers. ❤️ She’s the victor here.


“even if we’re not so happy, at least we’ll be like a citadel; we’ll be a fortress for each other” holy wow. Most guys I meet can barely muster a “wyd”.


beautiful story, thank you for posting. i needed that


Jonas Salk and I share a birthday. And I love Francoise Gilot! Gorgeous and talented and powerful.


That painting made me gasp. It is perfect. That’s exactly what venus looks like.


Fantastic story mystic! Love hearing about this kind of synastry.

Also. Picasso was a dick.

Last edited 1 year ago by WizarDora

But an unbelievably talented, massively charismatic dick with a flair for business and PR.


knowing their story gives me hope! Thank you for sharing it.

Calli G

At the same time they were vaccinating against wild polio to “eradicate” it, they created vaccine-derived polio instead, which is affecting thousands of healthy children in 16 African countries.


I looked into this the figures go a bit like this
Previous to vaccination 75000 cases per annum
Now, cases caused by vaccination 175 per annum
Make of that what you will.

Last edited 1 year ago by davidl

As Mystic Medusa points out, this is a huge topic – as it always is where ethics meet greed. In reply to your figures, there is a lot more to it than those figures reveal – the point being that now they are re-vaccinating children in the developing world against the virus they introduced in order to eradicate the wild polio virus. Mad, no? How many rounds of vaccines will that take – seeing that it is a live virus they are vaccinating these children with. While in the West they vaccinate people using an injectable solution of the inactivated… Read more »


Lucky to find each other and blessed to have the experiences she has had .


This is beautiful! Also, Picasso always gave me creepy vibes, can’t stand even a glimpse of his art.


Same! Salk is equally creepy to me. If his science was recreated as paintings they would look like Picasso’s.


couldn’t love this more.

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