The Mindbody Connection

sarnoOne of my brilliant readers recommended the work of Dr. John Sarno to me because of my interest in energy and healing in the birthchart. After a quick Google search I was hooked and ordered his book: Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection. I like the way he melds the words “Mind” and “Body” to show that the two are really united rather than two separate entities.

This is the third of three books Dr. Sarno has written on chronic pain.

His premise is that many of the health problems that plague our modern culture are the result of repressed emotional pain and anger that we are unable to bring to a conscious level, so the body creates a distraction in the form of back pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, gastrointestinal disorders etcetera. Dr. Sarno’s program consists of first eliminating any medical cause for the presenting problem and then encouraging his patients to examine their emotional motivations to see where they might have an underlying emotional conflict that is not being expressed appropriately. In 75% of the cases that he treats this mere attention to the patient’s emotions creates the cure; 25% are referred for psychotherapy to uncover the unconscious root of the problem. Dr. Sarno has found that individuals who have a high need to be perfect, or “good” and who impose strict pressure on themselves develop a “reservoir of rage” that without expression is converted into physical problems.

Dr. Sarno writes:

What is actually causing the pain in these people is not the herniated disc, or some of those other structural things, but a condition of mild oxygen deprivation, which is brought about by the brain simply altering the blood flow to a particular area. This mild oxygen deprivation is what causes pain in muscle.

Take sciatica as an example. There are a number of spinal nerves going into the leg via the sciatic nerve and the brain would mildly oxygen-deprive them. That would then, of course, give you pain in the leg, and give patients feelings of numbness and tingling. It would also produce actual weakness. But doctors have assumed that these changes and symptoms in the leg were the result of some damage to nerves in the low back — as a result of herniated discs and things of that sort. . . .

He calls this syndrome tension myositis syndrome or TMS.

This is extremely exciting to me because of my research into the astrology of health problems which nearly always stems from an unexpressed or repressed Mars or some other block in the flow of energy in the body that results from emotional blocks. I’m only halfway into the book but already it is helping me to understand more about the way the energy system operates in the physical body from a medical point of view.

This is another example of how science and real healing have diverged in our twentieth and twenty-first century world of science which denigrates the role of the mind, body and spirit and prefers to believe that the physical body is a machine for which emotions play no role. I believe that this idea is the root of our spiraling health care costs and an associated deterioration of health and I am so glad to see more physicians stepping out to connect the dots between the body, mind and spirit.

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By | 2013-09-09T06:51:31+00:00 September 9th, 2013|Health & Healing|3 Comments

Scorpio Full Moon: May 5, 2012

Full Moon ScorpioIn the Full Moon is in Scorpio nothing is superficial – this Full Moon is all about delving deep into the Mysteries where the Truth lies unexposed in its raw and most real form.  The astrological Moon represents our emotions and feelings – it shows where we retreat to when we are under stress and our instinctive reactions that are unencumbered by any sense of what others expect.

Scorpio is a water sign and therefore involved with the emotional realm.  But Scorpio’s traditional ruler is Mars – a fire planet.  The emotion of Scorpio is nothing like the “go with the flow” emotional adaptability of Pisces, or the deeply sensitive and easily wounded nature of Cancer.  Scorpio is passionate and intense and can be aggressive in its need to defend and protect.  Scorpio’s modern ruler is Pluto, the planet of transformation and the ultimate Truth of Life and Death, which drives that need for intensity into a powerhouse of release and reconstruction.

In the Scorpio Full Moon the lunar instinct turns towards the fire of emotion in order to find our inner passions and face our emotions with courage and awareness. However, the Sun is opposite the Moon in Taurus, seeking peace and serenity in the midst of that Scorpionic emotional fire.  The Full Moon, like any opposition, requires balance.  The Scorpio Moon is in its ascendancy and is the stronger of the two during this lunar event, but the Taurus Sun is whispering to us, encouraging us to stay rooted into the Earth while we allow the fire of our passions and enthusiasm to engulf us in the flames of transcendence.

Scorpio as a rule demands our complete attention, and that will be emphasized as an opposition from Mercury to Saturn (discipline and material reality) culminates at the Full Moon and forces us to confront any areas of our psyche in which we carry a delusion that holds us back.

Meanwhile an awkward aspect  between Uranus (radical behavior) and Mars (aggressive instinct) suggests an inner restlessness and urge to flee the confrontation of this Full Moon and planning for some sort of outlet for this energy is advised. Mars is also exactly square (a conflicting aspect) to the lunar nodes which represent a sense of fate and inner direction, so this Full Moon marks a sort of turning point. Perhaps a decision will be necessary, or an event will occur that will affect our lives permanently.

Those of us with an emphasis in Scorpio, or with strong Mars and Pluto aspects, will find this Full Moon exhilarating in its power.  Those of us who are somewhat fearful of these influences may feel rather overwhelmed, but remember that this Full Moon is a beautiful opportunity to allow your own drive and motivation and deepest desires be known.

This Full Moon is a time of courage and raw power.  Let go of the superficial – let go of any illusions of who you think you are.  Be not afraid:  allow your delusions and confusions to be burned away in the fire of emotion, and allow yourself to emerge from the ashes renewed and with a new understanding of who you really are.  THAT is the lesson of this Scorpio Full Moon.

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By | 2012-05-04T07:02:52+00:00 May 4th, 2012|Moon|2 Comments

Astrology and schizophrenia

astrology and schizophreniaHere is an interesting African study from 1997 that correlated astrological data to schizophrenia.  The findings are particularly interesting in light of the recent shootings in Arizona by Jared Loughner who is now widely believed to be schizophrenic.

Some astrological hypotheses related to predisposition to severe mental illness were tested by analysing the zodiacal signs, the interactions between planetary qualities (aspects), and the occurrence of full and new moon dates, on the dates of birth of 221 schizophrenics, compared with 112 normal subjects. The sun signs of the schizophrenics were significantly more likely to be in the signs associated with introversion, while those of the control population were significantly more likely to be in the outgoing signs. A significantly higher proportion of schizophrenics had their Mars (i.e., symbol of aggressiveness) in the outgoing signs than the normal population. A significantly higher proportion of control subjects fulfilled operational criteria for adequacy of number of aspects between the sun and the other planets.

The tendency for a higher proportion of schizophrenics to have “difficult” aspects just failed to reach significance. A significantly higher proportion of control subjects had aspects between the sun and mars; and also a significantly higher proportion of control subjects had “soft” (helpful) aspects between the sun and mars. These findings are in keeping with the well-known oddity of schizophrenia (schiz = split; phren = mind); such that, a group which collectively is characterised by an “introverted” self (i.e. sun sign), has a coexisting aggressive tendency (i.e. strong mars) and poor integration between the elements of the psyche and the self (i.e. inadequacy of aspects between Sun and other planets). However, the findings give only partial support to key astrological postulates because there was a non-significant trend for more schizophrenics to be born in “water” signs and on full moon dates.

Mars is one of the most important factors in the birthchart in my opinion.  The instinct of desire and aggression plays a powerful role in nearly every aspect of our life, and what I found so interesting in this study is that the control (non-schizophrenic) subjects had a better integration of the Sun (Self) to Mars than the schizophrenic population.

In this study, the schizophrenics had a predominance of introverted Suns (likely the water and earth signs) and outgoing Mars signs (likely air and fire).  The astrological Mars represents the will to individuate – to separate oneself from the clan or the expectation of others.  There is also a quality of aggression and competition with Mars, particularly in the “outgoing” signs.  So this study showed a correlation between those individuals whose basic nature (Sun sign) tended to be quiet and turned inward, and whose aggressive instincts (Mars) were perhaps driven underground because of the conflict with the Sun.

There would need to be an examination of other factors in the chart, and that is why this kind of “scientific” study doesn’t work so well for astrology.  There are a nearly infinite number of permutations in the chart to consider.  How many planets were retrograde? What support did the Sun get from other planets? How was Mars positioned in the chart?  What information did the angles (ascendant and midheaven) add to the picture?

Most of us have some kind of conflict in our birthcharts between two personality dynamics that don’t get along, and until we can integrate them consciously they may  cause us problems.  Obviously, very few people split to the point where they become schizophrenic, but this is exactly the dynamic that we see in the chart of Jared Loughner, the young man in Arizona who shot 17 people, six of whom were killed.  (Follow the link for more details about his chart.)

Loughner had both the Sun and Moon in Virgo, which is one of the “introverted” signs, and his Mars was in its own sign of Aries, which is about as “outgoing” as Mars could get.  So Loughner fits the profile of this scientific study.  But the astrology fills out the story – Neptune and Chiron both are in a challenging aspect to Mars, creating confusion and weakening his will (Neptune) and wounding his ability to assert himself (Chiron).  So his Mars was intense and powerful in Aries, but it was thwarted by a number of different astrological factors.

There is no way to look at a chart and predict that someone will end up a schizophrenic or a serial killer.  Perhaps it is truly just biology – I prefer to think that there is an overarching spiritual evolution that governs all of our experiences.  But in any case, astrology does help us to understand the underlying motivations that create our behavior.

If Jared Loughner’s parents had come to me for a reading, I would have explained to them that their son had a tremendous amount of energy with that Aries Mars that needed an outlet of some kind.  News reports indicate that Loughner’s father was an extremely angry man and likely squashed (Chiron and Neptune) Loughner’s will (Mars).  If Loughners’ Mars had had an appropriate outlet such as Taekwondo or soccer, would his delusions have taken over?  We will never know, and thus is the mystery of human behavior.

For more on schizophrenia you may find this earlier article interesting.

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By | 2011-02-04T09:06:11+00:00 February 4th, 2011|Consciousness|Comments Off on Astrology and schizophrenia

The planet of transformation is always transforming

Fans of the planet Pluto will find this pretty interesting:

Pluto is not simply a ball of ice and rock but a dynamic world that undergoes dramatic atmospheric changes. While they believe the changes are driven by the seasons, it may mostly come from how quickly things can change on Pluto. The seasons are propelled as much by the planet’s 248-year elliptical orbit as its axial tilt — unlike Earth where the tilt alone drives seasons. On Pluto spring transitions to polar summer quickly in the northern hemisphere because Pluto is moving faster along its orbit when it is closer to the Sun.

“If Earth had such an extreme orbit, and we were experiencing a nice springtime day with 60-70 degree F temperatures, as the orbit changed it could suddenly drop to -90 degrees F,” said [Mike] Brown.

Here’s a NASA video of Pluto taken from the Hubble images.

One of the more fascinating things about astrology is the synchronicity between the physical characteristics of the planets, the names assigned to them by astronomers, and the astrological correlations.  Mars, the planet named for the God of War, appears reddish in color and as we now know, shows signs of ancient devastation.  The astrological Mars rules aggression and warfare.  Uranus, the planet with the most eccentric orbit (it orbits laterally rather than vertically) is associated with eccentric behavior.  Now we discover that Pluto, the planet that rules endings and new beginnings, is itself always transforming itself.

What an amazing Universe we live in!

By | 2010-02-05T07:15:21+00:00 February 5th, 2010|Astronomy|Comments Off on The planet of transformation is always transforming

Musings on Anger and Mars

I am on vacation until November 12th and will try to post as internet access permits.  Meanwhile I am reposting some interesting articles from the past and since Mars will soon be turning retrograde it’s worth a re-examination.


[this post originally appeared in July of 2008.] Yesterday marked the peak of phase II of the conjunction of Pluto to my Mars, and what fun it was! I feel like a volcano is erupting in my soul. It’s pretty exciting, really, because when these planets pass through our energy fields they create permanent change within us. I can feel Pluto working to deepen my own inner ability to control my own destiny and access the true seat of my power.

Yesterday in a reading the subject of Mars came up. This particular client has Mars in Sagittarius, which does not care for anger at all. Mars in Sagittarius wants to leave the scene of the angry situation and head off for a more entertaining adventure. But what really is anger, and how does it come about?

When we think about anger as being rooted in Mars energy, we see that anger is just one way for this energy to be expressed. Anger usually comes about when the other potentialities of Mars are hindered in some way. Mars seeks to set boundaries and establish good defenses, and it is usually when those defenses are violated that we find ourselves feeling angry. When we submerge or mute that angry response in some way, the energy of Mars lingers and is transmuted into rage, which can lead to a host of physical ailments such as headaches, intestinal disorders, etc.

The best way to tackle the issue of anger and its sister rage is at its root in the primordial nature of Mars. Establishing good boundaries, saying “no” where necessary, standing up for yourself (even if you convince yourself it’s not important) – all of these things are important to nourish a healthy Mars. Take a look at your own chart and see what sign Mars is in, and what aspects Mars makes to other planets. Then follow these tips:

Mars in Aries – The purest form of Mars needs to be expressed assertively and independently. If Chiron, Saturn or Pluto aspect an Aries Mars this may be more difficult but then it is even more important!

Mars in Taurus – Slow burning and dislikes conflict, but when pushed to the limit will erupt in great power. Mars in Taurus often requires a physical expression of Mars (such as physical exercise or martial arts), especially when afflicted by a stressful aspect to another planet.

Mars in Gemini – Very important to permit verbal expression of one’s needs. If disempowered, this can degenerate into argument rather than expression of needs. ——–

By | 2009-11-08T12:04:10+00:00 November 8th, 2009|Astrology, Planetary cycles|Comments Off on Musings on Anger and Mars