Medical Astrology

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

The astrology of Multiple Sclerosis: Jack Osbourne

Jack Osbourne MS astrologyJust a few weeks ago I did a reading for a client with MS and wrote about it here in a discussion of the correlation between “warrior energy” and immune system disorders including MS.  Shortly thereafter celebrity Jack Osbourne announced that he has been diagnosed with MS.

Osbourne is known primarily through the television reality show The Osbournes in which he is portrayed as the rebellious and drug addicted son of metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne.  Jack Osbourne was dyslexic as a child and put on Ritalin for an ADD diagnosis as a teenager.  His use of drugs escalated when his mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2002, and in 2003 at the age of 18 he was admitted to a psychiatric ward for an oxycontin addiction. Shortly thereafter he attempted suicide by cutting his wrists after being rejected by a girlfriend (according to his new book; most accounts report that the suicide attempt occurred after his mother’s cancer diagnosis).

Jack Osbourne’s astrological chart reveals some interesting clues.  If the birthtime sourced by Astrotheme is correct he has Leo rising, with the Sun in Scorpio and a Virgo Moon.  Someone with a Scorpio Sun is meant to live life intensely and with emotional fearlessness – to challenge themselves and others in a relentless journey to the ultimate Truth.  But Leo seeks joy and happiness in life, and has a great need to be loved and appreciated.  These two signs conflict with each other, resulting in a challenging inner debate.  Scorpio is secretive and private, and Leo desires publicity and recognition.

His Virgo Moon can be somewhat fearful and security-driven, and while the Leo ascendant seeks the spotlight his Virgo Moon likely worries about the future and his Scorpio Sun shrinks from all of that attention and exposure of his inner world.  I suspect that while Jack’s Leo ascendant would have been quite excited about the reality show with his family, it was likely very difficult for him and created a great deal of inner stress.

Still, when the original show The Osbournes was over Jack signed up for a new reality show called Adrenaline Junkie.   This is interesting astrologically because Jack has a weak Mars – situated in the peace and harmony-loving sign of Libra, the warrior planet is not easily expressed here.  His Mars is squared by Neptune, a quality that was evident in other charts that I examined for the article cited above.  Neptune is the planet of transcendence and spirituality, and when placed in a challenging aspect to Mars we tend to see individuals who seek to transcend their drive and desire nature (Mars) rather than express it.  Consequently that drive and aggressive force tends to build up in the body where it cannot easily find an outlet and this can result in health problems.  Please note that I am not a trained medical professional and any advice given in this column should be confirmed with your doctor.  

A Grand Trine in Jack’s chart links Mars, Jupiter (abundance and good fortune) with Chiron, the planet of wounding and healing.  Jack began to turn his life around in 2004 when a complete physical makeover prepared him for the new program which pushed his physical abilities to the limit, the perfect thing for a Mars-challenged individual.  With this Grand Trine I think it is likely that the MS diagnosis will not create crippling problems for him.

He does have an opposition from Chiron to Uranus (see more details in this article) which can indicate an unbalanced and extremely sensitive nervous system. This would make him more susceptible to the kind of nerve damage found in MS.

Jack has been going through some challenging transits to his natal and progressed Mars over the past year or so involving Saturn (conjunction to progressed Mars beginning last November), Pluto (square natal Mars beginning in January) and Uranus (opposing natal Mars beginning late May).  Transiting planets hitting Mars in our chart can trigger eruptions of some kind, and since Jack is currently without a physical outlet for his adrenaline  (having become engaged in the fall of 2011 and a recent new dad) he is likely more sensitive to the planetary triggers to his nervous system.

This kind of Mars-related immune disorder drains physical energy and makes it feel impossible to get any kind of physical activity, but it is my hypothesis that this is exactly what is helpful to combat these illnesses. And science agrees:

In the 1970s, there was quite strong prevailing medical opinion that people with MS should avoid exercise, that it could somehow be detrimental. There is now good evidence that exercise improves fitness and function in mild MS and maintains function for people moderate to severe disability.4 There is strong evidence that exercise therapy, including aerobic exercise and resistance training, improves muscle power function, exercise tolerance functions and mobility-related activities such as walking in people with significant disability.5-11Exercise also improves mood and general well-being.7,12,13 Walking distance has been shown to be increased with regular treadmill training.14 Interestingly, some of the benefit of exercise in MS seems to be more pronounced in women.15

I’m very encouraged to see mainstream medicine continuing to exhibit more openness to the body/mind/spirit connections to disease.  Meanwhile, my best recommendation for just about everyone is to get as much sensible physical activity as is reasonably possible.  Not only is it healing for the body, the mind AND the spirit, it is the Fountain of Youth!

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By | 2012-06-22T08:16:10+00:00 June 22nd, 2012|Health & Healing, People|0 Comments

The astrology of Ellen DeGeneres’ health scare

ellen degeneres health scareDisclaimer: I am not a medical profession and I have no medical training.  I do, however, have a special interest in the astrological analysis of health effects.

Ellen DeGeneres was treated on Monday for chest pains that began on Sunday.  Although she laughed off the pains on her talk show Monday, she was evidently sufficiently alarmed by them to call 911 during a meeting at the Warner Brothers Lot at 11:53 am on Monday.

Ellen’s astrology chart shows that not only does she have the Sun in Aquarius, but also Venus and Chiron, all connected in a triple conjunction which means all three planets operate as one system.  The Sun combines with Venus to (usually) create a friendly and sociable personality that tends to be well liked by others.  However, the presence of Chiron, often called the “Wounded Healer,” in that system reflects the fact that her relationships have been her greatest wounders as well as healing forces in her life.

This system is opposed by Uranus, which is the planet of radical change and innovation.  Uranus is the revolutionary, and it is also associated with androgyny (hence the term “Uranian” to describe a “third sex” with neutral gender as described in this earlier article).  Uranus also rules electricity and electromagnetic energy.

Uranus is the ruler of the sign Aquarius, so the fact that Ellen’s Aquarius planets are opposed by Uranus (a “double whammy” in technical astrological terms” connects the Sun, Venus and Chiron to Uranian energy even more intensely than it would otherwise.

The Sun rules the physical heart in medical astrology, and the heart requires electricity to continue to pump blood and oxygen through the body, and when Uranus is tied to the Sun in the astrological chart it is often easy for the electromagnetic balance to get out of balance.  This electromagnetic balance is also essential for good neurological health, and Sun/Uranus people often have a certain degree of nervousness or anxiety.

At the time that Ellen’s chest pains began there was a lineup of planets affecting this sensitive neurological area.  In her progressed chart (the evolving chart that helps us to see how our lives are unfolding) her Ascendant has progressed into a conjunction to her Sun, and her progressed Mars is following close behind.  Over the next year as her progressed Ascendant approaches an exact conjunction to her Sun we will see her grow even more into the fullness of who she wants to be – this is a wonderful time of self-acceptance and personal growth.

Mars is the planet of fire and energy, and at the time her chest pains began transiting Mars had just opposed her progressed Mars and was coming up to an opposition to her natal Sun, a double planetary cycle which can stir up some agitation and emotional disruption.  Because Uranus is a part of that system natally (in the birthchart), and because of the strong Aquarian influence, Mars would have stimulated the electrical system in the body which would have required some effort to maintain balance.

Transiting Mars will set off this system again in a year or so when Mars enters Scorpio and forms a square to the Aquarius planets.  Fortunately Ellen is a healthy eater (she became vegan a few years ago) and lives a relatively normal life by Hollywood standards.  That will help her to find equilibrium of body, mind and spirit that will help her to maintain the energetic balance her kind of nervous system requires.

For daily planetary updates please visit my Facebook and Twitter pages.

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By | 2011-09-28T10:48:37+00:00 September 28th, 2011|Health & Healing, People|3 Comments

An interesting astrological history

Simon Forman

Image from the Royal College of Physicians

I confess I have never heard of Simon Forman, so I found this article about him very informative (it was posted on Facebook by Stephanie Gailling of Planetary Apothecary).  He was an astrologer in the late 16th century, predating William Lilly who is one of the more famous medieval astrologers and evidently inherited a wealth of Forman’s knowledge via Elias Ashmole who collected Forman’s papers after death.

Forman may have been one of the first medical astrologers.  Though he “fancied himself a magus [magician],” he also obtained a degree in “physic” and a license to practice medicine after he had been fined for practicing medicine without a license.  Like today, the practice of healing was steeped in political controversy:

The College of Physicians of London was founded in 1514 (it received a Royal Charter in 1674). Its powers waxed and waned over the coming centuries, depending on support from the Crown and courts. It issued licences to practise physic, inspected the wares of apothecaries and heard cases of malpractice. Physic was defined as medicine that concerns the internal workings of the body. It was rooted in the teachings of Galen, adapted and augmented as it was transmitted through the Arab world and into the universities of medieval and Renaissance Europe. The four humours – blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile – had elemental properties (hot, cold, moist, dry) and an imbalance resulted in illness. Physicians advised their clients about how to maintain health through attention to diet, sleep and exercise and prescribed remedies to maintain the correct balance or to moderate a disruption. As directed, barber-surgeons performed blood-letting and apothecaries filled prescriptions for substances to evacuate the body through vomits, purges or sweats. Physicians and a minority of surgeons learned their art at the universities. Apothecaries and most surgeons trained through apprenticeships. These occupations were regulated through urban guilds.

This was a hierarchy of knowledge and status. Physicians were the medical elite, though they represent only a fraction of the medical practitioners in early modern London. Between 1580 and 1600 there were 50 licensed physicians in London. During this period the college identified 150 people practising physic in the city without due authority, some of whom were licensed but most of whom represent a larger body of irregular practitioners, many holding multiple occupations. These people ranged from highly educated men with medical degrees from foreign universities to people (mostly men, the occasional woman) who were schooled through experience alone. These practitioners came to the attention of the college through informants, during disputes over contracts or in cases of malpractice. From the perspective of the college, Forman was a quack. They examined him and found that he had little Latin learning and his knowledge of astrology was risible. Other practitioners defied the college’s authority but Forman alone professed the supremacy of his astrological methods and attracted such an extensive clientele.

Forman actively challenged the established hierarchy in the name of astrology, promoting a model of medicine in which a single practitioner managed his patients’ health by reading the stars to judge the cause of the disease, advising on regimen, performing blood-letting and minor surgery as necessary and prescribing his own distillations and drugs. Not only did the astrologer provide a complete service in tune with the cosmos, he alone could judge whether a disease was natural, demonic or divine. He alone could fashion amulets and potions charged with occult forces. …

read more here…

Of course today we generally don’t consider disease as being either demonic or divine, but the dispute between the medical establishment and alternative healing practitioners is still very much with us.

Forman had his enemies and his critics as one would expect, but he was evidently an important link in the chain of astrological knowledge in a time where darkness kept such knowledge hidden.

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By | 2011-08-23T18:58:48+00:00 August 23rd, 2011|Astrology|1 Comment

From the Advice Column: Will I Ever Receive a Proper Diagnosis?

I’ll be on vacation until November 12th so forgive me if I don’t participate in the comments.  I will try to put up a timely post or two during that time, but meanwhile I’ve selected some oldies but goodies for you.

have a particular interest in energy medicine and the underlying causes of illness as they appear in the birthchart. This is particularly true of mysterious symptoms that defy diagnosis. That said, I am not a medical professional and my comments are not to be considered a substitute for regular medical care. Still, I strongly believe that most illnesses originate in an energy imbalance and that correcting this imbalance can improve our health.

Q: Twenty years ago, I had an attack of shingles in my head.. leaving me with vertigo, deafness, no taste or smell on the left side of my head, paralysis there too, and intellectual deficits. Up until this point, I was a journalist. Afterwards ? Well I had days when I couldn’t remember what side of the envelope the stamp went on. The nerves at the lower end of my spine got involved somehow and though I can walk, etc. I’ve lost functions of elimination… I have to use catheters daily to drain my bladder etc. (I know TMI…) this has been for two years now.. I underwent several tests this summer to try to find out the underlying cause of my physical problems.. and got.. No answers. I’m wondering what to do next ? Is there any light at the end of this long and painful tunnel?

A: Your chart shows difficulty expressing the energy of Mars, something I like to call a “Mars problem.” Mars, being the god of War, is the planet that urges us to defend our borders, to respond appropriately when attacked, and gives us the drive to get what we want. Mars is our desires and often is tied into our physical energy (although the Sun is also an important piece of the vitality puzzle). This is a very complex issue and situation but I will try to shorten and simplify it to fit into this format.

Your Sun is conjunct Neptune, both in Libra – a lovely and creative placement for imagination and beauty, but Neptune does tend to drown out our physical energy at times. This Sun/Neptune conjunction is the apex of what we call a “T-square”, meaning the Sun and Neptune are square to a tight conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in Cancer on one end and Mars and Chiron in Capricorn on the other. This is a powerhouse of a dynamic that when balanced properly can give you a great deal of power for change and evolution. But when it gets blocked that powerful energy can implode within us.

Let’s break this dynamic down: The conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in the first house seeks a an independent, innovative and exciting approach to life. However, their placement in the sign of Cancer combined with your Cancer ascendant makes it difficult to do things that are truly for you. You are geared towards taking care of others, and hope that this will serve you in the end.

This combination of Mars and Chiron in Capricorn show that you are a hard worker and very disciplined with a tremendous focus on what needs to be done. You are able to push through most obstacles and keep your eye on the goal. This can lead you to ignore signals your body is sending you to warn you of impending health crisis until it is too late. The conjunction of Mars and Chiron often signifies a difficulty expressing ones own needs which is reflected in several places in your chart. The Sun conjunct Neptune also can be a signifier of one who is sacrificed or made a scapegoat. And in Libra, the Sun strives to achieve balance and often gives up one’s own self in the process.

The opposition between Jupiter/Uranus and Mars/Chiron can be explosive. Jupiter opposite Mars expands the aggressive instinct and requires an outlet for this increased energy. Uranus opposite Mars evokes rebellion and resistance to control. Chiron opposite Uranus heightens the flow of energy through the body and in itself can create energy imbalances if not grounded properly, and the opposition of Jupiter to Chiron, while it provides an enhanced perception of multidimensional reality, can also increase health problems should they occur.

The picture I am getting here is of a person who has a tremendous amount of energy and spark of life, but who gets bogged down with the day to day responsibilities of watching out for others. Aries is on your midheaven, revealing the key to achieving your highest goals and aspirations is through aggressively asserting your needs and independence.

At the time that your first shingles attack occurred you were undergoing quite a few transits of Mars which were stimulating your need to express yourself in a more powerful way. Perhaps there were things you were angry about that were buried in the need to do what needed to be done. This was exacerbated by a transit of Jupiter across your Aries Midheaven that opposed the conjunction of the Sun and Neptune and set off the whole six-planet T-square combination. Without an outlet, all of this energy just imploded into the shingles attack (shingles are an immune system disorder that is commonly associated with stress).

About three years ago your Moon progressed into Aries (the last time this happened was 30 years before if you can remember back that far) which enhanced your need to have that Aries experience of independence and asserting one’s own needs. Xena the warrior princess is the Aries archetype of women: she is noble and kind but doesn’t take any s*&t from anyone! This would have been an excellent time to take up kickboxing or some other kind of aggressive activity that would help to release some of this energy and increase your sense of empowerment. If you had no such outlet again the energy would have imploded into your nervous system.

At the same time you began your Chiron return, when transiting Chiron was conjunct Chiron in your own chart and again set off the T-square dynamic. Chiron brings to the surface all of our hidden painful wounds from the past, demanding that these wounds be brought into conscious awareness where that can be healed. Resistance to this process can lead to health problems.

I want to emphasize that the opposition of Chiron and Uranus, which is very common in the charts of people born between 1953 and 1985, shows a particularly sensitive nervous system.

Without doing a full reading on this individual I am reluctant to make specific recommendations, but understanding what is needed to regain the balance of appropriate aggression and expression of one’s own needs and desires (Mars) is the first step to recovery.

By | 2009-11-04T12:14:12+00:00 November 4th, 2009|Health & Healing|Comments Off on From the Advice Column: Will I Ever Receive a Proper Diagnosis?