Medical Astrology

Case Study

by Margaret Penner Choinski

Sarah was born on
10th March 1966, at 13:25 hours in Sydney, Australia.

She has 23.5 degrees Gemini rising. In looking at her birth chart, what do you see as potential health problems? What is the weakest link in her physical, emotional, or mental bodies? What problems could arise in the long term, if she doesn’t take responsibility for her wellbeing? What health maintenance measures could she incorporate into her lifestyle to ensure that she doesn’t suffer any major illnesses?

What is the problem?

Medical astrology is one particular speciality where the question “What brings you here?” is greatly pertinent. The astrologer needs to know---is the client ill at that moment? Have they previously sought treatment? If so, has the treatment helped or not? What does their doctor think? If they are not currently ill, it should be noted that a client does not present for a medical reading without some health concern(s) in mind already.

 What is Sarah’s concern? Could it possibly be connected with the December 2001 solar eclipse at 22 degrees Gemini, an event that lay directly across her Ascendant/Descendant axis and opposed her Jupiter? Just recently, transiting Saturn has passed over her Jupiter, Ascendant, and into her first house of the physical self. Along the way it squared itself and the Sun.

With this was a conjunction of the ruler of the sixth house. These events alone are enough to precipitate health problems, most likely through a drop in energy and quite possibly an increased susceptibility to colds, influenzas, and whatever else might be going around (Gemini, with Saturn afflicting).
[1] Adding to this crisis and upping its intensity is the square to natal Sun/Saturn from transiting Pluto in Sarah’s sixth house, currently still in effect.

Also, transiting Uranus in Pisces has now come to square the sixth house cusp, suggesting the sudden onset of illness. Sarah is also in her Pluto square Pluto phase. Although generational, this mid-life transit cycle is an important milestone for those who reach it. And this is a major set of transits setting off a major aspect pattern! The astrological justifications for Sarah to seek advice are all there.

Procedure in reading the chart

     In medical astrology there is a clear procedure with which to begin the assessment. One looks at the Ascendant, its ruler, aspects to the ruler, the sign of the ruler and its mode, the Sun, the Moon, the sixth house and any planets therein. Since the Ascendant is the “point of life” [2] it reflects the vitality of the native and their ability to recover from illness. The sixth house cusp sign describes the physical place of weakness, and its ruler adds further information about the nature of any potential illness.

The Sun is the giver of life and its condition is very important to knowing the basic strength of the life force. The Moon offers a subtle comment on the emotional well being of the native, as well as anything to do with fluids in the body. The mode of the Ascendant’s ruler is noted; any afflictions in its sign will affect the entire quadrature. In turn, the predominant quadrature will indicate the type of illness and description of its physical location.

     Sarah has Gemini rising, ruled by a ninth house Mercury in Aries. Her sixth house is entirely taken up with the sign Sagittarius, ruled by a detrimented Jupiter in Gemini placed just behind the Ascendant.

Already there are indications that her vitality and her illnesses (such as they are) have a close relationship with each other. Mercury is nervy in Aries, hot and active. Increasing the heat is an applying conjunction (Mercury went retrograde 2 days after birth) of Mercury to its ruler, Mars in its sign of rulership. The Sun is also in the ninth house in Pisces, a weak sign that does not support rude good health.

The Moon is co-ruled by Mars and is in Fall in the later part of the fourth house, and in traditional astrology is said to be via combusta.[3] This condition could sap the Moon’s nutritive value. Mercury is in a Cardinal sign, which alerts the astrologer to the possibility of illnesses affecting the head (Aries), breasts and stomach (Cancer), kidneys (Libra), and/or skin and bones (Capricorn).

However, with the mutable signs (Jupiter/Ascendant square both Sun/Saturn and Uranus/Pluto; Sagittarius taking up the whole sixth house) presenting such a strong statement in her chart, including the angles of Ascendant and Descendant, I feel that the mutable quadrature holds the most information as to the nature of any illness she might incur.


     The process of investigation is meant to boil things down to the most likely health scenario. Exact diagnosis is very difficult, given the multitude of prospects every human body offers.

However, Sarah’s chart shows a great Mercurial influence, highlighting the nervous energy she would have coursing through her system. The fact of her sixth house of illness, the Sun, and Saturn being ruled by a detrimented Jupiter in Gemini and conjunct the Ascendant, leads me to conclude that she is her own worst enemy when it comes to her physical well-being.

This is not to say that Sarah is deliberately making herself ill. Most of us at some time or another act contrary to our own physical self-interest. But just as common is the case where someone can fall into a certain pattern of physical, emotional, and mental reaction, creating an ongoing pathology through the domino effect. This is what is really being measured by medical astrology---the nature of the reaction to life itself.

With the mutable quadrature as the predominating cross active in her chart, and the planets involved in the mutable T-square being ruled by Mercury or Jupiter (with Neptune sub-rulership), the indicators are of illness which is mental in origin, [5] acute, and recurring.

With Mercury in Aries and conjuncting Mars, headaches, fevers, inflammation of nerves, vertigo, or facial spasms could result.
[6] Insomnia from the sheer inability to shut down her overactive mind is indicated. There could be extreme restlessness and an irregular pulse. An efficient way to check the nature of a native’s illness is to employ the straightforward approach offered by horary astrology.  

Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson writes that: “The ruler of the 6th carries the illness to the part of the body represented by the Sign it is in”
[7] and in Sarah’s case this is Gemini, indicating problems with the breathing apparatus, collar bones, shoulders and arms, hands, cerebro-spinal nervous system, and all the senses. [8] The picture is beginning to narrow down to potential illnesses like pneumonia or asthma.

     As stated previously however, since an affliction in one part of the mutable cross can result in symptoms associated with another sign in the same mode, Sarah could also be prone to Piscean type illnesses.

These would include the overproduction of phlegm or mucus, affections of the feet or toes, and gout. She could suffer from bad reactions to drugs, alcohol, prescribed medicine; she could even develop psychosis or hallucinations due to psychic disturbances.

With Virgo affliction she is prone to colitis and other bowel disorders, metabolic imbalance, intestinal tract problems, malnutrition, lack of stamina and interestingly, problems of the solar plexis (Sun conjunct Saturn in Pisces opposing Uranus and Pluto in Virgo). Sagittarius indicates the general circulation and motor nerve action, hips, thighs, and their bones.

The problems that can come out of this are gout (again), hip joint diseases, fevers, liver complaints and hardening of the arteries.
[9] It would be common sense to recommend to Sarah that she doesn’t smoke and should drink moderately!
Coffee’s stimulating effect is probably best avoided for Sarah too. I think it would only serve to fray her nerves to a heightened pitch.

     Saturn or Neptune afflicting the ruler of the sixth is thought to denote illness that is lengthy and likely to become chronic, due to the contrary nature of the native. Sarah has both Saturn and Neptune in hard aspect to Jupiter. Goldstein-Jacobson states that “Saturn is the greatest offender” and in Sarah’s chart Saturn holds a peculiar position.

Although fairly high in the picture and making many aspects, Saturn is in a sign that is inimical to its stern nature. Saturn is also combust
[10] , which makes it hard for Sarah to find her feet when she really needs to stand straight.

The Sun’s brilliance heats up the dismally cold Saturn, but also blinds Sarah to the inner authority at her disposal. The fact that her Sun is applying to put Saturn in a position of being cazimi suggests that Sarah will be able to draw strength from it when necessary.

The All-Important "Lunar Response"

     Medical astrology has pinpointed a lunar response reaction---called the “reflex action” [11]---where unacknowledged emotional instincts for self-protection pop up as physical symptoms associated with the sign opposite the Moon. Sarah, with her fallen Moon in Scorpio, is prone to experiencing complex and unpleasant feelings of such intensity that they would dominate her every waking moment when in force. Her desperation to find relief from such turmoil would lead her to pushing situations to the brink.

Her natal Venus in Aquarius squares the Moon, and so Sarah does not find support in her female friendships nor does she enjoy sharing her “weaker self” with anyone. When under stress she could overdo indulgences that could lead to weight gains (Jupiter on the Ascendant). Her perceived lack of being nurtured and cared for leads her to find pleasure so that she can feel better.

This is definitely a place of emotional pitfall for Sarah, and she needs to know that there are many good professional counsellors who can offer her a safe place and healthier way in which to expose the dark side of her lunar self.

     For Sarah, Taurus associations indicate the physical area where the emotional crisis may lead. This could be anything from her voice (laryngitis, tonsillitis), lower jaw and teeth (lockjaw), jugular vein (pain in the neck), thyroid (huge weight gains/losses and general feelings of being unwell), palate (loss of sense of taste), throat (swollen glands) to body coordination (loss of balance or lack of physical grace). [12]

It is possible that conventional medicine may not affect these symptoms and eventually the symptoms would take on the characteristics of her natal Moon’s sign.
[13] This is not necessarily the failing of medicine, but rather suggests a more mysterious, even mystical law underlying the reaction/response triggers.

When we are suffering our attention is aroused!

If conventional medicine has been tried without any measurable improvement, then a visit to a medical astrologer is entirely appropriate at this juncture.

     Taking Sarah’s tendencies into consideration, I would alert Sarah to the areas of likely physical weakness: her nervous system (Mercury in Aries), lungs, and bronchial tubes (Jupiter in Gemini), mucus in the lungs and accidents to the feet (Sun in Pisces).

Chronic anxiety (Saturn in Pisces), insomnia (Mars and Mercury in Aries), psychosomatic illnesses (Venus in Aquarius squaring the Moon), negative thought patterns (Mercury in Aries conjunct Mars; Mars quincunx Moon), sudden onset of appendicitis (Uranus in Virgo), danger of poison, menstrual problems, throat infections (by reflex) (Moon in Scorpio), and emotionally induced conditions resulting from pessimism (Sun in Pisces conjunct Saturn in the ninth house).

Taken overall there seems to be a great need for Sarah to divest herself of potentially poisonous emotions as well as to encourage the growth of spiritual inclinations.

With Saturn combust, squaring its ruler Jupiter and the life-giving Ascendant, her inner sense of authority can restrict her faith in any divine force at work in her life. Since her faith (or natural optimism) is thwarted by Saturn’s condition, her body’s ability to overcome illness and heal itself is compromised.

The trine from
Neptune in the fifth house to Saturn mitigates the situation. Through the kind of aspects Neptune makes and the specific planets that are aspected, Neptune seems to be offering a key to any dilemma Sarah may encounter. The issue of faith is central to good health for her.

She would benefit greatly from meditation to help her relax and get to know her inner self. ****Flower essences such as Bach’s Rescue Remedy are harmless when used as directed, and do offer a gentle, if gradual, relief. I really do feel that Sarah is a woman of delicate spirit, and she needs gentle and varied treatments. Aromatherapy, the use of coloured gems and wearing of certain colours are all recommendations I can make with clear conscience.

     Health crisis is usually triggered by pressure being exerted on a difficult natal pattern that contains the natal version of the transiting or progressed planet. Transiting Pluto is coming soon to conjunct the Descendant and thus oppose Jupiter---ruler of the sixth house---and the life-giving Ascendant. In concert with this, transiting Saturn will be squaring natal Mercury---ruler of the vital Ascendant---and also squaring Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto (all ruled by Mercury). The natal T-square is going to feel this pressure very strongly.

At this time Sarah must be extremely vigilant in her self-care.

My recommendation here is that Sarah visit a qualified hypno-therapist or begin immediate use of self-hypnosis tapes that specify the healthy activation of her inner Parent. Natal Saturn has to be convinced that there was never a better time for it to manifest its protective abilities. Rather than crushing the Sun, Saturn needs to throw a mantle over the Sun.

Rather than undermining the Ascendant, Saturn needs to lift from below, bolstering Sarah’s sense of her resistance to disease in times of crisis. Sarah’s inner authority is her best defence. With Saturn operating as Captain of the Guard, Sarah is more likely to willingly seek out the best (Saturn) professional advice she possibly can get.

     Because of the sheer power of the transits and progressions current, I cannot negate the warning through vague suggestions. Sarah has a natal midpoint of Mars/Pluto = Ascendant; this indicates a great force of control which she brings to bare on her physical body. [16] At the same time she has natal Jupiter sitting on the Ascendant, blowing out any tendency she has to excess. The coming transits will trigger this aspect scenario. Sarah is facing a critical time for her physical well being.

Fortunately, her Mercury in Aries demands straight talk without prevarication. Before Sarah arrives for her reading, however, I would have developed a strategy for relaying the information in a way that would suit the Piscean signature of her chart. Sarah doesn’t need to be scared, she needs to believe that this is a special time in her life.

The opportunity for personal power and unbreakable self-belief is at hand. I think December 2004 will see a change for the better----where progressed Mercury in Pisces ingresses Aries, and progressed Moon in Pisces conjuncts Saturn in Pisces---bringing joy to a disbelieving Saturn? Time will tell. There is, however, the feel of a phoenix rising from the ashes when all of this is over. And there is every reason that Sarah will weather the crisis. After all, her first house ruler, most elevated and conjunct its dignified ruler, rules her sixth house ruler and is stronger than it. This is a very good sign in terms of her ability to overcome illness.

     There are no precise formulas to correlating one’s astrology with specific illnesses, although tendencies can be noted. Generalized observations only are to be expected from those astrologers who are not certified in health care.

     Sarah has come to seek information on her general health. Her chart clearly shows a tendency to illness that is mental in origin, that is, her mind has much control over her body’s physical responses.

Copyright 2003: Margaret Penner Choinski

                            Earth Elephant Astrology


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[1] Goldstein-Jacobson, Ivy, Simplified Horary Astrology, Pasadena Lithographers, 1960, p.189. She states: “Gemini is extremely susceptible to outside and current contagion.”

[2] Houlding, Deborah, The House: Temples of the Sky, Ascella Press, 1999, p.

[3] de Vore, Nicholas, Encyclopedia of Astrology, Astrologic Research Society, 1947, p.239. This is a particular degree span (15 degrees Libra to 15 degrees Scorpio is the traditional range). By lying within this area the Moon is thought to be debilitated. Houlding speculates that the idea of its debility may stem from the placement of the Aries vernal equinox on the Ascendant and thus via combusta occurs in the Sun’s setting point, a place thought to represent death. (From The Houses: Temples of the Sky)

[4] Cramer, Diane, Medical Astrology: An Introduction to Medical Astrology

[5] Ibid

[6] Lawlor, Gretchen N.D., Your Health and Moon Sign

[7] Goldstein-Jacobson, p.197

[8] Ibid, p.189

[9] Ibid, p. 193

[10] de Vore, p.33

[11] Lawlor, as above.

[12] Goldstein-Jacobson, p.189

[13] Lawlor, as above.

[14] Garrison, Omar V., Medical Astrology, Warner, 1973, p.128, 168-78

[15] Nauman, Eileen, Medical Astrology, Blue Turtle Publishing, 1982, p.33

[16] Tyl, Noel, Synthesis and Counseling in Astrology, Llewellyn, 1998, p.829

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