Case Study

Medical Astrology

By Nadia MacLeod

Sarah was born on 10th March 1966, at 1325 hours in Sydney, Australia.

In looking at her birth-chart, what can be seen 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?

"Medical Astrology is the art of determining from an individuals horoscope the diseases and infirmities to which he is predisposed. The stellar patterns at the time of birth are believed to indicate potential illnesses which may be triggered by transits of the planets over sensitive areas of the natal chart during the ensuing years."[1]

When considering the nativity to determine health, the primary points to consider in the chart are the:

Ascendant, its ruler and any planets located there,

the sixth house, its ruler and any planets located there,

the eighth house, its ruler and any planets located there and

the Sun.[2]

The essential question is what is the dignity and condition of these points and how are they aspected.

The Ascendant

"The ascendant is the point of life because when the sun rises here each morning it gives its life-giving properties of warmth and light to the world. Traditional descriptions of the ascendant claim it represents 'life, formation of character and appearance'. It signifies our emergence into the world, and since life requires a body to inhabit, this is what the ascendant describes. It is our appearance, our first impression, our 'outer image'. It also indicates the strength of our health and vitality and whether we have the will to overcome disease"[3]

Sarah has an ascendant of 23 Gemini in the terms of Mars, and the face of the Sun. Mercury rules this ascendant. Mercury is at 5 Aries, angular, conjunct the MC and conjunct Mars its ruler. Mercury is pretty hot, and with its close proximity to Mars one would expect a pre-disposition to inflammation.

Jupiter sits on the ascendant in Gemini ruled by Mercury. Jupiter is detrimented in Gemini, although it is happy with its sect position. Jupiter is squared by Sun/Saturn of whom it is the ruler therefore the square is tempered somewhat. Jupiter is also squared by Pluto/Uranus Jupiter is angular and direct. All in all, Jupiter is in fair condition.

The ascendant is squared by the Sun / Saturn conjunction is Pisces. Saturn has some dignity with the ascendant due to being its triplicity ruler, but the Sun does not. Saturn does have impact upon the health due to the square to the ascendant and the conjunction with the sun, its effect will be discussed shortly.

To sum up, the ascendant is compromised by having a hot ruler (Mercury), a detrimented ruler (Jupiter), a square to Pluto/Uranus (covered later) and by the square to Saturn. I would judge the vitality of the native as being around 5 - 6 on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is the weakest and 10 is the strongest). I feel the vitality is changeable due to the mutability of the ascendant, and under stress (indicated by the squares) that she would become ill quite easily.

Gemini rules "the hands, arms, shoulders (with the exception of the sternum and breastbone, ruled by Cancer) and central nervous system in general. But it has the much more important job of governing the tubes of the body - not the arteries or the veins but the eustachian tubes of the ears, the fallopian tubes connected with the uterus, the bronchial tubes of the lungs, the trachea, the ureter tubes from the kidneys to the bladder and the urethra from the bladder to its outside opening.

The lungs also fall under Gemini's domain. Whereas Sagittarius represents exhaled breath, Gemini represents inhaled breath. This oxygenation that reaches the blood is of utmost concern: without proper amounts of oxygen, a person will feel mentally dull and tired"[4]

The Sixth House

The sixth house relates to illness and disease rather than health and vitality. Looking at its house cusp and its ruler, we can glimpse the type of disease or illness, which may befall the native.

Sagittarius is the 6th house cusp, ruled by Jupiter. No planets sit in this house. One would expect that Sarah would manifest illness of a Jovian nature. Jupiter is considered in classical astrology to be "the Greater Benefic because the nature of his influence (when strong and dignified) is benevolent. However, as Dr W. J Tucker has observed, sometimes the benefics (Jupiter and Venus) are stealthy killers, being implicated in the development of coronary thrombosis and degenerative diseases when configured with malefics.

The focal point of Jupiter's activity in the body is the liver. There sugar in the form of a substance called glycogen is stored until it is needed as fuel for muscular activity. The liver also acts to remove poisons and foreign substances in the blood. The function of this organ are so important to health that, when it is not working properly illness can result."[5]

The Eighth House

The eighth house is a significator of death and so is pertinent to the question of health. The eighth house cusp is Capricorn and is ruled by Saturn. The Capricorn cusp being feminine and earthy reflect the slower, colder nature of Saturn, which leads me to believe that ultimately it is the degenerative nature of Saturn that will cause the death (even though it is inflammation that may start an illness).

Venus and Fortuna, both in Aquarius, also ruled by Saturn sit in the eighth house. Venus is generally associated with "ailments caused by dietary indiscretions, sexual promiscuity, irregular habits and lack of physical exercise."[6]

The Sun

The sun is considered another point of vitality within the chart.

The Sun is in Pisces (a feminine sign), in the daylight hemisphere of the chart. It is conjunct Saturn. Saturn is in reasonable condition, however it is still a malefic and must be considered as a limitation and inhibitor of vitality. It is interesting to note that Omar V Garrison notes that "Saturn can act as a steadying and much needed restraining influence (as when posited in the restless sign of Gemini)."[7] Considering that this Saturn is squaring a restless ascendant in Gemini, which is further heated up and agitated by its very hot ruler, the Saturn square could in fact be providing cooling, steadying influence to the chart.

"And of infirmaries (Saturn) signifies epilepsy or the falling of sickness; Saturn signifies phlegmatic and melancholic illnesses, and illnesses of a harsh, cold, earthy, and firm nature; and illnesses in the places of nerves and other similar illnesses."[8]

The Piscean nature of the Sun / Saturn sets up certain conditions within the psyche that will contribute to illness. Saturn limits the vitality and confidence of the Sun. The Sun in Pisces is already connected with depression, alcoholism and addiction, so the conjunction to Saturn furthers this pre-disposition. Piscean "health problems most frequently stem from emotionally induced conditions, rather than from exposure to germs and other factors outside."[9]

The Piscean nature is so sensitive, being "mentally impressionable and emotionally receptive to everything and everyone around"[10]. I feel the Saturn conjunction exacerbates the tendency to be pessimistic, and the Gemini rising worsens the tendency to mentally ruminate over every little thing. The martian flavour to the mercury would lead the native to anger quite easily and if this anger is not directed or expressed outwards constructively, this energy can implode - again causing depression. It could manifest as quite a vicious cycle.

The Moon

The Moon is the fourth, losing angularity, detrimented in the sign of Scorpio, ruled by the raging hot Mars. Its position reiterates the important necessity of good emotional habits for this individual. Getting angry, and not expressing this energy will affect the health markedly, which is reinforced by the fact that the Moon squares the Venus/Fortuna in the eighth. Emotional mismanagement will lead to illness, if not death.

Possible menstrual or fertility irregularities are also indicated.

A note on the Outer Planets

I have chosen to address the outer planets separately, and they essentially reinforce the themes already expressed by the classical planets.

Pluto/Uranus is conjunct, angular in Virgo, squaring Jupiter and the ascendant, opposing Sun/Saturn. The fact that they are in Virgo ruled by Mercury repeats the theme that the nervous system and mental processes are important. Uranus suggests abrupt short-circuiting of the nervous system and Pluto suggests rumination, and hardening.[11] This pair really adds a lot of stress to the Jupiter as it is effectively t-squared by them and Saturn.

Neptune in Scorpio, Mars ruled sits in the fifth house, trine the Sun/Saturn. The trine to Neptune offers an easy escape from the hard work of Saturn. The fifth rules pleasures and could be considered the party house. Neptune here suggests it could be difficult for the individual to re-create without drugs. Its placement in Scorpio, the 'sex' sign means that Sarah could also be promiscuous, and this could lead to venereal disease.

In a Nutshell

Bringing all the planetary factors together.

We have a changeable individual with a weakened basic vitality. At times, she will want to be busy and driven (fiery Mars/Mercury) and will tend to overdo things (square to Jupiter), thus draining her vitality further. When this happens there would be a tendency to self medicate with drugs or alcohol.

She is very sensitive, open to influences and I feel when things do not go her way, she would easily tend to anger and victim consciousness. Not expressing cleanly but directing that energy inward (with Saturn crystallising things) means that she could easily develop severe depression and addiction. How this person handles emotions and the kind of self-talk and belief systems she engages with are extremely important. This sensitivity is basically her weakest point.

If disease were to manifest, I think it would start as some sort of inflammation (Mars) or excessive build up (Jupiter), and if it was not dealt with in these initial stages it would progress to a hardening, phlegmatic, degenerative disease.

Worst Case Scenario

Some diseases, which may manifest if she indulges her addictive behaviours and does not express cleanly, include:

If she smokes - she could develop lung cancer, emphysema or bronchitis.

If she drinks - she could develop alcoholism, degeneration of the liver, rheumatism, gout.

A general overproduction of mucus and fats within the body causing sluggishness, fatigue, high cholesterol, diabetes, in fact any disease involving a build up of substances and calcification. Areas most likely to be affected will be the nervous systems, glandular system, lungs, liver (and other areas already mentioned above).

Mismanagement of anger could cause headaches, migraines, brain fever, and urinary tract infections.

If she does not care for her nervous system she could have a nervous breakdown, neuralgia, insomnia.

Health Measures

The health measures suggested here are quite general and do not cover specific remedies for specific ailments although should illness manifest, one could prescribe in such a manner using the natal chart as a guide.

Moderation of diet is very important - she needs to eat quite cleanly limiting her intake of sweets. She could be prone to starving herself, so she needs to eat regularly and properly.

She needs to not smoke cigarettes, and should limit alcohol, drugs and prescription drugs. She should limit stimulants like coffee.

Exercise is important so that the Mars energy gets an outlet and so that her system circulates well - reducing the tendency to calcification and sluggishness.

Finding a creative outlet - music, art or dance preferably something that involves movement would be highly beneficial as it would provide a healthier outlet for emotions and Neptune.

Engaging in transformative processes - bodywork, psychotherapy, rebirthing or any other modality that allows deep-seated beliefs and emotions to be worked through would be great. This would be essential if disease manifests, as it would allow her to get to the root of the problem. Other aids would be vibrational essences and herbs (being liquid in tinctures they would absorb quite well into her system).

Regular meditation and relaxation would allow Sarah to unplug and calm her overactive mental processes, and would be highly helpful for her nervous system.

Calm, regular sleep is important.

All in all, there is no doubt that this chart offers some challenges in the area of health. I think it is the kind of chart where ignorance of weakness would have long term harmful effects. These effects could be largely avoided by talking to the client and bringing to her attention the key areas of concern as shown in the chart, as well as positively advising her in the actions she can take to avoid illness. With care she can live healthily and more happily.

Copyright: Nadia MacLeod


Solar Fire V5

Garrison, Omar V "Medical Astrology How the Stars Influence Your Health" (Warner Paperback Library NY 1973)

Nauman, Eileen "Medical Astrology" (Blue Turtle Publishing 1983)

Houlding, Deborah "The Houses: Temples of the Sky"

Bonatti, Guido "Liber Astronomiae" (Spica Publications 1998)

Starck, Marcia "Healing with Astrology" (The Crossing Press, CA, 1997)

Hand, Robert "The Lot of Part of Fortune"


[1] "Medical Astrology How the Stars influence your Health" by Omar V Garrison page 11

[2] "The Lot of Part of Fortune" by Robert Hand

[3] The Houses: Temples of the Sky" by Deborah Houlding page 21

[4] Medical Astrology by Eileen Nauman page 19

[5] "Medical Astrology How the Stars influence your Health" by Omar V Garrison page 174

[6] "Medical Astrology How the Stars influence your Health" by Omar V Garrison page 170

[7] "Medical Astrology How the Stars influence your Health" by Omar V Garrison page 175

[8] Liber Astronomiae Guido Bonatti page 107

[9] "Medical Astrology How the Stars influence your Health" by Omar V Garrison page 128

[10] "Medical Astrology How the Stars influence your Health" by Omar V Garrison page 129

[11] "Medical Astrology How the Stars influence your Health" by Omar V Garrison page 182

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