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Traditional Medical Astrology By Oscar Hofman, Netherlands In the past an astrological student would always start his education by learning horary astrology and not, as is common in our days, by studying natal charts. There is a valid reason for this, horary astrology is simple and clear, it will give the astrologer a feeling for concrete judgement, for the correspondence between charts and reality. Moreover, for most questions a client might have about his life horary astrology will suffice. It can answer with clarity many different questions about for example love relations, the weather, shares, house sales, medical matters, business success, emigration, dream interpretation and it is even possible to make quick and effective elections on the basis of horary questions. In this article we will look at medical questions.
Oscar Hofman lives in Gorinchem, The Netherlands and practises all the branches of traditional astrology: natal, medical, mundane, electional and horary. He teaches three e-mail courses (horary, medical and natal/electional) in traditional astrology available in four languages English, German, French and Dutch. He travels widely to teach and has clients and students in many countries. Oscar is the editor of Anima Astrologiae, a Dutch-language magazine dedicated to the tradition and writes for various astrological magazines around the globe. In November 2007 his book on traditional medical astrology appeared in The Netherlands, the first publication since 1677 in this field which really shows you how to do it. Translations into English, Russian, French and German are in preparation, the English version is expected this year. He can be reached through [email protected], website: www.pegasus-advies.com.
The past decade has seen the rapid reemergence of western traditional astrology, which is still growing and growing. More and more astrologers are switching to the traditional practice of our celestial art and there are also many modern astrologers who want to learn about the classical roots of their profession. For modern astrologers learning the traditional celestial art is often a revelation as historical consciousness in astrological schools tends to stop with C.G. Jung or even Dane Rudyar. It is not standard knowledge that it was the theosophist Alan Leo who initiated modern 87
astrology in the late nineteenth century. Leo based himself on traditional sources indeed but changed many, many things to make sure that astrology would fit in with his theosophical ideas. The Theosophical Society did have quite some money and they had their own publishing-house, which made them influential. So what we learn as astrology in the West nowadays is this theosophical reconstruction although a lot of things have been added on the way such as Jungian psychology and many, many New Age ideas. This is OK but it is a bit one-sided. More than twenty centuries of astrological history and tradition have become invisible and there are many treasures waiting to be rediscovered. Modern astrology is one of the varieties of astrology you can practice, but there is much more. Sometimes the rediscovery of the traditional practice is almost miraculous, as with medical astrology. In the old days a doctor would always have been an astrologer, he would base his diagnosis, treatment and prognosis on the chart, otherwise he would have been seen as a dangerous quack. A traditional doctor worked within an astrological world view using elements and planets to characterize and heal diseases. As everything in the world, every precious stone, every herb, every activity and even every soil can be described in astrological terms; there was also a wide choice of natural remedies. This choice was made purely on the basis of astrology. Over the past eight years I have practised the reborn traditional medical art – without any further specific medical training – and I can tell you it works, often better than modern medicine which bases itself on materialistic science only. This is a miracle, and any astrologer can do it, the only thing you need is astrological knowledge. This reborn medical astrology is not homeopathy or naturopathy as a part of which we also take a glance at the natal chart and some transits; it is real astrological diagnosis and treatment based on the horary chart of the question about the disease. It is only the horary chart – NOT the natal chart - which shows what is going on at the moment, the acute problem and its deepest cause. This deepest cause of a disease is always formulated in astrological terms, like Mars in Scorpio, which means that the martial energy stream in the body has become unbalanced because of the excess of the water element – Scorpio - in the system. All four elements may lead to health problems if they are present in the body in excess. So there are basically only four illnesses: water, fire, air and earth diseases, although they will manifest in many different forms. Now before we are going to discuss the method of diagnosis based on the horary chart, we will have a closer look at the elements or the humours as the elements are called in medical astrology. All humours have their typical disease patterns and it is important that we understand how they can manifest in the body. This is the most basic level; the four elements are the fundamental building-blocks of the whole cosmos and so of the body too. The elements or humours are built up out of four basic simple qualities, heat, cold, dryness and moisture. Heat is energy and movement, cold is the absence of energy. Dry means that no connections are made, structures are rigid and boundaries are maintained. Moisture indicates connection and structures and boundaries are broken down or lost. Dryness and heat built up the fire element, dryness and cold the earth element, moisture and heat the air element and moisture and cold the water element. The four elements have their special names in medical astrology which are mentioned in the scheme below along with typical disease patterns. 88
FOUR BASIC CAUSES OF DISEASE, the four elements in excess EXCESS MELANCHOLY, BLACK CHOLER OR EARTH: Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis, constipation, formation of stones, many forms of cancer, palsies, depression Image: frost in the body EXCESS YELLOW CHOLER OR FIRE: acute inflammations, fevers, overactive organs (for exampe hyperthyroidism), dry eczema, red skin, burnout, agression Image: the body on fire EXCESS PHLEGM, SLIME OR WATER: colds, flues, bronchitis, lingering inflammations, obesity, underactive organs, diabetes, psoriasis, lung problems, diarrhoea, apathy, dementia Image: a flooded body EXCESS BLOOD, SANGUINE HUMOUR OR AIR: spontaneous bleedings, haemmorrhoids, circulation problems, oxygen supply problems, feverish infections, heart problems, tissue growths, nervousness, manic activity Image: steam and overpressure in the body By thinking in images on the basis of the qualities which built up the elements, we can see why certain diseases are caused by an element. MS for example is a breakdown of the nervous system for which there is no treatment in modern medicine as no cause is known. In traditional astrological medicine MS is typically an earth disease, earth or the melancholic humour is cold and dry. Cold means there is no energy and dry means that connection are severed. This is the exact image of multiple sclerosis, the melancholic excess manifests in the nervous system in this case often indicated in the chart by the involvement of Mercury, significator of the nervous system. So we have a diagnosis and therefore a treatment. If there is too much earth circulating in the body system we need to bring in more air which is the element opposite to earth. It is like spading the garden, the earth has lumped together too densely and bringing in air will make it looser. It is possible to bring in more air by eating airy foods and avoiding earthy foods, and we can also prescribe a herbal tea which leads out the excess black choler. Success has been achieved in the case of MS with fumitory (Fumaria Officinalis). This is new for scientific medicine but traditional astrological medicine has known for more than twenty centuries that fumitory works against melancholic excess. As there is always a chart if we have a question about a disease, we always have a diagnosis and a treatment. This is not to say that astrological medicine will bring immediate miraculous healing, it may also fail, like all forms of medical treatment. But it does heal or bring relief in a lot of cases, even in cases given up by the modern doctors. Practise shows that these natural, non-chemical remedies often do need a longer time to achieve healing, the natural remedies are not like the fast magic89bullets of scientific medicine. In traditional
medicine we gradually rebuilt the balance in the body/mind system, if the balance is restored the illness will disappear in the end. It is very important to realize that traditional The disease is NOT the ruler of sixth astrological medicine is very different in its approach of symptoms and disease causes. In house, the house of illness. Taking the modern medicine the symptom often is seen as sixth house ruler as the disease will the disease itself. If you have a rash on your skin lead to a wrong diagnosis with all dire it is suppresed with a cortsisone cream, and if it consequences. disappears, you are 'healed'. But of course the rash is not the same as the disease, it is only a sign that something is wrong deeper in the body! Because of this fundamental misconception modern medicine may be very harmful and itself the cause of many serious, chronic diseases. For if we do not restore the balance in the body on a deeper level, a more serious disease may develop later. Switching off the fire alarm does not mean the fire has been put out succesfully!
The Diagnostic Method We need the basic insights above to be able to practise a good and effective traditional medical astrology. The following example will show how we proceed. The first thing we look at in the chart is the ruler of the first house. The first house in a horary chart represents vitality, health and the body. As we are interested in what is wrong with the body – someone has asked what is the cause of his medical problem - the aim is to identify which factor is harming the ruler of the first house, Lord 1. In astrology this factor is necessarily a planet in a sign, but the outer planets are left out, you don’t need them in traditional astrology. The disease is NOT the ruler of sixth house, the house of illness. Taking the sixth house ruler as the disease will lead to a wrong diagnosis with all dire consequences. The simple reason is that we are already asking a question about a disease, we do not need a special house to give us that. What is being asked is: what is wrong with my body, so Lord 1 is the starting-point, and there is always a planet harming Lord 1, this planet will indicate the disease. In most cases the disease is Lord 1’s dispositor. A dispositor has power over the planet it dipsoses and this exactly describes the disease situation, the body is controlled by the illness. But a check has to be performed first. Lord 1’s dispositor is only the disease cause if the planet is located in a sign which does accord with its elemental or humoural nature. To perform the check, this scheme is useful: Fire planets are Sun and Mars Water planets are Venus and the Moon Earth planets are Saturn and Mercury Air planet is Jupiter So if Scorpio is on the ascendant, Mars is Lord 1, the body – remember: no outer planets. If Mars is located in Virgo, we have a fire planet in an earth sign. This means Mars is ill because he is in the wrong sign, in the wrong environment. In this case we can take Virgo’s 90
ruler Mercury as the cause of the disease. If Mercury is located for example in Leo, the disease is a fire disease – Leo being a fire sign - which has affected the nervous system or some other Mercurial function in the body. This planet-in-sign – Mercury in Leo - is the disease, the cause of the trouble. Its aspects and especially its receptions show how this cause works out in the body. The remedy would be putting out the fire by cooling and moistening (watery) foods and herbs and restoring Mercury to its proper function by Mercurial herbs, stones or tinctures. So the whole thing is done completely on the basis of astrology. The following example will illustrate the method.
This question was asked by a woman suffering from a skin problem in the feet. The skin was so painfull – because of moisture gathering there - that she was an invalid a part of the year, on top of that her hair was thinning and falling out every time the skin problem returned. The modern doctors did not have a diagnosis nor a treatment, she was simply sent home, they had never seen such a thing. Traditional medical astrology does provide a diagnosis because it does not depend on symptoms, it simply looks behind the material curtain in the chart, to see what is wrong. 91
In the horary chart the woman is Jupiter, the ruler the first house. Jupiter is an air planet, hot and moist, located in Scorpio. Scorpio is a water sign so it is cold and moist. The elemental natures of the planet and the sign are not the same so Jupiter’s dispositor is the cause of the disease. This is Mars in Scorpio, Mars in Scoprio is the disease, this is what is wrong with the body. Because of the excess of water (Scorpio), Mars has become unbalanced and it is part of the illness. This fits the symptom pattern, there was indeed an excess of water in the feet, a kind of foot dropsy. So she will have to eat heating and drying foods like peppers, onions, garlics, curries and suchlike, this will evaporate the water in the systeem. Also heating herbs which fall under the symbolism of Mars would be effective remedies. Mars herbs will correct Mars – the planet which is unbalanced – and will also evaporate the excess water further. Perfect would be stinging-nettles (Urtica Dioica), which is clearly a plant of Mars and is also known for its healing effect on the skin. Furthermore the client could wear a precious stone of Mars like a hematite or a red garnet. There is also a psychological dimension, fixed Scorpionic waters are fixed emotions. This is connected to grief which has not been dealt with or a lack of emotionally intimate relations in which you can be your own simple self and relax without any stresses. Improvements in this field – possibly by crying the unshed tears in a safe environment - would also promote healing. In the tears we literally see the excess moisture leaving the body. The proposed measures were effective and the disease without a name was healed. The modern doctors only poured scorn on the client for consulting a medical astrologer. That the astrological treatment was succesful in a case in which they themselves hopelessly failed was not important at all. Their point of view is that astrology cannot possibly work, the healing was effected „by chance“ or by the „placebo effect“. Inspired by the healing, the client became a medical astrologer herself. She now works very succesfully among the poorest in the Phillipines, this natural method is also very cheap, as it does not need any chemical medication. In the next column we will look at some more cases in which the diagnosis was more complicated and also at questions about operations and treatments. Chart data: 12 November 2006, 11:12 MET (10:12 GMT), Gorinchem, The Netherlands (51 N 50 / 4 E 58), Asc 26.19 Sagittarius. Regiomontanus house system, tropical zodiac.