Asteroid HYGEIA – Health and Healing in the Chart
While significant bodies of knowledge about Medical Astrology are available, I would like to explore in this article the particular influence of the Asteroid Hygeia and her role in both “afflictions,” recovery, and in healers or doctors.
Astrology helps us understand our lives in the context of larger natural and planetary cycles. In our charts and through transits, we identify our strengths, weaknesses, potentials, and times of heightened activation. Astrology provides a cosmic perspective on EVERY aspect of our lives, from parental influence, career development, relationship dynamics, to health on all levels.
From an Evolutionary Astrology perspective, health and wellness are not to be analyzed merely as an isolated matter, but part of the holistic perspective on the whole spectrum of our soul journey. When our soul is aching or when we are under intense developmental stress, it will affect our health. The strong features of our chart are also those that can be overused and wear out.
The purpose of identifying health matters in the chart boil down to a few important points:
– The chart does not reveal an absolute health diagnosis, but shows potential vulnerabilities.
– The chart can provide indications about which organs or mental features may be more stressed in times of intensity and tension.
– The main purpose of Health profiling in astrology is for preventive purposes. As astrologers we can help identify health vulnerability and therefore suggest measures to avoid a health crisis and support wellness and well-being.
– The chart can describe what the best strategies are to maintain wellness for each individual at particular times.
– The chart can reveal the spiritual reasons and lessons associated with particular health conditions, providing the individual with a more holistic understanding about health vulnerabilities or existing conditions.
– Astrologers are usually not licensed health practitioners and should not take authority on health matters. When identifying potential vulnerabilities, we must always refer our clients to licensed professionals.
HYGEIA – ILLNESS and HEALING
While significant bodies of knowledge about Medical Astrology are available, I would like to explore in this article the particular influence of the Asteroid Hygeia and her role in both health “afflictions,” recovery, and in healers or doctors.
Hygeia is the 4th largest Asteroid in mass and volume after Ceres, Vesta, and Pallas.
Her orbit around the Sun takes about 5 years and 7 months, with roughly 5 ½ months in each sign.
Mythology: From Wikipedia
In Greek as well as Roman mythology, Hygieia (also Hygiea or Hygeia) was one of the Aeclepiadae; the sons and daughters of the god of medicine, Asclepius, and the goddess of healing, Epione. She was the goddess/personification of health, cleanliness and hygiene.
Hygieia also played an important part in her father’s cult. While her father was more directly associated with healing, she was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. Her name is the source of the word “hygiene”.
In the Chart
While the myth does not associate Hygeia directly with healing per se, but hygiene and prevention, we can certainly see an immediate correlation of the asteroid Hygeia with remedy, noticeably present in the charts of doctors, traditional healers, or medical researchers.
Some personal observations about Hygeia:
– Her place in the chart (by sign, house, and aspects) describes health vulnerabilities (physical or mental), and healing capacities (recovering from ailments or healing other people).
– She is prominent in many charts of health practitioners, healers, doctors, and medical researchers.
Prominence can be determined by her placement on angles (Asc, Desc, IC, MC) Lunar Nodes (South or North), tight aspects to luminaries (Sun and Moon), or the abundance of aspects in general.
– Transits of Hygeia could activate ailment or health crises in the anatomical correspondence to astrology.
Examples of Hygeia in the charts of individuals who have contributed to medical research and healing:
Aloysius Alzheimer was a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist. Alzheimer is credited with identifying the first published case of “presenile dementia”, which Kraepelin would later identify as Alzheimer’s disease. (Wikipedia)
Hygeia is conjunct Alois’s Sun and Uranus in Gemini on the Ascendant angles.
Alzheimer disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects memory, speech, and orientation.
Uranus and Gemini are both archetypes immediately related to brain function, memory, and the nervous system. Hygeia in this case, reflects the research and identification of the condition in modern science.
Moreover, Uranus and Aquarius are related to scientific research. With Hygeia conjunct Uranus, we can see research done in the field of medicine.
Chart 1 – Alois Alzheimer
French scientist, biochemist and bacteriologist, considered the founder of preventative medicine. He is best known for the origination of pasteurization, a process by which harmful bacteria in perishable food products are destroyed using heat, and his contributions are some of the most valuable in the history of science and industry.
In the early 1880s, he perfected a technique to vaccinate sheep against anthrax. He opened the Pasteur Institute of Paris, for the purpose of specializing in rabies research, prevention and treatment.
Pasteur’s Hygeia is conjunct his North Node and IC angle in Aquarius.
Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals as it affects the central nervous system.
Anthrax is a bacterial infection that affects either skin or lungs.
Hygeia positioned in Aquarius on Pasteur’s North Node, the sign related to brain function and nervous system, along with lungs and respiratory organs. This placement of Hygeia reflects the medical research focus of Louis Pasteur. Hygeia is square his Saturn in Taurus which relates to skin conditions – with reference to the Anthrax vaccine.
The preventive approach adopted by Pasteur can be identified by both Hygeia in the 4th house, the house that relates to protection, nurturing, and incubation, as well as Pluto and Chiron in the 6th house, which relates to sterilization methods.
Chart 2 – Louis Pasteur
A client was diagnosed with breast cancer at the relatively young age of 28, a few months after she gave birth to her second daughter.
Natally, Hygeia is tightly conjunct her Moon in Pisces in the 4th house. The Moon and the 4th house relate to motherhood, female influence, and female anatomy. The diagnosis was not only reflecting the physical trauma and her subsequent attempts to save her breasts and her life, but it also prevented her from nursing and providing close care to her baby daughter. Hygeia in this position showed both the physical and psychological trauma related to her diagnosis.
She was diagnosed when transiting Hygeia was in Taurus on the transiting South Node, saddling her natal Mars/Pluto opposition (June 2013). The good news is that she eventually recovered.
Interestingly, her daughter was born with a Sun/Hygeia tight conjunction in Aries, reflecting her early exposure to health matters and the battle that ensued.
Chart 3 – Breast Cancer
These cherry picked examples give us a thread to continue the exploration of this potent and intriguing asteroid and archetype. We certainly should not limit our study of medical astrology to Hygeia alone as so many factors in the chart play a central role in both health afflictions and recovery, but it seems that Hygeia’s influence is unavoidable and I encourage further research.
© 2019 Maurice Fernandez – all rights reserved
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