“For this is the great error of our day in the treatment of the human body, that physicians first separate the soul from the body.” —Plato
Medical astrology is a branch of astrology that associates parts of the body (as well as diseases and treatments) with the nature of the sun, planets, and the 12 astrological signs. With ancient roots in India, China, Egypt, Greece and medieval Europe, the art of linking the cosmos with the human body—and the medicines and plants that treat it—is at least 5,000 years old.
Medical Astrology Today
Eileen Nauman, an astrologer, homeopath, and author of books on medical astrology, writes about the contemporary practitioner’s role. “Most medical astrologers are holistic in their approach to health because we include the spiritual, the mental, the emotional, as well as the physical of the person who seeks our counsel. As a medical astrologer, the goal is not to prescribe for the client but rather to become a clearinghouse of information, in addition to educating a client about possible choices.”
Lucy McCall is both an astrologer and an herbalist who has been working and teaching in both fields since the late 1960s. A former instructor at the University of New Mexico, she now offers her knowledge through a radio and YouTube program called “As Above So Below.”
Asked how to find a healer who uses astrology as a diagnostic aid, McCall says, “Just choose a really good astrologer! Not all astrologers are masters in medical applications, so ask. Then you’ll be able to take their reading or suggestions to a healer of your choice.” She stresses that she never suggests people forgo standard medical tests for health problems, but that “the addition of astrological counseling can be a path to discovering deeper spiritual solutions.”
What Can a Medical Astrologist Tell You?
One of the unique services McCall offers from a medical astrology perspective is advice on the best day to schedule invasive procedures. “You don’t want a full moon,” she says, citing the belief that we bleed more at that time.
She clarifies some of the differences between Eastern (Vedic or Jyotish) and Western (Hellenistic) astrology, as well as differences between ancient and contemporary readings. Indian astrologers, for example, typically follow Ayurvedic medicine and employ sidereal
astrology, whereas Western practitioners follow the procession of the equinoxes. (Sidereal emphasizes fixed or “real” positions of cosmic bodies.) This means there’s a 23-degree difference between the methods. For example, a person born in early January would be a Sagittarius in the Vedic system, Capricorn in the Hellenistic.
And in the last 50 years three planets, unknown to the ancients, have been added. Neptune rules the fluids of the joints and Pluto rules hormones and the endocrine system. Uranus is associated with electricity, which in the human body would be our nervous system. McCall notes the synchronicity of electricity coming into use around the same time as the discovery of Uranus. Astrologers are still debating the influences of these three “new” planets.
Zodiac Signs & Parts of the Body
A complete medical reading will include the influences of the sun, moon, and rising signs identified in a person’s birth chart. As planets transit through the signs of the zodiac and the houses, they bring their own influences to the body. But we can organize, from head to toe, some basic information and characteristics of the 12 sun signs.
Aries is associated with the planet Mars. It rules the head, eyes, face, brain, adrenal and suprarenal glands, and the pineal gland, or “third eye.” Aries folk are susceptible to head injuries, headaches such as migraine, sinus pressure, and eye problems. Exertion and anger can contribute to ill health, so Aries should seek balance and calm. Helpful tip: Give an Aries you know the stress-reducing pleasure of a head massage!
The sign of the bull rules the neck, throat, ears, mouth, vocal tract, and thyroid gland. Taureans’ necks, strong or long, may be a prominent physical feature. They often have vibrant, rich voices and musical leanings. Taurus may be prone to sore throats or neck strains. Overindulgence and a tendency to brood over troubles may be at the root of disease. This sign, as well as Libra, is associated with the planet Venus.
The upper body, shoulders, airway, lungs, arms, hands, and nervous system are governed by this constellation, also known as the twins. Gemini is prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, anxiety, and lung diseases such as pneumonia, pleurisy and asthma. Nervousness and restlessness are the basis of many ailments. Mercury, the planet of communication, co-rules Gemini and Virgo.
The crab, associated with the mother goddess, rules the chest, breasts, alimentary canal, stomach, and upper liver. Both men and women with this sun sign may have well developed chests. It is not uncommon for them to have digestive or weight issues. Cancer is intuitive, emotional, and can cycle quickly through feelings influenced by the moon’s energy. Illness in this sign often originates in the emotions.
The lion, big-hearted, gregarious, and brave, rules the heart, spine, and upper back. Leo may have cardiovascular challenges like poor circulation or back pain due to over-exertion. When the sun, which rules the heart, is in Leo, watch for inflammatory conditions. Think of Leo as a lion heart who must follow passion and joy for good health.
Virgo rules the digestive system: intestine, pancreas, and spleen. It’s said that Virgos “go with their gut” in decision-making. Because of their instinctive intuition about their bodies, they are the most health conscious of the signs. They can be picky about their diet and prone to diabetes, stomach acidity, and other digestive upsets. Planet: Mercury.
A good sense of balance is a characteristic of the sign of the scales. Libra rules the kidneys, skin, lumbar region, endocrine system, and buttocks. Associated with the planet Venus, Libra is conscious of beauty and positivity. Libras often stay youthful looking longer than other sun signs. Most disease arises from nervous exhaustion. Gift idea for Libra: soft, silky lotion.
Known as the sexiest sign, Scorpio rules the reproductive system, genitals, bowels, and blood. Interestingly, Scorpio also rules over the nose, detecting the subtle pheromones of sexual attraction. This intuitive sign is known for its ability to transform and regenerate. Scorpio was traditionally ruled by Mars, the planet of action, passion, focus, assertion/aggression, and sexuality. Many modern astrologers consider Pluto, the planet of power, depth, loss, and transformation, a co-associate.
The archer rules the sciatic nerve, hips, thighs, pituitary gland, and lower liver. Sports injuries tend to beset these restless and energetic explorers, so be sure to stretch before heading out on that hike. Because of the association with the liver, Sagittarians should limit sugary drinks and alcohol. Watch for gout, rheumatism, sciatica, and accidents. Your workouts pay off in gorgeous gams. Jupiter is your planet of luck and wisdom.
The sea-goat is linked to the knees, joints, skeletal system, and teeth.
A tendency toward fractures and knee injuries means those born under this sign should get plenty of calcium. Disciplined Capricorn’s affinity with hierarchical organizations and structure is echoed in the protective function of the skeleton. Ruled by restrictive and melancholy Saturn, Capricorn’s ills are often rooted in inhibitions. Helpful tip: Ask before you give a Capricorn a hug.
The water-bearer rules the joints, circulatory system, calves, and ankles. Aquarians may suffer from varicose veins or injuries to the lower extremities, especially the Achilles tendon. Glucosamine, fish oil, and turmeric help with joint health. Uranus and Saturn rule together in Aquarius. Because this sign has a highly sensitive nature, nerves can be a root cause of illness.
Before Neptune was discovered, Jupiter ruled Pisces, so this association is literally up in the air! The feet, toes, lymphatic system, and body fat are associated with the sign of the fish. Avoid bunions and callouses with well-fitting shoes. Warm socks will deter the colds and flu Pisces is prone to. In appearance, sensitive Pisces may have soft, fleshy faces. They need to guard against obesity as they age. Self-care tip: Take a walk, then enjoy a foot massage!
• • •
Keep in mind that medical astrology is a specialized field and connecting body parts and astrology is a complex art. Of equal importance, remember that you are a unique individual. Just because your sun sign indicates certain vulnerabilities doesn’t mean you will develop those conditions. Nor should this article act as a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis.
Beyond signs, discover which of the classical elements are healthy or weak within you.