Q: Twenty years ago, I had an attack of shingles in my head.. leaving me with vertigo, deafness, no taste or smell on the left side of my head, paralysis there too, and intellectual deficits. Up until this point, I was a journalist. Afterwards ? Well I had days when I couldn’t remember what side of the envelope the stamp went on. The nerves at the lower end of my spine got involved somehow and though I can walk, etc. I’ve lost functions of elimination… I have to use catheters daily to drain my bladder etc. (I know TMI…) this has been for two years now.. I underwent several tests this summer to try to find out the underlying cause of my physical problems.. and got.. No answers. I’m wondering what to do next ? Is there any light at the end of this long and painful tunnel?
A: Your chart shows difficulty expressing the energy of Mars, something I like to call a “Mars problem.” Mars, being the god of War, is the planet that urges us to defend our borders, to respond appropriately when attacked, and gives us the drive to get what we want. Mars is our desires and often is tied into our physical energy (although the Sun is also an important piece of the vitality puzzle). This is a very complex issue and situation but I will try to shorten and simplify it to fit into this format.
Your Sun is conjunct Neptune, both in Libra – a lovely and creative placement for imagination and beauty, but Neptune does tend to drown out our physical energy at times. This Sun/Neptune conjunction is the apex of what we call a “T-square”, meaning the Sun and Neptune are square to a tight conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in Cancer on one end and Mars and Chiron in Capricorn on the other. This is a powerhouse of a dynamic that when balanced properly can give you a great deal of power for change and evolution. But when it gets blocked that powerful energy can implode within us.
Let’s break this dynamic down: The conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in the first house seeks a an independent, innovative and exciting approach to life. However, their placement in the sign of Cancer combined with your Cancer ascendant makes it difficult to do things that are truly for you. You are geared towards taking care of others, and hope that this will serve you in the end.
This combination of Mars and Chiron in Capricorn show that you are a hard worker and very disciplined with a tremendous focus on what needs to be done. You are able to push through most obstacles and keep your eye on the goal. This can lead you to ignore signals your body is sending you to warn you of impending health crisis until it is too late. The conjunction of Mars and Chiron often signifies a difficulty expressing ones own needs which is reflected in several places in your chart. The Sun conjunct Neptune also can be a signifier of one who is sacrificed or made a scapegoat. And in Libra, the Sun strives to achieve balance and often gives up one’s own self in the process.
The opposition between Jupiter/Uranus and Mars/Chiron can be explosive. Jupiter opposite Mars expands the aggressive instinct and requires an outlet for this increased energy. Uranus opposite Mars evokes rebellion and resistance to control. Chiron opposite Uranus heightens the flow of energy through the body and in itself can create energy imbalances if not grounded properly, and the opposition of Jupiter to Chiron, while it provides an enhanced perception of multidimensional reality, can also increase health problems should they occur.
The picture I am getting here is of a person who has a tremendous amount of energy and spark of life, but who gets bogged down with the day to day responsibilities of watching out for others. Aries is on your midheaven, revealing the key to achieving your highest goals and aspirations is through aggressively asserting your needs and independence.
At the time that your first shingles attack occurred you were undergoing quite a few transits of Mars which were stimulating your need to express yourself in a more powerful way. Perhaps there were things you were angry about that were buried in the need to do what needed to be done. This was exacerbated by a transit of Jupiter across your Aries Midheaven that opposed the conjunction of the Sun and Neptune and set off the whole six-planet T-square combination. Without an outlet, all of this energy just imploded into the shingles attack (shingles are an immune system disorder that is commonly associated with stress).
About three years ago your Moon progressed into Aries (the last time this happened was 30 years before if you can remember back that far) which enhanced your need to have that Aries experience of independence and asserting one’s own needs. Xena the warrior princess is the Aries archetype of women: she is noble and kind but doesn’t take any s*&t from anyone! This would have been an excellent time to take up kickboxing or some other kind of aggressive activity that would help to release some of this energy and increase your sense of empowerment. If you had no such outlet again the energy would have imploded into your nervous system.
At the same time you began your Chiron return, when transiting Chiron was conjunct Chiron in your own chart and again set off the T-square dynamic. Chiron brings to the surface all of our hidden painful wounds from the past, demanding that these wounds be brought into conscious awareness where that can be healed. Resistance to this process can lead to health problems.
I want to emphasize that the opposition of Chiron and Uranus, which is very common in the charts of people born between 1953 and 1985, shows a particularly sensitive nervous system.
Without doing a full reading on this individual I am reluctant to make specific recommendations, but understanding what is needed to regain the balance of appropriate aggression and expression of one’s own needs and desires (Mars) is the first step to recovery.