Jeremy Piven has left the Broadway production of Speed the Plow after being diagnosed with mercury poisoning. Piven, who apparently eats lots of sushi and eats some kind of fish twice a day, sought medical treatment for exhaustion and excessive fatigue. He was found to have elevated mercury levels that were five to six times the normal level.
Clearly, this is a medical condition rather than a psychosomatic one. But the timing of it is interesting in light of Saturn transits that Piven is going through right now. Jeremy Piven (born 7/26/1965, time unknown, NY), like others of his generation, has Uranus and Pluto conjunct in his birthchart. The conjunction of Uranus (revolutionary change) and Pluto (death and transformation) in the mid-1960s was a time of tremendous cultural transformation and radical change, and those individuals born between 1963 and 1968 carry this archetype in their chart. In Piven’s case, the planet Saturn is opposite Uranus and Pluto in his chart, signifying an inner battle between that force for transformation (Uranus/Pluto) and the need for conservative application of diligence and effort (Saturn).
When we have a major planetary system like this in our birthchart, a transiting planet affecting one of the planets in the system has a longer-lasting effect on the entire system. In Piven’s case, transiting Saturn made a pass over Uranus and Pluto in his chart in September as he was preparing for the opening of the play, and by October when the play opened Saturn had moved to a point exactly opposite Saturn in his birthchart. A transit of Saturn to Saturn’s place in the natal chart occurs every seven years and generally stimulates a challenge of some kind. Very little biographical information is available about him, but in 2001, at the beginning of his last Saturn cycle, he left the comedy “Bad News Mr. Swenson” due to family issues and his father died during the second phase of that cycle.
Transiting Saturn is making a square to Jupiter in Piven’s chart now, coinciding with his release (Jupiter = liberation) from the play. Saturn will retrograde back over Pluto in Piven’s chart and oppose his Saturn again in late March and early April, and then again in late May and late June.
The astrological timing of medical events is an interesting question for me. Clearly, Saturn did not cause the elevated Mercury levels in Piven’s blood. But Saturn, with its sense of restriction and heaviness, is well known for causing periods of exhaustion and fatigue. I like to describe Saturn as feeling like the lead blanket the dentist will lay over you as he takes an X-ray.
At the same time Saturn is putting pressure on these planets, Uranus (ruling radical change and rebellion) is in the second phase of a square to Jupiter in Piven’s chart. Under Saturn’s influence we work hard and want to be successful, and under the influence of Uranus we rebel against restriction and desire freedom. This is a very stressful combination of events to collide at one time in one individual.
Another interesting astrological coincidence relating to the timing of this medical issue is the passage of Chiron (the wounded healer) making a square to Neptune (mystery and illusion) in Piven’s chart. It’s not unusual to see mysterious illnesses occuring when Chiron and Neptune combine.
The stressful planetary aspects are designed to inspire us to look at our lives and make internal changes that are necessary in order to better adapt to the changing world around us. I don’t believe that the planetary transits CAUSE illness and disease, but it does seem as though the internal stress of a necessary adaptation may weaken our immune system to the point that we are more prone to illness and medical reactions that may not affect us at other times.
In any event, this may be just the beginning of a challenging period for Jeremy Piven.