As a child of the ’60s, it is peculiar to me that parents today are GIVING drugs to their kids. The use of drug stimulants for children exploded between 1991 and 1995, and antidepressant prescriptions nearly doubled during the same period – coinciding with the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune. This is not surprising – Uranus rules electricity and radical behavior and is sometimes associated with mental disorders if afflicted in the natal chart. Neptune presides over experiences that take us beyond the mundane, into spiritual bliss or addiction, and is also associated with consciousness altering substances. By 2014, 7% of all children between age 6 and 17 were taking some sort of psychiatric drug, mostly for ADHD. More than twice as many boys were prescribed as girls – not surprising since boys are often more active than girls.
I have no wish to minimize the danger of true psychiatric disorders which require ongoing medication such as bipolar or psychotic episodes, or a serious depression or panic disorder which requires short-term medication to help the patient move through a difficult time. But I am concerned about our tendency in the modern world to avoid our own emotions and medicate our children into subservience.
The astrological birthchart identifies certain predispositions in our personality and emotional makeup. Acting as a map, the birthchart identifies our strength and challenges, and shows the way to navigate through our difficulties. Often situations that we find devastating later bring us great joy and wisdom that we would never have gained had we avoided something painful.
An individual with a predisposition towards depression is likely to have a difficult aspect of Saturn or Chiron in the birthchart. Saturn can cause us to feel isolated and lonely, and without hope. The time alone that Saturn bringsd, however, can lead to tremendous strength of character and a more solid personality. Challenging aspects of Chiron (the wounded healer) can bring a nearly constant psychic pain that is impossible to avoid. Certainly uncomfortable, the Chironic experience forces us to walk through the fire of our pain and emerge a transformed being, fully prepared to help and heal others. A stressed Mars can also lead to depression, as one’s will and aggression (Mars) is not given full expression and the individual turns their anger inwards.
Anxiety and other disorders such as hyperactivity and attention deficit are often indicated in the chart by challenging aspects of Uranus. Uranus rules electromagnetic energy, and the difficult aspects can cause an individual to feel as though their fuses aren’t connected properly, and they are always “on edge.” This is particularly true of people who have Chiron opposing Uranus in their charts, which can cause an energy imbalance. Individuals with challenging aspects of Uranus in their charts are also likely to be rebellious and not follow instructions readily.
Planetary cycles of the transiting outer planets can lead to temporary periods of mental disorder. Saturn transits are well-known for causing depression and distress, along with a feeling of hopelessness. Transits of Uranus can bring sleep disorders, anxiety and extreme restlessness. Chiron cycles invoke mood swings as we are forced into emotional places of psychic pain. Certainly these periods aren’t always enjoyable, but medicating our important passages to alleviate the discomfort can inhibit our ability to effect the necessary transformation that life is calling upon us to make.
In 2017 a study by IQVia outlined the number of people taking psychiatric drugs (including for ADHD, depression, and anxiety) broken down by age:
0-1 Years 125,361
2-3 Years 202,319
4-5 Years 306,079
6-12 Years 3,259,955
13-17 Years 3,419,633
18-24 Years 5,639,967
25-44 Years 21,429,352
45-64 Years 28,183,444
65 Year + 18,675,398
In all age groups, the highest number of psychiatric drug prescriptions were in the 45-64 age group, except for anti-anxiety medications which were highest in the group aged 25-44. This age group coincides with the first Saturn return and the midlife crisis transits, a time of difficult life changes.
Astrology offers the path to a better understanding of our psychological makeup so that we can learn improved ways to manage our distress without drugs and through our transformation, flower into the magical beings that we are intended to be. Certainly we owe this to our children as well.
A portion of this article was published in 2006.