Here’s a little medical astrology confirmation experience story. After several weeks of waiting for our peppers to ripen, and waiting to find the right window of time to do it I finally got a fall batch of hot sauce made on Oct 30th. Eager to get it done, and not accounting for the intensity of some of the chilies I was using, I made it with my bare hands— all our garden chilies bleeding their fresh juice and rubbing fresh seeds against my skin.
The intensity of the heat seemed to pick up after I was finished the project. Even after scrubbing my hands with good soap, the lingering burn stayed with me all day. I made efforts to avoid rubbing my eyes or touching other sensitive spots, forgetting occasionally and further spreading the burn. I found brief sessions of relief when I plunged my hands into pots of cold rain water that afternoon while washing freshly harvested roots. Soon I found myself walking over to the rain barrel every 10 min or so to soak my hands in it and gain a bit of respite from the sting. But the burn would return a few minutes after removing them.
Late that night as I lay in bed, unable to relax for the pain in my hands, I had a couple thoughts. One was that it was interesting for me to experience such intense heat in my hands because in general, they are almost always cold. So in a way, this was a welcome shift—if only it wasn’t so darn painful! The other thought was about the quality of this relentless heat, and how it felt to me. It not only burned, but it had an antsy feeling to it, like an impatience to find relief. There was almost an anger, and a ferocity to it. My next thought was “this feels like Mars!” It was then that I realized that this day was the very day that transiting Mars had begun its retrograde motion, which will continue until mid January 2023.
For me, this was quite the epiphany because the current retrograde of Mars happens to hit me quite powerfully in my astrological chart. Mars is retrograding (moving backwards from our perspective) through the sign of Gemini. In my chart, Gemini sits in my first house, and thus it holds my rising, or my Ascendant point. Almost right beside that point in my chart sits my natal Mars. So this current Mars retrograde traverses over my Ascendant and also over my natal Mars. This can easily trigger more Mars-associated experiences in my life during this time.
Being a viewer of astrological transits, I knew of this upcoming influence, but I didn’t know just what it would look like. In medical astrology, your first house dictates the parts of your physical body that may express themselves most strongly through your life. Gemini governs the chest, shoulders, arms and… hands! Mars relates to the fire of the body, and to temperature in general. With a strong Mars placement in your chart, either heat or cold can be expressed more extremely in the physical body. My hands, normally too cold and in need of better circulation, shifted to extreme burning as Mars retrograded over my Ascendant and my natal Mars in Gemini. There it was. As above, so below.
Eventually, my thoughts that night took me into dream space, and when I awoke the next morning I was grateful to find that my hands felt back to normal again. Mars is not only fiery but speedy too. Mars in Gemini is like a fire burning up quickly with a burst of oxygen, and then just as quickly, dying back down again.
About 10 days later, I found that a few more of our chilies had ripened, and I also came across the last of the sweet red peppers being sold at a farm stand near my home. I picked up a few of them to blend with my remaining chilies, deciding to make one more small batch of hot sauce (we do love our hot sauce around here!) This time I was using fewer peppers, and I took care to avoid skin contact with them as much as possible. I also didn’t take the time to separate out and save the different pepper seeds for next year’s gardens because I had already done that the last time. This meant much less touching the seeds, thus much less heat. In the end, the burn was there again, lingering for a couple hours but almost completely gone by bed time. That night, as I felt the tiny tingly reminder in my hands, I reflected that this day was the full Moon. This full Moon was intensified by an amazing total lunar eclipse. The energy of the Mars retrograde was amplified by this event, because a full Moon will reflect and amplify everything around it. How interesting, I thought, that I chose to work with this intense herb once again on this powerful day, and here I am with burning hands once again!
This is a clear, rudimentary example of the ways that we experience in our physical life the effects of cosmic movements and interactions. Medical astrology is an ancient art that can help us to map and track these effects, giving us clues to the causes or factors involved in various states of health. One of the first details we look at in an astrological chart is the sign in the first house–the “rising sign”. This can begin to tell us the story of how we, as physical beings, engage with and adapt to the physical world. Looking into a chart from a medical astrology perspective can be quite elucidating, offering helpful keys to the story of your health, which you may not find elsewhere. It offers a holistic perspective that spans beyond your body, mind, emotions, family history and living environment out into the cosmic influences that formed a blueprint for who you are. The chart can be a helpful reference point as we navigate life’s challenges, and look for the supports and strengths that are there with us at those times. Medical astrology has a long history tied in with herbal medicine, and we can be directed to the particular herbs we choose to work with for health, based on the influences shown in the chart.
For me, Mars retrograde means not only hot hands for a day, but it also points to a chance to energize my communication (another Gemini characteristic). This transit has perhaps been the fuel behind my impulse to share with you a bit about medical astrology— a tool that I use in my herbal practice whenever I have the opportunity, and one that I share with people when they express interest.