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Sympathy for the Devil – When Traditional Medicine Goes Wrong

Let’s take a trip to the 19th century for an astrology and traditional medicine lesson by looking at the birth chart of the grandfather of digital technology.

George Boole

Without George Boole’s contribution we would not be reading this right now. Boole, a fine mathematician with a deep creative and intuitive ability fathered the use of “ones and zeros” in logic, spurring our digital age a century after his death.

Let’s take a look at some things that went right in his life first because the testimonies in the progressions and return charts are pretty cool and symbolically congruent.

I am using broad brush strokes here. There is much more to be said about each testimony and the birth potentials themselves that I am leaving un-analyzed. I want to keep it simple and related to his main life achievement only; plus the bit about medical astrology at the end of this article.

The technique used here demonstrates in remarkable detail how significant themes  in the life show up across different charts for the same period. He was born on November 2, 1815, in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England.

His birth chart shows someone with a deep connection between his intellectual and intuitive side.

We have the Moon, also being his L5, conjunct Mercury, also being his L3. A beautiful double testimony for a partnership between the right and left side of the brain, ruled by Mars, the Lord of his ascendant.

Inside the 3rd-9th cusp axis we find the nodes, bringing emphasis to those two houses with the North Node emphasizing Boole’s ability to articulate his house 9 insights through formulas, treatises and writings: house 3/Mercury.

Boole was a rather unstoppable Choleric-Sanguine fellow who was known for his discipline and methodicalness. Saturn in its own air sign casting its antiscion to the Moon and Mercury certainly is the right ingredient for that.

George Boole - Birth Chart
George Boole - RADIX

In 1849 Boole was accepted as a Mathematics professor at the University of Cork, Ireland, where doors opened for his further research in mathematical theory and the blooming of his studies and research which would produce, a few years later, his most important treatise.

In the progression for the period we see his progressed Arabic Part of Spirit (the Sun/Abundance Part) applying to conjoin Mars, his natal L1. (Yes, the PoS goes backwards.) And the progressed Moon is applying to square progressed Mercury. We see expression and Moon-Mercury activity. Time to shine.

George Boole - Progression Jan 1, 1849
George Boole - Progression Jan 1, 1849

In his Solar Return for the same period we see Mercury conjunct his natal Moon and Mercury, echoing the testimony in the progression. Intuition and intellect fully at work.

George Boole - Solar Return, 1848
George Boole - Solar Return, 1848

In 1854 he published his masterpiece which gave birth to those “ones and zeros” we now depend on, in the paper named: “An Investigation of the Laws of Thought on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities”. Talk about Moon-Mercury symbology: “investigation (Moon: hunger for knowledge) and theory (Mercury: intellectual articulation)”.

In the progression for the period we see the progressed ascendant on the natal North Node and the 3rd cusp. Beautiful testimonies for important house 3 matters around that period. His progressed Moon applying to trine progressed Mercury. The Moon-Mercury theme in his life’s work comes up in chart after chart throughout his life.

George Boole - Progression Jan 1, 1853
George Boole - Progression Jan 1, 1853

In the Solar Return for the period his Mercury is again conjunct his natal Mercury and Moon, and the Moon is applying to square Mars, his SR L5. The Sun, the natural ruler of knowledge is right inside the 5th cusp and all this is taking place in house 5. Here we see his “baby”. His most significant creation is born.

George Boole - Solar Return, 1853
George Boole - Solar Return, 1853

Ok, end of the nice stuff. Fast-forward about ten years. In late November 1864, Boole walked, in heavy rain, from his home to the university where he taught, a distance of three miles, and lectured for a full day wearing his wet clothes. He soon became ill, with pneumonia.

His wife, no doubt a dabbler in traditional medicine, decided to apply the principle of sympathy to her beloved sick husband by wrapping him in wet blankets for a few days after he fell ill. He then died of fever-induced pleural effusion shortly after. A devilish mix of house 6 and house 12 activity.

His progression for the period shows his progressed IC conjunct his natal 6th cusp spelling “going to the grave” by illness.

As one would expect, his progressed Moon is applying to trine his progressed Mercury. Showing the same theme of his life work throughout that fated year.

George Boole - Progression Jan 1, 1863
George Boole - Progression Jan 1, 1863

The solar return for the period of his death shows an applying conjunction between natal L8 and the Sun in a water sign right on his ascendant. Death in water. Mars, his natal L1, is in the last degree of its present sign about to enter its own sign — a picture of him “going home”.

One cannot ignore that Venus, L7, the significator of his wife in the SR has just entered Mars’ detriment, while exalting Saturn, Boole’s natal L12. And Mercury, the SR L8 is right inside the SR 12th cusp: death by self-undoing. The common-sense that suited him so well throughout his life failed him in the end in the form of that absurd sympathy. The Moon translates light from Mercury to Mars. Two testimonies of death in the same chart.

The North Node conjunct his natal Moon and Mercury, one last time… and the SR Arabic Part of Sickness.

(Technique: the Sun is the anchor point, therefore is still in Solar Returns. So here Jupiter applies to the Sun.)

George Boole - Solar Return, 1863
George Boole - Solar Return, 1863

The derived lunar return (derived from the current Solar Return) for the period of his death shows the Sun, his natal L6, conjunct his natal Moon, emphasizing illness. And the Nodes are on the 2nd-8th cusps axis, bringing emphasis to house 8. Mercury has just entered its detriment in the sign of natal L8. No more bright thinking.

George Boole - Derived Lunar Return, November 18, 1863

The lunar return for the period of his death shows the Sun applying to conjoin the natal L8m Jupiter. Both conjunct the star Antares. Testimonies for “death” don’t often get as clear as that.

George Boole - Lunar Return, November 28, 1863

Healing through elemental sympathy works only for Fire and Air.

Fire and Air have heat. Add a little heat to a condition of excessive fire or air and the condition will improve by eliminating heat. It will cool down.

Water and earth, on the other hand, have no heat and therefore no energy. Add coldness to cold and you get colder; there is no other possibility.

Unless perhaps, one wants to harm or kill someone, never, ever use sympathy in a condition caused by excess of earth or water. This is a known principle of Medical Astrology and Traditional Medicine in general and is plain common-sense. Earth or Water conditions can be treated by antipathy only, that is: by adding heat contained in their opposite elements.

Elemental and Planetary Sympathy and Antipathy

Finally, there is sympathy and antipathy on the elemental level, as described above. And there is sympathy and antipathy on the functional level, that is: the level of the planets.

On the planetary level it can be not only acceptable but useful to apply treatments by either sympathy or antipathy regardless of the underlying elemental imbalance. That can be done by direct planetary energy and their opposites such as Mars-Venus, Mercury-Jupiter, etc. and by assessing the essential dignities of the relevant planets in a medical horary chart.

I teach the method and techniques required for the choice of treatment on the elemental and planetary level in the Applied Traditional Medical Astrology Course.

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