THE MEDICAL AXES
Domains of Pathology
Health depends on homeostasis. The organism is constantly striving to maintain a balance, or homeostasis, within all its functions and organ systems.
Planetary oppositions in the natal horoscope indicate aspects of homeostasis that are stressed, problematic or challenged within the incividual. They form Medical Axes, which indicate certain domains of physiological stress or pathology. Signs and symptoms tend to manifest when these axes are further stressed or challenged by planetary transits and progressions.
There are six Medical Axes, with each one involving a different pair of opposing signs, and indicating a different domain of pathology. Through the essential correspondences between the signs and the houses, opposing houses also indicate the same domains of pathology, which tend to become more overt or problematic later on in life. For example, a planetary opposition along the First and Seventh house axis would correspond to the signs Aries and Libra, or the Renal Axis.
The Six Medical Axes, and their respective domains of pathology, are as follows:
Aries / Libra - The Renal Axis
Taurus / Scorpio - The Generative Axis
Gemini / Sagittarius - The Respiratory Axis
Cancer / Capricorn - The Nutritive / Structural Axis
Leo / Aquarius - The Circulatory Axis
Virgo / Pisces - The Digestive / Immune Axis
Each of these Medical Axes is also associated with certain organs, systems, tissues and body parts. Each also has certain syndromes of pathology, disharmony or dysfunction associated with it.
Aries / Libra; The Renal Axis
Body Parts: kidneys, adrenals, eyes, head and cranium, low back, lumbar spine, bladder, genitourinary system (especially male), hips and loins
Aries is a Choleric sign which, due to its intense, driven, competitive nature, ia much prone to anger and stress, which deplete and weaken the adrenal glands. Libra is a Sanguine Air sign that rules the kidneys and lower back. The kidneys and genitourinary tract are only as strong and healthy as the adrenal glands, which are its energetic support.
On the Aries side, the Renal Axis is much prone to stress disorders like headaches, migraines and adrenal exhaustion. The eyes are also affected, with eyestrain, red sore eyes, and poor vision, since the health and strength of the adrenals underlies that of the eyes.
On the Libra side, underlying adrenal weakness and exhaustion will weaken the kidneys and genitourinary system, making one vulnerable to urinary debility, urinary tract infections, inflammation or irritation; uremia and gout. Since male sexual function is also dependent on the strength and health of the adrenal glands, there can be problems in this area as well.
Since the kidneys and adrenals rule the lower back, disorders like lumbago and sciatica are also part of the clinical picture. Another possibility are certain forms of chronic or congenital asthma or respiratory weakness involving adrenal weakness or exhaustion.
Psychosomatically, this axis represents tension in one's relationships and partnerships, which is basically a conflict between personal power and initiative (Aries) on the one hand and consideration, deference and compromise (Libra) on the other. This causes a lot of frustration and aggravation, particularly in the male, which can manifest as irritation or inflammation of the genitourinary tract, which he uses to plug into his partner.
Taurus / Scorpio: The Generative Axis
Body Parts: mouth, jaw, throat, thyroid, colon, rectum, bladder, gonads, genitals, reproductive system, intestines, GI tract, parasympathetic nervous system, brain stem
The signs Taurus and Scorpio are very complex, and so is their axis. The Generative Faculty is just part of its domain. Taurus rules beginnings and growth, whereas Scorpio rules endings, death, reproduction, recycling and elimination; the two are inter-related.
The Generative side of this axis rules both growth and development (Taurus) and death and reproduction (Scorpio). Possible pathologies are thyroid problems and various growth and developmental disorders, often involving defects in the Radical Moisture; and various reproductive issues: sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive infections and putrefactions, sexual dysfunction, reproductive "accidents" and unwanted pregnancies, abortions and sexual power and control issues.
This axis also governs the GI tract by pertaining both to its beginning (Taurus) and its ending (Scorpio). Due to the Fixed modality of both signs, excessive retention and lack of proper patency and flow tends to be the underlying cause of the digestive pathologies associated with this axis: burping, belching, acid reflux, esophagitis, intestinal sluggishness and constipation.
The Taurus / Scorpio axis also governs the parasympathetic nervous system. Taurus governs the relax and receive functioning of the vago-parasympathetic branch, which promotes the vegetative functions, whereas Scorpio governs the relax and release functions of the sacral division, which governs elimination. Nervous stress and tension compromising the digestive, vegetative and eliminative functions of the GI tract, bowels and bladder is also possible.
Both Taurus and Scorpio, due to their receptive polarity and their Fixed modality, are strongly influenced by the subconscious mind. Psychosomatically, all the above issues may be complicated by deep subconscious drives that are only dimly understood by the individual.
Gemini / Sagittarius: The Respiratory Axis
Body Parts: lungs, nose, respiratory tract, diaphragm, rib cage, arms, hands, liver
The signs forming the respiratory axis, Gemini and Sagittarius, are both Yang or emissive, pertaining to the light, subtle, energetic functions. They're also both of Mutable modality, giving them a sensitive, allergic disposition.
This combination of emissive polarity and Mutable modality gives the Gemini / Sagittarius axis an emphasis on respiratory conditions, particularly of a sensitive or allergic nature. Gemini is the sign most pertinent to respiratory disorders, whereas Sagittarius has a milder and less specific respiratory predisposition, due to the reflex relationship of the opposition, as well as the Sanguine subtemperament of the sign.
Since Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, which rules the liver, food allergies and sensitivities are also likely with Sagittarius. But since the liver sits right underneath the diaphragm, liver and digestive congestion and sensitivity can also impact or spill over into respiratory sensitivities and allergies. This is particularly true when Sagittarius is involved in a planetary opposition with Gemini.
Because ambient air and its impurities are constantly flowing in and out of our lungs and respiratory tract, this area of the body is inherently Mutable in nature, and must constantly be adapting to changes in the environment. With Gemini / Sagittarius emphasized, the entire respiratory tract, from nose to lungs, is an area of great sensitivity that can easily be upset by a multitude of environmental triggers. Asthma, bronchitis, frequent colds and respiratory infections, stuffy nose, rhinitis, respiratory sensitivities and allergies, coughs and sneezing, and a predeliction for smoking, often to ease or dull underlying respiratory sensitivity, are part of the clinical picture.
Cancer / Capricorn: The Nutritive / Structural Axis
Body Parts: stomach, knees, bones, joints, skin, connective tissue, digestive tract
The Cancer / Capricorn axis is both nutritive (Cancer) and structural (Capricorn). It involves both the stomach and digestive tract (Cancer) and the bones, joints and skeletal system (Capricorn).
Psychologically and psychosomatically, there are a lot of deep issues connected with this axis: security issues, emotional expression versus inhibition, and self nurturing versus self denial. Many of these problems and concerns are often rooted in one's family background.
The security issues of this axis often play themselves out psychosomatically in conditions, whether congenital, acquired, or even through accidents and trauma, involving damage or disruption to the structural framework of the body - the bones, joints and skeletal system. They also reflect an emotional fragility involved with this axis.
In terms of temperament, Cancer is Phlegmatic, whereas Capricorn is Melancholic. They're both cold, Yin signs, and differ only in their secondary qualities of Wet (Cancer) versus Dry (Capricorn). Psychosomatically, the wetness of Cancer concerns emotional expression, indulgence and bonding, whereas the dryness of Capricorn concerns emotional denial, inhibition, and austerity.
This plays out in the skin conditions connected with this axis, which can either be wet, like weeping eczema, which indicates a desperate cry for emotional nurturing and support; or dry, as in psoriasis, indicating emotional rigidity and self denial. Arthritic and articular conditions connected with this axis involve either excessive laxness and dislocation (wet) or excessive stiffness and rigidity (dry). Also involved with this wet - indulgent versus dry - denial nurturing dynamic are eating disorders and body weight issues like anorexia, bulemia and obesity.
Leo / Aquarius: The Circulatory Axis
Body Parts: heart, arteries, veins, peripheral vascular system, legs, calves, spinal column, thoracic spine, sympathetic nervous system
Leo / Aquarius is the Circulatory Axis, and involves all manner of heart, circulatory and cardiovascular pathologies, like heart disease, hardening of the arteries, poor veinous return, varicose veins, strokes, apoplexy and infarctions. Leo is the heart and core of the circulatory system, whereas Aquarius is its periphery. Between them, they shuttle the blood back and forth.
Leo and Aquarius, being Yang, emissive Fixed signs, govern the Yang, emissive sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, whereas Taurus / Scorpio, the Yin Fixed signs, govern its vegetative parasympathetic half. Associated with the Leo / Aquarius axis are conditions of chronic stress and overwork, driven by the powerful, demanding nature of the two signs, that aggravate and hyperstimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which places a great burden on the heart and circulatory system.
This axis also involves the spinal column, particularly the upper or thoracic spine, which not only houses the sympathetic nerve ganglia, but also supports the ribcage, which shelters the heart. The spinal aspect of this axis comes into play especially if planets like Saturn, or in some way the signs Cancer / Capricorn or the Fourth / Tenth house axis are also involved.
Psychosomatically, Leo / Aquarius usually involves power and control issues, since both signs are dominant, demanding and larger than life. There are also issues involving ego and authority.
Virgo / Pisces: The Digestive / Immune Axis
Body Parts: intestines, GI tract, colon, lymphatic system, hepatic portal system, liver, immune system
In the process of digestion and assimilation, nutrient substances from outside the self are taken in and incorporated into the self. Since the immune system defends the self from the not-self, digestion and assimilation, through which the not-self is converted into the self, is deeply concerned with immunity and potential threats and challenges thereto. This is the essence of the Virgo / Pisces, or Digestive / Immune Axis.
The Virgo / Pisces axis has a Mutable modality, so it has a sensitive, allergic nature. Since its polarity is Yin or receptive, sensitivities or allergies towards the heavier, more substantial things we take into our body, or food, are indicated.
Virgo rules the intestines, whereas Pisces rules the liver and hepatic portal system, which absorbs and processes the nutrients digested in the intestines. Pisces also rules the lymphatic system and impurities or contaminations of it, which can be absorbed from the food we eat, and can compromise immunity.
With the Virgo / Pisces axis emphasized in the natal horoscope, the whole digestion and assimilation process is challenged, with faults and defects in these aspects of pepsis leading to allergic conditions and immune problems. Included among these are assimilation disorders, candidiasis and imbalances of intestinal flora, and leaky gut syndrome.
The Melancholic nature of Virgo tends towards excessive fussiness, rigidity or austerity in dietary matters, whereas the Phlegmatic fogginess and Snguine self indulgence of Pisces lean towards the other estreme of excess and indiscretion. And so, there may also be problems achieving balance and regulation in dietary matters, and dietary self-sabotage.
Psychosomatically, confusion and issues concerning self versus others and personal boundaries connected with this axis can contribute to digestive and immune problems.
Putting the Medical Axes Together
What the two opposing signs of each Medical Axis share is a common polarity and a common modality. These two dimensions will help us get an overview of them.
The Cardinal axes are crucial in deciding the overall balance and disposition of the organism. With Aries / Libra, that balance is primarily energetic, and with Cancer / Capricorn, it's material and structural.
The Fixed axes govern some of the deepest core functions of the organism through the autonomic nervous system. With Taurus / Scorpio, it's the vegetative functions and the Natural Faculty via the parasympathetic branch, and with Leo / Aquarius, its the circulatory functions and Vital Faculty via the sympathetic branch.
The Mutable axes have a sensitive, allergic nature, and govern parts of the body that are the most vulnerable and exposed to environmental substances and influences. With Gemini / Sagittarius, it's the repiratory tract, and with Virgo / Pisces it's the digestive tract.
The Lunar Nodes, or Nodal Axis
One important opposition or axis that's in the natal horoscope of every individual is the nodal axis formed by the lunar nodes. In Medical Astrology, the nodal axis generally isn't a consideration in the pathological predisposition of the individual unless it's afflicted or challenged, either natally, or by transit or progression. This happens when you have a planet conjunct one of the lunar nodes, or squaring the nodal axis.
When the nodal axis is so challenged, it becomes an axis of pathology just like any other. The opposing signs and houses involved in the nodal axis, as well as the nature of the afflicting planets, must be taken into account.