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Beginning in 1984, Pluto's transit through Scorpio coincided with numerous advances in medical technology that allowed greater survival in life-threatening circumstances. Scorpio is the sign associated with medicine and life-or-death situations, but it also rules money and power. During the time Pluto was in Scorpio, questions were raised about the artificial extension of life, the extraordinary expense of medical care, euthanasia and the power of decision concerning "who shall live." Pluto's movement through Sagittarius (beginning in 1995) has brought even more attention to the legal and ethical aspects of medical progress, including the technologically-induced survival of premature babies.

The "miracle" of modern medicine has caused a population boom in premature babies. Advanced medical technology has not only increased their rate of survival, it has also created more of them through modern fertility treatments. This is because fertility drugs tend to produce multiple births, and most multiples are born prematurely. While 8 percent of singleton births are premature, the preemie rate for twins is over 50 percent, and for triplets, nearly 100 percent. Again, the astrological "culprit" is Pluto, who rules fertility, therapy and the massive replication of anything. Before Pluto's transit through Scorpio (when fertility drugs were invented), about 1,000 babies per year were born in the U.S. as triplets or higher-order multiples. Today, that figure is 6,000, and rising.

Prior to the early twentieth century, the rate of infant mortality and stillbirths was very high. Until recently, it was assumed that disease and unhealthy conditions were the cause. But research has shown that these were mostly premature babies who just didn't have the equipment to survive. With the recent progress in medical technology, there has been a sharp increase of survival rate for preemies, and with every new development, the survivors get younger, smaller and more prone to infections and a variety of neurological and organ complications. Modern medicine is very good at the high-tech rescue of the premature baby, but at what price?

The medical cost to "save" a preemie can be as high as $1 million, and that doesn't include follow-up care.* More premature babies get to live, but a high percentage get to be mentally or physically handicapped, as well as emotionally damaged through the pain of spending several months in neonatal intensive care units. The preemie's first and very Plutonic experience of life includes having tubes shoved into their throats and other orifices, and being poked and prodded with needles and wires.

Astrological Challenges

The physical difficulties that preemies face are daunting. In addition to being born with underdeveloped lungs and other organs, they have a higher than average risk for cerebral palsy, heart problems, mental retardation, hearing loss and blindness. These physical challenges are reflected astrologically in their birth charts. A recent astrological study** showed that a significant percentage of preemies are born under difficult aspects to their natal Sun, which represents physical health. The most common afflicting aspects are from Saturn and Neptune. This study showed that preemies were three times more likely than the average person to be born with Sun conjunct Neptune or with Saturn square their Sun. Compared with full-term births, preemies were twice as likely to be born with Saturn conjunct their Sun or with Neptune square their Sun. Mars is another astrological indicator of physical development, and this planet is typically challenged by Saturn or Neptune in the birth charts of preemies.

The same kinds of aspects show up in the charts of "famous" preemies. Victor Hugo was born prematurely and not expected to live; his coffin was ordered from the carpenter at the same time as his cradle. Hugo's natal chart shows Saturn making hard aspects to his Sun and Mars. Mark Twain was born two months early, with a chart showing Mars afflicted by Saturn and Neptune. When Sidney Poitier was born prematurely, weighing only three pounds, his dejected father went to look for a shoebox in which to bury the child. Poitier's natal chart shows his Sun opposed by Neptune and squared by Saturn. Other famous preemies who were born with Sun-Neptune afflictions include Winston Churchill, Thomas Hobbes, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

Another astrological challenge that is common in the charts of preemies is difficult aspects between Mercury and Saturn. Mercury is an indicator of mental development, language and social skills. Even when preemies survive the physical challenges, they still have to deal with developmental delays. Albert Einstein is a well-known example of this; he was three years old before he started talking. Einstein had an exceptional mind, but he was also born with his Mercury conjunct Saturn, the planet of delay.

As they get older, many preemies don't catch up. Preterm children tend to score more poorly in short-term memory, language development, writing skills, physical functioning, mobility, I.Q. and social skills. A high percentage of preemies are lacking in abilities of "executive brain function," such as planning, sequencing and inhibition of impulsive behavior—all abilities associated with the planet of self-control, Saturn. Some researchers say this explains why preemies rate high among criminals.

The "miracles" of medical technology do not come without a price. In the relentless drive toward progress, new discoveries are implemented prematurely, without reflection on the ethical, social and long-term consequences. In astrology, such reflection is associated with slow-moving Saturn and the retrograde movement of planets. Unfortunately, technology is never retrograde.

Notes

*The $1 million figure was taken from a number of studies, including those below:

What’s the Cost of Having a Child? A Hard-Headed InquiryU.S. News and World Report. March 30, 1998.

U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment. Neonatal Intensive Care for Low Birthweight Infants: Costs and Effectiveness (Health Technology Case Study 38). OTA-HCS-38. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987. 

**The astrological study of 150 premature births was done with charts from babies born between 1992 and 1999 who survived. Their gestation periods varied from 22 weeks to 34 weeks. Their birth dates ranged throughout the year.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Valerie Vaughan graduated with honors from Vassar College, where she studied astronomy and mythology, and has a Master's Degree in information science. She has been practicing, teaching and writing about astrology for 25 years. She is the author of Astro-Mythology: The Celestial Union of Astrology and Myth and Persephone is Transpluto: The Scientific, Mythological and Astrological Discovery of the Planet Beyond Pluto, both published by One Reed Publications.

For more information about Valerie Vaughan, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Valerie Vaughan:

  • Astrology Takes an Eye-Opening Look at Sleep   1/22/2005
  • Woman as Lover or Mother: The Venus-Ceres Crisis   5/2/2002
  • Classroom Avengers: The Astrology of School Shootings   3/9/2001
  • When Lightning Strikes: The Shocking Story   12/18/2000
  • Careers in Health Care: An Astrological View   10/4/2000
  • A Stellar Alignment: Astrology and Chiropractic   7/31/2000
  • The "Age-Old" Dilemma of Aging Gracefully: It's All a Matter of Timing   7/17/2000
  • Between Sky and Mind: The Lunar Link to Sanity   6/10/2000
  • All in the Family: Cloning, Genetics and Astrology   5/4/2000
  • Accidents   4/8/2000
  • Chronobiology: Astrology in a Lab Coat?   3/13/2000
  • Astrology Takes an Eye-Opening Look at Sleep   2/15/2000

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