Astrologic Research on Schizophrenia
by Ciro Discepolo
Two reasons in particular brought me to deal with this topic. First, it is not frequently studied, thus it requires more attention by people such as I who wish to give their contribution to experimental research in the field. Second, I believe that astrological research should focus on those areas where the so-called official science is either silent or says next to nothing. For instance, it seems to me totally useless to study which planetary aspects the chronic azotemia refers to, since this pathology is easily diagnosable by means of a simple chemical exam. Also, the astrological diagnosis of an ulcer is not indispensable as one might think. In fact, any good physician can do it, by analyzing the patient’s body, the symptoms, the clinic anamnesis and the character of the subject. In my opinion, it is much more useful to investigate illnesses that nobody has so far been able to treat such as schizophrenia and cancer.
As far as cancer is concerned, nowadays there exists an incredible amount of researches on it. Plenty of scholars in any discipline, astrology too, have been working for many years with this topic, trying to figure out the meaningful key. I decided to deepen the astrological study of schizophrenia, since a few astrologers have treated the latter, even then only superficially.
In order to analyze schizophrenia from an astrological point of view, it is necessary to provide the readers with a brief summary of the results that psychiatry has so far reached, and with the opinions of the main scientists of the past and the present.
The most important contemporary scholar involved in the study of schizophrenia is Professor Silvano Arieti, who is currently working in the USA. He is the author of the book “Interpretazione della Schizofrenia” (Interpretation of Schizophrenia), translated into many languages and used as textbook in many universities. This work, considered a classic on the subject, contains the history of the medical research on schizophrenia, the summary of the ideas of the major scholars who devoted their careers to the illness and finally the conclusions drawn by the author himself. Nowadays, this topic is still object of a strong debate. Especially controversial is the origin of the illness and its therapy. Here, we shall only deal with the diagnosis with regards to the origin of schizophrenia.
There are various and discordant opinions about the nature of schizophrenia. However, there exist basically two approaches which refer to two schools: the organicistic school and the psychodynamic school. The former claims that schizophrenia has organic origins and that the psychical pathological manifestations of the illness are a secondary effect of the organic illness. The latter maintains that the origins of schizophrenia lay in a serious anxiety developing from frustrating interpersonal relationships. The psychodynamic school also claims that the somatic manifestations of schizophrenia, together with the biological and physical alterations that it involves, are the effects of this illness, not its reason to be.
Currently, the people belonging to the organicistic school outnumber the followers of the psychodynamic school. However, the former have failed to provide any evidence to support their theories. On the other hand, the members of the psychodynamic school, to which the most famous scholars of psychiatry and psychology belong, have been able to show the validity of their hypothesis. This has been possible by means of the increasing number of therapeutic successes gained. Among these people one should mention Kraepelin, Bleuer, Meyer, Freud, Jung, Sullivan and Arieti.
Sullivan reached the conclusion that, like other psychiatric maladies, schizophrenia was caused by unsatisfactory interpersonal relationships – especially the parents-child relation.
Jung pointed out the following: the schizophrenics have to be classified as introverted as opposed to the hysterics, who are extroverted. Also, according to Jung, schizophrenia can develop in subjects that at birth show a very well-developed unconscious and a weak ego. This is possible even though one is dealing with a psychological illness with psychosomatic consequences.
Arieti defines schizophrenia as follows: “…it is a specific reaction to a serious state of anxiety, which finds its origins in childhood and that it is experienced again, more strongly, in a successive stage of life”.
These are some points of view of the official science. Let’s see what is the opinion of some of the astrologers who dealt with this topic.
Dr. William Tucker, in his “Astromedical Diagnosis” points out the mechanisms of dissociation between rational behavior and out-of-control emotional experiences that the schizophrenics undergo. He believes that the conjunction Sun-Jupiter squared to Mars is the main indication of schizophrenia.
In the “Encyclopaedia of Psychological Astrology”, Charles Carter claims that schizophrenia, and mental illnesses in general, are visible in horoscopes with a great amount of negative aspects. Moreover, he is of the opinion that often Mars badly affects the governor of the mind and that Uranus weakens one or both of the luminars. Carter continues by saying that the Moon and Mercury are often in negative aspect to Mars and Uranus. The Sun is usually afflicted and the 12th House is generally prominent. Carter concludes that the 22nd degree of Pisces is the most related to schizophrenia.
In his “Astrology and Health”, Omar Garrison lists the following aspects under the entry “Schizophrenia”:
Henri Gouchon, in the last edition of his famous “Dictionnaire Astrologique” roughly describes the conclusion of a paper presented by the astrologer Counrand to a 1937 Congress held in Paris. Counrand collected the horoscopes of 629 male schizophrenics born between 1827 and 1924. These data lack in the positions of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. From these horoscopes, almost always drawn for noon, emerge the following:
Moreover, the squares outnumber the trines of 212 units.
Gouchon analyzes these data claiming that it is not possible to diagnose the illness only on the basis of the horoscope. One needs to have available also information on the pathologic heredity of the subject. He believes that there exists more than one pathologic feature, which might allow the identification of schizophrenia. Gouchon points out that almost all the horoscopes show evidence for hyper-emotion and affective disorders. He concludes by listing a few features that he came across with:
I know that there are other scholars interested in this problem, but I am not aware of their works.
As you might have noticed, almost all the astrological combinations have been cited to explain schizophrenia, sometimes clearly in contradiction with each other. I mentioned in an exhaustive way these lists of planetary positions with the purpose of stressing the lack of specificity of the various features. They cannot be connected to schizophrenia. Rather, they do not indicate anything at all.
I dissent with the methodology which the above-mentioned scholars have used, because I think that the statistical method cannot be applied to such a complex illness as schizophrenia. By using the term complex, I imply not only the diagnostic difficulties, but also the plurality and variety of the elements that cause this illness.
How is it possible to ascribe schizophrenia to a simple square of Mars to Saturn? Or even to the simple sum of many squares and oppositions? I believe that the statistical method is much more effective when it is used with relation to simple variables. It is possible to create statistics of planetary transits with regards to episodes such as hammering one’s finger or getting a puncture. However, it is a much more complicated matter when dealing with suicide or homicide. This happens because suicide and homicide depend on such a variety of factors that only a combined analysis of these factors’ qualitative and quantitative relationships can actually provide some answers.
I fully agree with André Barbault when, in his “From Psychoanalysis to Astrology”, he claims: “…as far as the investigative capability of statistics is concerned, it is so limited to be comparable to the use the mallet to crush a walnut… Previous investigations emphasized the frequency of martian and saturnian dissonances among groups of pathological interest: various illnesses, madness, malformation, accidents… However, these dissonances appeared in one group or the other without specificity. Thus, to attribute a given illness to the frequency of the dissonant participation of Mars and Saturn corresponds to claim that that same illness is characterized by fever, general discomfort and fasting. These are typical symptoms in almost all the pathologies, as the presence of Mars and Saturn is typical in the human disgraces”.
In conclusion, I personally believe in the invalidity of the statistical method in these cases. Since statistics is based on a cause-effect principle, it needs to trace a specific cause for each effect, and this is not possible, because of the multiple variables of the equation.
I took advantage of Astrology in order to individuate the causes that usually bring about schizophrenia, instead of looking at the illness in itself. In order to accomplish this goal, I considered the following:
Using the above-mentioned elements as a starting point, I asked myself the following questions:
To sum up, we found that:
Since I could not know the anamnesis of the ill people and I did not have a summary of the most important events of his life, I was not able to establish the trigger that put the illness in motion, although I used the transits.
Psychiatry teaches us that schizophrenia is the reaction to a bad state of anxiety, which is shaped during childhood and reappears later in the life in a tumultuous way. This happens when such conditions occur, that are in an analogous relationship with the conditions which caused the first tension in the subject. They bring him/her back to the past anxiety.
This is the way we talk about psychodynamics of schizophrenia.In the previous analyzed case, there are basic elements, which justify the possibility to get the illness. However, if we did not know that we were dealing with a schizophrenic, we would have been stopped by the doubt.
We needed to know whether one or more happenings that forced him to find refuge in his mental illness had actually occurred. Without knowing the history of this man and a posteriori, we can try to propose a hypothesis as it is suggested by the horoscope. The person had a very difficult childhood, because of bad relationships with his parents and the environment surrounding him. He suffered because of his emotional instability and his incapability to balance it with the reason.
He tried, without much luck, to create a protective shell, a condition independent from the family. Probably, for a few years he was able to gain a pseudo-equilibrate state, maybe with the help of some kind of neurosis, until some episode broke this equilibrium and dragged him into psychosis. The episode might have consisted in some type of organic illness, which forced him into depending upon his family, thus re-creating that ancient state of anxiety for insecurity and maladjustment. The anxiety was so overwhelming that he preferred not to experience it again and took refuge into schizophrenia.
At this point, I cannot examine other cases of schizophrenia. However, before presenting the conclusions of this introductory study, I will briefly analyze the horoscope of a woman affected by a rough neurosis. The person, whom I met personally, is currently in therapy. I think it will be interesting to compare this horoscope with the above-mentioned ones, in the attempt to find some answers to the problem of the relations between psychosis and neurosis.
Silvano Arieti, in the text that I mentioned at the beginning of this paper, points out that many potential schizophrenics are able to escape the malady by finding refuge in a neurotic state. In other words, they canalize their anxiety in a neurosis that becomes the safety valve for their evolving psychotic state. In our example, we can see that the necessary elements to diagnosing schizophrenia are lacking, even though there are signs of a neurotic state.
One can see identity problems between the feminine and masculine values of the subject. In particular, the conjunction Venus-Mars in the same degree of Gemini, conjunction that is isolated in the birth context, expresses an identity crisis in the feminine and masculine features. In the case of the subject under analysis, this aspect created a neurotic state that brought about sexual problems.
The horoscope also emphasizes a set of family difficulties, connected to what has just been said. This ensemble represents the psycho-pathologic nucleus of this woman, who is however not in danger to become a schizophrenic, since there are also positive aspects. Moreover, the neurosis should be considered as the expression of a reaction that the ill person activates, showing the strength to oppose to the illness.
From this study, I drew the following conclusions
These statements might seem too optimistic, but they are valid, as long as the Astrologer, with his capabilities, is able to find and read the information that the horoscope contains. I think that a horoscope contains ideally the information needed. However, they are expressed symbolically, thus the goal of the astrologer is decoding and reading these symbols.
It becomes thus evident that the diagnosis is much more accurate when the one who does it is much more erudite in the field. In this sense, one might reach the optimum if the diagnosis of schizophrenia was made by a psychiatrist with some knowledge of Astrology. I am totally in agreement with Gouchon when he claims that in order to diagnose this illness it is necessary to take into consideration the horoscopes of the relatives of the schizophrenic.
Also, I believe it is extremely important to follow these charts in their longitudinal evolution in time. If it is true, as Jung thought, that there are typical birth factors, which bring to schizophrenia, it is also true that, as Sullivan and others pointed out, that the interpersonal relationships have a strong weight in the development of this illness.
As I have already mentioned, it is very important to be able to follow what happens in time to a person whose horoscope showed potential schizophrenia. As a matter of fact, the subject’s psychic condition will evolve in one direction or in the other, depending upon whether he will move towards a situation of increasing tranquillity or rather towards continuous steps back, so rough that they might compromise his/her safety.
I do not think that these negative events can be prognosticated from the chart, since the astrological symbols do not allow us to specify the quality and the quantity of a given happening. Even if this were possible, one would never be able to tell the impact of the happening upon the ill person. I believe that Astrology can provide a worth noticing contribution to the fight against schizophrenia. This can happen in a preventive way, since Astrology can recognize the potential schizophrenic people since their birth, thus offering to the physicians the possibility to intervene in time, in order to stop the malady before its development.
What I have exposed is the result of a year-long research on a limited number of cases, thus this work cannot be considered exhaustive. However, it is an experimental and introductory study, which waits for a confrontation with future studies by authors interested in both Astrology and Psychiatry, which I hope, will follow.
Neaples 1975 – Paper read at the 1st International Conference of Astrology, Milan, Museum of Science and Technique, and later published often, among other in France in the Astrologue, directed by André Barbault.
- Ciro Discepolo Complete bibliography