In Traditional India, the astrologer was called upon for predicting wealth, good fortune, marriage, progeny, etc. But without Health, none of these other areas of life would be enjoyable. So the birth chart would always be examined for any upcoming health issues. The correlation between the planets, signs, houses, and diseases was established over many centuries of meticulous observation by the ancient astrologers. Modern astrologers continue this research today.
As with everything in Vedic Astrology, we have to deal with the two fundamentals: the karma and destiny shown by the birth chart, and the activation of that karma shown by the predictive techniques, primarily the dasha (planetary period) system, and transits.
When considering natal health issues, the first step in analysis is to look at the Ascendant, the 1st house. The 1st house represents the body as a whole, therefore the strength of the 1st house is key to one’s ability to stay healthy and to overcome disease. The basic principles of determining strength in the chart are applied: is the ruler of the Ascendant (the planet that rules the sign in the 1st house) well disposed in the chart (i.e., in its own sign or exalted, in a good house, not in the 6th, 8th, or 12th houses)? Is the Ascendant itself free of malefic influences? The association or aspect of the “natural malefics”, i.e., Mars, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu, is considered detrimental. Do the Ascendant and its ruler have the good fortune of having benefic planets, i.e., Venus or Jupiter, influencing them?
Another key to overcoming disease is the natal vitality. Life Force is shown by the 8th house of the chart, which also indicates Longevity. Once again, the usual techniques are applied to evaluate the house and its ruler. A strong and well-disposed 8th house gives the karma of overcoming obstacles in life and the ability to regenerate one’s health.
That’s the basic scheme for the first level of evaluation, but it quickly becomes more complicated than this, since all significators in Vedic Astrology have multiple meanings, and every rule has exceptions. For instance, although the planet Saturn, as the planet of suffering, is detrimental to health generally, its placement in the 8th house of the chart gives good longevity because Saturn signifies endurance.
The houses in the chart are sectors of the Heavens registered to the Horizon. In medical astrology each house corresponds to a particular part of the body. An affliction or weakness showing up in a particular house of a birth chart gives a clue to the area of the body that is vulnerable to disease:
Each planet governs specific body functions and parts of the anatomy:
Sun: Heart, Bones, Spine (and general vitality)
Moon: Blood, Stomach, Breasts, Body Fluids, Heart-Mind (Feelings/ Psychological)
Mars: Muscles, Circulation of Blood
Mercury: Nervous System, Skin, Speech, Intellect
Jupiter: Liver, Gall Bladder, Fat in the body
Venus: Uro-genital system, Kidneys, Hormones, Female organs
Saturn: Joints, Knees, Teeth
Additionally, the Natural Malefic planets, Mars, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu, have areas of ill health that they specialize in:
Mars governs Accidents, Injury, Fevers and Infections, and Surgery
Saturn rules over Chronic Conditions, Debility, Exhaustion, and Depression
Rahu presides over Unusual Diseases, Poisons, Cancer, Loss of Consciousness
Ketu rules Mysterious Diseases, “Unseen” causes, i.e., Viruses and Parasites, and Karmic Diseases
The 6th house is the house of Health and Disease in general, and has a special role to play in medical astrology.
Any planet located in the 6th house of the birth chart is likely to suffer with respect to the organ of the body it represents. Additionally, the ruler of the 6th house (the planet that owns the astrological sign in the 6th house) brings with it the energy of ill health and makes the part of the chart it occupies especially predisposed towards the diseases associated with the part of the body that the house designates.
Putting these factors together, the astrologer can determine from the birth chart what parts of someone’s body are going to cause problems. Then, applying the techniques of prediction, the timing for episodes of bad health can be predicted. Here are a few examples of diagnosis:
For an Aquarius Rising chart, Cancer is the sign in the 6th house. Since the Moon rules Cancer, the house position of the Moon shows what part of the body has an inherent weakness. If the Moon occupies the 11th house, the health issues will be with the lower legs. Since the Moon represents the blood, the problem will likely be related to veins and arteries, such as deficient blood in the lower legs, resulting in difficulty walking, etc. Symptoms will arise during the years of the Moon major period, or during a Moon sub-period in another planet’s major period. Transits of malefics (Mars, Saturn, Rahu, Ketu) in the 11th house of the chart will also precipitate problems.
For a Libra Rising chart, Pisces is the sign in the 6th house, ruled by Jupiter. If Jupiter is placed in the 4th house of the chart, the chest, heart, and lungs, are at risk. Jupiter signifies the energy of “expansion”, indicating 4th house diseases such as enlarged heart, swellings, or growths such as cancer of the lungs, breasts, etc. The Jupiter major period, Jupiter sub-periods, and negative transits in Capricorn (Libra’s 4th house) will activate the inherent disease potential.
In a Gemini Rising chart, Mars represents the 6th house by way of being the ruler of Scorpio. This predisposes the Gemini person to infection and potential injury or surgery (significations of Mars) in the part of the body indicated by the house in which Mars resides. If Mars occupies the 2nd house, the person gets sore throats and will require dental surgery. If Mars is in the 3rd house, there will be colds and flu due to infections in the upper lungs. Once again, the major and/or sub-periods of Mars, as well any negative planets transiting Mars’ position, are times to be vigilant.