Since I am on the subject of films – and often the reason a film is made is because the story behind it is remarkable, and of course the story is remarkable because the person that inspired it is too and of course the person is remarkable because… you can see where this is going can’t you? – well, to cut to the chase then, I recently watched “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, a compelling vision rendered into film – quite beautifully – concerning the experience of Jean-Dominique Bauby, or ‘Jean-Do’, a successful Parisian magazine editor who suffered a massive stroke while driving his car and woke twenty days later to discover that he was completely paralysed and was in fact only capable of blinking his left eyelid. This extremely rare condition is called “Locked in Syndrome”, the film is nothing short of incredible, beautifully realised and quite emotive, more than worth the rental fee.
Even more interesting though is the astrology of locked in syndrome. Jean-Do’s astrology is not beginner’s grade however, so be warned, but it will be easy to demonstrate the key pressures and configurations:
The chart evinces a great deal of difficult to channel distress, it is a classic grand-cross with very few easy outlets (and even a trine to Pluto is definitely not an easy outlet). Two elements are key, the Chiron in Capricorn as the ‘most visible’ corner of his inner angst and the peregrine island of Sun/Jupiter across the cusp of Taurus in the 1st.
Chiron in Capricorn is all about not being heard, and here is a man who came to the attention of the world (conj. MC) by dint of not being able to speak, write or communicate except through the astonishingly laborious process of blinking his eye at the required letter as the entire alphabet was read through one letter at a time to his nurse. No surprise then that Saturn (slow, methodical, painstaking) in the 6th (health) and in Libra (persons closely related) supplies the offside tension to this aspect pattern. On the other side, Mercury in the 12th opposing Saturn (sorrow through being unable to speak for ourselves) also squares Chiron, which underpins the pain of being unable to physically communicate because of our wound or tragedy. All this opposed to Uranus on the IC no doubt creates individuation through our most private self, and the film and the novel which inspired it, are nothing if not a quite profound study of the most personal, familial (Cancer on the 4th) being. All that psychic tension though had to get out, and it did so through Chiron on the MC, one who becomes known to the world through pain and suffering.
Just as relevant to the initial wound itself though is Sun Jupiter peregrine in the first (body), across the Aries/Taurus cusp, – thus the juncture of neck and brain and therefore the brain stem, Jupiter creates excess and the Sun quickens and vitalises, so here there is almost a surfeit of blood and energy flowing into the brain stem. Extremely interesting too is the fact that Mercury (communication) is on the zodiacal degree for the eyeball. No, it really is. Further health indicators are the Moon Neptune opposition (a paralysis of the blood), Neptune descending – a literal inability to relate to others except in unusual, strange or downright weird ways and the Saturn Uranus square, inhibitions of rhythm, all overexpressed by the trigger of the peregrine Sun/Jupiter on the brain-stem and the need to achieve public recognition through the wound and sense of isolation and being unable to be heard (Chiron in Cap. conjunct MC).
This is certainly one of the most extreme expressions of the grand-cross I have yet seen but it certainly is quite typical in quality if not in quantity, it can be – almost quite literally – a cross to bear, but I usually find that if all that tension cannot get out, it will find a way and very often through the most elevated point. in Jean-Do’s case it was to his detriment, but ultimately to his eternal exaltation that Chiron found itself so high in the sky when he was born; a few hours hence and he might be living today in relative obscurity, but the world would be the poorer for it too.