The Astrology of Locked in Syndrome.

"Locked in Syndrome"
“Locked in Syndrome”

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:

00) Paris, France
Jean-Do, 23 Apr 1952, 05:25 (CET -1:00) Paris, France

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.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly tells the story of Jean-Do's life
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly tells the story of Jean-Do’s life

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.

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8 thoughts on “The Astrology of Locked in Syndrome.

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  1. Jeremy,

    Two thoughts. One, you know way too much astrology for your own good.

    Second, one wonders if that Uranus opp Chiron in the Grand Cross has something to do with failures of the heart/circulatory system. I have a Grand Cross in fixed signs( Mars in the twelfth, Sun combust Chiron in the tenth, Neptune in the Sixth (yep, I nearly died before they found the problem) and Uranus in the fourth. I had an aortic valve replacement at a age 46 which relatively young for such a procedure. It certainly makes you wonder.


  2. Thank you Beth.
    Do you have Leo? 1 degrees of Leo corresponds to the aortic valve.

    I recently had a case where somebody’s foot turned black; they had a Yod from Leo to Pisces, the problem was in the superior vena cave (Sa/Pl conj.) Her doctor (apparently) flat out refused to believe that the problem had been diagnosed with astrology, she thought it was a ‘lucky guess’. I ask you.

    1. Uh oh, now I’m concerned. I have Pholus in the 1st degree Leo and a family with a history of heart problems. Any clues what Pholus could do here? I’ve had my heart checked before with nothing found wrong.

      1. Chiron is also very close in the 9th degree of Leo. Both Pholus and Chiron are in opposition to Saturn in Aquarius.

      2. Oh ho ho, just checked my brother’s chart who was born with a rare disorder where his heart valves are swapped. His ascendant is Leo 1º5’ with Pallas Athena at Leo 3º57’. There have been no medical interventions thus far; he is about to turn 18.

  3. My Uranus is in Leo at 4 degrees. Is that close enough?

    With Neptune in my sixth house, doctors have a difficult time diagnosing my health problems. Years ago, when I was having difficulty with fatigue, and the doctor thought I had Seasonal Affective Disorder, which was the designer disease of the year. My chart said I had anemia. One guess who was correct.

  4. I would say then that Uranus is definitely the culprit in that case, that certainly is close enough. Midpoints are usually very informative as well, the midpoint of the closest square in the astrology usually tells a story concerning the health, since semi-squares were considered by some ancient astrologers to be ‘health-warnings’.

    My own closest aspect between personal planets is a semi-square of Sun-Jupiter from 12 Libra to 27 Leo. That certainly gives me a warning about alcohol (since 27 Leo is an alcoholic degree) and 12 Libra denotes the right renal system.

    Now I enjoy a drink (and right now under this Neptune square) I *really* enjoy a drink, but it’s a warning I take seriously, so I try and observe moderation whenever possible.
    You have Taurus rising right?

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