Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Astrology and Anorexia

The following is an extract from my book "Growing Pains," which is copyrighted by me. Do not copy or re-produce without explicit permission from me. Please do feel free to share the link on social media sites. An extended version of this material will be in my next book, "Astrology For Teachers." This is a work in progress posted for feedback.

The English word “adolescence” has its root meaning in the Latin word “adolescere” which simply means “to grow up”. Although we typically associate adolescence with the teenage years, the changes towards maturity can begin earlier and later. In our Western culture, the stereotypical focus tends to be on sexual developmental with the more significant cognitive and psychological development overlooked. Western culture’s pre-occupation with breast size and their sole focus on their sexual role as well as worry and obsession over penis size means that the transitional stage into adulthood is fraught with furtive comparisons to more mature peers and worry over slow development.
The average onset of puberty is 10 or 11 years of age for girls and 12 or 13 years of age for boys.  Environmental factors and hereditary plays a large part in when and for how long adolescence lasts. The major hallmarks of adolescence appear to be focused on menarche for the girls and ejaculation for the boys. Here there is the emergence of a huge gender divide: whilst girls are taught to be private or even ashamed about their monthly cycles, boys are encouraged to be boastful about their sexual prowess. Girls are conditioned to “be careful” of unwanted pregnancy whereas boys are seemingly permitted to simply “be boys” in the ever static adolescent games of sexual inequality.
Interestingly, studies show that girls who mature earlier than the peers are more likely to have unwanted pregnancies and are more likely to be exposed to alcohol and drugs.  Thus girls who begin adolescence earlier are also more likely to perform less well in school.  Boys who mature more quickly than their peers are more likely to be sexually active earlier and to take sexual risks before they have developed the necessary cognitive skills to cope. 
Perhaps it is because girls develop first and for a couple of years are bigger than their male counterparts that they are more prone to eating disorders and perhaps because boys are so competitive over their development that their perception of being smaller or more inadequate can lead to an obsession with violence or domination. It is rare for boys to be anorexic and rare for girls to become interested in guns. Further, during the growth spurts girls put on body fat whereas boys put on muscle. For some of these reasons, anorexia and other forms of self-harm tend to be issues for young females and a fascination with violence or outward forms of expressing violence tend to be issues for boys. In astrology, we might attribute these tendencies to Venus in the charts of females and Mars in the charts of males. Much more comment could be made of these astrological factors but for the purposes of “Growing Pains,” the emphasis will be on Jupiter and Saturn.


Anorexia is not a new disease but is a dangerous condition that has received much attention since Karen Carpenter succumbed to its effects at the age of 32 in 1983. The usual victims of anorexia are young women who typically exhibit signs of the disease during adolescence. Although the root causes of anorexia are complicated, the general issues of it tend to centre on self-control and body image.

Karen Carpenter

Birth details:
2 March 1950, 11:45am, New Haven Connecticut
Jupiter in Aquarius ruled by Uranus in Cancer
Saturn in Virgo ruled by Mercury in Aquarius
1st Jupiter return, February 1962 (age 11 years 11 months)
1st Saturn opposition, May and July 1965 and Feb 1966 (age 15 years 11 months at last opposition)
In Karen’s timed chart, it can be seen that her natal Pluto and Moon are in conjunction in the sign of Leo. Not only are there issues of extreme control, the self-image is particularly sensitive. As Mercury and Jupiter in Aquarius are opposite the Moon and Pluto, these issues are triggered by her Jupiter returns.
Natally, Karen’s Jupiter was in the sign of Aquarius which is ruled by Uranus in Cancer. Because Uranus is conjunct her ascendant, Karen may have held unusual views about family. For example, she lived at home with her parents until the age of 26 and had an usually close relationship to her brother.
Karen’s first Jupiter return was followed by a Saturn conjunction to natal Jupiter indicating her growth cycle is immediately followed by a blockage. It is as if her body is given the signal to grow and then immediately given the signal to stop. Additionally, her cycles of growth appear to be tied into Jupiter’s conjunctions to Saturn by transit. In her lifetime, transit Jupiter made three conjunctions to Saturn. The first was just after the age of six, the second was just after her 1st Saturn oppositions when she began her extreme diets and the 3rd was when she wed her husband in August 1980, just months after her first Saturn return.
During her first Saturn oppositions, Karen had begun making their first recordings as part of the “Richard Carpenter Trio” alongside her pianist brother and bassist Wes Jacobs. In her chart, Saturn is opposite her Sun and thus issues of self will be triggered by transiting Saturn. Sometime after this Karen began dieting and if we are to believe The Karen Carpenter Story, the reason she began dieting was because she had been referred to as “Richard Carpenter’s chubby sister”. This triggered off a life time obsession with extreme weight management that ultimately led to her untimely demise at the age of 32.
In her natal chart, Saturn in Virgo was in opposition to her Sun in Pisces, indicating it may have been difficult for Karen to appreciate her soft and sensitive nature. Saturn in Virgo requires precision and accuracy, traits that a Sun in Pisces just doesn’t understand. As Saturn continued his journey through Karen’s chart, this theme of incongruence contributed to Karen’s lack of self love and acceptance. In every single Saturn transit, she evaluated her position in life and made a critical decision about her self worth. In 1978-79, The Carpenters were at the height of their career. In addition to transit Jupiter conjunct to natal Saturn, during this time Saturn made three oppositions to Karen’s natal Sun and then completed its own return.
In September 1982 as transiting Saturn was conjunct Neptune and in a trine aspect to her natal Jupiter, Karen controversially gained 30 pounds on medically supervised intervention. She died of heart irregularities a few months later.

Lena Zavaroni

Birth Details
4 November 1963
Jupiter in Aries, ruled by Mars in Sagittarius
Saturn in Aquarius, ruled by Uranus in Virgo
By the time Lena experience her first Jupiter return a few months after her 11th birthday, she was already a star, having won “Opportunity Knocks” and had travelled to America to perform on the “Johnny Carson Show”. She was a beautiful, if precocious child, the owner of a phenomenal voice. She knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life.
With Jupiter in Aries, Lena would have been naturally exuberant and ambitious. Her energy and enthusiasm would have been contagious—and probably irritating to less energetic personalities. During the period of time between her Jupiter return and Saturn opposition, she began to grow rapidly, a trait that did not go unnoticed by her costume fitters who complained that they had to continually let the seams out of her clothes. As noted in the Saturn in Aquarius section, as her Saturn opposition took hold, Lena began to hate her body. Natally, Zavaroni had Saturn in Aquarius and all the problems of self-consciousness became apparent in an extremely short period of time in the two years and two months between her first Jupiter return and first Saturn opposition. Anorexia took hold and with the final Saturn opposition at the age of just thirteen years and nine months, her growing phase was significantly short. She later said the costumes prevented her from developing as a woman.

A more detailed look at her birth chart reveals she has a concentration of planets in Scorpio, indicating issues of control would be prominent in her life. Her natal Jupiter is on the receiving end of some very intense attention from Uranus, Pluto, her Sun, Mercury and Neptune. Of course, with the first Jupiter return, this intensity would have been stimulated by Jupiter. At Saturn’s first opposition, the same type of energies would be called to the test leading to self doubt and a need to test her sense of self control. With Saturn’s ruler in Virgo, much of the testing could have been carried out in terms of health issues and day to day routine. Sadly opportunity knocked but the reality of seeing one’s self with any sense of balance was lost on this wonderful talent.

Jupiter Return/
Saturn Opp
Jupiter return/age
Number of hits
Saturn opp/age
Number of hits
Time lapsed
1st Jupiter return, last Saturn opposition
2 March 1950
February 1962
11 years, 11 months
May and July 1965, February 1966
Age 15 years, 11 months
4 years
4 Nov 1963
Aries ®
May 1975
11 yr 7 mo
Nov 1976
13 yr 0 mo
Dec 1976
13 yr 1 mo
July 1977
13 yr 9 mo
2 yr 2 mo

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