I had planned on writing more lately but I spent all week sick. That’s per usual for me because when I do get sick, it just seems to linger for a while. Now that I’ve bounced back, my sickness made me start thinking about the illness that can be represented by one’s birth chart. If we’re talking about physical illness, we will look at the 6th House. This is the house that is naturally ruled by health-conscious Virgo, so this all makes sense. Many people say that your bodily health is governed by your 1st House/Ascendant and I think that this just manifests in a general sense. I think the physical energy that you feel, or the lack thereof, is symbolized by whatever is in your 1st House or on the 1st House cusp, aka the Ascendant. But, when it comes to your actual physical health and how it functions, we will look at the 6th House.
Venturing into 6th House territory is like going to the doctor or looking up symptoms on WebMD or going to the store to get that medicine that always works for you. It’s all of the practical steps that you take to assess your physical well-being and remain healthy. How you do so depends on what you have in the 6th House. Those with Mars in the 6th tend to be very aggressive when they get sick and often fight it off very well. Neptune in the 6th could make you too passive about being sick as well as too deluded. You might insist, “No, I’m fine”, as you sneeze your brains out and feel increasingly fatigued. But, you are often a better caregiver to others when they are sick, engaging in acts of selflessness this way. Pluto in the 6th can make your illnesses manifest in a very dramatic and painful manner. Yet, you are transformed through the process, rising from your sick bed, sometimes overnight, like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
I actually have Chiron in my 6th House and in the sign of Cancer. I still haven’t fully put my finger on Chiron but I do feel like I’m understanding it more and more. Chiron seems to be the place where you’ve been really damaged and hurt in the past. There is a lot of accumulated pain in this area of life but there is also the potential for wonderful healing here because of it. I actually would get sick pretty regularly growing up. I remember one point, as a teenager, where it was happening once a month. I also went to the ER twice, when I was five and fourteen, and had to spent weeks slowly recuperating in bed because of those major accidents. The latter time involved some physical therapy, too. And one of my worst early childhood memories is getting one of my shots at the doctor’s office. To say I freaked out and cried is an understatement.
So, with Chiron in the 6th, there is a lot of unhealed stuff around the idea of being sick. It’s also why I unconsciously can “dwell” in my sickness and have a hard time shaking it off. It feels almost as if when you get sick, it’s supposed to be happening, with this placement because you’re so used to your health tormenting you or being an Achilles’ heel. With my Chiron in Cancer, it often felt like I was treated with the most sensitivity when I was physically sick. So, that only fueled the psychosomatic element that the 6th House is driven by, often making me gain some sort of emotional comfort from sickness, which made it even worse.
I think I’ve learned, though, how to handle my Chiron more in adulthood. I did go through a three-year period where I never got sick and I have been recently wondering why. But, I think that, during that time, I had begun giving myself the actual emotional care that I needed so I didn’t need to find some unconscious solace in being physically unwell, which is, in the end, not really comforting at all. And I’m understanding how much emotional health and physical health can be intertwined. The better I am to myself emotionally, the better my immune system is.
Since it is naturally ruled by the planet Mercury, one’s thoughts determine how your 6th House plays out. For those with Neptune in the 6th, for example, trying to not think about your sickness can have one of two effects: it may make it “magically” disappear (which, while healing, can be a pattern that eventually becomes counterproductive) or it could make it something that becomes increasingly troublesome until you just have to deal with it. A part of you may actually be crying out for help. But, if you ignore those thoughts, you’re never going to get over that cold or, even worse, you may not find out it’s the flu until it’s too late. Mars is an expression of anger and your anger can help burn off any illness that manifests in your body. However, if it’s not being constructively expressed, your rage and frustration may also fuel this illness. That’ll happen when it’s an “impotent” kind of rage; the bottled-up frustration that you can’t do much of anything about.
Therefore, the 6th House Mars person’s immune system stays strong when they are honest about their anger and get it out in a healthy way. For Jupiter in the 6th, the key to a healthy immune system is to have a truly positive attitude and to not let yourself feel held back or be kept down for long. The Sun in the 6th House can indicate that have healthy confidence and a strong sense of your identity is going to keep your immune system powerful. For those who have placements in the 6th, you can think of them as the “vitamins” you have to take or the “exercise” you have to do to help you maintain your physical health. For me, with Chiron here, I’ve realized how healing it is for me to exercise, to take my daily vitamins, to be health-conscious. The consistency and regularity of these actions and attitudes is what will keep your physical constitution at its best.
But, what about mental health and illness? If we step away from the physical and look at what happens when mental illness takes over, we look at the 12th House. This is the “sickness” that you cannot see and that is less about the body and more about the soul. There is often an unfair stigma on mental illness, even though that’s decreasing as time goes on. But, if a person can need medicine to support their bodily well-being (6th House), why is it shameful that a person should need medicine to support their emotional well-being (12th House)? This is the direct contrast between the 6th and the 12th House. The 6th House symbolizes the practical, the day-to-day concerns that are simpler to understand. When we venture into 12th House territory, we move into a place where things are more mysterious, complex, and even downright overwhelming.
And there is not too thick of a line between these two houses. It’s why exercise (6th House) is prescribed as an effective antidote to depression, that 12th House affliction. It’s why anxiety can be a dilemma of either house, whether it’s the kind of anxiety that stresses you out (6th House) or the existential kind that is emotionally draining and makes you question the meaning of life (12th House). The origins of 12th House illness are not as easy to pin down and there is something quite primal about it. It stems from the collective-unconscious, which describes the enigmatic forces that link us all together. We’ve all known loneliness, we’ve all known sadness, we’ve all felt like the end is near. But, when these emotional states are magnified within an individual, it results in a psychological sickness.
Again, this is not something that should be stated as a terrible thing that makes you a bad person. It’s just a part of life for many 12th House people. Those with placements in the 12th regularly struggle with an existential kind of anxiety or have battled or still battle depression. I have Saturn and Neptune in the 12th and I fall into that category myself. It’s just harder and more confusing because it’s trickier to figure out what to do with that feeling of being emotionally or mentally unwell. You could put yourself through therapy and take the proper medication to make yourself feel better. But, the 12th House’s remedies are not as cut-and-dry as the 6th House’s. Even though medication works for some, it doesn’t necessarily “cure” everyone. The flip-side is that it may bring some sort of mental stability but it can create a numbness that is equally unpleasant and causes you to feel like something is missing, like cutting your arm off just because it’s hurting.
So, the “medicine” that the person with 12th House placements seeks may have to be more imaginative and intuitive. As someone with Saturn in the 12th, I can tell you that depression can happen very easily for me. It’s as if there’s always some dark rabbit hole of melancholy waiting for me to fall down into it. But, I have to constantly medicate myself by venting all of that through my artistic outlets. That’s my way to get out all of those overwhelming feelings and thoughts so I can feel better and function in real life. Since Neptune is also here, entering that other consciousness helps even more. Mercury in the 12th can indicate someone who self-medicates through writing, in particular, like keeping a journal. Mars in the 12th means that you can work through any sort of mental/emotional sickness by staying active, doing things that are competitive or will push you.
Also, 12th House people do have the option of finding their special medicine through alone time of any sort (with Venus in the 12th, this could involve solitary crafting activities) or even via some kind of spiritual devotion. Maybe reading something astrologically related, like about your current transits, will help you make sense of everything and bring you to a state of well-being. Regardless, whenever you hear people suggesting art therapy, coloring books, yoga, or spiritual studies as forms of healing, they are talking about the 12th House medicine. Because, believe it or not, placements in the 12th do not guarantee that your form of self-medicating will be a bottle of wine or a line of coke. I personally would never recommend doing drugs. Not to act as if I’m better than anyone but I have never touched the stuff. However, if you are a 12th House person and you are going to enjoy your alcohol or weed, make sure that you’re enjoying it not to escape something or feel better but just because you want to. The former motivation is the route to addiction.
So, when it comes to your well-being, you should figure out if you need, to reference that cheesy series from forever ago, some chicken-noodle soup for the soul or some actual chicken-noodle soup for the body. Chiron actually opposes my Saturn and Neptune. So, for me, I have to find a middle ground that gives me both kinds of healing: the physical and the metaphysical. In the end, both forms of health are equally important and both deserve your attention.