Astrological magic for health and wellness
Discover which planet to honour to enhance your vitality, and simple yet powerful rituals for wellbeing and health.
Astrology and magic have played huge roles in the management of human health throughout our history, informing our understanding of the body, its safekeeping and preservation, and the timing of medical interventions. The commingling of these approaches offers us an ancient, yet timeless, method of proactively supporting our own health and that of our loved ones; three of which follow.
Fortifying your natal chart: The ruler of your ascendant
There are multiple houses in the birth chart associated with the preservation of health and life, but foremost among them is the first house, for it governs the body and in some sense, your entire incarnation. The precise moment in space-time where you first achieved bodily independence is marked by your rising sign. Just as each day begins with the Sun’s (Sol’s) ascent over the eastern horizon, each lifetime is established by the birth of the fleshly vessel that tethers the soul to a singular conscious experience — so long as it remains capable of sustaining the nativity.
Timing rituals and health-promoting activities attuned to the ruler of your first house is a simple but effective way to promote physical and spiritual wellbeing. You might wonder why you should approach the ruler of your first house instead of the ruler of your sixth house for this, given the sixth is a house commonly associated with health and linked to illness. The reason is that the sixth has more to do with the result of habits that impact your physical and material position than it does with the safeguarding of your vitality and protection from harm. As a cadent (weak) and “dark” house, the sixth has a tendency to contribute more to loss and erosion than result in significant gain, and its power pales in comparison to that of the ascendant. Thus, for the purpose of building vitality, approaching the ruler of the first is a safer and stronger selection.
The serpent-bound rod is a widely used icon of the medical profession and integrated into the World Health Organization’s logo to this day.
Note that the ruler of a house is different from planets that may be located within a house, and that astrological magic is dependent on classical rulerships. If you do not know the classical ruler of your first house, use the following guide:
Aries or Scorpio rising = Mars
Taurus or Libra rising = Venus
Gemini or Virgo rising = Mercury
Cancer rising = the Moon
Leo rising = the Sun
Sagittarius or Pisces rising = Jupiter
Capricorn or Aquarius rising = Saturn
The power of a planetary hour
From here, planetary days and hours can be employed to give offerings, prayers and praise to the planetary ruler of your ascendant for the promotion of health and long-life. The planetary hour is of higher significance than the day, but as a weekly practice, doubling up on both nets some extra credit. The planetary days are as follows:
Monday = the Moon
Tuesday = Mars
Wednesday = Mercury
Thursday = Jupiter
Friday = Venus
Saturday = Saturn
Sunday = the Sun
Planetary hours are not comprised of 60 minute intervals, but represent a division of the time between sunrise and sunset into 12 equal parts, each of which is governed by one of the seven classical planets and luminaries. The easiest way to find the planetary hour is to use an app or an online calculator, many of which are freely available. The first “hour” of each day following the Sun’s rise is governed by the same planet as the day itself, so without any calculation you can choose to perform planetary rites shortly following daybreak with confidence that they are operating under the correct planetary hour. For example, 10 minutes following morning light on a Monday will also be the hour of the Moon (in all but extreme latitudes).
Once the target planet and window(s) of time have been established, any number of mundane and magical activities can be performed to contribute to better health and wellbeing. A simple ritual would be to light a candle and burn incense as an offering and praying to the planet for good health and long life, or to overcome specific ailments. If one wishes to make a regular practice of this, erecting an altar in dedication to the planet and choosing colours, scents and numbers known to be associated with the planet, and giving additional offerings to its individual liking, will further empower your results. For more on planetary associations and planetary altars, see my article Planetary Magic: A Beginner’s Guide in Wellbeing Astrology 2020.
Timing non-magical health-building activities to this period of time can also be extraordinarily fortifying. Activities like exercise, meditation, taking supplements or medication, and eating healthily will have a deeper, more productive impact when tied to the ruler of the ascendant, strengthening your body and overall birth chart. This is especially the case when the planet is well-dignified in real-time; like when the planet you’re focused in is moving through a sign it rules. Generally, or in leaner transiting times, wearing a talisman that supports the ruler of your first house and employing talismanic materia of its class can prove exceptionally fruitful.
Harnessing star-power: The divine intervention of Asclepius
Have you come across the newfangled idea that there’s a 13th zodiac sign named Ophiuchus that supposedly invalidates astrology and/or ruins everything? The truth of course is that the sky features many, many more constellations than the 12 astrologers use to signify the signs, and that different cultures and periods of time have long had various ways of parsing individual stars and asterisms into identifiable constellations.
The scales of Libra we see today were once the claws of Scorpio to certain ancients, for instance, which builds a nice poetic resonance between the signs’ popular significations and aspects of Egyptian mythology. Upon one’s death, the heart was weighed on the scale of Anubis against a feather to determine if they were worthy of being granted entrance into the afterlife and the possibility of immortality, or if their soul was to be gobbled up by the crocodile-headed Goddess Ammit and downcycled into a second, truer form of annihilation.
Ophiuchus relates to the arcanas of death, life, rebirth and immortality, through the ancient Greco-Roman God of medicine, Asclepius. In this guise, the constellation depicts a man holding a snake, a symbol of poison, but also medicine, magic and transformation. The serpent-bound rod is a widely used icon of the medical profession and integrated into the World Health Organization’s logo to this day, stemming from when temples of Asclepius served as the breeding ground for physicians and the healing process. Hippocrates himself, father of Western medicine and namesake of the Hippocratic Oath, apparently received his training at one of the more prominent Asclepeions on the Greek isle of Kos.
Asclepius was the child of the Sun God Apollo and a human mother who died before his birth. The baby was cut from his mother’s womb in the mythological advent of the C-section and put into the care of the wise centaur Chiron, who instructed him in the ways of healing using plants and stones. Astrologers may be familiar with Chiron through the oft applied asteroid-cum-centaur, referred to colloquially as “the wounded healer”. The word Asclepius means “to cut open”.
The Divine Physician became so masterful at the art of healing and converting disease and entropy into states of health and vitality that his powers transcended the very bounds of life and death. He began resurrecting so many souls that Pluto/Hades, perturbed the underworld was at such low occupancy, complained to Zeus. Asclepius was then cast into the sky, forming the constellation that we now know as Ophiuchus, in retribution for disturbing the Olympic order.
While astrologers have no use for the 13th Sign from a zodiacal perspective, we do have an application for the Serpent Bearer Ophiuchus/Asclepius and its brightest star, Ras Alhague, as a source of stellar medicine.
Bernadette Brady, in her excellent book Star and Planet Combinations, offers: “The themes of this star are that of the healer, teacher, or one who is wounded. With this star in a chart one is drawn to the healing professions, or at least has a natural gift in that area… Whatever the symbolism of this star in a person’s life, the driving force of its expression is to repair that which is damaged, to heal.”
The major powers ascribed to any given constellation are typically accessed by a conjunction between the Moon and its most prominent star, which in the case of Ophiuchus/Asclepius is Ras Alhague, at 22 degrees Sagittarius.
The Moon and working with starlight
In astrological magic, the Moon is used as a satellite between what is referred to as the “sublunary” realm of our planet and humanity and the outer celestial forces, which will be familiar to astrologers in terms of the Moon’s ability to give birth and make-manifest. For more on the special relationship between Luna and the fixed stars as it pertains to astrological magic, see Austin Coppock’s essay A Feast of Starlight in the anthology The Celestial Art.
Healing rituals and prayers to Asclepius are especially effective when the Moon or Rising is within a 2 degree orb of 22 degrees Sagittarius, giving daily and monthly opportunities for significant magical intervention on behalf of your own health and that of your loved ones. The Orphic hymn to Asclepius acts as a wonderful intro script, freely available via online search, followed by specific healing requests.
Ritual bath, smoke and oil
It was customary when visiting a temple of Asclepius for the one seeking healing to first be given a ritual bath, to cleanse the body, in addition to being bathed in smoke and anointed with holy oil in order to prime the vessel for divine intervention. They would divulge to the priest what ailed them, and both would engage in healing sleep and dream incubation. The priests were master dream interpreters, who the next day would extrapolate from the symbols and experiences visited upon themselves and the patient prescriptions for treatment. Miraculous cures and dream visitations from Asclepius or other gods, including his wife and children Epione, Hygieia and Panacea (respectively: soothing, hygiene and universal remedy), occasionally occurred.
Also commonplace was sacrificing a drawing or graven image, often of clay, to the Divine Physician that depicted the specific body part or person in need of healing. These were burned or broken to give Asclepius access to the point of affliction and to act as a source of negative energy to transmute into medicine, à la the production of anti-venom from the venom afflicting.
For the most effective magical interventions of this type, emulate a similar ritual process to the degree you are able, preferably when the Moon is from 20-24 degrees Sagittarius, or another auspicious time for personal health. Take a cleansing salt bath, use frankincense or other purifying smoke to bathe your entire body, apply a holy or healing oil to the third eye, along with any area in need of healing, pray to Asclepius and present offerings, and partake of sleep, preferably alone. The resultant slumber may be deep and long, and dreamless or teeming with significant symbolism and divine communication.
Note that the recovery process is not always comfortable or pretty. “Healing reactions” and numerous levels of detoxification often present following interventions from Asclepius and invocations of Ras Alhague. It is also possible for symptoms to get worse as their source is exorcised from or transmuted within the body. Drink lots of water and go easy on yourself in the hours and days following a significant Asclepius working, and also be aware that multiple engagements and ongoing treatment may be necessary, as in most all healing processes.
Good offerings and altar pieces to Asclepius include white candles, blooming a Rose of Jericho in water, carnelian, snake iconography or skins, salt, olive oil, healing herbs, fresh water, purifying incense, lemons, and white as the primary colour. It is also appropriate to keep medications and supplements on such an altar and pray to Asclepius for their empowerment. Asclepius talismans can also be created or procured for the ongoing preservation of good health.
The Sun as a healing influence
The Sun is humanity’s own star, and the single point that unifies the entire solar system. Without it there would be no life. But if we were located any closer or without Earth’s atmosphere to insulate us, such would not be the case.
The Sun has healing properties, as mythology illustrates through Apollo fathering our Divine Physician, however they must be metered carefully lest they do more harm than good. A bit of sunlight raises vitamin D, and vitamin D deficiencies are coming to be known as a significant contributor to the ailments of modern (mostly indoor) man, but a lot of sunlight results in burns and sunstroke.
The answer to this from a common-sense astro-magical perspective is to partake of the Sun when it is in good condition to provide, and to not overdo it. This is especially the case if the Sun is well disposed to bring good health in the natal chart, but also generally, as the Sun is patron to all life on our own planet.
The Sun is dignified by sign in Aries (exaltation) and Leo (rulership). These are generally the most beneficial transiting times of year to perform weekly solar devotions on the Sun’s day (Sunday) and hour. High quality solar talismans or talismanic materia can also be worn or used throughout the rest of the year to supplement good health and vitality. Positive solar influence raises spirits and facilitates congruence and integration within the self and sphere, so it can be especially helpful in the case of melancholic or fractured temperaments.
Sunlight also has a sanitising effect, which can be observed in real terms by the degradation experienced by disease pathogens upon exposure to the Sun’s rays, and in that way, solar-magic for health serves as an ounce of prevention.
This information is presented from the author’s religious point of view as an Astrological Animist. It is intended as a spiritual supplement to high-quality medical care and is in no way a substitute for the oversight, diagnosis and treatment of a licensed medical professional. Always seek reputable medical treatment. Each person’s health is their own sovereign responsibility. Understand that these are general guidelines, and individual chart factors vary — see an astrologer well-versed in medical remediation for the most detailed personal recommendations.
Looking to add more calm, ease and contentment to your life? Try Zen meditation
Cultivating a meditation practice around Zen philosophy can invite more calm, ease and contentment into your yoga practice.
5 nutritional trends Endeavour College of Natural Health alumna, Meg Yonson, hopes will stay after the pandemic ends
Endeavour College of Natural Health alumna, Meg Yonson, explores five food trends that she hopes will stay long after this...
Essential oils for a life of purpose and wellness
Melt away your stress and enhance your wellness with the magic of Young Living essential oils.