Hygeia, The Asteroid of Health

Wednesday January 7th 2015
Nurse Pauline Cafferkey dressed to protect herself from the Ebola virus. She is currently recovering in hospital after having contracted the disease herself.

Nurse Pauline Cafferkey dressed to protect herself from the Ebola virus. She is currently recovering in hospital after having contracted the disease herself. Read extracts from her Ebola diary here.

The image of Hygeia is a constant in modern times. Although we do not always recognise her for the goddess that she is, perhaps there are more images of her in the media than any other Greek goddess except Aphrodite.

1st century Roman statue. Wikimedia Commons

1st century Roman statue.
Wikimedia Commons

In the Greek pantheon, she is one of the daughters of Aesculapius, the doctor. One sister is Panacea “cure-all”, another is Iaso (recuperation) and she is, of course, the goddess of hygiene — which frankly sounds rather dreary. However, the Greeks didn’t think so. They probably did not mean OCD style disinfection, after all no one really knew about germs until Louis Pasteur named and shamed them.

Eldest born of powers divine!
Bless’d Hygeia! be it mine
To enjoy what thou canst give,
And henceforth with thee to live:
For in power if pleasure be
Wealth or numerous progeny
Or in amorous embrace,
Where no spy infests the place;
Or in aught that Heaven bestows
To alleviate human woes,

Julianna Margulies in the TV show ER. Instead of snakes, she has a stethoscope

Julianna Margulies in the TV show ER. Instead of snakes, she has a stethoscope

When the wearied heart despairs
Of a respite from its cares;
These cold and every true delight
Flourish only in thy sight;
And the sister graces three
Owe, themselves, their youth to thee
Without whom we may possess
Much, but never happiness.

Ariphron’s Hymn to Hygeia translated by William Cowper

 

 

Hygeia is the goddess of health and the maintenance of health.

There is a big asteroid in the Kuiper belt named after her and, in the mysterious and beautiful way of astrology, it’s wonderful to see how she works in some natal charts. You can see that she is indeed the asteroid of nursing, hygiene and perhaps prevention.

Here are some examples

Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing,
Hygeia conjunct Venus in the 1oth house of career in caring Cancer

Joseph Lister, the father of antisepsis,
Hygeia on the North Node in Scorpio (kill those germs)

Louis Pasteur,
Hygeia on the North Node in Aquarius (understand those germs)

Melinda Gates, moving spirit of The Gates Foundation, which is on a mission to eradicate malaria among other widespread diseases
Hygeia on the North Node in Cancer (she is especially keen on childhood vaccination)

Bob Smith, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous
Hygeia conjunct Saturn in Aries – the group has pioneered individual responsibility for health.

(Smith’s co-founder, Bill Wilson has a less obvious Hygeia but nevertheless it’s at an exact square from Aquarius to a Mars, Mercury, Uranus stellium in Scorpio)

Margaret Sanger, birth control pioneer
Another Hygeia conjunct Saturn in Aries — maybe saying no can be good for your health

To find Hygeia in your own chart, go to the “extended chart selection” page on astro.com and type  “10” into the box marked asteroids etc.

More on Hygeia later.

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  1. eggcup says:

    interesting — as hygeia made it’s return to my natal position at 3′ cancer i was finally diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that i’ve been suffering from on and off for ten years!

    when hygeia was at 3′ capricorn in 2011 i had surgery,

    AND – i’ve been pondering how much my home matters to me and how much i benefit from “healing” those close to me in an intimate setting. i’ve been considering a career change to something that will allow me to practice the art of healing. hygeia is currently transiting my 4th house (i use whole sign houses) and was conjunct my IC when i started a medication for my condition that made me feel better than i have for years!

    great stuff, as always 🙂

  2. Gilly says:

    Thank you for that fascinating post! I checked my own and it’s in Leo, right on my IC, conjunct Uranus and Pluto, opposing Chiron (which is tightly conjunct my MC) – which seems to tie into what 2 astrologers have already told me, that I should work in some sort of healing profession, but I feel no draw to that at all, quite the contrary. Something to muse on, for sure.

    • Christina says:

      That is an interesting position for sure – early-1960s right. I can see why astrologers might think that Chiron on the MC would make you go into healing, but that opposition is drawing you away to some extent. Chiron in Pisces or Aquarius? so you’re having or have just had the return.
      I’d love to know if you have any thoughts on the conjunction with Uranus Pluto and whether the current square plus Chiron return has reactivated this stellium for you in any way.

      • Gilly says:

        1960, to be exact. I am an old, old woman now, a few days off my 55th birthday. 😀 My Chiron is in Aquarius, 9th house but almost exact to the MC and Hygea is right opposite on the IC (4th). (I love finding something new in my chart! 🙂 I had my Chiron return back in 2010; I don’t remember anything much happening around that, tbh.
        I think the Uranus-Pluto thing has been happening more around my 7th house (Uranus and Pluto aren’t conjunct to each other in my chart, btw). I have a ton of stuff in Capricorn and I’ve been labouring under Pluto passing over Saturn for what feels like forever. I’ve been caring for my Dad for the last seven years and during the square he had a bad fall. When Pluto touched my (Cap) Saturn, he died. I’m having to completely re-jig my life in general, but especially my home life (my Pluto is in 4th) now and things are still far from settled. Pluto has now thankfully moved on to my Mercury. I’m trying to re-ignite my writing career at the moment – this actual moment indeed, my mss arrived back from my editor just minutes before I sat down to write this comment. But it’s hard to see the planetary wood for the trees right now as, on top of all the Pluto stuff, I have Uranus and Jupiter trining my Jupiter-Venus conjunction, with Jupiter conjunct Uranus and that must be doing something nice right now, mustn’t it? (please say yes! :D) So much is happening. I think, as soon as I can, I shall probably be contacting you for a reading; these are strange days for me and I really think I need one.

  3. Faith says:

    This is really interesting. I’ve been experiencing some health problems of late that I’d put down to Saturn being in my 6th House, but now I’m going to look up Hygeia! Thanks for another great post 🙂

  4. mary says:

    What an eye-opener. I discovered that Hygeia is conjunct my natal Aries moon within fourteen minutes. I have always been the all-natural mother, dosing my kids with tea and tinctures, determined to keep their immunity strong.

  5. Padmini says:

    Hygeia has an interesting place in my chart. She’s at 15 Leo in the 10th. Does not conjunct MC, sextile Saturn, minor aspect to north node at 13 Cancer; no other aspects. It’s definitely been true for me that health has impacted and limited my career.

    • Christina says:

      She is asteroid number 10. If you go to astro.com and use the extended chart selection, type 10 into the box at the bottom

  6. Sabrina says:

    At the end of Pisces tightly conjunct my Desc. No idea of how fast it moves, but it looks like I’ve had a Hygeia return. Now is actually rx along with Chiron. Double healing whammy?!!

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