A Glimmer Of Hope

Tuesday November 24th 2015
Not sure of the picture source. Tell me if you know

Not sure of the picture source. Tell me if you know

This is a good news story, so bear with me and see where it leads.

Victims of the condition variously labelled Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalitis (ME) are used to being disbelieved, disrespected, and ignored. They know about being labelled liars, shirkers, fantasists.

That’s on top of being terribly ill — racked with pain and migraines, unable to absorb nutrition, unable to bear noise or light, unable to get out of bed, yet never refreshed from sleep. You can die of M.E.; you can, mysteriously, recover completely; or you can live with it for decades.

There is no test for M.E. And there is no cure.

Although ME has been around since the 1930s (at least), when it was thought to be related to polio, no biomarker was found. This is partly because in the last three decades, psychiatrists got hold of the disease. M.E. turned into Yuppie Flu. It was all in the head they said. It could be cured by a positive attitude and something called “graded exercise therapy” , even though patients knew that exercise made the condition worse. So no investment was made in finding out if there was an organic cause.

The medical establishment accepted psychiatrists’ claims and patients were treated accordingly. Insurers did the same.

Imagine the isolation and stigma of being told you have a disease that’s “all in the mind”, when you’re lying in pain in the dark.

Yet around 250,000 people have it in this country, around a million Americans have it; 150,000 French people. In Sweden and the Netherlands 2-3 people in every hundred have M.E. In Nigeria, apparently, prevalence may be even higher but statistics are hard to gather. Are all these people just lazy or deluded or both? In the States, Native Americans and African Americans are more likely to get it. At my older daughter’s small school, four children have it, at my other daughter’s big school at least four have it — not including the ones who have had to drop out.

That’s the background — it’s a Neptunian fog, a mystery illness. You can hear the Neptune in the words used — shirker, liar, fantasist, fatigue. A major symptom of M.E. is “brain fog”.

But after years of shouting in the wind, people with M.E. have had a lot of good news in 2015 — and not just from one quarter. After more than 30 years of being labelled crazy, lazy and much worse, finally, validation has been coming thick and fast. It feels good.

First, scientists at Columbia University found biomarkers which showed that people with M.E. had some weird stuff going on physically. This was the first “robust” evidence that could lead to a cure. Then in February the US Institute of Medicine released a report showing that “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” was a real illness: this was a landmark. It bluntly stated that M.E. is not a psychological illness but a physical disorder. Then the US National Institute for Health reclassified the disease and promised to invest millions in investigating its causes.

A sea change was taking place. Ideas that campaigners had been pushing for decades were becoming reality. But the mainstream media — and the British National Health Service — were slow to catch up. The odd article was beginning to crop up (in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, HuffPo), but the public discourse around M.E. stayed the same. This was partly because the biggest clinical trial of M.E. treatments, the so-called PACE trial, had apparently shown that graded  exercise therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy cured the disease.

Then at the end of October, a long article by David Tuller, coordinator of the masters degree program in public health and journalism at UCLA Berkeley, was published on the Virology Blog. In it Tuller showed how bad science had distorted results of the key trial used to justify psychiatric treatment of M.E. The so-called PACE trial, published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal The Lancet in 2011, is used to develop national policies for M.E. around the world. It’s cited by disability assessors for insurers and governments.

The trial claimed to show that exercise and positive thinking would cure this illness. It turns out that, just as campaigners had been saying, it was based on bad science. For example, you could go into the trial and get worse, yet still count as “recovered” in the results.

So where’s the astrology in this, you may ask, and why am I writing about it? Well, my daughter has had it for several years, and M.E. has put my whole family on trial, so I feel pretty passionate about it. And there’s some interesting astrology involved.

First of all, the counter-argument to the medical establishment would have been impossible without the internet and the efforts of “citizen scientists”. M.E. affects all kinds of people — including doctors, statisticians, biologists and their nearest and dearest — just the kind of people who can test and question medical “fact”. For the last couple of decades, they have been able to communicate through the internet, comparing notes, sharing information, lobbying, and discussing what works and what doesn’t. It’s been a type of crowd-sourcing.

This is Uranus (the planet of science) and Neptune (mystery illness) through Aquarius and Pisces in the noughties, gathering information, making connections, networking. This is the hive mind at work.

But it’s also Uranus in Pisces (2003-2010) in another way: science in the sign of illusion and dissimulation. Why were medical professionals, for example the head of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, so keen to turn M.E. into a case of mind over matter? You may well ask about vested interests, lying and obfuscation, and find that advising insurance companies is quite lucrative.

Uranus is now, of course, in Aries. The sign of fresh starts, the individual, pioneers and really making things happen. It’s a planet of the collective in the most individualistic of signs.

Neptune is now in Pisces, and opposite Jupiter in Virgo (the sign of hygiene, healing and data) since September: the mass of people with M.E. is too large to be ignored now, and so is the data.

The first two pieces of good news — the Columbia trial and the Institute of Medicine report —  came earlier this year as the Sun conjoined Neptune in Pisces: a light was shone on the victims of the mystery illness. The Sun then moved on to Chiron (the healer/doctor) also in Pisces. Meanwhile, Saturn in Sagittarius (the sign of publishing) was squaring.

(Saturn is also traditionally associated with science, so combining that with geeky Uranus in adventurous Aries and we should expect to see a lot of groundbreaking science published in the next couple of years. Just look at the pictures coming back from our space.)

When Tuller’s article was published, Saturn in Sagittarius  was approaching the square to Neptune in Pisces again. It was time for some cold, hard facts (Saturn) to wake up the doctors from their illusion (Neptune), and also for some solid (published) support for M.E. patients. Psychologist James C Coyne, a well known academic and adviser to the European Commission, has also posted now about the PACE trial and pointed out that The Lancet needs to retract the findings not just because they’re flawed but because they damage the reputation of medical science. So far the doctors behind the PACE trial have refused to release the raw data, so it cannot be checked by outsiders.

Two concrete results (Saturn) of Tuller’s article (Sagittarius)? An apology from The Daily Telegraph and a letter signed by a dozen or so top scientists demanding that The Lancet take back the PACE trial.

For M.E. sufferers, some of whom have had the illness for decades, there is a glimmer at the end of the tunnel at last. If we can understand the biology of the disease, then surely we can find a cure. At least, people with M.E. should no longer be stigmatised.This is what happens when the planet of hope in practical, health-conscious Virgo contacts the planet of mystery illness in the sign of faith, Pisces, and when both are forced to take real action by the taskmaster Saturn.


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  1. Michael says:

    Very interesting. I too have suffered from it for years, since early adolescence, but it became twenty times worse after my Saturn return, which was followed by the Uranus-Neptune conjunction transiting my first house. I spent a year or so house-bound before the exhaustion gradually began to lift to reach bearable levels.

    • PM says:

      That’s really interesting. My Fibromyalgia got way worse around my Saturn Return too. It’s only now beginning to get better, but it’s always going to be there.

    • Christina says:

      Sorry to hear that & I hope things continue to improve. Interesting though that it was that combination of planets.

  2. Sabrina says:

    So glad this is being recognized and hope it means progress in the treatments! Health, Neptununian and Uranian themes have been strong for me and my family for the past few years lately and the Saturn/Neptune square plus the Virgo/Pisces axis seem to be generating much needed progress. Neptune and Chiron have been in my sixth house for a while (squaring natal mars).
    On the Virgo/Pisces: the diet has been a MAJOR source of healing…

    • Christina says:

      Ditto Sabrina about the positive progress. Very good point about the diet and healing — I had not made the connection with Virgo/Pisces on that. Chiron in Pisces has been tough for us fishy folk, getting at our Achilles’ heel — the children.

      • Sabrina says:

        Oh yes…but I feel that after the Pluto/Uranus shake in my moon and children’s natal Suns, Chiron seems like the door to finally heal, at least those wounds.

  3. mimi says:

    Hope your daughter will get over this and be well soon.

    I allways find that this sort of illness is better treated by homeopathic treatments.
    Don’t know why.
    There certainly is a relationship between the planets and the material world and the elements we are all made of, for instance Mars relates to fosfor and so on.
    Maybe there lies the answer for these kinds of illnesses.
    Don’t know what Neptune relates to however, I never was any good at chemistry.


  4. Christina says:

    Thanks mimi — we are almost out the other side — fingers crossed — but it has been a long haul and I’ve had to become a “doctor” in the process — more Chiron in Pisces.

    • mimi says:

      would be interesting for you to look at your Chiron in relation to her horoscope – maybe you can find a treatment for her. Is there a connection and what does that mean ?

      My mother’s natal Chiron was exactly on my natal Sun. Have always known I would be the one of her children to guide her at the very end of her life and indeed I was.
      It gave me a lot of satisfaction to be able to do this for her.

      During her life she leaned heavy on me and my sisters, but I have always felt she was my child and not the other way around. The bond between mother and daughter is the strongest in nature of course, therefore mother knows instinctly what her child needs.


      • Christina says:

        Oh there’s lots of astrology in this, mimi. I have been waiting until it’s all over before writing about it. But you are correct about Chiron connection. My Chiron is exactly sextile d’s Ceres and also her natal Chiron — on the midpoint in other words. Nutrition has been key, indeed micronutrients.

        • Sabrina says:

          Interesting with Chiron. Mine is on my daughters Sun. Trine my son’s moon…Saw on another comment what you said about becoming your child’s Dr. pretty much the same here with a double whammy of Chiron. Sending huge healing thoughts and prayers to your child and to you all.

        • Eleonora says:

          So your daughter probably has either ceres-chiron natal conjunction, or trine. That, and the fact that Native and African Americans are more likely to get it, points clearly to some sort of corn or sugar allergy. It may not be the single cause, of course. And then there are secondary allergies as well, so it’s not easy to find and eliminate the cause.

          Neptune-disease (and yes, it sounds very much like one) are mental, as well as physical at the same time. Psices-Virgo, or Neptune-Mercury axes.

          Take nearsightedness as example. I have it, many people have it, and the medicine don’t care about the cause. But few weeks ago I understood that it’s so simple. If your head is in the clouds for the most of the time (like mine), you tend not to focus the objects around you, but instead look trough them. Everybody does this now and then, but if you “train” you eyes every day, you will get nearsightedness, of course. Nearsightedness is also a kind of isolation (neptune). Your Ophthalmologist will tell you to read less , but often that advise makes everything even worse. Because then, you spend your free time with even more stare into empty, instead of focusing the book, at least.

          You know what I mean? You have to appreciate the persons for what they are, if you really want to help them. But this happens very seldom, especially with children. The only thing you hear if your child have such problems like you daughter is: “Positive thinking!” “The child is seeking for attention!” What leads to parents feeling guilty for no reason.

          But perhaps the child does not need “positive thinking”, perhaps it’s trying to understand the dark side of the life. Perhaps it’s not seeking for attention, but the opposite is the case – it wants to be left alone.

          Look at your daughter’s South Node as well. The sign, the house, and so on. Such childhood-diseases often have the roots in the south node, and after the puberty they disappear.

          However, I’m sure you are doing that great anyway, I just want to encourage you a bit 😉

          • Eleonora says:

            So, in the past life she was a little native American or African girl-warrior, feeding and protecting her family, with an excellent knowledge about the low of the jungle and how to survive there. And now she has to live a boring life in a bubble in Oxford, far away from her people. 😀

            I’m just kidding, of course, but that’s exactly how the scorpio south node feels (especially with this position), and you probably had that yourself. (Perhaps it’s all about genetics, and some grand-grand-father was a high-rank officer in a war, passing his genetical memories to his offspring.)

            Whatever the cause, the energy level is very, very high, they feel like they are used to crises and permanent dangers.

            Capable of surviving a real crisis (like war, or deep poverty) they miss something when everything is too peacefully. They actually miss emotional intensity. They can well control feelings like fear and anger. But when there is no reason for such feelings, when there is nothing to be controlled inside of them, then they think their environment is not “real” (especially with that chart ruler in 12th). They see that everyone around them is living in a bubble, unaware of the dangers out there. Scorpio is all about truth, after all. It’s not that Scorpio S. Node doesn’t want peace and beauty, it just don’t trust it. As a sign in the opposition to taurus, it can also somehow influence the five senses. To much noise, light could be irritating. Senses are there to survive, not to enjoy.

            And your daughter, with so much cancer and 12th house has certainly a very powerful imagination, she can use whenever she miss challenges, and this is great.

            I also noticed my s.node, each time when retrograde planets were about to turn direct (in secondary progression), or when they reached their natal positions again, after they went direct for some time. But yes, you are right, the last time saturn transited my s. Node, it was strong as well.

          • Christina says:

            Haha — very well put — and one of the symptoms of ME (for my daughter) is a raised immune response, in other words she was on permanent fight or flight, and therefore unable to get refreshing sleep. Also she loves the macabre and spooky.

            My SN is conjunct my IC, so in fact my own childhood was a bit of a minefield & naturally I wanted to bring my children up somewhere safe & stable — maybe I went to the other extreme!

          • Christina says:

            Indeed, Saturn has just crossed her/our South Node at 29° Scorpio. Mine is at 28°.

          • Christina says:

            “But perhaps the child does not need “positive thinking”, perhaps it’s trying to understand the dark side of the life. Perhaps it’s not seeking for attention, but the opposite is the case – it wants to be left alone.” — other astrology to do with her chart bears you out in this surmise, Eleonara. She has gone to a very dark place for a child. I don’t understand why but I believe she had to find a way there. In fact, she has always had a positive attitude about the illness and in general she has a happy home life, so the dark place was somewhere for her to be alone. (Moon in 12H in Cancer, Cancer Rising.) Pluto opposed her Moon when this all began. Saturn was opposite her Sun more recently.

    • Isy Aweigh says:

      Dear heavens, I’m SO relieved to hear you’re almost out! — though I know that last 20% can take as much effort as all the rest. Heartfelt congratulations to you all.

      My favorite response, when I’m composition enough to give it, to the various incarnations of “it’s imaginary”: With a sincerely wistful little smile, “Wouldn’t that be great? I’d love it for this to be imaginary. Then I could have some kind of real control over it. That’s my favorite fantasy.”

      People who actually mean well look for a moment like they stepped on a missing stair, then go away thoughtful. Those who don’t become quickly obvious.

  5. Yesterday I watched a documentary film called MOLDY on FMTV (which is free for watching just now). The symptoms that the persons infected by mould were describing, reminded me a lot of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
    Yes Mimi such dis-eases are best handled by holistic medicine.
    Wish you the best Christina, to you and your child, and you know you can count on my support whenever you feel like it.

    • Isy Aweigh says:

      I love homeopathy for saving my own life, but I’ve observed it doesn’t work for everyone. Even diseases with such strong energetic signatures don’t always respond to homeopathics… which does seem odd.

    • Christina says:

      In fact, a cohort of ME sufferers has found that de-molding their lives — which means moving to Arizona or some other desert place — has been the cure.

      • Isy Aweigh says:

        I used to know some science behind this. It has gone from my mind, alas, but it made a lot of sense. I used hydrogen peroxide diligently when I lived aboard a boat to kill the mold without gassing myself, and I was much better once I started doing so.

  6. MaryB says:

    Please accept my best wishes for your daughter’s return to good health. I’m the mother of a child with brain damage and I know how difficult family life can become when one of the members has a permanent illness or disability. And, the little poster that you asked about? It looks like the owrk of Shepard Fairey. He’s the one that designed the original Obama poster that hit the big time eight years ago. Here’s a link to Shepard Fairey’s website: https://obeygiant.com/ It’s pretty cool work and has been taken seriously by the art establishment.

  7. Julie says:

    Best wishes to your family and your daughter Christina. I didn’t realise that the Telegraph had printed an apology? Was that for the terrible article that the science editor had posted re. PACE approach? I stopped my subscription after that.

    I had this disease as a new speech pathologist and found that I dropped down into using deep grammar, indicating a ‘using up’ of neurotransmitters. So I couldn’t use short cuts e.g. ‘I went there to see him’, became:’ I went into the coffee shop in Uxbridge (there) to see Peter (him).’ I could look at a 5 pound note and think that it was worth more than 10 lots of 1 pound coins because I knew a note was worth more than coins and couldn’t add up. Plus all the dysarthria and dysfluency. Glad that this is being sorted out. I’m fully recovered and became a healthcare counsellor following the illness because of the way I was treated. x

    • Christina says:

      Thanks for writing Julie. Brain fog is so hard to understand when you are not in it. My daughter was 8 when she started and it took us ages to get what was happening because, of course, she did not have the words.
      The Telegraph rewrote the article — though not sufficiently in my opinion — and put a mealy mouthed apology at the bottom. It’s on the ME Association website. Also James Lefanu, who writes the doctor’s diary for the paper followed up with a short post saying that the findings were “too good to be true”. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/health-advice/doctors-diary-its-too-good-to-be-true-that-exercise-can-help-chr/
      Any recovery tips gratefully accepted.

      One important element for my daughter’s recovery, rarely discussed in general, was osteopathy for her skull. She had had two severe knocks on the head a few years previously which I believe contributed to the condition. As soon as her skull was re-aligned her migraines ceased. The brain fog went on though because ME had already gotten hold.

  8. PM says:

    Christina, I’m sorry your daughter is going through ME. Best wishes and here’s wishing her a full and fabulous life!

    A fellow chronic 😀

  9. mister says:

    I was having a consultation in a hospital and there were two or three consultants in the room. I was there as the previous surgeon had really balls’d up. I asked one of them whether he thought it was a good outcome. His reply, which I will never forget “It would be unprofessional to give an opinion”. Much more recently I was at the hospital of the original crime for an x-ray on my ankle. We walked into the x-ray room and the person was still asking questions about myself. He asked “Do you feel pain?”. Innocent enough if taken on its own with no other reference point to judge. But what was happening is that it sounded like a continuation of so-called secuity questions – as he had not paused or indicated otherwise. So I asked whether it was a secuity question – to which he replied yes. So whether I felt pain is now a secuity question. I balked, and being the assertive nay mouthy person I am I said if you ask that again as a security question I’m off. So he repeated the question, and I was gone. I complained to no real effect as everyone who heard about this within the NHS, and this is from the initial telephone operative to the head of the department went into denial.

    Its not just the NHS, every organisation in this country is the same. From ISP’s, banks, FCA, FOS… etc… their employess have one goal – keep our job. So I am not surprissed that organisations in the UK are slow with dealing with the new research findings concerning ME, as their perogative is as I have indicated will this damage my job.

    The worst lie is a lie that sounds like the truth. This as you write that its all in the mind of ME sufferers that started in the eighties was in line with the lie being purpoted by politicians to disguise the shrinkng of manufacturing jobs – phrases such as one-upmanship, being in control of ones destiny and all the rest of it was and stillis total rubbish.

    I know about tiredness and headaches, and a kind of brain fog at certain times, so I sympathise with the predicament your daughter is in. I made my own colodial silver the other day. Sid to be very good for health. So I tried it. A real boost to energy.