In December 1992 I studied with Sri Deoki Nandan Shastri, a famous astrologer in Varanasi, India. Shastri's name has recently been in the media because of being consulted by Michael Jackson during his court trial. When I saw him he had a signed picture of the actress Goldie Hawn who had also consulted with him.
After one of our tutorial sessions he looked at me with a wry smile and asked, "So what represents the Earth in astrology?" I said that I didn't know. He laughed and slapped my knee saying, "The ascendant my good man!"
The ascendant is the sign constellation that intersects the Earth on the Eastern horizon at the time of birth. It gives birth to the body and represents the body, physical appearance, and our primary character traits in the horoscope.
Deoki Nandan Shastri
We often consider remedial measures, like mantras, pujas (worship), yagyas (fire ceremonies), or gemstones for an afflicted planet, which help us harmonize our energy to the planet's energy. If the ascendant/Earth is afflicted in the chart than our body and/or mind is afflicted. How do we harmonize with the Earth to remedy the situation? This is rather an important question since our entire incarnation is spent here on the Earth! If we don't have a healthy body/mind then it's very difficult to experience a fulfilling life. It's our foundation, just like the ascendant is the foundation of the chart. It can be immensely helpful to practice remedial measures for distant afflicted planets, but how much better to be also in harmony with the planet we're on! In other words, harmonizing our body/minds with the Earth is the basic remedial measure.
Here are suggested ways that are so obvious that they are often overlooked or undervalued:
Research suggests that dehydration may be the root cause of many sicknesses. It also suggests that at least 75% of people may be dehydrated. In the book, Your body's Many Cries for Water, author Dr. Batmanghelidj explains that water regulates all bodily functions. For instance, it transports sugars to cells for energy. Your body may not be fatigued it just might be thirsty. Batmanghelidj writes, "Chronic, unintentional dehydration is the origin of most pain and degenerative diseases in the human body." Normally our bodies lose about a gallon of fluids per day. We need to drink at least 3 quarts a day or 75% - 80% of that to replenish our supply. The remaining 20%-25% generally comes from what we eat. The problem is that most people get fluids from coffee, tea, soft drinks, and alcohol which actually dehydrate the body. For instance, it's commonly advised to drink 1 glass of water for every cup of coffee. Research also suggests that the modern epidemic of Alzheimer's disease could be the result of long term dehydration of the brain. Our brain's are 80% water. Just a 2% reduction in water supply to the brain can muddle our short term memory. Have you ever noticed that your mind is sharper after drinking a tall glass of water?
It's valuable to have access to clean, purified water and to drink more than your thirst suggests throughout the day. According to a recent UN Human Development Report, "A lack of access to clean water kills nearly two million children a year... and claims more lives than AIDS or conflicts."
For more information visit: www.watercure.com
A deficiency of oxygen is also considered a root cause of illness. Dr. W. Spencer Way writes in the Journal of the American Assoc. of Physicians, "Insufficient oxygen means insufficient biological energy that can result in anything from mild fatigue to life threatening disease. The connection between insufficient oxygen and disease has now been firmly established." A lack of oxygen in the bodies tissues is a common indicator of disease.
The quickest and most effective way to infuse our cells with more oxygen is by deep breathing and filling our lungs to capacity. This purifies our blood stream and carries the oxygen to the cells. This can be done while going on a walk or at any time at all. Most people breath too shallow and too fast which deprives the body cells of oxygen. The animals that live the longest, like elephants and turtles, breath deep and slow. This has an immediate correlating effect on the mind and greatly reduces stress and anxiety, which is also a major causes of illness. The yogic tradition of India has taught the benefits of breathing exercises, or pranayam, for thousands of years.
All of our food is generated directly or indirectly by the Sun. The more fresh organic whole foods - fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds etc, that we can eat, the more of the Sun's vitality will we derive from our food. Likewise, the more processed food we consume, the less vitality we can expect to feel.
Good nutrition is not only what we eat but what we don't eat. High fat, sugary diets have led to our obesity and chronic fatigue problem in the US today. Many people rely on caffeine and sugar to push their energy levels up so they can perform at work. This ultimately depletes the body of vitamins and minerals. Add to this all the chemicals that are consumed through the food due to chemical pesticides, fertilizers, or irradiation and it's no wonder that people are sick and fatigued much of the time. Eating well, on the other hand, strengthens the immune system, lowers the risk of infections, improves digestion, absorption and elimination etc. which prevent illness.
Research has shown that physical exercise has the same or better effect on stress and anxiety as medication - without the side effects. The rates of depression have increased dramatically in recent years and so have the numbers of people on anti-depressant medication. In France, one out of seven people are on anti-depressants, in the US one out of eight, and in Japan sales of anti-depressants rose 500 percent between 1998 and 2003. In addition to reducing depression and anxiety, exercise increases blood circulation thereby oxygenating the cells, lowering heart rate, and blood pressure, eliminating toxins, decreasing risk of cancer, high blood pressure etc. Thirty minutes of walking or yoga practice per day is something that virtually anyone can do and will have immediate as well as long term benefits especially when done regularly.
You may not hear very much in the media about the benefits of drinking more water, breathing deeper, eating healthier and exercising more often but this doesn't mean they are not as effective or more effective than commercially sold drugs and medications. There may not be the commercial interests pushing this knowledge but that's good news. It means that they are freely available (more or less) and can be utilized anytime.
Sometimes people want an expensive remedial measure to improve their physical and/or psychological health by offsetting an afflicted planet in their horoscope. I often think that what they really need to do first is to harmonize with the Earth, and their own bodies better which are represented by the ascendant in the chart. We've all witnessed how a walk in nature can rejuvenate us like nothing else. These basic remedies from the Earth are backed by convincing research and yet they are often not emphasized or prescribed.
When we're in harmony with the Earth, and our own bodies and minds, then we have the greatest chance of handling the stress and challenges represented by afflicted planets in the horoscope, and the subtler remedies to the other planets will be that much more effective.
Suggested experiment for 1 week:
1) Drink 3 quarts/litres of purified water per day.
2) Take a brisk walk or practice yoga for 15-30 minutes per day. Fitness instructors often suggest stretching yourself without straining yourself.
3) Practicing deep breathing - filling your lungs to capacity by breathing in through your nose, then exhaling through your mouth. This can be done while your brisk walking, or at anytime. Or add a pranayam practice to your yoga session.
4) Eat more whole foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes. Reduce your intake of processed foods, sugar, caffeine, baked goods etc.
See how you feel. The physical and psychological benefits could be quite amazing and revealing of how we can stay in harmony with the Earth, our bodies, and the ascendant.