Weight Loss and the Transformational Process
“Sometime in your life you will go on a journey.
It will be the longest journey you have ever
taken. It is the journey to find yourself.”
This is my personal story. It is a story of change and transformation and, with this transformation, I no longer need to weigh over 250 pounds in order to cope with life. This article will discuss the astrological aspects that contributed to my weight problem and the astrological configurations that allowed me to take control of my addiction to food. I have heard people say that they lost weight under a good Uranus transit or a nice Saturn transit or Saturn crossing the Ascendant— but did they keep it off for the rest of their lives or did it creep back on after a few months? To under go the massive change required to lose a large amount of weight and to keep it off for the rest of your life requires major transformational transits.
When I give my lectures on this topic, almost immediately I begin to hear the excuses— I can’t lose weight because I am menopausal, I can’t lose weight because I have a thyroid problem, I can’t lose weight because I am older and my metabolism is slower or I hardly eat anything and I still cannot lose weight. I do not want to hear any of these excuses because this is all that they are, Excuses! As Dr. Phil always says, “You cannot change what you do not acknowledge!” I lost 125 pounds under all of these conditions! There is one excuse that I will accept— “It is just too hard and I do not think I am ready to lose the weight at this time.” It is hard and we are not always ready to make those massive life style changes that support a smaller body size. To lose weight and function at a normal size requires the greatest courage, the courage to face life unprotected, unprotected by the layers of fat. In a past life, you could have put on your chain mael suit of armor. Today, we must resort to the physiological layers of fat for protection.
Why is it difficult to make the decision to lose weight? Because to lose weight and to keep it off is the most monumental decision that you can ever make— that decision to totally change yourself and to never go back to being the Old Familiar Self, familiar to you as well as others— the passive self, the care-taking self, the angry, enraged and embittered self, the wounded self, the fearful self, all unhappy yet comfortable patterns of being with the old eating and the old behavioral patterns. Another major hurtle to surmount if you make that monumental decision— the alienation and the sabotaging tactics of friends and family who do not want you to change. This means that you may very well be fighting this battle alone. You are worth it! These destructive relationships are not.
Have I ever advised anyone not to lose the weight? Ironically, I have. When someone’s current life situation and its responsibilities would not support a normal weight, an unprotected weight, I advise the individual not to think about losing weight but rather to simply eat healthy— just make healthy food choices without considering the number of calories consumed.
There is no shame in knowing little or nothing about a subject
but it is a crime if that subject is you!
There is no single signature of obesity. After all, 64.5% of Americans are over-weight! I have been over-weight my entire life and the weight gain started when I began to go to school at the age of 6. My mother held on to me, she did not want to let me go so I never went to nursery school or kindergarten, pre-schooling that assists in social adaptation. I was an only child who grew up on a farm, totally isolated and insulated from the real world. My mother did not want to let me go in other ways— she needed an eating buddy. And, it was easier for her to complain about my weight issues than address her own. When I was very young, my mother took me to the doctor about my weight. He gave me a diet program— I was 8 years old— and my mother would tell me to follow it, while she prepared mashed potatoes and gravy and ate ice cream at night.
The food addiction signs are CANCER and VIRGO. These signs seek food as a release from perfectionist demands that the individual feels that he or she cannot possibly fulfill— setting up a boundary of fat for protection and distancing— and as a release from ever feeling one’s buried emotions. These signs are more inclined to turn to some “substance” when stressful feelings are not addressed, to bury them or to drown them. The individual develops the “Sara Lee Surrogate Mother Syndrome”— Sara always nurtures and loves us and she never, ever criticizes.
The culprit for addiction is Neptune with its boundary issues, a lack of psychological boundaries between self and others, between self and the parents initially. Later, the individual creates the physical boundaries of fat. While at the hairdressers, I read an article stating that research had been conducted on over-weight adults with a lifetime pattern of obesity. The most common pattern was a parent who invaded boundaries by going through the child’s belongings, by reading the child’s diary and listening in on telephone conversations. Bingo! This is exactly what my childhood was like— from the age of 14, when my mother encouraged me to start keeping a diary, she read every page until I moved away. Even then, I could not get away from her. She left my father and moved in with me! Finally, after 3 months, my parents went for pastoral counseling and she moved out. For years, she never forgave me for not wanting her to stay with me.
While I never experienced sexual abuse, this too is a boundary issue. That parent who inappropriately touches or caresses a child has invaded that child’s boundaries and trust. The weight acquired serves to keep a distance from others who may invade, hurt or betray.
Neptune acts as a culprit through its sabotaging effect. It constantly sabotages our energies and independence. With strong Neptune aspects, especially the Mars-Neptune aspect (and I use very wide orbs), the individual often had a parent who did not want them to grow up or grow away, sabotaging their initiative at every turn, talking them out of doing and, as an adult, they talk themselves out of doing, doing what they want for themselves. A parent who “sacrifices so much” for the child is in reality siphoning off that child’s energies. Later on, you will attract people into your life who sabotage your efforts, keeping you busy with their problems and talking you out of doing something that would take you away from their needs, talking you out of doing, doing for yourself and not them.
Neptune sabotages through Ambivalence. It is through ambivalence that we talk ourselves out of doing what we need to do for ourselves— “Oh well, I can diet tomorrow” and tomorrow never comes; “I can buy these cookies and I will eat just one” but we can never just eat one. It is the procrastination that puts off dieting and exercising until it is too late in the day and then we can just do it tomorrow… but tomorrow never comes.
Neptune sabotages through Denial and Excuses! This first manifests through denying how inappropriate the parent’s behavior is— a parent who was wonderful, who sacrificed, who worked so hard for the family— how can I possibly be angry at them. Neptune provides an opportunity to tune out and deny anything unpleasant in the life. In this way, Mars becomes suppressed, another issue with food addiction. In my lectures, the first defense of the compulsive over-eater to hearing my message is to feel compelled to tell me their excuses. You cannot change what you do not acknowledge and what you refuse to acknowledge will be the ‘shadow self’ that always controls you. You will always be in the grips of the addiction-– until you stop making excuses. This pattern of denial distorts our conception of how much food we eat and the reasons for our obesity. Healing our addiction can only occur when we replace delusion with truth!
Neptune sabotages by crippling our ability to say NO— to define boundaries for others and ourselves. How can you possibly say NO to Sara Lee if you cannot say NO to a parent, a child or your friends? At this point, unable to establish effective boundaries for yourself and others, you need to protect yourself with another layer of fat and comfort your depression with something soothing to eat.
THE BODY AS A COMPUTER:
I started to observe the very thin people that I knew. I observed them to see why they are thin and I am not. I saw that, whenever they feel anything-– anger, fear, frustration, and enthusiasm— they immediately act upon these feelings. They have to DO SOMETHING, take immediate action, speak up but definitely not run to the refrigerator! Our bodies are really like a computer. With the thin people, their “computer” only has RAM with no hard drive for storing. Mars is often strong, encouraging them to act rather than to store. They have the ability to utilize their Mars on their own behalf; the compulsive over-eater cannot.
The compulsive over-eater develops a huge hard drive onto which they store most of their feelings, specifically the unpleasant emotions of stress, boredom, loneliness, fear and filling a void. Ideally, we can store our feelings but we eventually need to review these stored emotions. The compulsive over-eater never does… until that day when they begin to lose weight. These stored emotions will come off in layers, like peeling the layers of an onion.
Removing the layers of stored emotions should be done gradually or, as I have observed many times, the individual will panic and binge. As these repressed and stored emotions begin to surface, we must slowly allow ourselves to honor these feelings, seeing them for what they are, and then release them. This can really only be done when we lose weight slowly.
These layers are often in this order:
1) Sexual Energy— this is a very powerful energy that seems to ‘steam’ off of the individual losing weight. There is no controlling it. This newly released energy is very magnetic, regardless of the body size. When a compulsive over-eater has a lot of fears around sexuality, this fear, unprocessed, can drive him or her back to eating.
2) Anger— there can be anger from childhood experiences and there can be anger connected to having been treated differently when over-weight. I felt very angry when I knew that I was being treated very differently as a normal sized person. If the anger is not addressed, old eating patterns will return.
3) Vulnerability— at this point, the individual no longer has the protection of the body fat and, in order to succeed in the transformational process, strength must come from within. The individual must learn to protect self in other ways besides eating.
To get in touch with the layers of fear, ask this question: “What was happening in my life the last time I was thin?” This may provide insight into the repressed fear. The goal of the Transformational Process is to become whole and integrated, to be your own person, regardless of what others expect, not absorbing their criticism, learning to trust others and, most important, learning to trust yourself.
“We must travel in the direction of our fear.”
ASTROLOGICAL PERSONALITY TYPES:
The Moon rules the first and most obvious type. This is the nurturing type who cannot define boundaries— nurturing to everyone but themselves. The excess weight becomes the boundary that cannot be established psychologically. This type of compulsive over-eater has learned to gain approval through servitude, care taking and giving value to others over themselves.
I have observed many women who feel frustrated and unfulfilled by their domestic responsibilities. Their identity becomes trapped by the role of wife, mother and caretaker. Rather than address their needs for independence and the fears associated with living a life of their own, they push down these feelings with food. Rather than express the anger or resentment that they feel, they experience a safe feeling substitute, depression— and then they eat. Remember, if you cannot say NO to your family, how can you possibly say NO to food?!
In addressing these fears, ask yourself the following questions:
1) What would be the worst thing that could happen if you expressed your anger or dissatisfaction?
2) What would happen if you told your family that you would be less available to them?
3) What would happen if you began living life on your own terms rather than subjugating yourself to others? What would be the worst thing that could happen? Is it really that bad?
EXERCISES IN SELF-NURTURING:
1) Get away from the environment of the Old Self, the environment where you nurture others and not yourself. Take classes, attend lectures, and join action groups that hike, dance or travel.
2) Practice the Art of Living by having afternoon or evening tea, drinking from an expensive tea cup, going to a beautiful café for espresso or an expensive hotel just for coffee, visit art galleries… activities that add quality to your life.
3) Pamper yourself as best you can afford. Give yourself massages, give yourself a make-over at a quality department store, buy some expensive perfume, buy the best food that you can afford in order to make eating pleasurable and, most important in self-nurturing, say NO to the demands of others.
“Deliberately seeking solitude—quality time spent away from family and friends—may seem selfish.
It is not.
Solitude is as necessary for our creative spirits to develop and flourish as are sleep and food for our bodies.”
—Sarah Ban Breathnach
Mars and Pluto rule the second personality type. Both the Mars and Pluto types are storing a tremendous amount of anger, rage and resentment. They hold onto the weight as a storage space for their angry emotions— specifically, anger that they are very unwilling to release. This anger is used as a barrier to closeness. Anger drives people away, although these individuals are rarely aware of how angry they really are and the mixed messages they are sending out. If you cannot let go of the anger, if you cannot let go of any of these emotions, you cannot let go of the layers of fat on which to store that anger— those feelings that, through Neptune, you wish to escape. These become stored like gigabytes on a big old hard drive. The real lesson here is to let go and learn to trust one’s fellow man. Emotional abuse and sexual abuse can be a factor with Mars/Pluto. It is a pattern of abuse that triggers the rage. Albeit, justified, it must be processed, not stored.
The Pluto types have strong control issues and eating becomes the one way that they can be out of control. I have observed individuals who have grown very comfortable with the limitations of their weight. The limitation of their physical body gives them a lot of control, control that is highly resistant to change. And, change is something that they cannot control1.
The lesson here is that they need to empower themselves with others. In doing so, it will make it easier for them to let go of the protection, physical and psychological, provided by the chain mael armor of stored fat. These individuals must learn to trust themselves, trust that they can protect themselves directly or that they really do not need to protect themselves in most situations— only then can they come to the point of trusting others. Once they learn that they can assert themselves with others effectively (not defensively), there will come a renewed confidence that allows them to remove the psychological barriers and live life unprotected by body size— rather, protected safely by one’s own inner resources.
Emotions have Calories
Unprocessed Emotions = Fat
OTHER PLANETARY INFLUENCES in RELATING TO FOOD:
The Moon and its aspects show how we deal with our emotions due to the emotional patterns cultivated during our formative years. The Moon also represents habits and habitual behaviors that influence addiction.
Moon-Mars: Pennsylvania astrologer, Amanda Owen, conducted a research project and she discovered that people with strong Moon-Mars aspects often wanted their food quickly and they were fast eaters. My own research has substantiated this pattern. This can be a contributing problem for the compulsive over-eater who eats quickly without enjoying the food and often grabbing at the quickest food to eat, not necessarily the healthiest. When you eat fast, you cannot register that you are full2.
Moon-Jupiter: This is the “quick fix” aspect that seeks emotional substitutes. Instead of dealing with unpleasant emotions— stress, frustration, boredom or loneliness— they eat, go shopping, anything that provides immediate gratification. This often stems from a mother, unable to deal with her own unhappy emotions, who gives some thing as a substitute for emotional connectedness. This aspect shows a pattern of emotional role playing, playing a role rather than feel one’s feelings.
Moon-Saturn: Hard aspects between the Moon and Saturn often indicate arguing and tension at the dinner table. Food allergies often occur as a result of this stressful eating environment. Wheat, corn, potatoes, sugar and dairy products are often not tolerated and they actually contribute to the addiction when eaten.
Moon-Uranus: This aspect is less common with food addiction but weight can be a barrier of rebellion, to rebel against the demands and expectations of a parent. A parent may have had a model of beauty to which the child rebels. Whenever they set up a structure of eating for themselves, they rebel and compulsively over-eat.
Moon-Neptune: This is the aspect that creates the boundary flaw to which weight is used as a substitute boundary. Often, it represents a preoccupied mother and a pattern of disillusion and dissatisfaction through the mother not fulfilling her dearest hopes and wishes. With an eating disorder, a preoccupied parent could leave the child feeling unprotected.
Moon-Pluto: When associated with food addiction, this aspect indicates a child who felt controlled by a parent, learning to stuff the resentment with food. The individual rebels against the control by being out of control with eating.
Moon-Transpluto: Growing up in a critical, perfectionist environment, the individual experiences perfectionist demands that he or she cannot possibly fulfill. With a food addiction, the individual sets up a boundary of fat for protection and distancing— and as a release from ever feeling the painful emotions of rejection, guilt and shame.
THE DYSFUNCTIONAL MARS in EATING DISORDERS:
The psychological pattern of a suppressed Mars is to stuff the anger— and to stuff it with food. This generates a false boundary of eating with its accompanying isolation and an attempt to turn off the assertiveness of Mars, that is, asserting on one’s own behalf. Sedentary patterns may be established as a means of tuning out from life.
Mars-Saturn: These planets are associated with Will and the Throat Chakra. When the patterns of stuffing one’s feelings is prolonged, this chakra and the thyroid gland will be affected. This often leads to a health problem called Wilson’s Syndrome. Initially, through the stress of repression and anxiety, the adrenals are taxed. Later, this adrenal stress pulls on the thyroid gland. The body temperature drops, often to around 97°. Fatigue and exhaustion further prevent the individual from ever asserting self for one’s self. In talking to people with an under-active thyroid, they frequently complain that they do not feel alive.
Physically, this can be addressed through adrenal supplementation, thyroid support and even taking organic, cold pressed coconut oil that quickly raises the body temperature and energy level. However, the psychological patterns that contribute to obesity are more difficult to change.
Mars-Neptune: This is the aspect that tells me that there was a parent who did not want the child to grow up or grow away. Later, these individuals sabotage their own efforts by talking themselves out of doing, especially doing something for themselves. These people often feel that they never scored a victory in expressing their anger, their Mars. Often, when they feel anger, they become quit tired and even depressed. This aspect is actually best suited for fighting for an ideal, something greater than themselves, but not directly for themselves.
Mars-Pluto: With the compulsive over-eater, this combination can indicate abuse. The rage and resentment are suppressed through eating. They often fear the rage within. They fear that they could kill someone— so they eat instead, killing themselves with the health issues that arise through obesity.
ACTIVATING YOUR MARS:
1) Take natural adrenal and thyroid supplements. The thyroid condition must be addressed with a physician. Solaray Adrenal Caps can be obtained at a health food store. An alternative for the thyroid condition would be taking 1 tablespoon daily of organic coconut oil to raise the body temperature and the energy level. This seems to work for a lot of people. But, do consult with a physician, especially a doctor who understands Wilson’s Syndrome (www.wilsonssyndrome.com)
2) Participate in activities that encourage asserting one’s energies. Dance puts you in touch with your body. Contra dancing is an excellent aerobic form of body movement and you do not have to worry about a partner. I personally enjoy kickboxing classes at Gold’s Gym. Long walks are excellent and easy on the body.
3) Come to terms with your past. The past is the past. Deal with it, embrace it and its pain, and let it go. You cannot change the past but you can change your future.
4) Learn to speak your truth in a new, effective, non-defensive way. More important, learn to speak from your heart. Activate your Mars so that you can break through the glass barrier of Neptune! After the death of my mother in 2002, I joined a support group. One of the disciplines was to write a poem about the lost parent. These words suddenly came to me— words so true about my mother and I have vowed not to let this pattern continue with me…
Play the Part
Play the Role
So no one knows
Your Heart and Soul.
ASTROLOGICAL SIGNATURES OF THE TRANSFORMATIONAL PROCESS:
If you only have 10 or 20 pounds to lose, that extra weight that has crept on slowly over the years, then a nice Uranus transit or any Pluto transit will motivate you to make changes in your diet and physical activities. For the compulsive over-eater, a major lifestyle change is required to get that weight off and keep it off— forever! I have observed a pattern of transformational astrological indicators in the horoscopes of individuals who transformed their addictive patterns with food or alcohol.
1) Transpluto transits represent a 4-year process, moving the individual towards wholeness and integration whereby that individual can act without being distracted by a concern for the approval of others or a fear of their criticism and rejection. Transpluto transits heal an addiction through a process that elevates the individual to a level of inner self-sufficiency that makes this possible. Transpluto rules the process through which we put the fragmented pieces of our personality back together in a way that we want to be— our version of Wholeness, not someone else’s. These transits can be obtained from the Solar Fire and WinStar astrological programs.
2) The Progressed Moon at Maximum South Declination. While this can be determined by examining the declination of the progressed Moon, this can easily be calculated on Solar Fire as a 30-degree graphic ephemeris. Carolyn Egan kindly showed me how to set up this graphic and I was amazed to find that all of my example charts for people who stopped drinking, smoking or lost a lot of weight occurred when the progressed Moon was at maximum south latitude. The graphic below shows 2 periods in my life when the progressed Moon was a maximum south and also out of bounds, beyond 23°27’ of declination. These were periods of my greatest transformations. This period or cycle lasts for several years. The cycle that occurred in the early 1960s marked the time when I made the courageous decision to leave Catholic schools and attend public schools. The second cycle occurred when I made the courageous decision to live life as a normal sized person.
You can find more graphs with information, description and examples of well known people at Carolyn Egan’s website www.weathersage.com. These examples give the clear definition of people’s turning points as well as business charts.
3) Progressed Jupiter or Jupiter Transiting the Ascendant. This may be a bit of a surprise but Jupiter can be involved with massive weight loss. As demonstrated in my progressed wheel for November 1990, the beginning of my transformational cycle, the progressed Jupiter was exactly on my progressed Ascendant. By the autumn of 1991, the transiting Jupiter crossed my natal Ascendant and I actually began my weight loss program. What happened during this cycle? I discovered new ways of expanding besides gaining weight! I began my travels to Eastern Europe, a time when I left the persona of the Old Lynn behind. Later, I started taking dance lessons.
4) Pluto Transits and Progressed Personal Planet moving into Scorpio. A planet progressing into the sign of Scorpio can portend a greater sense of resolve that is supportive of the transformational process. Any Pluto transit but more potently the conjunction, square or opposition from Pluto can bring the individual to the point of taking control of any out-of-control habits. Initially, the transiting Pluto in hard aspect to a natal planet will make the individual feel overwhelmed and out of control with their life situation. This will extend into the eating pattern. During the Transformational Process, the individual will take control of their life and their addiction. Tired of feeling out of control, something snaps internally and they take charge.
INITIAL STEPS TO TAKE CONTROL:
a) Clean out your living space. Closets represent your inner space, the basement represents your subconscious and your car represents your body in general. Compulsive over-eaters have chaos and disorder in their personal environments. Take a look at the inside of the car of a compulsive over-eater.
b) Keep you car a Food Free Zone. Never eat in the car. Put all groceries in the trunk.
c) Clean out your refrigerator. Give yourself permission to throw out problem foods. Define boundaries with your family and tell them that problem foods are not allowed in the house. If not locked up, they will be thrown out! And, remember, the grocery store, to the compulsive over-eater, is a War Zone! Take a friend grocery shopping.
5) The Transiting Neptune dissolves all that is not real in your life, including the false boundaries created as substitutes for true inner structuring which would allow you to set boundaries for yourself and others. Initially, Neptune can encourage over-eating to make us feel more grounded. I find that the Bach Flower Remedy, Clematis, is a powerful cure for this feeling of disconnectedness. Later, often through some disappointment or disillusion, the individual can actually move beyond their self-created boundaries. If I had known what it would be like to travel through Eastern Europe alone and for the first time, I would never have gone. Under Neptune, I had no sense of what I was doing or where I was going, as if God had put a brown paper bag over my head.
6) The Transiting Uranus brings change depending upon the nature of the transit. The favorable aspects comfortably expand our vision, allowing us to explore new options of diet, exercise, and lifestyle patterns. With the hard aspects, these can initially stimulate compulsive over-eating because you feel like your fingers are stuck in an electrical outlet. It generates a type of nervous electrical energy for which food seems to ground and soothe. This very uncomfortable feeling ends only when we end something in our lives that we have outgrown. Ending a bad relationship or frustrating job can take 10 pounds off in a week!
This is my story and my observations of the Transformational Process. It is not an easy process. But, anyone who is willing to walk down this path must know that it is truly a Hero’s Journey.
“When you become authentic,
you become greater than you ever thought you could be,
and this greatness allows you to heal yourself,
your family, and your world.”
—Sarah Ban Breathnach
NOTE: If anyone would like a copy of the astrological chronology of my weight loss from 1989 through 2002, contact me by e-mail.
1 In my research, I have observed that anorexics have the opposite pattern-– their external situation is so out of control that the only control they have is over their eating, or not eating.
2 I have also researched the astrological patterns for slow eaters. They often have Taurus-Gemini combinations. The astrological aspects are Mercury and/or Mars in hard aspect to Saturn and/or Pluto. If the sign of Cancer is involved, there can be some digestive sensitivity that contributes to the slowness in eating. Pluto and the 5th House can be associated with attention needs and controlling others and their time through eating very slowly.