In the 1990s, a friend who is a holistic health therapist and an astrologer called about a phenomenon that she had observed astrologically and psychologically regarding breast cancer. She has observed this tendency to occur under certain transits of Pluto and my own research has found the same. Over the years, I noticed that some women (and I do stress only SOME) during Pluto-Moon transits would experience surfacing resentments regarding the mother and the emotional life during the childhood. These resentments crystallize in the form of cysts or, in some cases, tumors. Another female in the life can serve as a catalyst in arousing these emotions. For example, a woman with the Moon conjunct Saturn in Aries in the 4th House developed a cyst, which surfaced when she found herself washing the feet of an elderly woman. The woman reminded her of her mother and how she had washed her mother’s feet before she died. Her mother had been dead for years and she thought that she had released the resentments. When she re-experienced the feet washing, all of the buried resentments came to the surface.
In my research, I found that, when the emotional situation was basically benign, so was the tumor. The cancerous tumors were descriptive of an emotional situation that was intense, seemingly unresolvable, and very hostile. When the body could no longer contain the angry feelings, it expelled them in the form of a tumor. The level of empowerment in the individual’s life is significant in determining recovery. I am by no means suggesting that cancer is psychological! But, there can be psychological patterns that contribute to what may already be a genetic pre-disposition.
My psychological profile ended here until my friend shared her personal research. These women were in a Virgo Burn-Out space as they felt tugged at to nurture the neediness of others, especially those personality types that had separation difficulty during the first 18 months of age. Such needy types demand sympathy “like sucking on a breast” yet they never seem to get enough. The “breast cancer susceptible” woman feels that she is being forced to give more than she has and she resents it. The therapist stated that these women should be alert that they are reaching the danger point when they feel that they are not doing enough for others.
With further observation, I find a strong but dysfunctional Saturn that makes the individual feel super responsible and it is very difficult for them to say no or limit the demands of others. I have found some indications that negative Neptune aspects make the individual pre-disposed to being drained by others and highly empathetic to the needs of others. Neptune also rules boundary (the lack of) issues. This same pattern combined with Mars afflictions appear in the charts of auto-immune diseases.
The difference between those who had a simple benign tumor and the malignant tumor appears to be the influence of Pluto in the natal chart. When the tumor was cancerous, the individual truly felt powerless and out of control. There seemed to be no way out— no way out of the demands of the perpetually needy! Of course, there is always a way out but the individual could not see it. With the benign tumors, the individuals usually felt that they had some control and they could take action in eliminating the problem; they could see a clear way out of the situation.
Many years ago, actress Jill Ireland appeared on “NightWatch.” At that time, she had recovered from breast cancer and I wondered how this profile would fit with her strong personality. It worked perfectly! She said that she and her husband, Charles Bronson, lived in a 12-bedroom house, which she cared for herself. Their children (from previous marriages as well as their own) were always home and they thought nothing of bringing in friends to stay for long periods with Ms. Ireland providing the maid service— cooking, cleaning and doing their laundry. Her struggle with breast cancer accomplished one major change— it got rid of the “sucklings!” After her surgery, she told the children to move out; she sold the 12-bedroom house and moved into a much smaller one that she could easily manage. However, Ms Ireland lost her battle with cancer with a reoccurence of the disease. She never seemed to be able to divest herself of the anger and rage that she felt inside. Her anger was projected onto the disease as she continually referred to herself as a “Cancer Survivor.” She felt powerless to deal with the anger at its root source— and the cancer returned. Jill Ireland was born on April 24 1936 in London. She had been experiencing Pluto in Scorpio opposing her Taurus stellium. She died on May 18 1990 as Pluto was opposing her Mars.
To summarize the personality profile, in essence, these are often background and support people who feel suppressed by their female role— and they often do not realize this! In placing the needs of others first, they are not fulfilling their own needs. This pattern can readily be seen in so many First Ladies who develop breast cancer after devoting their lives to supporting their husbands’ political careers.
I should also add that I have observed the development of breast cancer in women who were not experiencing Pluto transits or any serious anger issues. These women always recovered and there was little invasive surgery. I feel that this arises from congestion in the lymph-– the root of this being dietary and a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise, drinking a lot of water, Vitamin C, castor oil packs and lymph massages are the best preventatives in this case.
ADDENDUM: Dr. Phil McGraw, on the OPRAH Show, said that he had a background in Behavioral Medicine. One of their findings is that, those women who have breast cancer, score very high on “Need for Attention” in testing. According to McGraw, they see their identity coming from being a Patient. The partner, however, goes through a psychological pattern of feeling ignored, rejected but “how can I say anything— she has cancer.” The partner needs acknowledgment.
Astrologically, I have not observed natal patterns of attention needs. Although, if tested after the breast cancer diagnosis, I can understand the higher need for attention and support, as this can be a very frightening disease.
Observations have demonstrated that non-invasive and post menopausal breast cancer is linked to an unexpressed trauma from the childhood that is connected to the mother. When suppressed, the trauma is a seed that is planted that grows into a tumor when triggered by some associated event. The invasive type breast cancer that occurs in younger women is associated with a trauma associated with the father. The trauma is always unexpressed, a planted seed that is triggered to grow when a related psychological event occurs in the life.
One can look at the degrees of separation on the aspect grid for hard aspects to the Moon. This can quickly point to when the trauma occurred. One can print out the Solar Arc-2ndary Progressions-Transits to see when clusters of stress aspects occurred.
For example, one woman was forced to take on responsibilities for her mother’s health in her childhood. Washing her mother was something that she did but always resented giving up her childhood. Around the time of the onset, she found herself working as a nurse in a nursing home for the elderly. Once again, she found herself washing older women and the old emotions began to surface and a tumor developed.
In this case, the woman experienced a “communion” with her late mother, who had been imprisoned during the Holocaust. When her hair had to be shaved off, she experienced the communion moment as she suddenly knew what her mother had experienced in the concentration camp when her hair was shaved.