HYGIEA, WELL-BEING AND BELONGING by Hilary Bond PhD.
This article is copyright to Dr Hilary Bond
Soft mud, so rich;
Reaching for the sky.
We are many,
We are a tribe,
We are together,
My loved ones and I,
For we are not just “I”,
“I” and “I” are really “We.”
We belong to each other.
Belong to the whole
All of you who follow me know that I am writing a book on Hygiea the astrological goddess of health, hygiene, sanitation and wellbeing. This article adds to the concepts of well-being that is the core of Hygiea’s archetype. While certainly a part of well-being, happiness alone doesn’t give life meaning. Positive psychologist Martin Seligman asks us, “What is it that enables you to cultivate your talents, to build deep, lasting relationships with others, to feel pleasure, and to contribute meaningfully to the world? In a word, what is it that allows you to flourish? ”
Well-being” takes the stage front and centre, and happiness or positive emotion, becomes one of the five pillars of Dr Seligman’s Master’s Degree in Positive Psychology (rather than labelling people with a derogatory mental illness name), along with engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment the permanent building blocks for a life of profound fulfillment that enable us to belong anywhere and everywhere.
Where do you belong?
Who are the people who make you feel good?
Where are the places you feel good?
Does your sense of flourishing or well-being, help you feel you belong anywhere?
Does a certain sound help you feel you belong somewhere?
Does a certain colour or colours help you feel you belong somewhere?
This is all contributes to a sense of well-being.
Well-being refers to various and interconnected elements of physical, mental, and social health that extend beyond the traditional definition of health. Well-being is holistic health. It includes choices and activities aimed at achieving physical vitality, mental alacrity, social satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and personal fulfillment.
LOOKING AT WELL-BEING AS AN ASTROLOGICAL CONCEPT
As a child I grew up in an isolated place, in the outback of Australia. Occasionally my family would drive nearly 100 miles into town. This was a splendid occasion where I could visit a park and play with some children. It was fun, a lot of fun. From 1998 to 2004 I lived on and off on a geographically isolated island in the north of Australia. It was a tribal Aboriginal community. After thirty years I met those children I played with in the park again. My grandparents had died and my father had died. My partner and I had separated. But on this island my sense of loss had lessened greatly and I felt like I belonged again. I was safe, secure, loved and I had many friends there. At the time I arrived at this island my South Node was in my 4th house, my Venus and Mercury were up on the midheaven, my Hygiea was on the descendent. My Mars was in my 11th house. I felt good. There was also another link, well two links and I did not know them then. With my Moon in the 8th house I felt I had known these people before. But my children did not feel they belonged there. They missed the city. They did not like the culture. They had no sense of well-being there. Finally, we left because it was vital that my children returned to a place where they did belong.
Consequently, for me, belonging is a feeling, an emotion. It is watery. Belonging belongs to the Moon and the water houses. Astro-cartography may be able to pinpoint your belonging to a place, certainly your ascendant can. Even though the concept of belonging is a lunar one: Cancerian-4th house and strongly Moon-type people need to belong, all children need to feel that their world is a safe place where people will care about them, where their needs for support, respect and friendship will be met, and where they will be able to get help to work out any problems. When these needs are met children develop a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging has been found to help protect children against mental health problems and improve their learning. Children who feel that they belong are happier, more relaxed and have fewer behavioural problems than others. They are also more motivated and more successful learners. You can help your child be being attached to them as they mature.
Many people who have a strong sense of inner confidence and a strong inner child have a sense of belonging. And to many people belonging means acceptance as a member of something: a family, a club, a cohort, a social network, a church, a country, a group of friends, a profession. To Abraham Maslow, psychologist a sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter. But a sense that you belong is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with intensely painful emotions. You may feel a connection to one or two friends, siblings, co-workers or even pets. Some perceive they are connected to all people the world over, to humanity. If we have Indigenous ancestry then we are connected to all our ancestors, the land, the trees, the skies and waterways and of course the spirits of the trees, plants, skies, water and land. For some people life is part of a struggle to find a sense of belonging and their loneliness is physically painful for them.
Thus, we may ask, is Hygiea connected to the old lunar goddesses if she is a watery goddess? Of course, the Moon is watery. The Moon is linked to tides in the ocean and menstrual cycles in females. Certainly, hygiene is a need for washing, for cleansing. We can only be healthy if our body is free from bacteria and parasites and unless we live hygienically good health, vitality and well-being are simply not possible. Hygeia came to prominence because her temples were out in the countryside when a killer plague struck Athens in 430 BC. The Greek people felt abandoned by their major gods and Hygeia and her father came to prominence because they used holistic healing out in the countryside and people were cured. Thus, Hygeia is a goddess of springs, mineral spas, rivers and even the ocean around her temple’s points to her need for water.
Dr. Tom Lynch, a psychologist spent over 20 years developing Radically Open DBT (RO DBT), an evidenced-based treatment for individuals with overcontrolled personality styles. These people isolate themselves. RO DBT therapists work to reduce suffering by developing skills needed to move toward psychological health. Instead of looking for what’s wrong, the RO DBT therapist considers what’s healthy for all of us. In RO DBT, psychological wellbeing is a guide for treatment interventions. Lynch notes that an overcontrolled coping style would include being detail-focused, restrained, perfectionistic, cautious, disciplined, structured, conscientious, reserved, overly planful, and overly dutiful. These characteristics are helpful ones in many ways, but their behaviour may mask their emotional pain. Overcontrolled clients are more likely to benefit from an intervention that teaches them how to actively seek wellbeing. For wellbeing to be the guide for treatment, it’s important to define the concept. Psychological health is theorized in RO DBT to have three core transacting features:
1. Receptivity and openness to new experience and disconfirming feedback in order to learn
2. Flexible-control in order to adapt to changing environmental conditions
3. Intimacy and connectedness with at least one other person.
BELONGING AND SOCIAL SIGNALING
To induce connectedness, he works on social signalling. Social signalling means belongingness or being part of a tribe, a family or any group where we feel safe. As a species human engage in coordinated group activities with non-kin and comply without resistance to requests from complete strangers. When disaster strikes, research shows that most humans are calm, orderly, and work together to help others. During times of extreme crisis, we forget about our individual differences, backgrounds, and beliefs and unite together for a common cause. But we are essentially a socially-anxious species. Blank expressions or frowning are often interpreted as disapproving. So, we are constantly scanning the facial expressions and vocalizations of other people for signs of disapproval and are biologically predisposed to construe the intentions of others as disapproving,
Anthropologically and sociologically we haven’t moved on emotionally since our early ancestors had to detect a ‘true’ disapproval signal when tribal banishment was a norm and then banishment or not belonging meant a death sentence from starvation or enemy predators.
When we observe Radical Openness therapy, we find that Radical Openness Dialectical Behaviour Therapy treatment involves both individual treatment sessions and skills training classes, and centres around five themes that can be linked to 8th house problems:
1. inhibited and disingenuous emotional expression;
2. hyper-detailed focused and overly cautious behaviour;
3. rigid and rule-governed behaviour;
4. aloof and distant style of relating;
5. and high social comparison, envy/bitterness and reduced empathy.
Ever since the publication of Charles Darwin’s seminal The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), a number of theorists and researchers have argued that our emotions evolved for the purpose of communication. RO DBT links neuroregulatory theory and the communicative functions of emotional expression to the formation of close social bonds, and introduces a unique thesis regarding the mechanism by which overcontrolled behaviour leads to psychological distress. What is overcontrolled behaviour. From an obvious observation it clearly comes from a childhood that was not safe and from a shamanic-past life point of view it indicates past lives that still need healing. Overcontrolled behaviour indicates that biological-temperament-based threat sensitivity, combined with overlearned tendencies to mask inner feelings, are hypothesized (by a socially distressed person) to engender social ostracism and loneliness, thus exacerbating psychological distress. Bio-temperament refers to genetic and biological ancestors who originated these behaviours of suspicious, watchful emotional perception and regulation.
Radical Openness is a way of behaving, but it is also a state of mind informed by the central premise that emotional well-being involves the confluence of the above three features:
and social connectedness.
As a state of mind, Radical Openness involves actively seeking our wellbeing through our personal unknown in order to learn from an ever-changing environment. Radical Openness also enhances relationships because it models humility and the willingness to learn from what the world has to offer.
THE ASTROLOGY OF BELONGING
The word “belonging” can be ambiguous and means different things to different people, depending on their outlook on life, social status and history. Here are some of the different perspectives.
1. Belonging is knowing who you are, through trials and struggles, that you will be familiar with yourself and can understand the reasons for your uniqueness. Here we see the egotism of Sun and Mars.
2. Belonging is not only about being accepted into a circle, but earning that place. Not just a member, but a leader. Here we hear the 11th and 5th house.
3. To belong, you must first know what you want. Here we sense the 2nd house. What are our resources. Are we confident?
4. It is possible to belong in an environment in which you are rejected because belonging is about how you see the environment, not how the environment sees you.
What is the environment here?
Is it your family who point to the 4th house?
Is it your work place?
If it is your work place then this is the 6th house and if the environment is your siblings then the environment is the 3th house.
Is the environment your social standing? If so, this is your 10th house.
Is it your church or place of worship? Then this is your 9th house.
But again, we return to the basic focus: does one feel that without belonging, one cannot identify themselves as clearly, thus having difficulties communicating with and relating to their surroundings. Certainly, according to attachment theory if our childhood has been insecure and our parents or caregivers did not give us the love all children needed then an insecure child will turn into an adult with a wounded insecure child within them, regardless of the way they present to the world.
5. So is being true to yourself and is being who you want the perfect definition of belonging? Certainly not if we isolate ourselves and are insecure.
THE PSYCHOLOGIST WHO WROTE “FLOURISH” and who helps people belong to themselves.
I found a number of books by lovable, positive Dr Martin Segilman whose Positive Psychology strengthens people’s holistic health and gives them a sense of inner belonging. Martin Segilman has his Hygiea, the asteroid of well-being, midpoint between Venus 24 degrees and Jupiter 14 degrees all in Cancer; motherly, caring Cancer, the sign of belonging and soft cuddly blankets where you can wrap yourself up on cold nights and feel snuggly, safe and warm. The asteroid goddess Hygeia activates the Venus- Jupiter midpoint and bestows enthusiastic appreciation, a generous display of feeling and encouragement and support of loved one’s clients and students. In his writing and lecturing to his psychology student’s Dr Segilman assists others to access the universal love which is readily abundant. He conveys the information that well- being is to be found in all areas of life, and his books and psychological theories have a transformative and enriching effect on all people and their beliefs, emotions and relationships. Does this convey belonging? Yes. We all have an environment where we believe we belong, but what is most important is the feeling of belonging in our own body.
We all belong in our own etheric body. The etheric body can be characterised as the life force also present in the plant kingdom. It preserves the physical body’s form until death. Then it disconnects from the physical body and the physical returns to natural disintegration.
One of his books is “Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being.” Dr Seligman had already written Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness, an optimistic guidebook on finding and securing individual happiness. The positive psychologist writes his book, Flourish, with his dynamic new concept of what well-being really is. Traditionally, the goal of psychology has been to diagnose and relieve human suffering, but the goal of the Positive Psychology movement, which Dr. Seligman has led for fifteen years, is about encouraging people to flourish and grown naturally. Flourish builds on Dr. Seligman’s game-changing work on optimism, motivation, and character to show how to get the most out of life, for individuals, for communities, and for nations. Seligman now asks,” What is it that enables you to cultivate your talents, to build deep, lasting relationships with others, to feel pleasure, and to contribute meaningfully to the world? In a word, what is it that allows you to flourish? “Well-being” takes the stage front and center, and Happiness (or Positive Emotion) becomes one of the five pillars of Positive Psychology, along with engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment, the permanent building blocks for a life of profound fulfillment.
So here we look at Hygeia in Cancer where we look at the emotionally sensitive male, the male who gains well-being and seeks well-being for his tribe by being emotionally sensitive, but at the same time, actualising a practical sense of how to liberate oneself from negative and toxic emotions. And this is what Dr Segilman specialises in when he writes “Flourish” and “Learned optimism and Authentic Happiness.”
FREDDIE OVERSTEEGEN, THE DUTCH RESISTANCE FIGHTER. An example of belonging.
She was 14 when she joined the Dutch resistance, though with her long, dark hair in braids she looked at least two years younger. When she rode her bicycle down the streets of Haarlem in North Holland, firearms hidden in a basket, Nazi officials rarely stopped to question her. When she walked through the woods, serving as a lookout or seductively leading her SS target to a secluded place, there was little indication that she carried a handgun and was preparing an execution. The Dutch resistance was widely believed to be a man’s effort in a man’s war.
Yet Freddie Oversteegen and her sister Truus, two years her senior, were rare exceptions, a pair of teenage women who took up arms against Nazi occupiers and Dutch “traitors” on the outskirts of Amsterdam. With Hannie Schaft, a onetime law student with fiery red hair, they sabotaged bridges and rail lines with dynamite, shot Nazis while riding their bikes, and donned disguises to smuggle Jewish children across the country and sometimes out of concentration camps. In perhaps their most daring act, they seduced their targets in taverns or bars, asked if they wanted to “go for a stroll” in the forest and “liquidated” them, as Ms Oversteegen put it, with a pull of the trigger. “We had to do it,” she told one interviewer. “It was a necessary evil, killing those who betrayed the good people.”
It was, she said, a source of pride and of pain, a five-year experience that she never regretted, but that came to haunt her in peacetime. Late at night, unable to fall asleep, she sometimes recalled the words of an old battle song that served as an anthem for her and her sister: “We have carried the best to their graves, torn and fired at, beaten till the blood ran, surrounded by the executioners on the scaffold and jail, but the raging of the enemy doesn’t frighten us.”
Her parents divorced when she was a child, and Freddie and Truus were raised primarily by their mother, a communist who instilled a sense of social responsibility in the young girls; she eventually remarried and had a son. In interviews with anthropologist Ellis Jonker, collected in the 2014 book “Under Fire: Women and World War II,” Freddie Oversteegen recalled that their mother encouraged them to make dolls for children suffering in the Spanish Civil War, and beginning in the early 1930s volunteered with International Red Aid, a kind of communist Red Cross for political prisoners around the world. Although living in poverty, sleeping on makeshift mattresses stuffed with straw, the family harboured refugees from Germany and Amsterdam, including a Jewish couple and a mother and son who lived in their attic. After German forces invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, the couples were moved to another location; Jewish community leaders feared a potential raid, because of the family’s well-known political leanings. “They were all deported and murdered,” Ms Oversteegen told Jonker. “We never heard from them again. It still moves me dreadfully, whenever I talk about it.” Ms Oversteegen and her sister began their resistance careers by distributing pamphlets (“The Netherlands have to be free!”) and hanging anti-Nazi posters (“For every Dutchman working in Germany, a German man will go to the front!”). Their efforts apparently attracted the attention of Frans van der Wiel, commander of the underground Haarlem Council of Resistance, who invited them to join his team with their mother’s permission. “Only later did he tell us what we’d actually have to do: sabotage bridges and railway lines,” Truus Oversteegen said, according to Jonker. “We told him we’d like to do that. ‘And learn to shoot, to shoot Nazis,’ he added. I remember my sister saying, ‘Well, that’s something I’ve never done before!’”
I have described this courageous woman enough for you to guess that Freddie Oversteegen had a very strong Mars, probably a strong Pluto and a powerful Saturn. I have her birth to 6 am so she would have an Aries Moon and a Sun conjunct Mars in her first house which means she is incredibly brave, mechanically minded and strong willed. And like many Moon in Aries people I know she likes guns. She also has Pluto at 14 degrees conjunct Hygeia in Cancer at 13 degrees which gives her a ruthless sense of belongingness to her country and people. Freddie’s sun and Mars are exactly sextile her Hygeia conjunct Pluto so she has no doubt been a fighter with a strong sense of internal power and security many times in past lives. Her Saturn too has connections to Pluto as it is in Scorpio and is sextile her Sun-Mars. So, she has an iron will and is incredibly organised. Her South Node in Aquarius also means that she is dedicated to her community and has a joy in belonging to her country and community. But what does Pluto conjunct in Hygeia Cancer really mean? There is no doubt Freddie’s life path to well-being is to care for her fellow country men and her tribe and family, for she belongs to them and they belong to her. Her emotions are constellated around her family, her society and community and friends (Hygeia in the 11th) and her childhood experiences where her mother taught her to be a communist. The formative experiences that bought her well -being (Pluto in Cancer conjunct Hygeia) were an upbringing where she was part of the International Red Cross and she protected and helped Jewish, Lithuanian and German people escape from German Nazis. This gave her emotional security. Attachment to parents, family and her work were health-giving and nurturing relationships for her soul.
This is a hard position because with Pluto and Hygeia in the 11th house there is a need to develop a unique sense of identity, which is free from the externally imposed familial bonds where she belonged to a tribe that gives her security. It seems that putting Hygeia-Pluto in Cancer as a generational situation combines here with an Aquarian-11th house archetype where she sought to find a meaningful role in a social group where she could act in an unconventional manner to find well-being.
BELONGINGNESS SUMMARY IN RELATION TO HYGEIA
In traditional astrology planets belong and feel comfortable in certain signs and houses. Uranus is at home in the 11th house and Aquarius. Venus is at home in Libra and Taurus and in the 7th house and 2nd house. Mars is at home in the first house and Aries. The Sun is at home in the fifth house and Leo.
So, can we find the home and exaltation of Hygeia and where she belongs by nature? Yes, Hygeia is a healing goddess and a goddess of hygiene and sanitation so she belongs naturally in Virgo and the 6th house. Does that mean she is not at home or fallen in the 12th house and with Neptune and Pisces? No, because Hygeia used dreams for healing. She is a holistic healer and she is just as concerned about healing the mental and emotional body and the shadow as she is with the physical body.
Hygeia ‘s temples are in the country, in nature and so she is exalted in Taurus, in Venus and in the 2nd house. Does that mean she does not belong in the 8th house, in Scorpio and with Pluto? No. Hygeia is a natural psychologist and she is attracted by ritual, the occult, surgery, and she is attracted by helping herself and others understand the layers of herself and others; the unconscious layers, the past lives, the shadows and they are all healable.
Hygeia is at home with and in the 7th house, Libra and Venus because she works with Ascelepius who may be her father or husband. She helps people understand and recover from co-dependency and how relationship patterns work and she helps us holistically find prior life relationship patterns. Does that mean that Hygeia is uncomfortable in the first house, with Mars and in Aries? No, Hygeia works with energy and vitality. She works with holistic health to help us find ourself.
Hygeia works with her siblings. Hygeia as well as her four sisters each performed a facet of Apollo’s art: Hygeia (“Hygiene” the goddess/personification of health, cleanliness, and sanitation); Panacea (the goddess of Universal remedy); Iaso (the goddess of recuperation from illness); Aceso (the goddess of the healing process); and Aglaïa (the goddess of beauty, splendour, glory, magnificence, and adornment). Sometimes Hygeia is accompanied by Telesphorus, the dwarf with a cowl on his head, who is a symbol of the recovery. According to some myths he was the brother of Hygeia and a deity in Thrace. Her brothers, the physicians Machaon and Podalirius, were mentioned by Homer in the Iliad. Both Machaon and Podalirius were highly valued surgeons and medics. He was also supposed to possess herbs which were bestowed to his father Asclepius by Chiron, the centaur. Both brothers led the Thessalians against Troy. Does it mean that Hygeia is not comfortable in the 9th house? Of course not. As holistic healers Ascelepius and his daughter Hygeia healed in concert with the gods and part of their ritual was to analyse and work with the dreams that their patients had. Belief was a strong part of their healing. Hygeia was at home in the fifth house as she worked with music, theatre, love and fun and she worked with the community, taking in patients for free. Consequently, Hygeia belongs with all the astrological archetypes. Oh dear. I missed the 4th and tenth house; her roots and social standing; her mother and father. Well, I assure you she belongs there too.
In case you wondered the Nosoi were the personified spirits (or daimones) of plague, sickness and disease. They were numbered amongst the evil spirits which escaped from Pandora’s jar. The Keres were also sometimes portrayed as personifications of deadly disease. In most Homeric literature, however, the arrows of Apollon and Artemis were the bringers of plague and sickness rather than bands of daimones. The Roman counterparts of the Nosoi were Morbus, Lues, Pestis, Tabes and Macies.
This year I added another branch of astrology to my repertoire. I added Evolutionary Astrology. I have my South Node in Cancer square my Moon and quincunx my Venus and I always wanted to belong to my whole family. However, we all know what quincunxes do. This year I gave up caring. I have friends who I call family. I have an audience I write my StarCounsell articles for. I have my own children and grandchildren. I have a forest of trees, a do and a garden. I belong. Today I also found another solution on Facebook. Today I found a post that my dear friend Lindsay McKenna had posted. It was written by Bert Hellinger. It said, “The So-called ‘Black Sheep’ of the family are, in fact, seekers of liberation roads for the family tree. Those members of the tree who do not adapt to the rules or traditions of the family system, those who were constantly seeking to revolutionize beliefs, going in contrast to roads marked by family traditions, those criticized, tried and even rejected, those, in general, they are called to release the tree of repetitive stories that frustrate entire generations. The ‘Black Sheep’, the “Scapegoat”, those who do not adapt, those who scream rebel, repair, detoxify and create a new and blooming branch of countless unfulfilled desires, unfulfilled dreams, frustrated talents of our ancestors manifest themselves in their rebellion looking to take place. The family tree, by inertia, will want to continue to maintain the castrating and toxic course of its trunk, which makes its task difficult and conflicting. However, take care of your ‘rarity’ as the most precious flower of your own tree. You are the dream of all your ancestors.”
Some people will never like you because your spirit pushes their buttons, but we all belong, somewhere, with someone, some forest, some country, some beach, some garden, some tree and most of all, to your own soul.
May love follow you wherever you go and whatever you do.
May every sunrise bring you hope.
May every sunset bring you tranquillity.
Many bright blessings for you in 2019, from,
And P.S. If you would like to contribute to my Hygeia book, just message me and I will answer.