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FEATURE - March 2016 - Santa Fe
Your Body and the Stars
Excerpt from Chapter 1
by Dr. Stephanie Marango and Rebecca Gordon
Your body is amazing. It is a miracle of Mother Nature some six million years in the making. Standing in front of a mirror, you can see its shape is a five-pointed star made up of one head, two arms, and two legs. Together, these structures form the you with which you are most familiar. Yet the true beauty of your body is not its individual parts but their greater, functional whole. Walking, running, skipping, jumping—together, your bones, muscles, and more orchestrate a symphony that allows you to operate as you see fit. However, we currently live in a society in which most of us know how to operate our laptops better than our legs—a world in which synchronizing takes place between our calendars and computers more frequently than between our head and neck. Forget about considering the body as an integrated whole—many individuals do not even know its parts exist. That is, until a body part stops behaving as it is supposed to and aches, breaks, or otherwise fails to perform.
But it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, the whole is all that was seen. A focus on structural parts did not exist until anatomists like Galen of Pergamum wielded scalpels to systematically dissect bones, brains, and veins and detail them in enormous bodies of work that influence science today. But back then, when Galen delineated the body’s parts, he also correlated them to a person’s spirit (as previously identified by Plato). The heart, therefore, was viewed as both the source of the body’s circulation and the seat of a person’s passion; the brain begot the body’s nerves as well as the soul’s mind. For Galen, proof of divinity was in the physical pudding.
And so it is with astrology. Each of the twelve zodiac signs governs a region of the body—starting with Aries at your head and ending with Pisces at your feet, with all the other signs in between. You might be familiar with the Middle Age illustration of the Zodiac Man, depicting the twelve zodiac signs superimposed on the human form.
There are many depictions of the Zodiac Man, but the original illustrator is still unknown. Most of the drawings date to the Middle Ages, although the first text referencing the concept is older, appearing in Marcus Manilius’s works of 15–20 BCE. His works, in turn, were based on wisdom passed down from his predecessors. How did they ascertain the relationship between body and stars? Well, for the majority of known human history, the natural and the divine were simply two sides of the same coin. Our predecessors’ conventions of thought were different than ours, and we cannot look back to a different age and ascribe our modern mentality to them. Their proof was primarily based on life experience, not empirical research (like how you subjectively know that sleep is good for you without having to be told by a scientific study). So they knew it by virtue of living it.
What this figure refers to is the body as man’s key to the cosmos, the idea that each sign’s energy lives within and can be accessed through the related body region. In this way, all of the character traits, strengths, and susceptibilities of each zodiac sign do not have to remain just concepts. They can all be brought to life so that who you are is aligned with what you do. Bringing your own, personal Zodiac Man to life is like walking the talk in regard to well-being.
Your body can literally bring to life the story of the stars. It is not as hard to access as you might think, because the stars already live and breathe within you. Really. Man is made of the same substance as stars, which is the literal truth. Stars consist primarily of helium and hydrogen, and during their life-death cycles over the past billions of years, they have fabricated almost every other element as well, including carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. Lo and behold, these essential elements are the same ones that comprise life as we know it, the same ones found in the soil, grass, food…and you. Hydrogen, for instance, is part of the water molecule (H2O) that constitutes over half of your body’s mass. Carbon is distributed throughout the double strands of your DNA. Nitrogen forms a vital part of your body’s proteins. And oxygen is the primary fuel for trillions of your cells. In short, you live because stars died and recycled their material as you.
This might be your first encounter with the idea that you embody both the matter and the spirit of the stars, but it is an age-old relationship that predates even Babylonian records. Look at the following chart to see how the zodiac signs correlate to your body parts.
You can check out the most prominent signs in your chart, like the sun, moon, or rising sign, but remember that all twelve zodiac signs live within you! That is, in fact, what the hermetic axiom “As above, so below” means—the heavens are reflected here on Earth and the Earth, in turn, reflects the heavens. Which means if you have a body region, then you have the story of the corresponding sign alive in you. For instance, if you have hands, you have the communication abilities of the Gemini, whether the Twins are your sun sign or not. Likewise for your loving Leo heart and cautious Capricorn knees.
Whether or not you realize it, all of the zodiac signs’ characteristics present facets of you—facets that are yours to express if you so choose. The question, then, is which facets to express and how. How will you bring the story of the stars to life through your bodily form?
This excerpt was taken from Dr. Stephanie Marango and Rebecca Gordon’s forthcoming book, Your Body and the Stars: The Zodiac as Your Wellness Guide, release date, May 10, 2016, and is reprinted with permission of Beyond Word Publishing/Atria Books, Hillsboro, Oregon. www.beyondword.com.