The premature child: a study into astrological explanations.
by Carla Pretto
translated by Nick Skidmore
To be premature is to be completed before the proper time: such a definition, if applied to the newborn, takes on a significance of profound suffering, in as much as if obliges the child, from the first moment of life, to fight for survival. Too small a being to live autonomously, given the difficulty chiefly in breathing, but also in terms of metabolism, neurology and feeding, simply because it has not been able to stay in the mother’s womb long enough for its complete formation. The period of gestation depends on complicated, detailed psychological and physical mechanisms of the parental couple, primarily of the mother, but indirectly of the father.
In many maternal birth charts analysed, the constant that is most frequently repeated is the strong presence of “masculine” values: accumulations of planets in Aries, Capricorn or Scorpio or in the first, tenth or eighth houses, which are respectively co-significant. In Aries and in Scorpio, the masculine houses are in a position of excellence, while in Capricorn, Saturn and Uranus they confer rationality and determination, rendering the sign authoritative, rather than masculine. The planet common to all three signs is Mars, which symbolises aggression, pluck and that, even if in a haphazard fashion, invests the individual with strength, the will to live and leave their mark.
In other cases, there is always the presence of a very strong Sun or Mars, often in aspect with Saturn or Pluto, while the Moon is afflicted or isolated.
If these characteristics are present in the birth chart, the woman has difficulty in accepting her feminine role, including therefore that of the mother, especially in the sense of “homemaker”.
She is instead driven to be a strong and determined person, who from an early age is used to relying on her own resources, to being independent: her two principal goals are therefore work and personal autonomy, from which she draws gratification, precisely because she attains and retains them easily. This brings the mortification of her femininity, which shows in her emotional relationships and which comes to the fore when she becomes a mother. The expiation of the “guilt” of not being or not feeling “feminine”, even if unconsciously, translates into romantic and family life as an attitude of ambiguity and in a discontinuous participation.
The choice of partner of these women will be a subject who seems strong and sure of himself, but who deep down nurtures doubts about his own virility and this insecurity drives him to see women as a source of support and as a stabilising influence, able to give him something to hold onto. The aspects that are most frequently found in the birth chart are quadrature or opposition of Pluto or Saturn to Mars.
The most interesting point to analyse, in the case of a premature birth, are the transits on the mother’s birth chart of the slow planets, Pluto, Neptune and Uranus, in as much as they accompany the pregnancy from its beginning to its conclusion and also the period afterwards, given that the premature baby strongly shapes the life of the mother and all the family. In nearly all cases analysed, the transit that is most often seen at the moment the mother becomes pregnant is that of Pluto in quadrature or opposition to the radical Moon: the most obvious reading is confirmed by the person themselves and the unease with which at that moment she experiences her femininity. Almost always, she feels diminished by her partner, abandoned to herself: she cannot find either personal or professional satisfaction: she feels like “a servant” subordinated to her partner and her family. There may also be problems between the couple, such as betrayal by the husband: the woman realises the need to do something to bring the couple back together, regaining the husband’s attention and, at the same time, the need of having someone on whom to shower her love and affection. This is a need, a conscious and definite wish, not an unconscious desire to have a child, as indicated by Pluto in his symbolism of creativity and fertility, which, turned into the negative, is transformed into difficulties in creating anything, if not in destruction. The aspect strikes the Moon – woman – mother, preventing her staying pregnant, or wanting an abortion, or making the pregnancy in some way difficult.
Neptune, in his symbolic representation of amniotic fluid, when in transit in negative aspect across the birth Moon of the mother, can determine an inadequate production of this fluid with the possibility of negative repercussions on the child. An excessive production can cause a high percentage of foetal malformations, in particular in the digestive tract. Scarcity, on the other hand, correlates with insufficient function of the placenta or foetal malformation of the kidneys with associated problems in the respiratory function.
Uranus governs technology, which in recent decades, through scans and amniocentesis, has allowed us to see the foetus, permitting us to discover not only the gender but also to identify any possible genetic diseases. If the transit of the planet is negative this will create doubts over the possibility of carrying out the amniocentesis for fear the foetus may abort, which this can provoke, and which may happen if there is also the presence of a negative transit of Mars.
In the past, up to the fifties, a sort of “natural selection” prevailed for babies born before their proper time: in effect, only those born after seven months survived because, after some initial difficulties, the child was able to live autonomously. The only way the parents could take care of the child was to put it into a sort of “nest” made of cotton wool, perhaps placing the child in a half-closed draw or shoe-box or in a suitcase: all homemade remedies to better protect the baby.
Nourishment was administered by spoon or with a dropper since the premature baby was unable to suck.
At the end of the fifties, ever more advanced technology (Uranus) gave us the incubator which increased the percentage of survival. This is made up of a motor that heats and maintains, through sensors, a body temperature of 37º, which the premature baby was unable to regulate and maintain itself. This support is of vital importance because the diminution of temperature, even by a few degrees, can cause serious metabolic alterations, such as a state of metabolic acidity that can even cause the death of the newborn. In addition, it is fundamentally important to maintain a sufficient degree of humidity in the air to avoid severe damage to the skin or mucous with the possibility of infection.
If the temperature of the air inside the cradle is insufficient, it is necessary to use special mattresses containing heated liquid to put under the baby.
The head is wrapped in warm bandages, covered on the outside with tinfoil to prevent heat escaping; in fact, this is the largest part of the body and so is the area of greatest heat loss.
When possible, nourishment is administered by tube directly into the stomach via the nose or mouth.
In all cases, the premature child is kept constantly under the control of medical personnel and as a result is always under artificial light, which impedes its perception of night and day, which interrupts the sleeping-waking rhythm with possible repercussions on the secretion of hormones.
The premature baby is forced to follow this course, which astrologically is traced by the axis of the second-eighth house, Taurus-Scorpio.
The second house symbolises the age of the individual, which ranges from zero to three to four years, the period in which it lives in symbiosis with the mother, the source of its nourishment and well-being, and therefore its very survival.
In Taurus, co-significant of the second house, we find the planets Jupiter, Venus and X. Jupiter symbolises nourishment, speech, the serene entrance into life, and health, and here he is in exaltation. Venus is situated in base domicile and represents affection which is manifest in the lavishing of caresses, in giving food and offering all the essential comforts. X, positioned in the primary domicile, represents the uterus, the primordial home of every individual, where one feels protected and secure. It is not by chance that in premature babies, the second house is always populated with planets or in some way makes up a focal point from which the aspects of the chart depart. The construction of the “nest”, which over the years has changed its form, according to technical progress, is nothing less than the recreation of the maternal womb, which for the adult will become that “territory” that is so dear and indispensable to the Taurean for living and feeling himself secure. Analysing the Taurean values, relating to the second house, especially if afflicted or populated by aggressive planets such as Pluto or Mars, we can understand the entire course laid out for the premature baby. The afflictions of Jupiter strike nutrition: the baby is born small and the less weight it has, the less of its mother’s milk it can consume because it is unable to digest it; a little heavier, it is not able to suck and is therefore deprived of pleasure and warmth, which transmit affection. In the symbolism of speech, negative Jupiter influences the newborn, which, forced into isolation, does not hear known voices, above all that of the mother, to which it had become accustomed during its life in the uterus; such privation can have an influence on its command of language, which may develop late. The planet is afflicted also in its symbolic representation of sight, in as much as the newborn passes brusquely from the most profound darkness of the womb to an environment that is illuminated twenty-four hours a day.
The affectionate nature of Venus has no way of being expressed because the warmth of the hands of the mother who caresses the baby, washes it, changes it, nourishes it, is substituted with the touch of the strange hands of doctors and nurses, perhaps to take some blood or to apply the phleboclysis needle.
The afflictions of X are clearly manifest in the symbolism of the uterus, the container of the foetus that is unable to adequately host the child until it is completely formed: it hasn’t protected him, on the contrary, it has expelled him, perhaps because it does not wish to bring its work to conclusion.
The eighth house, co-significant Scorpio, present the symbolism of death, heredity and heritage, of transformation, of rebirth, that which comes after destruction. The planets positioned in the sign are Mars in base domicile, Mercury in exaltation and Pluto in primary domicile.
Mars symbolises the head: as a physical entity it is present above all in the sign of Aries; in Scorpio, it is read as the brain, as a genetic machine that runs and co-ordinates the body and thought. Mars and Pluto together produce the vital energy, the spur of the libido necessary to activate the organism, Mercury supervising its functioning, originating and transmitting the data that spreads from the brain around the whole body, consuming the energy that the two other planets put at its disposal.
It is from here that is drawn the physical and symbolic importance of the head which in the individual is the fulcrum. Not by chance does the head emerge first during birth: it is the biggest part of the premature child, the source of the greatest heat loss and the object of the first and most rigorous medical attention. The afflictions of Mars can cause a high percentage of deaths from cerebral haemorrhage. Mercury, who most readily symbolises perception, is afflicted and prevents outside sounds and voices reaching the child, which would stimulate him to learn to speak and communicate: this is the combined negativity of the two planets of Jupiter and Mercury. Even mercurial mobility is impaired, forcing the premature baby into the immobility of the incubator, where its little hands and feet are tied down to prevent it removing the catheters.
Pluto symbolises the testicles, containers of the seminal liquid, necessary for the conception of life and creativity, the vital energy. If afflicted, as is seen in the great majority of the birth charts of the premature, this means a potential vitality that will not completely be realised, someone who unconsciously feels not fully accepted and who feels a sensation of suspension in precarious balance between life and death.
In addition to the Taurus-Scorpio symbolism, second house-eighth house, one notices in the charts of the premature a prevalence of mercurial values, due both to the presence of the planets and the luminaries in Gemini or in the third house, which may present afflictions. The forces predispose to speed, mobility, the capacity of hearing but above all to breathing, which can represent the most serious problem for the premature.
Another populated house, or which becomes important because Neptune is strong in the birth chart, is the twelfth house, co-significant Pisces, which signifies isolation, diversity, the necessity of facing challenges in life, which fits in perfectly with the premature child whose first years of life reflect these themes exactly.
The delays in following the normal course of infancy make the parents first of all consider the as different, a feeling that will stay with the person for the rest of their life. There are many, likewise, who, if from being a small child they have suffered from a particular “handicap”, learn as adults to exorcise them so much that they transform them into strong-points.
The fifth house too, co-significant Leo, which symbolises vitality and the energy reserves of the individual, if populated or influence by planets, is important in reading the birth charts of these newborns, in fact the vital capacity is the innate spur that is fundamental and essential in deciding the survival or otherwise of the child: neither being underweight, nor the short period of gestation exerts so peremptory an influence.
Diletta’s life began with a race, sirens wailing, towards the best-equipped hospital: the child weighed 1,3 kg, was asphyxiating and needed immediate treatment. She was at once placed in a closed incubator and put under intensive care, with maximum doses of antibiotics. After two and a half months, when she reached 3.5 kg in weight, she was allowed home.
The isolation continued at home because the risk of infection was so high and Diletta had to be put in a sealed room to maintain sterility. Only the mother and the baby-sitter were allowed in to take care of her (Neptune in Scorpio, in the fourth house, in conjunction with the Mon, in quadrature ascendant and at Medium Coeli). At seven months, she began to live with the rest of the family, playing with her brothers. The whole of the normal course of childhood was delayed for her: she started walking late, her teeth came late, she spoke in her own peculiar way. Only when she was nearly four years old did the mother realise that she didn’t respond to her calls: observing her more closely at length, she realised that the daughter heard very little. Several visits to the doctors confirmed a lack of hearing due of damage to the acoustic nerve, ascribed to the massive doses of antibiotics at birth.
Thus began a painful period of pilgrimages to one doctor after another with recourse to various types of prostheses to improve her hearing. She had to attend a special school to learn to speak with continuous practice in front of a mirror.
To all this “violence” that she had to endure to overcome her handicap, Diletta reacted with pluck, with a great vital energy, granted by Pluto in Virgo in the second house which formed sextile with the Sun in Cancer in the eleventh house, and by the double conjunction between Mars and Uranus in Virgo, with Mars placed in the second house and Uranus in the first. The trigon that Pluto and Uranus formed with the Medium Coeli favoured success and the achievement of her own personal autonomy. All the privations she endured in the first years of life were rejected by her: when, as a small girl, for whatever reason her friends could not come and place with her, Diletta became ill and feverish. As an adult, she surrounded herself with friends, drawn by the presence of the Sun, Mercury and Venus in the eleventh house: the Moon in the third house influenced the many acquaintances she made at the work she undertook, in the field of public relations, in which the two fundamental elements are hearing and speech.
She still hates mirrors, her house is almost devoid of them, as indicated by the Moon in Scorpio, co-significant with the eighth house. She is a dynamic person, very active and brilliant: her pace, from being slow, has become rapid, as Mercury, her dominant planet, demands.
Under 23 weeks of gestation, the organism is not functioning completely and the lungs especially are not sufficiently developed or able to expand, for which reason, given the inability to breath autonomously, the premature baby must be given tubes: this must be done extremely rapidly, in just a few seconds without using anaesthetic, therefore in a traumatic and painful way. The respirator, to which the child is attached, on the one hand, allows the child to live, but on the other can cause even irreversible damage, if it is needed for long. In addition, the elevated percentage of oxygen contained in the mixture causes an anatomical change in the structure of the lungs which results in fibrosis, damaging the elasticity of the lungs, up to the point that it can cause bronchodisplasia: the total subversion of the pulmonary anatomy. Premature births between 23 and 30 weeks of gestation that I have analysed display a constant: almost all are twins, of which the firstborn is often the thinnest and the one who survives. The second in many cases present as breech births and almost always die. The birth occurs from eight to a maximum of fifteen minutes from the first. This means that all the planets are positioned on the same degrees, even the Moon, notwithstanding that it is the fastest planet. The difference of minutes in the moment of birth is the only difference: the difference to some degree of the Ascendant, which in this way makes the same planet slip in different cases.
More frequently, it is the two luminaries, followed by Mars and Venus. The houses in which these differences are preferably to be found are the sixth and seventh, the first and fourth, sometimes the first and twelfth. Most times the premature that survives has the planet in the fifth or in the first, vital houses, where the Sun or Mars rules, or in the seventh, in opposition to the first, in which the planet is bound to Mars or is found in the sign of Aries. In the chart of the second who dies, the planet is situated in the fourth or twelfth house, more fragile sectors where the Moon is dominant, or the sixth house in opposition to the twelfth in which the planet is suffocated. Another constant is the affliction of Pluto by the Sun or Venus in the axis Gemini-Sagittarius, that is the third house-ninth house, or even in the fifth house.
Daniela and Cristina, born at 30 weeks of gestation, weighed respectively 1.9 and 2 kg. Daniela was the firstborn and, apart from underweight for which she was placed in an incubator, she displayed no problems, neither respiratory or any other sort: her Moon, situated in Gemini, had a positive aspect.
Cristina’s birth was on the contrary dramatic: she was a breech birth and the doctors managed to safely extract her up to the shoulders, but the head, at the moment of expulsion, received cerebral damage and she died that same evening.
Once again we find in both birth charts a difference of 6º in the position of the Ascendant, which for Cristina put Mars in the sixth house, in which the planet’s energy is thwarted and strongly contained. In Daniela’s chart, Mars was instead positioned in the seventh house, co-significant Libra, where it found elemental affinity with the radical Mon in Gemini. We find the affliction of Pluto in Virgo in the eighth house with the Sun and Mercury in Pisces in the second house. Exactly because the second-eighth axis is found in the signs Pisces-Virgo, Daniela experienced the drama of her birth on a psychological rather than physical level. In fact, during the first years of life, her mother, instead of singing her lullabies, cried over the loss of Cristina, and the rare visits to the cemetery to the tomb of the sister were the cause of extreme suffering and pressure - only at seven years old did Daniela succeed in rebelling against them. Until she became an adult, her birthdays brought back the ghost of the dead sister with an underlying sense of guilt at being the one who survived, the one who had first broken the amniotic sac and thus provoked the premature birth. This influenced her choice of profession: she graduated in medicine, specialising in neonatal pathology. She reacts extremely quickly at the moment of birth of a premature birth, rapidly inserting the tubes, showing great lucidity in action, in supplying aid: intuition and inner strength help her in the choice of therapy that is most likely to save the lives of the premature, all the better if it is the second born. In this way, she succeeds in exorcising her ghosts.