Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sun/Uranus in Scorpio & The Lobotomist.

A reader left a comment on yesterday's post and kindly asked for my "comments on a very interesting chart. It is of one Walter Freeman born 11/14/1895.He is the Dr. that introduced and promoted lobotomy as a treatment for insanity across the US at the early half of last century.I watched a fascinating program on his life on PBS this past weekend.Do google him,research and share! "

Thank you for providing the idea for this post!

I didn't see the PBS show about Walter Freeman, but via Google I've collected a brief outline of his career, and a few indications about his personality.

The PBS programme was based on a biography of Walter Freeman, "The Lobotomist" written by Jack El Hai. The book's title expands to: "The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and his Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness". A review HERE describes the book: " gripping as a medical thriller, The Lobotomist examines the motivations of a man whose personality combined brilliance with arrogance, compassion with egotism, and determination with stubbornness. The result is an unforgettable portrait of a physician who permanently shaped the lives of his patients, as well as the course of medical history. "

Among other reviews and comments, Dr Freeman is described as "part genius, part maniac", "a monster", "a criminal", as well as "probably a compassionate man motivated by humanitarian reasons. But people have a way of acting horribly in the name of compassion and humanity".

Passing readers who need a little more detail about Walter Freeman's practices will find more HERE about his ways with an ice pick.

This is Walter Freeman's natal chart, drawn up for 12 noon. I've been unable to find a time of birth - it's a pity, his ascendant and midheaven could have told us a lot more.

I hesitate to judge a man who lived in a completely different medical and social environment from that which we know today. I doubt that he was a monster, or a criminal. Rather, from his chart, I suspect he was a man obsessed by his mission, so much so that all common sense had up and left! He refused to refrain from performing further operations, even when results proved to be poor. Obsession can be one of Scorpio's traits, as can a persistent stubbornness (being a Fixed sign) and in this case these traits were well-multiplied.

A multiple Scorpio personality: 5 planets in Scorpio with a possibility of Moon being there too, had the Dr. been born from 9pm onwards. Significantly, Scorpio is thought by astrologers to rule surgery.

Even more significant than the Scorpio cluster though, to my eye, is the fact that Sun and Uranus are conjunct(less than 2 degrees), and Mars and Saturn are conjunct (less than one degree).

Two words used to describe Walter Freeman from the snippets above, "maverick" and "genius" are often applied to those with Uranus prominent in their natal charts. Being conjunct natal Sun is almost as prominent as could be - I'd not be at all surprised to find these two close to one of the angles, but without a time of birth it's impossible to say.

The other conjunction in Scorpio, Mars/Saturn, may be an indication of the seemingly unfeeling, aggressive, almost inhumane approach this man seemed to have had to his patients. Yet his actions were rooted in compassion - he was always trying to help, of that I feel sure. Compassion, driven by this Fixed Water element, came clad in an iron fist!

Jupiter in Leo squares some of the Scorpio planets, in particular the Mars/Saturn conjunction. Here is the challenge, with drive enough to accept it. However, Jupiter inclines to excess, and excess here proved to be the doctor's downfall. Robert Pelletier, in his book "Planets in Aspect", says with regard to this square, that it can indicate a potential to be accident prone because of a reckless disregard for safety measures. The doctor surely did play recklessly with patients' lives and wellbeing, not to mention his own reputation !

A final thought: Walter Freeman's natal chart shows no planets in Earth signs. No grounding. I mentioned earlier in this post, that he seemed like a man so obsessed by his mission that everyday common sense had up and left. Perhaps it was never there in the first place. What was there was a potential for genius (Uranus conjuct natal Sun). He was in many ways, a man before his time, stuggling to do things for which the world was not ready, and medical science not yet prepared.

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