Of Hearts and High Water
For those of you who may not have heard, my heart has been out of rhythm (again) and my basement was flooded by Isaias a few weeks ago. While unrelated, I do like the alliteration of the title, so here goes!
My heart issues began with birth, when Kevin Mark Miller incarnated in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at 1:37 PM EDT on July 27, 1960. (That’s my legal name still, and I use asteroid Kevin when tracking physical issues, as I do my self-chosen moniker of Alex and its variations, though we don’t like or use the K-word except for official business). I was underweight as an infant and small child (a defect I have more than made up for subsequently, I assure you!), due to having been born with a hole in a ventricle of my heart.
If I’d had an astrologer then (well, one using asteroids, anyway), she would have been able to warn me that, with asteroid Kevin at 0 Leo conjoined the Sun at 4 Leo, and exactly opposed asteroid Valentine (symbolizing hearts) at 0 Aquarius, cardiac problems could be an issue. Open heart surgery at age three in 1963, a time when this was still new territory, effectively solved that congenital problem, and I was untroubled by heart concerns for 40-plus years.
Until early 2005, when an arrhythmia emerged, in the form of an atrial flutter. My cardiologist informed me that, as the population of early OHS patients has aged, rhythm issues have been found to be common later in life. My symptoms at the time were dizziness/lightheadedness; a sense of being “off” or, as I described it, ”out of phase”; tiredness; and a trembling in the heart region when I lay down, which I likened to a washing machine with its load out of balance: kthunk-kthunk-kthunk.
The initial med prescribed failed to do the trick for more than a few months, I was back out of rhythm by the fall and I underwent my first cardioversion in October 2005. Cardioversion is a simple procedure – the patient is sedated, electric current is applied to “jump start” the heart back into rhythm, and a rhythm regulator medication is prescribed to keep him there. That first cardioversion held well with sotalol, but I decided to be proactive with this issue and go for the ablation, which would “kill” the flutter by burning out the portion of the heart muscle that was malfunctioning (via insertion of a catheter at the groin, fitted with an electrode at the tip, threaded up into the heart chamber). This we did in July 2006, and I must say, it was a rare instance of good timing on my part, for less than two weeks after, I lost my job and its health insurance (with Mars sesquiquadrate Saturn natally, I have lousy natural timing).
This procedure, with ongoing medication, kept me effectively healthy for 11 years, but in 2017 a second flutter emerged. It took me awhile to identify that as the problem this time, as my cardiologist visits and their EKGs were only yearly, and the only symptom I had on this round was tiredness, which I didn’t associate with my heart, in isolation.
I dithered over what course to take, but finally opted for a simple cardioversion with increased strength on the sotalol, hoping that would hold me.
Well, it did; for awhile. But sometime since my last in-office cardiologist visit in April 2019, until I moved and found a new provider in June 2020, I went out of rhythm again. And again, the only symptom was tiredness, but I had plenty of reason for that! My father’s decline, death, funeral, estate business, clearing out a lifetime of his stuff from the house I inherited, going through a half-lifetime of my own stuff I accumulated in Philly, transforming a grass yard into a bedding garden, and then a three-stage move, the final two parts during a pandemic, gave me more than adequate grounds for being tired! I simply didn’t associate my tiredness with my heart.
When I first saw my new cardiologist in June, the EKG was “inconclusive”, so he ordered a Holter monitor, which I wore for 48 hours. The result was that I was going in and out of rhythm, mostly out, but the heart rate was good and well controlled. And in addition to the flutter, I now had a mild atrial fibrillation. Flutter typically presents as an altered, but regular, heart rhythm; fibrillation is a more random, chaotic event, more dangerous and harder to treat.
I was put on a blood thinner to reduce the risk of stroke, and given three options: 1.) do nothing until the condition worsens or I tire of being tired all the time; 2.) have a third cardioversion and see if it holds, though I was at the upper limit of the sotalol (which was proving ineffective), and nothing else could be prescribed for my circumstances; 3.) go for the ablation again. In this case, it would actually be two ablations, done consecutively in one session. Another hot ablation, burning out the malfunctioning heart muscle to kill the flutter; and a cold ablation, inserting a catheter armed with a balloon containing a freezing agent, which would be inflated in the pulmonary vein to “cold cauterize” the edge of that vein as it enters the heart, which is the area where fibrillation most often originates.
I opted for the middle course, a repeat of the cardioversion at first, perhaps to be followed by the ablations at some point in future, if the procedure fails to hold again. The cardioversion was scheduled for August 31st, and a chart cast for then, not surprisingly, well portrays the situation.
Although scheduled for 10 AM, the procedure effectively began with my sedation at 10:33 AM EDT at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Bethlehem, PA. My cardiologist was Dr. Hari Joshi, the anesthetist was Michael Hartman, my nurse’s name was Shirley, and the aid was Anna. I had checked to be sure the procedure was happening on a waxing Moon (if barely), and not under a void of course or Mercury retrograde.
Asteroids Alexander and Valentine had been traveling together all summer in Leo and Virgo, currently clustered over my natal Moon at 19 Virgo, so it was an obvious time for heart issues to surface for me. In addition to Alexander at 22 Virgo and Valentine at 25, Mercury (ruling doctors) conjoined from 21 Virgo, adding planetary force to the timing, and asteroid Michelle (one of several variations of Michael, for anesthetist Michael Hartman) appears at 24 Virgo, right between Alexander and Valentine.
The anesthetist also shows as asteroid Hartmann, which is an exact match for asteroid Miller at 14 Libra, both squaring my natal Saturn at 13 Capricorn; asteroid Michela at 0 Scorpio which conjoined my natal Ascendant at 4 Scorpio and squared my natal Sun, as well as trine transit asteroid Morpheus, named for the Greek god of sleep, at 7 Pisces, a fitting contact for an anesthetist, to be sure (Morpheus also opposes the Sun at 8 Virgo); and as asteroid Michel, which at 18 Gemini closely squares my natal Moon, relating of course to health.
That Moon was receiving an exact opposition from transit Neptune at 19 Pisces, which governs hospitals, but also promotes confusion, lack of clarity or certitude, often connected to misdiagnosis, important factors which we’ll encounter shortly. I knew this to be the case going in, but Neptune moves so slowly, there was really no way to time it out of the equation.
Dr. Joshi is of Indian derivation, and our Euro-centric astronomy system hasn’t yet provided a lot of ethnic surnames for that region of the globe. I am using asteroids Hara and Harig as the celestial referents for his first name of Hari, but there is nothing to approximate Joshi. Asteroid Hariq at 25 Leo exactly conjoins transit Kevin (precisely linking doctor and patient) and opposes the transit Moon at 20 Aquarius; Harig also conjoins my natal Uranus at 20 Leo, governing electricity, which is opposed exactly by the health-conscious Moon. Harig/Kevin is also closely sextile the 26 Libra Ascendant (which Michela conjoins).
Having Kevin exactly conjunct the cardiologist’s PNA (Personal-Named Asteroid) and Miller exactly conjunct the anesthetist’s is a truly remarkable occurrence, validating the perfection of celestial timing.
Asteroid Hara at 8 Capricorn is powerful at its station, having turned direct a week prior, an embedded factor in the time period; it conjoins my natal Saturn at 13 Cap (an authority figure) and is exactly trine the transit Sun at 8 Virgo, which is still within orb of my natal Pluto (life-and-death issues) at 4 Virgo. Hara also forms a Grand Trine with the Sun and Uranus at 10 Taurus, again ruling electricity, the medium that was employed to restore my heart rhythm. This becomes a Kite pattern with asteroid Alexandra (for Alex) at 8 Cancer, exactly opposing Hara, and once again closely binding myself and my doctor on the day. Lastly, Hara squares asteroid Alex at 4 Libra, which conjoins asteroid NOT at 1 Libra, a general disqualifier whose influence in this saga will be explained shortly.
Asteroid Shirley, for the nurse who facilitated my prep and recovery, appears at 18 Capricorn, also at station (turning direct six days later), and closely trined my natal Moon, transit Alexander and Valentine. Asteroid Anna, for the nurse’s aide, appears at 17 Aries, opposing Miller/Hartmann and squared natal Saturn.
The procedure was performed at Lehigh Valley Hospital, with asteroid Lehigh at 6 Virgo conjoined the Sun and my natal Pluto. My cousin Renee drove me to and from the appointment, and is represented by asteroid Renate (the Latin form of Renee, meaning “rebirth”), which appears at 22 Gemini, in square to my natal Moon, for this female family member (both Moon keywords).
But perhaps the most stunning connection was created by the Angles; the MC/IC axis at 0 Leo and Aquarius precisely activated my exact natal opposition from Kevin to Valentine! With the Angles the fastest-moving points in the chart, changing degrees every four minutes, and here uniting the birth chart with the moment, that’s quite the testimonial to cosmic timing!
We now get to the influence of Neptune and NOT in the aftermath. Because there is some uncertainty (Neptune) about whether the procedure worked, or didn’t (NOT). Immediately after the cardioversion, I felt much better, but the next morning was rocky; I felt like nothing had changed, except perhaps for the worse. I called the office and they worked me in for an EKG, but the doctor was unavailable (absence being another Neptunian trait), and the tech who read the test said it was unclear (Neptune again).
Based on how I felt, I decided to pull the trigger and schedule the ablation for September 24, but I wanted to talk with the doctor again first, which we scheduled for two days later. In the interim I jockeyed between heaven and hell in my energy levels, but was again feeling good when I arrived for my appointment.
At that time, Dr. Joshi informed me that he had reviewed the Tuesday EKG when I felt bad, and I was in sinus rhythm; we did another EKG then, when I was feeling good, and I was also in sinus. So now, we don’t know what to think!
Am I going in and out of rhythm, as before? Am I in sinus, and the low energy is from another cause? We decided to delay the ablation, and they put me on a “patch monitor”, a tiny device affixed directly to the skin above my heart, which will record every heartbeat for the next 14 days. We’ll review the data in about a month, and take it from there. A truly anticlimactic Neptunian ending!
Now to the flood, of biblical proportions, in my basement.
On August 4, 2020, hurricane Isaias stopped by Nazareth for a few hours, and left 6.5” of water behind! It wasn’t quite that deep in my basement, but definitely more than my sump pump could handle.
We’ve always had a wet basement here; I can recall floating toy boats in the cellar when I was a child, after hurricane Agnes blew through in 1972, for example. Normally, it doesn’t amount to much, just a few streams across the floor into the pit where the pump resides, ever vigilant. If we have more than 2” of rain in a short period, the entire floor will get wet, though to no measurable depth, but it’s been more than two decades since we had anything substantial, not since Floyd in 1999.
Nevertheless, my father kept the basement largely empty, and stored only what he absolutely had to keep there, way up high, on old trestles and tables and such. A sound foreign policy, but one which the new regime, with several thousand square feet of boxed seasonal decorations to provide a home for, couldn’t afford to continue.
So I bought a small army of plastic shelving units, which stood about 2” off the floor, and acquired wooden pallets to keep larger boxes elevated, ones that wouldn’t fit in the regimented shelving. And then we moved in…
Who’d-a thunk that four months later we’d be deluged?
Well, I might have, had I been paying attention to a wee bit of cosmic rock chunk named “Flood.” You’d think, after my well ran dry when Saturn opposed natal asteroid Wells in May, that I’d keep an eye on these things, but you’d be wrong.
It has always been my policy to be surprised astrologically. Takes all the fun out if you know what’s going to happen, right? I mean, I observe the general trends, but there are so many factors, each with a full panoply of positive and negative manifestations, that it’s really not possible to know what will happen in advance, just when it might. It seems a huge waste of energy to me to spend my time speculating on a virtually endless set of outcomes, most of which will never come to be. Just wait for the axe to fall and then call the police, doctor, lawyer, insurance agent or therapist, depending on the circumstance; consult the ephemeris once the dust clears.
And so I did. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but exactly what I suspected I’d find!
Like, for starters, how about a transit conjunction of asteroid Nemesis (ruin, undoing, obstacles in your path) with asteroid Miller at 0 and 5 Libra, both atop my natal asteroid Flood at 4 Libra? Yeah, that works!
Transit Flood was no slouch either. At 28 Cancer, it was exactly conjunct transit Mercury (often weather-related), opposed transit Saturn (hardship and loss) and Pluto (devastation) at 25 and 22 Capricorn, sure, but more importantly, within orb of natal asteroid Kevin and the natal Sun at 0 and 4 Leo. So we have an activation of my inherent potential for a massive deluge (natal Flood) at the same time as that deluge is making a very personal connection (Kevin, Sun) in the sky.
Not to be outdone, TNO Typhon got into the act as well. Named for the Titan storm god who created hurricanes (and the root of our word “typhoon”), transit Typhon at 9 Scorpio was opposing Uranus at 10 Taurus, T-Squared not only my natal Sun at 4 Leo, but also the transit Sun with asteroid Kevin at 12 and 13 Leo (with natal Neptune at 6 Scorpio, conjoined it, to boot). The unexpected (Uranus) nature of the flood (Typhon/Neptune) and its extremely personal impact (Sun, Kevin) are evidenced in this lineup.
Setting the stage from a planetary level was the opposition from transit Neptune at 20 Pisces, ruling floods, to my natal Moon, ruling the home, at 19 Virgo, with a T-Square kicker from transit asteroid House at 20 Gemini in square. That it was my home was reiterated by transit Alexander and transit Alex, which at 13 and 23 Virgo bracketed that natal Moon. And just to be sure which house, the cosmos obliging gave Isaias my address: right next to transit House is transit asteroid Cherryh at19 Gemini, which partially spells out my location on Cherry Hill Road. Yup, that’s the place you’re looking for, Ike! Have at it! Not one to do things by halves, expansive, inflationary transit Jupiter at 19 Capricorn in trine to the natal Moon and sextile transit Neptune assured that there’d be plenty of water.
The water came in so fast, I was snookered: at 12:30 PM it was a trickle, which the pump was easily managing; at 1:30 it was 2” deep all across the floor and the pump was falling behind. That rose to about 3” in the next thirty minutes, before I managed to hook up and start the backup pump, just enough to wet ALL the boxes on ALL the bottom shelves of the storage units, and EVERYTHING on the pallets. That second pump did the trick, and the waters started to recede (though I kept pumping for three days after, as the water continued to well up through the floor), but not before the damage was done.
Could have been worse. Fortunately, the several long cardboard boxes that house my vast collection of silk autumn leaf garlands was on the tallest pallet, about 4” high, and was left untouched. Now that would have been a disaster!
But I lost enough. The worst was my collection of hand-painted gooseneck gourds, also for fall display. I had gathered, dried and painted these myself, more than twenty years ago, and I lost every one to mold. With so much to go through in the aftermath, and my reduced capacity to expend effort pre-cardioversion, I had to prioritize, so I delayed opening a box of treasured hinged porcelain Santa boxes, figuring the worst I would encounter was some rusty hinges. Wrong! The water had made the paint peel! Had I gotten to them earlier, I might have limited that damage.
Well, live and learn. I’m now the proud owner of a fleet of large plastic storage bins. And the backup pump stays right where it is, set up in the middle of the floor, awaiting the next diluvial crisis (preparedness, of course, being the best sort of sympathetic magic to prevent the need to use it).
As always, from the sublime to the ridiculous, asteroids tell the tale!
9 comments, add yours.
Oh, Alex! I am sending you my best healing and HEARTFULL thoughts and feelings. You are such an amazing man, I am impressed with these asteroids and how finely tuned you are to them. Thank you for your excellent work. I hope you will have stability in your health and heart and dryness in the basement soon! I like what you said about the silk autumn leaves – could you show us a picture of those sometime? Dixie G
thanks, Dixie! you’ll see plenty of my fall decorations in the “Mabon” article for the “House Diary” series, coming in late September
So sorry to hear about your issues with your health and home. Thank you for sharing your story in such agonizing detail and especially, your birth data. I have added you to my “astrologers” file in Solar Fire, but it wanted to know if you were born in Bethlehem, Clearfield, PA, or Bethlehem, Northampton, PA. Asteroid astrology is truly amazing, as you demonstrate so well in your articles. Here’s hoping the patch monitor provides some answers! All the best.
I hope you and your heart are doing well, and that your home is also doing well! Thanks for these articles, they are very informative! Take care of yourself, Kirsten
I am a French astrologer who has long read your fascinating studies on the use of asteroids in natal charts. I admire your bravery facing your heart problems (Sun in Leo square Neptune in Scorpio, fixed signs) which appeared in childhood*… and I really wish that you will get better in the future. I started to read your book “The Black Hole Book” which I find very interesting by its innovation. Indeed, for me the astrologer must also be a researcher (which I strive to be)… and they are too few in France and Europe! Pursue your work, both to serve Astrology and for our greatest pleasure… while still sparing your heart! Thanks again, Alex.
* You are too cute on the picture, between your parents who eat you with the eyes of love!
thanks, Bernard. I jokingly call that pic “Adoration of the Boy Child”, after the classical “Adoration of the Magi” painting. but I like your phrasing! :^)
What a story. I had angioplasty in 2005, they put a stent in. Everything fine until 2019, had 2 strokes, 1 month apart, wore a holter monitor, was put on plavix. Am on about 9 other pills, diabetes, blood pressure, pill for slowing heart down, 2 pills for enlarged prostate and pee pill, cholesterol pill. Healthy as a horse at age 82 thanx to good parental heredity
Good wishes for continued strong heart and thanx for the heart article….I can identify with your problem. Morris Bodnar, St. Catharines, Canada.
Your Trump article was brilliant. Thank you.
Regarding your heart, I also have atrial fib and I find that it
is absolutely essential to take magnesium bisglycinate,
B complex and Co Q10. I also think alcohol and sugar are
triggers. (I can’t drink alcohol, but do flirt with a bit of sugar)
I wish you the best with your heart and look forward to reading your excellent
work again. Keep well.
My son was born on 9 December 1980 at 17:11, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He had open heart surgery at 18 months for a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot.
When he was 22, I noticed that something was not right. After wearing a Holter for a week, he was diagnosed with heart block and had a pacemaker inserted. There was also a “mysterious” occasional fibrillation, which he felt as a flutter in his chest.
About 2 years ago, he started taking Epilim to stabilise his moods (he does not have epilepsy). since then, there have been no signs of fibrillation (his pacemaker records everything that happens with his heart, and this record is downloaded at each consultation).