We are embarking upon a time of radical new beginnings. The spring equinox occurring today at 5:24 PM EST marks the start of the astrological calendar, defined by the sun reaching 0 degrees Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. Aries, a fire sign symbolized by the ram, is associated with determination, initiative, passion, impatience, courage, and creativity.
This year a new moon in Aries perfects less than 12 hours after the equinox. New moons always symbolize new beginnings and seed plantings, but the new moon in Aries holds that signification even more powerfully since it is also the beginning of the zodiacal calendar. There is tremendous cosmic support at the moment to make changes in your life, press the reset button, and begin again. It’s an ideal time to create a ritual to symbolize your intention to change whatever feels stale and outmoded and welcome in fresh energy.
On March 7th of this year, the planet Saturn entered the sign of Pisces. Saturn is a relatively slow-moving planet, taking approximately 30 years to circle the sun and spending 2.5-3 years in each zodiac sign. When Saturn changes signs, there is a palpable shift in the collective energy. Saturn is the planet associated with commitment, discipline, maturity, fear and the consequences of our actions, but also embodiment and its limitations, including aging, and mortality.
The last sign of the zodiac, Pisces, carries a very different sort of archetypal energy than Saturn. Pisces is associated with oneness, creativity, imagination, sensitivity, illusion, and delusion. Combining the two archetypes can signify spirit manifested in matter, a concept that is integral to the ancient medical wisdom traditions of India and China. In Ayurveda and classical Chinese medicine, there is no division between mind, body, and spirit, as there is in the western medical paradigm.
My first astrology teacher, Steven Forrest, suggested that during Saturn’s sojourn through Pisces, between March 2023 and February 2026, the prevailing heavenly energies can be fruitfully harnessed to commit (Saturn) to spiritual (Pisces) practice. (Saturn). Spiritual practice can take many forms, but a vow to honor the body as a temple, a manifestation of spirit in matter, is a traditional formulation. This means approaching the care of the body as a sacred practice, including mindful attention to diet, movement, sleep, sunlight, and touch, and minimizing exposure to toxins, including alcohol.
Recently a few of my patients have begun using continuous glucose monitors (CGM) as a wellness tool. None of them are diabetic or prediabetic, but keeping their blood sugar stable and within a healthy range has had a profound effect on their overall mood and well-being, including the level of their depression, anxiety, cognitive clarity, and energy. I have been frankly astonished by the changes I have witnessed in these patients in a short period of time.
One woman in her early 50’s who was often vulnerable to taking things personally and to feeling hurt by interactions with her children and husband, and feeling overwhelmed by simple household tasks, is now calm, has perspective, and is approaching her life and her loved ones with a remarkable wisdom and compassion that was previously absent. She also feels very capable of managing and organizing her household. The anguish and resentment have vanished and have been replaced with equanimity, humor, and competence. This is a psychospiritual transformation related to stabilizing her blood sugar. When we feel physically unwell, access to our Higher Self is obscured. We are more vulnerable to feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and criticism of ourselves and others and filled with fear rather than love.
Another woman described that when her blood sugar was stable that she felt an absence of craving, particularly for sugar, which felt like emotional and spiritual freedom. Her thoughts were no longer hijacked by thoughts of ice cream. Stable blood sugar translated for her into emotional resilience and evened out her moods. She was able to drop in more deeply during her meditation practice. This woman feels her very best emotionally when she is in ketosis.
Another woman in her mid 60’s was chronically tired and found herself dragging through the afternoon and collapsing into bed at night. Now that she is attuned to stabilizing her blood sugar, she has far more energy, her mood is noticeably more cheerful and she feels like a younger version of herself. None of these women are regularly in ketosis but all try to maintain their blood sugar within a healthy range and minimize blood sugar spikes. The feedback from the monitor induces them to eat meals that are higher in healthy fats and proteins rather than rich in carbohydrates. When they do eat a meal that is higher in carbs, they offset a glucose spike by taking a brisk walk. Movement causes the muscles to take up excess glucose and keeps the blood sugar more stable. They also are mindful of eating fat and protein with carbs in order to moderate blood sugar spikes.
Health insurance will pay for a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) if a patient carries a diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes and the out-of-pocket cost can be as little as $75 a month. Wellness optimization companies such as Levels provide CGMs that are more expensive but do not require a doctor’s order or diagnosis. The Levels membership cost is $200 annually, and they provide sensors for an additional $200 a month. Some people elect to get new sensors monthly, but they can also be ordered at less frequent intervals which can reduce the cost.
According to the experts at Levels, optimal blood sugar levels should be lower than those recommended by the conventional standard of care. Standard medical practice considers a fasting glucose of < 100 mg/dL as healthy, whereas Levels recommends < 72-85 mg/dL. Levels experts recommend that blood sugar increase < than 30 mg/dL from pre-meal levels, whereas the conventional standard is simply that it not exceed 140 mg/dL.
The sensor is applied to the fatty part of the upper arm and is checked by holding a smartphone, loaded with an app to the sensor. Individuals check their blood glucose multiple times a day and in this way receive feedback in real-time about the effect various foods have on their blood sugar levels. There is much more accountability (Saturn) and less possibility of denial and dissociation (Pisces) about the impact of what they are choosing to eat and what is going on inside of their body. The reality of the health consequences of their behavior becomes very apparent. (Saturn).
Devotion to a spiritual or creative practice such as meditation, yoga, Qigong, painting or music, or treating your body as a sacred temple during these three years that Saturn will travel through the sign of Pisces is a way of harnessing the power of these beautiful archetypal energies that hold so much potential for our accelerated spiritual growth and development.
I have written a book entitled “Sacred Psychiatry: Bridging the Personal and Transpersonal to Transform Health and Consciousness” which deals with similar themes and will be published by Greenleaf Book Group in early January 2024. It is about holistic healing and cultivating resilience during these intense times of transformation on our planet.
Here is a recording of Steven Forrest’s brilliant brief discussion of the archetypal energies of Saturn in Pisces: