I've been up and down the scales more than I care to admit.

My own experience has convinced me that there is a spiritual aspect to most weight problems that can and should be explored with the help of astrology. If it were as simple as going on a diet, exercising, and losing the weight, most of us can and have done that. But most gain it back, and repeat the cycle again and again. Why? What are the underlying issues?

Though hard to imagine, svelte beauty, while the desired norm, may actually feel dangerous! Psychologists agree that weight is a form of protection. I like to describe it as 'bubble wrap' for a delicate and fragile object. What makes some of us so sensitive that we need that extra padding? Trauma in childhood is the most obvious place to look. But can answers also be found in past lives or in the stars? For some, weight is a 'karmic' issue. Traumatic but unconscious soul memories from another time when beauty may have led to rape, devastating betrayal in love, or being overlooked for one's brains and talent may linger deep within the unconscious of an individual. Super-sensitive types who shed lots of weight may fear repeating such experiences. When they suddenly become too attractive the fear kicks in, leading to putting the weight back on just to feel safe.

Astrology can provide understanding and insight, and may even suggest specific strategies to overcome karmic weight problems.

Sun Sign Sense and Sensibility

On April 17, celebrated and controversial diet guru Dr. Robert C. Atkins died 9 days after slipping on a Manhattan street outside of his world-famous diet center. The New York Times obituary reported his birth-date: October 17, 1930. Not surprisingly, Dr. Atkins' sun sign was Libra, as are many who make their mark in the world of dieting and weight-loss. Libra is an air sign. Its constellation, the Scales of Justice represent Libra's lifelong search for truth. Air is the element of the intellect and Libra is 'the artistic mind.' Libra rules balance, harmony, cooperation and marriage. Preoccupied with making their world a more beautiful place, they tirelessly flex their agile minds around all sides of an issue to do it. Not surprisingly, quite a few become playwrights and prize-winning authors: Arthur Miller, Truman Capote, Anne Rice, Wendy Wasserstein, Hannah Arendt, Art Buchwald, and Mario Puzo, to name a few. As they experience various aspects of the truth in search of the 'one' that will balance out, they go up and down - in their lives and on the scale.

I know. I am Libra.

Lest the other 11 signs feel left out, weight problems come in at least 12 flavors, with many combinations and configurations. Each sun sign of the zodiac speaks to a particular truth; a part of the 'whole' that it needs to express. But the weight picture in your horoscope is based on more than just your sun sign. The other planets, particularly the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Neptune all have something to say about weight, excess, appetite, and size.

To begin with, we all have Libra (the sign of the scales) somewhere in our horoscope. For example, if, based on your time of birth, you have Libra rising (Carnie Wilson: Taurus with Libra Rising) or key planets in Libra (Anna Nicole Smith: Sagittarius w Moon and Venus in Libra) you may be prone to the 'Libra thing' re: weight. But for different reasons, all 12 signs can experience an emptiness, which can manifest as an inability to keep focused on fitness.

Taurus has an insatiable appetite for the good life (Orson Welles, Luther Vandross) and cannot tolerate deprivation. However once they make up their minds, their staying power is supreme. Gemini likes two of everything (Winona Ryder), while the sign of Cancer is prone to weight, based on wounding, heightened feeling and psychic sensitivity (Richard Simmons). Cancers tend to hold on to emotional experiences and retain water. Leo loves to party and in the midst of all the festivities, they easily lose track of what they've ingested (Monica Lewinsky). Virgo's hard working intestines may be so super sensitive to additives and allergens in food and in their environment that allergy-related water retention can result (Nell Carter, Barry White, Ricki Lake). Pluto-ruled Scorpio's obsessions (Roseanne) run so deep, it would take Lieutenant Columbo to get to the bottom of their weight problems, but they center around "control" and wanting to hide.

Sagittarius is the sign of big dreams, expansion, and living large, and people with planets in Sagittarius (Aquarian Oprah Winfrey has her moon there) literally hunger for adventure and knowledge. When that need is not met, a fine thin-crusted pizza will do, thank you very much. Oprah is also a good example of the phenomenon of "holding energy" for many, which when not fully processed, translates into weight. As television's reigning Queen of Compassion and Messenger to the Masses, she "holds energy for millions of people." Look how long she has worked on her issue with weight and in the process has helped so many others. Ambitious Capricorn, connoisseur of gourmet products and classic cuisine is so career-driven that while climbing up the mountain, they actually become one with it (Elvis). Aquarians in general want freedom, and when they feel confined, rebellious over-eating is possible. And soulful Pisces ruled by Neptune, or those with a prominent Neptune are very psychic, prone to addiction, and frequently have boundary issues. (Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor, Camryn Manheim, Queen Latifah). They feel the joys and the sorrows of the world. Weight is used as protection.

Can a predisposition to weight be encoded in a horoscope? YES! And it's not just your sun sign. Astrology is the study of the planets, in signs and in houses, and the aspects that they make to one another. It's like geometry, only here the aspects describe qualities, some easy and some stressful. By way of introduction, when two or more planets are right next to one another, they are 'conjunct'. When two or more planets form a 90-degree angle to one another, that is stressful and it is called a 'square'. So planetary configurations that describe a tendency to overweight must be noted and considered.

For example: Any Sun sign that is conjunct Neptune (addiction) or Jupiter (super-sized) may have this tendency. In addition the Moon conjunct or in square to Jupiter- or - Venus conjunct or square Jupiter may naturally over-do eating and nearly everything else. Pluto the planet of hidden power and dark intensity and ruler of Scorpio may also play a role in packing on the pounds as protection. Again, the key is to become conscious. Some people have too much air in their chart (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) and gain weight just to feel grounded. And without enough physical activity, Mars, ruler of Aries can be so filled with misdirected rage and primal passion that food is used to pacify all of that emotion (Marlon Brando, Star Jones).

When to Win at Losing

As of this writing (May 12, 2003), the moon is still waxing and Mercury, the planet of communication is retrograde (appears to be moving backwards). (Mercury went retrograde on April 26, 2003 and will remain so till May 20). While it is advisable to begin many projects on a new moon--the waxing moon is symbolic of expansion--not so for dieting, especially with Mercury retrograde. But if you're ready to start immediately, think about a diet program that you tried in the past but didn't quite commit to. Consider revisiting that program. If you like it and think it might work this time, begin it on the next full moon, the date of the lunar eclipse on May 15. The reasoning: the moon will be waning and so will you. (in size, not spirit!) And this Libra may join you.

There are other times and transits to be aware of when you are likely to be "primed" to make changes.Always aim to begin a weight loss regime on a fixed full moon. Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius are fixed signs, and help to make things stick. Full moons in fixed signs in 2003 occur on May 15, August 12, and the lunar eclipse of November 8/9.

As the planets travel on their orbit, they make aspects to the planets in your horoscope. Astrologers call these "transits". Pluto moves very slowly and wields great power. It is the planet of death, rebirth, and transformation. When Pluto transits your Sun or your ascendant (the degree of your rising sign) a major transformation in your appearance is likely. Just recently I bumped into a Gemini client, who runs a very demanding business. Transiting Pluto in Sagittarius has been opposing her Sun and she has recently dropped 20 lbs without really putting that much effort into it. Sometimes restrictive Saturn transiting your Sun, Moon, or Ascendant can help with discipline. I'm personally counting on that one to help me out in June when Saturn enters Cancer and squares all of my Libra planets.

The Good News: While hard on America's economy, the 2 year transit of Saturn in Cancer which begins on June 3, 2003 (and will continue through July 2005) will help many get on track with weight loss, and literal belt tightening. Saturn can provide needed discipline for all signs. But you are unique, so check your individual horoscope to see where this transit will occur. When it comes to weight loss, timing, and astrology, one size doesn't fit all.

Perhaps getting a copy of your horoscope or an astrological consultation can provide clues to where in your life you experience the struggle to find and maintain balance. Furthermore, an understanding of your chart can suggest other productive outlets for your energies which will help focus you in less destructive and more creative ways in many areas of your life.

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