Deepak Chopra, M.D. Leads the Way
With a best-selling book (following others in the past), plus interviews by some of the most famous talk-show hosts and hostesses in the business, plus lengthy articles in “alternative” and main-line media, Dr. Chopra is in the limelight. Dr. Chopra was born in India and exposed as a child to two different worlds through his two grandfathers. One grandfather represented the Indians who had been acculturated to the western world view, including the materialistic paradigm of modern science. The other grandfather talked to him about traditional Hindu beliefs. Dr. Chopra took the western road first, studying allopathic medicine and practicing as a standard western physician in the Boston area. But through Transcendental Meditation, he eventually rediscovered the ancient Ayurvedic medical system of his native India. He now seeks to combine the best of both approaches to healing.
By now, all of our readers have probably been introduced to some of Chopra’s ideas and anecdotes. He emphasizes the importance of the mind and spirit in life, calling for a holistic approach which may include meditation, diet, herbs, exercise, and attention to emotions as primary keys to health. He is currently setting up a department at the Sharp Medical Center in San Diego in which both eastern and western treatments will be available. Dr. Chopra, like many other healing professionals, has noticed that western medicine is especially helpful in handling crises like broken bones while eastern medicine is often more effective in helping chronic problems like arthritis.
Dr. Chopra is also one of the consultants in the new Department of Alternative Medicine which is being funded by the federal government thanks to Senator Harkins and in spite of resistance by the American Medical Association which opposes any approach other than traditional allopathic medicine. The new department will be funding research into alternative methods of healing such as homeopathy, chiropractic, herbs, massage, biofeedback, etc.
One of Dr. Chopra’s favorite anecdotes involves a traditional western-style scientific study of rabbits and cholesterol. Several groups of rabbits were fed diets that were very high in cholesterol and all but one group developed the artery blockages presumed to always result from such a diet. The scientists conducting the study were puzzled by the failure of the one group of rabbits to have the problem, so they repeated the study and got the same result. When they investigated the rabbits who were failing to react to the cholesterol diet, they found that the graduate student who was feeding them was taking them out of their cages and petting and fondling them when he fed them. The love and accompanying feeling of security communicated to the rabbits were counteracting the effect of the high-cholesterol food.
Thanks to Linda Clark, we have Dr. Chopra’s birth data which he gave her personally. He told Linda that he was born on October 22, 1946 at 3:45 P.M. in New Delhi, India. The UT is 10:15 A.M. The chart is highly appropriate for someone who could be a healer and counselor but could also challenge the establishment. The Ascendant and two auxiliary Ascendants, the East Point and the Antivertex, are all in Pisces along with Vesta, our super-Virgo asteroid which I find prominent in many healers. The Moon in Virgo further strengthens the Virgo-Pisces polarity which can manifest in a person devoted to healing and service, or in an artist-craftsperson, or in a victim. Of course, each of these major variations of the polarity can be expressed in many different details and many people alternate between them. Chopra also has the lunar nodes in Gemini-Sagittarius, typically associated with the perpetual student, teacher, writer and/or traveler. Venus in double Sagittarius, both the sign and the house, adds to the mental emphasis. Venus symbolizes our pleasure, so Chopra enjoys teaching and writing and does it beautifully, in a way that gives pleasure to others. His life certainly demonstrates all of the listed forms of mental activity in addition to a deep involvement in the spiritual side of life.
Another major focus in Chopra’s chart involves the seventh and eighth sides of life with many factors in both the signs of Libra and Scorpio and in the seventh and eighth houses. Libra is often attracted into fields of counseling or consulting while Scorpio is often drawn toward depth psychotherapy and research. Chopra is a personal physician, a consultant for institutions, and he conducts workshops and lectures all over the world. He previously directed his own Center near Boston and he will direct the new Center being developed now in San Diego. His Pallas in Capricorn fits his role as counselor and consultant (Pallas) and as executive (Capricorn in the tenth house). Pluto in Leo in the sixth house conjunct Saturn in Leo in the fifth house is also appropriate for an executive who is in charge of his work, mostly not working under someone else.
Everything discussed so far could have described an individual with the capacity to work in these fields but also to remain conventional, within existing traditions. A major key to Chopra’s willingness to defy the established ways of the world is shown by his dominant Uranus which is exactly on the IC opposing the MC. The MC stands for the LAW and the bureaucratic officials who enforce it. Uranus on the cusp of the house of home and family also fits Chopra’s early exposure in his home to very different ideas from his two grandfathers. Ceres, the other asteroid in common use which is often prominent in healers with its connotation of nurturing and caring for people, is in double Aquarius to further strengthen the picture of openness to new knowledge. So Chopra’s chart pictures a person with very high idealism, great verbal ability, the capacity to work with people, a strong, persisting will with all the fixed emphasis, and the urge to go beyond conventional ideas.
There are also interesting asteroids in the horoscope, in addition to the original ones already mentioned. Juno, the one of the first four which has not been mentioned, is in double Scorpio widely conjunct Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury. Juno is very similar to Pluto, so it is in its “own” sign and house adding to tenacity of will, intensity of feeling, the urge to explore inner psychological depths, and at the more mundane level, the capacity to receive financial help from others or from the past including royalties and government grants. Chiron, which I find similar to Jupiter in its search for truth and also sometimes involved with illness or healing, is just over one degree from Chopra’s Sun in late Libra in the eighth house. It is also semisextile the Moon and very widely trine Uranus to add more emphasis to Chopra’s call to be an innovative healer and teacher.
In working with the many additional asteroids which are available to us, I limit aspect orbs to one degree. Within this limitation, Chopra has Pythia, the title of the Delphic priestesses who forecast the future, on his natal Sun and Chiron. The asteroid San Diego is on both Chiron and Pythia. He is in the right place to fulfill his healing, teaching, spiritual mission!
Supporting Chopra’s Uranian challenge to convention, Urania, the ancient patron of astrology, is just over one degree from natal Saturn, a major key to our relationship with the conventional establishment. Progressed (P) Saturn moved to conjunct Urania while Chopra was still very young, and it will hold the aspect for another ten plus years. The asteroid Washington(ia) is conjunct Pluto along with Sisyphus, the mythical figure who rolled the rock uphill only to have it roll down again so he had to keep repeating the effort. Chopra is now a consultant to the federal government in Washington, DC and the myth certainly fits the persisting effort which will be necessary to make any real change in government procedures. Another clue to his potential impact on the U.S. is the asteroid, America, named for our country, conjunct Chopra’s Sun/Moon midpoint. Natal California is on Chopra’s Neptune.
As our readers know, I think that the axis of the lunar nodes represents a polarity which we need to integrate to be able to make a partnership out of the areas of life symbolized by the opposing signs and houses. I think that both nodes symbolize the past, like all water factors. They are defined by the Moon’s orbit intersecting the plane of the earth’s orbit, and carry the same meaning as the Moon, our need for emotional security. Traditional astrology taught that the north node is like Jupiter, an area of life which comes more easily, while the south node is like Saturn, an area where we have something to learn and then something to give to the world. Just as Saturn becomes our professional role in the society once we have learned how to handle the material world, the south node becomes our gift to the world once we have learned to handle its principles. The Gemini-Sagittarius nodes, as already indicated, are usually manifested as a student or teacher in some form, gaining knowledge and giving it to others. Chopra’s original education was western, more Gemini, dealing with the world around us. He later rediscovered the spiritual insights of his more eastern grandfather, and now is emphasizing them, pushing medicine into facing the importance of faith in shaping our lives and producing healing.
In recent years, Chopra’s P Sun has been crossing his P and then natal south lunar node as he poured out his best-selling books and traveled to spread his truly spiritual message. More recently, Chopra’s P Moon has been moving through Gemini where it is on the north node during the fall and winter of 1993-4 as he is setting up his new Center in Sharp’s Medical Group in San Diego. His P Full Moon in the early spring of 1994 should bring an appropriate fulfillment of the promise of the 30-year cycle which began when the P Moon was conjunct P Sun in 15 Scorpio, conjunct Juno and approaching a trine to the Ascendant. The water emphasis describes his intuitive depths which he is successfully integrating with his scientific western training. His work is applying effective scientific methods without being limited to the scientific “myth of materialism” as he calls the premises of conventional science.
Other recent progressions have included P Mars crossing the MC as Chopra moved into his current prominence, P MC trining Neptune as he has pushed medicine to recognize the basically spiritual nature of life, and P Mercury on the P Descendant trine Vesta and the natal angles in Pisces as he has become a primary spokesman for a more inclusive view of healing. P San Diego is just ending a conjunction with natal Mercury as the new Center comes into being and P California recently ended a long conjunction with the natal Sun. Chopra’s P Vesta was retrograde at birth but it is now direct and has been crossing its natal position and the Antivertex. Any Vesta emphasis calls for attention to doing something that is worth doing and doing it well. P Uranus will hold a conjunction with Hestia, the Greek version of Vesta, for over 30 years. P Antivertex is conjunct natal Hygiea, one of the asteroids named for a healer. In the natal chart, Aesculapia, a mythical Greek healer and father of Hygiea, was trine Jupiter. P Washington(ia) has just ended a square to the natal Sun and is about to move into Aquarius. If anyone can push our government toward the positive potential of Aquarius, Dr. Deepak Chopra is the one!
P.S. I have an extraordinary cassette tape of a lecture given by Dr. Chopra in San Diego in February 1993. In fact, I consider it the best tape I have ever heard, which is a very strong statement. If any of our readers would like a copy, I will send it if you send $2 to cover my cost for the tape and postage.
I have recently heard that the T.M leaders are disturbed that Dr. Chopra is teaching meditation without following their precise technique. With my strong inclination toward eclecticism, that information only increased my respect for Dr. Chopra. My preferred system of meditation is the Buddhist version called Vipassana, but I always suggest that individuals should experiment to see which of many systems works well for them. I do not think that anyone, including me, has final truth or that there is ever just one way to reach one’s goals. Exclusivism, whether in religion or politics, thinking that our beliefs and our group are separate from and superior to everyone else, leads to Waco and Bosnia.