by Boots Hart, CAP

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Charles Mayo and the Mayo Clinic

Charles Horace Mayo was one of two brothers born to William Worrall Mayo, an immigrant physician who ended up living in Minnesota.

His sons Charles (b. July 19, 1865) and William James (b. June 29, 1961) grew up to be doctors too. And on October 8, 1919 when they signed documents turning over all practice assets to the Mayo Properties Association, for all intents and purposes they founded the Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit facility which has gone on to save countless lives and become known around the world for cutting-edge research and a willingness to treat difficult so-called 'orphan' rare diseases.

 Charles Mayo - Natal Chart

To be born with a Cancer Sun is to have a natural polarization towards or against family. In Charles' case, Amphitrite (depth of emotion) sitting with his Sun (life) and Polyhymnia (happiness) in the 2nd house of values says he grew up immersed in family values and the values held by his family. It was his pleasure because he understood it as his destiny.

With the Gemini Moon ruling this triad conjunct Venus in a Taurus 12th, it's easy to see Charles Mayo as someone who was in it to help people, not for the money. That his Moon is allied with Rigel (brilliance of thought) and Lilith (what we don't want to see in ourselves) tells us he must have been hard on himself too, always asking, always probing, always trying to do a better job.

And with Scheherazade alongside? Given Scheherazade as the story of someone who in every day must earn the blessing of life, this describes Charles Mayo as someone who faced each day as a reprieve from death...and yet a day when death might yet again at his door. Even by his own hand.

In short, this is the very picture of a doctor anyone would want fighting for their life - because he would fight with everything he knew how to be, and the faith he could always learn more. That's who good doctors are.

There is a curious quality when the sign of a house is ruled by a planet in that's rather like a 'closed circuit' which here has the Taurean 12th ruled by the Venus in that same house. The Venus sitting with Phaethon (willfulness) and Sabine (forced imprisonment) in this house of charity tells us much of how he felt about diseases which robbed people of a normal life, too. He must have hated it.

So it's no wonder, with Mnemosyne (here: in memory) on the 12th house cusp (charity, mercy)  from the 11th house side (the 11th being society connections and income) seems natural for him to sign over his clinic's (Venusian) property to that which would help others through illness. The Mayo Clinic saves lives. Charles Mayo was all about saving lives and helping people live. His 'closed circuit' is the world's gain.

Mayo Clinic itself has a really wonderful chart...

 Mayo Clinic

...right off the bat, it's Ascendant/Descendant line (the 'how we reach out into the world' aspect) is Sagittarian. And since it's in a physical (1st decan) degree, that fits perfectly; Sagittarius is all about seeing how things work, if they work and how you can make them work better and the Mayo Clinic is all about those things they can physically do to help someone life a physically better life. And since Sagittarius is also the sign of teaching, are we surprised that Mayo Clinic is on the cutting edge of so much medicine, helping teach the world how to care for various kinds of ills and illnesses?

And since Sagittarius is on the AS-cendant, that means Gemini is on the DE-scendant, a position where the Gemini ability to learn from others speaks volumes to caretakers who know how to listen to their patients. The Descendant also being about what we 'put out there' and thus what we are known for, Gemini says a lot for Mayo Clinic's willingness to say there's always more to learn and its legendary attitude of cooperation with institutions far and wide, strictly medical and otherwise.

Even better for Mayo: this axis is exactly conjunct two royal fixed stars - a sign of the 'calling' of Mayo's mission and the greatness to which it would (and obviously has) ascended. 

The directed action point here (the Ascendant) is fused with and colored by Antares, a star all about doing to the nth degree without allowing yourself to becoming myopically obsessed in or by the process. With the ruling factor being the 8th house Jupiter, we know that Mayo Clinic has standards but does not treat all patients with any given 'standard' treatment. This is a hospital which is  always evolving.

With the Jupiter in a fixed (cautious) sign and the Ascendant in a mutable (flexible) sign, they are always willing to look at another way to do things. Mayo Clinic knows there is no one way to help all patients. And yet, they take great care with what they do; the position of Jupiter here means the love what they do but they are always aware that real lives are on the line.

Just in case we aren't convinced, on the other end of this axis stands Aldebaran - the symbolic model of integrity. How much better a signature for a hospital could one want? Ruled by a 22 degree Libra Mercury in the very public 10th house, Mayo Clinic exists to serve the world. And as it does, it understands that for all it may try its very best, it cannot cure everyone: with life, comes death. Yet ultimately, what they do is always about their medical integrity: Mayo Clinic is aware that the world looks to Mayo...

...And with Mercury conjunct knowledge-giving Spica, Mayo is looking out for us, too.

July 19th is Charles Mayo's birthday, and for all Charles Mayo and his family (and colleagues) did in their lifetimes...for all that those who work at and with Mayo Clinic do today and every day, I'm sure we can all join in wishing the spirit of one of the clinic's founders well...

...and wellness.


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