Miasms and Mythology: Part 3 of 3
The Tubercular Miasm
The Tubercular Miasm can be seen as a type of Pseudo-Psora, where the struggle is so intense, hectic, and destructive, that the person feels oppressed and needs to break away as soon as possible. It is even more revolutionary than the Cancer Miasm, which has a slower kind of pace to it. Perhaps this because in the Tubercular Miasm there is more involvement from the Syphilitic aspect and none of the fixed nature of Sycosis present in the energy. In the Tubercular energy pattern, the desperation and desire for rapid change is so great, so keenly felt, that the individual will feel claustrophobic when anything stays the same for too long, they’ll create chaos in their lives just to break away from the restraints of habit, routine, and structure. They want to go through life in the fast lane! The disease was called “consumption” because of the patient’s rapid nature of consuming. Many musicians who burn up their creativity so quickly that they end up dying in their 30s were probably in this miasmatic group, such as Mozart, Hendrix, and Cobain.
One can think of the Bacillus that ends up trapped in the Tubercles of the lung; the body’s white blood cells cannot get there, so fibroblasts are sent to entomb the unwitting bacteria in scar tissue, which calcifies and forms bone so that escape is rendered impossible. This is also remarkably similar to the experience of the insect in Drosera, where they’re caught in the worst scenario and any struggle only worsens their situation, hastening their eventual demise. There is also the theme of lost homeland, leaving one to flee from their own beloved country because of oppression. They retain a nostalgia for the past whilst also needing to chase after new experiences visiting far-flung corners of the globe. They become a person who stays on a perpetual gap year traveling. They do a season here and a season there, seeking adventure and constant movement, never staying still for long enough to get settled or bored of routines.
Uranus is the planetary aspect that shares these themes, its sphere of influence on a person’s life is associated with drastic, unpredictable, and erratic change. Change that cannot be predicted, totally reorganizing the person’s world around them so it is almost unrecognizable. Some people thrive off these changes and channel the Uranium energy from which it stems. Mozart was an Aquarian and therefore ruled by Uranus. He was a child prodigy, incredibly precocious, traversing the whole of Europe as a performer by the age of 8. He had to work incredibly hard (Psoric struggle) to earn any money because his ideas were so ahead of his time and he put many people off through his wild personality and taste for scatological humor. He had 4 planets in Aquarius and a moon square to Uranus, so this Tubercular energy was very strong indeed in his case. One could almost say he was a very pure archetypal expression of it, and he was thought to probably have died from the disease when it was first coming to prominence in Europe.
The Leprosy Miasm
In the Leprosy Miasm this person is shunned, the great unwashed; cast out by society. He is estranged and cannot be redeemed, so he must accept his lot as an outsider and beg for the kind acts of others to ease his suffering. Like the Tubercular Miasm, there is also a feeling of great oppression within the Leprosy Miasm. The reaction of one with the Leprosy Miasm is to retreat away from society and become an outcast. There is more resignation to the inevitable sense of being cast out for one’s sins. Feeling dirty and hunted down like a criminal, the Leprosy Miasm evokes a despair of recovery nearly as profound as that of the Syphilitic state. The violence seems to be more directed inwardly at the self- shutting himself away, tearing and biting at himself.
The feeling of being unfortunate has some parallels with the Malarial state, where he also feels unfortunate, persecuted, or tormented by his oppressor. The difference is that this has a periodicity in Malaria, with periods of leniency from the tormentor. In Leprosy, this is a constant feeling, with little hope of survival or even changing the situation for the better. Sankaran writes:
“The main feeling in the Leprosy miasm is similar to the Tubercular miasm, only much worse. The feeling is that even with intense, rapid, hectic activity to come out of this destructive process, there is very little hope. In terms of pathology… there is the Tuberculoid type which, though progressive, has a better prognosis than others – there is hope. At the other end, there is the lepromatous Leprosy, which is rapidly progressive and destructive, resembling Syphilis. There is a feeling of tremendous oppression.”
In the disease itself, the body isolates a single part and sacrifices it for the good of the whole organism. The affected limb decays and eventually withers away entirely. So, there are the dual themes of isolating and decaying. This miasm creates an energy pattern that is devastating to healthy conditions, giving rise to feelings of utter self-condemnation and loathing, leaving one feeling as though everyone is utterly revolted by the mere sight of them, disgusted at their very presence. There is a kind of paranoia that everyone else feels that he is putrid and if they come too close they will also become infected. Here it has a strong affinity with the AIDS Miasm.
Perhaps the astrological symbol most closely associated with Leprosy is Chiron, the immortal son of Kronos. Chiron was rejected by his mother upon discovering he was a centaur. He was outcast as a child and was always on the periphery of the other centaurs who were far more bawdy and violent than he. He was also mistakenly wounded by a poisoned arrow from Heracles that left him with a wound that would never heal (although he couldn’t die owing to his immortality). Eventually, to seek an end to the suffering inflicted by this wound, he offered to sacrifice his immortality to exchange places with Prometheus, who had been tied to a rock in Tartarus for trying to deceive Zeus. Like Leprosy, there is no chance of survival, so the only option left is to accept the situation and sacrifice yourself to the inevitable.
The positive aspect of this type of self-sacrifice, and contained in the myth of Chiron, is the wisdom of detachment, becoming free of the tension of opposites within the egoic world view. When there is nothing left to lose, your position on the periphery can take the form of the wise elder who offers advice, guidance, and healing to others. Chiron saves Prometheus from his suffering and is known as the ‘wounded healer’. The Mappa Mundi position most fitting for this myth/miasm is the melancholic aspect, which has the dynamic of closing in, shriveling, drying up, and contracting.
The AIDS Miasm
In the AIDS Miasm boundaries have broken down completely- the ego is dissolved. Free flow from without to within, there are no defenses anymore. This leaves the person open to invasion and attack, but also to love and connection. Free love and homosexuality. Also, there is a theme of barriers like a latex condom as a protection against HIV. Sexual torture and domination are seen here such as in the case of Falcon. The miasm is very severe, so as to give the individual the feeling that they belong totally outside the group like they just do not belong with normal beings who haven’t experience such hardships as them. The world they live in has been harsh and cruel, so they see themselves as being on the outside- outcast and dirty. In a similar way to those of the Leprosy Miasm, these individuals are tainted by their disease label. They have been given a death sentence and it is inevitable, only a matter of time, and they carry such a stigma that they are alienated from the rest of society.
The idea of taboo practices is contained within the miasm as well- someone who practices anal sex, or who injects intravenously is much more likely to contract the disease. There is also a conspiracy theory that AIDS came about because of testing in Africa through vaccination that led to the Simian version of the disease to transform from one species to another. This is a new age where boundaries even between species do not exist. There is, as Peter Fraser has outlined, a correspondence with the technological age where all information and communication is in digital form and can be sent without wires to anywhere in the globe. National frontiers no longer have any bearing on travel and people move freely between border controls. Immigration is huge. Threats can get into the country incognito in the form of rogue terrorist agents who can bypass the normal defenses (body’s immune system in AIDS) and blow up a bomb next to the country’s headquarters. Thus, there is a feeling of being defenseless from attack and shunned from society, but also having your own group (the gay community) where there is a free-flowing love and mutual appreciation for each other.
Neptune is the astrological symbol for this miasm, being the dissolver of forms. There is an idealism, with themes of self-sacrifice, seeking oblivion through addiction, and an overwhelming tide of oceanic-feeling contained within the image of this planet. It connects with the collective unconscious, where one escapes from the rational mind back into the oneness of spiritual practice, as AIDS dissolves all the boundaries set up by the healthy immune system to maintain the physical container of the ego. It is easy to get lost in the great ocean, and losing oneself is a key theme for Neptunian individuals. They can get very lost and alienated from society, seeking solace in alcohol, drugs, or daydreams.
The Syphilitic Miasm
The Syphilitic Miasm is the final nail in the coffin. There is no last chance now. For one within this miasm, the feeling is that they’re doomed, and if they’re going down then it isn’t going to be without a considerable amount of fighting back. This can equate to psychotic states, where there is an unfeeling kind of maliciousness to the person. They can be cool and calculated in their revenge. It is unlike the hot temper of Mars and more like the cool, subterranean, wrath of Pluto or Scorpio. This miasm is like Hades, lord of the Underworld, with whom there can be no bargaining; when your time has come, he is going to take you to your death. Astrologically, Pluto presides over the deepest periods of transformation in your life, where everything seems to be taken away, where events are so strong that you must submit to fate and let go of control. There is an element of chaos, destruction, and obliteration inherent in this miasm, but there is also a polarity to it. Once everything material has been stripped away, you’re left with an opportunity to be reborn without all the trappings and attachments of having an ego. The form is destroyed, so you can now allow the un-manifested, the no-thing to be part of your life.
There is such a strong power to Pluto and the Syphilitic Miasm. It can be equated with a laser-like vision, a narrowing, and refining down to the essence of the matter (as Jeremy Sherr points out). There may be chaos surrounding the person, but in their chosen area of expertise, they can have a quality close to genius, a kind of attention to detail that cannot be disturbed. This is like the effect of Syphilis on the tissues of the body, slowly eating into the bony structures- chiseling and refining rather than the growing outward action of Sycosis. It is a looking inward and specializing in the oneness rather than the many, like the way that Mercury amalgamates with other metals by eating its way into them.
 Peter Fraser is a Homeopath and an author of many provings. He is known for his book, The AIDS Miasm.