May 2, 2020

National Nurses Day 2020: Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale; reproduction; Library of Congress/Public domain

In 2020 Her Lamp Burns Brightly

May 12, 2020 is the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of the nursing profession as we know it today. Born May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy, she served selflessly during the Crimean War (1854--1856) and became known as The Lady With the Lamp. By her constant insistence on hygienic practices such as hand washing as she cared for wounded soldiers, the war's death rate was reduced from 42% to 2%. If this isn't a lesson for our virus-ridden times, I don't know what is!

Now in the US, Monday May 4th begins the annual National Nurses Week and Wednesday May 6th is the main day of celebration. Many businesses are already engaging in discounts and give-aways to health care workers but this week many others will join the cause in tribute to our heroic nurses, first responders, and other service workers. Here's a brief Video Tribute to Nurses, practitioners of "the gentle art of caring." Actually the entire month of May 2020 will be devoted to those devoted to caring despite the danger of contagion.

Florence Nightingale: Hygeia Conjunct Isis!

We find the lady's reputation for strict hygiene and gentle health care within the Hygeia archetype combined with her goddess-like fame of the Isis archetype, both placed @12Cancer on May 12, 1820. And if we consult the Sabian Symbols we find that the positive expression of '12 Cancer' fits her well: "a gift for bringing the more Godlike resources or superior powers of self to a point of real community service"! And of course, Moon-ruled Cancer is the sign of The Mother and thus of nurturance, care, and self-sacrifice.

If you wish, have a look at Florence Nightingale's Natal Horoscope (RR:DD) and you'll see her New Moon personality, a practical double Earth blend of Sun Taurus-Moon Taurus which inspired her toward an unflappable calmness, a supportive demeanor, and a desire to change the world so strong that she could deny her own feelings and needs. And perhaps you'll agree that it's significant that her Sun @22Taurus and Moon @24Taurus conjoined Vesta, asteroid and archetype of dedicated service.

Living in the here-and-now, her double Taurus personality blend wanted to lay foundations, define things, and get down to basics. Stable and sane, Lady Nightingale was a rock of support and reliability for her patients and probably came to be treated as an Atlas figure. Consistently neglecting her own needs and typical of this blend, Florence Nightingale retreated into illness and spent the last five decades of her life as an invalid due to a fever contracted during the war. Tragedy then, tragedy now for some of our modern-day health care workers are themselves contracting the current contagion from the patients they tend and treat with dedication. You know of the tragedies so I won't list them here.

Nightingale's inherent desire for order demanded that she attempt to keep the dark side of life under control and most would admit that with such talents, she was more successful than anyone else could have been. Passing away on August 13, 1910 in London, The Lady with the Lamp fell asleep around noon and left this mortal coil at 2:30 pm LMT with Sun in Leo, Moon in health-related Scorpio, blend of a hard worker and natural leader. Tellingly, the Moon and South Node were conjunct, a lunar timing device on that day and a cosmic picture of separation from Mother. At her death, health asteroid Aesculapia @27Cap20 Rx was in process of returning to her natal Aesculapia position of 29Cap04 and, being retrograde, perhaps already had. Also at her hour of death, a midpoint picture had formed of illness and loss of health: Sun-Saturn = Pluto.

And so in 1910 the realism and practical skills of Florence Nightingale were laid to rest, may she R.I.P.

Yet now in 2020 we have major reasons to celebrate her life and achievements for they live on in the daily rounds and tasks of our nurses and other workers in hospitals across the land - and for their selfless service and care it's impossible to thank them enough.

This meager post is meant as my small tribute to every one of them and to their example, The Lady With the Lamp whose caring light continues to burn so brightly.

For more details see Sun Sign-Moon Sign by Charles and Suzi Harvey, and The Sabian Symbols in Astrology by Marc Edmund Jones.


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