The Astrology of Happiness ... cont.
Excess glutamate causes the neurons to become over-excited and the ‘off switch’ for excess glutamate is gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) which has a calming effect on the neurons hence relieving anxiety. Both glutamate and GABA are produced from glutamine and the body does this on its own while we sleep.
Characteristics of people who have adequate levels of GABA are objectivity, levelheadedness, punctuality and practicality. It’s like Saturn well placed in a birth chart. Glutamate excites the Sun, and the Sun is reined in by the rules of Saturn.
There are over 200 neurotransmitters running around your body but some such as GABA, acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, adrenalin/noradrenalin, oxytocin, and endorphins are more important for our happiness than others.
(Then there’s the recently discovered ‘bliss’ neurotransmitter anandamide which is an endocannabinoid that binds to THC receptors naturally found in the body. Anandamide can be produced as a result of consuming dark chocolate, black truffles, celery, parsley and tea. It is associated with being in the ‘zone’ and its resultant ‘going with the flow’ experience; as well as being involved in ‘runners high’.
It would seem that the following neurotransmitters have a lot in common with the inner planets:
The neurotransmitter serotonin is an ‘off switch’ for stressors that affect our social behaviour. Serotonin production is enhanced by feelings of being accepted and feeling important; this being one of the reasons why people link up with friends and join clubs with people of mutual interest.
Astrologically serotonin is associated with the geniality of Taurus and the social pleasantness of Libra, both ruled by Venus. Venus has the Yin quality of accommodation with its main attribute being a capacity for interconnectedness that derives from a resonating affinity. Low levels of serotonin are associated with feelings of worthlessness that may whirlpool into depression.
Strangely enough sexual desire and serotonin have an inverse relationship with low serotonin levels increasing desire (as well as appetite). Holistic health expert, Nancy Lee Bentley has an explanation for this phenomenon: ‘... higher serotonin levels are also associated with an increase in oxytocin, the so-called "love" hormone. This seems to reflect women's preference for more bonding, cuddling and lovemaking versus men's noted penchant for straight physical sex. Ample amounts of serotonin make for more "loving" feelings.’
I personally think low serotonin types feel a greater need for physical bonding due to insecurities surrounding acceptance.
Serotonin also regulates the production of melatonin and is associated with seasonally affected disorders like ‘spring fever’; so if your natal Venus is not in a flash position get some sun on your skin and if that doesn’t work try natural supplements like fish oil, Magnesium and St. Johns Wort, and throw in some meditation, yoga and music.
This correlation is obvious in that Oxytocin is called the ‘love or cuddle hormone’ and is associated with childbirth, breast feeding, trust, empathy, relationship building and the warmth of sexual activity.
Oxytocin can be triggered via the act of hugging, or by nurturing acts such as providing comfort or cooking up something special - these being emotional sentiments of a lunar nature.
Venus/serotonin and Moon/oxytocin are both soft influences with their dissimilarity clearly given by their house rulerships - Cancer ruling the familial intimacy of 4th house activities, while Venus rules 2nd house chattels and 7th house matters of reflections that generate kudos.
Due to its very personal nature the Moon reflects the truth of self development as expressed by the Sun, while Venus is more third-party in nature and is paired with the Yang expression of egocentric self as delineated by natal Mars.
Adrenaline and noradrenalin are the neurotransmitter engines providing your muscles with the energy needed for ‘fight or flight’ responses. When Mars is strongly positioned in the birth chart there is no problem with these neurotransmitters and the native will show strong physicality, whether that be expressed in the combativeness of sport, business, war or sexual conquest.
Exercise stimulates the production of adrenalin and noradrenalin and also stimulates the production of testosterone – even though the two are not related since testosterone is not a neurotransmitter and high levels of adrenaline may even reduce testosterone.
Libido-wise testosterone is interlinked with oestrogen, which is made from testosterone, with the two constantly communicating with each other. Too many carbohydrates in the diet (Venus) and no exercise (Mars) to burn the carbohydrates will result in stored fat which in males decreases testosterone and increases oestrogen.
For optimum health Mars and Venus must be in balance. Exercise stimulates the production of neurotransmitting endorphins that activate the body's opiate receptors and help relieve anxiety; but too much running around is stressful and needs to be balanced by Venusian activities such as yoga, meditation, music, friends and good quality food.
As noted previously, laughter can also trigger endorphins giving us momentary relief from the stress of daily life where everyone has their own agenda.
Glutamine is a neurotransmitter relating to memory and learning; when applied to our life’s experience, memory and learning forge together a wisdom (the light of the Sun) which then steers our actions and communications towards happy outcomes.
The speed of processing information and accessing stored information is reliant on the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, working in the parietal lobes of the brain with a speed correlating to IQ and indicative of Mercury’s placement.
Mercury has no dyad so its actions are related to its associations with other inner planets - such that difficulties between Mercury and Moon create problems of a heart/head nature, difficulties with Venus disrupt personal relatedness, and difficulties with Mars are associated with blurted information and power conflicts. Saturn can stabilise and focus Mercury as in Einstein’s conjunction, Newton’s square and Mozart’s stellium but it can also be a ‘worrying’ influence.
Although it’s the personal planets that provide us with our primary sense of self, Jupiter gets caught up by providing us with opportunities for self development; and of course Saturn gets involved by defining the limits of the personal subconscious in relation to moral decisions that affect the collective.
High levels of dopamine have the brain buzzing with gamma waves which are often accompanied by coffee/nicotine addictions and a compulsive nature - similar to an individual with an aggressive Jupiter placement.
As with the new car or new house or new job, it’s a part of human nature to enjoy the process of achieving more so than the actual achievement once completed - such that dopamine/Jupiter types are always moving on the reward pathway to the next thing.