Christiaan Barnard and The World’s First Heart Transplant

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Christiaan Barnard and The World’s First Heart Transplant

Christiaan Barnard

Christiaan Barnard and team performing a heart transplant. Photo from Getty Images

This week is the birthday of Dr Christiaan Barnard, the Cape Town surgeon who performed the first successful human to human heart transplant.

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Back to Christiaan Barnard. . .

On 3 December 1967, Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant. The donor heart came from a young woman who had been declared brain dead after a traffic accident. The recipient, a 54 year old grocer, survived just over 2 weeks. The surgery marked a milestone in life-extending surgery.

Barnard was born on 8 November 1922 (Rodden Rating: DD; Collector: Penfield)* with Jupiter in Scorpio. As a Jupiter in Scorpio learner, he would have thrived in life or death situations. He had an older sister, a full Jupiter cycle ahead of him, who was stillborn. The dead sister was the fraternal twin of his older brother Johannes. One of his brothers died of heart problems at the age of three. These tragedies may have influenced him to become a person in the position of power to help reverse the death process. Jupiter in Scorpio pupils are completely unafraid to go where angels fear to tread.

With Saturn in Libra, Barnard lived up to his reputation as a ladies’ man with three marriages and several extramarital affairs that made headlines. Saturn is our Great Teacher and what better lessons are there for Saturn in Libra students than relationships?

Game Changing Surgery

The chart of the surgery shows transiting Uranus, the planet of experimentation, on his North Node. This surgery was essentially an experiment as it had not been successfully performed on a human before. Barnard was criticised for claiming the operation had an 80% chance of success.

The combination of Uranus and the North Node would seem to point to a drastic change in life direction. And the operation did indeed change Barnard’s life: he was transformed from a relatively unknown doctor in Cape Town to a superstar physician who hobnobbed with Hollywood. It also had a devastating effect on his marriage.

For several years after its discovery, Uranus was known as the “badly behaved planet” owing to the perturbations of its orbit (which of course we now know was due to Neptune). Astrologers would eventually begin to associate this planet with rebellion.

Barnard’s ground-breaking surgery and good looks would of course mean he would be completely irresistible to women around the world. And isn’t it apt that the Transiting Sun in Sagittarius was conjunct his Venus on the day of the surgery?

Alex Trenoweth
Christiaan Bernard with admirer Gina Lollobrigida

Uranus and Child Development

Uranus plays a significant role in child development when viewed astrologically. At around the age of 14, Uranus makes its first Ptolemaic aspect to itself (by sextile). At around the same time, Jupiter also makes its first sextile to itself after the return. It’s so interesting that the things we associate adolescence with–gangs, rebelliousness and the search for independence–are reflected in astrology’s interpretation of Uranus.

Transiting Uranus is trine to its natal position around the age of 27. The transiting aspect is a common factor in the tragedies of the “Club of 27”

For a more complete article on Herschel, Uranus and Mary Shelley’s Vision of Horror.

*Please note this article is only examining Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus in their signs and therefore this is not a full analysis.

Alex Trenoweth
Alex Trenoweth
Alex Trenoweth, MA, DFAstrolS is an astrologer, teacher and author of "Growing Pains", "The Wolf You Feed" and the soon-to-be-released "Mirror Mirror" by The Wessex Astrologer. She travels across the globe lecturing on the topic of Astrology and Education. In 2015, she was voted "Best International Astrologer" for her innovative research on astrology and adolescence. Her work has been published in major astrological magazines around the world such as Dell Horoscope, the International Society of Astrological Research, the Organization for Professional Astrologers and she is co-editor of "Constellation News", one of the largest astrological magazines on the planet.

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