Taking control of death in terminal illness + Canada & EXIT

Dying with Dignity is creeping back up the agenda in the UK with the late Diana Rigg making an impassioned case to legalise assisted dying in a message recorded shortly before her “truly awful” and “dehumanising” death from cancer three years ago. TV presenter Esther Rantzen has now added her backing saying she has joined the Swiss assisted-dying facility Dignitas as an option as her terminal cancer proceeds.

  There are now several other European countries and ten states in the US, as well as Canada where assisted suicide is allowed under certain circumstances.

  There are two astrological themes tying many of these charts together. One is Algol  which appears prominently in the Dignitas chart, 17 May 1998 Zurich, with a Mars Sun in Taurus conjunct Algol. Despite the Algol’s malevolent reputation as the Blinking Eye of the Demon, linked with evil, suffering, pain, death, intoxication, and tragedy it does have another  purpose. Which is to force us to face suffering and horror and not brush it aside. Death is the ultimate fear, which Dignitas tackles head on.

 Ludwig Minelli, 5 December 1932, the human rights lawyer who founded Dignitas has his Chiron conjunct Algol.

 Esther Rantzen, 22 June 1940 1.50 pm Berkhamstead, England, has her 8th house Uranus conjunct Algol which makes sense of wishing a clean exit. The 8th house being the chart area of death and transformation.  She also has a Jupiter Saturn conjunction in Taurus in her 8th house with Jupiter wishing for an easy transition as opposed to Saturn which fears the opposite.

  The other theme is Aquarius. Esther Rantzen has a heavily aspected Moon in Aquarius (opposition Pluto square Jupiter). Ludwig Minelli has Saturn in Aquarius. Dignitas has Neptune (Moon) and Uranus in Aquarius.

  Much of the early and later legislation from 1997 in Oregon onwards was under the shadow of Uranus in Aquarius and later in the European countries – Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium – with Neptune in Aquarius as well.

  Maybe it is a hint of more to come with Pluto adding its heft to the Aquarius momentum. Aquarius being scientific and anti-the biology is keen to take control of natural processes and intervene where necessary. Its emotional detachment may allow for a reasoned debate about the ultimate taboo and lay down better ground rules. In addition Uranus in Taurus is now in orb of a conjunction with Algol over the next three years adding to the groundswell of opinion.

Add On:  Canada’s MAID (medical assistance in dying) legislation was first passed on 17 June 2016 with Sun Venus in late Gemini conjunct Betelgeuse; and a last decan Moon Mars in Scorpio. At that point on the Canada chart the Sec. Progressed Mercury, Saturn, Sun and Mars were all passing through the Canada 8th as was tr Saturn and tr Mars Moon.

EXIT one of the oldest and largest organisations for living wills and physician-assisted suicide was founded on 3 April 1982 in Zurich. “Its work is dedicated to the cause of human self-determination. Options offered by EXIT include living wills, legal counsel, and – if need be – safe and dignified end-of-life care. The number of members of EXIT Deutsche Schweiz is currently over 160,000 and rising. The affiliated francophone organisation, EXIT (Romandie) in Geneva counts around 35,000 members.”

  That chart has no connection to Algol but it does have a Sun opposition both Mars and Saturn which last two planets are associated with death. There is also a wide yod onto Chiron.

20 thoughts on “Taking control of death in terminal illness + Canada & EXIT

  1. I will agree with assisted dying when a few conditions are met. One of them being that for those that want to live shouldn’t be hindered by the medical profession or judges, who always come down on the doctor’s side. It may be a hopeless situation, but the desire to live is of equal importance as was demonstrated recently in the case of the 19 year old woman who made it quite clear to everyone concerned and was yet prevented by professionals that claim to have her best interests at heart. She had wanted to go abroad for treatment.

    I am also quite alarmed at the way Canada has chosen its euthanasia approach, which is to offer homeless people death instead of a place to live. Or the way a former paraolympoid , who had requested a stairlift was offered euthanasia instead.

    While I agree that I don’t want anyone to continue in agonising pain, how do you determine which ones should be helped? And how do you stop it being a case where it becomes about the cost of keeping people alive. Cheaper to kill them. Which is very odd considering we don’t have the death sentence for those that commit murder. Yet if you get cancer or cystic fibrosis or alzheimers, well it would save the NHS a lot of money. And your house could go to your nearest and dearest instead of being sold to pay for care.

    It is all very well to make that decision when you are fit enough to make that decision and can specifically point out out in legal format how you want that decision made should you be unable as the time approaches.

    But what if the person concerned is mentally handicapped. Or a young man who is suffering depression. Or a person who suffers a lot of pain but the disease isn’t terminal?

    You know Marie Stopes who is responsible for the advent of family planning clinics in this country, believed in euthanasia. She also behaved extremely badly when she found out that her son wanted to marry a blind woman. And that is what I fear the most, is that in time there wouldn’t be a single disease that would be considered worth tolerating. It would be the humane thing to do. And that is why I think we need to tread carefully. It does worry me that so many doctors want to have people put down like dogs. Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath? You know the part that says ‘…do no harm.’

  2. Has 3 April 1982 the right cosmic constellation for assisted suicide?? That is the date EXIT.CH was founded. You need to be a member and of Swiss nationality. Since you are always comparing dates of Dignitas but never of Exit I wonder. Exit was the way to go while Aids was in full force. But very strict requirements, i.e. you have to be able to make decisions so with Alzheimers your decision to end your life is very limited in time! Completely different to Dignitas where everyone is accepted

  3. age 71 in excellent health I am totally in favour of assisted dying having seen family and friends suffer terribly from pain and lack of dignity in end of life care I would urge younger people who wish to keep loved ones alive at any cost to reflect deeply on how perspective changes with pain and deteriorating quality of life .compassion please

    • Agreed. I have changed my mind over the past twenty years having been resistant to the idea but watching what friends and relatives go through has changed my mind. It should be a choice.

    • Agree too. I’ve seen too much. My father died, lying in a bed, immobile from a stroke that paralysed him and I am currently watching my mother endure terrifying hallucinations because of Lewy Body Dementia.

      • All sympathy to you VF. Someone very dear to me had Frontal Temporal Lobe dementia, with the Lewy Bodies hallucinations thrown in. There were startling moments of normality in between the visions and torments. It is heartbreaking.

        I agree there should be a choice, as I’ve seen too much as well, and sitting at the bedside watching several beloved people suffering terribly is something that changes you. Two of them were in their fifties.

        George V was ‘helped’ along by his doctor, Lord Dawson, with morphine and cocaine, according to his doctor’s private diary. That was in 1936. Tr Neptune opposed his natal Chiron, Tr Pluto was making a t-square with his natal Nodes.
        Of course there are profound spiritual and moral issues, but when someone is close to the end, why should they suffer?

        • Thank you Jane. It is agony but one treasures the moments of lucidity. Yes, I knew about George V doctor and it’s generally agreed that the king was helped to die. Smoking related illnesses plagued his son, George VI too who was only 56 when he dies.

  4. I beg to differ with a the seemingly gleeful tone below, the Canadian MAiDs program has indeed been a runaway success, it is now the sixth leading cause of death in Canada. In just two months time, the program expands to include those suffering exclusively from mental illness and to “mature” minors.

    As I mentioned below, Statistics Canada now excludes MAiD from the death totals and are now coded to the underlying condition. One might wonder why.

    Shockingly, the public is growing increasingly blasé about the topic.

    One third of Canadians are apparently fine with prescribing assisting suicide for no other reason than the fact that the patient is poor or homeless. The results were contained in a recent Research Co. poll probing just how comfortable Canadians were with the current state of the country’s MAID regime.

    If a Canadian’s only affliction was “poverty,” 27 per cent said they would be fine with legalizing that person’s access to MAID.

    I don’t doubt that some Canadians love this program and seem to applaud the fact that they have seen off at least four people.

    Let Canada be your cautionary tale.

    • Yep, I think I agree with you. This sounds worrying to me. Ask, for instance, someone who has been long-term homeless & yes, they may agree to assisted suicide. Life is incredibly hard & cold & nasty, being homeless & there is not much empathy & help for those who find themselves in this scenario. Death may feel like a better option. But if a person was to to receive the support that the government should and can give then they may not choose assisted suicide.

      I’m not against assisted suicide altogether, because there are people who are living with incredible physical pain, which cascades into psychological pain, which can be unbearable for the individual & vice versa. But we, as a society, need to be careful where we go with this. It can easily become a normalised system that becomes aimed at the ‘undesirables’ of society (and as we know this can become any of us).

  5. First off, Marjorie,
    thank-you so much for your astrological insights into this issue. So intriguing about Algol!!

    In Canada, we now have MAID- Medical Assistance in Dying.
    I love that it is not named as “suicide”….. it is “assistance in dying”. Plain and simple.
    As a long time health care professional, I see this as an extraordinary gift to so many people.

    It is not a “runaway success”, as PC posts in their particular tone.

    It is simply a success… well researched, well studied, with so, so many checks and balances for the person wanting this choice. And that is the key…. MAID opens up CHOICE. The choice to die with dignity or, even, it may give the person the space to choose to NOT die just yet!!
    Paradoxically.. knowing you CAN choose to die means you might choose to live a bit longer!

    So far, I have had 4 people in my world die with MAID. The most recent a very dear friend, Dorothy.
    Here is part of the last email Dorothy sent out to her friends,

    “ I wish that that this choice was available to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation. Our government has done extensive work over many years to ensure that the process is not misused, and I am so thankful for the personal support and thoughtful yet uncomplicated and protective system that is now in place.
    Love to you all “

    There is a very rigourous process in place that includes numerous assessments and conversations with health professionals and family and the attending physician repeatedly checks in with the person to make absolutely sure that… right up until the end!!…. they are clear about what they are choosing.

    Yes, at this stage, it appears that MAID will be available for people with “primary mental disorders” in March 2024. Yes, this presents a more complex situation. The assessments, the therapy options taken (and still possible)…… the checks and balances for this will be even more rigourous.. of course!!! The process will take many months with many different Doctors, Psychiatrists, etc. Very few people will actually succeed in their MAID application.

    This will not be an “open door” policy of access to death and to present it as such is a simplification of what this will be. Physical and mental disorders are intimately entwined… not separate. I think it is very courageous and forward thinking that Canada has taken this on. I’ve been on committees responsible for creating new policy…. it is not taken lightly by those involved. I trust that process here in Canada.

    Interestingly, having MAID be a legal choice for profound debilitating mental disorders also OPENS the discussion socially and in the media about factors affecting mental health – access to good care, poverty, ethnicity, etc.

      • @Beth – what is your recommended alternative? Not attacking, just a need-to-know.

        The Italian side of my family is basically Catholic – many claim “Christian” cuz its the popular wave. Taking doctor-assisted shortcuts is viewed as cowardly by them. So much for family support.

        • Thank you for asking, @Larry.

          I believe MAID has a valid purpose. However, opening it up as will happen in Canada, February 2024 is potently dangerous.

          I think @Linda has written about with quite exceptional clarity.

          I will add, as someone with nearly lifelong disabilities and whose functioning has deteriorated over the past several years; I am concerned about this being promoted by insurance companies and government in order to save money.

          Or, worse an individual being pressured, coerced or bullied by greedy family members.

          And, further to @PC comments about MAID in Canada:

          Wounded Warriors Canada stated that it was “’Horrifying’ that Veterans Affairs (Canada) worker raised assisted suicide with troubled veteran”

          ‘https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-veterans-affairs-maid-counselling-1.6560136’

          Hope this helps

  6. I know of someone who is dying from MS-related issues. She lives in Portland, OR.

    Oregon, for all its deficiencies, is still a haven for “death with dignity” refugees.

  7. It might be intriguing to know about the dates of the Canadian legislation.

    Initially it was intended only for an inevitable foreseeable death.

    A lower Quebec court decision later opened up the program, which was unchallenged federally.

    Currently an average of 36 people a day make use of MAiD program (medical assistance in dying). Present population roughly 40 million. Ranked sixth cause of death in ’22.

    Statistics Canada announced on November 28 ’23 that deaths are now coded to the underlying condition for which MAiD was requested. Excluding MAiD from the death totals.

    Fun with figures.

    Starting in March ’24 it will be expanded to include those suffering exclusively from mental illness & what are determined as “mature minors”.

    Helpfully, there’s now a (federally funded) MAiD activity book for children.

    It’s clearly been a runaway success.

  8. Pluto in Aquarius can b uprooting everything but Uranus settling down anything isn’t seen yet…it only uproots ..doesn’t let anything settle…atleast that’s what I have experienced in 2022 when Saturn was in Aquarius

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