Of Bloodletting and Birthdays

While Monday's are normally reserved for the Book of the Week, I'll break tradition in order to call the Wonders and Marvels group to order for a birthday party. Mine!

I won't divulge my age, but I will mention that a birthday on November 3 makes me a Scorpio.

And because this blog is about the history of medicine and not me, I'll use this opportunity to transition into a discussion of bloodletting. How's that for a fluid transition?

Astrology and astronomy were not two separate fields in the early-modern era. In fact, astrology and medicine were also inextricably linked. While most bleeding was done from the arm, it was sometimes thought advantageous to bleed from other parts of the body depending on the ailment.

The bleeding chart above shows the places of the body that are governed by specific star signs. The heart is connected to Leo. The feet, Pisces. Libra, the gut. And Scorpio, well, ouch!

A barber-surgeon would do well to consult this or any of the many, many charts like it before bleeding. Any bleeding from the body part that matched the current star sign was ill-advised.

I'm sure men everywhere are relieved that the stars are in Scorpio right now.

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  1. You know, I was going to write a birthday post myself.. but I don't think I can top this! Happy birthday to us!!

  2. Belated birthday wishes, fellow Scorpio :) Hope you had a great day!


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