I am hoping to use this journal to discuss some of the themes and conundrums that get thrown up by my work as an astrologer, and of course, I like to talk theory and practise, so there will be a few insights into hands-on astrology as well; I have no idea exactly how it will play out, but I am all about serendipity, so let us see where we end up.
I guess the first interesting talking point right now is Mercury. Mercury is currently retrograde in Gemini, a sign in which Mercury normally feels very clever and curious, it’s very much at home there and as the planet which is domiciled in Gemini, those born under Gemini are naturally curious, talkative and quick; mercurial you might say. Interestingly the Greek equivalent of Rome’s Mercury was Hermes, (they both sported a nice line in winged helmets) who was the god of roads; travellers, thieves, athletes and shepherds (among other things). Mercury/Hermes was also a hermaphrodite being considered curiously sexless.
Personally I don’t much get Mercury in Gemini, although I am sure it must be very nice and those I know who have this placement are usually very good company; they can be refreshingly curious, and will talk all night long about this and that, about nothing in particular, although they do it with such good-natured enthusiasm that it’s easy to enjoy it.
Gemini though is quincunx to my own Mercury in Scorpio, which is why I probably don’t really get along too well with Mercury in Gemini all that well; I don’t have much mental energy for idle chit-chat, and actually I would rather make one single penetrating observation that cuts to the heart of the matter and be done with it, than spend an hour flitting from one shiny nuance of a subject to the next. I have plenty of Scorpio though, so I can forgive any amount of Gemini once I have determined that somebody is okay, (but God help you if I decide you’re an idiot.)
But usually, and objectively, I would say that if you are born with a Geminian Mercurius then you can consider yourself fortunate; but I would hope for a well placed Jupiter to add some moral fibre to the mix, because Mercury isn’t the ruler of rogues and vagabonds for nothing. Oh, and shepherds. Not sure what that’s about really.
As we speak, Mercury is retrograde in 17° 52′ of Gemini after it made its station right on my Midheaven. Maybe that’s why I have found my work so frustrating recently, but I cannot very well stop communicating whenever Mercury turns retrograde, I can barely make ends meet as it is! Now, usually Mercury retrograde spells trouble for all matters ruled by Mercury, thus things get lost, stolen or otherwise misplaced, communications are fraught, subject to odd delays and snarl-ups and of course, shepherd’s are going to lose a few sheep, it goes without saying. So, it’s probably not the best time to start a new blog, but there’s a philosophical trade-off in your view of astrology, and I am at least partly wise to it (although that’s a subject for a later post).
In general, advice for a Mercury retrograde – especially if you’re a Gemini – is to take extra time and care over all matters of communication and short journeys in particular; and it might be best to put off signing any important contracts until after Mercury has turned back to its direct station again.
So, what else can we learn about Mercury? Personally I don’t have much like for the planet, not least because it is unaspected in my own chart (along with my Moon in Scorpio) so I don’t connect very well with Mercurial themes; but I think even more than this, I just have no love for the nature of Mercury itself. It is essentially quick, clever and flighty, but more so the flip-side of Mercury is glib, clever-clogs and shallow, it is not archetypally a thing of weight and substance and actually with those who have Mercury combust or under the beams, I usually struggle. I guess I have to be careful what I say now, because I certainly do not wish to tar anyone with a prejudicial brush, but I find those with considerable separation of Sol and Mercurius to be most amenable to listening rather than giving forth, and that, to my Scorpionic faculties is far closer to the divine. I learned this from my father, who was by nature a listener, he had a habit of listening to some self-professed expert for a time and then making a single devastating observation that often had me in stitches at its sublime succinctness. He was a simple man mind, but a powerfully insightful one, and that informed my outlook immeasurably.
My wife and the entire female line of her family all have Mercury in hard aspect to Pluto, mostly squared, but my daughter got the opposition on the 3rd/9th axis. I would say that Mercury by its very nature can be extremely prone to colouration from its contacts; many astrologers consider that it needs contact though to assimilate experience (Bill Tierney makes this exact argument for Mercurial peregrination in his excellent Dynamics of Aspect Analysis (which was bought for me by my good friend Tony) and I would agree, difficult minor aspects and parallels just do not cut the mustard with Hermes) and anything that gets coloured in a difficult way by Pluto has its challenges. In hard aspect Me/Pl gives an element of harsh brutality to the speech; with the square this can manifest as too much intensity in communication, the opposition might provoke negative intensity from others and there is hardly a week goes by when my superstar daughter does not come home from school having been locked in a life and death power struggle with one of her classmates over some ridiculous inconsequence. With Pluto in the 3rd of course it is always going to manifest at school and she has Pluto in Scorpio too which in the third is kind of a double Pluto and double Mercury opposition. That’s the downside because of course, properly balanced it gives astonishing potential to express passion and power and her creative writing is pretty awesome (I’m her Dad, so I get to say so.)
For me I have a mutual reception of Mercury and Pluto and they are also in exact parallel. This is a pretty majestic combination (if I say so myself), my unaspected Mercury struggles like mad and I have to keep a lid on expressing that Pluto otherwise I can lose friends, but actually, I get to think deeply about things which is a side-effect I’ve learned to value. Mercury actually retrograded while applying a degree short of square to radix Pluto, which was interesting, I shall let you know how it plays out once it makes it back over my Midheaven. Maybe then I’ll get some paying work? I hope so!