Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Three Important Pieces (of an astrological portrait)

Sun, Mercury and Venus, their relative positions within a natal chart, I've rattled on about this more than once in the past, but not recently. I've often thought that enough attention isn't given to the "triumvirate" of Sun/Mercury/Venus. While perhaps not as important as that other astro trio Sun/Moon/Ascendant, there's a certain significance in the way that secondary group is configured. A limited, but varied, number of positions exist in which these planets can appear in a natal chart.

Because the orbits of Mercury and Venus lie within Earth's orbit, Mercury can never be more than 28 zodiacal degrees from the Sun (either in the same sign as the Sun or one sign before or after it); Venus can never be more than 48 degrees from Sun (in the same sign, or up to two signs before/after).

In my own chart, for instance, Sun is in Aquarius, Mercury is in Capricorn and Venus is in Sagittarius. In my husband's Sun is Aries, Mercury Pisces, Venus in Taurus. Some of my husband's immediate family have Sun, Mercury and Venus all in the same sign. As I see it, quite a large part of anyone's personality is defined by this mix of up to 3 consecutive zodiac signs - one quarter of the zodiac. This must produce definable groups. One could look on each group's similarities as a melody being played, while Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn play solo improvisations. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto retain the bass beat, aka a generational flavour. The melody, though, is what's most memorable for listeners and the player, therefore very important.

Pondering this, and using my own chart as example, would Aquarius Sun with Mercury and Venus both in Aquarius come over as more truly Aquarian than I do? I think so, somewhat - even if ascendant were in a conflicting sign. Would a Sun Aquarian with both Mercury and Venus in Capricorn be less restless, prone to travel than me? Probably. How about an Aquarius Sun with Mercury and Venus in Pisces? Different animal altogether I'd say; more overtly mystic, dreamy, less organised.

When searching for information in years past I found a good article on this very topic on a website now long defunct. The website was I failed to keep a note of the author's name for which I apologise profusely. The article follows:

"The Sun is the life force of a horoscope, the conceptual furnace that reaches out and draws us into the warmth it projects. It is our purpose in life, supported by the more immediate need of the Moon. The Moon we know well, yet at the Sun we become. But there are two planets in particular we look to in astrology that aid the Sun more intimately in many ways – Mercury and Venus. All together, the Sun, Mercury and Venus represent a crucially-important triad in the birth chart. In ancient Rome we would call such a triad a ‘triumvirate’ – a ruling council of three men. The first triumvirate ever included Pompey, a top general, Crassus, a wealthy citizen and Julius Caesar, ambitious politician. Together, they ruled Rome until individual, personal ambitions emerged to create problems.

In astrology, Mercury and Venus can never be far from the Sun. It is an astronomical reality that Mercury can never stray more than one sign, either side, away from the same sign the Sun is in. Venus can (but rarely does) jump out of this same boundary to inch itself into even one sign beyond. But they are bound by this reality. Let’s think about what this means, astrologically, this tightness of relationship to each other and apply it to lives lived. As we go along, think about your own chart and how this synthesis applies to your own life.

When all three planets are aligned in the same sign, the same archetype is being pressed into consciousness through our ego and core energy, our mind and our social antennae. There is a unified approach to life, a path and purpose that seems sure and right, whether or not this matches up with reality. For instance, consider the sign Pisces. With all three of these bodies in Pisces, there would be a deep-seated focus on things that can help one transcend – intense creativity, for instance. There is no doubt this theme means something to a Pisces. This is because the Pisces Sun is buttressed by Mercury and Venus. All together, they support a defining structure.

Those who have the Sun, Mercury and Venus in the same sign seem to have a strength of purpose – a focus that doesn’t waver as easily as those who have the three bodies in more than one sign. Certainly, this is not a value judgement. Consider that strength of purpose can also easily turn into willful stubbornness and intractability. It is what one does actual ability to stay focused that counts. Let’s look at an example.

To review, ‘harmony’ through the Sun, Mercury and Venus in the same sign simply means the same message, the same energy, is being pumped through the core of an individual. How one chooses to respond to this energy and message is what is at stake on an ongoing basis. When one acts with determination and focus, does he or she still retain the strength of will to change gears when necessary and see other possibilities? This is what will determine successful use of these energies.

Outside of harmony, there is discord. We might consider the astrological imprint of the Sun and Mercury or Venus in one sign but the third planet in a second sign as an example of discord. For instance, Sun and Mercury in Aries but Venus in Pisces. The Sun and Mercury are symbolizing ‘me first’ kind of energies in this example. There is courage and a willingness to engage the world in a fiery kind of way. Venus, though, as the social antennae, splashes some water on this notion and will react and behave differently than the Sun and Mercury. Of course, only one human being is being discussed here in the long run, and that person needs to assimilate energies that are fundamentally different. Consider Caesar with only the support of one partner. In the case above, only the wealthy Crassus supports him without question but Pompey, the general, does not – at least not with additional work.

Of course, let us realize this can be done, this assimilation of energies that are different. People do it every day – millions who go about their business. Some people may or may not be conscious of the subtle and not-so-subtle energies that pull and prod until we make choices and define who we are in the process. We are calling it ‘discord’ to create an image in our minds of two energies that work together while the third, renegade energy has to negotiate with the others every time a decision needs to be made! In the same example, the ego (Sun) is feeling the swell of Aries pride and the mind (Mercury) races on ahead with it, completely ready to wade into a crowd of people and talk about anything. Meanwhile, the social antennae indicator (Venus) is putting on the brakes. "Well, maybe I’ll just float about in the corner and see if anyone notices me instead." Venus won’t win all the time. But the fact is, it’s a constant mini battle to understand oneself and ones motivations.

(This applies to my own configuration, as above)
Three planets in three different signs I refer to as dissonance. Again, this is simply a descriptive word to understand symbols that are fundamentally different, all calling out for different needs to be fulfilled. Instead of one voice acting as the lone renegade, we now have three voices all trying to run the show, with the Sun calling out for most of the attention. It is Caesar trying to lead (one’s Sun) without Crassus or Pompey working alongside– of course it can be done, but it demands adjustment. For the person with this sort of dissonance, the adjustment is a lifelong work-in-progress but should be increasingly easier with growing self-awareness.
To review, let us be clear that the idea of dissonance to describe three different themes of expression is merely a different path to potential success. Just as we learned harmony of thought and intent can be a mixed blessing, dissonance between the Sun, Mercury and Venus is no different. Value judgements must be left at the altar of personal choice.

The Last Say
The politics of ancient Rome was a tricky business. As Caesar's military successes aroused Pompey's jealousy, the death of Crassus on top of this pushed history’s first Triumvirate to an end. Pompey and Caesar then set against each other in a bloody civil war.
The Sun, Mercury and Venus are a lot like the symbols of the ancient triumvirate in Rome, in many ways. But in our own internal ruling council, we have the last say. We get to determine our own fates, to avoid the chaos competing energies can bring. We have the free will to quash an inner civil war, to realize with grace that reaching the warm light of our Sun is the destination all energies must share."

While on the subject of Mercury and Venus, here are two more articles of interest, these by Michael R. Meyer: "The Four Faces of Mercury" and "Venus, Morning Star, Evening Star" by Michael R. Meyer. The articles discuss the cycles of Mercury and Venus in some detail.


mike said...

Good considerations of Sun, Mercury, and Venus, Twilight. I'd add that additional analysis may impart more knowledge, too. For those with Sun conjunct Mercury and-or Venus, is the conjunction combust or cazimi (you have previous posts on these aspects)? An inferior or superior conjunction? Consider the speed of Mercury and Venus relative to the Sun. Are they slowing down, speeding up, or stationary? Is Mercury and-or Venus ahead of the Sun and about to retrograde? Behind the Sun and about to go forward. Moving through any part of a retrograde shadow?

Your Mercury and Venus are behind the Sun, so they are slowing down about to retrograde or they are coming out of retrograde and gaining speed...they are both involved in a retrograde shadow.

A simple website to use to determine this is:

Put your birth day in the bar (where today's date is when you first open the website) and use the forward or backward on the sides of the can fairly quickly determine the speed of Mercury and Venus relative to the Sun...and even determine the day of retrograde and direct motion.

Conjunct, combust, cazimi are typically not considered favorable, as the Sun extinguishes the planet...but I think it has positive attributes, too...determine whether inferior (passive) or superior (aggressive).

Slowing or retrograde is typically more reserved, shy, inward, particularly if behind the, speeding up is the opposite, particularly ahead of the Sun.

Add consideration to the mix of any other planets that are making aspects to these three, particularly if a planet is sandwiched amongst the triumvirate.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - Planetary rulers should also be considered. Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, Venus rules Taurus and Libra, Sun rules Leo. If ANY planets are in these signs, consider that sign's ruler (Sun, Mercury, Venus) in relationship to the sign and house Sun, Mercury, or Venus are in, and the speed of those three. Likewise, what are the rulers of the signs and houses Sun, Mercury, and Venus are actually in? Planetary rulers and dispositors.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for the additional information and suggestions. :-)

Are we talking about the guiding planet thing here? Or similar? I thought I'd once done a post on it, but can't find trace of it now....mine would be Mercury in Capricorn.

There's a good article here on guiding planet -

There are numerous possibilities to investigate, yes, I agree, but my preference is always to keep things as clean and simple as possible - which will lack certain nuances but still remain clear, especially for a passing reader who is not used to reading astrology text books!

I'm also always conscious that too much isn't always better. As in dress/fashion: I could add a necklace, then earrings, then hair adornment and fancy belt and shoes - and the whole point of trying to make an elegant fashion statement is lost, the eye is confused.

This is in no way not denigrating your points, mike, they're all good and pertinent for those who can assimilate them.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Using this method to interpret, my Venus and Sun in Libra would be in agreement, while my Mercury in Scorpio (widely conjunct my Sun, but out of sign) would offer up another perspective.

I like what mike has added as well. Being behind my Sun, my Venus can be somewhat shy at times, whereas my Mercury (conjunct Neptune and Jupiter, also in Scorpio) isn't so much shy as it is aware of deeper undercurrents, and of things not always being what they seem. Adding to the mix is my NN in Libra conjunct (and sandwiched between) my Venus and Sun.

I think house placement makes a difference as well. In my chart, the combined energies of my 2nd and 3rd house planets have led me to want to speak out (Mercury on the cusp of the 3rd) about social justice (Venus and Sun in Libra) and the deeper issues involved (Mercury-Neptune-Jupiter in Scorpio).

mike (again) said...

"Are we talking about the guiding planet thing here? Or similar?"

I'm not sure what part of my comments you are questioning, Twilight. Guiding planet would be oriental or occidental positioning...and, yes, that's one more thing to consider, but not what I was getting at...LOL.

I suspect you are referring to my second comment...rulership & dispositors.

I, myself, am a prime example! I have Gemini rising (Mercury ruled). My Venus is 11*, Sun 13*, and Mercury 16* Scorpio...all three conjunct in my 6th house. The 6th house is the natural house of Virgo, which is also Mercury ruled. I have a lot of Mercury influence, but my Mercury is in superior conjunction, within the definition of combust, with the Sun and is a couple of degrees past (so not cazimi). Mercury is well past its retrograde shadow and is speeding ahead quickly. Mercury is the natural ruler of the 6th house (not sign), so is the dispositor by house. Mercury, Venus, and Sun are in Scorpio, which is disposited (by sign) by Mars (physical and material ruler of Scorpio) and Pluto (spiritual ruler of Scorpio). My natal Pluto is in Leo, 4th house...Sun is the natural ruler of Leo, so I have a mutual reception of natal Sun-Pluto.

So, to make a long story short, while I have significant Mercury influence, that Mercury is subjugated by the conjunction to the Sun, and further by the mutual reception of Sun in Scorpio and Pluto in Leo. The Leo influence softens my triumvirate of Scorpio planets. I won't go through the Mars' dispositor-ing steps, as you'll get dizzy...suffice to say that Mars and all other planets have final dispositors of Sun-Pluto in mutual reception.

BTW - And my Venus rises before the Sun, is "oriental", so Venus is my "guiding" planet. Mercury rises just after the Sun, is "occidental", which further weakens the Mercury influence...LOLOL.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Your Sun and Venus in Libra and Mercury in Scorpio, (sticking only to the article I've quoted) puts you in the "Discord" section. Does that apply in your case?

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Well....LOL! I'm getting dizzy now.

What I was hoping for was to test the idea proposed in my post in a simple fashion without bringing in other possible elements (of which I know there are many).

Does what the author of that piece I quoted propose fit your chart placements of the "triad"?

Let's start with just that can we?

LB said...

Twilight ~ In answer to your question, my Mercury in Scorpio frequently reminds my Libra placements of what Jesus said about sending us out as sheep among wolves - and how it's best to be as gentle as doves and wise as serpents.

I think I'd be a lot more naive and also far more materialistically/superficially motivated if not for my Mercury (and other) Scorpio placements. So yes, in that sense I guess there is "Discord" (more so lately) - and I'm grateful.

Like I said, I believe the energies of my placements were designed to eventually combine and create a new energy.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Thanks - that's interesting.

I admit that these three "pixels" are part of a larger portrait and not the whole story, anymore than is the Sun sign, but the fact that there are very limited positions where Mercury and Venus can be found in a natal chart seems to me to have a special relevance, and perhaps could be described as akin to those security peepholes one often finds in doors. You can get an idea of who's there, but not the whole picture.

LB said...

Twilight ~ No doubt there's something to it. I was thinking after I left my last comment how my 2nd house Venus and Sun would love to go shopping for pretty things, but lately my Mercury in Scorpio has me asking questions like, "Was it ethically produced?", "Is it healthy?", "Do I really need it?" or "Can't I do it/make it myself, using something I already have?"

Since both my Venus and Sun want to be fair, it's not too tough for my Mercury (Neptune-Jupiter) to bring them around.

mike (again) said...

Well, Twilight, it's very difficult for me to be objective with my own astrology. Though I'm in the "harmony" category, the "dissonance" description you provide seems more fitting. Since I have the triumvirate conjunct, my Mercury and Venus are absorbed by the Sun. You state, "It is Caesar trying to lead (one’s Sun) without Crassus or Pompey working alongside– of course it can be done, but it demands adjustment." This fits me, I believe.

Maybe the "harmony" applies to those that don't have the three in conjunction and the triumvirate is distributed evenly in one sign. BUT, I think that I may have to recuse myself from any practical consideration of this matter, due to the reasons I gave in the comment prior to this one. My Sun, Mercury, and Venus do not operate in a "normal" fashion for several distinct reasons.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Thanks for the extra thoughts on this. :-)

Confirming this theory, or otherwise, is something only the person themself can know for sure (I guess that could be said for all astrology too!)

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for your thoughts - sorry to press you further. :-)

While this theory, "rule-of-thumb" style won't work for some, for similar reasons as outlined in your case, maybe it'll work more noticeably for those with a less complex set of placements.

I rather like the idea, but mostly as an extension of the ubiquitous Sun sign chat that seemingly will never go away, ("I'm a Taurus", "He's a Leo" etc.) which often (always) doesn't give anywhere near an accurate outline sketch.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting way to consider the chart - if one can avoid the dizzying complexities such as Mike outlines. (As a rank amateur, I am never certain what ranking or weighting to give the seemingly endless interpretive possibilities, which is why I appreciate Twilight's KISS concept. Some astrologers go so far as to say you can see quite enough simply by considering the angles, regardless of houses etc.)
This Sun/Merc/Venus idea interested me because I am a Virgo Sun/Libra Merc/Scorp Venus whose sister has a stellium including Sun/Merc in Scorpio and she definitely does not relate to my notorious Venus in Scorpio, nor I to her Merc in Scorp.
The triumvirate ideal posited in long ago Latin and history classes always stumped me, because, unlike the three-legged stool, there was always the possibility and likelihood that two of the three men would gang up on the other fellow, who would then have no leg to stand on - to make a bad pun. Then one is back to the me versus you model, to wit, Caesar and Pompey, and we know how that ended.
Perhaps because my Sun is in the 12th but cj my Asc, also in Virgo, I tend to feel that coming out of the fog in order to see myself is the goal of all this. My Merc is cj Pallas and rules my MC and I have always related quite naturally to its strength in my chart. My Venus, however, being cj Sat and opp Moon has proven more problematic, to say the least. Here it becomes difficult to keep the strokes broad, as the aspects impinge too mightily.
Although I have never seen the film, I understand from reading a very interesting entry about its significance at that the main theme of 'Where The Wild Things Are', involves the understanding that our 'Sun' is in charge of all our Wild Things (aka other planets, their aspects, and so on) and that when we realize that and take command of it and thus of them, we can finally become integrated and whole human beings. (I highly recommend zaporacle but caution that once you enter the rabbit hole, you may be gone for quite a while.)
Thanks for yet another thought-provoking column. Highly enjoyable.

Twilight said...

Sabina ~ Thanks for your input and detail of how you personally relate to the "triad" thing.

I'm keen on keeping astrology as "clean" and simple as possible. Once one has ventured into the morass of complexity astrologers over the centuries have proposed, everything ends up meaning nothing, or very little - or alternatively one can make anything mean anything. I try hard to avoid that pitfall, and have always believed that if astrology works - and it does - it works clearest and best on the simplest level, though occasionally it does become necessary to venture deeper.
I shall investigate Zaporacle, it's a new website to me.
I thought I'd seen "Where the Wild Things Are", but on checking a synopsis, am not so sure. I think I was mixing it up with "9" an animated movie from 2009.
I'll look for "..Wild Things.." next time we're in the video rental store.

Twilight said...

A comment received in December 2014 on the 2006 post of which the above post was an updated version, offers some additional information on this topic. See the comment here: