Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Three's a.....Triumvirate

Astrologer Robert Hand, in his book Horoscope Symbols wrote:
Mercury is often underplayed in astrological writing. In part this may be because it is not often an obvious source of difficulty to people. Also, I suspect, people find its symbolism less exciting than that of some other planets. Yet it is a symbol of immense importance. It is connected to the mind, especially the logical and reasoning capabilities, and to all forms of communication.

How we communicate is such a huge part of who we are, it colors the perception of those we meet, it's almost always the first thing others notice about us - it's instant.

I've long felt that Mercury, though such a major factor in our personalities, is overshadowed in popular astrology by natal Moon and ascendant. Nothing works without Mercury, it's the essential ingredient, on duty all the time, whether we're in company or sitting alone, reading, typing, listening, watching. I suspect that a person's Mercury placement often plays a stronger part in how they are perceived by others than their Sun, Moon or even their ascendant; I think astrologers would disagree with me on this!

Venus, though not as "all-purpose" as Mercury, also has a major part in the personality. Venus cannot be more than 48 degrees from the Sun in a natal chart, which means it can lie either in the same zodiac sign as the Sun, in one of the adjoining signs, or just one sign beyond adjoining signs. Sun, Mercury and Venus, the possible combinations of their placement in a natal chart was considered on a website now defunct, by a writer whose name remains, sadly, unknown to me. Some years ago I had copied part of an article from the website to my Word Pad because I found it of interest, and mentioned something I considered didn't get enough emphasis in astrology - the important triumvirate of Sun/Mercury/Venus. Here is part of the article, with illustrations added. If any stray reader knows the name of its author, do please let me know in a comment.
"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 Gnaeus Pompey, a top general, Marcus Crassus, a wealthy citizen and Julius Caesar, an 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, natural 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.

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 - two other articles of interest, these by Michael R. Meyer: The Four Faces of Mercury and Venus, Morning Star, Evening Star. The articles discuss the cycles of Mercury and Venus in some detail.

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