Saturday, September 18, 2010

MERCURY, Virgo & Gemini.

Before the Sun passes out of zodiac sign Virgo and into Libra next week, a look at Mercury, Virgo's ruling planet - a ruler shared by Gemini.

I'm using recently acquired book, (published 1964) Astrology by Louis MacNeice. MacNeice was not an astrologer, but a poet and scholar of the classics. More about him in a previous post HERE.

To write Astrology MacNeice must have spent many hours of painstaking research, as befits his own Virgo Sun/Mercury/Venus. He cites much material from older sources, some ancient. The book can in no way be seen as "a fluff piece", it serves, in many cases, to clarify how we got to where we are in interpreting the planets and signs.
The Kalendar of Shepherds, from which he quotes below was published in 1507, translated from (I think) a French version of some years earlier. The illustration, right, comes from the Kalendar. I'm not sure whether it relates to Virgo, but the partially obscured glyph at the top resembles a Virgo glyph, and the corn in the field is cut and awaits stacking, so time of year is right for Virgo.

Here's part of what Louis MacNeice discovered about Mercury.

"The fair planet Mercury", says the Kalendar of Shepherds is "very full and dry of nature and is lord of speech, as the Sun is lord of light......Who is born under Mercury shall be subtle of wit....(that is and always has been Mercury's first characteristic) and shall be very crafty in many sciences......He shall ever follow and resort to them that be of good manners, and shall be fortunate on the sea to use the course of good merchandise."

Mercury is the traditional patron not only of intellectuals but of merchants. He is also the patron planet of transport.

But the Mercury man, according to the Kalendar, will not have it all his own way. "He shall be very gracious, and he shall have harm by women, and when he is married, men shall not set so much by him as they did before." All the same, "he will have great love to ladies and gentlewomen, but yet they shall not be masters over him. He will be a very good man of the church or a religious man, and he shall not love to go to a warfare.....He shall love well to preach and to speak fair rhetoric language, and to talk of philosophy and geometry."

The Kalendar details other intellectual, artistic and commercial activities and ends: "He shall be servant to some great lord or else a receiver of his money." (The original god Mercury himself had been something of a lackey on Olympus, always running errands for the greater gods.) "He shall have a high forehead, a long visage, black eyes, and a thin beard. He shall be a great pleader in the law and will meddle with other men's deeds if they do not well and say against it."

There has been general agreement that Mercury stands for the intellect and for most types of communication, whether mental or physical. Not surprisingly, however, he is undependable; astrologers have named him "the chameleon among planets" (compare the adjective "mercurial") and have explained that he is neutral because, in the aspects, he takes color from other planets but does not give color in return. This idea goes back to Ptolemy, who says that Mercury is "generally speaking in nature like whatever of the planets may be associatedwith him." By Ptolemy's time he was also firmly established as the ruler of two signs, Gemini and Virgo. Rupert Gleadow, who calls him a "sexless planet", points out that both these signs are "somewhat lacking in emotion".

Mercury can make you a genius; he can also make you a crook. The original god had been both, as is shown by the early Homeric "Hymn to Hermes" in which he is described (in Shelley's translation) as

A schemer subtle beyond all belief;
A shepherd of thin dreams, a cow-stealing,
A night-watching and door-waylaying thief

who yet, while still an infant, went on to invent the lyre, killing a tortoise to use its shell for the purpose.

(Left: Carving shows Hermes making the lyre).

..................The planet Mercury, like Venus, owing to its actual nearness to the Sun, is always seen from earth as lying in a sign near the Sun. Consequently Mercury and Venus are comparatively often found in conjunction. In spite of the frequency of such conjunctions an 18th century English astrologer, Ebenezer Sibly, used one of them (retrospectively) to explain the French Revolution: "The active position of Venus and Mercury, conjoined, denotes much restlessness and instability in the councils of France, which seem distracted by the arbitrary will of the Gallic Queen, here represented by Venus, upheld and assisted by light, volatile, time-serving men, pre-noted by Mercury."..........................

As for aspects, it is generally considered that Saturn, having such a different and therefore complementary nature, is the best influence on Mercury.

(Illustration below from Astrology, showing a French Bank advertisement for travellers' cheques. In both astrology and mythology Mercury is considered to be the patron of commerce and transport: thus the two roles here symbolised by the god are equally typical of the planet.)


Gian Paul said...

In the interest of astrology and of "who may be concerned", you did not mention one element surrounding Mercury, Twilight. And that is homosexuality. Though you indicate that Mercury is considered the "chameleon amongst the planets". I am not gay myself but happen to have made a number of maps of gay people. Also at the request of "concerned parents" who had discovered that their son was "turning to the other side". In what I saw, Mercury in these cases is PROMINENT in the natal map. Either in an air-sign or strongly aspected by either Uranus or Neptune. In one case I saw a conjunction of Mercury with Venus, but it was in Gemini. So it might have been the position by sign more than the conjunction with Venus.

Considering that about 10% of the American population is gay (at least in SF), there must be some frequent planetary occurrence, like Mercury in air sign, or similar, as mentioned. Wonder if I am the only one having looked into this as so far I could not find any confirmation of my personal findings.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul - Ooooer! Now that is weird! At the very moment notification of your comment arrived I was in the middle of reading articles about British writer E.M. Forster and his (long secret) gayness. I hadn't been researching that aspect of him but had found myself in the middle of an article emphasising it.

I didn't mention homosexuality, GP for two reasons, 1: because most of the post was a direct quote from MacNeice's book, and he didn't mention it. 2) - I wasn't aware that Mercury is, or may be involved. :-)

I'd always assumed (or I'd read somewhere) that sexual orientation isn't apparent from a natal chart -in much the same way that gender cannot be established from a chart.

I think the whole thing considered a grey area in astrology though.

In view of what you wrote I took a quick look at Forster's chart and see that he had Mercury square Saturn as the closest aspect in his chart (within just 5 minutes of arc - almost exact.) He also had a looser (6.5 degrees) trine of Mercury to Uranus.

Gian Paul said...

Trine by 6-7 degrees of Uranus to Mercury is strong. So my findings are confirmed here. If homosexuality is a grey area in astrology (still, lets see if Fabienne living in SF does not come up with something new?), it's about time for knowledge in this respect to also come "out of the closet".

Interesting that it took considerable time for the Pope to present an apology for what happened with gay priests - until his visit now to the UK where he senses to be under more pressure than he would be if he were visiting say Africa. And then that idiot-assistant (a Cardinal!) of his calling the UK a "third world country".

These people either suffer from Alzheimer (would be an easy explanation) or are doomed!

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~~ I suppose that in the interests of astrological research, looking into astrological indications of homosexuality could be useful, in order to establish credibility of astrology in an area which seems capable of some level of "proof".
there are not too many such clear areas.

But on a personal level, I don't see any necessity for astrologers to be able to detect a client's sexual orientation. It's none of their damned business, to put it bluntly - and of little importance in the greater scheme of things.

The Catholic church deserves all that is coming to it - and it will not be good! One of their own - Malachi I think, predicted centuries ago that they'd have a bad end, and the pope would leave Rome over the dead bodies of his cardinals. Doomed is right!

Gian Paul said...

Twilight - 3 comments on your last reply: I am not as concerned as you appear to be about astrology being recognized as a science or something more credible than what it is now. For those interested and with what needs (time, patience, mental orientation) it's proven. Always was, I guess.

Two: To be able to see in a map if a person is gay, as you say, is not of an astrologer's business. But there are cases (probably many) where the gay person (or his/her parents as I have experienced) can be greatly helped by having "an open conversation". Much culpability (if there is), can be shown to be wrong, as the predisposition is confirmed in the horoscope. Need to be tolerant of what is, even if it's not a preference. This goes especially for the parents.

Three: be careful with Malachie's predictions. Read somewhere that he was not an Irish monk and even less so a saint. Possibly a fabrication. I personally visited the place quoted "fuori muri" in Rome with the number of Papal medallions fixed on a wall. Pretendedly there is no more space left. That's what I had read, but not what I found. So take it with a grain of salt. But agree that that Church is in trouble. Why Tony Blair recently became a Catholic is a mystery to me.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~~(1) I guess my attitude towards astrology (feeling protective) is one of my quirks - I can't ignore it, it's always around. It's not that I want it to be scientifically accepted, more that I DON'T want it to be ridiculed and put down.

(2) I see what you mean. If the parents were astrologically inclined I dare say that it could offer one strand of help, yes.

3) Oh really? I'm disappointed!
I'll treat it with suspicion then, similar to the way I look on most conspiracy theories.....that there's a far outside chance that "there's something in it".

Gian Paul said...

Twilight, have to be precise: As you, I believe that the Catholic church (as others) is on a downhill course. Too much abuses in the past and demagogy. Where I am being careful is that they - despite of all the errors and more than that, conscious frauds committed (abuse of power, cohesion with corrupt regimes, pretense to know when they really don't, etc.) have been surviving for what seems a very long time. Kind of surprisingly long!

Are they being helped by "higher up" to last until the time will be ripe for a fundamental change. Or even, does "higher up" right now still need them as time has not yet come?

Some philosopher (Gurdjieff, John Bennett or Ouspensky, don't remember) said that even God, after having established some rules, has to respect them. If these rules were destined to last. And one of these rules may be our known time. The cyclical time which was planned it would take for this world to change. Have to think of the precession of the equinoxes, obviously. And the 2000 or 2160 years it takes astronomically for the earth/sun axis to move into the next constellation of the Zodiac. Aquarius being next. Maybe we still are sufficiently deep in Pisces for the existing Christian institutions, even if increasingly deficient, to be able to "hang on" to their priviledges.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~ Yes, I nodded along as I read your comment....although I do have grave doubts about the existence any "higher-up" entity, other than Nature/LifeForce....which could still fit your remarks.

It IS surprising that the RC church has survived intact for so long. It could not have done so withouth the support of the millions of supporters in its congregations - who are controlled by, when one gets right down it,........FEAR! Until the people change, the RC and other churches will retain their power and benefits. So, until the "Life force" changes, which it could well do as and when the Age changes from Docile Pisces to Thinking Aqauarius, we are stuck with status quo.

We've managed for a long time, I dare say we'll manage to ignore 'em all for a bit longer, grumbling all the while. ;-)

R J Adams said...

I just love Gustav Holst's interpretation of 'Mercury', from his 'Planets' suite.

Sherlock Holmes bis said...

If E.F. Forster's homosexuality was hidden for a long time, it's that his Mercury was under "restraining orders" from Saturn, making an exact square. That closet door was pretty well locked, wasn't it?

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~ I listened to a short version on Youtube as I couldn't remember it (if I'd ever heard it before). Yes! It's very light, flighty and fluttery, lots of movement going on. Very appropriate. Nice.

Twilight said...

Sherlock Holmes bis ~~~Hi there! Good point!
It appears that soon after he died (in 1970), appreciations of his work spoke openly of an unpublished novel, written in 1914, which had not only a homosexual theme, but a happy ending. This book, Maurice, was published in 1971.

Saturn was in Pisces and Mercury in Sagittarius (both ruled by Jupiter which governs publishing) - I wonder if things might have been different had the signs been reversed - or different.

Wisewebwoman said...

While I think of it the movie "Maurice" may be to your liking. Obscure but worth tracking.

As to RC church, how irrelevant it is become in its deceit and abuses.

As to placement of Mercury predicting sexual orientation, I believe in the genetics, if sexual orientation is that important.

I believe we should honour the entire spectrum of human sexuality in all its permutations rather than box it in so tightly.


Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Thanks for the tip, WWW - I've just Googled and - Wowee! - I must find that tape or dvd - the film stars James Wilby & Hugh Grant. I developed a crush on James Wilby, back in the day - after he played Sidney Cartier in a TV version of "Tale of 2 Cities". He was SO good. I kept watching for more of his work but only ever found him in a couple of minor roles. This'll be well worth a diligent search. :-)

I'm in agreement with your points about homosexuality. I've have often thought that it ought to be possible to track astrology using DNA or chromosomes - or something.

Like you, I don't see homosexuality as any more interesting than heterosexuality, or somebody having red hair or freckles. But as it still brings on worries among families, Gian Paul's point on this is valid, if detecting an astrological trend is possible.

RC church - I feel a need to do that dismissive sound/gesture, shrugging shoulders, turning head:


Vanilla Rose said...

So ... on the topic of Gemini and twins, what is your take on twins, particularly identical ones, raised together as twins? Nature, nurture, star charts, do you have any insights into why there are any differences between them at all? (I certainly don't, it's a bit of a mystery to me.)

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~~ Hi!

Astrologically, I think the reason there are always some differences between identical twins (as against fraternal twins - from different eggs where biological differences could account for much)
is that in no case can two babies be born at the exact same moment.

The zodiacal degree at time of birth is always going to be different to some extent, either slightly or more pronounced depending on the length of time between births of the 2 babies.
This seemingly minor difference has to account for the differences astrologically, and when added to the inevitable, if subtle, differences the children encounter in early life it'll be enough to form less subtle differences in their personalities, and eventual life stories as they mature and encounter yet other sets of differences in attitudes and the way they are treated.

That's the only explanation I can come up with....and that even two tiny beings from the same egg will have grown in slightly different positions in the womb - which could also have a bearing on biological difference, I guess.

Gian Paul said...

A possibly far-out conjecture (but worth considering) on twins, and some turn out not to be all that identical, as you indicate:

If, and so far nobody knows, the "soul or that spark from above" which incarnates in a fetus only arrives once the fetus exists and appears viable (seen from "above") it could happen that who is in charge of such "celestial investigations" discovers that there are sometimes two (or more fetuses, all viable) in a pregnant womb. So to get all of them correctly going, some additional "souls, ready to incarnate" must be found. And they probably will be selected for being similar, but IDENTICAL may not be possible. Hence the differences...

Astrology Unboxed said...

As a San Francisco resident, my observations are two fold and keep in mind they are merely observations and no deep astrological analysis has been done.
1) When I first arrived in San Francisco, my impression was that the gay community was a boisterous, loud,friendly, chatty community. I see that many characteristic of Mercury in the I way I perceive the LGBT community to express itself.
2)To add some weight to my observations, I had a quick look at the chart for the time Mission Dolores was founded (an event that is considered the start of San Francisco)- June 27, 1776. The chart is heavy in air signs with a Gemini Midheaven and Virgo Ascendant which could account for the feel of freedom of expressing oneself that can be felt here.
If we take a look at the chart for the incorporation of the city, April 15, 1850, the chart has a stellium in Aries which could explain how gay rights movement started here and the first openly gay politician(Harvey Milk) got elected.
I have not done enough readings involving gay clients to be able to observe a prominence of Mercury in their chart.

Gian Paul said...

Astrology Unboxed-Fabienne: helpful input you gave there. You possibly have made several maps of gay clients who would not have told you. In future, just look out if Mercury is prominent in Air or strongly aspected by Uranus or Neptune. As Twilight says, its none of an astrologers business. But these days some people may be at the doorstep of wanting "special advice". Ciao/Abraço