The planet Mercury has much in common with its opponent, Jupiter, who sits as ruler of its own signs on the other side of the Thema Mundi chart. Together Jupiter and Mercury rule the four mutable signs: Jupiter rules mutable fire and mutable water and Mercury rules mutable earth and mutable air. The four signs are called bicorporeal because they are the combination of two separate images. Jupiter’s Pisces are two fish swimming away from each other but bound by a sacred knot and its fire sign is a centaur, a man’s torso joined to a horse’s body and legs. Mercury’s two signs are also bicorporeal: the male twins of Gemini and the maiden carrying a sheaf of wheat. Some might argue that the sheaf hardly qualifies as a significant second feature but the emphasis on agriculture is strong in Virgo and the sheaf cannot be dismissed as floral decoration intended to enhance the female figure.
Both Mercury and Jupiter rule signs which are in square aspect to one another and because of the like-engirdling rule (same planet binds together two unalike signs) the relationship between their feminine sign and their masculine counterpart holds a unique position in the zodiac wheel. If you start from the planet’s feminine sign – Pisces for Jupiter and Virgo for Mercury – and move forward in the order of the signs a point of culmination is achieved ten places away at the same planet’s masculine sign – Sagittarius for Jupiter and Gemini for Mercury. Basically, what begins for both of these planets in the house of their feminine sign culminates in the house of their masculine sign. This idea of either planet, Jupiter or Mercury, providing for its own culmination, or affecting one’s destiny, was deemed important to include in Ptolemy’s Centiloquy (but definitely not written by Ptolemy):
“If Virgo or Pisces be on the ascendant, the native will create his own dignity.”[ii]
Holden’s translation states: “Those having Virgo or Pisces rising will be the cause of their own authority;”[iii]
In other words, by your own actions (1st house), you might achieve the highest culmination point – and therefore, your destiny – through moving forward to ten houses/signs away from where you began the journey. Whilst the Ascendant is the topic of these blogs this idea of culmination is a bit off topic. If you want more information on the development of this idea you will find it in A Tiny Universe’s Companion, Chapter Six, The Culminations of Mercury and Jupiter.
Another connection between these two opponents is the fact that the four fixed signs are a problem for the four mutable signs belonging to Jupiter and Mercury. Plus there is a crossover in gender when it comes to aversion for these two planets. Jupiter in either masculine fixed sign – Leo or Aquarius – cannot see Pisces and if Mercury is situated in these same two fixed signs, it cannot reach the house with Virgo on its cusp. Likewise, the two feminine fixed signs – Taurus or Scorpio – cannot see Jupiter’s male sign of Sagittarius, and Mercury in identical signs is in a state of blindness to masculine Gemini.
Mercury’s position in the Chaldean Order as the first of the five planets closest to Earth – the Moon is a luminary – brings its images in alignment with human activity for several reasons. Mercury is the only planet with human-based sigils –Gemini’s twin children and Virgo’s maiden – and Mercury’s signs are only two of three signs which are described as ‘loud-voiced’ with Gemini having honours as being the singular sign which is capable of human speech. Presumably the virgin is incapable of articulation without the benefit of male guidance? Or perhaps she has taken a vow of silence?
First century astrologer Vettius Valens describes Virgo as ‘anthropomorphic’; having human form, emotions, and traits and in his description of Virgo’s ruling planet, Mercury has the lengthiest list of all the planets especially when it comes to occupations in his Book One of The Anthologies.
A short extract of Valens’ description of Mercury’s significations tells us:
“This star’s effects go in many directions, depending on the changes of the zodiac and the interactions of the stars, and yields quite varied results: knowledge for some, selling for others, service for others, trade or teaching for others, farming or temple service or public employment for still others.
To some it grants authority, rentals, labour contracting, rhythmical performance, the display of public service, the acquisition of personal attendants or the right of wearing temple-linen, robed in the luxury appropriate to gods or rulers.
Perhaps because of its proximity to the Moon and Earth, Mercury comes with a word of warning; it has an extremely changeable and unpredictable nature and its outcomes are highly susceptible to influence from the other planets.
As for the end result – Mercury will make everything capricious in outcome and quite disturbed. Even more, it causes those having this star in malefic signs or degrees to become even worse.”
Mercury’s air sign is a masculine sign with a combination of hot and wet qualities. As an air sign Gemini allows for Mercury to use its speed to explore all realms of possibility in the same way as Hermes, the planet’s Greek god, had freedom of movement through the heavens, the world, and the Underworld. Hermes was a messenger of the gods and a psychopomp or “soul guide” and was responsible for guiding newly deceased souls to the afterlife. Similarly, Gemini’s fascination with knowledge does not stop with one subject but roams freely through topics which are broad in scope and not limited to the mundane world.
However, there are two signs which Mercury would rather avoid as they create the problem of aversion and a blind Mercury finds frustration in not being able to see the house with Gemini on its cusp. When Mercury is located in either Taurus or Scorpio it cannot see Gemini.
In contrast to Gemini, Mercury’s other sign of Virgo is feminine in gender, cold in active quality, dry in passive quality, and together the two qualities create the element of earth. Through Virgo Mercury can separate and distinguish the various parts of a whole, and in this way can analyse a problem, or fix a broken structure by finding the error within the separate parts.
Mercury in either Leo or Aquarius is frustrated by its inability to govern the house with Virgo on the cusp and thereby fix the problems within that area of life assigned to the house. Rather than feeling that it can solve any specific dramas, Mercury’s advice is either ignored or never acted upon. Or in flashes of insight, these same issues are blown out of all proportion when Mercury panics and tries to find urgent solutions which are rarely practical or useful to the chart owner.
Knowing that each of the four fixed signs is difficult for both Jupiter and Mercury (masculine fixed signs cannot see the planet’s feminine sign, feminine fixed signs cannot see the planet’s masculine sign) is an easy reminder if the aversion signs don’t come quickly to mind. Perhaps it makes sense on some level as the fixed signs yearn for repetition or predictability and put great value on conservatism, tradition and ritual. Mercury’s natural propensity to bolt from one subject to the next means it finds the accompanying restrictions irritating and Mercury is bored and troublesome when the freshness of change is not an option.
Prime Motivation for Air Signs:
The drive for communication and freedom of movement
GEMINI RISING: Ruling Planet – MERCURY
There is often an assumption in astrology that Gemini Rising will produce a chatty nature and that the characteristics of talkativeness, social ease, or friendliness come easily when this sign is found on the Ascendant.
However, this generalization is likely to go horribly wrong under certain conditions in the chart. Any astrologer who has been confronted with a quiet, introspective, uncommunicative Gemini Ascendant knows that finding Mercury compromised in some way will go a long way in explaining the opposite of what is usually expected from this rising sign.
Mercury in a difficult sign, or poor house position, or in aspect to several of the more challenging planets, will have an immediate effect on Gemini Ascendant’s ability to communicate with the outside world. Insecurity replaces confidence, shyness usurps self-assurance, and silence overtakes loquacity.
When it comes to communication Mercury is a bit in a class of its own. If it has been jeopardized in some way it is often challenging to find another substitute to fill its spot. The best way to explain this is to look at the other elements’ Prime Motivation and to examine what might happen if the Lord of the Ascendant is functioning less effectively.
For instance, a fire Prime Motivation may lack the ability to reach its goals or maintain its power because its ruler – Mars, Sun, or Jupiter – is suffering in some way. However, the significations for these three planets are often interlinked so even if Prime Motivation is frustrated, power and success may come from a completely different direction from within the chart itself.
Likewise, an earth Ascendant’s Prime Motivation is to find physical security for the individual but if the Lord of the Ascendant – Saturn, Venus, or Mercury – are otherwise occupied, then there are ways to shore up one’s sense of security. Saturn will try to do this even if it is not a Capricorn Rising chart and Jupiter or the Sun will aid Saturn, especially if the individual was born during the daytime and it is a diurnal chart.
Water element Ascendants can find other avenues to search for emotional security if their Prime Motivation is struggling for a sense of completion as the Moon is not the sole avenue for a sense of happiness or purpose in this world.
Even the two other planets which rule air signs – Venus and Saturn – have Mercury to fall back on if they are floundering with their Prime Motivation’s drive for communication or freedom of movement.
But where does Mercury go when it can’t communicate effectively? One could argue that Jupiter might step in but Jupiter and Mercury are natural enemies and Jupiter’s method of communication is vastly different from Mercury’s cautious nature. Jupiter often over-reaches, bragging or promising things it – or Mercury – cannot deliver and its preachy communication techniques cause more problems for the individual. Saturn, Mars or the Sun may try to communicate in Mercury’s place but this can create an impression of attempts to dominate the other party, and this is definitely not what Mercury perceives communication to be. The Moon or Venus may step in for a gentler form of communication but sometimes wires get mixed or interpretations lack clarity when these two planets are not natural communicators.
AVERSION Signs and House Placements:
Scorpio (6th H): Taurus (12th H)
Challenge for P.M. – Mercury in Scorpio (6th)
Mercury in the cadent house that signifies illness, accidents, or simply bad luck can be challenging if the individual is accident-prone or susceptible to poor health when the same planet (Mercury) is responsible for the body’s strength and well-being.
Mercury rules fine and gross motor skills and when it is blind to its sign on the Ascendant, there is a possibility that one type of these skills is impaired. This disability (sometimes quite insignificant to others) still affects daily life from Mercury’s sixth house position as it requires extra thought, planning and effort on Mercury’s part to navigate simple tasks, and often frustrates Prime Motivation by suggesting a restriction in physical movement. Mercury in Scorpio may have to learn how to adapt or compensate for any limitations or modify the home in order to regain some freedom of movement. It may be worth exploring health issues for hereditary indications given that Mercury also rules the fourth house of father and relations.
Mercury in the fixed water sign can struggle to feel at ease when it comes to small talk or polite conversations on unimportant topics. Scorpio Mercury loves intense dialogue and debates with depth or relishes intriguing or forbidden subjects and risks driving its audience away by becoming too impassioned in expressing their convictions.
Part of the aversion between Gemini Ascendant and its ruler in Scorpio lies in the dilemma that what starts as light chitchat can quickly escalate into insistent or inflexible opinions and even the individual’s body language can become intimidating if they are totally unconscious of how their manner is affecting others.
Scorpio’s ruler is Mars and knowing the condition of Mars in the chart may help the individual to navigate their way through tricky conversations that can easily become heated when Mercury in Scorpio begins venting on something about which they feel strongly.
This fixed Mercury in water is a subjective thinker and an emotive speaker and often riles up its audience. This tends to make the Gemini Ascendant uncomfortable especially when obsessively returning to one particular topic can mean others switch off or studiously try to avoid the subject for fear it triggers an outburst which can prove embarrassing in social situations.
This frustrates Prime Motivation and the individual can feel that others do not listen or value their opinions. Rather than Gemini Ascendant being in the centre of discussions it feels cut off or isolated from the general conversation. There can also be times in life when accusations of being deliberately misleading or untruthful are levelled at the individual and they can feel attacked by those who have misunderstood their words or actions.
Challenge for P.M. – Mercury in Taurus (12th)
Mercury in the fixed earth sign can also get caught on a topic that others find boring or repetitive, but the difference between the two Mercurys in opposite signs is that Scorpio Mercury can get stuck on injuries (both physical and psychological) and personal or social injustices, whilst Taurus Mercury wants to talk about what it passionately loves. The first feels frustrated when the individual can’t air their grievances, and the second Mercury has the potential for the chart owner to feel snubbed, hurt or invisible to others when they revisit conversations based on their favourite subject.
Mercury’s placement in the twelfth house is also perplexing for a social sign ruled by Venus and feelings of being isolated or misunderstood abound when Mercury’s sign is on the Ascendant. Sometimes retreating into isolation in the twelfth house is a wise choice especially if there is too much noise and stimulation in the environment and excessive ‘thought-traffic’ from a confused mind is too congested. However, retreating for extended periods of time can mean the individual forgets how to engage with others and this is rarely good for the long-term management of Taurus Mercury.
Sometimes this retreat is for pleasurable reasons as Taurus Mercury is highly creative in avenues such as writing, music, poetry and the visual arts, but staying connected to the world is still very important as mundane dealings are necessary to keep this earth sign’s Mercury grounded in the daily management of their affairs.
Some of the annoyance of a twelfth house Taurus Mercury is that even though they may be highly talented and original in their artistic perspective, Mercury’s aversion to the Ascendant impinges on their marketability. The struggle to get their name or product ‘out there’ in the public domain is somewhat laborious when others with less talent seem to easily prosper from their efforts. However, this issue may be averted if Mercury is in aspect to the Mid-Heaven’s degree, or if it aspects the ruler of the Mid-Heaven.
Depending on Taurus’ ruling sign (Venus) the individual may need to maintain mental concentration as Mercury is the significator for fine and gross motor skills. Awkwardness, or an unawareness of how one’s body aligns with physical surroundings, or poor coordination, can cause embarrassment or shyness for the individual with a blind Ascendant ruler.
Alternate Rulers to help Ascendant achieve Prime Motivation
No Exalted Ruler for Gemini
Term Rulers for GEMINI (besides Mercury)
Jupiter (6-12): Venus (12-17): Mars (17-24): Saturn (24-30)
The degree of the Ascendant will alter which of these remaining four planets might step up as a substitute ruler for Gemini Ascendant.
Each planet will have a different way in which to manage Mercury’s sign when Gemini is a highly adaptable sign and this will flavour the individual’s personality. Even with Mercury’s inability to play its correct role, there will be changes in speech, opinions and visible attitudes according to which planet rules through the degrees of Term Ruler.
Jupiter makes Gemini more magnanimous whilst Venus adds friendliness and the dilemma of whether to engage or retreat depending on where Mercury’s aversion stems from in the chart. The two malefic planets add a little more stress for Gemini Rising when Mercury is in aversion and Mars can add agitation or a slightly aggressive or competitive air whilst Saturn may try to control the conversation or force its opinions on others.
Prime Motivation for Earth Signs:
The need for a safe and secure physical environment
VIRGO RISING: Ruling Planet – MERCURY
Virgo is Mercury’s more grounded sign and is perhaps its favoured sign, given that it is also the same planet’s place of exaltation. Virgo allows Mercury to explore information in way which is different from Gemini’s hot and wet qualities which depend on fast gathering and speedy distribution of data.
Virgo’s cold quality slows down incoming material in order to truly dissect and scrutinize all intelligence placed in its pathway, and it will examine everything individually before circulating it to other quarters who might find a practical use for it.
The passive quality for earth is always the dry quality and this is a bonus for Mercury which thrives on useful or pragmatic analysis as much as it relies on Gemini’s quick dissemination of knowledge. A combination of the two mutable signs means that Mercury, like the Greek god Hermes, is capable of covering a huge amount of ground in a very short period of time.
Ptolemy’s 37th Aphorism draws our attention to the fact that the same planet, in this case Mercury, rules two signs which are placed ten signs away from each other in the order of the zodiac. The idea of culmination 10 sign away begins with Mercury’s feminine sign – Virgo – and moves by ten signs to its masculine sign – Gemini – on the highest point at tenth house in Whole Sign charts.
“If Virgo or Pisces be on the ascendant, the native will create his own dignity.”
“Those having Virgo or Pisces rising will be the cause of their own authority;”
With this thought in mind, it should be noted that beginnings from the first house are somewhat hampered by Mercury being in aversion when it is placed in either Leo or Aquarius. If Mercury starts out blind from this house of ‘one’s actions’ at the Ascendant then it stands to follow that Mercury will be adversely affected when it comes to knowing how to initiate the individual’s destiny with Gemini at the top of the chart.
If Mercury quibbles over every detail, procrastinates, or simply, does not comprehend what is necessary in order to activate its Virgo Ascendant then the individual begins at a disadvantage when it comes to achieving their life’s potential. This may be due to health issues in the sixth house (Mercury in Aquarius), or hidden agendas or undisclosed enemies attacking from the twelfth house (Mercury in Leo). But either way, the flow on effect from an insecure attempt at Prime Motivation – to feel safe and effective in one’s world – can impact on the levels of success achieved and a satisfactory sense of completion with Gemini at the tenth house position.
AVERSION Signs and House Placements:
Aquarius (6th H): Leo (12th H)
Challenge for P.M. – Mercury in Aquarius (6th)
Mercury in Virgo is fastidious in its thinking processes so when it moves to Aquarius there are some similarities in how it operates in Saturn’s sign. However, when no working relationship exists between the two signs Mercury’s diligence in mental gymnastics becomes pedantic, finicky and over-particular in Aquarius and this can be deeply disruptive for Virgo Ascendant’s sense of security.
Suddenly everything in the individual’s environment becomes wrong: from the temperature, to the aesthetics, to the assault on one’s senses by the surroundings being too loud, too much light/darkness, or to one’s skin crawling because something just doesn’t ‘feel right’. But it’s not easy to articulate exactly how the surroundings have changed so quickly to suddenly become unaccommodating, uncomfortable or unsafe.
Sixth house Mercury will try hard to fulfil the individual’s need for physical security in this uncertain world but it will often feel like it falls short of the brief. There is likely to be an issue of a Saturnian nature behind the deficit such as time constraints, red tape, a problem with fellow workers, or the unreasonable demands of a boss. A combination of a couple of these factors are likely to make it tough for the individual to relax and feel comfortable in their surroundings and Virgo Rising may need to take care that their reaction to criticism is not too defensive, too keen on allocating blame onto a workmate, or based on pointing out others’ weaknesses.
Feeling invisible or having one’s comments or opinions fall on deaf ears is toilsome for this Virgo Ascendant which tries so hard to get it right and then feels ignored when the correct outcome really matter to them. Mercury situated in the sixth house can indicate nervous exhaustion, anxiety, and even depression when situated in Saturn’s sign, especially if the individual is feeling threatened or insecure about their place in the world.
Mercury signifies the brain’s ability to send messages to the nerves and muscles in the body and its placement in the house of poor health and disposited by Saturn can indicate physical restrictions in fine or gross motor skills. This ultimately restricts or infringes on the Virgo Ascendant’s ability to avoid obstacles and to manoeuvre the body freely through the physical plane.
Challenge for P.M. – Mercury in Leo (12th)
The desire to prove oneself to be intellectual, well informed, or somehow influential in current events, is a very strong impetus for the Leo Mercury ruling a Virgo Ascendant.
Unfortunately for this Mercury, twelfth house placement means you are likely to be trying too hard to impress (and possibly annoying other people), have a touch of arrogance or intellectual snobbery (a good way to make hidden enemies), or that you secretly fear that your ideas are too strange or alien for others to comprehend (potentially making you your own worst enemy). Any or all of these situations can make it hard to find a secure space in this world that you can truly call ‘yours’.
A thicker skin combined with a good sense of humour may be the best way to approach the aversion which is occurring here between Mercury and its sign on the Ascendant.
Leo Mercury in the twelfth house can create its own reality from this secluded spot and the individual with Virgo Rising may need to be conscious of installing a Walter Mitty mindset into everyday events. This occurs when a person imagines a life in which they play the role of hero in a much more glamorous or exciting life than their own. Whilst this fantasy can while away many pleasant hours in a day it can be a dangerous pursuit if Mercury is not consciously aware of the difference between the real world and make-believe.
A somewhat opposite approach that Mercury in aversion to Virgo Ascendant can take is the mystifying phenomenon known as ‘gaslighting’. That is, when other people (usually from the twelfth house arena) undermine a person’s confidence by trying to convince them that their perceptions are untrue. Gaslighting originates from a British play Gas Light (1938) in which a husband tries to gain criminal advantage through using denial, misdirection, contradiction and misinformation to destroy his wife’s self-esteem, and to make her doubt her sanity. This form of psychological manipulation can deeply undermine Virgo’s Prime Motivation as judgement, memory, and one’s belief on how the world operates are unknowingly jeopardized by another’s underhand assaults on a blinded Mercury in the twelfth house.
Another important factor to take into consideration in delineating Leo Mercury, is the sign’s dispositor when Mercury’s actions in the twelfth house have a direct effect on Virgo Rising. Noting the sign and nature of the Sun in the chart is essential as the Sun will colour the effects of a blind Mercury ruling Virgo on the Ascendant.
The maximum elongation angle between Mercury and the Sun is 28 degrees and this means that there are only three possibilities for Mercury in Leo when it comes to the Sun as its sign’s dispositor. The Sun can be in the sign before Leo Mercury (Cancer); in rulership in the same sign as Mercury (Leo); or in the sign directly after Mercury (Virgo). Nothing else is astronomically possible for Mercury in Leo. This means that Mercury thinks and speaks about health, home and family when the Sun is in Cancer (in the eleventh house) ; goals, success and recognition when the Sun is in Leo (in the twelfth house); or perfection in an imperfect world when the Sun is in Virgo (in the first house) and disposits a Mercury in Leo.
To give just one example, the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery was the author of the novella The Little Prince, the story of a little boy who leaves his small asteroid and eventually lands on Earth after travelling through the universe in search of self-knowledge. Saint-Exupery was born in 1900 with Leo Mercury in the twelfth house ruling a Virgo Ascendant. Mercury’s sign belongs to the Sun and Saint-Exupery’s Sun was in Cancer in whole sign’s eleventh house.
In The Little Prince the boy, who doesn’t understand Earth and its ways, yearns to leave and return home to his beloved rose who waits for him, unattended and neglected on his home planet. Themes of isolation, bereavement, alienation and despair litter the book along with a variety of wise animals who talk philosophy and metaphor in order to communicate their wisdom to the narrator and the boy.
Many critics believe that The Little Prince, although it looks like a child’s book, is in fact autobiographical and that Saint-Exupery’s own struggles with depression are the tales of the little prince (Mercury in Leo) and his desire to leave a perplexing and inhospitable environment (Virgo Ascendant), to return home to the one he loves (Sun in Cancer).
Saint-Exupery’s chart has four houses in aversion to their ruling planets – first, third, eleventh and twelfth house – and these are discussed in detail in A Tiny Universe’s Companion. For those who haven’t read The Little Prince it is a short read but it gives so much insight into the human condition when we feel as though we are the aliens on this planet. The small red rose on the cover of Companion is in recognition of Saint-Exupery’s gifts – his natal chart, his suffering which led to his writing, especially The Little Prince, and to his life which was anything but easy with a blind Ascendant lord.
Alternate Rulers to help Ascendant achieve Prime Motivation
Exalted Ruler for Virgo, MERCURY
Same Ruler as Domicile
Term Rulers for VIRGO (besides Mercury)
Venus: (7-17): Jupiter (17-21): Mars (21-28): Saturn (28-30)
The degree of the Ascendant will alter which of these remaining four planets might step up as a substitute ruler for Virgo Ascendant.
Each planet will have a different way in which to manage Mercury’s sign and this will flavour the individual’s personality as Virgo’s mutability allows other planets to be engaged in its presentation.
Jupiter and Venus have swapped positions in the order of the Term Rulers when the degrees of Gemini and Virgo are placed side by side. The number of degrees also varies a little as Mars comes in as Term Ruler at 21 degrees Virgo whereas Mars began its Termship at 17 degrees for Gemini. Saturn owns the last six degrees of Gemini but only has the final two degrees (28 and 29) as Term Ruler for Virgo.
As Virgo is an earth sign, it will look to its interim rulers to play a different role from that of Mercury’s air sign. Unlike Gemini, Virgo Ascendant is not looking for the dispersal of information or for ease in communication. It wants solid backup from any of these four planets in the appropriate degree and each one will try to supply Virgo Rising with a workable model that supports its desire for safety in the individual’s physical environment.
The earlier degrees of Virgo will look to Venus to make surrounds amenable, comfortable and friendly whilst Jupiter’s mid-degrees will show Virgo Ascendant playing host to a planet that uses influence, ambition or good connections to shore up safety in this world. The two malefic planets may not be a great substitute for Mercury but if it’s the only option then the individual may have to make do with either Mars (21-28 Virgo) or Saturn (28-30 Virgo).
Mars might be kept busy defending its territory by assessing risk or trying to fight any perceived aggressor and Saturn will attempt to take control in order to guarantee a level of safety. However, as Saturn is a long way down the list of essential rulers and is basically only a Term Ruler it is on very thin ice as a replacement guardian for the Ascendant. Saturn may make matters worse for the individual if they are forced to retreat from an untenable position because Saturn is too zealous in defending blind Mercury’s Prime Motivation.
FOOTNOTE TO MERCURY IN AVERSION
Mercury in aversion can be the ability to do harm through one’s words without being aware of the damage it creates or the hurt it causes to other people. For instance, Mercury in aversion to its sign on the seventh house can hurt loved ones, partners, close colleagues or friends, or unwittingly alienate those who could have been our greatest advisors or allies.
Mercury’s sign on the third house may hurt our siblings’ feelings if we are oblivious to how we deliver criticism or judgment and Mercury’s sign on the eleventh house may lose us some friends if we are thoughtless, gossipy, or not careful in relaying our communications with clarity.
In Whole Sign charts (one entire sign for each new house) Mercury in Taurus will always reside in the house which precedes Gemini and the mental stress in one area of life can encroach on the following house which may be unaware of Mercury’s worries in the previous sign. The same can be said about Mercury in Leo which precedes Virgo.
Mercury in Scorpio will be found six houses away from Gemini and this relationship can create disruptions in two very different areas in life even when Mercury has no idea that a connection exists between the affairs of its placement, and the affairs of the house it rules. Likewise, Mercury in Aquarius is six signs away from Virgo and may suffer a similar fate.
However, the similarities between blind Mercury causing us to say something inconsiderate, wounding, negative or unprovoked ends here for Gemini or Virgo on the house’s cusp. With four fixed signs to chose from there are deviations in both gender (male/female) and four different mindsets which must be acknowledged when delineating a blind Mercury.
Mercury in the feminine signs of Taurus or Scorpio need to be acquainted with the fact that the house with Gemini on the cusp may be a place where striking out with subjective or emotional responses can have a detrimental effect if the deliverer, no matter how well-intentioned, is not mindful of the consequence of their words.
Mercury in the masculine signs of Leo or Aquarius can unknowingly create unnecessary distress in the house with Virgo on the cusp by being irrational, highhanded, intolerant, or opinionated and these attitudes can produce enemies when this was not Mercury’s intention.
Mercury in one of the fixed signs can find itself entering a ‘mind rut’ which is not easy to escape or change if the individual is clueless as to how it affects their ability to process information, express themselves clearly, or work through thinking processes to find viable solutions.
Mercury in Taurus tends to bog the mind down by refusing to acknowledge any distasteful thoughts or looks the other way when witnessing something violent, cruel, or ugly. The mind may refuse to accept the facts of what they have observed unless a situation becomes repetitive and excusing the other person for their rudeness or bad manners becomes impossible. This Mercury in Taurus finds confrontation frightening and unpleasant and tends to keep counsel when really the person could speak up to defend their own, or someone else’s right to dignity or fairness.
Mercury in Scorpio lets the mind stew on past injustices and may forgive but finds it very hard to forget or to reinstate lost trust to the person who has betrayed them. Any poisonous mindsets have the ability to seep into dealings where either Virgo (by sextile) or Gemini (in aversion) is on the cusp. Blindness to its house lends extra suspicion to Mercury in Scorpio and this individual has to work hard on positive mental attitudes in order to heal bitterness or calm the anger from their speech or opinions.
Mercury in fire’s fixed sign can find its mind rut in the terror of being ‘wrong’ for any number or reasons or situations, and so tries to overcompensate by presenting an arrogant air that discourages discussion or criticism. However, arrogance blocks growth and hampers maturity as it is often when we are at our most humble that we learn the greatest lessons. Leo Mercury needs to take care that it does not cut off these avenues for personal development as listening to others’ positive feedback can bring opportunities through the house with Virgo on the cusp.
Lastly, Mercury in Aquarius, the fixed air sign, clings to old ideas believing them to be factual and in this way binds itself in its own version of a mind rut’. Letting go of a concept that the residing planet believes to be true takes a huge amount of energy and many times the individual succumbs to despair, rather than throwing out obsolete opinions which no longer hold any value for them.
Inflexibility in opinions, mannerisms, and mindset is often unsustainable for such a flexible planet as Mercury and the individual can experience times in their lives when they must undergo a paradigm shift in their thinking. Moving from the old to the new way of thinking can leave the person feeling slightly unhinged and this does very little to assure Virgo’s house that everything is stable and the world is exactly as it should be.
Mercury in sect is just as unreliable as it is when affected by variances when in aspect to other planets. It can be either a diurnal or a nocturnal planet depending on whether it rises before the Sun (diurnal Mercury) or rises after the Sun (nocturnal Mercury). There is much discussion on how Mercury’s position relevant to the Sun might impact on a person’s ability, reasoning, memory, movement and communication skills.
Traditionally inclined astrologers believe that a diurnal Mercury occupies the mind with commerce, mathematics, administration, and sound accounting practices whilst a nocturnal Mercury is more introspective and spends its time on the humanities. Academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture occupy the nocturnal Mercury and interests including artistic pursuits such as prose, verse, music, language and visual arts are a part of their rich inner landscape. But this is a huge generalisation and may have little merit when put into practice.
Rather, it should be noted how Mercury reacts if it is in synch with the chart itself and if it is, it shows an improvement in the problems of aversion. This could be tricky when Mercury is potentially within one sign of the Sun, and in aversion, is in houses which are extremely close to the horizon so there may be little wriggle room to provide for Mercury’s same sect benefits.
For instance, to be a diurnal planet Mercury in Taurus or Leo in twelfth house position needs to rise before the Sun but if the Sun is below the horizon in later degrees than the Ascendant, then this is a nocturnal chart, and Mercury is caught in a different hemisphere from the Sun. If Mercury in Taurus or Leo comes after the Sun then this Mercury is nocturnal and is out of sect twice by being in a diurnal chart and in the same hemisphere as the Sun (a diurnally placed hemisphere).
On the other side of the chart Mercury in either Scorpio or Aquarius is below the horizon and will work well for a Sun which has already set before Mercury in a nocturnal chart. Mercury is happy in a nocturnal chart and even though it is in the same hemisphere as the Sun, it does not lose sect dignity because it complies with the more powerful first rule. Sixth house Mercury is also protected by sect if the Sun has not yet set and is above the horizon because it means that the Mercury is diurnal and the chart itself is diurnal. Again, different hemispheres will not counter sect dignity because rule number has been fulfilled (sect of the chart agrees with sect of the planet).
In summary, the window of opportunity is quite small for sect dignity in the case of Mercury in aversion ruling the Ascendant but it is worth the effort of looking to see if gaining this accidental dignity is worthwhile and alleviates some of Mercury’s distress at being in a state of blindness to its house.
Vettius Valens, The Anthologies, Book One, translated by Mark Riley, 2010 , p. 2, //www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/, Accessed 2012
Ptolemy’s Aphorisms appear in J. M. Ashmand’s version of Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, Appendix No. III, Aphorism #37, p. 153, Ballantrae Reprint, Ontario, Canada, originally Ashmand Translation from 1822.
[ii] Ashmand’s Translation, p. 156
[iii] Holden, Five Medieval Astrologers, p. 75