In astrology Mercury is associated with the signs Gemini, Virgo and the corresponding third and sixth houses of a chart.
Mercury, closely following the sun at all times, is said to represent the mind, how we think, communicate, our nervous system, their strengths and weaknesses depending its conditioning.
Take Luke (not his real name which is protected), a former teacher who’d taken early retirement a while ago. He came to me wanting to know why he’d become so restless and nervous. He explained that he’d always been a bit restless, but especially of late. He knew his birth time to within about five minutes, so I calculated his birth chart.
Immediately, one of the ‘reasons’ he described himself as restless leapt out at me from the computer screen. His Mercury was closely conjunct a Capricorn ascendant, trine Mars in Taurus, sextile Jupiter in Scorpio. There were no so-called difficult or hard aspects, no squares or oppositions to Mercury. He seemed curious as to why my eyebrows were raised. At the time he came to see me, transiting Pluto had been lurking with intent around his native Mercury for a few months.
Over the years I’ve found it remarkable (a lot of the time) how people ‘speak’ their charts. In Luke’s case Mercury here was doing all the talking!
Mercury in Capricorn represents a practical mind, that likes to spend its time productively; teaching would be one good outlet. Close to the ascending degree and energised by Mars and Jupiter, one might expect the native to be a little fidgety – he was, constantly scratching his head, re-arranging his seating position. He just had to be doing something!
So with all that positive energy from Mars in Taurus, which only increases the pressure to ‘do something’ practical like making money, and from Jupiter in Scorpio, encouraging him to go deep, plumb the depths of knowledge, it’s probably not surprising that Luke was a bundle of unresolved, nervous energy which now ceased to have a proper outlet or channel.
“Can you write?” I asked, rather glibly, picking at Mercury’s communicative qualities.
He nodded. “Yeah, I do it all the time.”
He shook his head and laughed. “Just jot things down and scribble, you know.”
But I could see something opening in his eyes, some kind of realisation.
“Don’t get me wrong,” I said, tentatively, “I can’t advise you to do anything but what might help is to find a project, a writing project, to really get your teeth into, to fill the gap that teaching filled. Something like that.”
He seemed interested, but with all that earthy mental energy, I figured that creative writing might not be the best outlet for him. “Serious themes, perhaps,” I continued, “history, religion, psychology, geography…”
“Ha!” he exclaimed, “I taught geography for thirty five years!”
“OK, apart from teaching it, have you written about it, expressed our own ideas, opinions? Have you done research, for instance?”
“Not since university.”
It was around six months later when I met up with him again by chance, not in my house, but in the high street outside a butcher’s shop of all places.
“You were right about the writing, by the way?” he said, smiling nonchalantly.
“I’m a regular contributor to a science magazine now… and I’ve started giving talks on geography and geology for adult education locally. In fact, I’ve been invited up to Sheffield next week to give a talk.”
I tried to disguise my own smirk. It would seem that his native Mercury, which may have given him the impetus to become a teacher in the first place, had now inspired a second career in his retirement, as a writer and speaker. Pluto’s close proximity to his native Mercury at the time, may just have done a little prodding from behind the scenes.
Ultimately, I think this example also shows a need to look for the obvious, stand out features of a birth chart first. “Keep it simple, boy!”