I was recently asked if I had a favorite planet, asteroid or aspect; and I had to confess to a crush on Mercury who may in fact be the most mysterious planet in the solar system. My Venus is in Virgo, the domicile of Mercury and the asteroid Hermes is conjunct Venus in my chart, so this attraction is indeed ‘written in the stars.’
Our first thoughts of Mercury, known as Hermes to the Greeks, are often as the bright and quicksilver fleet-footed youthful messenger of the Greco-Roman pantheon who is often reduced to the operation of our rational intellect in astrological symbolism. Yet, Hermes was also psychopomp, guide of souls in the dark shady Underworld and venerated as Trismegistus (three times great) in Hellenistic Egypt where he was credited as the fountainhead of the Hermetic arts of astrology, alchemy and magic. I explore the myth and astrology of this enigmatic planetary god in my recording of Hermes – Guardian of Thresholds, our featured Audio Program this month.
Which of Mercury’s faces do you have in your chart – the youthful and energetic gatherer of information and experiences, the wise and thoughtful sage, or the magician who studies and guards the mysteries? An analysis of Mercury’s solar phase as morning star or evening star, direct or retrograde, visible or hidden under the beams of the Sun, can reveal the deeper workings of this planet in individual human behavior.
Three times each year Mercury turns retrograde for three weeks. Most people know enough to be wary of signing contracts or buying cars and computers during these periods, but may not realize that this is also when Mercury travels through the underworld and engages with what is normally hidden from consciousness.
This season, evening star Mercury turns retrograde in Pisces on February 23rd, stands still and watches the warrior Mars pass him by. Sinking ever lower into the horizon and disappearing from sight, he is absorbed into the heart of the Sun on March 4th where he is infused with solar radiance and regenerative power. Mercury is reborn as a morning star on March 11th, catches a glimpse of mystic Neptune behind him, and then turns direct on March 18th, embarking upon a new journey of discovery.
Mars and Neptune guard the gates of Mercury’s retrograde descent and ascent; in the sign of Pisces they evoke the archetype of the spiritual warrior. Look to your Pisces house for clues as to where the magical power of Mercury can enforce your spiritual convictions.