Sample from Jupiter’s Dance

Note: I’ve left this page up for historical reasons, but it’s just a very small pre-publication sample. Now that the whole book is out, you can read a much larger sample of Jupiter’s Dance.

Notes on Mercury

Among Jupiter’s aspects, none have proven more difficult to interpret than those of Mercury. No doubt this is because Mercury’s character conforms so poorly to traditional interpretations. In order to gain a better understanding of the planet, I compiled lists of people born with Mercury in the first and tenth houses, and Mercury in the twelve zodiacal signs. I also examined lists for people who were born at Mercury’s station and at the fastest point in its orbit. This research reinforced my conviction that the traditional interpretation of Mercury is seriously flawed. Though Mercury undoubtedly deserves a book of its own, such a book may be a long time coming. I will therefore offer a few preliminary observations based on my research.

Mercury’s most basic concern is the accurate representation of reality, either through verbal descriptions or through art. This ability to represent different facets of reality depends upon pattern recognition. Mercurial types, by observing the patterns all around them, put a name to what had formerly been indistinct and obscure. Since the sign Gemini is closely related to Mercury, a closer look at that sign will help us understand Mercury better. The Sabian symbol for the first, or keynote degree of Gemini is “A glass-bottomed boat drifts over undersea wonders.” In their explorations of the world, Geminis are initially very unclear about what they are seeing. As they move in closer to examine these objects, they come into focus, and they are able to see them for what they are.

The Mercurial faculty was at work in the naming of the constellations by primitive peoples. What initially seemed a nebulous cluster of stars suddenly became a recognizable picture. Perhaps a star came out from behind a cloud, and the picture suddenly became clear. Mercurial types are constantly creating pictures of reality. They are always collecting new information and factoring it in to their understanding of their surroundings. This information can be of any type—color, sound, texture, smell, words, psychic impressions. Because Mercurial people factor in so many types of information, they are rarely taken in by superficial appearances. A person or a situation may look like one thing and “smell” like another. Mercurial types are very aware of this kind of discrepancy, since at an early age they discover their own propensity for being deceived, for deceiving others, and for deceiving themselves. This is the basis of their innate morality, for they realize that honesty alone produces clarity, and that every form of deception leads to confusion. Since they hate being in the dark, they are constantly trying to penetrate lies and illusions by illuminating them with the bright ray of their focused attention.

Unfortunately, Mercury can also be a planet of misrepresentation. This is well-illustrated by the last, or thirtieth, degree of Gemini, which is symbolized by a beauty pageant in a hall of mirrors. Here we see women who have hidden their true faces beneath a coating of cosmetics in an effort to approximate a social ideal. Since the beauty contestants of the symbol are employing self-serving misrepresentations, it is not surprising that we find a number of spies, double agents and other dishonest characters with planets on this degree. By leaving out some essential part of the picture, in a description, an artistic rendering, or in one’s social persona, Mercurial types can deceive others into accepting various misrepresentations. Such deceptions are unavoidable in the social world, where superficial but insincere amiability generally works a lot better than brutal honesty. In the end, however, social compromises must be internally subordinated to a respect for the truth, for otherwise one runs the risk of losing one’s fundamental grasp of reality.

To summarize, the planet Mercury involves both the representation and misrepresentation of reality. Mercurial types are sharp-eyed observers, who hate to be fooled. They are clever at spotting discrepancies between plausible representations and underlying realities, and are rarely taken in by other people’s lies. Their real challenge, however, is to be absolutely honest with themselves. For if they can reach a true understanding of themselves, they will also understand others.

This essay, which continues for several more pages, will be found in its entirety in Jupiter’s Dance.

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