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AstroPress Blog – Deborah Smith Parker, Author Of Humanus Astrologicus

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March 3, 20139 Comments

“Astrology for the Astrologically Challenged” by Deborah Smith Parker

When we astrologers talk about Mercury we often neglect a key function of his in mythology—he has a lot to do with the dead.

Since Mercury just went retrograde we have an opportunity to get a closer look at him as on winged sandals he flies backward through the heavens and our lives.

In mythology Mercury’s key associations with death are:

  • He escorts the newly dead to the underworld.
  • He is the only immortal able to travel between the land of the living and the land of the dead. Not even Jupiter, king of Olympus and the land of the living, nor Pluto, king of the underworld and the land of the dead, can do this. It is his role to facilitate communications between these two worlds.

Nothing is more unknown to human beings than the world of the dead. Nothing is more feared either. Facing what is unknown to us often feels like facing death.

Mercury in astrology represents the mind which is our primary navigator to our destinies including the borders that separate our known from our unknown worlds, specifically to those areas on those borders that we have to cross.

When Mercury delivers the dead to the banks of the River Styx and the ferryman Charon, he doesn’t take the boat ride to the underworld with them. His job of leading the newly departed souls to the far boundaries of the life they are leaving to cross into a new reality is completed. However, he is the only one who has a round trip ticket between the living and the dead – good at any time.

Clearly this task is more elevated than Mercury’s most commonly known role as messenger of the gods, making him much more than a cosmic courier bicycling recklessly through the traffic of the heavens and immortality.

Still, he is also a messenger, but what he really carries are the secrets of deep mysteries which is why he is revered in several ancient societies as the keeper of sacred knowledge, although he is not the source of that knowledge.

This is why Mercury is also known to the ancient world as a mediator, often of some pretty high level stuff. Mediators are needed to facilitate movement out of impasses and other stuck places—in other words known worlds—to move people toward a new albeit often scary-looking reality.

The astrological house, sign, and aspects of our Mercury placements set the plot lines for how our decisions and movements will navigate us there. The aspects of other planets to Mercury indicate the role of other gods in this journey.

For instance, I have Mercury conjunct Sun in Aries so exploring new frontiers is something I really like and can be remarkably fearless about pursuing. My Mercury is also trine ever-expanding fortune-bringing Jupiter in Leo which is why I am known for a certain facility for success in both communications and expansion into new territories others are more timid to approach. On the flip side I can be somewhat casual about the details but then there often aren’t a lot of maps for where I like to go.

I look on this configuration as a gift from the gods and no slight compensation for the train wreck of squares to Saturn and Uranus in my eighth house and all those Pluto aspects dragging me in and out of the underworld.

But enough about me. What about you and your Mercury?

In my next post I’ll pick it up with how Mercury works with other gods/planets in the chart. Will they be a help or hindrance? With the gods it’s usually a two edged sword. Stay tuned.

 (Deborah Smith Parker is the author of Humanus Astrologicus available both in soft cover on this site and now on Kindle—for a ridiculously low price. To sign up to receive her blog or follow her on Twitter (@astro_logicus) and Facebook click to the right of this post.)




About author:

Deborah Smith Parker is re-writing the often impenetrable language of astrology into a much friendlier form. She has spent her 30 plus years as an astrological consultant, writer, teacher and lecturer freeing the rich astrological images and their descriptions increasingly buried under modern clinical and technological descriptions. Her additional work in public policy has provided many outlets for demonstrating her ability to break down highly complex systems into information that’s easily understood.

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  1. No wonder you are such a da*n good communicator! Nice Mercury, Deborah, and another great blog.

  2. rich humbert says:

    Good stuff, Deborah. Looking forward to the next installment.
    Mercury conj Asc & Sun trine Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, opposite Pluto. A subject near and dear to my heart. 😉

  3. Indeed, I remember you saying years ago you had Mercury in Aries. I have late Gemini rising, and my Mercury is retrograde in Capricorn in 7th (or 8th whole houses), trining Pluto Rx in 4th. It is also loosely conjunct Sun, South Node and Mars, trining Uranus Rx, and squaring 11th house Jupiter in Aries. My husband’s Mercury was direct in Aries on his Ascendant in mutual reception with Mars Rx in Virgo/6th (conjunct Uranus Rx and Pluto Rx) and let’s just say our conversations ranged all over the place – but were always amazing! 🙂 I just LOVE your blog, always digging deeper, sprinkled with great humor!

  4. Thank you Debbie for your (as usual) insightful article. My Mercury is in the sign of Capricorn in my 5th house tied to a t-square to Mars & Saturn in the 11th house in the sign of Cancer, and my Moon & Jupiter in Libra..in my 2nd house. “Keeper of Sacred Knowledge”…hmmm..I have been the genealogist for my family and astrology has been a sacred subject to me since my 30th birthday!!

  5. Julie Braden says:

    Amazing work, Deborah! You have set me off with the right tools to meditate on my own Mercury and any other Mercury that comes across my path. Thank you.

  6. msfullroller says:

    7th house Mercury retrograde conjunct Saturn and Chiron in Pisces. Squares 10th house Jupiter in Gemini and opposes 1st house Pluto/Uranus conjunction. Also quincunx my 12th house Moon and finally trine my 3rd house Neptune.

  7. Brian Pitzen says:

    My Gemini Sun/Leo rising got a kick out of this. It’s nice to see/be reminded that Mercury has bigger shoes (winged sandals) to fill than normally given credit for. My Mercury is in Cancer trine Neptune and sextile Pluto so I ‘feel’ the ‘outherly world’ a bit more as well (also, with a natal Pisces Moon in the 8th … I’ve said too much …)

  8. Brian Pitzen says:

    “Not even Jupiter, king of Olympus and the land of the living, nor Pluto, king of the underworld and the land of the dead, can do this. It is his role to facilitate communications between these two worlds.”

    Egads! That slipped by my radar the first time (just re-read it). I have a finger of God/Yod with Merc, Pluto and Jupiter.

    Mercury is my final dispositor, Pluto is conj. my NN and Jupiter is conj. (out of sign) my Saturn …

    I have written a few blogs on my communication/experience with my dad from the other side, Out of body and Synchronisms. Perhaps I am on the proper path with this.

  9. Nick Hoerter says:

    yes it is very nice for my work in the life

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