Wednesday, 11 November 2020
Tuesday, 6 October 2020
We know that astrological Mercury represents mind, thoughts and communication in our horoscope. The mind is where our sensory perceptions are processed in the brain and our perceptions are reflected in our thoughts. As we think, we rationalize, assess, form judgement, make decisions, learn and solve problems. We also form beliefs, ideas and opinions which we express through our actions and communications. This can take the form of sharing ideas, the transfer of information, negotiations, compromises and arguments and we also use verbal and non-verbal communication to form bonds and friendships with others.
Mercury’s sign, house and aspects tell us a lot about our style of communication; how we think and learn and connect with others. It also represents how we mentally process our opinion of ourselves, our self-image. In this, Mercury becomes the tool for our ego and its condition in our chart shows us how our ego communicates, as well as how we can go beyond our ego. If we take the journey beyond the ego, we are channeling a deeper part of Mercury, remembering that Mercury, or Hermes to use the Greek name, is the messenger of the Gods, the intermediary between the human and divine realms. We are particularly invited to step onto these deeper paths when Mercury is touched by an outer planet by aspect or transit.
But first, let’s define the ego. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, divided the human psyche into the id, the ego and the superego1.
According to Freud, the ego is the self-conscious part of ourselves. It’s how we define ourselves, including our status compared to others and our place in society. It’s wrapped up in our self-esteem, our sense of self-importance and the ‘roles’ we play. Our ego helps us to satisfy our id (the primitive, irrational, instinctive part of the psyche) without breaking society’s rules and conventions. The ego itself is moderated by the superego, which is our conscience, our ‘ideal’ self and the moral values of our collective society.
The ego of course, is reflected in our thoughts, words, opinions and ideas, as well as in conscious decision making and problem solving and this is how Mercury becomes the messenger of the ego. But if Mercury carries the ego, where is the ego itself in the birth chart?
We most strongly associate the Sun with the ego, because it’s about our self-identity and how we reinforce it. The Ascendant is how we project our ego out into the world through our personal style and outward persona. The Moon represents the baggage our ego carries from the past, translated into our moods and habits (it’s also the id, expressed as who we are behind closed doors when nobody’s looking and what we need to feel safe). Venus is about our self-worth, which is also the stuff of the ego and even those things we take pleasure in can be egoic if we use them to boost our self-esteem and status. Mars signifies how we assert ourselves and react to conflict, which is usually ego based. Competing is of the ego because it assumes a winner and a loser. Of course, when we totally lose our temper the ego has given way to the irrational id. When we get to Jupiter and Saturn we are into superego territory, but these planets can also be egoic, in that Jupiter can be about over-confidence and an inflated ego and Saturn about how the ego seeks respect. The fears and doubts associated with Saturn are also often ego based.
Beyond Saturn we’re in the realms of the unconscious, the sphere of the Gods, but more about that as we look at the chart examples.
The relationship of the Sun (the largest and most powerful signifier of our ego) to Mercury (the messenger of the ego) is telling. Astronomically, Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and astrologically, they can never be more than 28 degrees apart, meaning that only a Conjunction aspect is possible. This tightly entwines our ego and its emissary. A primary interpretation of Sun Conjunct Mercury2 is that it suggests an ego driven, perhaps controlling personality, with difficulty separating the ego identity from one’s ideas and opinions, which might manifest as seeing one’s own perspective as the only correct perspective and having difficulty accepting the views of others. More positively, it’s associated with independent thought and confident expression. But even without the Conjunction, the close proximity of the Sun and Mercury suggests that every one of us is somewhat ego driven and to a greater or lesser extent lacking objectivity and defensive of our own opinions when they clash with another’s.
In the traditional astrology of William Lilly, planets Conjunct the Sun are said to be hidden by the light of the Sun and therefore debilitated, weakened3. This applies to anything in the same sign and within 17 degrees of the Sun, but a planet is in its most serious debility - combust - when between 17 minutes and 8 degrees 30 minutes from the Sun (although a planet within 17 minutes of the Sun is considered strengthened by the Sun). If we were to apply this idea psychologically, we could say that the ego (Sun) overpowers everything that gets too close to it.
The following both have Sun Conjunct Mercury and have both defined and written extensively about the ego.... To read more, including analysis of the charts of Sigmund Freud and Eckhart Tolle, click here to read on astro.com
This article was first published in Constellation News magazine and was re-published at astro.com
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
And as I publish, the World Health Organisation has just confirmed the Coronavirus as a pandemic.
Monday, 8 July 2019
In 2010 I was thrilled to be invited by the late, great Donna Cunningham (author of many books, but most notably Healing Pluto Problems
Pluto problems have you perplexed? Here's what helps...
Uranus - claiming a self-reliant future
Look after Saturn and Saturn looks after you...
Friday, 5 July 2019
Our latest series of videos run through each zodiac sign, discussing how their essence and qualities filter through the 'Big Three' - the Ascendant, Moon and Sun.
Here are the first three signs - enjoy!
The Big 3...What's up with Aries? - by Marcos Patchett
Are you a bullish Taurus? By Mandi Lockley
The 2 Faces of Gemini - By Sue Farebrother
You can explore the rest of our YouTube Channel Here
Tuesday, 2 July 2019
|Click to view|
You will find that the most potent Eclipses for you personally are those that fall in very close proximity, by sign and degree, to planets and points in your natal horoscope. Personally, I only consider Eclipses which make tight (within 2 ½ degrees or less of orb) Conjunction, Square and Opposition aspects with natal planets and points. You can safely ignore the Trines, Sextiles and the minor aspects and many astrologers don’t even bother with the Squares, but I think they are worth considering.
Also bear in mind that astrological measurements tend to symbolize the processes and journeys of our lives and these processes take time to develop. For this reason, life ‘events’ rarely happen on the exact date of an astrological measurement, so when considering the effect of an Eclipse on your natal chart cast your net wide, by perhaps looking back three months before the Eclipse and a few weeks after. You may find that nothing actual ‘happens’ as such, but the Eclipse reflects an inner emotional or psychological process.
Here are a few keywords for working with Eclipses: endings; new beginnings; new chapters in life; the need to release/let go/cut cords emotionally, or in specific areas of your life; events and feelings coming to a head.
The Eclipse will express itself in terms of the sign in which it falls. For example, Aquarius is to do with community, friends, innovation, detachment; Cancer is to do with mothers, nurturing, domestic matters, feeling safe; Capricorn speaks about tradition, authority, ambition, the administration of life and Leo is all about pride, creativity, confidence, being loved and appreciated.
Eclipses will also express themselves in terms of the planet or points they aspect in your natal chart. For example an Eclipse on your Venus may be about your relationships, your assets, your social reach, your self esteem, how you give and share with others. With Mars it is about where and how you channel your energy; issues around assertiveness or aggression or issues around sexuality. For the Midheaven (MC) it will be about career; vocation; your social standing and status; the authority figures in your life.
However, when looking at the way an Eclipse affects you, don’t get too hung up on making your experiences ‘fit’ the key words, these are just prompts, what really matters most is your own, personal, unique experiences.
Below are three methods of looking at Eclipses that you might find helpful and illuminating.
The 19 Year Eclipse Cycle:
An Eclipse falls at the same degree of the Zodiac once every 19 years, giving us the opportunity to review the longer cycles of our lives, to look at the bigger picture.
For example, the Solar Eclipse of 22nd July 2009 fell on my IC Angle (therefore opposing my career Angle, the MC). Looking back 19 years, the 22nd July 1990 Eclipse fell at the same point. This corresponded with me starting my first job following graduation. Looking back over the years at my career progress I feel disappointed that I didn’t follow and fulfil the dreams I had in my heart back then. However, these dreams have recently re-awakened, causing stress and upheaval, but ultimately giving me an opportunity to release the dreams of my youth and reinvent them, with the benefit of maturity and experience.
To find out what this year’s Eclipses say about the bigger picture of your life, pick those Eclipses that touched planets and points in your chart very closely, then reflect on what was happening in your life 19 years previously to see if there is any connection. Were big changes occurring then? Are they related in any way to what is happening now? If you are very young, look at what was happening in your general family life, with your parents or siblings, for clues.
Looking at the Eclipses this way, can help you recognise recurring patterns in your life and show you how much progress you have made or where you have fallen off track.
Transits to Eclipse Degrees:
Tracking Transits to the Eclipse degrees is a tried and tested method used in Mundane astrology to predict events and changes in the fortunes in the horoscopes of countries and their leaders.
This method also works well with natal astrology. If an Eclipse fell on a planet or point in your chart, that planet or point will be supercharged and will be susceptible to the effects of the next planet which transits it.
For example, in September 2007, a Solar Eclipse fell at 18 degrees of Virgo, exactly conjunct my natal Uranus-Pluto conjunction. This was a happy time for me, I had just got engaged and was busy planning my wedding, but all was not well with my job. My boss had moved on and I had a new boss who I found it difficult to communicate with and who I felt did not value my contribution, but with so much happiness around me elsewhere it was easy to put the difficult work situation to one side, which I did, for too long! Then, in October 2008, transiting Saturn in Virgo made a conjunction to Uranus-Pluto, the first hit of three and I was laid off from my job. This was a very difficult and painful process, but I am now very happy in a new job and can see that the change needed to happen. It now seems clear to me that the Eclipse at 18 degrees Virgo in 2007, falling on my Uranus-Pluto, was the start of the process of losing my job, especially as Uranus and Pluto rule my 6th and 10th houses respectively, the houses associated most closely with work. Because I didn’t follow the loud and strong cues from the Universe to leave my job willingly (underlined by Transiting Uranus also opposing Uranus-Pluto) it took Saturn to finally oust me from the job. The whole process since (during Saturn’s 2nd and 3rd hits) has been about letting go of the old way of working, so I can succeed in a new career.
An Eclipse as Part of a Moon Family:
Astrologer Dietrech J Pessin discovered that all lunations, including Eclipses, form part of a family of related lunations. She found that every New Moon starts a new family cycle, consisting of a New Moon phase, a First Quarter Moon phase, a Full Moon phase and a Last Quarter Moon phase, with each lunation occurring in the same sign and approximate degree, nine months apart, the whole cycle covering a period of 2 ½ years.
A Moon family which aspects your natal horoscope closely is worth following, as the Moon phases of the family will most often reflect patterns in your own life development.
See her website for details of her book, Lunar Shadows, which explains this fascinating way of working with eclipses: https://www.lunar-shadows.com/
Other books on Eclipses that I would recommend are Eclipses by Celeste Teal and Predictive Astrology by Bernadette Brady.