Westerners and Americans in particular tend to to disdain astrology. One of the primary reasons is that in the West we have strong individual identities and being told we’re aggressive because we have Mars in the first house of our horoscope makes us feel weak and powerless.
Am I aggressive because it’s my choice or because I must succumb to my fate?
And if we all share the desire to be individual and unique, isn’t that itself a cultural characteristic we learn and not truly individually developed?
It’s understandable. Who wants to think their unique perception carved like a fine glass sculpture through the experiences of life is simply a birth propensity?
Yet this same culture that disdains the powerless feeling of fate readily walks into the medical diagnoses that achieve the same results. It’s been increasing common since the 1990s (with Uranus and Neptune traveling through Capricorn and Aquarius – more on this later) to have identities based on medical diagnoses of psychological propensities.
The response might be that medical diagnoses are physical. What is astrology but symbolic nonsense?
Possibly your horoscope is your DNA described. And your DNA and personality simply carry the energies of the times. Physically you carry the energy of pollution and modified, mineral-less food. Psychologically you carry the hopes, dreams and fears of the times.
Astrology, I would argue, is much richer than medical diagnoses. Why?
There are ten planets in 12 signs in 12 horoscope houses which from my experience represent the themes of one’s life. As an astrologer, I encourage people to go into those themes rather than avoiding them. Personally I believe much aberrant behavior is a result of missed themes, energy blocked. Your times tell you that you should be a housewife but you want to sing on Broadway. This causes a lot of problems.
Moreover, astrology has four elements:
- Fire – spiritual
- Earth – body
- Air – mind
- Water – feeling
Western medical diagnoses, in contrast, generally focus on three elements:
In the East, I would argue there is more acknowledgement of the needs of the spirit, although in the 20th century much of that was eroded. Western medicine is by nature off balance because it doesn’t acknowledge the entire person in all four elements. Western medicine and American medicine in particular do not acknowledge spiritual lack of purpose which cannot be “cured” with medicine.
Astrology acknowledges the entire person.
Mercury: Gemini and Virgo
Mercury is the planet in astrology that rules the mind, or how we perceive the world. Mercury by nature is either in your sun sign or the sign before and after. Your “mind” is never far from your sun, or sense of self. Mercury is also the “clothing” of experience, or the image of it. Roses are the image of love but are not the love feeling.
Mercury “rules” two signs in astrology: Gemini and Virgo.
Gemini is an air sign and the pure manifestation of mental energy. This sign seeks constant stimulation because the world is filled with magnificent people, objects and events. The goal is experience, all of it or as much of it that can be had during the many hours that Gemini stays awake.
Gemini is intelligent, articulate and fast. As such, it can also become the con artist as it outwits you in a number of ways. And, like air signs in general, it picks up on the images of experience. That is why its con-artistry is so effective – it gives the appearance of what you are seeking.
Che Guevara, the 1950s Revolutionary involved in the takeover of Cuba, wore a beret and smoked a cigar. Air energy says if I want to appear to be a revolutionary in the eyes of others, I need to wear a beret and smoke a cigar.
Stereotypes, I’ve often argued, are generally liked by humanity. That is, the positive stereotypes. What we don’t like are negative stereotypes. If we want to eliminate stereotypes, we have to toss out the positive with the negative.
If you want your beret and cigar to represent “revolution” to your fellow men, then you have to accept that the government will also respond to that image and deem you a threat. Image and stereotypes work in many ways.
Virgo in contrast is an earth sign. It is also very intelligent but focuses not on pure experience and intellect but on the physical experience of health, work, diet and animals.
Nervous by nature, Virgo is often the hypochondriac of the zodiac, every small physical aberration of daily life being blown out to major illness. Hypochondriacs get sick, of course. But Virgo is known for nervous dissipation due to its worrying nature.
Traditionally Virgo was the servant of the zodiac. To be in service, one must contain the ego or not have a strong one. While Virgo may do one or the other, when defending the weak or helpless, including the animal kingdom, Virgo is a force to be feared by the opportunists of the world. This is the true service Virgo provides in complete disregard for self.
Virgo’s backpack stickers are causes, not images. Just watch your self-effacing Virgo walk right up to the poachers and tell them that they are doing wrong for the environment. No fear there.
Focus on diet combined with a worrying nature causes a myriad of allergies and food eccentricities for Virgo. Virgo food eccentricities have brought us food labels such as “artisan,” “fusion,” “eco-something,” etc. by a generation influenced by Virgo (more below).
And the labels work as diners choose the “enlightened” fare over the, what, unenlightened fare? Enlighted here means low calories but for a fish to be enlightened, I think the fish would have spent a long time wresting with the mind.
The 1960s and the 1990s
In the mid 1960s in the heyday of hippie-dom in the West and political and cultural revolutions in the East, the outer planets of Uranus and Pluto were traveling through Virgo opposed by Saturn in Pisces. Uranus is enlightenment and clarity and Pluto is destruction and transformation. Saturn is limits and authority.
This time represented a challenging of authority, expansion of consciousness and desire to live communally. On the negative side, it dissipated into drug abuse and lack of purpose and new forms of control.
Those born during the 1960s birthed children in the 1990s. The energy of the 1960s contributed to the energy of the 1990s. The Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo produced a generation promoting sustainable living, healthy food and work-life balance. On the negative side, this generation also carries the Virgo anxiety represented by fear of germs, hypochondria and fear of criticism leading to perfectionism.
This anxious generation birthed children with Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn and then Aquarius. Uranus again is enlightenment and clarity while Neptune is glorification and apotheosis. In Capricorn, we worshipped business and all stakeholders and stockholders. In Aquarius, we worshipped technology. By the end of these transits, we had our Tech Gods.
The people born during these transits want to be Tech Gods themselves and were born with different wiring which was given a medical diagnosis of autism amongst other things. But don’t they need different wiring to handle the technology and rapid-fire changes of today?
ADD (attention deficit disorder) also increased in diagnosis during this time. Yet while driving through McDonald’s recently and watching the understaffed staff do three things at the same time (take a drive through order, cash out and get coffee) I wondered yet again how you can survive in our world without what’s called ADD.
Then in 2008, these children born in the 1990s experienced Pluto transits of their Uranus/Neptune. And this will continue for decades as Pluto finishes in Capricorn then transits Aquarius and these children become the new leaders. My guess is they will split into the Capricorn side (government, control) and Aquarius side (technology, community).
Mercury Identity / Mercury Diagnosis
Mercury is the interpreter of reality, is not reality itself. Both identity and diagnosis miss the spirit within, the missing element of Western medicine. Spirituality takes many forms and, I would argue, is still based on the personality.
When someone tells me their religious beliefs, they are describing to me their personality. That’s why spirituality is truly a personal, not group experience. Spirit is filtered through our perceptions and when we talk about it to others, it sounds like empty words.
This is probably why the spiritual traditions tend not to name the source. Neither your identity nor your diagnosis are the spirit within.
From the first stanza of the Tao Te Ching:
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness,
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.