Mercury shows its first face at the beginning of its cycle.
Born anew from the cycle just closing, the Mercurial faculties of mind and communication have been impressed with a new quality of will, purpose and energy — symbolized by the zodiacal and house positions of the inferior conjunction which inaugurated the new cycle. But it will take the entire cycle for this new quality of fully unfold. Now, at the beginning of the cycle, it is pure potential — suggested by the astronomical fact that at the inferior conjunction Mercury is closest to the Earth, with its dark side facing the Earth.
Like the waxing hemicycle of the lunation cycle (from New Moon to Full Moon), the entire Promethean hemicycle of Mercury denotes eager, impulsive, spontaneous, form-building, involutionary and constructive activity. It suggest a restless mind concerned with new ideas, seeking new forms of creative expression.
Mercury begins its cycle during its retrograde period. A situation providing a symbolic key to one of the mysteries of the human mind and to Mercury’s dual nature — our mind and mental faculties develop counterpoint to the instincts of biological life and whatever is grounded in the past. The technological feats such a mind makes possible can greatly enhance life. But concentrated mental activity can also lead human individuals to live and work against the imperatives of life and nature. The Promethean threads a cutting edge. In mythology, it was Prometheus who gave the fire of mind to infant humanity. A rebel challenging the dominion and authority of the gods, the gods in turn exacted from Prometheus a severe penalty — perpetually having his liver eaten out by a vulture, only to have it regenerated and devoured again and again, until rescued by Hercules.
If your Mercury type is Promethean-Retrograde, you possess a mind seeking independence from biological limitations and the dictates of social convention.
It does so because it is driven by an intuitive impulse
to realize a new quality of being, the full nature of which you may not as yet clearly or fully understand. But independence from natural compulsions and social convention often leads to a more or less violent rebellion against the past and its traditions, or from anything which holds back your mental eagerness.
Eventually, the Promethean-Retrograde type generally tires of resisting whatever she feels hinders her freedom. Then mental combativeness gives ways to a powerful intuitive identification with, and a creative contribution to, something greater than the person.
Because the Promethean-Retrograde phase lasts from ten to fifteen days, it is seen in only about one out of ten birth charts. Great minds and influential thinkers are found among Promethean-Retrograde types, including Aldous Huxley
. A member of England’s most prominent scientific family, Huxley migrated to America, where he became a famous novelist and social critic. Always a futuristic thinker, Huxley’s Promethean-Retrograde Mercury is clearly shown in his best-known novel, Brave New World
Mercury’s character is traditionally said to be asexual, and its significance in a natal chart doesn’t vary much between men and women. Women born during Mercury’s Promethean-Retrograde phase, however, often find themselves engaged in challenging traditional roles and in defining a new image of woman. Some of the most outstanding icons of new womanhood are Promethean Retrograde types. Victoria Woodhull
, an early feminist of the nineteenth century and one of the most Promethean women of the modern era, is exemplary of the type. Chrissie Hynde
— who opened the way for women to work as creative and musical principals in the world of rock music — is a contemporary icon whose legacy has a tremendous impact on creative young women. The editor of Cosmopolitan
and author of Sex and the Single Girl
, Helen Gurley Brown
, is another Promethean-Retrograde woman.
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