by Michael R. Meyer

This feature is divided
into eleven web pages:

Mercury Skill Symbol people are skillful thinkers and talkers. As Guiding Planet, Mercury bestows a keen and intuitive sense of connections and associations, of seeing how things fit together.

Some Mercury Oriental people include Al Gore, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, and editor Helen Gurley Brown.

Mercury is never more than 28 zodiacal degrees from the Sun, and it is retrogade only about ten-percent of the time. Mercury figures as the Planet of Oriental Appearance more frequently than any other planet.

Read The Four Faces of Mercury to learn more about the Mercury Cycle and Mercury Retrograde. Learn lots more about Mercury in the section on The Planets - Celestial Organs and Their Functions.

Mercury Guiding Planet

A true mental type, you have a special knack for thinking and talking your way through challenges and problems. In meeting everyday experiences, your mind is your best guide. You do best when you thoroughly think things out beforehand, though you may have a tendency to think and talk too quickly, dismissing as irrelevant much of what people try to tell you or skipping over much of the information and experience which comes your way. Relying so much on thinking and talking, you may too easily fall into the "all talk and no action" syndrome.
      If your Skill Symbol is Mercury, you work best under conditions of your own devise, though you are no doubt a quick study at mastering new systems and technology. Efficiency, reliability, self-mastery, and the ability to think and communicate clearly are your strong points. On the other hand, gossiping and a tendency to be led astray by others could prove damaging. You excel at mental work of all types, especially work that relies heavily on written or spoken communications, computers, technology and telephones. Having Mercury as your Skill Symbol doesn't mean you're smarter than anybody else, or even that you are a profound thinker. You might simply have a skill for processing data and information and using telephones and electronics.
      As Guiding Planet, Mercury suggests inner guidance in the form of an intuitive sense of the connections and associations existing between people and things. As Guiding Planet, Mercury acts in a more electric, instinctual and intuitive sense than it does in its aspect as Skill Planet. Yet, true to the dual nature of Mercury, the highly active mental and analytical activities of Mercury may get in the way when it comes to tuning into the more abstract, guiding qualities of the planet. Surface noise and distractions may first need quieting with the help of relaxation, contemplation and meditation.

An Oriental Appearing Mercury is found in the birth-chart of Year 2000 presidential candidate Al Gore, and it is also featured in the natal chart of the Dalai Lama of Tibet, whose Oriental Gemini Mercury helps him communicate and promote the message of Buddhism and the plight of the Tibetan people worldwide. Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the most influential writers and intellectuals of his time is another example of Mercury Oriental, and so are artists Andy Warhol and Paul Cezanne. Mercury Oriental seems well-integrated as both Guiding Planet and Skill Symbol in the natal chart of Fritjof Capra, the atomic physicist who saw connections between quantum physics and ancient mysticism, starting a movement of sorts with the publication of the superb book The Tao of Physics. The Oriental Planet alone doesn’t tell the whole story, and we always need to consider how it fits into the chart as a whole. Added insights may be gained by considering aspects the Oriental Planet forms with other natal planets. In Capra’s natal chart, Oriental Mercury is septile (the destiny-directed, possibly psychic, aspect) natal Uranus (the planet of discovery, invention and transformation) and the south lunar node, both of which are near the Ascendant in the twelfth house of hidden side of things.
      Marilyn Monroe was born with Mercury less than four degrees ahead of the Sun. While she doesn’t epitomize the "brainy female," she was very much attracted to highly intelligent men, accounting for her nearly delusional attraction to Robert F. Kennedy and her statement that Albert Einstein was the sexiest man she had ever met. In instances, which as Marilyn’s, when the Oriental Planet is very near the Sun, the planet rising immediately before the Oriental Planet may assume some of the Skill Symbol’s functions, and some degree of disassociation, or a lack of integration, might be seen. In the birth-chart of Marilyn Monroe, the planet Venus rises before Mercury and about forty degrees ahead of both the Sun and Mercury. While Mercury seemed to act well — at least in part — in her instance as Guiding Planet, leading her and attracting her to highly intelligent men, Venus (which is trine natal Neptune in the first house) seems to have usurped the role of Skill Symbol, leading her to fame as an immortal sex symbol and tragic female.
      In another way, when the Oriental Planet is situated very near the Sun, it may operate in a rather subjective manner and the person may, in some capacity, seem to epitomize or idealize its characteristics. While Marilyn Monroe idealized Mercurial men, Allen Ginsberg (born when Mercury was Oriental, only one degree from the Sun, both in Gemini) epitomized certain Mercurial qualities — talkative, very quick-minded, analytical, nerdy, and an excellent promoter of his own and others ideas and work. Yet he is best known for his work of poetry (more a Vesusian or a Neptunian form then Mercurial) and his radical (Uranian) politics. In Ginsberg's birth-chart, Venus is the first planet to rise before Oriental Mercury, and it is forty zodiacal degrees from the two. Additionally, the Sun and Mercury form a quintile (talent, skill) aspect to Uranus on the Ascendant and another quintile to Neptune (music, poetry, drugs and mysticism), and a bi-quintile between Neptune and Uranus completes a triangular configuration of quintile-based aspects with the Sun and Mercury pair at the apex.

Because they are situated within earth’s orbit, Mercury and Venus are always near the sun in the sky, and therefore the two planets are more often seen in Oriental Appearance than any other planet. Additionally much depends on whether Mercury’s apparent motion is direct or retrograde (see the section on The Four Faces of Mercury).
      Mercury retrograde is seen in only about ten percent of all astrological charts, and when it figures as Oriental Planet it often bestows prophetic qualities and a future-oriented outlook. People with Mercury retrograde as Guiding Planet are often tend-setters, ahead of their time or misunderstood in their lifetime, but honored by future generations. Examples included the visionary, futurist writer Aldous Huxley, who was one of the most intellectual men of his generation, and Helen Gurley Brown, the promethean new woman who helped create the sexual revolution in the pages of her Cosmopolitian magazine.

Text and graphics copyright © 2000 by Michael R. Meyer.
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