by Boots Hart, CAP

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mercury dances with Neptune: Enchantment? Flummery? Enchanting Flummery?

 Fog-laser effects
photograph by Gregory Maxwell

For those who don't know what 'flummery' is, you're not alone. I never knew the word (or the thing) existed until I got into watching the TV adaptations of Rex Stout's 'Nero Wolfe' series. An engagingly brilliant if grumpy, headstrong type, honcho detective Nero Wolfe was all about his food - ever was a case allowed to interfere with meal time.

Flummery being a form of pudding, one assumes Nero ate it now and again. But apart from that, seeing that the word 'flummery' is also used to describe something as utter nonsense, Nero's use of same brought the word into my vocabulary. And now into yours.

But what's this got to do with anything astrological? Plenty! Tomorrow at 12:06 (+0/UT - adjust to your local time) transiting Neptune perfects an air sign trine to transiting Mercury. So it should be an interesting day, afternoon or evening (depending on where you are). Or it might be one full of...flummery.

This starts with Mercury, our symbol of thinking, thoughts/ideas and all we go through to choose one over another and implement same. In being at 26 Libra, we know the Mercurial subject is 'about others' - thinking about them, something you need to discuss with them, someone you need to get in touch with, some 'type' of person you need to find or find out about...

...At 26 Libra, this Mercurial moment takes on a quality of superbly sensitive adeptness. We 'get' what needs doing or saying. Our antenna become aligned so that insight on the situation is suddenly gained. This may be just in our mind...or it may be as we are actually interacting with someone. Either way, this looks to be - at least on the surface - a rather positive moment.

With that said however, there is the other end of this trine - the Neptune/Chiron/Athena side.

 Planet Neptune: a mysterious ice giant
of great and far-reaching power
photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech  

Mercury's position, so close to the Sun, describes it as a process 'central' to our existence, our will to live, our operational 'center' (the Sun). Neptune is at the total and opposite extreme. Standing as the last true planet in the icy reaches of our solar system, Neptune is that 'jumping off place' in space and in life.

So all things Neptunian involve how we deal with 'the unknown.' Where we feel secure (say, when we're watching a movie and suspending our sense of reality in order to get into the movie) most of us feel very safe. Where we enter into a romantic relationship, we have great hopes but at the same time we know all could yet not be exactly as we think it is. Ah, love...!

Then there are those places where we choose not to know. Or we expect not to know everything - such as in the case of spiritualism. Having faith is all about allowing yourself not to know. And that one idea is truly the best one we can bear in mind when we deal with anything Neptune. Where Neptune is involved, we are not going to know.

Chiron, on the other hand, is about mastery of Self. Our 'rowdy' instincts, whatever they may be, must be set aside when dealing with all things Chirotic so that we can focus with clarity and bring our best (and often most "noble") attributes to bear in some cause.

The Education of Achilles
(Chiron being the centaur teacher)
by Eugene Ferdinand Victor Delacroix (late 1800's)

The 'purpose' of Chiron is to learn; as Chiron the centaur was taught by Apollo, god of light (or enlightenment), so Chiron was required to not merely pass his knowledge on, but to use it in his own life and understand that what could happen if he didn't.

Probably the best example of this is seen in Apollo (as god of medicine) having taught the medical arts to Chiron, from whence comes the common astrological nickname for Chiron: 'The Wounded Healer.' As one of the passionate, passion-driven centaurs, Chiron becoming educated about what could happen to wounds was a caution against doing something which could get him wounded and thus compromised...or dead. Yet that's exactly what happened - Chiron's 'lower instincts' (the animal/horse part) got the better of him, he got into a brawl and was mortally wounded.

In the chart, Chiron is a point most of us avoid like the plague (to use the obvious line!). But the real point is more to the idea of owning our own 'ills' and dealing from that point. Through Chirotic situations we are asked to recognize our own failings and vulnerabilities - and to perhaps even grow through recognition of them. At the same time we are being asked to act for the best - generally in an area of life which seems very "foreign" to us (as Apollo's godly life and ability was foreign to Chiron, a very earthy and earthly being).

Combined with Neptune, this brings us think about the possible versus the trepidation. Can we? Should we? Do we really have to? Oh, don't we wish...! If only....! Why can't life....

The third image on this trining Aquarian side of the equation is Athena, goddess of wisdom. Not knowing...that's Jupiter....wisdom - the quality of knowing how to apply knowledge, when to apply it, and as happens many times, when not to apply it.

  Detail of a statue of Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom

Sprung from the brow of 'father' Jupiter, Athena is pure concept and conceptualization. She is idea-as-resource; understanding as decision-maker. So metaphysically, Athena is a point which is incredibly fair, but non- emotional. She's a lesson in how what is 'just' doesn't always feel good, and how that's a function of facts untainted by emotional bias.

So we add Athena to Chiron and Neptune and arrive what? Well, no matter where we go on this 26 Aquarian Neptune-Athena-Chiron side of the trine, there's a duality. 'Is it true, or is it not true?'. And there is always to consider (speaking of Athena and Mercury!) that any time we see Neptune connected to Mercury there is the possibility of 'the lie.' It may be a simple misunderstanding. It may involve people hearing what they want to hear (denial). Or just some unrealistic (entertaining or romantic or carefree) moment.

Then again, it may involve someone's out-and-out effort to deceive or lead someone else astray. And with Neptune and Chiron in retrograde, the effect is not on them, but on us. Athena in direct motion is the input from outside. Mercury in direct motion is our part in a process or situation. But the two retrograde symbols - Chiron and Neptune - plainly say the realism or lack thereof - that's operating inside us. Each one of us.

Neptune is said to be like a fog. Fog looks real. And it is real. But we cannot catch and hold it in our hand.

So maybe it's not a moment to do anything too serious? 

And yet in this configuration, particularly with Athena, Neptune and Chiron sitting at 26 Aquarius (a degree about either insight into unsteadiness or unsteady insights) ...this may be when we realize what some problem is really about. What comes from that?

That depends. And seeing that this is a transiting moment in time, it should depend on what develops from here. Going into these hours on either side of the moment of transit exactitude, things will be what they will be. It's our job to learn from them without depending on this being the 'last word' on anything in particular.

Some good things will seem ideal. Some bad things will seem dastardly. The issue is not the 'thing' itself; it's our willingness to recognize what it is (Athena + Mercury) and understand whatever our reaction to that is (Neptune + Mercury). But where we go from here? That depends on how well we know ourselves (Athena + Chiron) and others (Libra/Aquarius)...and how well we are able to accept the truth of and manage our more base/basic instincts (Chiron + Neptune).

Whatever this moment is, it's Chirotic and thus educational. It's about learning how to manage our own affairs in a world which contains other people (Mercury in Libra trine Neptune in Aquarius) and how we don't really have any choice in that (Chiron in Aquarius)... the world is what it is.

 Planet Earth as seen by Apollo 17
source: NASA

 So we realize, we recognize, we learn something new (hopefully)...and from there, we move on. Considering the Full Moon (at 29 Aries) doesn't occur until the 23rd, and that Mercury will oppose that impending Full Moon position as it reached 29 Libra on the 19th or 20th (depending on where you are)...

...there is surely more to come on whatever subject(s) is/are now at hand. Now is a moment to be honest - most of all with yourself. Just don't expect everybody to act as well. Or to understand their reasons, needs and rationales even when/if they are on the up-and-up.

Let go while keeping on. Be realistic while allowing for possibility. Don't bet the farm and don't give up the ghost. Laugh, cry, wonder and love as you must, but don't fall over the cliff of your own extremes.

It's a moment....which like all others, shall indeed soon pass.

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