by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mercury in Sagittarius

Mercury will enter Sagittarius on Tuesday, December 11th and 1:41 in the morning UT/+0 time. That just happens to be as the Moon is moving through Scorpio in preparation for a Sagittarian New Moon on December 13th.

In lunar astrology (yes, it’s a specialty!) having the Moon in the last sign of a lunation – otherwise known as the last sign before the next lunation – is known as the Moon being in its Balsamic Phase.

I know…that sounds like we’re making salad, doesn’t it?

For the purists in the group, yes - technically, the Moon is in its Balsamic phase any time it’s within 45 degrees behind the Sun. It’s all about the difference between solar 12-part astrology…

…and lunar astrology’s 8-part lunar phase cycle…

Which isn’t all that hard, math-wise.

SOLAR ASTROLOGY: 360 degrees (of a circle) divided by 12 (signs) equals 30 degrees per sign.

LUNAR ASTROLOGY: 360 degrees of that same circle divided by 8 phases of the Moon equals 45 degrees per phase.

And yes, when you overlay the lunar wheel over the solar wheel you arrive at why the mid-point of each zodiacal quarter (known as the “cross-quarter” point) is considered important.

When the Moon enters the Balsamic phase…which is where it will be when Mercury enters Sagittarius, the themes are release, purification, renewal and transformation through knowledge or acquired understanding. And I know this is getting a bit into theory here, but that does sound like an abstract mélange of the last two signs of the zodiac: Aquarius (knowledge) and Pisces (emotional experience of the self).

Which works as a signal to tell us that as Mercury enters Sagittarius, we’ll be trying to finish things up so we can ‘release’ them and to get past various issues, problems, situations and challenges which were Scorpionic in their own right, as Mercury will be leaving Scorpio in entering Sagittarius.

But then we enter into the concept of Mercury in Sagittarius. Mercury rules (read: is most at home in) two signs: Gemini and Virgo. Gemini is the pure ‘mentality’ of it all…how we think, what we think about, decision-making, mental organization (or lack thereof) and getting things done so that we can get them “off” our mind – or our mental lists, if you will. Virgo is more like Mercury-in-Action: the doing of things…how well we do them (efficiency, ability), whether we do them in a timely manner (responsibility) and the ‘health’ or lack of health as that reflects on our mentality (the Gemini thing) when it comes to what we do and how we do it (morality, ethics, standards, etc.).

When a planet is in the sign they are said to ‘rule,’ what we are really saying is that that’s the quadrant of the sky when the energy of planet-and-Earth (and thus our lives and mentality) seem to function most harmoniously and most productively. So it stands to reason (at least in a universe which seems to have a dualistic nature like ours does) that when the planet is in the sign opposite that where it functions well, it functions not as well – which in the case of Mercury would be its two signs of “detriment”: Sagittarius and Pisces.

But here’s the thing…planets in their sign of detriment can still do pretty splendid things. You just have to work at it a little more. The doing of that in the natal chart sense if found by looking at…

1.) The ruler of the sign on the cusp of the house the planet is in,


2.) The ruler of the sign the planet is in.

These may be the same. Then again, they may not be – in which case the weight goes to the planet ruling the sign on the cusp of the house. (Don’t ask me why, it just works that way!)

Since we’re only talking global transits here, (ONLY?) all we can do is look to the ruler of Sagittarius, which is Jupiter. But wait…! Isn’t Jupiter in Gemini?

Oh by gum it is!

This sets up a situation which astrologers call “mutual reception”…Planet A is in a sign ruled by Planet B, and Planet B is in a sign ruled by Planet A.

The solution lies in thinking of these things as a synthesis.

So we know that Mercury is in a sign where instead of ‘mentally focusing’ it will tend to be more all over the place and to indicate a time when we are prone to taking on more than we can deal with effectively.

(Gee…just what we didn’t need during holiday season, right?)

Mercury in Gemini being known for organization (mental and communication-wise) this would be why Mercury in Sagittarius tends to have a bit of a foot-in-mouth quality…or a tendency to say too much, to have a problem with timing on when to say something, or to speak without listening – which would be why Mercury in Sagittarius (or even the 9th house) tends to display dogmatic tendencies.

So we can expect that just on the face of things, we may be a bit over-involved with ourselves and what we want or what we’re trying to do for the next couple of weeks while Mercury transits Sagittarius.

But let’s not forget…this is Part 2 of Mercury in Sagittarius for 2012 (aka Mercury in Sag, the Sequel). Remember that Mercury retrograde we just went through? It started with Mercury in Sagittarius. Then Mercury retrograded back into Scorpio. That was all about considering the value of what we were doing and if simply PLUNGING on with our pet projects or positions was going to serve any of us well.

Mercury went retrograde on Election Day in the United States, which was really interestingly displayed by the massive problems with voting lines and getting the vote counts in and all the questioning of provisional ballots and such. That all those events caused Americans to think over what their values really are when it comes to elections is classic, classic Mercury retrograde stuff. And very much what we would expect to see as one of a zillion different variations on the ‘backing from Sagittarius back into Scorpio’ vibe.

Whatever the retrograde does is saying ‘you got here…now how well is that going to work for you in these terms?’

So now – as Mercury re-enters Sagittarius – we will see what America learned. And everybody else – considering that your personal life had personal things going on which for you probably outweighed the US election – everybody else is going to be ‘moving forward’ with ideas they spent Mercury’s retrograde “reconsidering.”

Of course there are those who will have spent the whole of Mercury retrograde avoiding, denying and trying not to deal with stuff, too. That would be very much in keeping with a Sag-back-into-Scorpio Mercury retrograde. So expect that.

And maybe more importantly, at least recognize it if you’ve been doing it. Nobody says you have to change anything of jump through any hoops, but recognition of what you do is a choice to be honest with yourself – and that is a really good Mercury in Sagittarius sort of concept, if nothing else!

Mercury will be in Sagittarius until New Years Eve. And just so we touch on this in advance, that Mercury moves into the sign of law enforcement on New Years Eve should be a warning to some…and a bit of a hint to others.

   New Year's fireworks in Copenhagen's Tivoli Garden
(photo credit Stig Nygaard, January 2009)

We know that as Mercury enters Sagittarius we have this Balsamic Moon effect. That ends on the 13th simply because that’s the next New Moon.

With the 11th is also the opening of Uranus’s station window to go direct, there’s good reason for caution, especially when driving. If you’re planning a holiday trip, this may well be a great day for finding a last-minute deal on the internet, too. Uranus is always associated with things high tech, Mercury is information and communications and Sagittarius is travel and things which broaden the scope of our life, world and experience of how things work.

Hence, travel.

But also business. Those who are looking for hot holiday deals may find something really terrific now. Just beware of false fronts and hype!

The above will hold true from the 11th through the 14th. Then on the 17th, Mercury opposes Jupiter in Gemini, which gets us back to that Jupiter as ruler of Sagittarius concept.

Because this entire Mercury-transiting-Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter in retrograde, the whole of this (approximately) three week experience is reflective. Jupiter in Gemini is about learning (Jupiter) how we think, why we think as we think, and maybe how we should change what we do or how we think in order to have a more productive, happy, profitable life.

And this isn’t – by subtle definition – just about us. Jupiter rules two signs, Sagittarius and Pisces, both of which are public and ‘visible’ signs. Sagittarius is about learning through experience and Pisces is about life as a series of events and situations which forces us – at an emotional level – to grapple with what we do or don’t know about our own feelings, emotions, faith or faithfulness.

Since Jupiter is Jupiter wherever it goes we are now learning all that Sagittarius and Pisces “Jupiter stuff” through an examination/re-examination of how we think. Or through how well our daily life functions. Or through our siblings. (Siblings are a Gemini thing.) Or through communications or communicating with others. Even through not communicating with others and why what may be.

 Planet Jupiter as photographed by the ESO telescope

Problems, challenges, opportunities which arise now say some about other people, yes. But mostly they are asking us to think things through and to figure out what we really think. Or whether we do think. Or whether we need to think for ourselves or maybe even think of others because in the end we have to live in this world with a lot of people, not just those we choose to deal with.

One of the things we learn most from Jupiter is the importance of tolerance. In its transit of Gemini, Jupiter is teaching us all a big lesson not just about tolerating ‘the other guy’ and their perspectives, but the ambivalence in our own mind about who we are or have been, and what we think we want to be.

Right and wrong are going to be part of the theme being ‘set off’ by Mercury transiting the sign in opposition to Jupiter. With Jupiter in retrograde, we’re being asked to think through our choices and how we have come to be in the position we are in through our choices.

Venus will join Mercury in Sagittarius before too very long. (On the 18th.) At that point the Mercury side of the dynamic will enter into a question of ‘having bought into some belief’ and whether we are living something or just going through the motions.

This is a really interesting time because on the greater level we seem to be being asked to get back to the basics of who we are. And at that level, Mercury in Sagittarius is all about learning more about who we are by recognizing who and what we aren’t – or don’t want to be.

Or maybe simply can’t be. Considering everything else going on, the 2012 edition of Mercury in Sagittarius seems to speak to the difference between the idea of things and the reality.

And how sometimes, they just don’t mix.

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