Exaltation of Mercury in Virgo

  Monique Pommier  © 1997

The Word was made flesh, he lived among us and we saw his glory    (John, 1:14)

The Whole creation has been groaning in travail…. waiting with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God… (Romans 8:20)

From the emergence of the exalted Sun (in Aries) and the receptiveness of the exalted Moon (in Taurus), a son is conceived: Mercury, the seed of mind. The Ram spirit impregnates Taurus matter, and Mercury is the fruit of their engagement, the light of consciousness which differentiates and organizes world matters into an increasingly whole and mindful organism — a matrix of light, a Virgin “Mater”[1] pregnant with the sun. Mercury lights the “moon” with the “sun.” Indeed, “Mercury leads Aries to Virgo — where the idea or Word of God comes to the crisis of the birth hour.”[2]

While Sodom – the “fallen” face of the Moon (Moon in Scorpio) – is being destroyed, while the red Bull of self-will (Taurus) burns in its own flame, the white goddess-Cow is illumined and bears a son: Abraham’s wife, Sarah, conceives Isaac (Mercury).[3] Though the two scenes have been kept distinctly separate in the mind of Christianity, it is to the same particular moment of spiritual history that they belong. The destruction of Sodom and the conception of Isaac constitute  the two faces of a singular event. On their descent towards Sodom, three messengers announce a son to Sarah, a son who opens the path of The Son of God — the solar emissary who will come to kindle the warmth of soul in human consciousness and the spirit of the sun in the matters of the earth.

Chagall. Abraham and Sarah with the three messengers

Chagall. Abraham and Sarah with the three messengers.

The conception of Isaac decisively steps down the messianic lineage into history, Isaac being both the divinely conceived ancestor of the Messiah and the “sacrificial” prefigure of Christ. When this first “beam” of the solar being kindles the womb of the world consciousness, its powerful light clears darkness and consumes dross. In a similar way, when the sun of soul is born within the psyche of a human being, smoke and death may surround the conception. As they deposit the seed of light in the Sarah of humankind, the three mysterious beings have thereby already set fire to the Sodom of humankind.

Like many figures of spiritual gestation, Sarah is “old”, way past child bearing years. Free from the binding laws of nature, she has reached the symbolic age of spiritual maturity and the metaphysical virginity of soul which can bear the radiant impersonality of a “son of Man”; she offers the translucence through which a “lighted one” can be born.

As she contemplates the spiritual triad who has descended to visit her and Abraham, she “conceives” an echo of the coming One approaching the consciousness of “his people.” Within her incredulous smile, mankind receives a faint glimpse of its dawning Self. And while the divine triad opens the early smile of Christhood in humanity’s consciousness, the first spark of the transmuting power of the sun messenger ignites Sodom, burning away the forms of consciousness which can no longer “accommodate” the intensifying light and recognize their “right” purpose: “If I find fifty righteous in the city, the Lord said, I will not destroy it.”

 Mercury — the bridge-serpent of light

Mercury, the archetypal son  who shines in the human mind and animates the soul of the worlds, is the fruit of the relation opened between spirit and matter (Aries and Taurus ; or  Sun and Moon) by the act of creation. He is the light that objectifies Being and the intelligence that re-cognizes the spirit of things.

It is quite revealing to trace the various manifestations of Mercury, the linking principle of the universe, in the forms and events of the early intercourse of separation and alliances between God and mankind described in the biblical scenes. It also instructs us about the steps to be retraced inwardly by the evolving self.

From the rainbow cast as a bridge of light between heaven and earth after the great flood[4] to the ladder of ascending and descending messengers in Jacob’s dream, what is captured by the spiritual imagination of mankind are the lighted steps of the divine mediator. From the ark of the covenant to the virgin womb of the Son’s mother—his gradual landing and birth among men. As the “Messiah,” the messenger of mankind’s soul, comes to dwell in the human “ark”, man begins to conceive his latent divinity and to become the mother of a God.

When the seed of Christ-consciousness germinates in the human nature, the inner forces of a human being have begun to cast their covenant with their universal source and to set, in their turn, the “bow [of Light] in the clouds” of consciousness. He/she has begun to build the inner “rainbow bridge,” the man-made counterpart of the divine bridge, woven of self-generated light and free loving will between personal self and universal Selfhood. The Mercury of divine alliance (“And there was light“) who opened the concrete world of human perception begins its exalted work in the evolutionary “virginification” of the individual consciousness, when it fans the dim light of personal intelligence and knowledge into the great bridge of light of the world-Mind which Mercury essentially is.

Behind these bridges, ladders and covenants between the creator and the matters of his world, there fades in a mythic distance the early bridge thrown between heaven and earth by the serpent of the Fall in the biblical version of the genesis of the world. At the core of the cosmic bridge is serpenthood. Indeed, one finds kundalini power under the ladder of Jacob. It is in the town of Luz that Jacob saw the ladder, and according to an occult interpretation, “Luz” is the kernel of immortality “sited towards the base of the spine.”[5] This is where the coiled “light-electricity” of Mercury waits as Kundalini power. One also finds nagas forming the newel-posts of the Buddha’s rainbow-staircase.[6] Such visionary bridges allude to mankind’s re-erection of the tree of knowledge and its involutionary serpent – who “involved” (“in-turned”) man in the not Self – into an evolutionary path of light and a spine of Selfhood; they prefigure the reversal of the crawling one, eating the dust of concrete knowledge (“you shall crawl on your belly and eat dust,” God said to the serpent), into the Son of light who stands as “The way” of light in the midst of the worlds.

The Christ is sometimes represented as a serpent crucified on a cross. According to the Golden Legend, the cross was made of the tree of knowledge, where the first serpent appeared. Interestingly, the Legend tells that the tree was later used to build a bridge — which the queen of Sheba “recognized” when she crossed it to meet Solomon.  It is as if the living “bridge” of paradise, having fallen and lain on the earth for ages, had to be reerected through the crucifixion, to initiate the bridging back of humanity across the worlds and support the redemption of the serpent of evil by the serpent of wisdom.

The presence of the tree of knowledge – the tree of Mercury – in the middle of the garden of Eden, was inherently ambiguous in this space of oneness, for Mercury opens the duality of consciousness, of knower and known, in the midst of Being. Inherently dual also in its forbiddenness, it was already charged with the seemingly contradictory will of the creator and the created, of the Aries Sun and the Taurus Moon— already engrossed with fall and redemption, with descents in the curiosity of matters and reascent in the wisdom of things; it held blended within its sap the poisonous and healing potencies of the free will of the mind.

Mercury in Virgo— the exaltation of the mental nature in the curiosity of Eve and the clarity of Mary.

The first serpent precipitated human free will into the exploration of the “world-dust” —the differentiating objectivity that Mercury brings about, along with the tendency to “recoil” from the sublime (kundalini coiled at the basis of the spine). The second serpent, the divine Mercury, the “son of god,” lifted on the tree, stood across the worlds, and in fact and in deed stood the world up— “surrected” it  (“I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me”) and shifted its gravitational pull. Repolarizing the downward course of matter into the upward course of Self, he sublimated the poisonous serpenthood of the separative mental self into the healing unifying light of the self-giving Selfhood [7]. “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up”  [8].

In taking upon the cross the redressing of mankind’s self-oriented nature, the Christ effectively pulled humanity into a new awareness of itself as one “self” animated by one common soul/sun principle, a principle of love that binds humankind to the source of its  being. In this act of “virginification” of the planet and birth of mankind’s soul, the Mercury principle is exalted; its living idea is revealed through the “son of God” central to this world cycle. The Son born of the Virgin – the Word (Mercury) made flesh (Virgo) – lights up the bridge of loving mindedness that reveals in all human matters the vibrant oneness of life, and ultimately resurrects matter itself.

From this perspective, the Christ event is an expression of exalted Mercury. The sacrificial crossing-embracing of world dimensions (above and below, right and left —spirit and matter, self and other) in identification with the  spirit of life (“the father”) opened the Way of solar, loving mindedness between human matters and the generative, resurrecting power of life. Amidst the garden of evolution, the Christ planted the tree of wisdom and into the wood of matter bled the sap of universal love. He explained before his death that his “crossing” would allow the holy Spirit (holy Mercury) to break through the brains and tongues (human Mercury) of the twelve “apostles”, and through them, of humankind as a whole, with the fire of divine inspiration. Here again, though on a different level than in the Sodom-Isaac event, destruction and death are the tangible counterpart of a spiritual conception. In the process of purification (Virgo) which destruction consummates, a new level of light (Mercury) is exalted, a new rung of the cosmic ladder substantiated in consciousness.

As Moses’s brazen serpent healed the bites of the serpents (in other words, as the divine Mercury invoked by the Israelites’ prayers transfused the poisonous Mercury of their speech), the raising of the Son of God “upon the pole” of humanity allowed [9] the “holy spirit” to be born within the human soul, thus to inspire knowledge with the wisdom of love, and infuse the mind with the “spirit of truth.”

In its divine aspect, Mercury is what “inspires” the world. The divine Mercury-“Messiah” who spiritualizes matter and embodies spirit, suggests the innermost will of Mercury: to “inspirit” the flesh of the world, to “light” all matters with the wisdom and love that the Son inherently is, as both the fruit and principle of cosmic relatedness.


A serpent of evil and a serpent of redemption are wrapped around the one and same bridge, the one and same tree, each exalted in its specific polarity by a virgin mother-matter. For whether the exaltation be that of the power of Mercury to objectify (“They saw they were naked”) and to precipitate edenic Identity into “thingness”, or that of its reuniting, rejoining, inspiriting power, a feminine figure stands by each “serpent”. One is Eve, the other Mary. Each incarnates in a particular way the archetype of Virgo, the mother-matter in which light finds its exaltation — as the light of knowledge in Eve and the “Light of the world” in Mary. The morning of matter in Eve exalts the objectifying, distinguishing  power of the light of cognition hidden in the Mercury tree, while the “Light of the world,” the unitive light of Love, will await the slowly matured translucence of consciousness typified in the “Mater Dei” – the “mother/matter of God” – to be exalted in Mary.

The deeper nature of the “bridge” of the worlds reveals the serpent power at work within the sap of the mind symbolised by Mercury. Beyond its bridging and linking function, a more fundamental dimension of the mental nature is exposed, clothed in the potential danger and traditional wisdom of the serpent: that of an agent of disease and healing, of fragmentation and reconnection, of dispersion in multiplicity and reintegration into oneness.

Exalted in Virgo is the two-way bridge of the mind — the way into the complexity of things (Eve) and the way into the simplicity of being (Mary).

Mercury, the caduceus of alchemical healing.           

The two serpents associated with Mercury are represented in the Caduceus, the emblem of the therapeutic arts, suggesting how the remedial snake is forever intertwined with the poisonous one, and the willful journey to health with the receptive journey into the psychospiritual roots of a sickness. Genuine healing weaves the concrete knowledge and practical skills characteristic of Virgo, with the intuition, induced by the love (at a deeper level of Virgo) for the mysterious intertwining of body and soul, matter and mind at work in health and illness.

There runs around our heavens an intriguingly similar interweaving of two serpents,  perceptible in the dynamics of time. This celestial Caduceus shows its outlines when one follows imaginatively the yearly path of the sun and the yearly path of the moon as they intertwine around the celestial equator, cross periodically  (twice a year, at the equinox), to then move away from each other (to the solsticial extents of the ecliptic). Solar serpent and lunar serpent dance a ritual of attraction and repulse around the earth, hence around the human psyche (since this “exists” only in the human experience), contracting and expanding to the opposing demands of soul and personality (solar and lunar), and plucking – in their motion up and down the declination – the strings of human experience.

This celestial dynamics points to cosmic Mercury, who has his being in the interplay of the spheres and carries out universal intentions through intelligent motion. The solar-lunar staff of Mercury, which the mystery of time wields in our sky, signals the alchemical process time serves for earth and humankind. It suggests the evolutionary process in which we as a planet are engaged, of integrating the polarities of night and day, darkness and light, unconscious and conscious, matter and spirit [10], for the production of forms and the growth of consciousness. Wrapped in the signature of the hermetic alchemist who blends the cosmic opposites through the alternance of moonlike winters and sunlike summers, the  earth and its kingdoms grow in consciousness, each contributing its own kind of conjugation (be it on the mineral, vegetal, animal or human level)  of chaotic subearthly forces and ordering, solar energies. In the human kingdom, Mercury moves through the changing seasons of joy and sorrow, success and failure that cradle the maturation of self. He brings the unconscious to bear upon the conscious, and the conscious to converse with the unconscious so that a greater wholeness of being may emerge—ultimately a universalized self be born. Summoned to weave the threads of its lunar nature and solar essence, of conscious ego and unconscious/ supraconscious Self, the human psyche “groans” and grows through labors and contractions, responding to light and releasing light—much like the pregnant mother of God, who so responds to the divine life within that she gives birth to a divine self.

The exaltation of Mercury in Virgo appears in a new vividness. For what we contemplate here is the task of incubation (Virgo) which Mercury conducts as it weaves the path of the moon with the path of the sun. We see that transmutation is what inspires its intelligent mutability to animate and regulate the collaboration of the two luminaries in the psyches of men as it does in the sky of the earth.

Its exaltation in Virgo reveals Mercury as the central agent in humanity’s labor of giving birth to its Self within the womb of the celestial orbs. It is Mercury who moves through the “groaning in travail” (Virgo) of creation, elaborating base lunar matter into a sun filled, vibrant “Word”. He is the vibration of the Sun “awaiting with eager longing” for its delivery within the psyche. He is the deliverer and the delivered, the midwife watching over the process and the son being born; the revealer of the son and the Son himself.

The revealing of the sons of God” in the womb (Virgo) of humanity is the delivery of the Christ-Mercury principle gestating in human nature — the soul of love and mind of wisdom slowly exalted from within the intelligence of the world. “Virgo stands for the “womb of time” where God’s plan is slowly matured and – with pain and through struggle – brought into manifestation at the end of the appointed time.”[11]

In the light of Virgo, Mercury reveals itself as the alchemist of the great Opus, the “Great Work” of life which inspires, as its very archetype, the diligent, industrious nature of Virgo. In  the gestation which groans in the womb of creation, in the illumination which “travails” in the substrata of consciousness, thrills,jubilant, the true note of Mercury.

By nature “the star of conflict”[12], Mercury “prays and works” in Virgo, the sign in which its essence is exalted; “Ora et labora” (“Pray and work!”) was the motto of the alchemists. Out of the tensions of the world-labor which Mercury unfolds as serpent of knowledge (“In toil you shall eat of [the tree] all the days of your life… In pain you shall bring forth children”) and which it then weaves in dynamic exchange, there ascends the prayer of the world-becoming. The world labor is prayer, the prayer of the embryonic consciousness of a world “longing” to bring its (Christ) Self to “the hour of birth.” Virgo offers the athanor of time and space in which the clearing, refining, “messianic” will of Mercury both elicits and secretes the path of an aspiring consciousness within the womb of world matters.

Whether it be in the cosmic athanor of the intestines (which Virgo rules), the laboratory of the scientist or the oratory of the mind, the guiding principle of Mercury is at work as a will to discern and distinguish, a lucidity to select and appropriately attribute, a power to sort out and distill. Within, it seeks to elaborate the matters at hand (physical[13], astral, mental) into a vehicle ever more translucent to the presence of the soul; without, it endlessly “elucidates” the workings of the world.

The three rays conveyed by Virgo and Mercury further illumine this, as they converge to operate the Work of delivering the light of soul consciousness within man, thus exalting the light inherent in creation.

In accordance with its fourth ray nature, “Mercury’s mediatorship produces an inevitable opposition between the pairs of opposites and a long drawn out conflict” [14]… the birth pangs of the second birth”[15] when Mercury-the “son” of Eve delivers in the human being Mercury-the son of Mary, and man is reborn as “son of mind” — a soul being.

The second Ray conveyed by Virgo wills to manifest and bring into the light of day the Christ hidden within its nature.

The sixth Ray infuses the work with the discrete dedication and daily devotion of the mother alchemist.

As the Virgin Mary, pregnant and infused with the Messiah, magnifies the Lord and the “great things [He] has done,”[16] Virgo magnifies the “great things” of Mercury and exalts its magnificent work.

The words of Mary: “My soul exalts [17] the Lord” translate into the mystery of an actual  experience and spiritual world-event the abstract fact of the “exaltation of Mercury in Virgo”. Extracted as a formula, these words enunciate the process of magnification of the light which the evolution of consciousness brings about; for the illumined consciousness which has brought the personal psyche to the purity of universal soulfulness – that of a Christ-bearer – has indeed exalted Mercury. Through such a soul, the light is exalted and the soul of the world magnified.

As the soul gradually “delivers” itself from existential matters, the intelligence of the world is exalted in the light of the soul. Love, the essence of soul, exalts the obscure all-connectedness (mercury) of the world by revealing itself as its animating principle.

Hermes in Virgo—education as transmutation and mediation as remedy.

In Greco-Roman mythology, Hermes-Mercury was known as the “psychopompos”, the god who accompanied the departing soul in the transphysical realms.  With the transfer of the gods from the expanses of mythology to the intimate stage of psychology, the essence of the wing-footed god reappears as the flickering light which man learns to wield in order to identify the steps of his metaphysical journey as he reescorts himself into the luminous source of his being. Mercury is now the light of the mind, the internal educator[18] who leads human nature out of the darkness of ignorance into the knowing of Self.

This light of the mind reveals the fullness of its purpose in Virgo. If the Lord of Gemini relates dualities and connects opposites, travelling from pole to pole, the “point” of its wing-footed agility and mutability is seen, “exalted”, in Virgo, where such qualities are instrumental in the processes of transmutation and gestation which Mercury essentially serves. The point of its intelligence is to foster the soul’s growth by refining its instruments and shedding light on shadows and blind spots in the psyche; to elaborate concrete facts of experience into abstract concepts or patterns and generate perspective — the necessary condition for any transformation; to link phenomena and light up the presence of universal intelligence; to move the consciousness to analyze in order that, in time, a meticulous synthesis may emerge, glowing with light through all its details.

In Virgo, the mind is exalted as the intermediary[19] agent and the intermediate realm where substance (physical, emotional or mental) is clarified and light conceived, where matters are elucidated and intuitions conceptualized. It is the mediator (the true “Medea”) and the remedy. Its fundamental task is to meditate (and mediate) the fragmented world into wholeness.

Language, the matrix of the son of man.

A main ladder for the “descent” of the One in manifestation, of the spirit of Aries into the matter of Taurus, of the “Word into flesh,” Mercury speaks as well to the structure that supports man’s steps back into the “Word”—language. Language allows us to elaborate the undifferentiated, unformed matters of our experience into conceptual structures that deliver a “word-self”- a languaged self – into the world, while allowing the world to enter our psyches by structuring it according to our psyche and turning it into a “languaged world”. Language organizes and shapes ways for the psyche to extract light from the raw material of experience and formulate them into lighted – mental – thought-forms. In the context of Mercury’s exaltation in Virgo, the networking of the psyche by language reveals the subtle, universal mental body or flesh in which and by which the human self weaves his  becoming into a solar, fully conscious being.

It is in the all pervasive texture of language that the “conversation” between Above and Below, essence and objective matters, self and not-self, finds the bones, articulations and substance through which it may experience itself in the human consciousness. Language contributes to bring the “logos” that “was in the beginning” to the hour of birth, by providing the vessel for its evocation from the world matrix. Language structures the “thinking” which passes as an ubiquitous bridge across different levels and areas of being, allowing spirit to penetrate further into the complexity of things, and matter to distill its ultimate simplicity of  being.

In the light of its archetype, Mercury, one realizes how the most intrinsic function of language, and of the formulating activity which fills man’s existential space, discloses itself, “exalted,” in the operation it vehiculates of processing, clarifying or “transitioning”[20] (Virgo) the obscure stuff of experience or the raw facts of nature and cosmos into organised and interactive wholes, of “groaning” and bearing chaos into the prose of knowledge and the poetry of wisdom.

We wield the alchemical power of language in the specific ways we choose to define, present and “sew” things — with a new thread of light or an old thread of shade; in the way we cast down the hermetic staff of our speech into a dust eating snake or choose to lift it into a healing, life-giving rod.

In the sign of the conceiver of the Son of mind (Virgo), the conceptualizing operation of Mercury is highlighted, pointing to the mediating work of language by which the multiplicity of things is gatheredto a similarity of concepts and returns to an identity of Idea. In bearing the undifferentiated multiplicity into “sames,” language delivers a world of forms from an indistinct chaos, then a field of meaning from a world of forms. Words and concepts, grammar and syntax organize a context of distinct relatedness; they magnetize the dust of letters and words, of perceptions and affects around the central trinity of subject, object, and verb (Sun, Moon, Mercury) which structures the body of the “Logos” gestating in the human mind. This triad which holds the universal law of language reflects the primordial Trinity who intones the universe— as the Abrahamic triad intoned the coming of the Christ-consciousness in the history of mankind. Forever sharing the food of experience at the table of humanity, the fundamental triad of language fosters the gestation in mankind of its true Self — the “Son of Man”.

Language is thus a matrix of evolution for the incarnated soul involved in the multiplicity of the sensible world— a matrix without which mind cannot develop, nor the soul grow.  Through  the structure of language and the power of words, we negotiate perceptions and integrate events, assimilate (Virgo) experiences and also reframe them. We name and rename the matters of our lives according to the “rung”  of our consciousness.

Language stands in the midst of our garden — a tree between the two mothers of mankind who contend within the human psyche, one picking up the easy fruit to taste the juice of intelligence, one offering the fruit of wisdom she bears and raises to the moment of redemption; one fascinated by the serpent of knowledge, one standing by the Christ of wisdom. Eve and Mary. As every being in cosmos naturally seeks exaltation, so does the mercurial being seek exaltation in us between the mother of intelligence and the mother of wisdom, between the speech of a serpent and the Word of a God.

The Exaltation in a Chart

 In the individual chart, the placement of Mercury in Virgo indicates a range of potential gifts as well as limitations regarding the way the mind is employed.

In this exalted placement, the mind is very adept at perceiving details. It is captivated by the intricacies of all matters. This propensity may lead to an excessive cluttering of the mind and a clogging of its filters of perception or interpretation. On the other hand, the aptitude to differentiate and distinguish, clarify and order make of such mental apparatus a skillful instrument to analyze and organize informations, classify observations and elaborate methods of research. Of this the modern world offers numerous examples, with its vast fields of scientific experimentation, data collecting and statistics, from the taxonomies of natural sciences to the clinical grids of psychology. Experimentation and empirical deductions rule.

When essentially utilized by the concrete mind, the Virgoan quality of discrimination exalts the separative acuity of Mercury. The intelligence is used to select and assimilate the matters of life along the patterns of the personality or the opinions of the time rather than the intuition of the soul. It tends to dissect, deconstruct and reduce them into concrete ingredients; to suspect and exclude that which cannot be weighed, measured or classified; to be captive to the technically correct, the logically proven, the practically efficient. The cultural refinement of the technical intellect brings much valuable clarification and skillful interpretation of materials, but contains the risk of constricting reality in limiting interpretations.

As the intellectual self grows in the light of the soul, the analyses of the details of any reality serve to better conceive and synthesize the oneness alive in multiplicity. The evolving thinker-scientist approaches events and phenomena (inner or outer) through the lens of a more unitive consciousness, apt to discern the great in the small, gifted to “deliver” the universal at work in a detail. In the psychological arena, he uses his perceptiveness and discernment for redemptive wisdom, rather than clinical accuracy.

The Virgo House

To look at the house ruled or occupied by Virgo in the light of the exaltation of Mercury means to examine its “matters” in the light of the gestation they are meant to foster.

We want to imagine this area of experience as the athanor in which the personality is refined and alchemized, ceaselessly infused and transmuted by the son/sun of mind. In the womb of “silent activity” which this house points to in one’s existence, the mental principle is most awake, the concrete mind is spiritualized, the abstract mind developed, and nutrients are provided for the growth of the inner Christ principle. Here the form may endure much readjustment due to “the intensification of the ordinary evolutionary process and the consequent waxing of the soul light and the waning of the light in matter itself.”[21]

The experiences of this house offer a special context for critical or worrisome attitudes to lose their grip as the light that fed in them the chattering serpent of matter is exalted in the clear, yet inclusive Light of soul awareness — focused on its labors of birth (Virgo), rather than its reductive dissecting (Virgo).

This house points to a most opportune field for the refinement and purification of the mental vessel, one in which the healing intuition of the soul seeks to wax through the cultivation of a meditative attitude of mind.

Mercury In a Chart

How does the special affinity between Mercury and Virgo qualify in a new way the understanding of Mercury ?

Following are some questions related to the ways of the mind in a certain incarnation. The placement of Mercury by sign will be the key factor in pondering these questions. More specifically, the exoteric ruler of the sign will indicate the characteristic ways in which the concrete mind operates, while the esoteric ruler will suggest how to bridge personality and  soul through the particular qualities it imparts to the abstract mind.

How does the individual process his experiences? How does he “digest” life in general?

What specific method does he use to assimilate, conceptualize and reformulate the matters of his existence? How does he elucidate or interpret events and phenomenas? How does he approach and sort out issues?

How does he “e-ducate” himself from the world around and how does he educate the world around?

How specifically can he contribute to the latent process of redemption in the way of his thoughts, words, or speech? How can he use his perceptiveness and understanding as a healing light? In what arena can he turn his thoughts and speech into enzymes for the resorption of matter into spirit?

What does the relation between the esoteric and exoteric rulerships of the sign indicate  in regard to how the light of the concrete mind must decrease to allow more illuminative and intuitive presence of mind?

If the Mercury archetype is particularly emphasized in a chart, the individual may identify with the task of regenerating the dead matter of language, thoughts or communication with the fire of the spirit of Mercury — the Logos of their “beginning.”

If we look at the placement of Mercury in Aquarius for example, the exoteric and esoteric rulerships of Uranus-Saturn on one hand, and Jupiter on the other, guide us through the examination of these questions. To process life along a Uranus-Saturn personality “alembic,” potentially well structured and organized, individualistically inventive and progressive, suggests a different alchemical atmosphere and method than the Jupiterian process which is that of the individual tuning his freedom of thinking to the larger ends and vaster concerns of his human group. Steeped in the inclusiveness of Jupiter’s second ray, Mercury’s process is here one of selecting for assimilation more than for distinction. More than simply reorganizing the material in a new innovative form, it seeks to creatively extract what responds to the attracting pattern in which every thing or everyone finds its significance. From this “travail” a whole emerges, a model or vision that has the magnetic power to draw other factors or members to recognize their participation in the system, the theory or the project.

If applied to Mercury in Libra, the same question would bring up another set of mental “dispositions” destined to bridge, distill or “digest” the objective material of life into “self”. In Libra, these would be characterized by Venus and Uranus, the exoteric and esoteric rulers of the sign. The Venusian mental process, pliant and adaptable to diametrically opposed currents of thought, is apt to modulate its subjective perspective and soften the objectivity of facts to arrive at “reasonable” integration. The Uranian soul disposition, on the other hand, would show the clearly defined contours designed by the boldly unique, uncharted choices of instant intuitive processing.


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 The Fall of Mercury in Pisces

In Virgo, Mercury awakens, develops and reveals its properties and powers in the elucidation and redemption of matter.

In Pisces, it “falls” asleep at the beginning of a cycle of evolution (under the exoteric rulership of Neptune) and “falls” away at the end, disappearing into its essence under the influence of Pluto, the esoteric ruler of Pisces.

Until Virgo begins to balance out, as its complement, the involutionary characteristics of Pisces, the mind is drowned in a sea of impressions, absorbed and dissolved by the many impacts, sensations and influences through which the currents of the ocean of existence dream themselves in instinctual man. A. Bailey says of this stage: “There is a complete absence of development of the mental principle. The hidden christ is unable to free itself from ‘contact with the Water’.”[22] Any awareness of duality and attempt to focalize a point and line of light is constantly washed away by the tides of enticing shimmering multiplicities.  The mind is yet inconsistent.

In the evolutionary stage, after the long development of the analytical faculties and mental discrimination of Virgo, the flood dries out…”There is no more sea.”[23] When the Virgo process comes to fruition, the son of Mind is born, and the power of Mercury gradually comes to an end: “The man, coming definitely into full soul consciousness, requires now no mediator, but deals directly himself with his emanating source.” Mercury is then the Sun of immediate  – that is unmediated – knowing: “Mercury and the Sun are One.”[24]

In the soul awake human being, this is a placement of synthetic comprehension, clear intuition and spiritual intelligence. The logic of rational explication and the logic of analogy have been integrated and are equally available to convey through language the unitive perceptions of the soul, the “revelations of the Real,” and to shed the truth that liberates (Pluto is now the dispositor of Mercury) and the light that heals.

Yet, if the light of the Christ principle (whose early symbol was Ichtus, the Fish) heals, if the depth of the Word illumines the words and its fire purifies the souls, it is by reason of the cycle undergone in the dim distances of time and the dark womb of matter. It is by virtue of the zodiacal cycle that the light of Mercury, which fell in Pisces, is exalted in Virgo and disappears in the ultimate consummation of Pisces. It is by virtue of his incarnation through the Virgin Mother that the divine Mercury, the Christ, could become indeed the transmuting and redeeming Light of the world; it is in the dark incarnatedness of substance – the cosmic flesh of Virgo – that the light of the world unfolds its full “ladder” and comes to actualize its divine power to reunite and refold the whole, to take the dimmest back to the bright and the minute into magnificence.

If the light of “solarized” man illumines, it is by virtue of the matters he has long been involved in, the matters which he, now a lighted one, has had to endure, penetrate, understand and reabsorb.

This speaks to the mystery that lies at the heart of two biblical stories. One is the healing of the blind Tobit by Raphael (the Mercury Archangel, the archangel of healing), the other the healing of a blind man by the Christ. Both tell of the “return” and exaltation of the light. And in both, the depths of matter are intimately involved in the rebirth of the light.

There is much wonder for instance in the fact that Raphael needed the concealed light of the fish, the light “fallen” in the hidden depths of the waters and within the flesh of the fish to heal the blind Tobit [25]. Why would the light from above, the healing power of the archangel – ever an archetypal Mercury – need anything to heal or illumine? Yet Raphael asks Tobias, the son of Tobit, to gather the gall of the fish, for this is the element that will restore sight and light to his father. It appears that rather than simply being flashed from “heaven,” light has to be elicited from matter, exalted out of the stuff of existence.  And the sour gleam of the dark is the ingredient needed to eat up, with the corrosive fiery pigments of matter, the veils which cloud Tobit’s sight… in the same way, it may be, that the sour taste of experience is the irreplaceable solvent for the glamours which fog the soul. Light acquires power and sharpness by wrestling with the dense, and knows its true glory when it unveils and is unveiled, when it discovers and is discovered.

There is even more wonder in the gesture of the Christ impregnating mud with his saliva before applying it upon a blind man’s eyes and restoring his sight.[26] Why would the Lord of Light need to mix his saliva with mud? Or is the question “what for” rather than “why,” since within the act of healing performed, one can read a parable of creation, “narrated” in all the grandeur of its simplicity: The Aries sun spirit “spat” in the mud of Taurus and there was light — Mercury. Of this parable, the Christ is the teller and the told, the Logos of the beginning and the Word embedded in the mud; the archetypal Ichtus-savior and its historical epiphany, born in the flesh of history — the fish “leaped up from the water” of space and time to “anoint”[27] the blind eyes of mankind .

Through the mediation of the light of the fish (Mercury in Pisces), the light “fallen” in the unconscious waters of Pisces – whether involutively in the fish or sacrificially in the Christ – Light is exalted and eventually emerges from matter (Mercury in Virgo) as the consciousness of the soul.

Only by being made flesh, can the Word stir the Word asleep in the flesh, and only by passing into substance can Light reveal the light awaiting in substance.

Only through knowledge of the multiple complexities and “concretudes” of the objective world can the human mind disencover the universal mind buried in the white blindness of nature and kindle to consciousness the intelligence at work in the cosmos; and only thus, from discovery to discovery, is mind revealed to itself and is light by light exalted from within its veils.

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