Mercury, the Divine Messenger
Malvin Artley, astrologer and leading occultist, discusses the nature and cycles of Mercury, the Divine Messenger. The importance of Mercury is rather underestimated by many in the astrological community, but this article will do much to put this magical planet in perspective.
hidden cycles in momentous times
Well, the times and energies certainly are momentous in this period. Having just come through two of the three most important full moons of the year and a major war we are also blessed to have begun a new 2nd-order cycle of Mercury. There have been two other 2nd-order cycles of other planets that have recently commenced as well--those of Mars and Venus. These 2nd-order cycles are social cycles and do not concern individuals so much, except insofar as we are all affected by the societies in which we live. Put another way, these cycles are more connected with the operation and unfolding of groups of all sorts. This cycle of Mercury lasts for 66 years and brings about many changes at its inception. But, those changes may not be so obvious to the casual observer, for Mercury--as we shall see--is one of the most mysterious and occult planets in our solar system, and it presides over no less than our transformation from the human to the Divine, ushering us all eventually to membership in the Kingdom of Souls.
Background on Mercury
Some background on Mercury would be appropriate at this point. Mercury was the Roman God of commerce, travel and thievery and was the counterpart of the Greek God Hermes, the messenger of the Gods. Scientifically, we know less about Mercury than any other planet except Pluto, due to the close proximity between Mercury and the Sun (thus making it very difficult to observe). It is the second-densest body in the solar system after Earth and is probably the most iron-rich body in the solar system. It has a very thin, wispy atmosphere of sodium--but it actually has water in the form of ice in the shadows of protected craters on its surface. It exhibits what is called orbital resonance, meaning the spin of the planet (its day) is coupled with its orbit at a ratio of 2:3. The length of its day is 88 Earth-days. These figures are significant to esotericists and give many clues as to how Mercury works. This orbital resonance is due to Mercury's closeness to the Sun and gravitational pulling. In esoteric literature Mercury and the Sun are often said to be one.
Mercury was called the Son of Wisdom and it was the planet sacred to Gautama, the Buddha. This latest Mercury cycle commenced during the Wesak period, the Festival of the Buddha. The north node of Mercury is in the sign of Taurus, the birth-sign of the Buddha, and it is these nodes which determine the commencement of the 2nd-order cycles. Mercury was called the Watchman of the Sun, the Sustainer of Dominions, and was the strongest of all the vigilants. It is equated with the archangel Michael and was also associated with Raphael, one of the "4 Holy Ones"--the Lords of Karma--the guides of humanity. It is called the first of the celestial Gods, the God Hermes, to which is attributed the invention of and the first initiation of men into Magic. It is Budha (from the root word budh -- to enlighten or to know) as distinct from Buddha (the Enlightened One), Wisdom, Enlightenment or 'reawakening' in the divine science. Mercury was always known as the God of Secret Wisdom.
Liquid Light of Kundalini
Mercury receives 7 times as much light as the Earth. Its corresponding metal is mercury (from the alchemical system), its color is yellow or gold, its day is Wednesday (Woden's day) and is said to be personified omniscience. It heals the blind and restores sight--mental and physical. It is more mysterious still than Venus, the Earth's alter-ego, is identical with Mithra, is the perpetual companion of the Sun of Wisdom and is the leader and evocator of Souls. Mercury, as Hermes, conjoined with Venus (Aphrodite) on the psycho-spiritual planes gives humans the name "Hermaphrodite".
Mercury rules the liquid (active) light of the kundalini fire, whereas Mars rules the latent aspect of that serpent. Serpents were always equated with Wisdom in occult literature and it is small wonder that kundalini is called the "serpent fire", because that fire restores the inner, spiritual sight, reveals the Wisdom of the Ages to the astounded initiate and liberates the consciousness that was bound before by the confines of physical existence.
As the Divine Intermediary, Mercury carries the messages between the poles (Soul and persona) at the speed of light. It is the expression of the dual aspects of mind as it mediates between higher and lower. As such, then, it is the star of conflict because it reveals to the mind the duality of life--the "Self" and the "not-self". In so doing, it produces a steady pull between that which is perceived and the consciousness who perceives it. As such, too, it is thus the major planet of relationships because it "engineers" the interplay between the lower self and the higher Self, between our Earth and the Sun, and between our Earth and the major constellations which condition us. Lastly, the students of the planetary school on Mercury are called "The Sons of Aspiration" or "The Points of Yellow Light", for those who might wish to use such descriptions in their visualizations.
Now, that's a hard act to follow in anyone's book. This tiny little planet which is nestled so close to the Sun has a very profound significance to our own little world. Orthodox astrology does not accord Mercury with nearly the significance it deserves, probably because Mercury operates more in the realm of consciousness than it does in mundane events. But, to the occultist, the inner planes determine the causality of the manifested universe. Thus, though it may not appear so on the surface, Mercury works potently behind the scenes as one of the truly great "movers and shakers" in our solar system, shaping consciousness on many worlds and thus ensuring that the Plan of God manifests itself in line with divine Providence. Mercury is said to be far older than the Earth and it thus acts as an older Brother or Mentor to the Lord of our planet. Along with Mars and our Earth it forms a trinity of planets of rare importance--which brings me to the point of this letter.
We have all been feeling--if we cared to look--that there is something momentous happening on our world at the present time. Especially since 1998, when Mars commenced its 2nd-order cycle, everything seems to have been accelerated and shaken up. People's lives have been in turmoil or at least very busy. Old things from back in the recesses of one's consciousness have been coming out to be resolved and/or more fully integrated into new paradigms of thinking. The world seems polarized and a scary place to many. Yet, if we look beyond or behind the present chaotic happenings there is an indefinable "something" which seems to be driving us all forward toward greater freedom and spiritual prosperity. To hang a phrase on it, I would have to say there is a deep, growing vibrant expectancy that whatever is coming will bless us all in abundance and richness. But, it is still early days yet. There is still much work to be done in terms of clearing away obstacles to that greater freedom before we can see what is coming with any great clarity.
Read part 2 of Mercury, the Divine Messenger
Aries, the Ram
Taurus, the Bull
Gemini, the Twins
Cancer, the Crab
Leo, the Lion
Virgo, the Virgin
Libra, the Scales
Scorpio, the Scorpion
Sagittarius, the Archer
Capricorn, the Sea Goat
Aquarius, the Water Bearer
Pisces, the Fishes