|A detail from Hieronymous Bosch’s
The Garden of Earthly Delights
“Beware the slinking whisperer who whispers into the hearts of people, whether he is from the world of spirits or the world of humans.” – Sura 114, The Qur’an
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heaven.” – Satan in Paradise Lost.
“Demons do not exist any more than gods do, being only the products of the psychic activity of man.” – Sigmund Freud
Mercury is quicksilver, dashing fleet-footed through the Zodiac, faster than any other planet. He is a shapeshifter, a trickster, a magician. In each sign he wears a different mask.
He is the planet of the mind. And when he turns retrograde our thoughts turn inward, as we edit and examine, file and sort through the previous few months. We need these times that Mercury retrograde offers to stop and think. But in each sign that period of reflection takes a different hue.
|Orpheus and Eurydice by Frederick George Watts|
In Scorpio, Mercury ventures into the darkest realms, into Hades. Mercury is both the god of travellers, and the messenger between gods and humans. He can go anywhere. Remember that his Greek equivalent Hermes conducted people to the underworld. It was he who guided Eurydice back to her death when Orpheus made the mistake of turning as he tried to retrieve her from Hades.Orpheus had persuaded Hades and his queen Persephone with the power and potency of his lamenting lyre to allow him to take his wife back to the world of the living. They allowed him to try and take her home on the condition that he did not look back. When he lost his lover Eurydice for the second time, they say Orpheus’ music became even better. And how true that still is of music: the personal experience of heartbreak and the journey to love’s dungeons creates better musicians.
and little wings fluttering at his ankles;
It’s usual at this time of years to tell scary stories; we’ve just had Halloween and the Day of the Dead. You have only to turn on the TV to see a menu of grim fictions available to us currently.But our own mind’s journey to the underworld this month is even more self-reflective than usual because Mercury is retrograde. We may be encountering our own inner demons, the whispered voice of doubt or envy, malice or madness. Every culture in the world has a word for demons, and many have a world of demons.
Are they real or are they imaginary? And if you are imagining them, then why? There’s a dispassion about Mercury that could allow you to sit down and talk to those demons; ask them a few questions. Of course, sometimes Mercury gabbles nonsense, but not when he is in Scorpio. This is the place where we can hear a few home truths.Scorpio dissects. Mercury thinks.Mercury goes forward again on the 26th and leaves Scorpio on December 11th. With the Sun now safely in Sagittarius, we may be able to look into Hades with a degree more detachment – and less terror.