> Astrology > Mercurius
> Dig Deeper Into Mercury
a planet, Mercury represents the desire to label things. Mercury
wants to give everything a name because that seems to make things
feel safer. Naming something brings it out of the dark night, out
of the dark world into light." Richard Idemon; from "Through
the Looking Glass" Seminar
Deeper Into Mercury (Hermes) with Dr Z
knowing it, most of us have met up with the mischievous Roman messenger
god Mercury (known to the Greeks as Hermes) when on a visit to the
local shopping mall.
encounter doubly makes of sense, when we consider [among other things]
that Mercury/Hermes is a protector of merchants and tavern owners.
We most generally encounter Mercury/Hermes immediately after walking
into one of the main entrances.
you figured out what I'm talking about yet?
spirit resides in the gigantic mall map. Yep! Mercury/Hermes can
be found in that marvelously helpful map that so carefully, succinctly
categorizes and then explains where all of the different stores
in the mall are located. Mercury/Hermes even provides you with that
ever so helpful arrow pointing to exactly where you are now in relation
to where you want to go.
One can always be assured of meeting up with the messenger god Mercury/Hermes
wherever there are crossroads and boundaries.
ancient Greece and Rome, Herms (square pillars topped with a bust
of Hermes) were used as boundary markers and protective guardians
at the entry ways of buildings and along roads.
various folklores, legends, and superstitions the crossroads quite
often took on a darker, more sinister persona and become associated
with evil magic and demons. According the deVries Dictionary of
Symbols and Imagery 1974, evil witches and vampryes were said to
be buried at the crossroads, and this was done in order to confuse
them so that they couldn't find their way home.
easy to get lost at the crossroads...
Mercury/Hermes is the street sign keeping you informed of just exactly
where you are by declaring that you're on the corner of 5th and
Broad in Nashville, TN or on the corner of 10th and Williams in
San Jose, CA.
Mercury/Hermes (Mercury), ruler of Gemini and Virgo, crosses all
the boundaries; he's a god of contradictions. Mercury/Hermes is
the god of speech, and he is the god of silence. He is the eternal
youth, puer aeternus; he is old man senex messenger to the dead.
He is the hare; he is the tortoise. He is the grasshopper; he is
the ant. He is the talisman of the slick talking, road savvy, traveling
salesman continually chasing down the virtues of the farmer's virginal
is the protector of honest merchants and tavern owners. He is the
patron and benefactor of pickpockets, highway bandits, thieves,
rogues, liars, hucksters, and scoundrels. He is jester, joker, fool,
prankster, trickster, magician, genius, shaman, and psychopomp.
In The Movies
In TV and movie westerns, Mercury/Hermes is sometimes the unseen
lookout that secretly puts out an alert to the rest of the gang
that intruders are about to enter their hideout.
at other times, the spirit of Mercury/Hermes is the Army scout that
rides off ahead of the mounted Calvary troops to let them know what
they might be facing up ahead on the trail.
Mercury/Hermes can perhaps be most clearly seen in the dual identity
of the hero/highwayman Zorro (the fox) as he continually confounds
California authorities in Mexico's fight for independence from the
iron fist of Spain. The anti-hero figure of Zorro the fox (my personal
favorite hero while growing up) is simultaneously wise, cunning,
charming, brave, and more than a wee bit romantic. (Just call me
In Greek mythology, Mercury/Hermes is the guardian of the journey.
To illustrate this, here's a quote from mythologist Karl Kerenyi's
book entitled Hermes, Guide of Souls.
first of the traveler:] "His [the traveler's] guardian
is not Hermes, but Zeus, the god of the widest horizon and
the firmest ground. In contrast, the situation of the journeyer
is defined by movement, fluctuation. To someone more deeply
rooted, even to the traveler, he (the journeyer) appears to
be always in flight. In reality, he makes himself vanish ('volatilizes
himself') to everyone, also to himself... With companions
of the journey, one experiences openness to the extent of
purest nakedness, as though he who is on the journey has left
behind every stitch of clothing or covering."
Kerenyi distinguishes between the traveler who is ruled by Zeus
(Jupiter) and the journeyer who is ruled by Hermes (Mercury).
For the traveler, the trip is merely a way to get from "here"
to "there" (from point A to point B). Zeus (Jupiter)
is the guardian of the traveler who is going long distances.
journeyer, the trip and the adventures experienced along the way
are what matter most. And Hermes (Mercury) is the guardian of
"The Odyssey" depicts the journeys and ordeals of the
Greek hero Odysseus after the fall of Troy and as he struggles
to return home and reestablish himself as king of Ithaca.
all four of the mutable Zodiac signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius,
and Pisces) can relate to Homer’s The Odyssey in different
ways - Gemini and Virgo ruled by Mercury are the Zodiac signs
most suited to "The Odyssey" and it’s rather unusual
"The Odyssey," the Greeks had been engaged in battle
and bloodshed with the Trojans for ten long years. To finally
put a quick end to things - sly, slick Odysseus had tricked the
Trojans into thinking that the Greeks had given up and gone home.
To "honor" the Trojans, the Greeks had left behind a
colossal wooden horse as a "gift." (This is where the
saying: "Beware Greeks bearing gifts" got started.)
brought the gigantic horse within the walls of Troy, had an even
more colossal celebratory party, and then fell asleep. What the
Trojans didn't know was that Odysseus and his men were hidden
inside the gigantic horse. Troy was then sacked by the Greeks,
and the Trojans were utterly, completed conquered via Odysseus'
at this point where "the odyssey" begins in earnest
for Odysseus and his men. Life then appears to become a meandering,
seemingly disjointed journey on the "road to nowhere"
for quick thinking, quick talking Odysseus.
their long journey that takes another ten years, Odysseus and
his men encounter various obstacles on the way home to the Greek
isle of Ithaca.
of "The Odyssey" is then about the differing obstacles
Odysseus encountered on his journey home.
Helmet of Invisibility - Behind the Scenes
In Greek mythology there was a special helmet rendering invisible
the person or god wearing the helmet. This helmet of invisibility
is most often linked with the underworld god Hades (Pluto), however
archetypal author James Hillman in "The Dream and the Underworld"
points out that this helmet of invisibility rightly belonged the
messenger god Hermes (known to the Romans as Mercury).
over the head, Hermes' helmet signifies hidden thoughts and secrets.
Much of the time Hermes enjoys hanging out unnoticed in the background.
is that the Greek god Hermes nowadays remains so successfully
hidden that he's chiefly been reduced in rank to the silly image
of a god concerned with the speedy delivery of fresh flowers.
sure that Hermes likes it that way...
for Digging Much Deeper into the spirit of Hermes -
The following books are not recommended for
folks simply wanting to know more about their Sun Sign.
Inner Planets: Building Blocks of Personal Reality
- Howard Sasportas and Liz Greene at Amazon
This is my most traditional astrological reading suggestion.
Focus of the book is on the astrological planets of Mercury,
Venus, and Mars looked at from an archetypal perspective.
Guide of Souls at Amazon
The Greek mythology of Hermes written by my all time personal
favorite mythologist. Quoted in this article, however this is
not written from an astrological perspective.
Hermes: From Greek God to Alchemical Magus
- Antoine Faivre at Amazon
Absolutely fascinating (albeit a wee bit scholastically mind-numbing
for the average reader) book on Hermes the shape-shifter in
all of his many forms down through the ages. Draws upon rare
books and esoteric manuscripts on Hermes, the Hermetic tradition,
and explores the mysterious figure of Hermes Trismegistus. Faivre
is thought by many of his peers to be one of the top academic
scholars in the field of esoterism. This extraordinary book
is not written from an astrological perspective. If too expensive
at Amazon, then try to find it at the library.
and His Children
- Rafael Lopez-Pedraza at Amazon
Warning: this book was written primarily for Jungian therapists
back in 1967. While recommendation is primarily reserved for
dyed-in-the-wool Jungian psychology fans - there are, nevertheless,
tidbits of fascinating ideas and insights that you are unlikely
to encounter anywhere else. This is not written from an astrological
perspective. Again, if interested, (and too expensive at Amazon)
try to find it at the library.
and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times
This book is an excellent introduction to Gnosis and Hermeticism.
It traces the historical development of those religious traditions
that rejected a world view based on the primacy of pure rationality
or doctrinal faith, emphasizing instead the importance of inner
enlightenment or gnosis.
with the Italian humanist Renaissance, hermetic philosophy became
of central importance to a new religious synthesis that can
today be referred to as "Western Esotericism."
is not written from an astrological perspective. Again, if interested,
(and too expensive at Amazon) try to find it at the library.
am friend to whoever is lonely." Hermes Trismegistus