Meditation on Mercury
Arc of the Diver

Meditation on Mercury

by Marguerite Hafeman, ©

Mercury orbits the Sun in approximately eighty-eight days, however because of retrograde motion takes about a year to finish a circuit of the zodiac. Mercury spends about three weeks in a sign if it is direct; when retrograde it spends eight to ten weeks. To learn more about Mercury retrograde, follow this Link. Since the planet is always within 28° of the Sun's zodiacal position, it occupies the same zodiac sign as the Sun, the preceding sign or the following sign, never further away than that. In astrology Mercury rules the dualistic signs Gemini and Virgo .

Gemini rules the natural third house of the zodiac, concerned with one-on-one relationships and the gathering of information; then comparing or contrasting the meaning and values associated with them. It also rules basic communication methods verbal, written or imaged, in addition to eye-hand coordination and fine work done with the hands. Siblings and neighbors can also be included in the domain of Gemini. Virgo rules the natural sixth house, which emphasizes health mental, physical or emotional, co-workers, unresolved issues, descipleship, magical work and small pets. Virgo also excels in the organization, catigorization, integration and deployment of the information gathered in Gemini. For the ancient Mesopotamians and Assyrians Virgo as Great Goddess aspect, constellation and sign ruled over the dispensation of justice and the upholding of sovereignty, as symbolized by the circle and rod held in each hand.

Mercury is considered androgynous, assuming the gender of the sign it occupies. In the Western world it rules logical-linear reasoning, the collection and organization of information, communication and transportation equipment, travel, touch, speaking and writing. The archetype of Mercury is also found in other cultures, assuming a most interesting spectrum of duties. He/she is the Egyptian-Greek Hermes Trismegestus, guardian of esoteric doctrine; the Egyptian counterpart is Thoth, author of the Emerald Tablets, master builder and guardian of higher wisdom. To the Norse he is Loki the trickster, loyal to no one and player of both ends against the middle. To some Native Americans he is Coyote, also a trickster, who plays the best tricks on himself. In all instances, Mercury can do one thing no other gods or men can do, namely travel as messenger between the upper, physical and underworlds of existence without harm.

In Western culture Mercury is classically depicted with the caduceus, or two snakes twining around a central rod. I remember a time not long ago, when no one spoke about what that thing meant, aside from being a symbol of the medical profession and ambulance drivers. Maybe it had something to do with healing, but what would two snakes, which are often labeled as evil in Western religious dogma, have to do with doctors? Slowly I was able to squeeze out that the caduceus referred principally to Kundalini energy in motion.

What is "Kundalini"? It is an Indian term for bio-electricity, a fluid magnetic energy that can rise up the spine when consciousness is simulated and doors to the subconscious are opened. It is linked to the Sanskrit word "Chaitanya" or integration of psychological, mental, emotional and spiritual parts of the self. If one's circuits are working properly, e.g. an open circuit of Kundalini energy flow, there is no more mind-body split. Clairvoyant and clairaudient abilities are activated and one feels connected with the rest of the universe. If this energy is accessed positively and not directed merely into enhanced sexual gratification, the ego can be put in its place as a tool instead of presumed to be the center of identity. One can then build authentic self within unconditional love, dynamic harmony between yin and yang aspects of being; there is connection with spirit and cosmic mind instead, as an experience of reality.

A state of ecstatic union with the Godhead can be attained within self, and expanded through the sacred sexual union of a man and woman purely surrendered to one another. If accessed negatively, bioelectric energy can be directed via ritual and concentration of will towards nefarious ends such as controlling other people. Also, activated Kundalini energy can awaken atavistic skill in perceiving and directing disincarnate entities in elemental and astral dimensions. Obviously, given the average human preoccupation with power, such an ability could easily be used towards destructive ends.

But there are two snakes in the caduceus, not one. This would refer to twin ascending and descending currents of energy manifestation, known also as coagulating and dissolving forces in western esoteric thought. The second snake refers to an active process of giving and receiving input from higher mind, maybe even Cosmic Mind. This would be very difficult to allow in practice if one needs to believe themselves a separate entity and that the conscious mind is our own construct. Modern psychology suggests that very little of our real will or intelligence is used, if at all in everyday life. Instead, a number of automatic programs can run the show; distorted and short-circuited commands and processes created whole cloth from childhood trauma, conditioned religious and social behaviors, family inheritance and psychic energy cells emanating from collective sources (yes, people are trained from birth to believe in status, unending judgmental guilt and sexual shame). Why not throw in certain unquestioned psychosomatic-somatic constructs run amok, namely fear (of death), greed, victimization, and faith in rigid status quo hierarchies that do not have your best interests at heart?

Perhaps enlightened Greeks of long ago, in the era of Pythagorean philosophy and mathematics, knew about this bio-electrical energy, but the knowledge was obviously suppressed for many hundreds of years in the Western world. Even today, do conditioned, civilized individuals ever really feel Kundalini energy and submit to penetration by Cosmic Mind, or do the hipsters amongst us lie a lot? How much can we participate in it if our capacity for sexual response labors under a fear of surrender, a compulsive need for control and to remain disassociated (separate) from unity with other energy fields? How long could an activated Kundalini state of being survive in the conventional workplace, honoring exploitive practices and "team spirit"? How enlightened can folks who prefer to live in their mind and view their bodies as "a mere vessel of clay" be? To spread it around a little to the rest of the world, how would the Kundalini concept play in societies where woman is largely a conception device without a reasoning mind or permission to experience sexual pleasure?

Concerned others postulate that if we gave up "civilized" moral dictates, and seriously gave ourselves over to cultivating this ditsy bio-spiritual interaction we would run wild, degenerate quickly into anarchy and destroy civilization. Based on my own ditsy observations, it doesn't happen. When one no longer functions out of denial or repression, one is aware of the entire scope of one's program, shadow aspects and all. If, at the same time, the switch connecting spirit, soul, mind and nature is also thrown to "open", no deviant behavior occurs because one is no longer separate from or superior to, anything. One interfaces with the entire enchilada of the self, earthly warts and divine vitalizing force all-in-one, and thus is placed in intimate contact with the rest of creation's web.

Participation in certain types of business activity is no longer possible with the same impunity, as one intimately feels the impact on everything involved, from the resource exploited, to one's own family and surrounding human units, to one's own body and mind. Conversely, one who formerly let others doing the thinking and acting for him or her (the benevolent authority concept) is now forced to become active in shaping the scope of their own evolution and taking care of their own bodies, because they know too much. Of course, a lot of us don't care to go there as it would interfere with TV time. Are there some people who simply are not constructed to let two-way activation of Kundalini energy occur? Absolutely yes, and one should identify and steer clear of them because like parasites they attach and suck off all the vital force of others, if allowed.

What about the religious implication that Nature and the natural body is the source of our problems with excess? To paraphrase the tightly wrapped, Nature is chaos, the residue of God's grace, without soul and therefore free game for human exploitation and abuse? Look around in Nature, or what is left of it. I do not see anything running rampant at the expense of anything else unless it is under stress and given no habitat within which to comfortably cohabit. No sexual perversion, frigidity, pedophilia, nymphomania or obsession with porn that I can spy out in them woods either. I do see balance in competition, order, rhythm, hierarchy by function and maintenance of diversity. I see compliance with a natural cycle of birth, preservation and destruction, that everything in nature has its number and its season.

Man might have inspirational and reasoning functions, but no other species reproduces in such unchecked quantity, or sanctions a God that condones war and the accumulation of stuff so passionately. Or, if I don't do it the other fellow will, so onwards and upwards, George. And we do so like to hang onto everything we have ever created; life may be hell, but at least it's a familiar hell and it's my very own hell. Maybe we have this thing turned around; nature is a living template of what existence in balance means; it is our particular definitions of "civilization" that lie willfully outside the divine plan. Those of us who grow weary of the chase, can activate the second snake of the caduceus, giving up to Cosmic Mind the trash, old habits, outdated behaviors, burning compulsions, sins (sin = not being true to yourself) that can fester unchecked into disease. But in return for this grace, one is asked to share the stage of life with entities other than human, to be woven in as part of a whole cloth, rather than standing separate, lost in an illusion of superiority.

Why would Mercury also need be the trickster? Because we are chronically prone to taking ourselves entirely too seriously, frequently fooled by our own transitory importance, conned daily by our personal bias and crystallized beliefs? Because sometimes the best way to learn is through humor, through considering alternative viewpoints, embarking on an adventure through other worlds over which no timetable is imposed, no limits predetermined? Maybe throw in the wisdom of being able to review the trap of dualistic perception most of us live in. We can exhibit a Gemini knee jerk tendency to separate all observed phenomenon into categories of black and white, good and evil, either and or, sad and happy, etc. with the weird expectation that all items so labeled by this personal set of quantifiers would never change, blend, metamorphose, grow or die. Contemplate the survival value of becoming aware of those who actually have no authentic set of values, who simply change the appearance of black and white as needed, to get you to do what they want?

So Mercury delivers quite a complex load, if you access he/she/it as an active resource. Some astrologers like to keep it assigned to purely logical-linear mental functions, such as the collection and organization of data encoded in words or binary computer function. However, perhaps the trickster also handles information encoded as image/archetype and emotion/intuition; stuff that functions within in a dynamic birth-life-death cycle, interlaced with space-time. And the spirit of Mercury would also seem to promote the ability to surrender apparent consciousness, still the roof-brain chatter, let go of status quo.

The twin snakes of Mercury are ultimately the head and tail of one snake, the Creativity and Law of one ultimate, infinite, unknowable Divine Mind. Welded as components of a continuum, Mercury's snakes can provide nurturance in the form of cosmic creative energy, healing vibrations and new inspirational data; they can initiate knowledge and respect for natural law, ignite enlightenment and promote rejuvenation of all life forms. But taking up the snakes brings one face to face with the challenge of Ophiucus, the Snake Handler who resides in Sagittarius opposite the sign Gemini, ruled by Mercury.

Ophiucus sometimes called the thirteenth sign of the zodiac; if we lived under the natural yearly cycle of thirteen lunar months, perhaps he would be better recognised in our culture. In the zodiac, the constellation lies between the primal destructive and regenerative powers of Scorpio and the integrated instinctual, mental and spiritual state of being represented by Sagittarius. In Greek myth Ophiucus was a healer so skilled that even death was overcome. Could a human be expected to wield the ultimate forces of existence with the necessary wisdom and balance?

Pluto, the Greek lord of death wanted Ophiucus eliminated, but Zeus, king of the gods granted the healer immortality, placing him amongst the stars. The implication of the snake handler is that we must awaken, integrate and hold instinctual, bio-electrical, emotional, reasoning and inspirational forces in harmony within ourselves while honoring necessary limitations, or ultimate destruction will one day be the fate of our planet. The constellation is sometimes depicted as a man holding a snake severed in two. Actually, the healer is holding one snake, if one visualizes that the body of the serpent passes between the legs of the healer. Here lies a big hint about integrating mind, body, soul and spirit like Sagittarius is supposed to do.

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