Aspects of Life

Maritha Pottenger

We continue our discussion of aspects with Mercury this issue. Again, I wish to remind readers that I will only cover basic principles in this column, with a few examples to help clarify. You must extrapolate to specific instances in your own lives.


Mercury symbolizes our reasoning mind, especially abstract intelligence and the curious mind which investigates and explores for its own sake. It is associated with all those people on whom we “practice” when learning to learn and learning to communicate: brothers, sisters, other collateral relatives, neighbors, early school peers and anyone in our vicinity. Parents and grandparents, as more clear-cut authority figures belong elsewhere (to 4/10 and 1/7.) Traditionally, “short” trips are ruled by Mercury, “short” being defined as going anywhere when you can still return and sleep in your own bed that evening. The ability to communicate is also a Mercury function, and on the physical level, we are involved with the breathing (and lungs) which support our verbal communications. Mercury is often associated with vision, especially near-sightedness. The Mercury focus is right here—the people, environment and surroundings immediately around us. One of the skills symbolized by Mercury is the light touch—the ability to detach and play the objective observer—watching life go by without emotional involvement. This can be extended to the comic or even prankster who enjoys pricking the balloons of other people’s pomposity.

Thus, when we have Mercury conjunct Mercury (as by transit, etc.), we would expect more potential focus in any of these areas: new studies and mental pursuits, especially the variety that are easy to pick up and drop rather than a serious pursuit of higher education; additional involvements with collateral relatives or neighbors; travel, especially short-term or simple restlessness; more detachment and objectivity than usual; a butterfly period of flitting from flower to flower with one’s activities and relationships; more emphasis on communication (especially verbal).

Harmony aspects suggest easy flow in our communication and mental activities, but the potential of overdoing any of these areas: rationalization, detachment, restlessness, curiosity, talkativeness, etc. Stress aspects suggest a need to learn to handle the various sides of our nature which Mercury symbolizes, e.g., contacts with casual peers, the restless versatile mind, when to take things lightly, etc.


A conjunction of the Moon (or any water planet) with Mercury is the potential blending of the unconscious with the conscious mind. On the positive level, this is a great combination for psychotherapists —who help make the unconscious accessible to conscious mind logic and examination. This is also a good potential mix of rational and intuitive learning—left and right brain, if you will. Emotions and logic are being combined—the question is whether for good or ill.

Negative forms include rationalizing and intellectualizing the feeling nature. Some people will have wonderful excuses and reasons for everything, refusing to deal with their emotions, preferring to explain them away. Others will allow their emotions to continually overwhelm their reason and operate out of an overly sentimental mode. There is often an excellent memory, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on what the native selects to remember and focus upon. We may spend a lot of time thinking and/or talking about family history, our childhood, etc. Visits to or from siblings are another potential.

Our mother or mother figure was a role model (positive or negative) for Mercury functions with this placement. If handled positively, mother might have seemed more like a sister—equal, fun, able to play and take life casually, bright, easy to talk to, open, light hearted. If not so positive, she could have been experienced as flighty, irresponsible, too playful (childish), overly talkative or excessively detached and intellectual (rather than warm and emotional). We are learning from her what to do and what not to do in handling our mind, in gaining ability to communicate and to deal with our immediate environment. This mother/sibling blend is also the potential of another sibling (or relative) playing a mother role in our life, or us playing mother to one or more siblings or relatives. Generally, the early home environment has a major influence on our handling of our own mind and ability to talk. If we project it all onto mother, we may see her as the bright or talkative one and continue to deny our own Mercury potential. Ideally, we learn to share together a sense of fun, a playful ability to laugh at life’s follies and an appreciation of the mental world.

The Moon is, of course, our own ability to nurture as well. We may fall into a mental rather than an emotional style of relating—preferring to talk things out whenever possible, tending to be detached and objective rather than feeling. We can treat our own children as peers and equals (like siblings). Harmony aspects between the Moon and Mercury suggest that our intuitive and rational sides can easily work together and support one another. Our emotional security needs are easily blended with our intellectual, thinking processes. When manifesting in the outer world, this can indicate potential harmony between our mother (or mother figure) and siblings and other relatives. Or pleasant relations between our actual home and the neighborhood and surroundings which we inhabit.

Stress or conflict aspects suggest we need to make peace between our objective reasoning side and our emotional, sometimes needy side. Depending on the rest of the chart, either end (or both) could be a problem. Some people will go the overly intellectual route; others will wallow in emotions. Some will swing from one extreme to the other, or project and find a partner who does one end of the seesaw while they do the opposite.

The conflict may manifest as ambivalence around the nest. The Moon side wants a home, physical and emotional security and rootedness. Mercury wants variety, change, something on the move, exploring. Bringing lots of conversation and new ideas into the home is one solution. Living surrounded by relatives is another option. Having a stable home with lots of side trips is a possibility and there are many more. The important issue is to be sure that one’s basic dependency and nurturance needs are being met as well as one’s needs for intellectual stimulation, variety and a give and take with one’s immediate environment.


Forget combust. Mercury/Sun conjunctions do NOT “burn up” or otherwise destroy the mind. People with such placements are extremely EGO-involved with their minds. They are inclined to show off in some way with their intellect, whether through a large, complicated vocabulary, a chronic need to best others in arguments, a continual listing of intellectual assets and pursuits, or a simple desire to be constantly in the limelight through telling witty or exciting stories, selling, or other forms of arranging to be in the center stage through one’s mind and communication skills. Intelligence is a source of self-esteem.

There is often a very good, quick mind, but the native needs to be appreciated and admired for it. The mental arena is their place to shine! Word games, puzzles, intellectual recreation of all kinds may attract. Charm and magnetism are often considerable and wit and repartee may also be strong. The witty entertainer, the perfect party person are indeed options. So too, are the super salesperson or con artist.

Here we are blending lovers and children with siblings and other early relatives. If we have unfinished business with an early sibling or relative, we may end up with a lover or child who elicits the same problematical responses from us, until we learn to handle the issues. Since it is Mercury, the issues will revolve around thinking, communication, detachment and casualness. We may simply opt for variety in lovers and flirt a lot. We may pick younger lovers to live out the childlike qualities for us or other options. If we continue to project our Mercury side, we will see our lovers and/or children as exceedingly bright, or cool, aloof and detached, or too playful and lighthearted, or too inclined to chatter, etc.

Stress aspects do suggest the need to integrate, although the natural fire-air sextile suggests the combining should be fairly easy. Both sides want expression. The major issue to resolve is objectivity and detachment versus emotional grandstanding and taking over. Allowing some excitement, drama and flair along with one’s cool, intellectual side is not usually too difficult. The best teachers can combine the entertaining, charismatic qualities of the Sun with the informational nature of Mercury and make learning a joy.

Harmony aspects generally imply that the individual is easily able to blend attention needs with intellectual needs. Such aspects are common among people using their minds or communication skills to persuade others—selling, teaching, promotion, advertising, etc. On the outer level, this is the potential for harmony between our own lovers and children and our early relatives. On the inner level, we are constantly finding ways in which to do more than we have done before in terms of learning and sharing information.


With the conjunction, the focus is on a thorough, organized and practical mind. The native may be obsessed with efficiency on the mental level. Occasionally, the issue with Vesta is a health problem, where the individual is dealing with inefficiency from the beginning, but more often Vesta simply indicates a strong desire to do something WELL. With Mercury involved, the tendency is towards a very pragmatic and grounded intellect—possibly even concrete thinking. The mind is usually well attuned to handling the physical world. One danger would be if the abstract nature of Mercury is not comfortably combined with the concrete and physical nature of Vesta. The theoretician and the applied researcher need each other. This is one of the excellent blends for writing. The addition of earth to Mercury suggests the likelihood of lasting, tangible results such as books, journals, etc. This combination is a natural for a profession involving the mind or communication of any kind—writing, journalism, speaking, etc.

Conflict aspects could operate as the abstract versus the concrete mind. The individual might be torn between these two ways of thinking. Or, some people will project one end, identify with the other and then fight over which is correct. Another potential conflict is the quantity versus quality dilemma. Mercury is quite content to pick things up and drop them again; study for a bit and move on; casually and superficially investigate. Vesta demands thoroughness and competence; Vesta requires we finish what we start. Our Vesta nature cries for doing something worth doing and doing it WELL. The critical nature of Vesta may be directed against our mental or communicative abilities, leading to self-doubts and feelings of inadequacy. Or, we may project and criticize siblings or other early relatives for their casual behavior, loose tongue, intellectual aloofness, etc.

Harmony aspects imply that the blend of this natural square can be handled fairly easily. We learn what is our job where we have a right to criticize, looking for ways in which to improve our functioning in that area. We learn what areas of life are for fun—where we laugh and do not take it too seriously. We learn when to utilize our capacity for theory and abstraction, and when to ground our airy concepts in the reality of the physical world. When comfortably blended, our minds may very well support our work in the world and vice versa.


The conjunction carries the same overtones of unfinished business with mother or mother figure around mental, communicative, detachment issues as does Mercury/Moon. Here the mothering issues are more practical than emotional. Ceres also carries the same efficiency focus as does Vesta, so issues around efficiency in the body (health) are one potential as well as competence in the work. Again, work involving the intellect and the mind is quite feasible. Also, there is the potential self-criticism—picking flaws in one’s own thinking, feeling we never know enough, doubting our own mental capacities—though on the whole, Ceres seems less critical than Vesta. As with Vesta, there tends to be a very good, thorough, practical, organized mind, although the possessor may feel the need to prove the ability to himself or herself.

Harmony aspects show the potential of comfortably blending the earth mother urge with learning, communicating and being able to be casual about life. We fist get the opportunity to learn this through our own mothers, then get to learn some more when we mother others. The quantity versus quality dilemma also must be faced, but is easier when harmony aspects are present. We simply decide where to be appropriately thorough and where to be lighthearted and casual.

Stress aspects point to the need to address the above issues with care and discipline. We need to avoid setting the theoretician and pragmatist sides of our nature at odds with one another, rather searching for ways in which they complement and assist one another. We need to blend the nurturing nature of Ceres with the intellectual focus of Mercury. We need to know what is important and worth doing well and what is just a mild diversion or curiosity which can be dropped at any moment.

Since Mercury, Vesta and Ceres have a Virgo side to them, the double mental emphasis is strong. The mind is usually very good and very productive. These blends are also often skilled with handicrafts. The goal is to create something lasting and useful with the mind and/or hands.


With Mercury conjunct Pallas or Juno, we are blending the reasoning mind with an artistic sense. Beautiful speech is one potential, or diplomatic skill in saying the right thing at the right time. Communicating through beauty with painting or other art forms is quite possible. There tends to be a social emphasis. People and ideas are a focus. Relationships are an area to share thoughts and communicate together. The native tends to seek bright, articulate mates with whom to share the world. If projected, we may choose partners to think for us, to talk for us, to be casual, light and flippant. If the need for variety and lightness is overdone, the incorrigible flirt is one potential—by us or partner (if projected). Unfinished business with an early relative (sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.) may be faced through our close partnerships. If we haven’t yet learned how to be an equal in a comfortable, companionable way, we meet the issues again.

Conflict aspects suggest a need to integrate ambivalences, but the natural trine between Mercury and Pallas or Juno indicates much inner agreement. One potential issue is the degree of commitment. Mercury tends to seek variety and “love the one I’m near.” Pallas and Juno are inclined towards a committed one-to-one relationship, usually more lasting than Mercury might wish. Pallas and Juno emphasize current partnerships and relationships; Mercury is oriented towards those near at hand and early family ties. The inner conflict of dividing time and energy between these two arenas could also translate into outer disagreements between partners (including spouses) and early home ties or neighbors, etc. Mercury is a bit more self-centered, just wanting to explore and express, whereas Pallas and Juno are learning to take turns expressing. The issue might be over the degree of emphasis to be placed on intellectual affairs versus on affectionate relationships.

Harmony aspects suggest these parts of our nature are basically in agreement. The tendency is to value communication in all associations with other people. There may be a strong mental emphasis. The approach to life is likely to be open. The mind may assist the artistic sense and vice versa.


With the conjunction, we expect a deep, probing mind. An investigative approach to learning is likely. The urge is to get to the bottom of things, to the root causes. This can entail quite a bit of questioning along the way. Superficial, surface meanings are rarely accepted as is. Hypnotism, depth psychology, mysteries all may attract the native.

As another water/air mixture with potential psychic ability and talent for blending the intuitive and rational, the focus is generally inward—toward self-mastery and self-control. If carried to an extreme, obsessive thinking could be a problem. The mind may hang tenaciously onto its thoughts and feelings. Resentment, perhaps rationalized, is still a potential danger. The mind tends to be very thorough and well-organized. The tongue can also be cutting, but not as often as when fire is involved. However, with the Scorpion’s sting, when words are used as weapons, they will seek out the weakest chinks in the opponent’s armor. We may be first learning how to share with siblings and early collateral relatives, especially sharing the physical, resource world. (This can include inheritance from said relatives.) If we do not complete our business with those early relatives, we may attract a mate with similar patterns with whom we can learn to be an equal partner.

Conflict aspects suggest we have not made peace between our deeper emotional, intuitive being and our rational intellect. One potential difficulty is the superficial, changeable focus of Mercury in conflict with the depth analysis approach of Pluto. We must learn when intense digging beneath the surface is appropriate and when the light touch is more effective. We may set our reason in opposition to our intuitive reactions. We may feel torn between intellect and passion. Mercury looks for many mates while our Pluto nature seeks a deep, intense, meaningful attachment.

Harmony aspects suggest we can blend these various parts of our nature. We know when to probe and search and when to be casual and relaxed. We are able to utilize our intuitive reactions as well as our mental abstractions. We can think objectively and feel intensely at appropriate moments. On the outer level, this can be harmony between our mates and our early family associations. We can commit where appropriate and know when to thumb our noses.


This is a natural opposition and highlights mental restlessness in a chart. The conjunction often indicates the perpetual student, teacher, traveler—always on the go, mentally and/or physically searching for more information, answers, Truth. The native tends to be quite bright, but may be scattered with multiple interests. Generally, a high value is placed on the mind, perhaps even idealizing mental prowess. Perfectionism where knowledge is concerned is a potential problem; the native may never be satisfied. No matter how much (s)he learns, understands, it is never enough. There are always more questions. Teaching, writing, publishing, traveling, translating are all options. Thinking and talking about ethics, philosophy and the meaning of life are likely. Excess wordiness is a danger. (After all, if communication is our ultimate value, how can we ever talk too much?)

Conflict aspects emphasize the natural opposition. We may be pulled between short-range issues and the people right around us versus the long-range goals and ideals we pursue. We may be ambivalent about pursuing the Ultimate Truth versus studying in an off-handed, casual way whatever strikes our fancy. Usually these two sides of our nature are easy to integrate—merely indicating a non-stop mind, and a person often on the go physically as well. The combination tends to be quite restless and seeks constant mental stimulation.

Harmony aspects support the likelihood that we have discovered the complementarity of this natural opposition and made peace between the two sides. We know when to focus our eyes on the stars and our long-range Vision. We know when to deal with the consensual reality of the people and environment immediately around us. We can keep an active, searching mind, always learning more without being totally scattered and also without feeling frustrated that we do not know it all.


The conjunction of Mercury with Saturn suggests we are learning to deal with reality, limits and responsibility through our minds. Initially, this may manifest as self-criticism or doubts, fears, inadequacies regarding our mental or communicative abilities. More often, the block is imagined—a self-judgment—rather than reality, but an actual limitation is also possible. We are learning to think and communicate within the framework of what is possible and realistic in our world. Often, we work harder to overcome early feelings of not measuring up in this arena. The tendency is towards a serious mind—the pessimist who labels him or herself a “realist.” Individuals generally work hard at developing their minds and communication skills. Einstein is a well-known figure with a natal Mercury Saturn conjunction.

Once the initial challenge of Saturn is mastered, it becomes a place where we give to the world. So, this commonly shows the professional communicator—someone whose work involves thinking, learning, communicating, sharing ideas with others. The mind is generally thorough and very practical. The tendency is toward extreme rationality and concreteness, unless Aquarius and Pisces are also strong, as they were for Einstein. Generally, natives believe in what they can feel, touch, measure physically. There tends to be great mental discipline and control.

With such a configuration the father or father figure was teaching us something about lightness, communication, thinking or detachment. He may have been like a sibling—open, easy to talk to, a peer rather than an authority figure, casual and lighthearted. Or, we may have been responsible and played a parental role to other relatives, or other relatives played father to us. Regardless, we learn about discipline, authority, control, reality and power from our childhood associates, whether the learning is by means of a good example or a painful one.

Conflict aspects would re-emphasize the natural quincunx of Saturn to Mercury. We are learning to combine a superficial, once over lightly approach with a need for thoroughness, responsibility and control. We must make a balance. We must also keep room in our lives for both a professional role in the world (such as a career) and our peer relationships and social exchanges. On the outer level, we can see this as stress between father or father figure and siblings, neighbors or collateral relatives. Our need to achieve, take charge, be in control may be at odds with our desire to float, drift and watch the world go by. Our serious side may battle our light, casual side.

Harmony aspects imply we have resolved or find it easier to resolve the natural quincunx. We make a place for our power drive, career needs, desire to control and be responsible. We also keep room in our lives for a light, flippant skimming the surface of experience on occasion. We allow our curiosity to roam without criticism when appropriate. We discipline our thinking into very careful, limited lines when necessary. We are realistic and practical about when and where and how to use our minds and communication skills. We do not block or inhibit ourselves with self-doubt and blame. Neither do we avoid responsibility by changing the subject, our major at college, etc. all the time. We know when to play the authority figure and when to be a peer.


Generally, this indicates a very bright, quick mind with much originality and the ability to think outside traditional structures. An excellent combination for brainstorming, the native may come up with idea after idea for solving various problems. The perspective is often unique and outside the norm. If carried too far, the person’s ideas may seem “crazy” (or simply revolutionary) to others. They may be weird and off-beat.

The communication style may also be unusual. The individual may use language for its shock effect, or break the traditional rules of speech in order to show they can be broken, to make a point, etc. Originality of expression and an abhorrence of hackneyed clichés is common. Such people may periodically throw out their old vocabulary and begin anew. With the double air emphasis, there is usually a focus on people and ideas. Groups may stimulate the mind and communication processes. Humanitarian causes or new age knowledge may provide a forum for sharing understanding. Friendships are formed on the basis of one’s mind and intellectual pursuits and interests. The relationships tend to be cool and friendly, not emotional. There is usually a high degree of tolerance and acceptance of everyone’s uniqueness and right to be one’s own person.

Conflict aspects suggest inner ambivalence, but the natural trine is still supportive. We may be torn between the here and now reality right around us of people and things to relate to versus future plans and humanitarian goals. We may feel it necessary to make choices between friends and family. We may feel a conflict between curiosity for its own sake versus intellectual exploration that will go beyond the traditional boundaries. But generally, both planets being so highly mental, the combination will just ask, wonder, question, explore, learn, teach and communicate even more.

Harmony aspects reinforce the natural trine and suggest a good potential for integrating the originality and unique perspective into one’s everyday handling of life and people. Friends and relatives can be combined easily. Logic tends to be quite developed, and airy detachment may be quite strong. There is an openness and a tolerance, but little warmth in this combination.


Few aspects get worse press than Mercury/Neptune. (Saturn/Mars is one.) Here, we are combining the search for the beautiful dream with our ability to think and communicate. One potential is literally beautiful language, as in poetry or imaginative literature, flowing fiction, etc. Another potential is placing the mind and mental pursuits on a pedestal and idealizing them. Another is expecting thinking to always be easy and effortless—to flow like the beautiful dream. Another is being so lost in how perfect we would LIKE our world to be, we forget to notice how it IS immediately around us. Or, we are so caught up in everyday details, we forget to stop and smell the flowers, notice the sunset. There is generally a wonderful creative imagination with this combination and often psychic talent as well. Again, we have an air/water mixture for the potential of bringing the unconscious up into consciousness. This is a truly great combination for a mystical understanding of life that contains a KNOWING beyond commonsense and logic.

Conflict aspects re-emphasize our mutable dilemma. Simply being scattered is one large danger: “I should know it ALL and know it all perfectly.” We may have misplaced faith, expect God to do our thinking for us, rely on intuition without balancing it with reason (or vice versa). Then we can have the typical Neptunian negativity: illusion, deception, disappointment. We may have trouble reconciling our beautiful dream with the everyday actions of those around us. We may tend to get lost in daydreams or mystical concepts and abstractions.

Harmony aspects suggest we have resolved (or can relatively easily integrate) the 3-12 and 6-12 corners of a mutable dilemma. We are in touch with both reality and an ultimate ideal which we seek in life. We know when to dream and when to communicate clearly with those around us. We know when to be artistic or spiritual or idealistic and when to be practical and deal with consensual reality. We recognize that one person’s reality is another’s fantasy and know what to talk about, where, and with whom. We use our connection to the Infinite to inspire us to more effective ways to bring it about in our everyday life and relationships.

Copyright © 1983 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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