The True Nodes and Mercury
Leander W. Smith
I recently had occasion to consider the similarity of the real changes of direction of the True Nodes with the apparent changes of direction of the planet Mercury. The ephemeris provides the dates on which the True Nodes and Mercury change direction. The diagram below suggests a “Triple Hit” concept: that is, the awareness that something is going to happen, followed by a period once “it” has happened during which a course of action is planned, followed by a final phase when the solution is put in place and the happening is a thing of the past. You may think of it in terms of the flight of the baseball in a Triple Play—back and forth across the field.
Astrologers have long spoken of the effects of Mercury when it appears to go retrograde every so often. The usual interpretations suggest problems related to information, intellectual abilities, communication, delays in decisions, etc. The question I should like to raise is: What is the nature of this triple transit of Mercury (or any other planet) and with what frequency does it occur?
Mercury makes a heliocentric revolution of the Sun in 88 days, but the time it takes to make a geocentric revolution of the Zodiac is closer to a year. During this time, due to the difference in speeds of the Earth and Mercury, most years will include three periods when Mercury appears to retrograde as it is seen from the position of Earth.
Figure 1 is a diagram of the S-shaped curve as Mercury is seen moving in direct motion from A to R where it appears to station and turn retrograde. It is then seen in front of earlier degrees of the Zodiac as it retrogrades back to D where it again stations and appears to turn direct to retrace its zodiacal movement back to B. The whole period covers about 20 to 22 days. I think of the segments AR and DB as shadow periods before and after the retrogradation segment during which the “vision” of DB and AR are blocked from each other by the segment RD.
Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time, might say that while we have an imperfect vision of the past, there will always be a degree of uncertainty in predicting the future. We can think of this as a “Triple Hit” of longitudes (AR, RD, and DB) which, although differing in transiting time and direction, represent the same degrees of longitude.
One way of interpreting this is to think of intellectual growth or communication as reaching a period every so often in which it is necessary to repeat or reexamine actions taken during AR, and then review them during RD, and then continue on through DB into the future.
For a point C (in Figure 2) located between point A and point R, we find point C* between R and D and point C** between D and B, all with the same longitudes. Hence, the Triple Hit. Look at Figure 2. Note that C is direct at a specific longitude between A and R, C* is retrograde between R and D at the same longitude, and C** is direct between D and B at the same longitude. Let’s look at a concrete example.
Bill Clinton, President of the United States, was born at 8:51 CST on August 19, 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. His natal Mercury is at 7 Leo 36. In July/August 1992, during the Democratic convention in which he was nominated to be the Democratic candidate for the Presidency, a transit of Mercury passed over his natal Mercury three times. It was direct on July 3, retrograde on August 7, and direct on August 18. On August 27, 1992 (Point B), the forward shadow was terminated at 17 Leo 28. Since his Mercury was direct at birth, the first date (July 3 or Point C) represents the finishing of a Mercurian cycle (a “return” to his natal Mercury) for Clinton and the beginning of a new cycle. At this point, Mercury continues direct to the station where it turns retrograde (Point R). The second date (August 7 or Point C*) represents a return to the beginning of this new Mercury cycle and a revisitation of the end of the previous cycle. At this point, Mercury continues retrograde to the station (Point D) where it turns direct again. The third date (August 18 or Point C**) indicates a third conjunction (return) with Clinton’s natal Mercury, thus finishing the old Mercury cycle and beginning a new one again. On the 17th of August, transiting Mercury terminates the forward shadow at 17 Leo 28. Similar transiting S-curves (or Triple Plays) are found over his natal Mercury during the transits of Mercury in 1966, 1979, and 1999. (Dates in the American Ephemeris)
You may remember the events of 1992 when problems of fidelity with his wife and support for homosexuals in the military were the subject of the day. Both represented a real test of his intellectual power and his ability to communicate.
Laurent Fabius, a French politician, was born in Paris 17 hours after Clinton at 8 A.M. UT on August 20, 1946. Fabius has Mercury at 8 Leo 13. The transit of Mercury in 1992 is conjunct his natal Mercury as it is Clinton’s, BUT it also hit Fabius’ Mercury in 1959 (NOT true for Clinton), 1966, 1979, 1985 (within 5 degrees when he was Prime Minister during a political furor over blood contamination), 1992, and 1999. We can examine squares of transiting Mercury to his natal Mercury (i.e. aspects from 8 Taurus 13 and 8 Scorpio 13) which were present in October/November 1993 with Scorpio and April/May 1990 with Taurus. In 1990, the question of his role or responsibility in the 1985 period arose, and in 1993 the issue came back as some of the old documents revealed his potential awareness of the use of contaminated blood for transfusions. The documents were published on February 8, 1994 when a station of transiting Mercury at 7 Pisces 34 held a quincunx to his natal Mercury within one degree.
Now look in the ACS ephemeris at the transits of the True Lunar Nodes, which formed squares to the natal Mercury of Bill Clinton and of Fabius in 1995. The aspects are ten days apart, on February 16 for Fabius and on February 26 for Clinton. The challenge to Clinton’s communication ability is obvious. Poor Democrat Clinton is being attacked by a Republican Congress with problems involving the nomination of a Surgeon General for his Cabinet and attacks by an ultra-aggressive press! Meanwhile Fabius is facing a failing Socialist Party, a renewed interest in his role in the contaminated blood scandal, and Dr. Garetta (convicted in the contaminated blood trial) seeking release from prison. Fabius is remaining silent. This is what I call a valid interpretation of squares between the True Lunar Nodes and Mercury!
This article was written before the following dates, but readers can look back to see what happened at the Triple Hit in 1995 when transiting Mercury opposed natal Mercury in the charts of the two politicians. The aspect was exact for Clinton on January 11, February 10, and February 22. For Fabius, the dates were January 12, February 9, and February 23. The forward shadow terminating these aspects occurred on March 8, 1995. But with Mercury, we can be sure the aspect will return.
In your own lives, you might note that transiting Mercury was square the transiting True Lunar Nodes for everyone on January 14, February 8, (both retrograde), and February 22, 1995. During this period, the European Commission was studying (a square calls for “analysis”) the challenge (North Node) of the information highway (Mercury). What could be more Mercurian? My natal Mercury was square my natal True Lunar Nodes and my progressed True Nodes are now square my natal Mercury, which may explain why I felt it necessary to study the True Nodes and to write about this. Any comments?
Leander W. Smith is a former IBM executive who has been living in France for some years while investigating astrology and especially researching the True Nodes. He feels that the North Node is the more challenging while I find more people struggling with the South Node, but it is possible to have challenges at both ends. I think we need to integrate them, to form a partnership.
Lee may be reached at 50 rue de Chabrel, 75010 Paris, France.