Mercury in Sagittarius

IN considering Mercury in Sagittarius it should be remembered how brilliant and sudden is the effect of Sagittarius, but how lightning-like {222} and transitory. The older astrologers, indeed, attributed even lightning rather to Aries, leaving only the rainbow for Sagittarius, as if the effect were not merely swift, but, to certain degree, illusory. This, however, is only the case with a badly aspected Mercury. Too much importance should not be given to the fact that Mercury in this sign has always been considered in his detriment. For we have seen that this planet very easily becomes unbalanced and the Jupiterian influence of Sagittarius seems to act rather as the restraining hand of a father upon an impetuous and wayward child. Much, however, will always depend upon aspects.

The general qualities of this position are directness of thought and expression. People with Mercury thus placed usually speak without reflection – they tend to say whatever comes into their heads. They do not wound deliberately, like people with Mercury in Scorpio. It simply never occurs to them to think how their remarks may strike the hearer. The quality of their thoughts is similarly unripe. Their thoughts are like mushrooms or shooting stars. They are impatient; speak in haste and repent at leisure. They do not trouble to formulate a judgment, and what they say consequently partakes too often of the nature of the shallower form of epigram. This same absence of the reflective quality makes them extremely simple, honest and sincere (duplicity by its very nature involves the balancing of truth and falsehood), and if these people lie, they only do so on the spur of the moment. A long continued course of deception is entirely out of their power. It would, too, be repugnant to their nature.

Another difficulty caused by this position is that the thoughts are disconnected, and, though the native may promise with sincerity, or conceive undertakings with earnestness, he often has not the patience enabling him to make good. What he thinks and says, however, is sometimes remarkably, one might almost say irrationally, right. He may speak like an oracle, and his intuition is often so extraordinarily acute that it more than replaces the general weaknesses of the facilities of memory and of ratiocination. Another characteristic trait conferred by this position is a habit of interruption. No sooner do these people hear anything than a thought strikes them and they have to say it without a moment’s delay.

The discontinuous and flitterbat quality of this type of mind is {223} very well shown by the anarchist Vaillant, every one of whose thoughts was probably right in its way, but who was totally incapable of weighing one thought against another and of striking a balance. An almost equally bad example is Marie Bashkirtseff, who totally failed to understand the universe into which she was born, owing to a similar defect. Her diary is full of brilliant, bitter, satirical things, all of which are perfectly true in themselves and yet totally false because they are not balanced against the weight of general experience.

Another bright, brilliant, but brief and unbalanced mind was that of Thomas Chatterton, whose genius, had it been accompanied by a mind capable of patient labor, might have placed him in the small first circle of English poets. The case of Dr. Zamenhof is a good illustration. In Esperanto, he invented a language which is eminently convenient and easy to learn and has all the other advantages that a language should have. It has only one defect, which is that it really is not a language at all and nobody seems to wish to speak it.

To show this quality of incapacity for reflection in its most complete absurdity, we need only recall the remark of Marie Antoinette, who had Mercury in this position, and who, being offered some exquisite pastry by the leading confectioner of Paris, exclaimed, “The stupid people are always complaining that they can get no bread, but why do they not eat these delicious little cakes?” Another monarch almost equally silly and unfortunate with this position is Charles I, the inconstancy of whose domestic policy cost him his throne and his life.

Fortunately, however, this position does not always result in such sparkling imbecility. We have three quite great people in the world of art and literature with this position, Sir David Wilkie, Alfred de Musset, and Rudyard Kipling. The limitation is nevertheless still visible. Both the French and the English writers excel in short stories and poems, but neither has written great novels. Similarly, Sir David Wilkie, admirable painter as he was, never attained to the sustained execution of a great canvas. Another example is in the Mercury of Joan of Arc, though the planet’s being in the 29th degree may have done something to steady matters. There is, however, {224} little need for making this reservation, as her career was singularly fitful and she depended entirely upon inspiration.

The greatest exception to all that has been said is Sir Isaac Newton, but here Mercury is in the third house, with a sextile of Venus and a square of Saturn. Jupiter, lord of the third, is within six degrees of the conjunction of Saturn, and is exactly trined by Uranus, while the Sun, also in the third house, stands sextile to all three. The whole configuration is of the most extraordinary power, with every planet in heaven which tends to stability included in it, even Mars in Taurus assisting by making a near sextile with the Moon. With such great dignities the influence of the sign itself is reduced to a minimum. The fact that the lord of the sign is in conjunction with Saturn tends to alter its very nature, and there is therefore no comparison with ordinary cases, where the action of Mercury is more or less isolated. In the horoscope of Marie Antoinette, Mercury is trine to Neptune, but square to Uranus which takes away all its more serious qualities. There is slight help from a semi-sextile of Venus and a sextile of Jupiter, but as has been well said, Mercury without Saturn is like an egg without salt.

The following well known persons were born with Mercury in the sign Sagittarius:

Felix Faure

George Eliot

Rudyard Kipling

Marie Bashkirtseff

Sir Isaac Newton

Edward VII

Hamilton Wright Mabie

Louisa M. Alcott

Henry Van Dyke


Bishop Fallows

President Lowell of Harvard

For the benefit of those who are not in possession of Raphael’s Ephemeris, or who are not able to interpret the symbols contained therein, the years when Mercury is in Sagittarius are as follows: {225}

From January 1st through January 13th 1840

November 2d “ December 31st 1840

January 1st ” January 6th 1841

October 30th “ November 11th 1841

December 11th ” December 31st 1841

December 5th “ December 23rd 1842

November 28th ” December 16th 1843

November 20th “ December 8th 1844

November 13th ” December 2d 1845

January 2d “ January 13th 1846

November 6th ” December 31st 1846

January 1st “ January 10th 1847

November 1st ” November 28th 1847

December 14th “ December 31st 1847

January 1st ” January 4th 1848

December 9th “ December 27th 1848

December 2d ” December 20th 1849

November 25th “ December 13th 1850

November 17th ” December 6th 1851

November 9th “ November 30th 1852

December 20th ” December 31st 1852

January 1st “ January 13th 1853

November 3d ” December 31st 1853

January 1st “ January 8th 1854

October 30th ” November 16th 1854

December 12th “ December 31st 1854

January 1st ” 1855

December 6th “ December 25th 1855

November 28th ” December 17th 1856

November 21st “ December 9th 1857

November 14th ” December 3d 1858

January 9th “ January 11th 1859

November 7th ” December 2d 1859

December 7th “ December 31st 1859

January 1st ” January 11th 1860

October 31st “ December 2d 1860

December 13th ” December 31st 1860

January 1st “ January 4th 1861 {226}

From December 10th through December 29th 1861

December 3d ” December 21st 1862

November 26th “ December 14th 1863

November 18th ” December 6th 1864

November 11th “ December 1st 1865

December 25th ” December 31st 1865

January 1st “ January 13th 1866

November 4th ” December 31st 1866

January 1st “ January 9th 1867

October 30th ” November 21st 1867

December 13th “ December 31st 1867

January 1st ” January 2d 1868

December 7th “ December 25th 1868

November 30th ” December 18th 1869

November 23d “ December 11th 1870

November 15th ” December 4th 1871

November 7th “ November 30th 1872

December 12th ” December 31st 1872

January 1st “ January 11th 1873

November 1st ” December 31st 1873

January 1st “ January 6th 1874

October 31st ” November 7th 1874

December 11th “ December 30th 1874

December 4th ” December 23d 1875

November 26th “ December 14th 1876

November 19th ” December 7th 1877

November 12th “ December 2d 1878

December 30th ” December 31st 1878

January 1st “ January 13th 1879

November 5th ” December 31st 1879

January 1st “ January 10th 1880

October 30th ” November 24th 1880

December 13th “ December 31st 1880

January 1st ” January 3d 1881

December 8th “ December 26th 1881

December 1st ” December 19th 1882

November 24th “ December 12th 1883

November 16th ” December 4th 1884 {227}

From November 9th through November 30th 1885

December 17th “ December 31st 1885

January 1st ” January 12th 1886

November 2d “ December 31st 1886

January 1st ” January 7th 1887

October 30th “ November 13th 1887

December 12th ” December 31st 1887

December 5th “ December 23d 1888

November 28th ” December 16th 1889

November 20th “ December 9th 1890

November 13th ” December 3d 1891

January 4th “ January 13th 1892

November 5th ” December 31st 1892

January 1st “ January 10th 1893

October 31st ” November 29th 1893

December 13th “ December 31st 1893

January 1st ” January 4th 1894

December 9th “ December 28th 1894

December 2d ” December 21st 1895

November 24th “ December 12th 1896

November 17th ” December 6th 1897

November 10th “ November 30th 1898

December 22d ” December 31st 1898

January 1st “ January 13th 1899

November 3d ” December 31st 1899

January 1st “ January 8th 1900

October 30th ” November 18th 1900

December 13th “ December 31st 1900

January 1st ” January 2d 1901

December 7th “ December 25th 1901

November 30th ” December 18th 1902

November 23d “ December 11th 1903

November 15th ” December 4th 1904

November 8th “ December 1st 1905

December 10th ” December 31st 1905

January 1st “ January 12th 1906

November 2d ” December 6th 1906

December 13th “ December 31st 1906 {228}

From January 1st through January 6th 1907

December 11th ” December 30th 1907

December 4th “ December 22d 1908

November 27th ” December 15th 1909

November 19th “ December 8th 1910

November 12th ” December 2d 1911

December 28th “ December 31st 1911

January 1st ” January 14th 1912

November 5th “ December 31st 1912

January 1st ” January 9th 1913

October 31st “ November 23d 1913

December 13th ” December 31st 1913

January 1st “ January 3d 1914

December 8th ” December 27th 1914

December 1st “ December 19th 1915

November 23d ” December 11th 1916

November 16th “ December 5th 1917

November 9th ” December 1st 1918

December 16th “ December 31st 1918

January 1st ” January 13th 1919

November 3d “ December 31st 1919

January 1st ” January 7th 1920

October 31st “ November 10th 1920

December 11th ” December 30th 1920

December 5th “ December 23d 1921

November 28th ” December 16th 1922

November 21st “ December 9th 1923

November 12th ” December 2d 1924

January 1st “ January 13th 1925

November 6th ” December 31st 1925

January 1st “ January 10th 1926

October 31st ” November 27th 1926

December 14th “ December 31st 1926

January 1st ” January 4th 1927

December 9th “ December 28th 1927

December 2d ” December 20th 1928

November 24th “ December 13th 1929 {229}

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