Navigating the celestial
Random header image... Refresh for more!

To Catch A Thief: Mercury Retrograde in Gemini

Gemini by B. A. Vierling

Gemini by B. A. Vierling


We’ve another three weeks of Mercury Retrograde coming on now from May 18th, when Mercury is SR at 13+ Gemini, to June 11th when Mercury is SD at 4+ Gemini, and then begins to move forward. By now we know the routine: watch out for mistakes and delays, make sure your computer data is backed-up, check your itinerary before traveling, double check your appointment schedules, and on and on. We know to apply all the RE-words; re-do, re-trace, re-apply, re-new, re-view, re-route, re-state, and on and on. But do we have time in all this business to look at the shadow of Mercury, especially when in Gemini? Perhaps it’s time we do.

I’m talking about that trickster side of both the planet and the sign, now that they’re together again. We have many myths that address the more devious side of this dualistic planet and sign. Hermes is one of the most well read tales coming from the Homeric Hymns. “Hermes was a thief almost from the moment of his birth in a cave atop Mt. Cyllene in Arcadia.” begins Ariel Guttman and Kenneth Johnson in their great book Mythic Astrology.

Hermes, according to different versions of the story, both stole the cattle of the god Apollo, but he also actually stole the back off the tortoise he encountered, fashioning a lyre from the dismembered shell. How clever! But did he bother to ask Mr. Tortoise if he could destroy his life in the bargain? Not likely. The gods were quite impressed with his ingenuity and thus he appears to have avoided any consequences for his acts of thievery.

Gemini, illustration by B.A.Vierling

Gemini Illustration by B.A. Vierling

Why should the god of the intellect and of all literary feats also be a god of thieves? The mind in and of itself is amoral. Intellect isn’t necessarily connected to any ethical code. Mercury is what is called a neutral planet. It has much to do with early downloading of the hypnogogic brain, just like a computer. A child quickly learns to speak, to mimic back what it hears and sees, and to name everything. Then come reading and writing and arithmetic, right? The mind develops incredibly fast in those early years. Ethics and morality only come if they are taught and imprinted into the growing feeling nature of the child.

“Thou Shalt Not Steal.” That’s an early command from ancient religions. Why? If I ponder this dictum it implies that we shouldn’t take anything without asking for permission first. My first lesson in this was when I was probably three or four years old. I remember walking down a sidewalk and seeing some pretty flowers in a yard in front of a house. (In those days little kids got to walk around in their neighborhoods I guess). I picked a bunch of those colorful flowers and took them proudly home to my Mommy. When I handed them to her, she asked me where I got them. Ought O! Then she told me I wasn’t supposed to take other people’s flowers, and she took me by the hand and walked back with me to the house where I had to go and knock on the door and give the flowers to the lady who opened the door. I was terribly ashamed. Yes! But after that I never did that again as a child. My mother, thankfully, was kind. She didn’t yell at me, nor did she spank me for that act. It was a good lesson learned I must say.

Without her Jupiter/Saturn guidance I might have continued to merrily take whatever caught my fancy. And many do! So if Mercury is combined with either of the socially more conscious planets, Jupiter and Saturn, gradually the higher expression of the mind is developed into wisdom and self knowledge.  Progressions can also symbolize this maturation process.

Many children are wounded by a lack of emotional connection with their parents. These wounds can sometimes form defenses such as emotional detachment. This can grow into the full on lowest expression of Mercury as deceiver, trickster, and master of cunning thus leading to a nihilistic world-view. “Unable to face his own feelings, Hermes was incapable of recognizing the worth and depth of other people’s lives” states Freda Edis in her book on Mercury, The God Between.

Yes, he's still a pure/juvenile!

Yes, he’s still a puer/juvenile!

Loki, the greatest trickster god of the Norse pantheon took this dangerous attitude to its ultimate end by destroying all of the world he was a part of including Odin, the shamanistic aspect of Mercury, and himself and his children. Quoting Edis again, “They may not realize that by destroying all of creation they are ultimately destroying themselves.”

Who lives out this myth today? We can find examples everywhere I fear especially when corporations are considered ‘persons’ by law.  One example would be Shell Oil who wants to start drilling in the icy waters of the Artic by this summer, and the Obama Administration has given them a tentative green light to do so.  I call that stealing from the planet itself and from the future generations of life on this planet.  It’s as if the Gulf Oil spill has been forgotten even when miles of the sea floor are dead zones forever holding toxic oil, up to 2 inches thick, that no microbe can clean up. Remember, Mercury is also the god of merchants and commerce. I think if Shell decided to ask the consumers if they wanted their oil/gas coming from the Artic, most would say ‘No’. And who does Shell ask other than the US government who supposedly ‘owns’ that part of the world? Does Shell ask the people who live there?


Does Shell have the consciousness to ask the polar bears, the whales, the other creatures who have existed there for millennia? Does Shell think of the consequences should another real disaster happen? No, this juvenile mind-set is bent on ripping off the Earth without any conscience whatsoever. Their clever spin-meisters don’t fool me. Words, words, words…..they mean nothing after so many repeated offenses by these rapacious oil companies.

If you, as reader, wish to consult the experts on this high potential theft, read Subhankar Banerjee’s recent article for TomDispatch entitled “To Drill or Not to Drill, That is the Question.”  You may also want to get the truth from Antonia Juhasz who wrote about her recent dive in the Alvin Submarine with Dr. Samantha Joye in Harper’s Magazine entitled “Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea:  Following the Trail of BP’s Oil in the Gulf of Mexico.”  (Because you have to be a subscriber to Harper’s to read this article, I have linked you to Democracy Now’s interview with her.)  She has also authored the book Black Tide:  The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill.


I’m wondering what we’re now ready to bring more into our awareness of BOTH sides of Mercury as NASA releases more data from its ‘Messenger’ (nice Mercury word!) spacecraft that crashed into Mercury on April 30th at 3:26 pm EDT. Some of the findings they itemize on their web site list the discovery of the hidden face of Mercury. That side never before seen holds the mighty Caloris basin where volcanic vents circle the rim of it.

Another puzzling mystery, still unsolved, is the discovery of polar ice on both poles that never see the Sun, as close as Mercury is to that great star. They talk about a ‘mysterious dark organic material that researchers do not understand.’ Mercury is found to be shrinking ‘like wrinkles on a raisin’. Hmmm. Also, Mercury is alive magnetically, just like our planet Earth, and it has a comet-like tail almost 2 million km long. Wow. These are some facts to ponder as we decipher the mental attributes we’ve come to associate with the symbol of Mercury.


Mercury will exactly conjoin Mars in Gemini on May 27th at 10+ Gemini. Mars is also said to ‘rule’ thieves which makes sense. Taking something requires action, the doing of it. Mars is known for its aggressiveness.  This is another theme worth studying relating to the United States Mars in Gemini square Neptune which I wrote about under the title “The U.S. Mars Dilemma” (March 2, 2012 in this blog).     It’s amazing to me that this country has the largest military might on the planet with such an immature attitude towards the use of aggressive power.  It is downright maddening and frightening simultaneously as the country veers ever closer to war-mongering here, there, and everywhere.

As I ponder this shadowy aspect of both Mercury and Mars in Gemini I’m struck that perhaps all the ills of human’s destructive side could be said to start with theft. Its one thing to steal small physical items from someone else, but what about stealing the innocence of a child by molesting them? What about stealing an actual life through the violent act of murder? What about human trafficking? What about stealing lands from other people and thus enslaving them or disenfranchising them? What about stealing all the resources of the planet for short-term profits and gains? Stealing is really just taking without asking anyone or anything else for permission. The ultimate theft, to me, is thinking that wholesale stealing from the Earth Mother is justified. I call this juvenile abomination! I think about these things, and I hope you do too.

I feel that humanity has to find a way to become more mature and conscious and less trapped in infantile unconscious greed and self-centeredness, because time seems to be speeding up and running out simultaneously. These ideas are worth considering during this very Gemini-Mercury Retrograde.

Please note that Kathy’s New Moon Meditation in Taurus is in the Sidebar!

May 16, 2015  4 Comments
Categories: Astrology, Gemini, Mars, Mercury | Tags: , , ,


1 Kate Beetle { 05.19.15 at 8:25 pm }

Dear Genevieve, Looking at the Mercury retro article and watching your new moon video– I am working two jobs, 6 days/week, which leaves me precious little creative time. However, yesterday and today (before I had a chance to look at this) I pulled out several oil paintings that were recent but either unfinished or needing revision. I made a list of what needed doing, got one up on the easel, and started! Frustrating, and today I felt as though I were groping in the dark, but nevertheless stuck with it. Ignored the garden and other distractions. So there is my re-view, renew, and work on new habits all at once! Thanks so much.

2 Genevieve Vierling { 05.19.15 at 8:49 pm }

Bravo Kate! You’re an inspiration for us all. I, too, find that I can get a tremendous amount of work done under Gemini if I just keep my mouth shut. 🙂 Otherwise, it can be a talkative time. This Mercury Retrograde provides the perfect time to catch up on a variety of projects.

3 Connie Rodriguez { 06.01.15 at 8:37 am }

Hi Genevieve,
I am just catching up on my reading and just read this blog from last month. It certainly has me contemplating what you wrote, esp. as I have just come from seeing Francis the Healer, a devotee of Sai Baba, who told him everything is in perfect order. hmm. I am wondering… since Hermes is the God who can navigate the underworld so well and bring others back from Hades, perhaps..we are in the underworld with him in this moment in time. Just maybe, beyond our time here, he will be bringing the planet back out of this mess as he does so well. Trickster that he is, I always relied on him during my work in depth Psychology, to help me navigate in the underworld of psyche.. and looked to him to help bring us both up and out and again to the upper worlds, where we could make more sense out of the pain, and devastation. ..not possible in the midst of it. While I don’t condone thievery, and trickery..perhaps we must rely on Hermes as this is his shadow domain, and he certainly knows the way out.

p.s. love Bens art..his work is truly amazing.

4 Genevieve Vierling { 06.02.15 at 2:00 pm }

Thank you Connie for these additional insights into the workings of Hermes/Mercury, the Messenger god. I guess it’s up to we humans to face our shadow sides, including the aspects of amorality which are often masked by defense mechanisms such as denial, projection, and victimization. Glad you enjoy Ben’s art! He knows that one picture is worth thousands of words. 🙂

Leave a Comment