The subject of Mercury keeps you guessing the more you look into it. It is the archetypal Trickster as well as our own minds. It is our words and thoughts as well as all of the information that we take in from our surroundings.
Our own minds as well as the Trickster? Try counting the black dots to get a sense of this.
He is Hermes (Greek) and Thoth (Egypt). Both of these Gods are connected with communication, perception, writing, learning and zipping around as messengers to the other Gods. Hermes wears a winged helmet, whereas Thoth’s head is that of an ibis, a bird.
Hermes is swift with winged feet as well as a winged helmet. He carries a caduceus, a staff with two serpents and yet another pair of wings at the top.
Thoth’s notion of flight is implied as well with his head being that of a bird. And what is he carrying here? An ankh. The ankh in ancient Egypt is the hieroglyph for “life”. It is also known as the “breath of life”.
Why the concept of flight associated with the head? Does it point towards looking into the speed of thought? Could it point to the feeling of flight as being free and light, as in soaring in the clouds? The mind, speed, flight, freedom… what is the sacredness that is being preserved in these archetypal images?
Let’s take a look at some other familiar Tricksters. We already have this concept of flight associated with the mind in Hermes and Thoth. What do we see in the others?
Isn’t he cute? The Jackal was the Trickster that the ancient Dogon’s believed brought disorder to the world. You can find him in many African and Asian and Middle Eastern myths.
The Native Americans knew the Trickster as the Coyote. In some stories he has the power of all creation, in others he is a buffoon, and in others he is outsmarting everyone around him.
What trick? The rabbit has long been associated with trickery and illusion.
One common similarity here is that each of these animals have pointy ears. Looks a bit like a winged helmet doesn’t it? If we search onward it becomes evident that pointy ears are found on many a Trickster.
The joker’s hat is always pointy. Joker also sounds a bit like “Jackal” does it not?
Here is Pan, another Greek Trickster. He is also deeply associated with the mysteries of nature and sexuality.
Peter Pan is a Trickster who never grows old. Mercury is also associated with youth. The feather in his hat and the fact that he can fly keeps our winged-god of perception alive and well in the hearts of children.
Another green trickster (perhaps preserving our connection with nature?) the leprechaun has pointy ears and looks like a hybrid of Pan and Peter Pan.
We can’t talk green and pointy ears if we don’t bring in Yoda! A modern day Trickster who rearranges his words, and teaches us to see with our hearts (the force).
I saved my favorite for the last example- Bugs Bunny! He can outwit anything and ADAPT to any circumstance. Life is nothing but a hoot for him.
Here he is in the winged helmet itself! One of my favorite cartoons entitled “What’s Opera Doc?”
What’s amazing about Mercury is how one association continues to lead to another and quickly. For instance, the fact that Bug’s says “what’s up doc?” is curious because of the caduceus association with medicine. Go into any doctor’s office today and you are likely to find this symbol hanging on a wall or on the cover of a pamphlet. Let’s look at the symbol again.
Many believe that the serpents represent the natural kundalini energy in our bodies that travel up the spine and are capable of healing. Maybe before medicine became multi-billion dollar businesses (note the hidden dollar symbol here) it may have an attempt to restore a person’s natural balance of their own subtle energies.
The ankh (wielded by Thoth) is really quite a similar symbol. The loop on top looks like it could be the same two serpents touching heads.
I wrote another post a while back entitled “The close relationship between the heart and mind (Sun and Mercury)” in which I talked about the way the lungs and the heart (Mercury and Sun) are so closely connected in the body. Mercury is never far off from the Sun. These are themes that I find very significant when further exploring the true role of Mercury in our psyches. We know that is always close to the heart and we know that it is by nature a trickster. It often gives us the “switcheroo” just look at what happens with our eyes! The perception of the eyes are ruled by Mercury.
Why does it have to flip it upside down?? What’s with this nonsense?
So if the nature of Mercury is to flip things upside down AND it is always associated with the Sun (life, love, the heart) we might hypothesize that we should strive to “think with our hearts and love with our minds” as Alice O. Howell says. For anyone who doesn’t know, Alice O. Howell is my favorite astrologer and I encourage everyone to buy her books! Think with our hearts.. very Yoda!
How do we do that? I don’t know! But I do know that something feels good about this notion, at least to me. So often our minds are slaves to things we DON’T love. We put our attention to things that feel bad and get stressed and upset. So often our hearts are screaming at us and we don’t listen. We just keep doing what we’ve always done and rationalize it with our minds! A little balance is in order here. And a little humor (Mercury!)
When we laugh I would wager to bet that those invisible energy currents of the caduceus are in deep healing mode. What is humor if it is not loving with our minds and thinking with our hearts?
Just a little thought to keep in your heart, or a little feeling to keep in your mind. Until next time!