©2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
During our lively exchanges about the Mercury test recently in the comment section, any number of readers have reported that they have a high Mercury score but can’t identify with the description of a Mercurial type. Many of them have Mercury in the earth signs—Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn—and tend not to regard themselves as particularly brainy. I think they’re wrong. They just share the common but very narrow definition of brilliance.
We tend to rank intelligence along the lines of air sign qualities—the ability to verbalize complex ideas, perhaps even to put them down on paper, and to communicate our thoughts coherently. That, however, is intellect, and over time, I have come to appreciate that each element has its own type of genius.
Common sense, for instance, is more of an earth sign quality, excelling in practical skills and grounded solutions and can help the possessor be more effective in the world than the brilliant people who build their castles in air.
An Earth-smart individual would have strong Earth accents in the horoscope because of important placements like the Sun, Moon, Ascendant or several planets. An Air-smart person would have much emphasis in the air signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius, but not much going on in Earth.
I spent my first several years in astrology in total awe of peers born in the early 1940s who had the grand air trine with Uranus in Gemini, Neptune in Libra, and personal planets in Aquarius. They were just so brilliant, so creative, so innovative, so politically sophisticated, so iconoclastic, and so cerebral—and despite my master’s degree in social work I couldn’t understand half of what they said. I still can’t, but now I view that as a choice on my part rather than a failing.
After years of observing the denizens of this grand air trine from afar—oh, so reverently—I found that far too many of them did little with all their brilliant ideas and all that youthful potential.
Decades later, fascinating as they can be, many of those grand air trines are still spinning castles in the air and enjoying rambling philosophical discussions that lead nowhere in particular. Now, however, the exchanges may be via email or instant messaging.
On the whole, they’re happy that way, and when they reach that great Chat Room in the Sky and don’t have to contend with aging bodies or keeping a roof over their heads, well, then they’ll be in heaven.
Over time, I came to appreciate the difference between “air smart” and “earth smart.” An air smart individual may have a million bright ideas in the course of a lifetime and yet lack the skill or the motivation to put many of them into practice.
An earth smart individual may have only one or two bright ideas in the course of a lifetime. In fact, the bright idea might not even have been their own but someone else’s.
Maybe some air smart genius tossed it out casually as a theory or a possibility, and the earth smart genius chewed it over and saw how to bring it to fruition. Yet, the earth smart may develop the practical applications of that idea thoroughly enough to earn a comfortable living.
There’s nothing wrong with air smart, you understand. Developing and sharing the abstract side of the intellect is a legitimate life purpose, and I hope that we all have the luxury of many lifetimes to spend that way. It’s just a tad unfortunate that our materialistic society doesn’t often validate and sustain these pursuits in the manner to which we’d like to become accustomed.
As a collective, we do need both air and earth, in that the air type uplifts, inspires, and challenges us with a view of the greater scheme of things, while the earth type sustains us on a more material level.
Myself, I am intelligent enough but am neither impressively air smart nor—alas—earth smart to any useful extent, though I probably rank pretty high on water smart. A water smart person is deeply intuitive and keenly perceptive about emotions and about what lies beneath the surface, over time gaining wisdom that can be used to heal and teach others about these matters.
Are you wondering about fire smart individuals? Those are the people with a genius for enrolling others in their enthusiasms, becoming inspiring leaders who know how to make things happen. Remember the Little Engine That Could? Well, trains run on fire.
Note: This has been an excerpt from my ebook, Astrological Analysis, available at Moon Maven Publications for $15. It’s a collection of essays on a variety of astrological features compiled from my articles in The Mountain Astrologer and other journals.
So, Readers, what kind of smart are you? Let us know in the comment section.
More Posts about Mercury and the 3rd House on this Blog:
- Enough with the Mercury Retrograde Hysteria!
- Why Mercury Retrograde is a Good Thing–Its Helpful Uses
- Funny Quotes and Cartoons about Uranus, Venus, & Mercury
- Things You May Not Know about the 3rd and 12th Houses
- English for Astrologers–No Astrobabble Please
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