©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
Primary among my time-wasting vices are crossword puzzles. They center my mind when I’m wired from a writing session and also help me wind down so I can sleep at night. Blessed—and sometimes cursed—with five planets in Mercury-ruled signs, I’d qualify for Hyperactive Mercury Syndrome, (HMS) which only now being recognized as a subset of ADDHD. That is to say, I’ve recognized it—the MDs and EDs haven’t quite added it to their diagnostic armatorium yet. If you’re a puzzle-lover, what in your astrology chart might explain it?
Mercury is the planet of the so-called lower mind, a.k.a. the Grasshopper Mind, while Jupiter is more related to higher mind functions like advanced education and reading realllllllly dry academic texts.
Traditionally, Mercury rules two signs—Gemini and Virgo—but when I meet someone with a strong Mercury, they bend your ear like a true Gemini. They do, that is, if they can stop texting and tweeting long enough for you to get their attention. The ruler of Virgo? Still not settled, but many people think it’s the asteroid Chiron.
What makes Mercury strong in a chart? Here are some ways:
- The Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Midheaven in Gemini
- Several planets in Gemini
- Sun, Moon, or several planets in the 3rd house (communications)
- Mercury within 8° of the Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Midheaven
- Many aspects to Mercury
The grasshopper mind is seldom still. One thought triggers another thought triggers an association with something else altogether that triggers a memory and the memory triggers an emotion or else makes you think of the undone things on your to-do list and that triggers…..
Meditation is off the table for me, so don’t even write to suggest it. I’ve tried it for more than 40 years. I’ve probably tried all the techniques and mantras and gurus and metaphysical fads you’re dying to tell me about and some you’re too young to have heard of. It’s just a way of frustrating myself.
Crossword puzzles ARE my form of mediation. What helps me about crossword puzzles—or solitaire, for that matter—is that the brain is still active, but just in short bursts that don’t go anywhere. As I keep working on one, my mind gradually slows down and stops careening off the walls of my life and my work. I begin to feel rested and centered and peaceful. It’s definitely a sleep aid.
What stimulated me to write this today was that I went to the website of Penny Press, the company that publishes my advice column in Dell Horoscope as well as an assortment of puzzle books and mystery magazines. I was looking for contact information for their rights department to get permission to reprint occasional excerpts from my column on this blog. The excerpts wouldn’t include information about individual reader’s charts—that would be a breach of confidentiality. I’d reprint only the parts that apply to a wider readership that also includes many professional astrologers and serious astrology students.
I HAD to peruse their puzzle collection while I was there, didn’t I? The site is full of helpful downloads, including tools and samples of their puzzles. What really excited me was that they had a new publication called Brain Boosters with puzzles, problems in logic, brain health articles, and other ways of stimulating the brain so that it doesn’t slow down as we grow older. Here are links to some of the features I found on the site:
- Brain Boosters puzzle books: http://www.pennydellpuzzles.com/product.aspx?c=OtherPuzzleBooksPuzzleBooks&p=DBRLP
- Files with handy tools for puzzle lovers—glossaries: http://www.pennydellpuzzles.com/puzzlers_corner/solving_help.aspx
- Samples of brain-boosting puzzles and articles on brain health: http://www.pennydellpuzzles.com/puzzlers_corner/brain_booster.aspx
- A downloadable tool to help solve Sudoku puzzles. (And, no, I don’t have the right Mercury aspect for that. I don’t know WHAT the Mercury aspect is, but I can guarantee I don’t have it! I did one Sudoku puzzle once.) http://www.pennydellsudokusolver.com/
Well, my grasshopper mind is off and running this morning. What I really set out to do by going to Penny Press’s website was to get a phone number so I could ask permission to reprint excerpts from my Dell Horoscope Advice Column. An hour and a half later, I have the phone number but haven’t picked up the phone. But, hey, I finished a blog post, didn’t I?
By the way, though I’m not doing personal chart consults any more, if you want me to answer a question about your chart in the Dell column, send it to me in care of firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your complete birth information—day, month, year, time (including AM/PM), place of birth, and where you currently live. It helps if you include some specifics about the situation you’re concerned with, and at least the date of birth of anyone pertinent to the question. Narrow your request down to just one or two questions, and don’t expect me to be a fortune teller. Your name and specific location won‘t be published, and Dell will notify you if your letter is selected.
If you can’t find Dell Horoscope at a newsstand near you or if you want to subscribe, go to their website: http://www.dellhoroscope.com/.
Art Credit: Like most of the art on this site, the puzzles came from http://www.clipart.com, a subscription service with over 8 million images. It has a nearly endless supply of astrological graphics, and you can subscribe for as little as a week.