Posted by: Donna Cunningham | June 17, 2010

Readers Ask: Q & A about the 3rd House, Mercury, and Gemini

 (c)6-17-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

We’re celebrating Mercury this week. Since Mercury/Gemini types start asking questions as soon as they learn to talk and never stop until they’re buried, it’s time we did another one of the features where you get to ask questions and I respond.  So far in this popular series, you’ve asked general questions about the houses and questions about the 2nd and 7th houses, and we’ve had a great time.  So today let’s look at Mercury, Gemini, and the 3rd house of the natal chart.

The 3rd house is the house most closely related to Mercury, since it’s the house that describes communication, thinking, and learning patterns, relationships with siblings and other near relatives like aunts and uncles, and short-term learning commitments like seminars.

I am happy to entertain more general questions like these:

  • If the 3rd house is empty, does that mean the person has a learning disability?
  • If Pluto is in the 3rd house, is that good or bad?
  • If there’s a stellium in the 3rd, will the person  write a NY Times Best Seller?
  • How long does a Saturn transit to Mercury last?

That sort of thing, phrased in 25 words or less.

UPDATE:  To  read the questions readers posed and my answers,  scroll down below this article to the comment section.  For a digest, see The Best of Readers’ Q & A about the 3rd House and Mercury

Readers Ask Series:  (Readers’ questions and my Answers are in the Comment Sections)

More Posts about Mercury and the 3rd House on this Blog:

 (See more articles on the 12 houses in the category Houses of the Horoscope.)

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  1. OK, a penny for your thoughts. What would the difference be between Mercury and Jupiter in the 3rd house? I think they could be quite similar in their themes, but perhaps Jupiter would be a bit blunt and Mercury would provide a few more social graces?

    • Good one, Tizer. And you’re right about their communication styles and social skills. Both would be very talkative and tend to live in their heads, but here’s how they’re different:

      Mercury has all the questions.
      Jupiter has all the answers. (Or so they think!) Donna

      • That’s true. I’ve got Jupiter in the third – and I know everything … which is really annoying when I’m wrong.

  2. I am curious about one of your examples up there. If the third house is empty does the person have a learning disability.

    • Not hardly, Cathie! For the optimal way of learning for that person, you’d look at the sign on the cusp of the 3rd and also the sign, house, and aspects of the ruler of that sign. Understanding the 3rd house and Mercury in a child’s chart is a valuable clue to the ways they learn best. Donna

      • Thank you I will research the signs onthe cusps.

  3. How about a strong (well aspected, chart ruler) mercury in the cusp of an empty 10th house (gemini)?
    How would it work career-wise?
    Can a 1st house virgo stellium (sun-mercury-jupiter-saturn) somehow compensate for an empty 10th, or
    is it just reinforcing the vocational blur?

    • Hi, VR. The 10th house cusp (a.k.a the Midheaven) is actually a power point in the chart, and any planet within about 10 degrees of it–even in the 9th–is a strong vocational indicator.

      I don’t know if you took the Mercury test on this blog, but Mercury conjunct the MH gets 10 points and Mercury in Gemini gets 10 bonus points, so that’s going to add up to quite a score.

      What it indicates here is a career in communication or sales or writing, anything of a Mercurial nature. And in Gemini, as explained in the Cosmic Pinata article the other day, the potential for many skills and shifting careers often.

      I’d be interested to know also, since Mercury often relates to siblings, whether one of your siblings took on a parental role or if one of your siblings is in the same line of work that you are. I’m never done learning myself!

      One question to a customer, but having that much Virgo in a chart can be a bit of a workaholic, whatever house it appears in. Donna

      • FYI: parental role of siblings:
        I am the 5th of 6 girls, with an extreme stellium of moon, mercury, mars, and neptune between 6-10 degrees scorpio in the 3rd. I used to say it was like having 5 moms. Absolutely. If one was busy, I could always find another. Some cruelty, some nurturing. I learned what I did and did not want to do from their examples. I still would walk over glass for any of them, even though we hadn’t spoken in years or whatever.
        LOTS of rivalry, fights, family secrets, but much security and off the chart IQ.
        VERY huge parental influence. FYI.

      • Thanks for the description, Susan, it puts me in mind of some dear old movies and books, like Little Women. Donna

  4. If the South Node is supposed to represent our talents, the ones that are all too easy to fall back on, and the South Node in the 3rd house would show someone who is well versed in all things Gemini, how would that jive with someone who has challenging Mercury aspects — such as Mercury square Saturn?

    • Mercury square Saturn IS challenging but often self-challenging, in that this type can be a true scholar who takes on very difficult advanced subjects. (See the Cosmic Pinata post on Mercury for some examples of PhD level studies.)

      The gifts of a south node are STILL gifts, it’s just a reminder to stay in balance, here not to be too cerebral and the perpetual student (3rd house) and instead to teach others what you know and pass the knowledge on. Or not to be the constant Doubting Thomas, but to develop the capacity for faith as well. Does that ring any bells? Donna

      • All too many, Donna! Thank you!

  5. You have peaked my interest in the third house stellium scenario. Is writing a natural outlet for this person?

    • A high focus on communicating in one form or another. For instance, the “Poster Girl” in the Mercury test was one with 5 planets in Gemini who didn’t write a word, but was a natural and gifted story-teller.

      But we continue to develop different facets of ourselves and our chart throughout life, so the young 3rd house stellium might be the perpertual student or “jack of all trades,” but under a longer, stronger transit of an outer planet through the 3rd or to a 3rd house planet (or Mercury) might then be drawn to write about their topic of interest.

      I had been writing lots of articles about astrology for several years, but when Saturn transited my 3rd (for the first time), I was asked to expand the articles into a book, and that was the first of many books. Donna

  6. I am also curious about one of your examples. Does a packed third house necessarily produce a ‘successful’ writer (one who is noticed and sells books) – or does it just tend to make them prolific. (Assuming this person is a writer and not a mail carrier)

    • Right–could be a mail carrier or even a telemarketer. I knew a woman with a 3rd house stellium who ran a successful answering service for performers.

      But given a person who does write, it would make them prolific, but possibly, depending on the planets and signs involved, more inclined to journalism or blogging or other short pieces.

      Publishing success depends on lots of factors, including such qualities as persistence despite many rejections and the willingness to take editorial advice. It might require natal and transiting planets in the 9th and 10th, for instance. Donna

  7. OOOPS! CORRECTION: How about gemini in the cusp of an empty 10th when mercury is strong in the chart (well aspected, chart ruler)?
    (Sorry about that!)

    • VR, I did mention that I didn’t want to answer detailed personal questions–that’s clearly one about your chart. I only answer questions that have more general applicability and can benefit all readers. Donna

  8. What if there’s a stellium in the 9th, opposing Jup in the third – would that get me on the NY Times bestseller list?

    • Publishing is a crap shoot–what appeals to the public at any given time is a puzzlement. Good aspects like those help, but they don’t necessarily promise success of that magnitude. One person’s best piece of luck could be landing a weekly column in a local newspaper, another with similar aspects could hit it bigger. Donna

  9. Ha … Jupiter in the 3rd…”I may not always be right…but I’m NEVER wrong”

  10. As often as not our siblings and relatives turn out to be very different than ourselves or live with in different sub-cultures. Certainly not anyone we would choose as friends or associates. How does this relate to verbal acumen and communication?

    • Aha, so glad you brought that up–wish I could find something I wrote about just that, so I could cut and paste it here.

      We learn a lot about communication from our brothers and sisters growing up, like when to talk to our parents about something and when to stay the heck out of their way.

      They can also be a plus or a minus in learning basic skills and in elementary education (which the 3rd house rules). Sibling rivalry, for instance, can either spur us on or crush us–an abusive sibling can resent you for “showing off” and so you learn to hide your abilities.

      And in communities that are small enough that everybody knows everybody, the younger siblings often are expected to live up to or live down the reputation of the older siblings, for there is much comparision. The same in the family circle.

      There’s lots more to say on this topic, but this gives you a beginning sense of the roles siblings play in our lives. They may or may not be present in our adult lives, but how they interacted with us when we were growing up leaves a permanent imprint on us, and that imprint is shown by the 3rd house.

      Brian Clark, a fine Australian astrologer, wrote quite a good book about this topic, now out of print, but maybe available on or check the link under useful sites to Donna

  11. What in the chart would indicate a person’s way of thinking, as opposed to their communication style? One is inner and the other outer, and I often wonder whether Mercury would cover both, or is there something else I’m missing.

    • What a good observation, Opal…opalescent, almost! Certainly something to ponder, but I don’t have an immediate answer.

      I’d say that what we CAN communicate does originate in our way of thinking, but what we DO communicate comes through a filter of social conditioning.

      That is, if you grow up in a religious household and community, you’re likely to censor your more outrageous ideas or anything that challenges those in authority, and not to let on about your sexual urges or other things that would earn disapproval. That tendency to self-censoring sounds almost like Mercury’s aspects, or something like Jupiter or Saturn.

      On the other hand, Mercury is the mimic, and so, however we think, we are naturally influenced by the communication patterns of those in our immediate surroundings–like regional speech, with its accents, idioms, and particular ways of expressing things.

      Another facet of what gets communicated is how willing other people are to listen to our ideas–how much encouragement we get for expressing our thoughts.

      I suspect that may have to do with the aspects–a Jupiter trine might show that others encourage us to expand on our thoughts; a Saturn square or opposition might signify a repressive response, especially from parents and authority figures.

      For instance, a person with Mercury in Aquarius in the 3rd might have lots of brilliant and inventive but unconventional ideas, but if it were square Saturn in Taurus in the 6th, the response in the (traditional) workplace would be anything but good, so the person might either squelch the ideas or not bring them up at work.

      Anyone else have any ideas on this? Donna

      • I guess I see Mercury as being about cognition – how we cognate – or understand. So thought processes and outer communication (style) are obviously part of that….. Then, as you outline Donna, various chart factors (psychic factors) mitigate or facilitate or whatever – that innate cognitive functioning..

      • Mercury conjunct Jupiter in the 3rd (and in Scorpio!!!) Thanks to a tight semisquare to Sagittarius Saturn in the 4th (a hypocritical father who couldn’t handle the truth and who belittled every thought or word out of my mouth), I start off questioning whether or not my ideas have merit. Or else I know they do, but recognize the need for substantive backup. So I research the heck out of it, and only THEN do I share what I know. In great detail. Unless it serves no useful purpose, then I remain silent. I also don’t make judgments until and unless I feel certain I’ve checked my own motives. I don’t ever want to be a hypocrite.

    • I agree! Also wanted to add that years ago, a very earth-smart friend, was making a point about the process of drawing and sketching in architecture. he said: is not only to communicate you ideas to others, is to communicate them to yourself! the creative process is a dialogue with yourself, and there is a much needed dynamic between the hand and the brain, they give each other feedback.

      I tend to see the 3rd and the 9th house like the left and right brain respectively, and mercury is of course a messenger, maybe between them and also between ourselves and others (I might have read that years ago, I don’t remember!). But I feel there is something else, there is a lot of non verbal communication, and how do we connect the conscious and subconscious processes of thought, or at least how do we correlate them in astrology. some would point to the 12th house?

      • Hmm. Body language? I don’t know–I’d have to think. that might be more Mars, or possibly the 1st house. Donna

  12. how about Neptune in the 3rd…never sure? fuzzy or maybe ‘absorbs’ ideas or feelings from surroundings, mixing them with own ideas. It would probably feel more at ease in the 9th.
    I’m also curious about Opal’s question. good one.

    • Hi, Sabrina, I have Neptune in the 3rd squaring Mercury on the cusp of the 12th, so I could tell you bunches about this aspect, but it would take so long. I have an article-seedling in my notebook about the various levels this placement works on. I hope I get around to it!!

      One interpretation of the aspect is that the things we perceive are intangible and our attempts to express the inexpressible are difficult to articulate…but we keep on trying. Donna

      UPDATE: I did write the article. See “Viewing the 3rd House through Neptune’s Lens.”

      • yes, thanks Donna. a lot of answers come from dreams, when the logical mind can’t seem to process what’s being given, and after that they look so obvious.
        I’ll wait for your writings about it! my neptune is opposite mars in the 9th and the spine of a kite, and my only planet in fire…I think I should be giving more attention to this friend.

      • I hope you get around to it, too! I have Neptune in the 3rd (conj Moon) opposing Mercury and the Sun in the 9th. Very active and vivid dreams which I remember pretty much every night, communicating w/ siblings often a very frustrating thing for me, ping-ponged between four different schools in three years when I was a kid – these are just a few ways this has played out for me. I’m interested to read more about your experiences and hope you do get around to writing more about it sometime.

  13. How would an empty 3rd house but Saturn in Gemini on MC play out? Does that say an expert communicator or someone who has no opinions/ does not communicate?

    • Hi, Muhajir, I’ve written rather a lot about how Mercury and Saturn or Saturn and Gemini combine where careers are concerned in the comment sections of other Mercury articles in this series…especially one long question in the article called Cosmic Pinata #5. check it out. Donna

  14. What if you have two signs in the 3rd? It’s my understanding that the sign on the leading cusp of the 3rd is the sign of the 3rd. But what if another sign shares a significant part of the 3rd? I’ve heard that some astrologers prefer having one sign per house. How do you apply the signs to houses and shared signs in a house?

    • Hi, Terri, I wrote quite a bit about this precise topic in the Q & A piece on general questions about the houses. The sign on the cusp IS significant, here because it shows a good bit about our thinking and communicating style, siblings, etc…it’s descriptive, like adjectives modifying a noun.

      The other sign is less important UNLESS there are planets in that sign natally in the 3rd as well. Or at the point in time when a transiting planet switches into that sign and activates that part of the house.

      Then the planets in a house are really the active force, much more compelling in determining all the 3rd house meanings. Planets are more like verbs. Donna

  15. what about people with Mercury retrograde?
    or people without Mercury retrograde but with progressions TO mercury retrograde?

    • Sigh. That’s an article, not a question, and it’s not MY article. Try
      Erin Sullivan’s site, and her book on retrograde planets. Donna

  16. Mercury in Pisces.

    Communication. Difficult. trying to explain images, free floating concepts.
    Words there, but not assembling.

    The hell was I talking about?

    • Delightful depiction, Rosa! Donna

  17. How about Uranus in the 3rd house? Unusual sibling, teacher?

    • Yes to both interpretations. but also this speaks reams about the thinking and communicating patterns of the individual whose chart it is. Given to bright and off-beat ideas, almost eccentric. Can espouse controversial viewpoints just for the shock value, but also can be forward thinking on social issues. Most likely comfortable with high tech communications devices, software, etc.

      Nervous system perhaps a bit high strung, gets wired easily, rapid-fire thoughts that others can’t keep up with. Possibly a bit accident prone because the thoughts move faster than the motor skills, especially when young. Donna

  18. Does a well aspected 3rd House or a certain Mercury aspect denote genius?
    If yes,
    What houses other than third would be involved?
    What other planets contribute, with Mercury, to denoting a level of genius?

    you come up with the best topics.

    • Hi, EJ, thanks. Not so sure the 3rd especially shows genius–or any particular house. Maybe there are 12 kinds of genius, depending on the house emphasis–I’m reminded of that series earlier here about house stelliums. (Newcomers, use the search engine top right hand side of this blog to find it.)

      I was toying with the idea that the Mercury score plus the Uranus score could be an index of genius. But the scores aren’t all that precise. Lois Rodden’s research seemed to say that Mercury-Saturn aspects shows genius–but maybe they are an indication of applying the mind in a serious and disciplined fashion.

      And then again, we come back to the article on 4 kinds of smart and how intellect (AIR element) is only one measure of intelligence. I’ve known some earth geniuses too. No easy answers to your question–if astrology even answers it at all. Donna

  19. When relating to someone with Mercury conjunct Neptune in 3rd, might it be wise to be aware of a tendency to elaborate upon the truth?

    • Errrrr. having a similar placement, I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate me.

      I don’t exactly lie about things, but have been known to embellish just to make it a better story. We like to entertain. Donna

  20. “If there’s a stellium in the 3rd, will the person write a NY Times Best Seller?”

    Ha! Great question. I think the answer is “not necessarily,” but I’d like to ask a related question: What planets in the 3rd are most likely to be correlated with success in the publishing arena? (Success being defined as either critical or financial success, the two being rather different and probably more related to other houses than just the 2nd.)

    • Typo (or Freudian slip): that should be “just the 3rd.”

      • Answered above to the best of my ability, Margaret. I don’t think 3rd house planets predict publishing success, just whether the person is inclined to do well in communication-related fields, writing being just one of them. I’d think of the 9th house as a better indicator of success in publishing–publishing is one of the fields connected with the 9th.

        As you doubtlessly know, there are tons of truly gifted writers whose manuscripts languish in a drawer because they are lacking qualities or know-how needed in the business end of publishing. It’s said that to be a good or successful writer, you need more than a good Mercury, you also need a good Saturn. Donna

  21. If you have a close major aspect between Mercury and Saturn (conj, sq, opp) and Mercury is your rising planet, is the aspect or effect doubled or otherwise highlighted? Who “wins”? Mercury or Saturn?

    • Well, in any aspect, really, but certainly in this one, you’d have to figure out which of the two planets was stronger. The two planetary tests give some of the factors involved in making a planet strong, so you might find some answers that way. (Here, you’d take the test for Saturn and the test for Mercury given elsewhere on this site.) Donna

      • Sounds good. I already scored high in Mercury, 58. I’ll try that for Saturn too.

  22. Opening the door to mercurial questions – you could be here for years answering this avalanche!

    My question: an opposition as I understand it creates a tendency for a person to swing from one planet’s energy to the opposing one – but how would that work when the planets are similar in energy ie when Mercury opposes Uranus?

    • The first thing I do in analyzing any given aspect is to consider how compatible the two planets are, because, say a Pluto-Saturn trine is no easy match even if it is a trine. So I ask myself, what affinity do the pair of planets have for one another.

      The planets most compatible with Mercury would be Jupiter and Uranus, since all three operate to a great extent in the mental realm. In the theosophical teachings, Uranus is said to be the higher octave of Mercury–that is, Uranus is what Mercury would be if you kicked it up a notch.

      As you say, oppositions can alternate in expression–first one, then another–in balance. So a good use of the aspect would be first Uranus–the brilliant flash of an idea–then Mercury, communicating it with others, finding applications for it.

      Another major way oppositions are expressed are by projection, meaning that we find other people to act out one of the planets for us rather than owning it in ourselves.

      Usually we project our unacceptable qualities, for instance claiming that it’s not us that has the shocking, antisocial ideas and characteristics, it’s those terrible Uranian types and they ought to be sent to jail.

      But we can also disown our gifts and modestly award them to to others. So the Mercurial person might not believe in their own brilliance and bow to the Uranian type as the true genius. Depends, of course, on the house axis involved and the signs. Donna

      PS. don’t worry about me–when I’m tired of answering questions or need to get on to the next thing, I just shut off the comment section!

  23. Can a stellium in the 3rd house involving personal planets cause restlessness and wanderlust in addition to an emphasis on communication? (Perhaps it might result in communicating about travels!)

    If so, would it make it difficult for such a person to develop long term friendships / relationships because of that restlessness?

    • MTH, the amount of restlessness would depend on the planets and signs–mercury, Mars, Jupiter, or Uranus, mutable signs, very restless indeed, but Saturn, Pluto, Scorpio, or fixed signs very intensely focused. It’s likely to be mental restlessness (multiple interests) and maybe local rather than long-distance travel.

      No direct effect on relationships unless Venus or the ruler of the 7th is involved–what’s to stop such a person from finding great companions on their mental journeys? Donna

      • Thanks! Very clear response 🙂

  24. wow! some great questions here. i have one:

    if the 9th house rules publishing and the natural ruler of 9th is jupiter/sag, would mercury in the 2nd opposing jupiter in the 8th point to success publishing one’s writing? could one hit the “jackpot” (8th house ruling other people’s money) as a published writer? (or any sort of communications “expert” i should add – blogger, copywriter, author, etc.)

    • Sorry, Erin, that’s the kind of question that I’d have to look at the whole chart to answer, and I don’t do individual charts anymore. Look at the answers to questions about writing and publishing above. Donna

  25. here’s a different question but also related to writing:

    which is more significant as an indicator of a career in writing – mercury with its house placement and aspects or gemini on the MC? or is that too limited in view? (or maybe just a lame question!)

    • Not lame at all. Ideally, you’d have several indicators of writing going on, involving Mercury, Gemini, the 3rd or those kinds of planets in the vocational houses. Probably score high on the mercury test as well. Lots of questions about writing here–read all the answers. Donna

  26. Dear Donna, thank you for your answer! Didn’t mean to get to personal, just inspired by the fact that virgos and geminis share the same ruler, i thought maybe this could serve as link between houses with totally different agendas!
    To answer your questions:
    a) No, no parental role from my siblings, though older than me, totally different people whatsoever.
    b) I don’t know why they say virgos are workaholics, i’ve known some very lazy ones and through periods, i’ve been a big one myself.
    To me, virgos are perfeccionists, with an ability to dissect a task to its components, plus a weird tendency to over-strategizing.
    As for workaholism, i am a 1st house workaholic- i can work 20 hours straight as long as sth catches my enthusiasm, and still feels new and inspiring. And when it wears off… houston we have a problem! A rush and an anguish, that i kinda have to outrun my boredom, you know?

  27. How would you read a square, plus a mutual reception, between 3rd and 12th?

    • Sounds like you’re asking about your own chart. Mutual reception depends on the two planets involved, so don’t throw in the houses and ask me to interpret the–too many details.

      The question I will answer is what would a square between the 3rd and the 12th do. The 3rd is like Mercury or Gemini while the 12th is similar to Neptune and Pisces. Each of the two houses has multiple meanings, and whole novels–and philosophy books–have been written about 3rd house/12th house dilemmas, but let’s just focus on communication as an issue.

      The 12th is partly about the unconscious and about things we keep secret, even from ourselves. The 3rd is our need to communicate what we think and what is going on. You can see what would create tension between them.

      A person with this square can wind up blurting out things that they or others would rather have privacy about–even be a bit gossipy.

      OR, on the positive side, let’s say there are unconscious experiences or emotions that are causing pain or are causing the person to do self-destructive things. Journaling, talking it out in therapy, or recording and working with dreams are ways that awareness of the causes and healing can occur. Donna

  28. So, Donna, what does Pluto in the 3rd house mean? I thought it meant a potty mouth:)

    • LOL! Fuck, yes! Again the 3rd house has so many levels of meanings. To do a complete analysis would be an article in itself, but here are some of the possibilities.

      1) An intense and toxic case of sibling rivalry, which parents covertly egg on. Many times it’s abuse by a sibling.
      2) A person who is very private and may have a deep distrust of neighbors (another 3rd house meaning)…neighborhood “witch.”
      3) A deep and penetrating mind–like Mercury in Scorpio taken to a much higher level.
      4) One who writes powerful, healing, transformative prose–whether self-help or fiction.
      5) One whose words have a vicious sting, going right for others’ most vulnerable places.
      6) One who suffers from OCD, maybe of the verbal variety. Or thinks of sex all the time.
      7) One who plots how to get even…never letting go of a grudge. Ask my mean Aunt Bernadine, who has a huge chart on her wall detailing all her family feuds.
      An investigative reporter, digging into corruption and treachery.
      9) All of the above…or none of the above.

      And lots, lots, more. Donna

      • i know this is Q&A that is on the broader level and not to get too personal with any one person’s chart/life, but i’ve got uranus right on my 3rd house cusp in the sign of scorpio. i also have north node in 3rd in scorpio, but that is it.

        after reading your list above, donna, i relate more to the plutonian characteristics than the uranian characterisitics (which were discussed up, up, up the trail). some of these plutonian ones really speak LOUDLY to me (GONG!!) – and i’d never considered this before in all my studies.

        but i’m not your aunt bernadine – a plotter! that one (thankfully) does not ring true. 🙂

  29. Hello Donna,

    It is said that people with a strong mercury signature are natural born liars. How do you feel about this? And which placements do you think could show this?



    • Hi, Syd. I won’t lie to you, some Mercurial types ARE liars, but we all lie about a lot of things. I lie to my sister and tell her she’s a great cook when she sooooo isn’t–so does everyone in our family. Thankfully she’s never shown the slightest interest in this blog or anything else I’ve written, so I can get away with revealing the truth here.

      Maybe every planet and every sign tells lies.
      Neptune shows where we lie about our addictions and codependency, to ourselves and others.
      Jupiter shows where we lie to ourselves and others about having the answers to many things and the truth about practically everything.
      Venus shows where we lie about what we really look like and who we really love and pretend to be nice at all times.
      Saturn shows where we lie about having everything handled.
      And so on. Donna

    • Syd, I find that people with Mercury square Jupiter tend to be natural storytellers – sometimes these are people who tell the “truth” in the way they want others to hear it.

      • Hi Jack,

        I might have to disagree with you on this one – the “truth” is often a matter of “perspective”, both Jupiter functions. Let’s say perhaps that the perspective can get a bit skewed sometimes, which can lead to a potential tendency to exaggerate. I have this square in my own chart and have been accusued of being brutally honest – I’d rather shut my mouth and say nothing than lie about something. Remember that Jupiter can also be quite blunt 🙂

  30. To extend on Trishia’s question: How would you read Pluto (or any planet for that matter) in the 3rd within 10 degrees of the IC?

    • This came in as I was writing my answer to Trish! Read what I was just writing about Pluto in the 3rd while you were writing this and raise it to an even higher level. The Gauquelin research identified four regions of the chart as power zones where a planet becomes one of the most obvious qualities of the person. They were the areas 10 degrees either sideof the Ascendant, Descendent (7th cusp), Midheaven (10th cusp), and IC (4th cusp).

      In terms of family dynamics, having Pluto on the IC but in the 3rd intensifies the possibility of verbal abuse by the parents and siblings, and, sorry to say, even sexual abuse by a sibling. If so, that abuse could result in scholastic blockages and writing blockages that CAN be healed by speaking and writing about the traumas. Donna

  31. Does the house placement of Mercury indicate what areas you are most interested in talking about and or learning about.

    • Yes, the house placement does occupy much of our mind and thought. The aspects and sign also play into it. The person with Mercury conjunct the Sun, alas, can think and talk mostly about themselves. Donna

      • must be psychic…your reply just explained something about my husband. He has the Sun conjunct Mercury! So that explains it!

        I was thinking Mercury in the 1st would be people more interested in talking about themselves.

      • Maybe not talking about themselves with it in the 1st, depends on the sign. But talk, talk, talk until you want to slit your wrists. Especially when it’s conjunct the Ascendant or the Moon, they are often what’s called compulsive talkers.

        In the 1st, it’s often a defense mechanism to deal with social anxiety or to keep you from really getting to know them or to know what’s really going on. Donna

  32. Mars in the 3rd house…all I can visualise is trouble and the unpleasant sides of communicating. Like a picky Mars in Virgo or a verbally agresssive fire Mars. Please give me some examples of a positive twist on Mars in the 3rd. Perhaps an amazing orator?

    • A fiery and convincing orator, for sure, Tizer–can be somewhat of a cheerleader for people and things they believe in. A quick and active mind, but, yes, somewhat sarcastic and prone to speak impulsively.

      Impatiens by Bach would be an excellent flower remedy to take–they tend to be impatient with people who don’t think or act as quickly as they do. (See the category healing tools on this blog for articles about flower remedies, aka flower essences).

      We get the chart we get for good reasons, and every aspect has its constructive uses, but also its side effects. With conscious work we can live down the less constructive and live up to the positive uses of any aspect. Donna

      • so what would the higher evolutions a mars in the 3rd opposite saturn in the 9th?

      • Perhaps it would be leading workshops or writing how-to pieces about ways people can conquer their fears and self-limiting beliefs.

        If I were to make up a past life for this combination, it might be as a soldier/knight in the various Crusades. Donna

  33. As to Pluto in the third house… what do you think about three siblings who each have Pluto in the third house. I know this is general…and the rest counts too….

    • Hi, Eva, aspects tend to run in families, and in any case when 3 siblings shared the same aspects, it speaks of a shared history that has impacted all of them in similar ways.

      Here the shared history would probably be on the list of things I spelled out for Trishia–perhaps one sibling who affected all the others similarly, and with Pluto it could have been a sibling who was abusive or abused. Donna

      • Hi Donna, thanks … the three siblings are my three grandchildren, still quite small, 20mos, almost 5 and 7… well, wait and see…

  34. I have Saturn in Sag in the third house, with Mercury combust Sun in Taurus. Although I consider myself pretty intelligent, I have always had trouble speaking. When I was in fifth grade, I had a stuttering problem, which still manifests from time to time. However, when I do speak, I usually get myself in trouble, as I am blunt and to the point (Taurus and Sag).

    Also, I have three half-brothers, one of whom I only knew when he was a baby, and two whom I only met when I was 30. The latter two had a hard life growing up (Saturn).

    However, my Saturn is exactly trine my Moon in Leo, which is a saving grace at times.

    • thanks for giving us the detailed picture, Jack. Maybe the Saturn in Sag part of it is long-distance siblings who only come into your life in maturity?

      At any rate, Saturn in the 3rd is much like my description of mercury-Saturn aspects in the comment section here and in the Mercury test. Look for those, and I think you’ll relate. Donna

  35. Hi, Donna. Can you explain the difference between Pluto in the 3rd house, and Mercury in Scorpio? I have both.


    • Hi, Ellen, they are quite similar in their approach to thinking and communicating–deep, penetrating, astute, psychological, analytical–but it’s more a matter of degree. In terms of what’s strongest, I say it goes like this, with 1 being the strongest:

      1) Mercury-Pluto aspects (conjunction, square and opposition strongest, trine less compulsive, sextile and other minor aspects just a smidgeon)
      2) Pluto in the 3rd, especially within 10 degrees of the IC
      3) Mercury in Scorpio
      4) Scorpio planets in the 3rd
      5) Mercury in the 8th
      6) Scorpio on the 3rd cusp, no planets there.

      PS. Before you ask, folks, I’d give you a similar listing of strengths for any Mercury aspect (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Chiron.) Donna

  36. Does Mercury square Neptune cause foggy thinking? I love reading and can get lost in a good story. Is there any positive to this square?

    • Bet you have a fine imagination, Adrienne. The square can sometimes work well for writers I’ve found as it can help one to paint a vivid picture in the minds of others. I’ve noticed that those with Merc/Neptune contacts can tend to use a lot of metaphor or symbolism in their writing and may even be rather poetic or musical. This can be a good one for songwriters and musicians, though it can be a little tough in a traditional academic sense as the mind tends to wander and daydream a bit. I’m sure Donna can add much more to this, but I just wanted you to know that “challenging” aspects aren’t all bad. They just give us the push we need to work a little harder so that we can reap benefits from them 🙂 If you look up the charts of a lot of famous and successful people you’ll often find a fair amount of sqaures and/or oppositions involved.

  37. What changes when your pogressed Mercury goes retrograde?


  38. Having the sign Gemini on the IC Uranus and south node both in Gemini in the 4th a cardinal Cancer house would this help or hinder communication with family?

    Would Uranus in Gemini be considered an independant thinker?

  39. Two more! Mercury con MC – how would that play out? And what about Saturn in the third?

    • I think I answered both of those questions in other posts this week. Try the Cosmic Pinata and the mercury test comment sections. Saturn in the 3rd is parallel to Mercury Saturn aspects, or Saturn in Gemini, maybe even Mercury in Capricorn. Donna

  40. If someone loved debate, or was a spin doctor, or good salesman would all these show as a strong mercury?

    How does the trickster part of Mercury work?

    • Yes to debate, spin, and sales. The trickster–I’d have to say offhand that Uranus is more of the trickster, loves to rattle people’s cages and shake them up, a bit of a rebel against laws and rules. Donna

  41. Donna, you’ve answered questions here about writing books…I’m curious to know what the astrological mark of a successful screenwriter is? Would the 3rd house be heavily involved?

    • I don’t actually know, Ellen, never met any screen writers or seen any of their charts, though I’ve specialized in “regular” writers. I’d wonder if Leo or the 5th might be part of the equation. Donna

      • Hmmm….that’s an interesting question. I agree with Donna though I’d also go out on a limb and say that perhaps Neptune could be involved as well with the imaginative scope it requires to come up with a lot of these stories. A lot of movie making revolves around creating a fantasy which is very Neptunian. Also screenwriters don’t generally seem to get the same kind of press that the actors, director, or producer may so it has more of a behind-the-scenes feel to it – at least to my mind……

      • Not that I know for sure, but I’d think you were right. Donna

      • Donna and Alethea… I just typed “screenwriter” in Astro-Databank and got a ton of screenwriters, mostly also directors/producers and/or novelists/journalists and some also actors. It’s unbelievable how many of them have Neptune opposing Sun or Moon…usually moon. Sun or Moon conjunct Uranus was also a common aspect. I will do more research on this. For now am off to bed 🙂

  42. How does Mercury act in out-of-sign aspects? Pisces Mercury conjunct a planet in Aries, Aries Mercury conjunct a planet in Taurus etc.

    • Oh, my, Tatiana, out of sign aspects aren’t easy to delineate. You have to take them apart, piece by piece…maybe even leave the signs out of it on the first attempt to analyze it, and focus on the two planets involved and what the nature of the aspect is (e.g. the qualities of a conjunction–which merges the energies of the two planets–vs. the qualities of a square.)

      Whenever I’m trying to understand an aspect that is “off” in some way from the norm (e.g. an out of sign aspect or a conjunction that’s more than 8 degrees), my best witness of how it works is to describe the qualities of both planets and then ask the client whether it works in their lives and exactly how. To me, a consultation is a dialogue and the client is the real expert on their lives. I have learned a great deal of what I know about astrology in that way. Donna

  43. That’s all, folks! You’ve asked some great questions, and I’ve enjoyed this session. I need to get some solid writing in before Mercury fast-tracks out of Gemini for the year.

    We’ll do another Q & A session soon–I think next time about the 12th house. Donna


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