©6-23-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
The latest Skywriter theme has been to explore various aspects and other chart features associated with Mercury. Since Mercury has only a couple more days left in its own sign, we’re winding down, but here’s one of the last articles in the series. Today we’ll focus on some readers’ questions about Mercury-Pluto combinations as well as an excerpt from my writing tips booklet.
Ellen asks: Can you explain the difference between Pluto in the 3rd house, and Mercury in Scorpio? I have both.
My reply: They’re 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 by my observations, I say it goes like this, with 1 being the strongest:
- Mercury-Pluto hard aspects (conjunction, square and opposition)
- Pluto in the 3rd, especially within 10 degrees of the IC
- Mercury-Pluto trine less compulsive, minor aspects just a smidgeon
- Gemini on the 8th
- Mercury in 8th
- Mercury in Scorpio
- Scorpio planets in the 3rd
- Scorpio on the 3rd cusp, no planets there
You can create a similar listing of strengths for any Mercury aspect. Just substitute the name of the planet, the sign it rules, and the associated house of the chart.
Adrienne asks,”Is transiting Pluto conjunct Mercury the same as a natal conjunction? With Pluto moving so slow, it will be there for about 2 years.”
My reply: Yes, a long transit of an outer planet like Pluto conjunct an inner planet like Mercury raises some of the same issues and conflicts to resolve as people with natal conjunctions have had to contend with all their lives. The same could be said of Pluto transits to the 3rd house, since it’s the house related to Mercury and thus describes communication, thinking, and learning patterns, relationships with siblings and other near relatives like aunts and uncles, and short-term learning commitments like seminars.
These transits are usually more more overwhelming than the natal aspect because the person isn’t used to it. Therefore, there’s a big learning curve on how to make the two planets work together. It can be most difficult in the beginning, but gets progressively better as the two-year transit goes on…if the person is WILLING to learn, rather than ignoring–or even resisting–the message from the Cosmos.
The important exception would be if the person already had those two planets in some kind of aspect natally–let’s say that in the birth chart you already had Mercury trine Pluto. Then the transit would be an important window for resolving long-standing issues that the natal aspect represents and upgrading the way the aspect is used to a new, more constructive level. Pluto transits to the 3rd raise some of the same issues, except that they last a very long time, depending on how many degrees are in that house. (For example, if the house is 30 degrees wide, the transit lasts approximately 15 years.)
If the person has a talent for writing, a Mercury-Pluto transit can be an era when they begin to work hard at developing it and may even write something substantial. Likewise, a Pluto transit to the 3rd can also be a window for developing writing talent, except it lasts much longer.
To a reader who asked if natal Mercury square Pluto COULD contribute to a problem in verbal expression: Yes, and add to writing barriers as well. Here’s what I would see as the reason. Plutonians have a built-in BS detector, but they get into beaucoup trouble when they talk about what they see. As kids, they get their behinds tanned at home and get sent to the principal’s office at school.
Pretty soon, they learn to keep their mouths shut rather than speak out about what’s so glaringly obvious to them. So as adults, they become anxious about expressing things that they know make others uncomfortable.
A reader asks: I ’d like to know if someone else’s Pluto in aspect to a person’s Mercury has a similar effect as natal aspects. Say, my Mercury conjunct someones Pluto.
My reply: What a good question! There’s a certain tension in the relationship about communication, certainly. The Mercury person would want the Pluto person to commmunicate what they are holding back; on the other hand, the Pluto person would hate it when the mercury person is being glib and superficial, and so would push them to look deeper. It’s not a bad contact in terms of the results, but uncomfortable in the process. It’s a bit like Gemini vs. Scorpio–a quincunx by signs that has some of the same dynamics as what I just said.
Trishia asks, “Donna, what does Pluto in the 3rd house mean? I thought it meant a potty mouth:) “
My reply: Bleep yes! But it’s way more than that. The 3rd house has many different 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. Many times there are abusive relationships among these siblings.
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.
For more details on family dynamics common to those with Mercury-Pluto combinations in their charts, here’s an excerpt from my writing tips booklet:
MERCURY-PLUTO HARD ASPECTS OR PLUTO IN THE 3rd: Mercury-Pluto types are keenly conscious of the power of words—written or spoken—whether to heal or to wound, and therein lies a good deal of their difficulty in writing. Many of them grew up in families where it was taboo or even outright dangerous to talk about what was really happening. While the secrets of Neptunian families are maintained by denial, addiction, and spacing out, the secrets of Plutonian families are more often maintained by guilt-tripping or intimidation.
Since Pluto and Neptune were traveling in tandem 60° apart for the last several decades of the Twentieth Century, however, most such dysfunctional families are a crazy-making combination of both planets. Some family members are sunk in denial, while others perceive the truth but are punished or shunned for speaking out about it! The Plutonians are the family members who see deeply but learn to keep their own counsel. When Mercury aspects Pluto or Pluto is in the 3rd, the secret may be about a sibling who is either abused or abusive or both, and who threatens the native with some dire consequence If They Tell.
Additionally, the sibling may engage in heavy-handed power trips or less apparent but no less effective manipulation in order to maintain dominance. I have also noted with Pluto in the 3rd that it is common for one or both parents to promote an intense and often scarring sibling rivalry in which siblings vie with one another for sparsely-available love and attention at all costs. Being invisible—and thus less of a target—becomes a survival skill in such families.
It does present a special problem for a would-be writer, because in order to be published, the person has to overcome the fear of being high profile AND the prohibition against revealing secrets. Insight and healing work may be required to break through these barriers. The result, however, is the potential formwriting that is powerful, insightful, and moving.
Note: this has been a brief excerpt from my ebooklet, So You Want to Write— Techniques and Tips from Miss Prolific, which you can order here: http://www.moonmavenpublications.com/writersresources.html.
LOST BROTHERS AND SISTERS: Several people have written in to say that they had half or step siblings they didn’t get to know until later. CJ Wright of Auntie Moon wants birth data from people who were adopted or who spent periods of time in their childhood where they were in foster care or lived with adults other than their parents ~ grandparents, other relatives, families of friends, childrens’ homes, or other environments, to see what placements go along with those experiences. I’m guessing that an outer planet near the IC is one signature, but I could be off. See the announcement at http://auntiemoon.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/research-on-adopted-or-foster-kids/ and write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To one reader who asked what the antidote to a Mercury/Pluto aspect would be, I suggested: Age, experience, and self-awareness. Mental self-control.
With my own Mercury-Pluto semisquare, I’ve learned, when my thoughts get into certain kinds of grooves (obsessively ruminating on a resentment or what someone did to me, for instance) to yank myself out of that rut.
(It used to be that working myself into a state of righteous indication was a guilty pleasure. Now, peace of mind is more of a solace that I crave.)
When I feel myself winding up to a bad brood, I tell myself very emphatically STOP! Sometimes I give myself a little tap on the third eye while saying STOP! Then I distract myself by doing something that takes all my concentration, like playing solitaire.
Reading A Course in Miracles (ACIM) helps me the most–I just open it “at random” and the verse my eyes light on always pertains to what I’m stewing about in an uncanny way. (Eckhart Tolle’s writing, like The Power of Now, helps too, and in fact, ACIM is one of the sources he draws from.) In short, I’ve learned to reel myself in quite quickly because I could stew all night about IT–it always seems these “attacks” come in the night and keep me awake and agitated.
Readers, do you or someone close to you have a Mercury-Pluto connection in the birth chart or by transit? How does it play out? And how have you helped yourself? Tell us in the comment section.
Note: For even more insights about Mercury-Pluto aspects feel like–and what to do with them, read two articles written during a long Mercury-Pluto conjuntion while Mercury was stationary and turning retrograde: The Mercury-Pluto Conjunction—Grievances, Gripes, Grudges, and Grinches and If It Weren’t for that Mercury Conjunction to Pluto….
Other Articles in this Series about Mercury and the 3rd on Skywriter:
- Understanding Mercury Aspects to the Moon
- Understanding Mercury-Saturn Combinations
- Understanding Mercury-Uranus Combinations—It’s DIY Time!
- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Mercury and the 3rd House (links)
- Readers Ask: Q & A about the 3rd House, Mercury, and Gemini
- The Best of Readers’ Q & A about the 3rd House and Mercury
- Things You May Not Know about the 3rd and 12th Houses
- Viewing the 3rd House through Neptune’s Lens
- How Strong is your Mercury? Here’s the Score!
- How Strong is your Pluto? Here’s the Score!
- Pluto and Bullying: How to Recognize and Deal with It
- Battling the Bully – Standing Up For Yourself With Confidence
- How to Recognize and Deal with an Abusive Person
- How to Deal with Emotional Abuse
- Purge Yourself of Pluto’s Negativity—Get Free of Bitterness
- Grudges And Forgiveness
- Common Issues of Pluto and Saturn—and Flower Essences that Help
- Pluto Problems Got You Perplexed? Here’s What Helps!
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