Posted by: Donna Cunningham | May 11, 2011

Teasing—Is It Ruled by Mercury or Mars?

©5-11-11 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Do you like it when people tease you? Most likely not, but are there times when it’s okay? Have you ever stopped to analyze what kinds of teasing are funny and what kinds are wounding?  

And what planet rules this iffy brand of humor? Do you think it’s Mercury? Mars? Jupiter? Or, brrr, Pluto? For sure, it’s not Venus!

Teasers would have you believe it’s a Mercury thang. “It’s a joke, for God’s sake! I’m just having fun with you. Can’t you be a Good Sport?”

It’s not JUST. A. JOKE. Not if the person who’s being teased isn’t laughing. Really laughing—not just faking it.   

If you look deeper, most of the time, it’s an act of ill-concealed aggression…a deft attack on your most vulnerable spots.   

It’s also generally a form of competition:

  • A way of putting you down
  • A kind of one-upmanship
  • Of exposing your weaknesses
  • And of making you the butt of a joke
  • In short, a form of humiliation

Although women do tease,  it’s a peculiarly male type of humor in its more vicious forms, institutionalized in the locker room, on the playing field, in sports competitions, and in the frat house. It’s part of how they establish themselves as the Alpha Male. 

 So, yeah, if you noticed the words in red, you’ve guessed I’m voting for Mars and its tougher aspects as the ruler/chart signature of teasing. If you don’t agree, you’re welcome to share your reasoning in the comment section.

Is there a Jupiter form of teasing? You do see it in standup routines that wildly exaggerate the traits of an ethnic group, gender, segment of society, politician, or celebrity. Or at a roast.  

It works best when it’s not mean spirited and when the comics poke fun at themselves and the group they belong to. Mean-spirited cracks do get laughs, but don’t you feel squirmy inside, like you’re probably next and it won’t be pretty?

What about “affectionate teasing?”  The fun you have at the expense of Dear Old Dad? Or teenage sis who’s just starting to get attention from boys? Is that Mars? Mercury? Or maybe even the Moon?

It’s Mercury IF the person who’s being teased is laughing too. But it’s probably Mars if Sis locks herself in the bathroom and emerges an hour later with reddened eyes.

 It’s Mars with Saturn or Pluto if the “joke” comes from a parent, teacher, boss, or other authority figure who uses it to punish and diminish a young person or subordinate.

It’s a cruel—and often tragically successful—form of verbal abuse intended to make you believe you’ll never amount to anything.

 The most biting kind comes from Mars in Scorpio, Virgo, Capricorn, or Aries, especially with hard aspects from Saturn or Pluto. Mars-Neptune, maybe, if it’s the nasty type of comment that only shows up when the person is drunk. Mercury-Pluto aspects can tease, too, but it’s definitely meant to wound.

Personally, I never tease because I recognize that most such “jests” are intended, on some level, to wound. With a Mars like mine—and a Mercury honed to a stiletto point—I just don’t want to go there. Oh, if someone teases me, I might tease back, just a wee, non-lethal jab.  

Who Gets Away with Teasing Me?

In exploring this subject, I’ve been pondering what kind of teasing bothers me and what kind does not. Perhaps if I share my conclusions it will help you sort out your own responses to teasing. So here are some examples of people—those still alive, that is—who have dared to tease me.    

Friend A has Mars in Leo conjunct my own. Her brand of teasing is playful, in that she assumes a sort of “bad boy” role at that time.  There’s never any real harm in it, and she makes me laugh because I have just a bit of “bad boy” in me too that seldom gets to come out to play. Since our Mars are conjunct, we sometimes join forces to gang up on Friend B, to our endless merriment and her exasperation. 

 Friend B has Mars in Scorpio square mine. She cannot get away with even the mildest bit of teasing, as it strikes me as mean-spirited. Even though she protests that it’s not meant that way, I still believe it is. Early in our relationship, at a time when I was really down, she bullied me until I stood up to her quite forcefully. Though I’ve earnestly worked for years on letting go of it, a vulnerable part of me is still on guard and ready to bristle–it’s not a forgiveness issue, it’s a trust issue.

Friend C is a good-hearted, helpful soul who I believe is headed for beatification when she passes on. Not what you’d call witty, she gets off a real zinger at me once in a while—usually more than deserved. Then she’s so pleased with herself that I get tickled and laugh until my sides ache. Her Mars in Gemini is less than a half degree from my Mercury.  

Who else gets away with it?  There’s a certain sort of cheeky fan who points out my foibles and inconsistencies. That little jab in the ribs startles me and makes me laugh at myself.   You’ll find these cheeky ones occasionally on Skywriter. 

 (If that sort of delicate balance isn’t your forte—if there’s even a tinge of mean-spirited malice in your intention—I wouldn’t recommend trying it.)

How about you, Readers? How do you react to being teased?  When is it funny, and when does it feel like an attack?  If you tease someone yourself, what lies beneath it? And what in your chart gets triggered when you tease or are teased?  Share your thoughts in the comment section.

 Related articles on Skywriter:

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  1. Teasing hurts the most when you KNOW the person is really using it as a way to passive-aggressively put you down. If I find a quirk about myself funny, I laugh when someone teases me about it because I know it’s weird, too. Teasing by name-calling can be hurtful, too. Not ugly name calling ~ but those little “pet” names that drive us crazy and make us feel “less than.”

  2. That’s a nice distinction, CJ. I have quirks too–no surprise to my readers–and I can laugh at them so long as people don’t have an underlying meanness. Like the fact that my memory is like Swiss Cheese. Or that in my house, if I can’t nuke it or bake it, it doesn’t get cooked. Donna

  3. when someone uses teasing as a way to criticize and then says “only kidding” that’s when it hurts the worst. I find that people while “teasing” seldom say what they do not mean.

  4. I never wanted to go to my deceased husbands family reunion for vacation because his brother Wayne and Wayne’s wife would start the put downs on one another and then it seemed everyone but me enjoyed it or joined in. I always found an excuse to get away and either went to bed or read a book in the bedroom. I found this really is hateful and takes other peoples energy away.

  5. I knew a woman from Finland who described teasing as “People say mean things then laugh.” Aparently they don’t tease in Finland.

    Donna I wonder if it is the sensitive Cancer and proud Leo combo that doesn’t like teasing?

    I have a Sun/Jupiter/Mars combo that likes to tease, and to be teased.
    I have to confess that I’ll be reading your post a few times and watching for my hidden aggression.

    • Obviously, no one likes mean teasing but Cu-Mon???

    • Hi VT,
      I must have slipped past your post in my first read-through. Having now read your post, I am ready to “come out” as well as someone who likes to tease; and experiences being teased,–when it’s done with some pizazz and cleverness– a heart-warming indication that someone likes me well enough to make that kind of effort.
      My Sun, Mars, and Jupiter are connected in what the Aussie astrologer Portman (not trying to be rude; just can’t think of her first name) calls a Pythagorean triangle–a sextile, square, and quincunx. So you think that’s the “teasing triumvirate”?

      • Hi girls! I agree with what you both said word by word! Need I say I’m a multiple Virgo? 🙂

      • Hi, Judith, that very excellent astrologer’s first name is Alice (and I’m a fan).

      • Thanks pdw! I just discovered her this week. She is very, very interesting. I can see why you’re a fan.

  6. Serendipity, that you should blog on teasing!

    My brother has teased nastily since the day he was born.I am a year older so he followed me in and its probably a past life anger issue .People always thought we were twins because we were the same size but our personalities were as Day and Night. We went separate ways in our Sr. year of High school.
    Several years ago I got a phone call from the emergency room in Tuscon and I got him to move to the town I am in and got him set up with income and his own apartment. He got his health issues taken care of.
    He has changed in that he is out going now and has made a lot of friends working at the local food shelf; but his nasty teasing of me surfaced when we both happened to be on the bus together a few days ago.Its not just me he does this to but anyone he gets to know.
    He got on acting as if he didn’t know me and after sitting down asked me where I was going. I said,” The Cottage”. He said ” Oh is that the local liquor store?” He knows I do not drink and that I carry a sacred Pipe and that drinking is a super no no. so I said , ” you know I do not drink….its a local health food store.” He knew that, this is a small town and hes been here 4 years now.
    I looked back at him and he was lost in his own world of smirking to himself.
    He did this in public…the other passengers and bus driver. I took a long look at him and wondered why he has always done this? He did it to my younger son once , who got really mad at him and didn’t speak to him for a long time.My brother sorely missed his visits after that.
    As a kid I would take only so much and then throttle him for his teasing and always for his cruelty to animals. The trottle of him never seemed to work for long. He could never resist running his mouth. He now bills himself as extremly sensitive to animals feelings.
    But we are Elders now and I do not let his jibes bother me…its a bad trait hes stuck with until he figures out what hes doing. I am happy to see he is past his shyness however. Every life should see some progress.
    I enjoy good hearted teasing but am not a big teaser myself, even though I have Mars/Uranus conjunct in Gemini sextile Mercury in Leo. Once in a blue moon I will pull an involved tease prank.

  7. This is a great,thought-provoking topic, Donna. An important topic.

    I looked up the definition of teasing on line–many definitions, encompassing virtually all the variations on the theme as you presented in your preamble. It seems to me that perhaps the potential pitfall of “teasing”–excluding for the sake of argument, all acts called teasing that occur with malevolent intention–is when the intention to make a genuine, mutually pleasurable connection with someone does not elicit what is required for it to be, indeed, mutually pleasurable. It seems to me that somehow, in a tease, one has to convey a message that as much as one is poking fun at the other, one is simultaneously poking fun at oneself, either directly or by invitation for reciprocity–for it to feel “okay”.

    And if that sense of reciprocity is felt in one way or another, then it’s a win:win. If not, then it’s a total bomb and it seems like both people feel that “monkey in the middle”.

    Enough blah-blah.

    Two real-life examples come to mind.
    I worked in an Eating Disorders clinic early on in my professional career. Sure enough, at that time, my adolescent daughter–a lovely, tall and slender girl–started obsessing about her weight; calling herself fat. I was terrified. I tried to stay cool and calm; using lots of reassurance while watching her food intake like a hawk. Then, one day, in response to yet another comment by her about her “huge thighs and butt” I let go. “Yep, you are getting soooo fat, we’re going to have to enlarge the doorways and a get a bigger toilet for you to sit on so you don’t break this one.”..etc etc. My daughter started laughing and laughing….and that was pretty well the end of her morbid weight obsession. She’s now 25; her weight fluctuates and she rolls with it; but never, since then, has she defined her self worth by her weight. I used that teasing kind of response with her many a time over the years after that, always with good results. It became the most effective way to help her pull out of some dark places–timing was critical; as it is with all forms of humour.

    The second example comes from living in a part of west Africa known for its in your face kind of cultural dynamics. Everyone teases–everyone. It is annoying and distressing, until you realize that it is meant to be reciprocated. Teasing seemed to mean that you care enough about the dynamic that is going on between you–whether you are colleagues; or buyer and seller in the marketplace; or new acquaintances who happen to be sitting together on a bus–to take the risk of throwing out some potentially insulting comments while simultaneously showing yourself to be willing to receive in return. It is an unspoken cultural ethos that took about a year for me to get a handle on. In the same way, I have witnessed Africans in North America misunderstood and labeled as aggressive when they have said to someone something like, That is a nice shirt. Give it to me. What people don’t know is if you were to say something similar to that person,they would in fact offer you the shirt, taking your demanding of it as a compliment regarding their good taste in clothes!
    That particular African culture felt like it had a strong Mars energy. Mars dominates my chart in many ways, (Aries, House 5; trine Pluto; sextile Sun; square Jupiter and Uranus; quincunx Moon and Ascendent; Scorpio rising) so I eventually “got it”. Many other Canadians living there never stopped feeling offended or hurt and didn’t seem to have the capacity to give back as good as they got. Without that ability, they didn’t get to experience the look of genuine pleasure of engagement on the face of the other, African, person that transformed what initially appeared to be an aggressive act into an invitation to “connect”.

    • Hnmm, interesting stories, Judith. It’s true that there are cultural differences that can play into what passes for acceptable humor. Some African-American neighborhood groups play the “dozens” on one another for fun: “Your mama’s so fat that…” going back and forth, almost like a game or competition. Until it isn’t. Donna

      • Very true. Humor is cultural and based on norms. The “dozens” is a good example. It’s accepted in my family and other African-American groups I’m around to tell “yo mama” jokes. They can be as harsh as you want to make them…but they better not be true. If they are true, then Game Over (maybe Life Over, too, depending on how sensitive the person is). The Black Mother is the most precious person in our family. That’s why the abstract mama is ripe for dissing but we never talk about someone’s real mama. That’s rude – not funny.

    • Thanks for looking the definition up. Reciprocity, yes. Teasing can be an act of friendship, to let someone know they are included in the group – like giving someone an affection nickname.

      What a wonderful way to “cure” your daughter’s discomfort with her body. Laughter is the best medicine. 🙂

      • *affectionate.

  8. I don’t mind teasing as long as it’s used as a form of affection, as it is in my family. We all have planets in Sag, and humor is a way of life in our house.
    My close friends don’t mind when I tease them either, they take it in the good-natured spirit that it’s meant.

    In some cultures teasing is very common, in the way that I described above.

    What I object to is teasing as a form of bullying, which is the kind kids engage in at the playground. It can scar people for life, and I know of two young people who lived in this area who took their lives because they were bullied.

    • Hi Katley,
      I just posted in response to Barehand’s comments about my son’s experience with a boy in his class, with respect to incessant, hurtful teasing (and some physical aggression as well). Now that I see your post, I am wondering, if this hasn’t been looked at before in this forum, would it be possible at some time to look at the whole issue of bullying, especially among children? It is a huge problem. I took my son to a bully-proofing workshop for elementary school children a couple of weeks ago. It was quite helpful but I was concerned about the label of bully being affixed in a rather broad fashion. Or perhaps, what I am saying is I think this is a hot topic; one that needs more exploration by parents, teachers etc. and it seems to me that astrology could help a lot to better understand the different kinds of dynamics that can ultimately play out as “bullying” behaviour. Certainly, this is not a gender-specific problem. Some experts now claim that in fact, the “worst” bullies these days are girls–especially as cyber-bullies.

      Thank you for contributing your thoughts, Katley.

      What do you think, Donna? Could this forum on teasing be extended sometime to a forum on astrological aspects of bullying?

      • Hi, Judith, there are several posts about bullying on the list of links that people can use to discuss bullying–or feel free to discuss it on this post. Donna

      • Judith, my daughter was bullied in elementary school, and fortunately she was tough enough to survive it. Lots of kids don’t. The more fortunate end up in therapy and learn how to cope, the less fortunate commit suicide.

        We enrolled her in martial arts shortly before she started high school, and that worked wonders. Kids in high school can be cruel, but my daughter had no problem. She gave off this aura that she was no one to be messed with. She went to a pretty tough school, too and no one ever bothered her.

    • Yes, affection!
      When my adult sons tease me about choosing an expensive accountant, or continually changing the furniture… I am in heaven!

      Hmmm, it might be my Sag moon that enjoys it… or my Venus in Leo that loves the attention.

      I’m not sure why I am so defensive about this topic. I guess it strikes a chord.

      • Yes! Yes! Definitely affection! Like teasing is the proof that we’re part of an exclusive club, that we like and love each other, and that the love we share is unconditional!
        My (5H Virgo) sister once told me, when you love someone, essentially it’s his flaws you love; his qualities, ah!, those are loved by all. So maybe teasing is our way of saying “I love you although you’re an idiot”, or even better “I love you BECAUSE you’re a sweet little idiot”!
        P.S. I just realised that in the last couple of years, I’m rarely in the mood to tease anyone… I guess that sadly proves that I’m not particularly happy with the people in my life right now…? 😦
        Food for thought and self-reflection…

      • Hmm. So you lost part of your sense of humor in recent times. Odd, because while Saturn was in the latter decanate of Virgo, I lost mine too and missed it terribly. My writing was dry and not funny at all. I didn’t think it would ever come back, but it slowly is. Donna

      • I spent the day with a friend who is on my “approved list” of teasers, and got more clarity. It is, as CJ said, okay to poke fun at quirks, so long as it is something I myself find funny.

        For instance, I will often do a sendup of my own flaws, slightly exaggerated, for a laugh. For instance, within this particular friend’s circle (hubby, BFF), I am known as an eccentric and total klutz where domestic skills are concerned, and I will often claim to be even worse than I really am at them.

        For instance, I don’t cook anything that takes more than 1 pan and 10 minutes to prepare (true) and trance out when people try to give me recipes (true). However, I claim that I have to dust the stove before actually cooking on the stove top (leave you to guess on that one).

        This sort of self-parody tickles my friends, and is a way of saying, “Don’t hate me for being famous–look what a ditz I am in these other areas.” So I don’t mind when they tease me about stuff like that.

        Because truthfully, I don’t care one bit about the domestic arts, so it doesn’t bother me that I’m completely incompetent in that area. I’ve got other fish to fry–so to speak. Donna

  9. I’m a huge fan of teasing! To me it’s pretty simple. For teasing to be okay it has to
    1) be fair and just
    2) be about something unimportant (you can tease someone about the way he ties his shoes, you can’t tease him on his career achievements or life choices)
    3) it requires intimacy, sometimes even membership (“astrologers are morons” could be funny coming from an astrologer, not funny, even rude coming from a college professor)
    4) following the teasing, both parties must maintain the exact same self image and sense of dignity that they had beforehand (if the teaser feels superior or the teased humiliated, obviously something went wrong)
    5) the first shot must always be on yourself
    6) ultimately, it has to respect other people’s boundaries. Sometines me and my Virgo bff pass sarcastic jokes at each other and laugh our hearts out, while my kid sister (moon in Leo) goes: God, how can you be so mean?? I never tease her, she doesn’t like it, she has a right to, and I respect that.
    As for astrology, I think it’s a Virgo/ Scorpio thing. I should know, coz i simply can’t laugh with any other kind of humour, I’m sorry!: if it’s not even a tad sarcastic, it’s boring.
    At any rate, imho it can’t be Jupiter. Jupiterians tend to jump to conclusions, so their shots are rarely fair. Plus, in my (I must admit, limited) experience with Jup. humor, there’s seems to be a self-aggrandizing quality about it that really puts me off. As if what they’re really trying to say is “I’m so smarter/ better than you.” (I may be biased, after all we are a square!)
    I do appreciate their up-frontness though. (Insult by proxy is to me as low as one can go. I don’t do passive-aggressive. at. all!)
    I have a Mars- Pluto cj., so I’ve always considered it my job to bully the bullies. Sometimes I do it with a joke, but I wouldn’t ever call that humour. It’s basically my way of saying “Hey, look! Enough is enough!” without having to start a fight. Had someone confronted me about it, I wouldn’t insult his intelligence by saying “Relax, it’s a joke!”.
    As others pointed out, what really annoys us is not the joke itself, but an underlying ill intention and -most frustrating of all- the fact that we can’t prove that the one who insults us has such intention.
    When it comes to humor, what I hate the most is a particular brand of people who insult you very calmly and with a serene but wicked smile on their face, while you can see the evilness shinning in their eyes, -it’s almost cartoonish! What do I do? I grin to them, look them deep in the eyes with my “I know what you did last summer” gaze until they look down, and then Never speak to them again. As exaggerated a reaction as this might sound, I refuse to let meanness and pettiness into my life. As simple as that!

    • Gosh, Gee, we Virgo’s sure do agree. My Virgo is Sun & Jupiter.

    • Virgo moon; Scorpio rising here. It just occurred to me that affectionate teasing is a great way to say to someone, I really, really love you; in fact I love you so much that I notice all these funny, quirky things about you and although I don’t quite get it why do you that the way you do it or wear your hair that way, or always fart when you laugh or whatever, because I love you, I love all those things about you too, even thoughI think those things are kind of weird, or disgusting or……. Just a great way to express your love without getting all soppy about it!

    • VR, I really like your “rules”–they are sound guidelines for bantering humor. And you do follow them fairly consistently. When I was talking about cheeky folks on my blog that make me laugh at myself, you were one of the people I had in mind. Donna

  10. I’d say the really mean teasing, the really nasty jabs, is a Pluto thing. Scorpio/Pluto run rampant in my family, and also the passive-aggressiveness, so the jokes was usually a way of putting each other down, making you feel like an idiot. I was overly sensitive as a child and took things very serious. I also thought I didn’t have a sense of humour, because if I didn’t laugh at the nasty jokes, I was told I was unable to laugh at myself. It took some time to learn the difference. So I hardly tease people, and if I do, I make sure it doesn’t come from my Pluto, rather my Jupiter, if that makes sense.

    • This makes me sad for you (and your young self). Harsh Scorpio/Pluto runs on my dad’s side and “soft” Scorpio/Pluto on my mom’s side (and landed squarely in my chart). The teasing can be very wounding because it’s as if your worst fears are manifested in their words. Scorpio is often called a healer. Sometimes a wound must be caused in order for the person to be healed (e.g. re-breaking a leg in order to set it so that the bone can heal properly). “But we toughened you up for the world out there, didn’t we? No one can make you ashamed of yourself because you’re aware of all of your psychological nooks and crannies.” My dad said this proudly to me after I told him how much their gang-ups hurt me as a child. When I thought about it, it DID prepare me for my teen and adult experiences. I know how to fight back if I want to.

      When you do tease, how do you differentiate between the sources of your teasing?

      • Hi Jara. Thanks for your comment and for your question. When I tease, I make sure not to do it when I’m angry or resentful – well, I try. I have Mars in Cancer, and tend to defend myself with sarcasm and since I have a strong Pluto I know where it hurts the most. I know this so I try to avoid doing this since I always regret it when the anger blows over. I don’t like it when someone does it to me, and I really don’t like myself when I do it to someone else. I’m not sure if I agree that it was a learning experience, at least it wasn’t that for me.

  11. Hi Donna, what a cool topic. By the way, loved this turn of phrase: ” Mercury honed to a stiletto point.”

    There is definitely affectionate teasing. My younger brother, a very kind hearted Sag with a Cancer Moon teases me like that.

    And of course people tease to be friendly and when they fancy someone.

    It’s unmistakable when teasing is ill-meant. I would just call the other person out on it if it goes on too long. And I would do it publically. Nothing like shaming a bully.

    As for the astrology, I think Mars-Mercury hard aspects would do it. I have a weak square myself. And that can make me annoying when I really get going. I’m working on this. Keeping it low-key and gentle. Ah! Think of a buzzing fly that won’t stop bothering you, it can get like that.

    One of the meanest person I know what has an angular Sun-Pluto opposition (Pluto near MC) and strong Mars. A born bully. And like all bullies backs off when you stand up for yourself.

    • Hi Neeti. 🙂 I feel that your distinction between hard and soft Mercury-Mars is important – and wide. Soft aspects tease but are aware of (and care about) the other person’s reactions, whereas the hard aspects feel pressure to express verbally but can’t interpret the social reactions as easily (or doesn’t care how it’s affecting the other person as much). The “buzzing fly” doesn’t care/know that it’s annoying the person that it’s buzzing around.

      Also, in what sign is the Mercury and Mars placed? I think that matters. If Virgo is anywhere near this combination, the teasing is about “improvements” the person feels that you need to make about yourself. In my experience, the most brutal combo is Pisces-Virgo-Gemini. The person can intuit your feelings (Pisces) about xyz and will reassure you about those – until angered (over some perceived slight), then the Virgo or Gemini gun will come out blazing. If Virgo, then the teasing lands with precision (and there’s plenty of ammo because Virgo doesn’t miss a detail). If in Gemini, then expect to be teased/gossiped about to everyone the teaser knows. Usually, there’s some added fire in there (Asc, Sun or Venus) to make the person competitive enough to launch an attack…but the Pisces (also can happen with Libra) turns it passive-aggressive because it can hide behind “I was just teasing” in order to “save” the relationship later after things have cooled down. Now that I think about it…I’ve experienced/witnessed this with many combos. The key is that Pisces + intellectual sign.

      I’m thinking of 8 people with the Gemini-Virgo-Pisces combo who have the same “go in” style of teasing. Their jests are always critical:

      Gemini Sun-Moon in Virgo-Gemini Mercury
      Venus in Virgo – Gemini Saturn (with Libra Sun and Mars – more jokey but can go on forever)
      Pisces Mars – Virgo Jupiter (Libra…Scorpio Saturn amps up the ouch factor)
      Mercury in Pisces – Mars+Jupiter+Saturn+Asc in Virgo (Aquarius Sun)
      Pisces Asc – Mercury in Virgo – Gemini Mars (Leo Sun)
      Mercury+Venus in Virgo – Mars in Gemini (Virgo Sun that wins the marathon award, hours of “joking” lectures. I suspect a Leo Asc here)
      Pisces Moon – Virgo Asc+Mars+Jupiter (Capricorn Sun)

      In 4 of these people, Moon/Mercury/Jupiter/Saturn are in Sagittarius. That probably expands/elongates the teasing.

      I’d say affectionate teasing is done by Venus in Gemini and/or in the 3rd/7th/11th house (the person enjoys witty repartee but wants the teasing to be mutually pleasant/fun) or when Leo (almost everything is a game/for entertainment) or Sagittarius (always auditioning for America’s Next Funniest Comedian) is involved. Planets in Aries like to tease but it seems to be much more about expressing dominance (competition) over the other person or helps the person react to a perceived attack. As you wrote, with the Aries influence, you must stand up for yourself because that’s the only thing that Aries respects. I feel that it’s job is to provoke others out of complacency and social niceties.

      Lastly, Pluto involved can definitely make the teasing a form of bullying. I have Cancer Sun (8th house) square Pluto in Libra (10th house). When I was a kid, I would join in with my friends to tease one of our schoolmates. It was a bonding experience amongst my friends (Libra). It wasn’t until I saw a movie (about death!) that showed the repercussions of playground teasing that I tapped into my Cancer Sun’s ability to empathize with my bullied schoolmate. Before then, it hadn’t occurred to me that we may have been terrorizing him. I apologized to him (he waved it off) and immediately felt emotionally unburdened (my nightmares went away). And just like everything else in my life, my karma was instant. When I transferred to another school, I became the unpopular newbie who had to work my way up the social ladder (10th house) – and that involved being the brunt of a lot of abuse. This happened a lot because I moved around a lot. Eventually, I would win over my new classmates with humor or once we worked on team projects (e.g. sports, debate team). Because of those many experienced I had as the teased/bullied, I now have an extra sensitivity for how far to go with my teasing. I have Venus in Gemini in the 7th and Mars in Gemini trine Pluto and sextile Jupiter.

      • Dear Virgos, please excuse my many grammatical mistakes…or [insert joke here]. 🙂

  12. Without reading post or comments yet, here’s my first gut response: Mercury … particularly in Gemini! Will comment again after reading if I’ve changed my mind:)

    • OK, so now I’ve read post & comments. My ex-husband is a Cancer sun, Leo moon with Mercury, Uranus and Venus(Rx) all conjunct in Gemini within 3 degrees, opposing his Jupiter in Sag. If I’ve heard him described as funny, humorous, or charming once, it was a thousand times. But after living with him, that’s where I also developed the saying that “all humor is essentially hostile.” At the root of it, someone is always being put down based on looks, race, education, intelligence, station, sex, geography, you name it. With his sensitivity and wittiness, he knew how to get to the quick, which can be quite amusing. And I probably laughed more in those ten years than in any other decade in my life. Maybe it’s the combo of Merc & Uranus? Maybe lots of things … here’s the other thing. He could really dish it out, but he couldn’t take it!

      Re: another comment, I have Merc sq Pluto but I’m very aware of wounding through words and try not to. In fact, I rarely tease people at this point in my life. But I’m very serious. I used to tell him we were the “Comedy & Tragedy” theater masks. Guess I don’t have to point out which one I was:)

      • Karen,
        I think you hit the nail on the head about the essential presence of reciprocity if teasing/humour is going to fly in a positive way. Is that the Gemini of a healthy Mercury–one twin can dish it out as long as the other twin is willing to take the returning volley?

  13. I don’t like teasing. I do think there is an aggressive quality to it, even when it’s “all in good fun” or “we’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing with you” (which I heard from my parents, to which I always responded, “but I’m not laughing”).

    Not sure what planets are behind it; maybe it depends on the motive of the teaser and the rest of their chart. I know a Merc/Mars conj in Scorpio who defends his constant teasing by claiming it’s just “affectionate” but I think this Libra Sun/Cancer Moon just doesn’t recognize his own hostility. Even when I protest, it doesn’t stop.

    On the other hand, I know a Merc/Mars conj in Taurus who never teases me because he knows I don’t like it. This Aries Sun/Cancer Moon recognizes his own aggression, and his hostility is expressed in subtle non-verbal ways … 😉

    I never tease people because I don’t like it, but on the few occasions that I have … it’s usually because I’m in a crabby mood. lol (My Merc is conj Venus)

  14. For me, whether teasing is ok or not, is all about the relationship … not just who it is, but where our relationship is. I enjoy teasing from someone I feel really comfortable with, who I like and know they like me. Then it has the “this person really knows me” vibe that lets everyone laugh and relax.

    But if the same person and I are having some tension, the same comments take on a mean spirited “I know you and I know how to hurt you” edge I really dislike. I rarely tease anyone, even affectionately, as my late Leo Rising/Pluto in Leo/Moon at 0 Virgo conjunction tends to make anything I say seem lethal if the person isn’t 100% sure I’m kidding … although I do love dry humor, shared with adults when not too personally directed.

  15. Thanks, Donna and Katley,
    I totally agree with martial arts training–for boys and girls. But in the context of your experience with your daughter, we are talking about girls at the moment. I love that aura that a young, confident girl exudes. That “don’t mess with me” energy in the personage of a female that is calm, dignified, and so so feminine. It is really a gift to girls to get them into martial arts class. There are two girls in my son’s karate class, both smaller than a minute; both flowing through the class with a calm focus that is so different from a boy’s energy. The bully-proofing workshop was taught by a martial arts instructor. We’re talking about getting martial arts training into the school at lunchtime for next year. I am very excited about it.

  16. I have Mars-Mercury conj in Scorpio on the 12th house side of the ASC and used sharp, nasty teasing humor as a child to get back at my sibs, particularly my older sister. Carefully chosen remarks at the dinner table that made our father laugh (he is a Cancer Sun w/Mercury in Cancer sq Mars in Libra). Of course, that encouraged me all the more.

    Over the years, I gradually broke myself of this behavior and don’t use humor as a weapon any more. Probably as a result of gradually gaining self confidence and a degree of maturity.

  17. Good subject!

    You know in your gut where the teasing is coming from. Is it from a loving, accepting but quick witted Mercury person? Or is it coming from someone who is insecure within themselves and who is trying to shake your tree (Mars…). Feels uncomfortable?it is Mars…..

    Molly K.

  18. I am wondering if these aspects/planets can be indicators of both the teaser and the “teasee..?” I have a 4th house Mars in Scorpio square to a first house stellium in Leo that contains Mercury conjunct Pluto/Venus.

    I never tease, and I am sure its because i was teased/bullied by older siblings and kids at school, and even beyond into work situations. When I refer to teasing I am thinking of the public form where its done as a display in front of a 3rd person or onlookers of some kind. So its really a form of ridicule. Seems like a definite MARS/PLUTO energy. Mars as the tease, Pluto as the bully.

    The lighthearted thing between 2 intimates, like some of the instances people describe with their kids, or perhaps a good friend…that feels more like Mercury.

  19. I rarely tease, because I grew up in a family of super-sensitive people, and was married to an even more super-sensitive guy for 25 years. Every now and then, though, a tease comes out of my mouth, astonishing even me. When it happens, it’s usually because someone I basically like is getting a little too pompous and full of himself (I don’t think I’ve ever teased a woman). I’m fortunate that the teasee, so far, has always been someone who is able to laugh at himself and recognize the affection in my remark alongside the little jab. It would be interesting to know what was going on astrologically at those times, but naturally I have no record of the timing of any of the occasions. I’ll bet there was some Uranus-Mars involvement, because it was definitely involuntary, and also definitely had a hint of aggression to it.

  20. I enjoy teasing or be teased if I really like and trust someone, but as you say it is a delicate art, since it can so easily end up feeling “wrong”, with a little too much aggression or meanness. Intention is everything!

    I have a supercharged Mars in Scorpio along with lots of Sagittarius, and through trial-and-error I learned that there are plenty of funny things that make us all laugh without putting someone down 🙂

  21. Donna! First of all, this article is near and dear to my heart for many reasons, so please bear with the length of this comment.

    Jupiter is my chart ruler so I appreciate a good joke, even if it’s at my expense. I have most of the aspects that you mentioned, so I love to tease and even enjoy being teased – but it depends on what kind of teasing it is.

    I love mental and physical teasing (I literally begged people to tickle me as a child). You will know if I like you or feel comfortable with you by how much I playfully tease you (hint: if I’m not telling you a joke, then I’m telling myself one about you). I mostly tease using inside jokes that I know (well, hope) will make the other person laugh with me. If they are not laughing with me, then I note their sensitive areas (or different sense of humor) and stop teasing. If they try to pull some passive-aggressive teasing on me or someone I care about to express their anger, then I will hone in on their sensitive areas and throw a verbal dart at them to make them shut up. It usually works, but sometimes it escalates with a person who is very competitive. I have Mars sextile Jupiter and trine Pluto.

    When I’m mad at someone, I try to stay quiet because I know exactly what to say to break them down (Moon quindecile Mars). If I feel compelled to say something, then I say exactly what I mean because I don’t want it to be confused for a joke (people often do confuse my intentional jabs as just jokes or confuse my jokes with intentionally painful jabs). Sometimes, I confuse other people’s intentional stabs as jokes, too…but when they keep going in trying to get a different reaction out of me (i.e. not laughter), then I begin to notice the real intention – what you listed here:

    “If you look deeper, most of the time, it’s an act of ill-concealed aggression…a deft attack on your most vulnerable spots.

    It’s also generally a form of competition:

    * A way of putting you down
    * A kind of one-upmanship
    * Of exposing your weaknesses
    * And of making you the butt of a joke
    * In short, a form of humiliation”

    I have Mars in Gemini opposing my ASC, and I attract a lot of people (especially men!) with biting wit (Asc and/or Mercury in hard aspect to Mars or Saturn). My Mars aspects Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. One of my cruelest childhood tormentors was my “play brother”. He has Sun, Moon, and Mercury in Gemini with Mars in Aries. He often made me cry with his teasing. It was merciless and never-ending. But I also had a crush on him (I have Venus in Gemini)! So, for me, teasing can be both pleasurable and painful. It depends on the context.

    As you wrote, the planet(s) involved depends on the intent and type of teasing.

    I find it interesting that you receive the teasing from your Mars in Leo friend well, but experience the Mars in Scorpio teasing as cutting and hurtful. Does the Mars in Scorpio aspect your Moon? The relationship between the other person’s planets (particularly Mercury, Mars, Saturn and Pluto) and our Moon plays a large role on how we emotionally experience a person’s teasing. I’m very wary of revealing anything that I don’t want to boomerang back in my face to a person with Mercury, Mars, Saturn or Pluto in Scorpio because they WILL use it against you and they make sure that everyone is laughing BUT you. They can have a very sadistic sense of humor. I do not tolerate that kind of “teasing” at all.

    • The Mars in Scorpio is quincunx my Moon and my Midheaven. I’ve had positive relationships before with those whose Mars conjuncts my own, especially if we’re working for a common aim.

      Thanks for the analysis of your own patterns regarding teasing and being teased. The discussion on this post looks to be one where we’ll learn a good deal about this issue. Donna

      • Quincunx. Hmm. Is that the aspect of humor falling flat between the two planets? 🙂 Regarding the Mars-Mars conjunction, the common aim seems to be the deciding factor between the two people working together or competing against each other.

        Your post and everyone’s comments have inspired so many thoughts on teasing and where to draw the line. It’s a reminder that some are more sensitive than others. Thank you.

  22. Wow, teasing…I’m noticing the association with bullying but they seem different to me.

    Actually, I don’t “get” many of the jabs designed to bring my annoying traits to my attention, which I imagine to be teasing. Sag Mercury quincunx Taurus Asc. I frequently just don’t get the joke at all. Best to just come right out and tell me. Taurus Asc – won’t hurt my feelings and if I need to apologize or fix something I did, that might the only way I ever find out.

    But rest assured, whether I “get” it or not, I’ll be deciding whether to fight back or not. I don’t submit to bullying, never have, and I can spot it a mile away whether I understand the issues or not. With my chart I’ve got so many choices of retaliatory verbal weapons that I can launch from so many different directions that my decision is only whether or not I’d be fighting an unarmed person. I don’t fight unarmed people.

    Honestly, I’d rather not fight at all – Cancer Mars Rx in 3rd 1o sextile Taurus Asc. But’s it ok if I do end up having to fight, because I never fight unless I know I’ll win. If I don’t walk away, best to just give up.

    • Ok, well, I guess I just delineated this in my own mind.

      No, I can’t take a joke because if I’m not laughing, it’s not a joke. Speaker does not decide whether he or she is teasing or bullying. Target does. And that’s that.

      Communicate with me forever, but don’t come at me as a bullying target. Every arrow that hits me is just one more I that have to shoot back with. And Cancer Mars Rx in 3rd trine Scorpio Neptune conj Scorpio Desc – my verbal arrows are poisoned and they’ll hit you right where you live.

      Yes, best to just come out and tell me what I do that bothers you. Sag Sun – I can take it.

      And wow, that’s a *transiting Mars in Taurus approaching my Asc* analysis for you! LOLOL!

  23. I’m curious. Why doesn’t teasing belong to Venus? Too delicate, too nice?

    • Because teasing is rarely an act of love or courtship..except the affectionate type people are discussing here. Donna

  24. Having a few planets in Libra, including Mars and Jupiter I rarely give out any quick witted tease to anyone, liking to keep atmospheres of peace. My moon in Aquarius and a general Uranian chart displays a tendency to make people laugh by simply saying shocking bizarre statements, making people stop for a second and think ‘what?!’ but then fall into fits of laughter. I find it’s a more safe way of humour.

    However I also have a very Plutonian chart (strong aspects and rising Scorpio), which means I make extremely strong, intense friendships where I either like to know people deeply, delve into who they are as people or not know them at all. It’s when I receive a harsh teasing from one of those close to me that I feel really stung and betrayed, I look and find nasty intent and malice in what was said and give it back as good as I get, and unfortunately it is good. It’s all about revenge with my teasing, I try not to give it out, but I can certainly give it back. However luckily I mostly manage to solve conflicts that arise from my Plutonian revenge instincts-probably my Libra induced diplomacy popping up again.

  25. When I was quite young I began teasing people, but at times the teasing was clumsy and hurtful, attributable perhaps to my Scorpio ascendant square my Leo Sun (as other readers have noted, you don’t get away with much when you have Scorpio in your natal chart). Now I tease only those I’m closest to. Occasionally I might miss the mark, but usually my intimates recognize my teasing for what I’m intending — an expressive of deep affection. A good tease shows that I’ve been paying attention (my Venus in Virgo means useful criticism equals love). How many people in our lives actually do that? But because I have a 12th house Mars in Libra, plus a Saturn-Moon-Chiron conjunction in 4th house Pisces, I’ve had to learn emotional nuance. A good tease is a lot like a good hug — perfectly balanced between pleasure and pain.

    By the way, I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this, but I wager that self-deprecating humor is indisputably Saturnian.

    • Hi Tamara,
      That is an interesting thought that self-deprecatory humour is Saturnian. My natal Saturn is 20ish degrees conjunct my 18ish degrees Scorpio ascendant.

      Your thought has helped me realize something about myself that I have never put a finger on before now. I now see how over the years, through painful trial and error, I have finessed my penchant for self-deprecatory humour. I had a tendency to go too far, entering into realms of rather nasty self-criticism or self put-down or handing “ammunition” to someone unsafe. I have learned to only use it in safe circumstances and to keep it self-loving. Now I find it is one of my favourite tools for revealing something about myself to myself that somehow has been slipping under the radar, so I often use it in my “talks to self” in front of the mirror. Kind of a stand up comedy routine …. it works!

      • Yes, I have a Capricorn friend with a “singleton” Saturn in Pisces. He’s also a Gemini Ascendent with Mercury in the 7th house all of which adds up to a very verbal and funny guy who relies a little too heavily on his self-deprecating humor. I see it as a shield he hides behind, undoubtedly to protect his tender Pisces Moon, but my Pisces Moon always aches a bit when he reaches for it. If you look at the charts of some of the funniest comics, they often have a strong Saturn in the mix.

    • Hi again Tamara,
      Your mention of the comic connection for Saturn brings me back to what is probably my most fundamental thought about “good” teasing–that it is just another way to introduce humour into our lives. There is a burgeoning field of research and clinical application in the area of humour medicine. Humour is so so good for us!
      I remember listening to a radio program about Laughter Yoga one afternoon. They were discussing its impact on elderly people with dementia who have reached the stage of muteness. It was found that for about 20 minutes after a laughter yoga session, many of these people were able to make intelligible sounds. Laughter seems to “reset” us somehow! It”s like a computer refresh button.

  26. Another fantastic article Donna, :).

    Teasing / Bullying these days is mostly Martian in nature than Mercurian.

    My Mars and Saturn in 9th (Scorpio) with Uranus made me a bully in primary school I hate that phase of my life (of 1 year), then the next 7 years I suffered under bigger, meaner bullies, think that phase made me stronger, spent the next 4 years fighting bullies, I am ever grateful and thankful to God for giving me the courage to stand up for those who couldn’t.

    However when it comes to family I have a mix of the Martian and Mercurian qualities, and spend hours teasing my sister and cousins, sometimes even my parents and relatives. Mostly it has been Mercurian, except with my sister who always feels it is more Martian than Mercurian.

    However I tend to attract a lot of intelligent people who keep teasing me and I end up not understanding their teasing and take it as they are praising me or pulling my leg (Mercury is Sag doesn’t help).

    Aquarius Ascendant makes me sensitive, yet too egoistic (and dignified) to show that I am hurt.

  27. Laughter is the best medicine for sure which helps in curing every problem speedily. I actually liked the video which explains precisely the Teasing of Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus. I would appreciate if you can explain whether it is ruled by Mercury or Mars specifically….?

    • There are many things–like teasing–for which there is no known ruler. That’s the point of this discussion, to consider it among ourselves. What video are you talking about? Donna

  28. I find myself increasingly intrigued by this topic as more and more contributions to the discussions arrive in my mail box. In particular, I have been deliberating the dynamic of teasing in the context of humor.

    When you introduced this topic, Donna, as I mentioned earlier, I checked out definitions of teasing. One that caught my eye was: an action that stimulates a sense of expectancy, or surprise, or confusion in someone else that is not satisfied….

    Staying with the assumption that I am just referring to kindly or lovingly intentioned teasing, this definition got me thinking about how humor works in general.
    It does have an “in the moment” feel to it; we are suspended in a timeless place momentarily while we simply react to the humorous stimulus by allowing ourselves to surrender to a state of mind and body that kind of takes over. Dare I say like a hiccup…or orgasm? (Okay, I’m not saying those two are equivalent! But if you want to tease me about that, go ahead. I just set myself up quite nicely…).

    It’s like several people have said, If it ain’t funny, it ain’t funny and no amount of trying to MAKE oneself respond as if something IS funny, works because we humans just don’t work that way.

    So how does “teasing” fit in as a way to induce a humorous response in someone? It seems to work on the principle of incongruity….you say something about someone to their face that in a cruel or insensitive context could be hurtful but it is flipped into a message of affection or……like I always loved doing with my kids, you say something that is not true or something that is possibly true but unexpected or whatever…. something that you know will get a rise out of the other person–something that sets up this feeling in the other person that they’re not quite sure where you are going with it…and then, you “rescue” them from that state of “not fully satisfied” by delivering the punch line or the “I was just kidding” or the current buzzword: “….NOT!” or “caught ya!” and then a laugh and a big hug and with it, at least with my kids, clear reassurance that if they turn around sometime and do the same to me, I will be a good sport about it. In fact, I love it when my kids do it to me, especially when they really “catch” me.

    As I write this, I can see how this is soooo Mercury and that in fact with my children, I was teaching them a lot about communication; about timing; about staying acutely aware of the other person’s response to what one is saying and quickly shifting to whatever is required to maintain the integrity of the interaction that has been consciously put on shaky ground.

    Teasing feels like one is entering into an encounter in which one is taking a risk—dancing on the tightrope that is the bond between the two people. Sometimes you fall off–as I did sometimes with my kids–and I would feel sooo bad and heap all sorts of gooey love stuff on them until I knew for sure they were back to knowing I am crazy about them and they can trust me to tell them the truth. But if the teasing ” works ” in the way that the two of you stay on that tightrope together, keeping your balance while you dodge and giggle, until you both collapse in a heap on the floor, then I do believe it can be quite a wonderful way to add some extra zip to a bond of mutual affection.

    I think I’m going to make sure any new man who comes along–(not that I’m looking cuz I’m not!)–is a good teaser before I sign up for any long term hanging out together kind of arrangement.

  29. Oh dear, left off the punch line….

    cuz I (hiccup) really (hiccup) love a good tease!

  30. I haven’t seen Uranus mentioned, yet. Uranians are known for wrapping salient social commentary in zany wit and zingers. Humor is the only way to make some points without getting murdered. 😀

    • I agree with you–especially people with Mercury-Uranus or Jupiter-Uranus aspects. I think Mars-Uranus aspects are too caustic to pull it off, usually. Donna

      • I have those aspects in very wide squares (plus Aquarius in the 3rd), Donna. More traditional-thinking people often think that my reasoning is backwards and get angry at me…until the point underneath the (offensive?) joke sinks in. Then they go “ahh!”, laugh, return to hear more, and get offended again. Rinse, lather, repeat.

  31. ….getting murdered….or ignored even. I have Mercury 3rd house Aquarius, 7 degrees conjunct my Sun quincunx Uranus in Cancer 9th house. Uranus and Jupiter are conjunct by less than 3 degrees.

    I have been working on a comedy routine that touches on nonlinear dynamical neuroscience principles by way of teasing, not caustic, “sound bites” that could be offered up at scientific conferences through the antics of a mad scientist/girl Einstein hybrid sort of character. The message, really crisp in its scientific content, would be delivered in such a silly way that “they won’t know what hit them”. The catch is that the person in role would need to have a really good grasp of the science in order to be able to ad lib with the material. I found serious presentations of this kind of information never seemed to get anywhere because it’s too outside the box. A work in progress, but I do think it has a Mercury-Uranus/Jupiter kind of flow to it. Does that fit?

    • Why, yes, Judith! Have you taken the “How Strong is Your Uranus?” quiz here? Is your Mercury in Aquarius or Aquarius in the 3rd house? Einstein has a 3rd house Uranus opposing Jupiter in Aquarius. I suspect that he would’ve approved of your project. 😉

      I don’t know that it’s possible for Uranian people to be ignored – unless they want to be. Even then…

      • Hi Jara,
        My Uranus score is 35; applying the orbs very strictly. That said, Mars is just a degree over the limit for square and my Sun is 2 degrees over for inconjunct with Uranus; Neptune is 10 minutes outside the 11th house, into the twelfth.

        Mercury is in Aquarius as is my Sun. Both in the third house.

        Funny thing….just yesterday on the bus home I told my son that Albert Einstein is my best friend because he “gets” me and I “get” him; not in the way of all that complicated math and physics, but more in the way of his insatiable curiosity and sense of humor. Last summer, I wrote a trilogy of poems about Einstein after reading a book entitled Einstein and Religion. People who know me often pass on books or articles about him. I have two on the go at the moment. How about that?

    • Really brainy, PhD level stuff like “nonlinear dynamical neuroscience principles” would be more like Mercury-Saturn, maybe with some Uranus thrown in. Donna

      • Hi Donna,
        I think I am a perennial child, as I find it hard sometimes to control my tendency to anthropomorphize everything–from dishes, to my house, to….the planets in my natal chart. So here goes. As soon as I read your comment, I “saw” and “heard” the chain of communication. Merc in Aqu H3 takes some “brainy” stuff from its nearest neighbour my Aqu Sun and sends an email along a quincunx to Uranus in Cancer H9: Hey Uranus this stuff from Sun is just too dense; I’ve appended a more catchy reworking of it, whaddya think?; Uranus says that’s cool stuff; sure we can do it in a zany, off the wall way–I’m all for it, but we have to get it past Saturn conjunct the Scorpio Ascendant so I’m going to hand it over to Jupiter here, next to me (conjunct) in the eighth house, still in Cancer. Jupiter says yes, this is the way to go to get the spirituality of science into the mainstream; keeping it punchy AND uplifting; I’ll send it to Saturn–He’ll be okay with it as long as it comes from me. So Jupiter sends along the info via the tight trine with Saturn in Scorpio. Saturn says hmm, I don’t know; it’s a bit too “out there” for my taste and yes, I can recognize the science in it and yes, it is accurate, but I’m not sure about the risk of losing some of the solidity of the science in this rather whimsical, and quite sharp (although I am in Scorpio so that part appeals to me) format. I’ll square it up with Pluto (square Saturn H9 in Leo); he’s partial to Jupiter and at that same time has a tight opposition with Mercury so he can keep an eye on Mercury if it’s a go. He also has a handle on the original material through his opposition connection with the Sun. Pluto gets the material and says–it’s good; on the cutting edge of science and telling it like it is in a way that people can’t hide from the truth; I like it Saturn. Saturn: Okay, I’ll leave it with you as long as you promise to get back to me if either Mercury or Sun get out of line. We don’t want to be making fools of ourselves. Pluto: Sure, Saturn. (then in sotto voice–as if I need your permission to do anything, Saturn; I’m the one in charge. I’m in Leo, man! We’re goin’ on stage with this–look out Hollywood–and I’m the director AND producer.

        And that’s how it kind of played out in my life. I tried for years to write the “real” stuff–in all its technically sophisticated glory for submission to scientific journals but it just kept coming out onto paper as a motley mix of Dr.Seuss and Columbo (remember, that detective on TV who’d say, okay, talk to me like I’m stupid…. and he’d nail the bad guys by connecting the dots….) And even more embarrassing, when I’d stand up to speak to some principle at a conference or workshop, Woody Allen or Robin Williams would pop out with some dry comment or silly parody, respectively, pushing me aside. “We’d” get a good laugh and a few appreciative comments afterward, but I would feel quite mortified. Finally, I realized that since I can’t beat ’em (my inner folks, I mean) I might as well get on board with the flow.

        Good news, Donna. If you think this is nuts, I can certify myself!

      • Judith, I love your style!

      • Hi nray,
        Thank you, from all of us…Woody, Robin, Columbo, Dr.Zeuss and the rest of the gang. (Last count,43)

  32. Sorry, Mercury, not my sun is quincunx Uranus.

  33. Forgot to add …and Pluto is conjunct my midheaven 1 degree Virgo.

  34. Judith, your Sun and Mercury are most likely in my 3rd house. I would love you as my teacher. 🙂 I am cracking up at your anthropomorphizing! Saturnian people claim that we’re not supposed to do this with the planets, but I think it’s a fun way to explain the process to people who aren’t as technical and straight-forward as Saturn would like. Personally, I dislike hard sciences so I approve of anything that livens them up or adds a dose of “real-world” application or uplifting “religiousity”/spirituality/philosophy to them (rulers of my 3rd house are in my 9th and 12th houses). My Mercury “talks” to my Asc, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Chiron. If a speaker can’t keep my attention, then I’d rather go learn it by myself. I already admired Einstein, but now I’m going to check out this book you mentioned…

    • To stay on topic (damn Mercury and Uranus), people with Aquarius Sun, Venus or Jupiter seem to be able to get away with teasing me. I don’t realize how “insensitive” the remarks are until later. My ex-Aquarian friend has Moon, Mercury and Venus in Aquarius. For 7 years, I laughed at her teasing me…until my mom met her, immediately disliked her and told me she was putting me down because she was jealous. They both have Mars in Cancer and were passive-aggressively throwing darts at each other – competing over who knew me better. I didn’t understand why but I could definitely sense the tension. My ex-friend has a way of changing from topic to topic but my mom is a Gemini with Mercury in Gemini, so she kept right up with her. My friend’s Sagittarius fiance wisely kept quiet. When I got tired of them, I jumped in with my one comment to end the conversation. That is my backwards gift: say the one thing that makes everyone uncomfortable enough to shut up. lol That was the night that I informally broke up with my friend. You do NOT tease a Cancer’s family. (see above about The Black Mother rule)

      • Jara,
        With that post, you triggered my recall of my most painful experience related to teasing. I should have thought of it right away when Donna posted the topic; and it’s less than two years old. Goes to show how well we can suppress painful experiences!

        My one sister, who is nine years younger than me, has been a stay at home mom ever since she got married, in her 20s. Three great kids; I have always thought highly of her as a smart, savvy person who does the most difficult and challenging job one can have, very well. I have admired her greatly and although we are extremely different in our parenting styles, politics etc. I have always just accepted her for who she is.

        Since we’ve been adults, my sister has teased me A LOT. The theme is always how I am some kind of absent-minded professor type with zero common sense. This is not accurate–I am loaded with common sense–but I was quite at ease in letting this banter be a bridge between us and I would go along with the “punches” without any significant distress. However, once my mother moved to be near me in 2006–she had the choice between the two daughters–my sister’s teasing got nasty. It was an insidious process –much like the experiment with the frog in the water who cooks to death as the temp is slowly rising–I didn’t really notice how bad it was getting. Then one day on the phone (we’d only see each other every few years, she lives at the other end of the country), she said something–for the life of me I can’t even remember what it was, but it was of the same ilk–and for the first time EVER, I did not go along with it and play the dummy. At the time, my second husband and I had separated and I was just getting a handle on how extremely critical he had been in the marriage, just starting to realize his behavior actually constituted emotional abuse. I spoke very calmly to my sister, very lovingly I thought (and I wasn’t feeling at all angry; just clear I needed to say something). I told her that I knew what she just said was said in jest and most of the time I can take the joke but right then I had just had my fill of being criticized by hubbie and I needed her to back off a bit, at least for a while. It is almost two years later and she still doesn’t speak to me beyond quick, necessary chats. I had no idea how fragile her sense of her own merit and worth is or how angry or hurt she is that my mother chose to move near me and not her, if that is even what the problem is! She has an empty nest; I’m sure that doesn’t help and no matter how much I try to address these issues with her (short of apologizing which I will NOT do as I did nothing “wrong” but then neither did she, really-I was just going through a really sensitive time) she refuses to reconcile. She is cold, cold, cold with me now. No doubt it was hard having a big sister who was such an academic celebrity in our home town and who was seen by our mother as the biggest success. (three brothers too; no one else went to university.)

        I have never looked at her birth chart (I don’t know her birth time.) but after you posted this, I did a quick chart on Astrodienst. (May 22, 1964). Her North Node in Cancer is two degrees conjunct my North Node in Capricorn.
        I never knew that. I am speechless and thunderstruck. Nothing else stood out with a quick glance except her Neptune is 2 degrees conjunct my Scorpio ascendant and her Pisces Saturn is opposite my Virgo Midheaven.

        Any thoughts given this story and the synastry how I might take action toward a rapprochemen? We love each other a lot even though we are kind of like the female equivalent of the Smothers Brothers.

        My lesson: Sheepishly, I have to admit, one that I told my patients over and over and over….. If you really love someone you do not go along with their mistreatment of you because that hurts them too. I let this go on for years and when I finally called her on it, some kind of bubble burst for her.
        I feel very badly for being phony with her in that way all those years.

        I did NOT edit out the comment I made earlier on that I did not do anything wrong because– obviously, I have worked through a very important realization just writing this post. That I DID have a complicit role–I went along with the teasing–I was dishonest with her; probably even arrogant– and now that I know that, I know the letter I need to write to her. Any feedback on the astrology of this would be most appreciated.

        And thank you again, Jara, for providing the trigger. Wow.

    • Hi Jara,
      The only problem with this approach is once I turn up the volume–like writing out the actual dialogue–it can take a while to get them to shut up again! I truly believe this IS state of the art nonlinear dynamic neuroscience–astrology, at the core; IMHO the most elegant, versatile and creative construction humankind has ever come up with (with help from the gods and goddesses of course) to facilitate our journey of discovery and communication with our personal authenticity–our true selves.

      BTW, that book I mentioned about Einstein is interesting but it was valuable to me mostly because of where I was at the time. It literally fell off the shelf in the public library at my feet one hot day last summer. I would heartily recommend a huge biography of Einstein written by a guy with a rather long name, who runs a Denver think tank who is also one of Obama’s right hand fellows when it comes to international stuff. And yes, you are quite correct in thinking I’m fudging around the fact that I can’t for the life of me recall his name or the name of the book at the moment. It came out a couple of years ago. I’ll be cleaning out that corner of the house soon and will get back to you on that. I think Einstein is probably having the biggest and sustained laugh about the very gruesome saga of what happened to his brain, post mortem. The chapter on that in this newer book is very well done.

      If I have Saturn on the Ascendent, shouldn’t I have been more uptight about sticking to the rules and doing stuff by the book???? Actually, I was very uptight about it–I just couldn’t do it! That ol’ Uranus of mine is just too strong, I think. People who see one of my tightest aspects–Sun square Saturn–and who know a bit about me, assume I’m a rebel. But it’s not accurate. I tried so hard to do things by the book; to be a GOOD GIRL. I just couldn’t. In med school, I finally gave up and wore a button on my white coat that said, My Inner Child Made Me Do It. It wasn’t until last summer when I wrote a funny spoken word piece that’s a dialogue between my Virgo Moon and Scorpio Rising that I got it. There’s a line in that poem which I took from the front of a magazine I saw in passing in a store window. The magazine, from Quebec, was profiling some young woman. Her picture was on the front,; underneath it said, Je ne suis pas rebelle; je suis libre. (Scorpio Rising says that in my poem.) I got it in an instant after 50 plus years of feeling guilty for being “bad”. I’m not a rebel! I’m a free thinker!! It was probably the biggest self awareness breakthrough of my life to date.

      Whew! That was a looong soliloquy,wasn’t it? Sorry if too long.

      Woody Allen is busting to tell the story of the most embarrassing –for me–and the most memorable–for everyone who was there–grand rounds presentation a second year Psychiatry resident at my university has ever done in the history of that school. But I told him he needs to go away now…… some other time….. and I still don’t think it was THAT funny……..

      Donna, I have been thinking for a while now that it’s time to get my own blog set up for me and my “gang”–before I wear out my welcome on your fantastic site.
      It would be called Flow: Confessions of a M.A.D. Scientist. Time to start drawing wisdom and information from that part of your site.

      • Absolutely great idea, Judith! You have a lot of great information and the writing ability to get it across clearly. It’s not hard to set up a wordpress blog. I’d suggest you start by signing on with (?.net) with Darren Rouse. Following him for a year, I learned so much about how to have a successful blog. Hundreds of articles about all phases of blogging. Donna

      • Thank you Donna! That is a very encouraging and exciting tidbit of information. Can’t wait to get started!

  35. Training in astrology should be mandatory in all medical schools!!!

  36. *running out of reply room*

    Judith, your “aha!” moment at the end summarizes it best. There’s a fine line between playing dumb and being unconscious of one’s own role in the play. With Neptune involved, the line becomes even finer. With Scorpio, jealousy, envy and power struggles can be the underlying issues. But Neptune in Scorpio can obfuscate those as the source of the bitterness about someone. Your Scorpio Asc could represent the manifestation of your sister’s unspoken (unrealized?) dreams.

    In my case, I had a feeling that my friend was in competition with me but I didn’t know why she would be…so I refused to accept that possibility. To me, we had different traits that made us valuable in our own right. But her behavior was consistent. When I stopped denying that my ex-friend’s “jests” were hurtful to me, it was easier for me to break up with her. If I had accepted that her teasing was more than just teasing – that it was meant to cut me down – then I would’ve had to face the decision to cut her off. I wasn’t ready to do that, yet…so I didn’t. But having an “objective” third person around who I trust tell me what she saw made it harder for me to keep denying it, especially when my mom had a positive impression of my ex-friend – until she opened her mouth and wouldn’t shut it.

    With Sun-Mars conjunction, there can be mutual admiration and possibility of jealousy. Same with Asc-Neptune in Scorpio (ruled by competitive Mars and controlling Pluto).

    YOUR comment helped me figure that one out.

  37. Here’s the double Capricorn wet-blanket take on it all…Life is short, we’re all gonna die. So why waste time saying anything MEAN that one “doesn’t really mean”? Just kidding, folks!

  38. My boyfriend is a teasing machine, often so critical that I have to tell him to back off while I barely hold in my tears. This sense of humor is a cornerstone of his personality, learned from his father (chart data unknown other than Cancer Sun) and reinforced in his career as a hip hop producer. I really feel like part of the issue with the meaness is that he is an only child and was never really taught how to be ‘nice’ to people. My family is very ‘teasy’ and full of ornery old farts (lotsa Aries) so it’s not that I’ve got a thin skin. In fact, I think I’ve got the toughest skin around (haha, my Aries Asc is poppin up) and he still manages to get me to cry every once in a while.

    I’ve found three instances of mean humor in his chart.

    First, Scorpio Ascendant with Pluto conjunct (by 3 degrees) in the 1st. Second, he has his Sun in Pisces in the 11th opposite his Moon in Virgo in the 5th all square Uranus in Saggitarius in the 2nd (this pattern is also within 16-17 degrees of each sign). Thirdly, Mercury (at 0 degrees), Venus, and Mars in Aries. Mercury in the 5th, Venus/Mars in the 6th conjunct his Descendent (within 6 degrees).

    Granted, most of the time, that wicked Scorpionic tail is saved for ‘bad guys’, or people he can argue with online, usually something political or related to his career. But when we fight, look out! The apartment building usually clears out for a few hours, lol.

    I’m also a teaser, though mine is much softer and I always cushion my harsh comments with a disclaimer and a hug. My brother has gotten the worst of it over the years (Mercury in Gem in the 3rd) but he gives as good as he gets (Scorpio stellium in the 7th). Here’s the astrology of my ‘teasing’:

    Aries Ascendant conjunct Venus (1st) and Jupiter (12th). Moon (and Saturn, conj) in Saggitarius, cusp of the 9th, trine Venus/Jupiter/Asc. Mercury and Mars in Gemini in the 3rd, quincunx Moon/Saturn, sextile Venus/Jupiter/Asc. Oh and Chiron in the 3rd-I know when enough is enough.

    This is my fist time commenting, so I hope that helps some!

  39. Warning:another wet blanket Capricorn appraching… My 6-year-old Virgo son was being teased by an Eight year old Aries boy a few weeks ago. Definitely Martrian teasing/bullying….I stepped in when the teaser tried to draw other kids into his tormenting game, especially one boy who has physical aggression issues. “But how would it be my son’s fault if that other boy then hit your kid?” complained the bully’s mom. Martian teasing also seems to involve that element of wanting to incite violence. Mercury would be involved in teasing among equals or “upward” teasing (like Jara’s eloquent explanation of mama jokes). And when I lived in Alabama for several years, I noticed a phenomenon that might be a Venusian way of teasing: the drawn out list of over-effusive compliments. “Isn’t that the CUTEST, MOST PRECIOUS, ABSOLUTELY DARLINGEST, MOST ADORABLE, JUST BREATHTAKING, SWEET SWEETIEST thing that you are doing/wearing/saying…”

    • Great descriptions of Martian, Mercurial and Venusian teasing, Mary and good for you for stepping right into the fray before that Martian teaser could assemble his army! It’s exactly what the leader of the Bullyproofing workshop that my 7 year old and I attended a couple of weeks ago, said. Bullies (Martian teasing is definitely bullying) will bring others on board with them; to bolster up their fragile sense of self; –unless someone intervenes. Others join in initially because they are baby bullies too; eventually non-bully types join in because they can see that if they don’t, they will become a target of the group as well. Grownups have to step in early and put a halt to it. I think the biggest problem on a lot of schoolyards (where bullying thrives) is that the grownup: child ratio is much too small. Two adults supervising 40 or 50 kids are going to miss a lot of the teasing and other forms of bullying that goes on, everyday, day in and day out. It can start out subtle, like the “I was just kidding, can’t you take a joke” kind of teasing, or happen so quickly no one notices–only takes a second or two to give someone a push–and then it grows from there.
      I try to hang out at my son’s schoolyard as regularly as I can at lunchtime. Kind of on a variable schedule. No one knows when I’ll show up, including my son. I watch; intervene when necessary. I take a book ; try not to look obvious but I have perfected the “evil eye” (one of the bullyproofing techniques taught). More and more, that’s all that it takes. The bullies know now I got their number….

      • Very wise, Judith–some of those schoolyard comments have a way of staying with us forever, like permanent cockleburs in the soul. Donna

  40. Hm…
    I have a distinct memory of meeting my Great Aunt Christine for the first time at about 5 years old, and she had said something upsetting to me (which I don’t recall exactly), making me cry. All of the adults in the room, including my mother, explained to me she was only teasing and it was part of our “Irish heritage”. I think it conveyed a message to me that it was socially acceptable to take jabs at others; like sometimes you’re the one getting your buttons pushed, and sometimes you’re the one who does the pushing. I’m just now learning, at 29 years old, that it’s not someone else’s problem if I push too far – it’s mine. I have noticed when joining new social spheres, that it takes people a while of getting to know me to start laughing at what I consider jokes (if they laugh at all-some people just call me mean). Sometimes when I think I’m at my funniest, I get a slight glare, or just plain ignored. I’m a female, with my Sun in Leo and Mars in Scorpio (and a Sag. Asc.); I have a compulsive tendency to say something (Sag.) –usually something I believe to be true (Scorpio)– that I know will get a laugh out of others at someone else’s expense (Leo). This has caused a lot of problems in my relationship with my Mother -12th house Moon in Cancer w/ a Cancer Asc. She can’t stand the way I “pick her apart” (maybe this brand of teasing comes from my Mercury in Virgo), which I tend to find hilarious because it’s over what I consider the silliest little details (like asking why she doesn’t stop using margarine and switch to real butter?). I guess I’m just publicly airing (Leo) a self-analyzing session (8th house Sun and Mercury). Thanks so much Donna, I love your site.

    • Don’t apologize, Leah. What you wrote is most useful, helping us all to see the nuances of teasing–as well as the astrological underpinnings of teasing. Thanks! Donna

    • Thanks for sharing, Leah. I have a Leo Sun, Taurus Mars, Virgo Mercury. The Mars is in late degrees of Taurus and squares both my Sun and Mercury. I do have to be careful. xxx

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