Mercury Pluto: Insight or Inquisition?

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Continuing with my current theme of analysing Pluto contacts to personal planets, today I wish to look in detail at the Mercury – Pluto combination, which in keeping with all applications of Pluto evinces a range of difficult effects, most especially because until the behaviour is recognised and reconciled it creates a compulsion, which will be especially uncomfortable for the subject. Inevitably this difficulty and discomfort will affect important relationships too and ultimately – as with any Plutonic contact – the aspect must be transformed to prevent it becoming ultimately destructive. Aspects to Pluto from any of the personal planets are profoundly problematical, but as ever, the first and most effective step on the path to cure must be to recognise the behaviours and take responsibility for them. Owning up to our Plutonic compulsions, shining light upon them – uncomfortable though it may be – is often powerfully effective in transforming them: indeed, in many cases an “instant cure” is entirely possible.

Mercury Pluto, in keeping with other applications of Lord Hades deals with hidden, sinister and subtle aspects of communication and of course the mental processes that underpin them. Indeed, the entire arena of interpersonal communications is fraught for Mercury – Pluto, usually because of an early childhood that is characterised by difficulty, cruelty or power-games in communication matters. We shall explore these causal themes in the ensuing discussion, but first I would like to examine some of the specific effects.

Mercury Pluto is the aspectual manifestation of Mercury in Scorpio, which is renowned for being either verbose or rather monosyllabic. This implies nothing about the underlying mindset or facility for language or mental processing, but only the willingness or unwillingness to reveal the self. This is reflected perfectly by the aspects between Mercury and Pluto, most especially with the conjunction and to a lesser extent the easy aspects there is a loquacious response to the contact: these people talk, often exhaustively although without necessarily revealing much of substance about themselves. Conversely, those with hard aspects are not likely to give too much away, or at the very least – while they may talk freely – they are never comfortable talking about themselves in a way that is particularly incisive or revealing. In either case it boils down to a profound fear of communication and a sense that somehow words can cause pain and lasting damage. With the easy aspects there is not the same urgent sense of danger, but nevertheless there is a need to control the conversation which is engendered by the same mindset as the individual with the hard aspects. Often the Pluto conjunct Mercury person will talk exhaustively and exhaustingly, and the ‘listener’ will often walk away feeling tired and somewhat overwhelmed by the experience. In any case, the process of communicating, with easy aspects or hard, is uncomfortable for both parties involved in the dialogue.

It should be remembered that any aspect between Mercury and Pluto will evince one or other of these effects. For my own part I am extremely familiar with Mercury – Pluto as I have Mercury in Scorpio, peregrine and semi-square, contraparallel and in mutual reception with Pluto, I can speak from experience as to its effects.

With the hard aspects especially, the sense of difficulty with communication creates an observer rather than a participator. Here is somebody who is aware of every subtle nuance of communication and is typically deeply distrustful of words. Usually it will be found that Mercury – Pluto grew up in an environment where truth was taboo, and one or both parents will have been the murky wellspring from which this skewed sense of things was first experienced. It is also possible that an older brother or sister was the cause of the problem or some difficult secret in connection with that sibling or one that haunted and tainted the family environment in some way might be found to be in evidence. On a fairly simplistic level, the Mercury Pluto child will have learned early on that words were not to be trusted at face value. The resentful and controlling mother who would tell her child: “of course I love you darling, more than anything in the world” while evincing no genuine or believable warmth is one good example of this effect. There is then a dichotomy here, between words and more subtle forms of non-verbal communication that have poisoned the child’s perceptions. Body language, ever a reliable indicator of true feelings, is therefore valued much more highly than any simple verbal statement, but this again is fraught with difficulty. The Mercury – Pluto person is formed in such away that they are innately suspicious of any communication: this is very often sensed by others, who feel that they are “on the spot” somehow, and their body language will betray their discomfort which will in turn set off the ultra-sensitive radar of Mercury – Pluto. This can create a cycle of suspicion, distrust and interrogation that is especially exhausting within close relationships later in life.

Therefore, the Mercury – Pluto type is often handicapped in life by being too perceptive and it is through this mechanism of not being able to take things at face value and exhausting oneself and others by continually investigating the most subtle of interactions that the damage is done.

The child learned to do things this way because of the unreliability of close family communications. Language may have been used to damaging effect by a parent or sibling, secrets were kept and wielded almost politically within the early home environment and this actually characterises very neatly the quality of this combination for the afflicted. Words cannot ever mean what they say, there is usually a hidden agenda, an ulterior motive, a secret being kept: indeed this is exactly the case in the childhood home, but the problem is that the child grows up and takes this same understanding out into the world and applies it indiscriminately to every relationship in the whole of life from then on.

But there is a more profound realisation here too. It is not actually so much what is said that concerns Mercury – Pluto, but indeed what is  not said. This creates an anxiety about communication that is really very disturbing: this is why the native talks so much (in the conjunction or easy aspect), not because they have anything much to say, but because they are terrified of the silence and what it might mean. The child will no doubt have been controlled with lack of communication as much as the use of ugly, brutal or cruel language. A parent or sibling may have ostracised or ignored the child as a means of creating an emotional anxiety, or made vague, open-ended threats which would have created a sense of foreboding and impending anguish all with the express purpose of eliciting control.

There is too a legacy of damaging secrets in the early home which would have reinforced this sense of anguish, very often there are half-brothers or sisters who are kept secret or in some other way separate from the rest of the family. There may also have been other secrets relating to siblings which, when revealed created anxiety in the native: I have seen cases where a more favoured sibling is secretly given money or some other treat or benefit by a parent unbeknown to the Mercury Pluto child and when this is learned the assurances by the parent that they love their children equally become hollow and suspect.

At its best, and transformed, Mercury Pluto makes an excellent researcher and psychologist. Able to delve into the deeper and more innate realities of interaction they can often see cause where others cannot; they see the subtle motivations that are in fact pre-cognitive, and in a very real sense they do not need the words to arrive at an understanding. In fact, the Mercury – Pluto person can often be frustrated at the depth of their understanding because words are ultimately a rather blunt instrument when trying to convey the profundity of their insight and this creates another signature of the contact of course: Mercury Pluto despises the superficial and capricious. Intense and insightful, but with a need to avoid obsessing, Mercury Pluto is a natural researcher and student of human nature and motivation, they make excellent counsellors and – once the aspect is transformed – powerful and persuasive communicators who are able to see into the heart of any matter.

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30 comments on “Mercury Pluto: Insight or Inquisition?

  1. christine says:

    Thanks for the great post. Your insights help me to better understand my own responses to a Mercury in Scorp friend of few words. I’m often left wondering, “Did I say too much?.. or not enough?.. or something?” I think I’ll be better able to trust just being authentic in my expressions with her, which I’m sure will be good for both of us.

  2. CoolBlue says:

    Wow — another great post.

    I am fascinated with Pluto/Scorpio energy … which might be due to the Mercury-Pluto (conj Uranus) opposition in my chart? :) Seriously, though, there is so much here that resonates with me, both in myself and in relation to others with this aspect or sign placement.

    For me, one by-product of the opposition is to be extremely guarded around Scorpio types. Somehow I know (Merc in Pisces) that what I reveal may give over power to that person, so I may be very cagey or outright deceptive about what I say. Not always; it depends on the person and the conversation. But many times if I give in to a natural exuberance and let my guard down, I later regret it and experience this very anguished, vulnerable sensation, like I have lost and they have won in getting information out of me.

    Regarding speaking “exhaustively and exhaustingly”: I have stayed in touch with a former manager from an old job who is a Super-Scorpio: 5-planet stellium, incl. Sun, PLUS Scorpio rising, and Mercury in Scorpio/Sq. Pluto/Sq Mars. (When I first got her birth data and pulled up the chart, my mouth dropped open and I literally yelled out ‘holy sh*t!’) The last time we got together, she talked for HOURS about some very personal issues and kept me there till like 3:00 a.m. on a weeknight! I was totally drained and had to call in sick to work for part of the following day. Now, I also really enjoy deep (and not superficial) conversations, the more honest and raw the better, so I had a hard time breaking it off early; it was too honest and compelling. But the sense of *exhaustion* with this contact that you described is dead-on.

    She also has a physical tic of often not looking straight at you in conversation; her eyes look to one side as she speaks. To me, it’s almost like that secretive Scorpio energy is so overwhelming, she is physically unable to sustain eye contact because that would be too revealing.

    The opposite manifestation is also true with Merc/Scorpio, where the person bores right into you with their eyes, or verbally unleashes a torrent of “ugly, brutal or cruel language” in an effort to intimidate you into divulging something, allowing them to hold sway in a discussion, etc. In either case — I am very sensitive to these behaviors and the ‘hidden agendas.’

  3. jo says:

    wow. i’m blown away. that was the most comprehensive mercury-pluto interpretation i have ever read. It really hit the nail on the head.. in so many ways .

    oh and i have mercury conjunct pluto/midheaven in scorpio ( and i’m also a sun scorpio ) .

  4. lotion says:

    thanks for this article.
    I’m mercury conjunct pluto in scorpio in 12th house.
    “the Mercury – Pluto person can often be frustrated at the depth of their understanding because words are ultimately a rather blunt instrument when trying to convey the profundity of their insight and this creates another signature of the contact of course: Mercury Pluto despises the superficial and capricious.”
    this really hit the nail on the head for me. I find that so many things are lost in translation when i try to communicate through words. So much that most of the time i don’t even bother. And the 12th house doesn’t make it any easier for me either. My mercury-pluto conjunction also squares mars.

    • Trina says:

      Me too! I, also, have mercury-pluto in Libra in my 12th house square my saturn in cancer 9th house (conj south node talk about mother issues. OMG!) There are so many things I understand but can’t find the words to explain them. It is soooo frustrating sometimes. I almost cried when I read the last paragraph. Knowing there is strength and not just misery in this aspect made me emotional. I have so much pain from my childhood in regards to my mother. I could relate to almost every sentence written in this post. I feel as though it was written about ‘MY’ childhood. Unbelievable! I would like greater insight into the meaning of the mercury-pluto conjunction in the 12th house. I read astrology blogs all the time but never one that has come so close to the truth for me.

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  7. burstmedia says:

    You words are so spot on for me (merc in leo in the 4th square Pluto in libra (anaretic degree) in the 6th). It’s almost chilling. The “secrets” in my childhood was fundamental religious practices being explained in superficial ways (every step you take towards the mosque, god will gives you that many dollars in heaven) or some other ridiculous claim. I learned not to trust advice or preachings of anyone. I never went to my parents for advice either. I am just now trying to reverse these harsh effects of not trusting others’ advice in all of my relationships.

  8. mara says:

    That is brillant and inspiring.
    I’m a mercury-pluto conjunct in the 3d house: as a child I was always told not to talk too much….and as an aduld (almost) I become very silent and observing….as for the unspoken family sicret about brotherhood….well I discovered as I was 20 that my sister is not my father’s daughter….
    And as for the unpleasent conversation….I have that too!
    I cannot way to transform it for the better!!

  9. Cass says:

    My sun is in leo conjunct Mars 11th house. I have a Grand Stellium of 7 planets in my 1st. house. Mercury, Venus, Pluto, Moon, Uranus, Asc. is Virgo. You are incredible, I really wanted to understand why I talked so much at times. I would even get tired of hearing my own voice and take short vows of silence. I am so happy I found you. I am almost in tears (choked up). Must schedule a consultation with you ASAP!!!!!!

  10. I’ve got Mercury conjunct Pluto (and Uranus) in the 12th and was born with a hearing loss, that’s how I see the discomfort factor with this aspect. As a child I wanted to be a detective and have read every Agatha Christie book written, at least 3 times.
    In my adult life I use this aspect in my work as an astrologer and writer, researching and delving deep into the undercurrents of life.
    thanks for an in-depth plutonian analysis of this aspect!

  11. chirotic says:

    Thanks Fern.
    I\’ve been a reader of your thoughts for a long time.

  12. scorpio rising says:

    I have Mercury in Cancer, square pluto in libra.

    I *am* a qualified researcher :-D

    Very insightful article, it was as if you were present in my household.

  13. agos says:

    I am male and have both sun and mercury square pluto.
    I was sexually abused when I was 7-8 by a worker in my own home. He used words to persuade me that I couldn’t possibly tell my parents and have kept this in secrecy till past 35 years.
    My own family couldnt face the truth, my father would violently communicate with me, expressing freely his anger and waking me at night to “talk about something I said or not said”. He just came into my room (where I divided with two younger brothers) and started to talk just as I was awoke. I eventually woke up, and took him outside the room so he wouldn’t disturb my younger brothers. My mother was silent and allways depressed, suffering because of my father strong will and poor self-appreciation that needed that everyone agreed with him.
    I have to remmember where I am, describe the environment I am and policy my mind every single second of my life because I keep inventing stories, conversations with relatives, gf, etc, about imaginary betraials they have done to me.
    Not charming. But that’s my mind and that’s the only one I got.
    I managed to survive all this, got a Physics PhD and work now with psychology (trying to understand physics reasoning in scientists and students). People love to ask me advice and I almost cry all the time trying to stop my mind from suggesting me to manipulate others verbally to my own interests, and giving them freely and good-willed advice.

  14. Jolt says:

    Wow great article ,it was very informative and gives me something to mentally chew on again again and again. Hey can anyone out there tell me what it means to have a mecury in capricorn( eight house) square pluto in libra(in the sixth)?

  15. LB says:

    Chirotic,

    I just recently discovered your blog and am enjoying your insights, particularly those involving Pluto issues, which I’m all too familiar with.

    Like you, I have Mercury in Scorpio and also like you my Mercury in Scorpio is in mutual reception with my Pluto in Virgo, although in my case the two planets are sextile. I have Pluto in my 12th, squaring my Mars in the 9th – I believe this aspect increases the Plutonic energy — and to add even more flavor to the mix, my Mercury is conjunct both my Jupiter and Neptune, all in Scorpio, lord of my 3rd house of communications. And my Virgo Ascendant is of course ruled by Mercury.

    As a child I remember picking up on the truths beneath the surface of things, even occasionally receiving psychic impressions. I would often sense people’s hidden agendas, yet was always confused as to why no one else seemed to know what was really going on. I learned very early on that words do not always mean what they seem to mean, or at least that they don’t always take on the most obvious meaning. Sometimes it’s in the way something is said, or as you pointed out, not said. I’ve learned to observe what people do in relation to what they say – you begin to get a clearer picture. For many years, I worked in an environment where clear, perceptive communication skills were an absolute necessity. I was frequently in contact with therapists who (off the record) would ask me for my insights, which I was always happy to share. I was often told by them that I would have made a good therapist myself.

    A common theme throughout my life has been that often people want to shoot the messenger when the message is not something they want to hear (or deal with), so I’ve learned to “never speak in the hearing of a fool”. With friends and family, I’m open and talkative and can absolutely be prone to verbosity, although usually this is only the case in my writing (like now). I’m very aware that Scorpio has many sides to its nature, but as an adult, I’ve generally tried to exercise the higher manifestations of my Pluto energy. People tend to trust me and I would never reward that trust by using anyone’s vulnerabilities against them, even someone I did not like.

    Thanks again for sharing your insights; sometimes it can feel very lonely knowing what we know.

  16. tony says:

    I can really relate to how one can be too receptive with these Pluto connections… all of my challenging Sun(Libra) to Neptune aspects and Neptune being in the 4th house alone already gave me a hard to define and possibly socially awkward demeanor, but my Mercury in Scorpio conjunct Pluto in Scorpio really brings my persona to a whole other level.

    My gaze alone can overwhelm people.

  17. Kay says:

    Great article. I found it as I was studying the charts of three siblings. The oldest has Mercury and Pluto in semisquare (exact), the middle sib has the quincunx, and the youngest has a first house conjunction.

    Since finding this article I have spent some time reading here–what a great blog!

  18. lbotti says:

    I have Mercury in Scorpio sextile Pluto in Virgo (mutual reception) … I have never read anything more striking about this connection! Wether the family issue, the talkative tendancy, the psychological sense (I’m a writer by profession – psychological thrillers!)… and the terror of silence in conversation : it’s all there! I am impressed by your article.

  19. Toby says:

    Great.
    Gladdening to read.

  20. Yulie says:

    Absolute great article.
    I can only agree with all other readers.
    The description fits like a glove. Pluto has been a huge transformator for me in the communication/expression area.
    I’m highly intuitive and sensitive. This has been the hardest stage in my personal development. I have Pluto square Mercury in Virgo in 5th house.

    I have come far since then, but still need some polishing in learning to trust and being spontaneous. I used be very suspicious and distrusting, since my childhood. I try to push the boundaries with little things like showing people more of who I really am. Now they see me more as a confidente.
    I’m very good in conversing with friends, meeting people in the streets, but applying for jobs hasnt’t always been smooth. It depends on the person. When I feel comfortable I have no problem communicating.

    Thanks for the article and all comments of the readers here. It’s very educational and comforting.

  21. Cindy Stubbs says:

    I have 165 degree aspect of Mercury and Pluto.
    My brother got everything and I got very little, My mom bought him a house andI live in a rented trailer. This article really hit home.
    To top it off, I have Chiron in the third. (in Aquarius)
    I want to be a writer & love to read, (Mercury in the 2nd) Strange isn’t it. What I have difficulty with is exactly what I want to do.

  22. ME says:

    I have a similar if not the exact same configuration as yourself. Mercury in Scorpio, Pluto in Virgo, semisquare, mutually receptive. I experienced very few of the negative aspects of this configuration. I do exhibit a shocking degree of perception, so I transformed a LONG time ago. LOL I am not exactly aware of when it happened though. I always thought that one had to be aware to be transformed. But apparently it was subconscious. I’ll blame Pluto for keeping the reasons for my insight hidden.

  23. ME says:

    Oh Yeah, my moon is conjunct mercury in Scorpio in the 8th house. I’ve read that the moon likes it there.

  24. Mercuto says:

    I have pluto conjunct mercury conjunct sun, all within a 5 degree orb in Libra.

    I think the one thing you left out here was the word ‘obsession’. I have a tendency to become obsessed with things – particularly things I don’t understand.

    If I look at my life I see a series of obsessions, working through something intensively and exhaustively until it is replaced by something else. For example when I discovered Sudoku I played it every day until I devised a strategy that would solve any Sudoku puzzle and then I lost interest.

    Another side of this is paranoia. I think that the constant emphasis and focus on motives and hidden things starts tuning the mind far too much to the negative. One begins to forget that there is something like the positive, especially since it doesn’t really have the intellectual appeal of the hidden and negative.

    I find myself unable to control this aspect, but in a way I am fine with it – its gifts are tremendous power of concentration, the ability to see the big picture, to spontaneously see through things and to nip deception in the bud.

  25. ixienix says:

    sun conj neptune jupiter mercury in scorpio pluto in virgo in the 8the house square mars R in gemini so this makes a strange triple reception I think, to top it of mercury gets a square from uranus…
    what Mercuto said about obsessivenes and sometimes to much tuned in too the negative..also getting the big picture
    and I yust deleted the story I yust wrote, for me is talking oke but writing….and on the internet …
    still thinking delete this little reaction as well ,take away the email adres etc etc
    probably a good example of an plutonic mind
    but anyway in getting older there are rewards like very good friends with whom I have shared deep transformations for over 34 years (scorpio cusp 10 and 11)
    to read about other mercury/pluto people really moving thank you all

  26. Mistress Habanero says:

    Wow, I did not know that this aspect sucks so much. To be honest, I have the tendency to be verbose as well because I’ve mistaken myself of not saying enough. But this only occurs in the net world, where I find it’s easier to communicate. Essays are what I say difficult for me, I remember writing on that was thirty pages too long and the reason why was because I felt like I had to finish it and I couldn’t find a freaking shortcut.

    But usually I’m on the side that listens or has to listen, I attract talkative types and I find rebuffing them somewhat difficult to do. I like listening, but then I’m wondering when do I get to contribute something meaningful–I don’t think I’ve ever been a fully active participant. I’m full-blown obsessive though.

  27. jokie says:

    I have a mercury square pluto at 0 degree. I have a rough time in large social gatherings. My mind tends to constantly analyze, take apart, and look for negatives in every conversation. And even after a conversation, possibly a few hours later, I recall the conversation in my mind regarding what I said, imposing a critical view. Self-censorship. Observer definately, especially in school. I hate to verbally contribute in class. Even though this aspect is extremely difficult for me to deal with, without it I don’t think I would be the truthseeker I am today.

  28. joe spunt says:

    I have have mercury square pluto at 0 degree. Secretive, intense, observer, see right through BS. I’m very quiet, rarely talk about myself. Hard for me express myself verbally. I’m better at the written word. Although, my writing gets me in trouble sometimes. I won’t tolerate those who abuse power. Being one of the best employees (this is what they tell me, I’m very critical of myself), I will leave a job if the manager tries to micro manage me. I’ve written reviews on professors that I have regretted after. I can’t help but want to show people the raw truth. I’m not trying to destroy people, I want to help them. I try to highlight both the positive and the negative, but I know I obsess over the negative. I have a half brother that was not close to me throughout early life. I respect him though. My worst enemy is myself sometimes, and I realize this. I’m not one to ignore the truth, I seek it. I’m now returning to college to pursue a degree in psychology because of my interest in human nature. I just hope I can overcome the obstacles. Determination is another quality I have. I’m also a life path 9.

  29. […] Mercury Pluto: Insight or Inquisition? […]

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