I have spoken at some length about peregrination in previous articles, today, I would like to explore some actual placements and try to ascertain a quality for each of the signs of the zodiac. The simplest way of ascertaining this quality then is to consider the voice, speech and communicative mannerisms of those who have this particular placement and to discuss some self-evident characteristcs that are applicable.
Firstly then, Mercury in Aries. This is a manner of brusque, direct and assertive speech that can have, if desired, a promise of violence incorporated within it. The perfect example of this is Al Pacino, who has a peregrine Mercury in Aries; although his personal style is greatly moderated by Pluto rising, so this lends a distinctly menacing cast to prodeedings. Another example of this placement is Michael Caine, and they both, in their ways, offer a real flavour of the speech of the Ram. Caine’s chart also evinces a peregrine Saturn in Aquarius and with his Mercury in the 11th there is a real Uranian slant to proceedings. I would think that Caine’s Mercury would have more of a say in matters if it were not for Saturn being so comfortable in it’s traditional domicile, and keen observers will notice just how much more lovable and less edgy has Caine’s demeanour become over the years as his Saturnine power has become gradually assimilated and made comfortable in the broader spectrum of his self-expression. There is no question that in his earlier days, his East-End gangster threats were made especially effective by Mercury in the sign of Aries, unmoderated.
Now, let us consider Mercury in Taurus. Here I have two people with incredible power to deliver a deadpan line, and send a chill down your spine while they do it: Clint Eastwood and my mother in law. No, I really am not kidding, both Clint (high-plains drifter, Dirty Harry and Man with no name) and my wife’s mother share this peculiar “argue and I’ll blow your brains out” manner of stating an opinion and in a direct face-off, my money’s definitely not on Clint. The clue though to this peregrine placement is in the fixity, the implacable, will-not-be-moved deliberation. When Harry Callaghan puts his gun to the perp’s head and asks the immortal question, you just know he’s serious, and that for me is the perfect delineation of the quality that is at the heart of this most-fixed mode of expression. Mercury in Taurus has a way of just setting out its opinion in such a way that anyone listening will simply realise the futility of attempting to posit a different view at all; so when the Mercury in Taurus tells you that you’re a hopeless weirdo that was never likely to be good enough for their daughter: don’t argue, just nod agreeably and smile.
Mercury in Gemini, its own sign ought to function well but it does not lend itself so much to the faculty of speech as you might expect. This phenomenon can clearly be seen in the case of the actor John Inman, whose trademark light, flighty and decidedly Geminian “are you being served” became a national catchphrase. On the other hand, consider Karl Marx, with Mercury peregrine in Gemini and the 3rd house, thus dignified, accidentally dignified and unmoderated by other factors, and now you see the potential power for sheer mental facility. Here is the mind that can effortlessly move from one consideration to the next at breathtaking speed and with dizzying flexibility. Writing is also Mercury’s domain of course, and Marx’s ability to express his philosophy (and his Jupiter in Capricorn is, if you like, the philosophy of the labourer and the working class and in the 11th house, it creates a universal philosophy of materialism), but the true power to express that philosophy, an idea of such breadth that most minds would struggle to grasp the whole of it, is almost entirely due to this remarkable configuration.
Mercury in Cancer is a tricky quality to describe, as with most things Cancerian. It creates a rather quirky ambience, but altogether more human in tone than that other oddball of the zodiac, Aquarius. Thus the key element of Mercury in the crab-sign is that it is a little offbeat, but ultimately it is human and caring and this (coupled with a Sun-Moon mutual reception) is what lends Tom Hanks his humanity and that rather pleasing edge of vulnerability that makes everyone like him and want to be his mummy. He actually speaks like your favourite nephew and you really just want to give him a glass of milk and a Werther’s Original as a special treat. That then is the key ambience of Mercury in Cancer, it gives a human vulnerability to the voice, that coupled with a slightly offbeat and cranky demeanour makes everyone feel better about their own foibles; thus the fundamental observation is that it is disarming.
If you want flamboyance, a sense of drama and an element of oral passion, then you need look no further than Antonio Banderas, whose peregrine Mercury in Leo captures just so succinctly, the warm, sunny and rich tones of everything touched by the Sun. It is no coincidence that he played the vocal part of Puss-in-Boots to such pussycat-like perfection in the Shrek movies, he was actually, rather born to it. His voice then is the perfect vehicle for the drama of Leo, that when combined with his dark and handsome demeanour, really promises everything wild and passionate for the ladies. Richard Branson is another who shares this quality, and it is in large part due to this peregrine placement that he can offset some of the more standoffish elements of his Cancerian Sun and inject some warmth into his overall demeanour. Another good example is the singer Patsy Cline whose voice tells a perfect story of feral Mercury in Leo.
With Mercury in Virgo, another placement where it is strong, there are few examples in the world of celebrity. No more perfect example can be found though than that of Liz Greene, probably the most prestigious astrologer alive today and somebody from whom I have personally learned a great deal. Her humanisation of Jung’s work and its subsequent translation into astrological insight speaks very clearly to the quietly efficient execution of tasks that is so typically Virgoan. No fuss, they just turn up one day having translated the entire works of Dostoevsky into 39 different languages, no big deal, and would you like a cup of tea with that? Charlton Heston is one whose Mercury is very close to being peregrine in the sign of Virgo, and he does have a certain clipped yet distinctive manner of delivery. Of course, in my opinion Liz’s Sun, peregrine in Virgo on the 11 degree astrologer’s point tells a story that when coupled with Peregrine Mercury in its own sign becomes especially compelling.
Now let us consider the very cool, very proper, very polite, very unequivocal placing of Mercury in Libra. Carrie Fisher is a good example of this style of delivery, it gives an old-fashioned observation to good manners and saying please and thank you, and as with anything Libran, it really doesn’t want to get all unbalanced, so Mercury in Libra will rarely shout, or swear, or say anything truly awful. The manner of speech will be generally harmonious, pleasing and gentle, although there may be a very calculating subtext, and you should always watch that these dulcet tones don’t lull you into a false sense of security because Libra is just as good at getting its way, but non-confrontationally; it will charm you into giving way and is the perfect enjoinder to the old adage that you’ll catch more wasps with honey than you ever will with vinegar. If you needed proof of this, consider Bill Gates, who with Mercury peregrine in Libra, demonstrates perfectly the power of Libra to get what it wants, and usually, without anyone realising that there was ever an agenda in the first place!
Now for Mercury in Scorpio, which in my experience either makes one extremely talkative, or extremely taciturn. I have peregrine Mercury in Scorpio and I really don’t talk much (when sober) but I could write for England in the Olympics (quantity, not quality). A fantastic example of this placement though is to be found in the person of Grace Kelley, since she conveys precisely the sense of subdued intensity and passion held in check that is the trademark of this placement. When you consider some of her performances especially under Hitchcock’s direction, it is easy to see the chemistry she brings to the proceedings. The key observation then is one of controlled passion. Also, Scorpio lends depth and an emotional tone to the mindset, it creates deep compassion or biting sarcasm and rarely much in between. It also gives a mind that is capable of investigation and seeing through the superficial layers of things.
The placement of Mercury in Sagittarius evinces astonishingly few examples, and it seems that here – in its detriment, Mercury does not fare well. The one example I could find of Mercurial peregrination was the case of Jonathan Winters, and here is a truly remarkable individual who seemed somehow to rise above a very difficult astrology; his Mercury, in detriment and peregrine, his Mars, in detriment and peregrine, his Venus, not particularly well-placed in pragmatic Capricorn, and peregrine and his Jupiter in fall too. But when you actually take-in his manner and style, it is almost beautifully Sagittarian. Madcap, unselfconscious, totally random and brilliantly refreshing, I had never heard of this comedian before now, but already I’m a fan!
Now Mercury in Capricorn is a placement which isn’t much noted for being chatty. This isn’t to say that they won’t talk, but like everything that the Goat gets involved in, it takes them some time to build up a head of steam, of course, once they’ve got started you can’t shut them up, but there you are. The natural reserve and caution of the sign creates a keynote of taciturnity; so there really aren’t many actors with this placement. James Dean is the only case I could actually find, and his Mercury is only borderline peregrine. That said, he demonstrates many of the typical qualities of the type, a rather monosyllabic but authoritative style that is bound to get listened to and will have others nodding their heads in agreement even if they don’t particularly agree very much; when Mercury in Capricorn opens his mouth, it’s usually considered and thoughtful enough that the tone alone demands a measure of respect. The delivery too is usually measured and unhurried and the mind is always applied to a problem cautiously. There’s none of your “throw a bucket of petrol on it and see if that works” thinking with this combination.
Now incredible as this might sound, I could not find a single example of Mercury in Aquarius and peregrine. Yes, in the airy element this appears to be almost beyond belief, but nevertheless, in my 2000 plus list of notables and celebrities: not a single case. What can you say of such a scenario? Maybe – as is Aquarius’s wont, they all degenerated into madness and became too uncontrollably offbeat to safely intermingle with normal people. Maybe their brains exploded in a flash of sudden electric craziness, and – with hair standing on end and smoke pouring from their ears – they were no more? I really cannot say. Typical of Aquarius to be the odd one out, they just can’t stand being put in the same list as everyone else, so it’s probably a conspiracy and somebody is deliberately deleting Peregrine Mercury in Aquarius notables from the world’s databases.
And I am not kidding when I say too that I can find one near-perfect example of Mercury in Pisces and unaspected. It’s almost too good to be true, and rather than wax lyrical about the transcendent mode of thinking that could have produced such a phenomenon, I’ll allow the great one himself to explain…