Thoughts on Transitory Mercury
Mercury, messenger of the gods, will be crossing the face of the Sun in a few hours. You’ll be able to see this from Earth — with the right equipment. This particular event is not rare — but it is unusual. It happens about 14 times per century — and it’s always in Taurus or Scorpio — two of the fixed signs, the bull and the eagle.
This transit across the face of the Sun also happens within a narrow timeframe (5-14 Nov and 5-12 May). It’s a Mercury-Sun conjunction, of course, and traditionally, there’s a point at which Mercury is super-powered (cazimi) before again being rather weakened (combust) by his proximity to the great giver of light.
The Scorpio transit happens about twice as frequently as the Taurus one.
1957 May 6
1960 Nov 7
1970 May 9
1973 Nov 10
1970 May 9
1986 Nov 13
1993 Nov 6
1999 Nov 15
2003 May 7
2006 Nov 8
2016 May 9
2019 Nov 11
2032 Nov 13
Dates are from Wikipedia.
I publish these dates in the spirit of shared knowledge, but I am not sure what to make of them. I can, however, tell you how I am feeling today — a little seasick (I was on a boat most of the weekend), and somehow oddly overwhelmed by an urgent sense of the transience of life. Perhaps that is the emotion of this moment. Mercury is after all the planet of speed, youth and the swift passage of time. Saturn is the slow tick-tock.
Our lives are very short and very precious.
On that note — here’s a poem…
To His Coy Mistress
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love would grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near:
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vaults, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball,
And tear our pleasure with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.