Mercury as a ruler of astrology

I should not blow my own trumpet but it does feel good to do so. 

During my astrology study I have often heard that astrology is ruled by Uranus. Even though some arguments could be made in this direction, personally I am hesitant to accept this statement as being the whole story.

Perhaps people repeat this tired stereotype without really thinking it through or they are compelled  by the flattering image of the astrologer as an unorthodox genius. 
In my opinion, a strong case could be made that astrology is ruled by Saturn and Mercury. Recently I have written about Saturn’s rulership of astrology in my post “Why could Saturn rule astrology?“ 

Meanwhile Mercury went retrograde and the rear event of Jupiter’s conjunction with Uranus in Taurus occurred. It brought about a big crises in my faith in astrology.
Fortunately, Mercury turn direct two days ago and I decided to listen to one of my favourite astrologers Rick Levine talking about the houses in the chart. 
Amazingly, he confirmed that astrology could be governed by Saturn and Mercury. He also talked about modern astrology, the astrology of nowadays and the future.
With this encouragement I will proceed to share my thoughts about the possibility of Mercury being an astrological governor. 
My main arguments are based on the neutral nature of Mercury and its acceptance and easiness with paradoxes. 
Mercury is impartial. Mercury does understand that basic astrological elements such as planets, signs, houses and aspects do not exist on the shaking ground of “good” and “bad`’, “benefic” and “malefic”, “feminine” and “masculine”, “positive” and “negative”. 
He deals with data without entering  into the disputable areas of morality and outdated classifications. 
Yet, remember, Mercury is the God of communication and learning including divination. 
He was the only God who could go to the underworld, traveling with the souls across the River Styx and come back.
Mercury understands that paradoxes are the essence of life. 
Paradoxes can make it exciting. Paradoxes can make it hard. 
Paradoxes make “putting people into boxes” redundant. 
Mercurial genius thrives on the ability to find the common ground between polarities, unfamiliarities, unknown terrains and to suggest feasible solutions or at least workable explanations and directions. 
Astrological art highlights the paradoxes in the chart, tries to make sense of them and to take guidance from them. 
Astrology is stratospherically more than producing long lists of key words, explaining what the single elements mean or using the last technological tool. 

It seems that the question of how well astrologers see and explain the charts’ paradoxes have significant weight.
I believe a high degree of virtuousness is a rare quality and in my experience only a few astrologers and teachers have achieved it. 
The good news is that when they have acquired the mastery in question they cannot hide it. It works like magic.
Someone will argue that it is the strike of Uranus. 
Maybe, but I doubt it. 
That is Mercury giving you the message to embrace paradoxes and even to try to make friends of them.  


We say “Good morning” every time we meet each other and probably do not think about the wisdom in the phrase.

It is as simple as all truths – life is good when mornings, afternoons  and evenings are good.

Oh yes – and nights too. 
I struggle to define good.
Let’s say good is what everyone thinks and feels good. 
We do not know straightaway that our day is good. 
We may suspect it but we realise the goodness of the day with some delays. 
A strong sign of a good yesterday is a good morning. 
More good mornings more good yesterdays. 
More good yesterdays more good mornings. 

Blow water 吹水

I had not heard the term “blow water” until last Saturday. I definitely could drink water, boil or freeze it, swim in it, admire the beauty of it but why on earth would I need to blow it?

At first hearing the phrase sounds like a “wellness” term of 21st century – the urge to avoid dehydration by drinking at least 2 litres of water daily goes so excessively wrong that the water-saturated body must blow the surplus. Really!?
Then, I thought about whales. Everyone has seen the iconic pictures of whales blowing geysers of water in the ocean. Scientists believe that whales were land mammals which have evolutionary adapted to the life in the ocean in search of food. Obviously they were very successful in their advancement – they can grow up to 15 meters and weigh around 35 tones. 
Whales have one or two blowholes on the back of their head. These blowholes are their nostrils. The animals come to the ocean surface and without lifting their head they contract their muscles, open their blowhole(s) and inhale air. 
Whales can keep the air in their lungs between 7 and 30 min (sperm whales even up to 2 hours), use 90% of the inhaled oxygen (compare to 15% of humans) and exhale it again through the blowhole. The exhaled air is warm from its body heat and it is released into the much colder temperature of the oceanic environment. So it condenses immediately and voila, the whale “blows water” which can reach 9 meters in the air.
It appears then that “blow water” is linked with something existential such as breathing and staying alive.
The next part of the story is that not only air but also mucus and oils and other bodily fluids emerge from the whale’s nostril and it stinks! Imagine having a cold and blowing your nose. Oph! 
Yet it is a process of cleaning, healing, releasing and eventually relaxing.
The most fascinating fact which hugely enriches the experience of the whale watchers is that different species of whales have specifically designed blowholes. 
As a result, the shape of the “blow water” enables specialists to recognise the species. 
For example, the sperm whales (toothed whales) blow water in a shape of geyser. The humpback, blue and grey whales (baleen whales) have two blowholes on their head and create an astonishing heart-shaped cloud.
So, watch how human “species” blow water – you could probably find your tribe.  
Finally, I walked the path most traveled – I looked at the translation of the Cantonese  (Hong Kong) term “blow water”. 
The English translation is to chat, to talk casually, chit-chatting. “Blow water” is this informal chat when you do not notice that time flies, the chat about nothing and about everything, the chat that connects qualities visible by hearts and eyes. 
It is the song of the humpback, the song of the sea. 

“Even the stars think I am superior”

I was researching for my article “Why could Mercury be a ruler of astrology?” when I came across a relatively recent Swedish survey about the correlation between the belief in astrology, intelligence and personality traits. 


The conclusions of the survey confirmed the thoughts I was having all along since my journey through astrology began. Coincidently, my March visit to an astrological “conference” in London provided me with empirical evidence for the likelihood of the survey suggestions.


In a nutshell – the study found that strong predictive factors of a deep belief in astrology are narcissism and low intelligence. 


The survey included 264 participants, most of them (87%) young women between 25 and 34 years old. They were recruited through social media (Facebook). The team acknowledged the limitations of the survey design (lack of random sampling, limited age and gender group, lack of information about the level of astrological knowledge and a short version of the scales used). They also indicated that more data should be obtained and analysed in the future. 


However, the results of the survey are important for all of us who have an interest in astrology. 


Firstly, the link between belief in astrology and low intelligence really appears biased. How could exceptional mathematicians, physicists and astronomers such as Ptolemy, Newton, Copernicus, Kepler and Einstein who were fascinated by astrology be called people of low intelligence?! They definitely and absolutely were not. 


Where is the catch then? It is in the lack of critical thinking. Astrology’s “pop” face is the columns in the lifestyle and fashion magazines and websites, the predictions on YouTube, the endless online astrological courses, etc. Nothing wrong with all of that if you take these forms as entertainment and small talk. People try to make money, so the more simplistic it is the better. We all want to hear exceptional, dramatic, positive predictions especially in moments of uncertainty and public or personal crises and decisions. 


However, in my opinion everyone must wear the hat of a critical thinker when it comes to astrology. You need to have knowledge of mathematics, physics, astronomy and psychology in order to understand the astrological tradition and not to accept foolishly what is thrown at you. For example, are you going to give credence to the shallow categorising of people by their Sun sign and avoid the complexity and vagueness of the astrological symbols? Do you think the astrological theory of planetary dignities and debilities have a place in the 21st century or we need to rethink it?


Secondly, the strongest indicator of a deep belief in astrology is a narcissistic personality. The authors of the survey  gave some possible explanations of the phenomenon – the “self-centred worldview, the cultural aspects of millennials which may emphasise the uniqueness of individuals, the positively framed astrological predictions”. 


I was not at all surprised by this finding in the study. Attend any astrological conference, school, classes, retreats and online readings and you will find the narcissists telling you who you are and how you must live your life. You cannot help yourself thinking that if they are so good at reading the planetary energies and riding their waves why are they not the richest, happiest, most successful people in the world. Instead, in front of you is someone who could do better with their personal grooming, improving their language and speech and who could present new perspectives instead of repeating cliches. 


Maybe the stars choose who they speak to. 

Why could SATURN rule Astrology?

The straightforward answer is because astrology is a practical dream. And practical dreams are ruled by Saturn. 
When you go out on a clear night and look up at the sky with its beautiful and mysterious stars you can easily spot (with an unaided eye) a non-twinkling point of light – that is Saturn. 
If you go further and use binoculars or a telescope you can see the rings of Saturn and at least the biggest one of its moons called Titan. 
You may think that as a planet which has such a bad reputation in “pop astrology” Saturn portrays  doom and gloom in astronomical photographs. 
Brace yourself for a huge surprise. 
Saturn is the most photogenic planet in the solar system. It has a golden glow, its tilt and rings are unique and magnificent and its moons so pretty. 
Now, despite the picture quality of Saturn’s rings, they inevitably bring the idea of constraint and limitation. Cage can be a prison even if it is a golden cage. 
Let’s look deeper into the matter. 
Saturn is an old planet. It was formed 4.5 billion years ago when the whole solar system was built. 
Research* recently showed that the rings of Saturn are relatively modern – they were formed between 100 and 200 million years ago. 
* research by NASA, University of Durham, University of Glasgow
The scientific hypothesis** is that one of Saturn’s moons came very close to the planet and was completely destroyed. 
99% of the resultant debris “ended up swallowed by the giant gas planet”. 
The remaining pieces formed the rings. 
The researchers called the lost moon Chrysalis because it ”blossomed” into the rings as a chrysalis transforms into a butterfly.
 In other words “ Saturn does not ask you to give up your dreams just to make them real”***
** Jack Wisdom, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
*** Steve Forrest, Evolutionary astrologer
So, as restraining as they seem, structure and hierarchy have a great place in astrology. 

Look at the natal astrological chart. It is a structure – a wheel which is divided into 12 segments and every planet has a place in the segments. 

The angles divide the zodiac wheel into quadrants and the aspects rule the conversation between the planets. 
If you are a beginner in astrological study you need to go through the hierarchy of acquiring the astrological knowledge and skills.

You could not begin with learning about aspects or progressions if you do not know anything about planets, zodiac signs or houses and so on. 
Here it is another perspective – if you feel that astrological study is too hard and stop going somewhere in the ground or first floor of the building of astrological knowledge please do not assume that you are an astrologer. 
It is a proven fact that your knowledge and skills are shallow. 
This fact is not discouraging. It is a Saturnian fact about reality and personal responsibility. 
If you are happy to operate in the realm of superficial astrology then do it. 
It is scary to look never climb to the top floor but that is where Saturn has a golden glow and its rings are stunning. 
There is one more benefit of Saturn as a ruler of astrology. 
The serious and practical planet with a no nonsense approach to life helps you enormously to recognise and avoid self-proclaimed astrology teachers and gurus, “established” astrological schools, and professionals with “practice and clients”. 
Go for the best quality and pick Saturn as a strict but real master of making your dreams come true.

Take the road WELL traveled

A few months ago I disseminated some wisdom regarding effective ways of studying astrology. 
Since then I have made progress in reading the subject, so another portion of insights can be shared with the audience. 
To begin with, this article is based on my strong belief that there is no right or wrong way of studying astrology. You, the reader, can test and take only what resonates with you or you can be courageous and try something which is not so familiar.

I have never fully grasped the presumption that astrology is governed by Uranus. My hypothesis is that it is ruled by Saturn and Mercury (I will explain my arguments in the next article) therefore a  systematic approach to studying astrology is definitely needed. 
 The most direct way to guarantee it is to join a reliable, reputable school of astrology. 
Just be aware that studying astrology with this type of school requires money, time and consistent effort from you. Moreover, you need to supplement the school-study with diligent self-studying and practice.
Sounds gross! Yes, it is! It is hard and often it is overwhelming! The sunny days of learning about the planets and signs and houses are over and the first hurdle to jump is the interpretation of natal charts. 
The crucial tool in succeeding is to adopt a methodical, step-by-step process of understanding. Otherwise you will be lost and your interpretation could be inaccurate or inadequate.  
Good astrological schools not only teach you this type of systematic approach but they offer their students a certificate exam at this level. I highly recommend that every student of astrology takes it. 
Going through the examination is challenging and time consuming yet, it consolidates the astrological knowledge and skills acquired so far and prepares you for the next phase.
Additionally, it requires your intuition, imagination and creative writing throughout the process.
 Remember “A smooth sea does not make a skilled sailor”!
And then the big blows appear! Transits, Solar Return, Secondary Progressions and Solar Arc Directions techniques! OMG, they are really overwhelming. Finding a way to organise and prioritise the data is fundamental. Your teachers and mentors will provide you with possible methods and you can choose which one suits you. 

At this point in your study, if not earlier, you need to buy and use an astrological software. It is very beneficial but does not replace the reference to the Ephemeris if needed. 
You may think now “Everything appears as an uphill battle, where is the joy of studying astrology?”. It is there, believe me. The most joyful experiences could come from two sources – your teacher and your peers.
To my astonishment, when the teacher is the one who lives and breathes astrology she/he can create miracle moments of elation in the classroom. The inspiration stimulates  the student to keep going.
And last but not the least – your student peers are your big asset during the process. You meet like-minded people who are in the same boat as you. A warm feeling of camaraderie is created and there is always someone you can ask, complain to or support. 
Personally I enjoy it the most when the creative juices start flowing in the classroom – everyone is thinking, provoking, questioning, answering, analysing, synthesising. Experiencing such true and raw moments of creativity and ingenuity is a bliss. “When love and skills work together except a masterpiece”.

DOs and DONOTs if you want to study astrology

People turn to astrology for different reasons – curiosity, boredom, crisis, loss, looking for meaning, sense of belonging, etc. 

The tricky bit is how to proceed to astrological study. The chosen approach could make the journey fulfilling or the student could stumble and give up. 
                                                 So, my suggestions based on my personal experience are:
Studying astrology is hard work. It requires time and effort. 
You need to learn the basics – the language, the methods, the techniques. 
You need some knowledge of mathematics and physics, the ability to analyse and synthesise and to think critically and independently. 
No pain, no gain. So embrace Saturn (Mercury and Jupiter also)  in your natal chart and go for it. 




In my experience this DO is crucial. 
Your astrology teacher can make or break you or waste your time and money. 
Having a prime astrology teacher or school is 50% of the battle for quality education. 
The good news is that you can choose from many online or in-person options. The bad news is that you need to thoroughly research your options. Some points to remember during your searching:
a) being a professional astrologer does not guarantee a teacher of high standard.
b) do not waste time and money on paid seminars and webinars. They are usually a source of income for the astrologers.
c) however, do attend the promotional (especially online) seminars and webinars. They are free of charge and give you a chance not only to learn something on an interesting topic but to assess (to some extent) the quality of teaching.
That is the best part of studying astrology. 
The astrological community is global and vibrant. You can connect with local or international astrological groups on all social media platforms. 
If you want to go further (you do not need to) you can attend Summer schools, astrological conferences or astrological retreats. 
The experience is memorable and you learn as much from your astrological peers as from your teachers.




One of the paradoxes of studying astrology is that you do not conform completely to the chosen schools of thought.
 Explore the other genres of astrology, different styles, different points of view. 
That will keep you engaged for the rest of your life. 


At least not in the beginning. 
Actually, it is your choice – you could strike out and risk becoming a full time astrologer or you could take it slowly. 
Astrology is a great hobby. 
It helps you with self-discovery and self-development and it is also an excellent tool for social connection and  entertainment. 
I’m not saying studying astrology is very difficult, but it requires a bit more than popular study methods: open book, open laptop, open Netflix.

“The image that resists all explanation” – Part 1

Only 2 hours journey by Eurostar and Adrian and I are able to pay a visit to the city of Brussles and its Musee Margitte Museum. 

The legacy of the famous surrealist Rene Margitte is explicitly presented in the life of the Belgian capital. A few building around the Grand Palace have his well-known objects painted on their walls. Many shops sell gifts and art items with Margitte’s signature images. The museum of his works is very well attended by an international crowd.
It opened on 2nd June 2009. Its creation was result of the enthusiasm, efforts and  professionalism of the Belgian state and Belgian economical, art and civil community. 
This devotion to treasure the national art heritage and made it available for the public its not specifically Belgian or European. 
The same cultural ambitions I have experienced in Chicago. The Modern Wing of the Art Institute designed by Renzo Piano and also opened in 2009 contains at least 11 Margate’s canvases and drawings including the famous “Time transfixed”1938.
However, the Museum in Brussels has the biggest world-leading collection of works by Margitte . It is situated in the renovated Hotel Altenloh on The Place Royale. 
The Museum has an unusual structure. The exhibition is spread on three floors and the tour starts from the top floor. 

The paintings are accompanied by lifeline explanations and photographs.The visitors can read  Margate’s own words in French and see many drawings, posters, book illustrations, photographs and even movies. 
It is a very well thought-out and organised museum. The gift shop sells pleasant items. Despite the overwhelming visiting crowd the museum still excludes  a sense of space. 
The only big disadvantage is that there is no cafe on the premises. I hope this issue will be soon attended to. 
That leaves us with only one thing – to enjoy the unexplainable world of Rene Margitte. 
I often hear that everything in art has already been created. 
This argument does have a point yet I do not think it applies to really talented artists. 
Their artistic style is unmistakably unique and visionary, art to be followed. 
Let’s look at some of the painting of Rene Margitte and their contemporary resonance:
In 1927 Margate painted “The female Tief” and the “Man from the Sea” – two canvases from his “black period” when he constructed his “ enigmatic visual world”. 
Nearly 100 years later see what appears:
The canvas “The Secret Player” was created in 1927. 
Again, 96 years later,  in 2020 we had the global Covid pandemic.
Could you recognise the crises – a woman wearing a mask, a frightening flying black turtle in the sky, skittles turning into trees, and a losing team?
“Great expectations”1940. 
The grounded, stable, even reassuringly round trees could present ambitions rooted in “community and creativity, with goals like feeling connected whole and healthy”.
And the highly ambitious, skinny and unstable tree with a few leaves but reaching for the sky.
To be continued….

Bravissimo Maestro Donizetti!

I struggled this week to decide about attending the opera, The Elixir of Love (L’elisir d’Amore), by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. 
In order to come to a decision I weighed up the pros and cons. 
Cons were a few. 
The local theatre. The Regent Centre, was broadcasting the Royal Opera House production in the middle of the working week. 
The show starts at 19.15 and lasts around 3 hours with an interval. 
Additionally, I had to travel back and forth to my house numerous times.
Pros included the light-hearted libretto with a happy ending, the world-class production and cast. 
Above everything else was the splendid music of the genius Donizetti who wrote the music for the opera in just 6 weeks.
So, I moved in favour of the live broadcasting and thank God, I did. 
It completely lifted me, physically and psychologically for the rest of the week. My tiredness disappeared, I felt inspired. I happily sang phrases of the well-known aria “ Una Furtiva Lagrima” at home and work.
The synopsis of the opera is simple. The plot develops around the deep love of a poor, naive village boy Nemorino for a rich and attractive girl Adina. 
To complicate the situation a rival, the military sergeant Belcore appears on the scene. 
Nemorino feels he needs a miracle to win over Adina.
Fortunately for him, a con artist called Dr. Dulcamara arrives in the village. 
In a moment of pure brilliance Dr Dulcamara produces the desperately needed love elixir (a half bottle of a cheap Bordeaux wine). 
At the end, Adina realises that she has always been in love with Nemorino who is now conveniently rich and very popular among the village girls following the death of his uncle. 
The love rival Belcore marches away to conquer other women’s hearts. 
Dr Dulcamara’s business flourishes after the success of the love juice. 
The culmination of the opera, in my humble opinion, is the performance of the extraordinary aria “Una Furtiva Lagrima”(“A secret tear”) in the second scene.
Everyone knows this aria. Two tenors – “The Matchless Singer” Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti made it famous worldwide. 
The aria, its words and transcendent music speak to the human soul. It creates tranquility – that exquisite moment when our hearts know that the person we love loves in return. The flash of discovery that we are loved. A heartbeat of relief, ecstasy and faith.
Music says it all. Magic!
The cast is outstanding. The star of the show is the American soprano Nadine Sierra as Adina. She has the complete package – brilliant voice, beautiful face and figure (especially legs) and is an excellent actress. 
The decor compliments the story but disappointment washes over me when I discover that the same decor was used for the production of the opera some years ago. We live in an era of recycling and economic crises.
The next morning my husband Adrian brings me my usual cup of black coffee in bed. 
The elixir of love works for us without fail. 
No secret tear though – big men don’t cry. 

Guten Abend, Herr Wagner!

The new opera season in Great Britain commenced with a Big Bang – the Royal Opera House  presented the first chapter of the Wagner’s epic cycle “Der Ring des Nibelungen” – Das Rheingold.

Before last Sunday I had never seen a Wagner opera. The “What’s on” rubric on the Royal Opera House’s website informed me last week that The Rheingold’s production would be broadcast in 1,341 local cinemas in 20 countries around the world. The local theatre ticket costed £18. You can check – the entrance fee for the Royal Opera House is between £193 and £325. 
I can assure you my attendance was only 10% linked to the incredible ticket price and the short duration of the Wagner opera.
The other 90% I allocate evenly to the ravishing music of Wagner, the dramatic story and the creative troupe. 

I had already admired the brilliant conducting of the musical director Antonio Pappano in Puccini’s Turandot last season and was looking forward to seeing the work of the controversial Australian- born but Berlin-based director Barrie Kosky. 

 The performance began with a shock – an old woman with long white-grey hair and beautiful delicate face totters across the monochrome scene. She is completely naked. Naked and vulnerable – she is the Mother Earth Erda (splendid acting by the 82-year old Rose Knox-Peebles).
Her presence on the stage is a marvellous innovation of Barry Komsky which is a clear parallel to the current state of the planet and holds the four scenes of the opera together.
If Richard Wagner, the 19th century German composer with emblematic beret, was living nowadays I am pretty sure he would be a big hit at the box offices of Netflix or Amazon Prime.  
The spectators know the synopsis of The Rheingold, they know how the story ends. And yet, they are totally absorbed by the imaginative reality of Wagner and his powerful music. 
It feels like we follow a chilling thriller on Netflix or watch a Grand Slam tennis match. 
Emotions run high in a short space of time, intense ups and downs with a power struggle, betrayal, greed, love, curse, exploitation, murder and humiliation.
Moreover, the singing actors wear modern 21st century clothing.
The Rheingold maidens appear in  black lace slip dresses, the dwarf Alberich is in a grey suit or jogging outfit, the gods parade in polo britches and high boots and the giants are tattooed and wear sunglasses. 
By the way, the entrance of the giants in scene 2 is outstanding – a real scene from The Godfather, simple and brutal.
Antonio Pappano performs Das Rheingold in his last season as a musical director of the Royal Opera House but he will come back as a conductor for the next three chapters of the cycle. 
The second instalment of the Ring and an opera in its own right is Die Walkure. Its duration is five hours with two intervals.
The prominent Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini visited the performance of Wagner’s opera Lohengrin which lasts 4 hours and 35 minutes. 
Afterwards he famously concluded “ One cannot judge Wagner’s opera Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I certainly don’t intend to hear it a second time”. 
Scusa Maestro Rossini!


The delightful performance of Das Rheingold and the chance to hear the world’s most popular Wagner’s motive “The Ride of the Valkyries” in Act 3 of Die Walkure motivate me to raise my game.

Bis zum nächsten Jahr, Herr Wagner!