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 notsaid. 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.