Sun conjunct Mercury will happen on 21st July, 2019, at 08:33 EDT (12:33 UT). “Astronomically”, then Mercury will be at its ‘inferior’ conjunction.As a creative mind, Dane Rudhyar (1895–1985), American astrologer, came up with a noteworthy theory, having drawn analogy between the ’celestial mechanics’ of Mercury and the human personality types. To demonstrate it in an expressive form, he chose two mythic brothers, Prometheus and Epimetheus, sons of a Titan and an Oceanid.
I should bring up now some needed astromical facts. Mercury’s orbit is very eccentric, thus its orbital speed around the Sun may vary considerably ranging from a standstill at its stations to over 2 ¼ degrees at its ’superior’ conjunction. Mercury’s cycle around the Sun takes 88 days, but its synodic cycle with the Sun averages 116 days. (Due to its elliptical nature this may take anywhere between 105 and 130 days.)
The cycle begins at the ’inferior’ conjunction which is the midpoint of Mercury’s retrogradation cycle when the Sun and Mercury rise together. But, as we experience, the Sun now begins to move forward, distancing itself from Mercury which is retrograding. Now, Mercury rise before the Sun, i.e. it is a ’morning star’. About 10-12 days later, Mercury goes direct and in a fortnight reaches its maximum distance from the Sun or its ’greatest morning elongation’. Both the Sun and Mercury are now travelling about the same speed (i.e. a zodiacal degree a day). Circa six weeks later, Mercury will be seen as conjunct the Sun, its ‘superior’ conjunction. Sun and Mercury rise together again, but since Mercury is travelling its fastest in the cycle, it pulls away from the Sun, leaving the Sun to rise before it. Mercury is now in its occidental half of the cycle, and now it follows the Sun, thus becomes the ’evening star’. Five or six weeks after the ’superior’ conjunction, it will reach its ’greatest evening elongation’ from the Sun. At this time, the Sun and Mercury are again travelling the same speed. About a fortnight after, Mercury will station and turn retrograde, preparing for its next ’inferior’ conjunction on the verge of a new cycle.
By Rudhyar, the manifestation of the ’Promethean character’ of Mercury begins at ’inferior’ conjunction, when Mercury is at first retrograde, and between the Earth and Sun /you fall into this type, if your natal Mercury rose before the Sun/; its ’Epimethean character’ is revealed at ’superior’ conjunction when Mercury is at first direct on the other side of the Sun /you fall into this type, if your natal Mercury rose after the Sun/. (Analogically, Mercury-Prometheus corresponds to the waxing half of the lunation cycle /moreover, it has ’solar characteristics’ also, this is why ancient Greeks called the ’morning’ Mercury ’Apollo’/, which takes on its character from the New Moon. Consequently, Mercury-Epimetheus corresponds to the waning half.) But dividing both ’archetypes’ in ’direct’ and ’retrograde’ ’subtypes’, eventually he attains four ’characters’ or ’faces’.
Let’s look closely at Rudhyar’s theory. (As a remark: some astrologers consider this approach as good and applicable, however, others can’t accept it – but this is not surprising in the case of a modern astrological theory.)
- The ’Promethean-Retrograde’ mind is one which seeks its independence from the instinctual nature by opposing it more or less violently. It is a mind which has experienced a ’mystery’, an ’initiation’ into a new realm of being – however limited or casual this initiation. As a result, the mind has lost its trust or interest in customary impulses, yet is struggling to get free from them. The mind is ’eager’, but often bound by the very things it wishes to forget, or blinded by what it has realized and is ’prophesying’ to the personality and perhaps to all men. However, out of this inner conflict great personal growth may come, and the personality may become subjectively identified with a great symbol or image for the actualization of which it is fighting. /Within this actual ’cycle’ ’Promethean-Retrograde’ begins on July 21st, 2019 at 12:33 UT (tropical CAN 29°) and will end on April 1st, 2019 at 03:58 UT (tropical CAN 24°); Mercury’s ecliptical speed: slow./
- The ’Promethean-Direct’ mind is essentially established in its own nature and at peace with the requirements of life. It eagerly reaches toward the future and seeks to convey the rhythm of tomorrow to the ego, which may or may not listen very attentively. A few days after the ’direct’ period, the geocentric Mercury stands farthest from the Sun. It is likely to be the time when the Promethean mind is best able to project its vision in symbols or in significant patterns of behavior which will serve to make actual and concrete the Solar potential and purpose. It is about the time when the heliocentric Mercury is in its ’waxing square’ (First Quarter phase) to the Earth. Mental activity is very intense in a projective manner. /Within this actual ’cycle’ ’Promethean-Direct’ will start on August 1st, 2019, at 03:58 UT (tropical CAN 24°) and will last until September 4th, 2019 at 01:40 UT (tropical VIR 11°). Mercury’s ecliptical speed: increasing > average./
- The ’Epimethean-Direct’ mind seeks to reflect objectively as much as it can of the meaning of life and events after these have occurred. It is the historical, objective mind, which reasons things out on the basis of precedents. It is often the most ’successful’, practically speaking — not running ahead of the self, or life, but running things and people. When Mercury’s motion equals that of the Sun during the ’waning’ phase of the Mercury cycle, the greatest possible stress on mental objectivity is likely to be made; this is approximately the ’Last Quarter’ phase of Mercury — which leads to the Epimethean-retrograde period. The Epimethean mind tends to be formalistic in its approach to life-relationships and behavior; which may mean ’Olympian’ at its best (as against the ’Dionysian’ character of the Promethean mind), or at its worst strictly materialistic and deterministic. /Within this actual ’cycle’ ’Epimethean-Direct’ will start on September 4th, 2019 at 01:40 UT (tropical VIR 11°), and will last until October 31st, 2019 at 15:41 UT (tropical SCO 28°). Mercury’s ecliptical speed: fast /
- The ’Epimethean-Retrograde’ mind is represented by a Mercury coming to a stop in order to be once more fecundated by the Solar will and purpose. We see this type of mind developing along religious lines or the mentality is found to be of a philosophical character. In both these categories the mind is seeking introspective union with an inner reality; returning to source, as it were. The sense of tradition may be very strong, but it is a means to an end. The mind is not contented with dead-letter worship of the past; there may be a poignant feeling of social discontent, a realization that one should dig underneath, and against the pressure of social patterns and orthodoxy, and thereby be renewed in spirit and in truth. /Within this actual ’cycle’ ’Epimethean-retrograde’ will start on October 31st, 2019 at 15:41 UT (tropical SCO 28°) and will last until November 11th, 2019 at 15:21 UT (SCO 19°). Mercury’s ecliptical speed: average > decreasing > slow./