When Mercury Gets It Wrong

We don’t always give Mercury the attention it deserves. Caught between the awesome spectacle of the Sun and the quiet intimacy of the Moon, with neither the sexy charm of Venus nor the sexy passion of Mars, Mercury often comes across as bland and pedestrian. And yet, when Mercury fails us, when a bad transits messes with its functions of communication and problem solving, the results can be devastating.

I came across a dramatic example of this when I was looking at the horoscope of Gypsy-Rose Blanchard. (Click on Gypsy-Rose to see the chart.) In a world in which people become celebrities for all sorts of reasons, Blanchard’s may be the strangest tale of all. Essentially, she is famous for killing her abusive mother. Of course, the full story is much more complex than that, involving many years of physical, mental and medical abuse in which the mother convinced Blanchard that she suffered from various illnesses that incapacitated her and made her totally dependent on the care of her mother.

Blanchard’s story has been told in many venues, including a book and a television series. What interested me was what was going on in Gypsy-Rose’s horoscope the day she decided to do something in about her situation. That was on June 10, 2015. Blanchard, who had acquired a boyfriend via the internet, convinced that boyfriend that he needed to kill her mother in order to set her free. That night, after her mother had gone to sleep, she let the boyfriend into their home and then hid in the bathroom with her ears covered while he stabbed her mother to death.

There were several interesting transits going on in Blanchard’s chart on the night of June 10, 2015. First of all, transiting Venus was conjunct her natal Sun. Blanchard would be exerting her will and her agency through the action of a man who loved her. Transiting Jupiter was moving into conjunction with her natal Jupiter. Blanchard felt empowered. She felt lucky. Certainly this was the time to act, the time to expand her ego in the most definite way possible. Also, the transiting Nodes of the Moon were aligned with her Ascendant/Descendant axis. Was there some sort of karmic drama between Gypsy-Rose and her mother that was to be settled that night?

However, the real story of that event is told by the square aspect between Blanchard’s natal Mercury and transiting Saturn. Saturn is the great teacher, the wise elder of the zodiac. It’s transits represent tests. In this case, the test might have been phrased: “Your mother has you trapped in a prison of dependency. How do you break out of that prison?” There were several options open to Blanchard. Some of them did not involve committing murder. But Blanchard decided that the problem of her mother would never be solved until her mother ceased to exist.

We could point to several factors in Blanchard’s natal horoscope that made such an extreme decision likely, including the connection between her Mercury and explosive Uranus and her Moon in the emotionally distant sign of Aquarius. But the fact remains that it was the wrong decision. It took virtually no time for the police to connect Blanchard to her lover and when they arrived at her boyfriend’s house they found the happy couple quietly basking in the mistaken belief that they had “gotten away with it.”

We need Mercury. We need that problem solving intellect in order to survive and thrive in the real world. That why it’s such a big deal when Mercury fails us. It is also why we need to pay extra attention when Mercury in our natal horoscope is involved in a hard transit. The ego of the Sun, the emotion of the Moon and the love and passion of Venus and Mars are all important, but nothing can ruin you life quicker than the wrong idea.


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