Planets: Mercury—ray 4 (sacred)

Ray 4 triangle

C Ray 4 (sacred planet)

Method: intelligent, fluid response to change

Rulerships: Orthodox: Gemini Virgo Esoteric: Aries Hierarchical: Scorpio
Dignities: Exaltation: Virgo Fall: Pisces Detriment: Sagittarius Pisces
Symbol: C A cross surmounted by a circle crowned by a semicircle.
Mercury triangles:

Mercury: general information

Mercury is the expression of the dual aspect of the mind as it mediates between the higher and the lower. This mediation again falls into two stages: the use of the concrete mind as the mediator within the personality, conditioning the personality life, analysing and distinguishing between the human self and the not-self and emphasising the “me and thou” consciousness as well as that of the personality and its environment. Secondly, it carries the messages between the soul and the brain and establishes right relation between the lower self and the higher self; it is, therefore, the illumined mind, relating soul and personality. (EA 353)

Mercury, Ray 4 and humanity

Mercury as the expression of fourth ray energy is:

…peculiarly related to the fourth [human] kingdom in nature… It is the esoteric ruler of Aries (hence it “leads into the mysteries”) and is also the exoteric ruler of Gemini… the sign of the major opposites as far as humanity is concerned, because it signifies soul and personality, consciousness and form; it is also the exoteric ruler of Virgo, …the form and that which indwells the form [the “Mother of the Christ-Child” in Bailey’s esoteric Christian language]. It is, finally, the hierarchical ruler of Scorpio, which is the sign of discipleship. […] Mercury… carries to humanity a certain type of force and this precipitates a point of crisis; it brings about the next great revolution which will lead mankind on to new experience, and to the revelation of the divinity which it is the destiny of man to reveal. (EA 548-49)

Rather than Mercury’s orthodox rulerships in Gemini and Virgo, developing individuals (“disciples and initiates”) are stimulated by Ray 4 via Mercury’s esoteric rulership in Aries, and Virgo (Moon as esoteric ruler), expanding consciousness through the resolution of conflict and the balancing of inequalities, during the lead-up to the second initiation. The overall Ray 4 effect through Mercury on humanity is one of:

Harmonising the cosmos and the individual through conflict, producing unity and beauty. The birth pangs of the second birth. (EA 67)

During the conscious development process, we are strongly influenced by Mercury and Saturn—one bringing illumination and the other offering opportunity. At a later stage (the fourth initiation) these two planets again bring about great changes and unique revelation, but their effect is very different to the earlier experience (EA 70-71). The combination hints at the way we are challenged by conflict and circumstances that sometimes force us to work through these issues and harmonise them (Ray 4). We thereby learn to build resilience and persistence (Saturn) as permanent traits.

In Esoteric Astrology Alice Bailey labels the relation of the individual inner self and the greater principle of love-wisdom The Cosmic and Individual Christ, where “Christ” stand for the overall principle of Love-Wisdom. There is also a relation to Aquarius via the Moon as hierarchical ruler, affecting humanity in general in the same manner via eventual harmony, gained through the resolution of social conflict and the mediating influence of Ray 4. We will hopefully witness the influence of Ray 4 as it comes slowly into manifestation around 2025 A.D. (EP1 26).

Mercury: Rulerships

Mercury, the star of conflict, is also the major planet of relationships, for it governs and “engineers”… the interplay between our Earth with its conditioning constellations. In the case of Gemini, it relates our small planet to Virgo (Mutable Cross), to Aries (Cardinal Cross) and to Scorpio (Fixed Cross), and […] Through the medium of this inter-relation … the three cosmic Crosses become closely related and, in Gemini, certain of the fundamental zodiacal influences—synthesised and coordinated—are focussed upon our planet. This produces strain, action and reaction, and that condition of potent struggle and of difficulty which is so characteristic of our planetary life, but which produces eventually the awakening of humanity to full planetary consciousness, and, in the case of the planetary Logos, to full cosmic consciousness. (EA 357)

(To be edited)

Orthodox: Gemini

In a peculiar way, therefore, Mercury increases in the Gemini subject the latent sense of duality in its various stages and also the sense of distinction, leading to that mental agility and that fluidity of mind which is one of the major assets as well as one of the major difficulties of this sign. This agility has, however, to be rightly understood and handled. When there is facility of mental approach in any direction and in connection with the many opposites in manifestation, you have the emergence of the divine Messenger in his true character, able to comprehend extremes and to relate them divinely to each other. (EA 354)

there is the will-to-be in form and the will-to-be free from form, but all these aspects of will are achieved through conflict and interplay of which energy both Gemini and Mercury are the eternal symbols. (EA 359)

The effectiveness of Mercury is also enhanced in its interpretive aspect because the Gemini person can always find points of contact with people on nearly every ray. (EA 364)

Orthodox: Virgo

Mercury indicates that the line of least resistance for humanity is harmony through conflict, for Mercury expresses the fourth ray energy which is buddhic, intuitional and expressive of the Christ, as Mercury and the Sun are one. (EA 127)

Esoteric: Aries

Clarity of mind, the ability to cut through illusion, incisive perception and the combination of the dissimilar to form fresh insights.

Through the fiery processes of war and strife, brought to the individual through the influence of the planetary ruler, Mars, the God of War, a needed purification takes place. The same purification, but this time through vision, comes to the developed [individual] through the activity of the subjective ruler of the planet, Mercury, who is the illuminating principle which releases the mind, directs [our] way… through life and enables [us] to become aware of the divine Plan which underlies all [our] fiery experience. (EA 95-6)

Hierarchical: Scorpio

Details to follow of Mercury as hierarchical ruler of Scorpio: the resolution of conflict and the harmonising of seemingly impossible oppositions.

Mercury, as it relates Gemini to Scorpio and to our planet, has a mass or general effect, for it is the hierarchical ruler of Scorpio and its effect is of a planetary nature far more than is usually the case, and is, therefore, far more difficult to trace at our present point of planetary development and human consciousness. Its true significance will not be understood until the consciousness of [the individual] is also planetary in its scope and grasp, which is never the case until after the third initiation. (EA 359)

Mercury decanates

In conventional astrology, decanates simply follow the rulerships of each elemental triad, but Esoteric Astrology has inconsistent information. See notes about the decanates, and the “decans” tab under each sign.

Mercury Dignities

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Exaltation in Virgo

Mercury is exalted in this sign because the mother is necessarily ruled by her son, the Son of Mind who is also the Son of God. Of this son, she is the protector and is responsible for his development and slowly acquired experience. Mercury, being the Messenger of the Gods and the Agent of Their applied control, is therefore the agent of the third aspect (active intelligence) from one point of view, and of the second aspect (love-wisdom) from another. He is regarded as embodying in himself both these aspects of the mental principle, the expression of the concrete and the abstract mind of God. The lower concrete mind was unfolded in the first solar system and the higher abstract intuitional mind, the pure reason, is unfolding in this system. Mercury is the synthesis of manas-buddhi, mind-wisdom which expresses itself through the human soul; Mercury rules the bridge or the antahkarana. In Virgo, Mercury reaches his full power, for Virgo is intelligence and the hidden Christ is wisdom or pure reason. (EA 281)

Fall in Pisces

when we find that the power of Mercury is lessened in Pisces and that it finally “falls” in that sign, what is the esoteric and spiritual meaning? Simply, that after the stage of initiation in Capricorn, as the result of the reversal of the wheel and the consequent experiences, and after the triumph of Scorpio, the power of the mind lessens steadily till finally (like other aspects of form life in the three worlds) it comes to an end and its meaning and illuminating aspects between soul and physical brain are no longer required. The man, coming definitely into full soul consciousness, requires now no mediator but deals directly himself with his emanating source. Mercury is then met with again under another name, this time as the Sun, mediating between the higher aspects—soul and spirit—for Mercury and the Sun are One. Through Mercury, the mind is illumined and relation is established between personality and the soul. As Mercury, the Sun—the mediator—shifts to a still higher plane and is no longer mediator between two different stages in consciousness but between life and consciousness itself; this is a very different matter and effects the higher understanding. This will necessarily be incomprehensible to you at present for it is not a mediatorship between differences but a fusion of what is already related. (EA 131)

Detriment in Sagittarius

Mercury, which is the expression of the fourth ray and also the God of the mental processes, has his power definitely lessened in this sign and this for two reasons, esoterically speaking:

First, the disciple has definitely to cease identifying himself with either his own human personality and processes or with the human kingdom, prior to taking initiation. His emphasis is, for the future, to be upon the spiritual soul and the fifth kingdom in nature; in Sagittarius he begins to express this first stage. This involves a complete withdrawal, in the personality sense, from the form side of life. This again entails (at a certain point of crisis) a point of balance.

Secondly, the power of the mind, having been developed, tested and found true in the sign Scorpio, begins to wane in its activity and the intuition begins to take its place. This is essential before the sign Capricorn is entered by the disciple and preparation for initiation begins. (EA 191-2)

Detriment in Pisces

See Fall in Pisces above, but also this paragraph about the decanates of Pisces:

Vulcan has been hitherto hidden, but its influence has steadily superseded all lunar control, for the personality or form side of life is lost to sight in the radiance of the Sun, the soul. The light of Vulcan and the light of the Sun are one light and these three—Mercury, Vulcan and the Sun—stand for a synthesis and a radiance which eventually dims the light of Mercury and it “falls” into the background and Vulcan too becomes invisible and only the Sun remains. (EA 132)