At the Crossroads of Life ... Keep an Open Mind!


The planet Mercury is a complex and enigmatic planet that has much more to do with our lives than just "communication", like faxes, emails, answering machines, telephones and media.

Mercury in ancient astrology was the Winged Messenger of the Gods. In the Iliad and the Odyssey when someone had a bright idea, instead of a lightbulb appearing over their heads, the Greeks and Romans sketched in an imaginary god, Mercury, who had just arrived on the scene with inspiration from "on high". After all, how could a mere mortal think of some of these brilliant solutions?


Ulysses in the Odyssey, whose familiar epithet was "wily Ulysses" is a typically mercurial character. The Greeks greatly prized the qualities of flexibility and ingenuity which Ulysses exhibited. The next time you're in a jam, think of some unusual and clever way out of your circumstance and you are honoring the god Mercury. People born in the Oriental Year of the Monkey are great at this!

The Greeks and Romans, at a different stage of evolution than us, externalized some of their urges, desires and powers which they couldn't explain in ordinary terms. For example, Socrates was depicted with a "daemon" always at his side that spoke to him. His "daemon" was a "gift" he had had since childhood, that acted like a cross between an alter ego and a guide.


Rationalists and academicians can have a terrible time dealing with Socrates' "daemon" precisely because it is so irrational, but that's exactly the point. In all of us there is a committee which reaches our decisions for us. There are many voices. Many votes. Some people would like to think we arrive at our decisions through logic but rarely is this the case. Certainly any important decisions in life are made based on values, emotions and instincts and then later justified with reason.

Mercury and the sign Gemini symbolize the duality within us. Sometimes this is experienced as a conflict between our head and our heart, sometimes between our better side and our worse side.

Gemini is the sign that deals with "duality" in its most basic terms: good and evil. The humorous statement "my Evil Twin did it" is very close to the psychic truth of this sign. Many Geminis keep their evil twin out of view or even their good one, but you can be sure they are at some level mortally engaged in the process of reconciling good and evil in the world but most of all within themselves.


This battle between good and evil is also characteristic of the introvert temperament group which is called infp or the Healer. Myers-Briggs and Keirsey Temperament Theory describe the characteristics of introverts in 8 different categories that are similar to the Jungian personality theories and infp is one of them.) To learn more, visit my website

This dialogue between opposite viewpoints and the forces of good and evil go on inside all of us at certain times but Geminis and infp's deal with this on a lifelong basis. If you doubt me, find one and ask them about the problem of good and evil. They will laugh and have much to say or in the case of the introverts, much to write!

In ancient times, inspiration from outside the self which was very valuable was attributed to the god Mercury. This is the kind of information that comes from "stepping outside yourself" for a few minutes to get another viewpoint on things.


There is another aspect to Mercury which is less known and actually more important. The god Mercury also ruled crossroads. The Greeks erected little phallic statues (no pun intended) honoring the god Mercury along the side of the road and at crossroads to honor the god of travelers.


There were a few very well known major crossroads or Trade Routes in ancient times. For the most part they are clustered around the east end of the Mediterranean Sea in an area also called the Levant.

Let's take a look at them.

The King's Highway was the route from Egypt to the Euphrates River
The Silk Road was the route from Baghdad to Kashmir in China
The Way of the Sea was the route through Palestine along the coast of Syria
The Lower Road was a later version of the Royal Road
The Amber Road was the route from northern Italy through Yugoslavia to the Danube in Hungary
NOTE: If you'd like to get a real feel for these trade routes, visit a fascinating site which attempts to give you a virtual experience in photos: You can see what it is like to really travel one of these routes.


To make it easier to imagine, suppose for a moment that a road could connect America to Russia and that people walked back and forth on it. Sooner or later it would be discovered by people to the south and north as well. Eventually there would be crossroads joining this major route with roads leading "up" from the Middle East, Italy and Spain and "down" from England and Scandinavia.

The crossroad where the Middle East connected would have different energy than the one where Italy connected or Spain, England and Scandinavia. People would be differently dressed, riding different animals, speaking different languages and hawking different goods.

Information is exchanged at the crossroads as well as language, customs and commodities. People get along well with one another. In ancient times there were often special rules governing "host" and "guest" and giving crossroads people such as ambassadors, messengers, tribunes and native guides safe passage through certain territories. Crossroads people have a flexibility that is often missing in the village or city where everyone and everything is the same.


In ancient times the crossroads were places where very important information was exchanged, information that might never reach a town or village. To facilitate this, a common language developed. Called a lingua franca, such a language permitted people from different countries to understand each other well enough to do business. [According to lingua franca expert, A. Harrak, as excerpted from his "Contracts between Cultures -- West Asia and North Africa, volume 1" in a lecture delivered at the 33rd International Congress of Asian and North African Studies, Toronto, 1990, "Lingua franca, [was] "ur-pidgen"