What to Read: Mercury in Aries
Don’t you love it when astrological sites are subtly insulting? Whenever I read about Mercury in Aries, I can sense the writer’s frustrations. “They don’t like to listen, they are not easily persuaded by fact or reason, they have zero attention span…” Might as well call them all intellectual dummies and get it over with.
Except for the fact, of course, that Einstein had Mercury in Aries, right? As well as some tremendous writers and scholars.
But I’m here to offer some reading recommendations for those with Mercury in Aries or with Mercury in the first house. Because Mercury points to how we think, how we process information, and how we communicate, I find we are naturally drawn to certain books and certain kinds of writing based on our Mercuries.
So what does the Ram want to read? If you’ve got Mars in your head, you might be a little impatient, you might be inclined to skip steps, sure, but our thinking warriors need input, too. Here’s what might satisfy them:
The beautiful thing about manifestos is that they do not require all of that excess documentation. No footnotes here. Just, get to the point, get to the action, tell us what needs to be done. If you need politics, there’s The Communist Manifesto, which seriously everyone needs to have read anyway. There’s a slew of feminist manifestos. But in the first half of the 20th century, artists turned the manifesto into a new artform.
The Futurists begged for technology and machinery to sever them from the mundanity of the past, the Surrealists called for the restoration of irrationality, which was tossed out with the Enlightenment. They called for change, for progress, for revolution. But my favorite is by far:
Seven DADA Manifestos by Tristan Tzara
This Romanian poet was the inventor of DADA, a call for more chaos in response to the chaos of the times. The 1918 DADA Manifesto is equal parts nonsense and brilliance:
“To launch a manifesto you have to want: A B & C, and fulminate against 1, 2 & 3,
work yourself up and sharpen your wings to conquer and circulate lower and upper case As, Bs & Cs, sign shout, swear, organize prose into a form that is absolutely and irrefutably obvious, prove its ne plus ultra and maintain that novelty resembles life in the same way as the latest apparition of a harlot proves the essence of God. His existence has already been proved by the accordion, the landscape and soft words.”
It’s not often that we get a good book about physical exertion. It’s hard to relate into words, the experience of and motivation for carrying oneself up a mountain in terrible conditions or putting oneself through the Iron Man competition.
Generally we get books about these things when something goes wrong, which turns the story into sensationalism — the 127 Hours guy who had to cut off his own arm and then wrote a memoir about it, Jon Krakauer’s classic Into Thin Air about the Everest disaster. And sure, life at the extremes is always going to be interesting (I used to have a subscription to Outside Magazine simply so every month I could wrap myself in a blanket, reading and thinking “These are all the ways in which I will never die”), but it’s rare to find what it is like to live in a body that one uses. Until:
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Murakami is often listed as a potential winner of the Nobel Prize whenever that thing rolls around. He is a brilliant writer who also happens to be a devoted runner. And his book is a very interesting look at what a body in motion is like, and what he gets out of it.
Thank Mystic for her Sun Tzu interest, he is the king of all strategy. Whether you are planning a war or a move at your day job or putting things in motion for a total life overhaul, Mercury in Aries is the one who has the greatest potential for strategizing that out. Because you don’t win a war by simply running onto a battlefield and swinging your weapon around willy nilly. You win by thinking your way through every stage.
One of my favorite books of strategy is:
The Games People Play by Eric Berne
Berne looked at the social dynamics that rule every day existence, and saw the power struggles, the scheming, the manipulation that rules our human interactions and laid them all out. It’s one of those books that will forever change the way you look at human beings, you can see how people are working you from twenty miles away. Oh, she’s doing the “Now I’ve Got You, You Son of a Bitch” mind game (actual mind game listed in the book, yes), and now I know how to go up against that.
Perfect for fighting against Qi Vamps and other assorted creeps in your life.
Aries’s motto is “I am,” but how do we ever know how to be who we are? Some of the strongest Mercury in Aries or Mercury first house writers started with their selves, their bodies, and integrated philosophy, psychology, history and everything else into that.
The existentialist psychologist Rollo May is Mercury in Aries, and his books, not quite philosophy, but definitely more than just psychology, are deeply devoted to figuring out how does a person exist on the planet. His book The Meaning of Anxiety dealt not only with the same kind of biological explanations for an overly active brain, but also explained what the experience of anxiety is, how a person with anxiety walks around in their brain and body and how to survive the experience. It’s personal, it’s also realistic, and all of his books have been great comforts to me.
But my favorite 1st house Mercury has to be St. Teresa of Avila, who used the self as a starting off point for divine experience.
The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila
She is one of our greatest philosophers, although she’s usually left out of any philosophy overviews. Her work, with how to find beauty and desire in the Other rather than fear and intimidation, how to question our base impulses, how to find meaning, how to live with the divine, is essential reading. It gets at the very base of what it is to be alive and live a meaningful existence, and she is particularly suited for this age of religious fanaticism and love zombieism.
Have a question for our astrological book expert? Email [email protected] for advice, recommendations, and more.
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