Jessa Crispin On What To Read: Mercury In Aries

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Giampaolo Sgura Vogue Japan

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:

Manifestos

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.”

Athleticism

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.

Strategy

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.

Existentialism

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.

 

Image: Giampaolo Sgura – Vogue Japan

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Anonymous
Anonymous

Hmmm….never thought about this before = what sign your Mercury is in correlating to what you like to read. Spose my Merc in Taurus explains my attraction to historical fiction….always seemed a little out of step with my Gem sun.

Euterpe
Euterpe

Mercury/Vesta conjunction in Aries 8th house sextile to Venus/Mars in 10th (also moon in Aries). Yes, I am guilty of interrupting others (get to the point) but I agree that we get a bad rap. I also scan, when it best serves my purpises or goals. However, despite that I have managed to maintain all As in both my graduate and post-graduate work (in Environmental Science & Mathematics.) Only a certain amount of detail is necessary.Mercury in Aries can weed through the extraneous nonsense.

pi
pi

[@ charles] whenever I read anything by deleuze et al I think of men in black skivvies (turtlenecks) with a pendant on a chain around their neck, pontificating and no one stopping to argue because they have no idea what they are saying. anyway what i meant to write was apropos of nothing other than that image, which grates on my eyeballs every time I look at it! I can’t work out why no that’s a lie I can, it is the styling of the model and that utterly naff-looking book with “paris” on the title, why do books about… Read more »

pi
pi

*somewhat* pre metro soz

Gemyogi
Gemyogi

Good analysis Pi. It’s funny how Paris is almost a shorthand symbol of beauty and romance and cool existentialism. I’m sure books with Paris and a moody Eiffel Tower shot sell well. Basic marketing.

Mind you, I actually have Eiffel Tower earrings, they’re really cute!

pi
pi

you’re right, it’s a strong theme for the city and its selling points… if I were Paris though, I might want to freshen up the self-image …

(i love the eiffel tower form as much as i love the harbour bridge / syd opera house combo tho, so yeah lol guilty your honour)

pi
pi

then again paris would be quick tell me to fuq off with my ideas about its image, it couldn’t care less 😀 ah pahwee

G
G

Mercury Aries – I admit, my intolerance of people repeating stories to me is pretty hideous – even within long time frames – my internal hoofs stomp furiously – hm, maybe there is a hoofy astro signature to finger tappers on tables?

Moon in Libra detests people who talk indiscreetly in public: volume, content, etc.

Saggitarian ascendant adores it if it is outrageous and the eavesdroppers deserve to be outraged.

Gemyogi
Gemyogi

Yes I’m very intolerant of ppl repeating themselves – Aries rising 🙂

Gemyogi
Gemyogi

But I know I do it myself sometimes, when I have a good story – gem sun

Lo
Lo

HA! I have mercury in aries ( 9th house )..I will always disagree with the fact we are so-called terrible listeners! we just have low tolerance for others verbal BS !

although, i do “interupt” sometimes, but Its something i cannot help…I just blurt thjngs out! this drives my Libran mother nuts.

Amazingly spot on in your suggestions! plenty of existentialism and even some marx on my bookshelf. can never get enough of philosophy. And even DADAism! Wow!

Never read Interior castle. I will, now.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I’m a moon n Aries and so was Twain, he did incredible things for the realism movement as well as Impressionism separating reality from illusion

Alouetta
Alouetta

Great list! But everyone knows accordions are the work of the devil. Or do I mean bagpipes?

Apocalypso
Apocalypso

Organs.

ramm-madam dingdong
ramm-madam dingdong

big ones.

virgo kathleen
virgo kathleen

This is awesome! Please tell me this is a series and soon we will find out good reading reccs for Mercury in Taurus, Mercury in Gemini, etc. Okay, I’m just a bookworm and love to read! I’ve read Murakami’s running / writing memoir. (I’ve read nearly ALL of his books – but this one was very different from his usual surreal magical realism stuff). It was a great read and made me want to become more monk-like. Murakami is so disciplined and devoted to his very simple life: write in the morning, run in the afternoon (or was it the… Read more »

tw:leo
tw:leo

reading this excited me! you go, aries mercs! i’ve got mercury in virgo in the 8th house. i…well, read about astrology a ton, for one thing. not just the stuff that pertains to myself, but all of it! my pattern recognition is of course tops, and my awareness of how everyone is everyTHING put together but in completely different ways is too fuqing exciting. i’m consistently amassing information and using it to analyse things and i just love it.

ramm-madam dingdong
ramm-madam dingdong

Tw, I understand! .. Self confessed astro addict.
4th house Merc in Aries here! .. trine Jupiter in Leo 8th house!! Pattern recog obsessive, on every level.

.. & for awhile, David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’ was one of my favourite books (pity about the crappy screen adaptation!).
Even the patterned structure of the book was a total spinout. Spiraling in from the distant past to the far off future, & back again in a trippy fractal way. Awesome.

tw:leo
tw:leo

hehehe! xx

cloud atlas! i have that book but have not yet dug into it. this makes me want to – thanks!

Charles
Charles

LOL I have books full of the dada and futurist manifestos. The futurists liked the power of big modern technology, which back then was tanks and artillery and machine guns. So they signed up for the army and got killed in war. The End of the futurist movement.

Lately I have been thinking about the big postmodernist manifesto from when I was in art school, Anti-Oedipus by Deleuze and Guattari. The wikipedia article on that book is quite amusing.

davidl
davidl

Merc in Aries 0 deg stationing direct. I didn’t really read the list 🙂 i scan more than read. Thomas Mann is one of my favourite authors. Non fiction is my genre.
I like facts.

Veronica
Veronica

Merc in Aries, 7th house. I scan first too, and I like facts.
But Virgo stellium in 12th has directed me to devour books on astro, mythology, shamanism, indigenous beliefs etc etc
Discovery of a fantastic esoteric bookshop early on, and I wanted to read my way through it.
Also a s**tload of artists, actors and writers’ biographies.
For sheer relaxation and total immersion, ghost stories (Scorp moon).

Anonymous
Anonymous

I so relate to these comments! Merc in 1st House.

davidl
davidl

Oh yes, lots of info, ideas, in those selections. I would consider them all to be non fiction. Yes aside from facts and hypothesis I love the philosophical ideas of others.
Perfect example would be The Keys of Enoch, JJ Hurtak.
A combination of mythology, history, science and future extrapolations, channelled through a very literate and intelligent person with a heart.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yes, with astrology I find all too quickly people use it as a means to judge someone or something ahead of time, to use it as an excuse to not actually work at understanding someone because they got the Cliff Notes version already. Yes there are signs we more naturally mesh well or not so well with – but it doesnt excuse us from making shallow judgement calls. It doesnt make sense to me because HELLO we all are made up of all 12 signs – if we dont like something it most likely stems from a part of ourselves… Read more »

tootauro
tootauro

I have Mercury in Aries in the 9th house in opposition to Uranus. I am not a fan of any of these reading suggestions. My Aries Sun husband would love them (his Merc is in Aqua) but not I. I love fiction – Peter Pan has been a favorite for ages, anything by Madeleine L’engle or Marion Zimmer Bradley. I love to read but want to escape not read about athletics or politics. Mercury in Aries is very competitive and I often find my self saying things I wish I hadn’t just to show off or arguing just to argue.… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous

I like your advice, thank you. I’ve been struggling with the same competitive urge (Mercury in Aries). Was even thinking of smokin space weed again. But I know better, don’t I?

helen
helen

Hi, just a thought but if your husband has sun in aries then his mercury cannot be in aquarius – because the sun and mercury are 28 degrees apart at the most. His mercury is either in pisces, aries, or taurus. I know I sound like a virgo but I’m an aries with mars in gemini .

tootauro
tootauro

Sorry – yes his Mercury is in Pieces – I was confusing it with his Moon. Thanks for catching that.

LiberatingVenus
LiberatingVenus

Incidentally, I noticed no mention of Mars in Gemini (another Mercury-Mars variant) in this article – wazzzzup with that? Mars in Gemini fires up the mind and mouth, so it would essentially be the same thing in a slightly different package.

akapluto
akapluto

Not to diss Mercury in Aries’ claim to fame but there is some debate whether Einstein had Mercury in Aries or Mercury in Pisces…

He’s frequently brought up as an example in articles about debilitated planets. I always thought it made sense considering what credence he paid to using the imagination in developing his theories…

Hmmm….

LiberatingVenus
LiberatingVenus

It’s debated? By whom, may I ask? Einstein’s birth data is AA rated in the Rodden databank, and @ 3 degrees+ of Aries, his Mercury really has no wiggle room to be in Pisces even if the TOB was off.

You must be thinking of his Venus & Saturn – both are debilitated in Aries.

akapluto
akapluto

Hmmm…perhaps I was misinformed? Weird.

me
me

nah I thought he was pisces too

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Mercury-Uranus at 29d Via Combusta/8th house, and I love reading manifestos almost as much as I love writing them.

UltraSag
UltraSag

Just added The Games People Play to my amazon wishlist, think I will be downloading it very soon!

It will be good to know what the muggles are doing.

gbs
gbs

This is brilliant! I hope you plan to do recs for each sign.

lou
lou

I found it brilliant too. I have aries ascendant so I really related to it. Thank you mystic!

F
F

This year I wrote a manifesto ! Ok it was for art class but it did help with some mental efficiency! Love a list that includes Murakami and Berne is classic – all the others sound great too, especially The Interior Castle, thanks Jessa! As a first house Merc in Aries, I also love a lot of the books Ryan Holiday recommends in his monthly newsletters – he has made an art of his reading strategy! I’m thinking he may be Merc in Aries too – from his reading list and his email sign off looks like a clue too… Read more »

jicky
jicky

Mercury in the 6th house. I’ll stick with the new Vivienne Westwood biography (and relax whilst I’m doing it). However the Interior Castle sounds good, so I’ll seek that out too ..

cosmic fleece
cosmic fleece

Hello Gorgeous,
Oh I saw that the other day (V.W), very much looking forward to sinking teeth into. Just as soon as i finish Cleopatra by Margaret George – recommended by haute Scorpiness friend..And am Merc in Aries – 2nd house.
xxxx

jicky
jicky

mwah! VW is over 400 pages so I’ll be in it for some time. The author Ian Kelly wrote a great bio on Beau Brummel that I read earlier in the year, much the same length and completely involved in the subject.
Cleo sounds good too, I know very little about her except what was in the Shakespeare play. What times to have lived and loved in! x

Infidels
Infidels

For the select few; referring to last line.

aquafleur
aquafleur

Hey how about Mercury in Aquarius? !
Eclectic tastes perhaps