Jessa Crispin On What To Read: Mercury in Gemini

Trickster Makes This World

Today I was trying to think of a nice word for “shallow.” So it seems like a good day to write about Mercury in Gemini.

There has to be a nice word for shallow, right? It has all of these negative connotations, of not being serious, of being swayed by appearances, of being kind of flighty and frivolous. But someone has to think about surfaces, right? There are, after all, so much of what we see. And now even psychologists acknowledge gossip served important, evolutionary benefits.

You might cover 20 topics in four sentences exchanged with a Mercury in Gemini person, but it all makes sense to them. They see the connections between disparate parts that no one else does.

It’s all about connection with Mercury in Gemini: connecting to others through conversation, connecting to an idea by seeing it through all its different facets, connecting to the world by hopping on a train and chatting up their neighbor. Every Mercury in Gemini I know is a serious reader, but in a “I have nine books I’m about halfway through, and did you read that article in the New Yorker last week here I will email you the link, I was archiving this hashtag Twitter conversation but I got distracted when I remembered I hadn’t updated my Women Artists Throughout Time Tumblr in like 45 minutes” kind of way.

So here’s something to add to that giant stack of books you keep by the bed that is in danger of crushing your cat to death the next time she rubs up against it, you should at least move some of them to beside your bathtub.

Modernism

Pluto in Gemini brought us Modernism, from Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to Ludwig Boltzmann’s mathematical breakthroughs to all of the amazing things James Joyce was doing. (We will find out everything that James Joyce was doing in approximately 250 years.)

And the idea that joins all of these disparate parts, the simultaneous breakthroughs in math, art, science, and society? The idea that, actually, the world is not smooth and continuous. Atoms are mostly dead air, which means we are mostly dead air. It is not 1, 2, 3, there are an infinite number of fragmented numbers between every single number, and there is an infinite number of numbers, so… Pluto in Gemini was a big mind fuq. The world is not stable, it is gloriously unstable. It is fragments and shards and the geniuses of this Plutonic era showed all the fun and beautiful ways to play with the pieces.

So you can read any of the modernists, from Joyce to Stravinsky’s writings about his compositions, or you can read the best book about modernism that exists (in my opinion):

The First Moderns by William R Everdell

He writes easily understandable essays, each one focusing on dynamic figure who blew apart his particular field (his essay on Stravinsky is outstanding), and eventually, through the parts, you get a very good idea of what the movement was all about.

The Mind

If you are thinking, thinking, thinking all of the time, you should at least understand a bit how the brain works. I’m bored by 98% of books about neuroscience, they have a very primitive idea of how the brain functions. (Here, we scanned someone’s brain while they chewed gum and listened to trumpet music and while someone tickled their feet, these are the very important things we learned.) It’s actually not easy to find people who understand the mind and can explain it in a non-tedious way.

You have to find a writer who respects the mystery of it. I would recommend Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and His Emissary to you, but it’s a billion pages long and it explains the whole world, and I fear you might give up on it. (More for a Mercury in Sag type, perhaps?) Let’s instead go with something more digestible:

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

Sacks recently wrote a beautiful essay for the New York Times about dealing with a terminal diagnosis and facing his death. Read that, too, although all of you twitchy Twitter addicts probably already have. But this book, about how the brain works and doesn’t, how it misfires and malfunctions, tells us a lot about how mysterious and bizarre we humans really are. By describing the dysfunction with such humor and compassion, Sacks has so much to tell us about how bizarre we are, even when our brains are functioning perfectly well.

Tricksters

Gemini is Mercury in his Trickster aspect, and almost every culture that has ever existed has had a god or goddess trickster. There’s Coyote, there is Loki, there is Gwydion. In the way that we can’t bring things together unless they are first scattered, we can’t have Apollo without Dionysus. The undoing is as powerful and important as the doing. The best book on tricksters is:

Trickster Makes this World by Lewis Hyde

I once read this book on a train going from Odessa to Berlin, and somewhere around the Ukrainian-Polish border, a smuggler joined me in my compartment. She casually started taking apart the paneling, to hide cartons of cigarettes and bottles of vodka. She made light conversation with me as she was doing this, and I couldn’t help thinking that by reading the Hyde book on this train, I accidentally manifested her. (When the police came looking for her, and they did, I and another woman covered the smuggler in blankets and pillows and sat on her. “Nope, haven’t seen her, maybe try the next train car?”)

Essays

For Mercury in Geminis, it’s important to find someone who can synthesize a lot of knowledge very quickly. Someone who is comfortable mixing high culture with low culture and understanding and respecting both.

Karaoke Culture by Dubravka Ugresic

No one is better at this right now than the Croatian writer Dubravka Ugresic. She can write about American Idol while bringing in post-Yugoslavia nationalism and politics while also discussing the inability of contemporary adults to actually be adults and stop dressing like teenagers while also talking about the subway system in Moscow. And in the end, it makes sense why she is doing this, why she needed all of these parts.

Ugresic is a brilliant critic and observer of contemporary culture, and she had to go into exile from her native Croatia because she was labeled a witch! Witches are the ultimate tricksters. Who better to guide us through this bizarre world in which we live?

NOTE FROM MYSTIC: Trickster Makes This World is one of my fave books – it’s super Uranian. And, like Jessa, i felt like i manifested Trickster energy just reading the thing. It was as i began reading Trickster that three people came to my door saying that the mistress of Charles Darwin once lived where my house was, in an estate that had been built over with Edwardian Terraces. I swear they were time travelers. Their clothes were strange, like Lannister meets Versace crushed velvet cape things with digital looking brooches. They seemed sane. They said they were academics and that the mistress had been more influential than anyone knew, that there was even more to evolution than people realized. They listened intently to my every insane utterance on the subject of Darwin’s Mistress. Trickster Energy which i connect with Mercury-Uranus specializes in such encounters, the strange quantum workings of synchronicity.

Jessa Crispin is the editor of Bookslut.com and Spoliamag.com. She is a tarot card reader, specializing in issues with creativity and writing. For more information, go here. Her first book, The Dead Ladies Project, about love and travel and art, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago, October 2015.

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BirdstargirlAnkhRising8.0Sphinxsagstellatw:leo Recent comment authors
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AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Trickster energy! Server no work no more. Tricky tricky

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

— and we’re back! Lol T R I C K Y

Sphinx
Sphinx

My Merc in Gem guy is right now writing a review, one paragraph. It’s been 2 hours.
He said, “if I could just write a little algorithm or a program instead it would be so much easier!” lol.

I have always loved Sachs, Mercury for chart ruler, but Merc in Cancer.

Birdstargirl
Birdstargirl

If I had mercury in gemini my face would fall off or I’d burn ears. They are on my dc in Pisces, currently hanging out with themselves and chiron, making little sense and though I’ve read sachs more than once, I can’t remember the content. I’m like the gemini mercury except my history gets deleted every night. I researched moving to adelaide all night and hope someone invites me there tomorrow. I’ll forget otherwise.

Birdstargirl
Birdstargirl

I need to do a silent retreat. Talking and writing are all I know how to do and they’re causing all sorts of trouble.

I need to move out of town and only speak when askeda question. She says on a public website. Start now?

Lucy the Leo
Lucy the Leo

I know it doesn’t cover the full spectrum of what you meant, but ‘aesthete’ is a reasonably nice word for ‘shallow’.

Quadrupled
Quadrupled

Another Merc in Gemini here – thanks for the suggestions. Yes, reading saves my sanity and writing. My reading habits are not what they were used to. There are now authors I seek, Atwood, Munro and others that I don’t pay any attention, I found A Nin’s memoirs as name-dropping conversations. And I find most of fiction written in the last 20 years boring and self-absorbed. But give me Rebecca West, Freya Stark, A David-Neel or any female writer of their ilk, you nailed my attention. So there is a possibility that even a Merc Gemini slows down.

gemyogi
gemyogi

Oooo I love Rebecca West and Margaret Atwood! lovely writing and insight. Have you read The Fountain Overflows?

spookygemini
spookygemini

I’m a Mercury in Gemini who was so distracted by the thought that I wanted to staunchly defend my shallowness that I subsequently only got through half of this article. PS. I am also working, watching SVU, Instagramming, researching hypnosis classes, and eating yogurt at the same time. 🙂

spookygemini
spookygemini

OK, I finished it and I can’t wait to read that Trickster book. I need to manifest some of that energy into my life.

PS: I wrote this about being a “dark” Gemini. I feel like it’s a perfectly frenetic example of that MERC ON MERC ON ERRRYTHANG ELSE that’s going on.

Read if it pleases you? <3

http://thenuminous.net/gemini/

hdq
hdq

hey you speaka my (anti-yellow/bubble/social butterfly) language! thank you for sharing this – it’s beautiful and i am certainly pleased. 🙂

gemyogi
gemyogi

That is a lovely way to describe some of the Gem energy — hyper, full of violently opposed simultaneous viewpoints, silly/deeply serious in a heartbeat…

Can not understand how ppl can’t understand we can both be deadly serious and playful/shit stirrers? Lighten up peeps.

Also, just because I’m being frivilous doesn’t mean I’m not intelligent and a deep thinker. I just don’t want to be all heavy and earnest all the time!

p.s. LOVE glitter and fairies, I have fairy wings I bought in Byron Bay. Maybe it’s time to dust off those wings 🙂

gemyogi
gemyogi

*frivolous

inner proofreader chimes in

gemyogi
gemyogi

Gems are quicksilver — you can’t pin us down or stereotype us!

tw:leo
tw:leo

gemini moon says YAAAAAS. thank you! you express yourself beautifully.

Jezebel
Jezebel

A line from a poem I wrote sums it up, “you’re as shallow as a mirror, it couldn’t be any clearer.”

Emily the Gemini Artiste
Emily the Gemini Artiste

eek…I have mercury in Gemini…. lol.

virgo kathleen
virgo kathleen

“I have nine books I’m about halfway through, and did you read that article in the New Yorker last week here I will email you the link, I was archiving this hashtag Twitter conversation but I got distracted when I remembered I hadn’t updated my Women Artists Throughout Time Tumblr in like 45 minutes” Hahaha, wow, I can relate. I have my Mercury in Virgo but I relate to a lot of what you’ve written – my Mercury is in the third house so maybe that’s why. I’m excited to check out these books. The Oliver Sacks one has been… Read more »

m
m

Evo.****** website down. As expected timing goes hand in hand with the current planetary conditions. Trickster is the word of the week. Whose calling it! Take it, or leave it….. ha.ha.

Suddenly Leo
Suddenly Leo

<=== Also, I have Merc in Gemini. It's fun. XO

Suddenly Leo
Suddenly Leo

Mystic and Jessa,

Thank you so much for regularly doing reading list updates – these are some of my favorite posts! I used to be a librarian and would stock my library with your suggestions. Now I’m a writer and stock my Kindle with whatever you guys suggest each time.

SL

P.S. MM, you were RIGHT: Carlos Castaneda. Game. Changer.

sunshine
sunshine

LOVE this Mystic! Am a Merc in Gemini + Saturn, Uranus, Lilith, Jupiter, Sun – Can it get more ‘heady’? The description of reading nine books and ending with updating… was so me in younger years. I eventually realized that I was losing people. A glazed look came into their eyes so I have curbed that tendency and now s l o w d o w n & explain things as for a mind of an 8yr old . It works better! :-)) As for Oliver Sacks, brilliant. He worked for a time in Toronto and often appeared on our… Read more »

Lux interior is My Co-Pilot
Lux interior is My Co-Pilot

My dad was a big fan of Oliver Sack’s book, and I think it gives him a certain self-awareness despite the brain disorder he is currently living with.

Can’t wait to read some of your suggestions. Yay for Merc in Gem–I think I finally appreciate it!

PLZ
PLZ

There seem to be no coincidences during the Zap-Zone: woke up this post AND this great article about NASA’s Mercury Messenger mission on the BBC: Best views yet of Mercury’s ice-filled craters (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31917308). Amazing how relatively new information about the planet itself (compared to the ancient knowledge that informs astrology) supports what we understand as Mercury/Gemini, for example, temperature ranges between -223degC and 125degC, being able to sustain ice-filled craters even in though it’s the closest planet to the searing energy of the Sun. Oh, and my favourite, materials transforming (allegedly!) from solid to gas without going through the liquid… Read more »

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Love it! Great info 🙂

m
m

!second this! ++++

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

I rarely paint my fingernails– in my mind, it’s usually more trouble than it’s worth– Scorpio– but yesterday I felt inspired– G4 geostorm while Jupiter’s in my 6th house sign of the Sun?– and I painted all of my nails black with the exception of my heart line finger, which I colored a bold yellow called Lightning. Or Uranus, is how I think of it. But, I wear my obsidian ring on my left hand, abalone & silver on my right, & altogether it looks good! Natal Uranus-Mercury at 29* Libra/8th house; Gem IC.

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Oh right– what I meant to say was, thank you for these book recs! I’m getting the Trickster World one today– can’t wait 🙂

AnkhRising8.0
AnkhRising8.0

Coyotes, yes. We share this countryside. Sometimes I can’t decide if they sound like women screaming or women laughing hysterically. Tricky.

Kell
Kell

Ankh, your Merc-Uranus are on my Moon in 12th. Love the image. My hands don’t like rings ATM. But yes to cool nails! “…more trouble than it’s worth” is a constant question chez moi- Scorp Asc. I do have impatience with appearances but reluctantly accept that taming the tresses enhances professional credability. My grooming is adequate- but def natural look- enhanced by Egyptianesque eyeliner. Gem Mars in 7th ability- I take on accents without realizing it. My grandmother did as well. Merc-Moon-Sun in Libra- 12th helps. It’s a chameleon effect. Treasure trove of past life lingua. Re- CME. Does the… Read more »

katakaaqua
katakaaqua

I have Mercury in gem conjunct my Jupiter, so the stacks of half-read books and endless asking of ‘did you read xx in x?’/I’ll send you x article’ ring very true.

Another author whom I think really suits the Mercury in Gem mind is the celebrated American essayist Rebecca Solnit, in particular her amazing part-memoir/history/essay-on-narrative, The Faraway Nearby. Incidentally she also wrote the essay from which the term ‘mansplaining’ was coined.

Geminian
Geminian

Yikes Gemini Sun conjunct Gemini in Mercury. The cat is often threatened by the bedside library of half finished tomes I confess.

Mind you, I am about to finish Winter’s Tale because you wrote a lovely piece about it awhile ago, sad to be finishing it in fact. Maybe that’s why we leave so many books incomplete in our final reading; we want the narrative to never end?

Btw I like the word neritic for shallow.

m
m

Yes this makes sense…
“Maybe that’s why we leave so many books incomplete in our final reading; we want the narrative to never end? ”
It seems to apply to those with natal mercury retro. too, along with lower vibrational cancerians, – or the chart that has aspects of shadow cancer. *not aiming to cast a shadow over the cancerian energy, just pointing out from client interactions.

Bella
Bella

Sun, Moon, Mercury & Jupiter in Gemini. Scorp rising, first house Neptune. Reading at LEAST 10 books as we speak. All of them spiritual/occult/new age-y. And yes re: Tumblr/twitter/NY times articles/20 topics in 4 sentences. Guilty on all accounts.

hdq
hdq

” The world is not stable, it is gloriously unstable. It is fragments and shards and the geniuses of this Plutonic era showed all the fun and beautiful ways to play with the pieces.” THIS!!!! Hee hee every bit of it rang true. A bit of a cringe on the giant stacks of books, NONE of which will ever be finished. But connections is spot on, and comes from that “shallowness,” which is, at least for me, like watching “reality” on a screen, with a measure of detachment and a broad fuzzy lens, so the bigger plots are more visible,… Read more »

tw:leo
tw:leo

thank you, jessa and mystic! what a pleasurable read! i have merc in virgo, so a totally different manifestation of mercury, but this all still sounds SO rad. i must track down these books!

Gemyogi
Gemyogi

You had me at trickster!!

My favourite tarot personage is the magician and he often represents me. It’s my intention to get an infinity necklace as soon as I’m cashed up.

Mercury in toro, sun in Gemini, Saturn in Pisces, Lilith in saggo.

Gemyogi
Gemyogi

The description of merc in gem above totally describes me. Fave piece of the age was always the odd spot, horoscopes (cainer) and Garfield or dilbert comic strip.

Also love twitter, widely expansive and different fields of knowledge, puns, poetry, science, astro physics and witty conversation, fashion (high and street) the brontes, Douglas Adams, spirituality, reiki, magic and paganism, and have 3-6 books on the go at once.

tw:leo
tw:leo

that list of stuff is great! appeals to my gem moon, fer sure.

Kell
Kell

Oooh how I needed these tomes!

As the era ends and I survey the ruins of cast off beliefs and ruptured ties, I desperately need new books. My Mars in Gem loves these!!!

Thank you thank you thank you!!!

Xo

sagstella
sagstella

Read Thomas Pynchon. I repeat read Thomas Pynchon

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