The Astrosophy Research Center is pleased to offer this article on current Mercury/Sun conjunctions by guest contributor, Mary Stewart Adams.
For Willi Sucher on Mercury/Sun conjunctions see: Cosmic Christianity pp.92-98
There was a planetary alignment with the recent eclipse, March 8, 2016, that went like this: Sun-Moon-Earth-Jupiter. In two weeks, there will be another alignment: Mercury-Sun-Earth-Moon. You'll notice that the changing bodies in these two alignments are Jupiter and Mercury, who are uniquely related to one another in ancient practice through sacrifice.
Mercury gathers up the 'sacrifice' humanity would offer to the gods, and offers it as herald out to the spiritual world at superior conjunction (March 23rd), then bears back toward humanity the answer~whether or not the 'sacrifice' has been accepted~at inferior conjunction, which will be May 9th.
There is a significant mystery sounding out in this gesture this year. Mercury comes to superior conjunction with the Sun on March 23rd, which is the same day as the Vernal Full Moon, which will be at penumbral eclipse on the opposite side of Earth from Mercury and the Sun. This Vernal Moon sets up the rhythm of movable feast days and determines the date of Easter every year. This year, 2016, it falls on Wednesday of the Holy Week, which is Mercury Day.
So here we have Mercury at superior conjunction with the Sun, bearing the human 'message' to the gods on Wednesday of the Holy Week, while the Moon is coming Full in the penumbra of Earth's shadow. This seems notable to me.
What's more, nearly 40 days later, during the ten days from Ascension to Pentecost, after the Christ has revealed to the Apostles everything that has just taken place through His three years of teaching, the Betrayal, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, Mercury will come to inferior conjunction with the Sun, as though bearing the answer from the spiritual world back from our March 23rd "offering', and Mercury will not only be at inferior conjunction between Earth and Sun, it will actually move directly between Earth and Sun in a rare configuration called a 'transit'. This happens only 13 or 14 times each century (the last transit was November 8, 2006; the next will be November 11, 2019).
We could spend a lot of time striving to understand the meaning of such a gesture, but I would just like to point to something that I think is significant for the Anthroposophical movement, which involves the Old Moon phase of earth evolution, and the laying of the Foundation Stone for the building of the first Goetheanum, September 20, 1913. Starting with the last piece first, with a quote from Elisabeth' Vreede's September, 1928 letter When Mercury Stood in Libra:
"The approaching opening of the Goetheanum at Michaelmas brings before the soul that September evening when the foundation stone of the house dedicated to spiritual science was laid at nightfall by Dr. Steiner in a solemn ritual. With an invocation of the hierarchies the foundation stone, the double dodecahedron, "symbol in its twofold twelvefoldness of the striving human soul, was sunk as microcosm into the macrocosm," let down "into the condensed kingdom of the elements." To this stone was added the document that contained the solemn vow of humankind toward the spiritual world. This document closed with the words: "Laid by the Johannes Building Association...on the twentieth day of September 1880, after the Mystery of Golgotha, that is, 1913 after the birth of Christ, when Mercury as evening star stood in Libra, the Balance." (The Astronomical Letters of E Vreede, p. 121).
I would like to point out that Mercury is conspicuous in its being the only celestial body mentioned during this sacred ceremony, as though Mercury in particular was called to witness the laying of the foundation stone as a deed undertaken by human beings. But why Mercury? This leads to the second significant element (mentioned first, above): The Old Moon phase of Earth evolution. In the research of Willi Sucher which is contained in his book Isis Sophia: Introducing Astrosophy, Sucher describes how, during the Old Moon phase of earth evolution (described in ch 4 of Rudolf Steiner's book Occult Science), when the seed of individuality is as though dropped into the astral body of the human being, the threat of human separation from the spiritual world that this presents is 'inscribed' into the Mercury sphere.
In contemplating this, it occurs to me that by invoking Mercury at the ceremony of laying the foundation stone, Rudolf Steiner was also 'inscribing' something into the Mercury sphere, namely the reality that human beings bearing individualized egos, rather than separating from the spiritual world and one another, had come together in community to consecrate a "house dedicated to spiritual science". This deed, undertaken by human beings, can then be imagined as an antidote to the threat of separation that was inscribed in the Mercury sphere long ago, during the Old Moon stage.
Which brings us to Easter, 2016. Mercury meets the Sun in superior conjunction on Wednesday of the Holy Week, March 23rd, just a few hours before Full Moon, on the day when Judas convenants to betray the Christ. After 40 days have passed, Mercury will sweep around to inferior conjunction, and transit directly between Earth and Sun on May 9, 2016. The transit occurs during the ten days from Ascension to Pentecost, which Rudolf Steiner describes as a period of intense longing among the Apostles, for re-union with the Christ Being. It has not occurred to them, yet, that they know what to do, that it is in their hands, that they are not alone.
So this is a mighty context, and one worth considering as we approach the sacred festival season of Easter that is upon us.
Mary Stewart Adams, is an anthroposophist and a student of astrosophy for over 20 years. In 2011 she led the successful initiative to achieve international dark sky designation for the 600-acre Headlands property in northern Michigan, and now serves as the park's Program Director, in pursuit of her mission to safeguard the human imagination by protecting our access to the night sky and its stories. Mary will be developing this subject at a weekend workshop, “Cosmic Cycles, Earthly Rhythms~Working with Rudolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul”, sponsored by the Anthroposophical Society in America at Rudolf Steiner House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, April 15 & 26, 2016.