For those who like to see a good lie, the months of February and March 2013 has been a wonderful time because of the antics of Mercury, which we will take a look at later. Of course the best liar in the world was Mercury, who as Hermes, could speak and create mischief from the moment he was born and as a baby famously stole Apollo’s herd of cattle and lied about it. We’ve been pretty much doing the same thing ever since.  On any given day one in ten verbal interactions with a spouse contains a lie, and if you think that’s bad, if we are just have a girlfriend or boyfriend, one in every three verbal interactions is a lie. Men lie predominately to cover up something about themselves, whilst women lie predominantly to cover up something about someone else.  Studies have shown that strangers lie three times within the first 10 minutes of meeting (Note 1).

Personally I am rather skilled liar, and perfected my technique during childhood because my father was a bit heavy, and boarding school even heavier. Having my Mercury square Neptune and the Moon, I lie with true emotional conviction. (“The flower bed? No, Dad, I was nowhere near it!” – I might say with greatly hurt feelings.) I can embellish lies elegantly, but I have since learned that people who are too detailed in their denials are more likely to be lying… so it’s best to leave it vague. It can be very useful to lie, which is probably why we all do it. The response to “Do I look fat in this dress?” has got to be “Absolutely not!” unless you are a complete idiot. On the other hand, lying can be dangerous, and congenital lying undermines the fabric of reality for everyone drawn in to the net of deceit.

Politicians, who have worked so hard to get where they are, may feel they simply have to lie, to get out of a politically damaging situation. A good example is: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Monica Lewinski.” Distancing (“that woman”) is apparently a classic clue that a person may be lying. Of course Clinton had an exact Mars/Neptune conjunction on the Ascendant, so he was never going to tell the truth about sexual relations. Mars/Neptune sextiles his Mercury in Leo, so he was at least a charming liar. A less charming liar was Richard Nixon whose Mercury conjoined Jupiter and Mars (he told whopping lies) and opposed Pluto (and tape-recorded them for his secret archives.) Nixon was famous for introducing his lies with expressions “In all candor…”. If you do introduce a lie with something like “To be completely honest…” the chances are that you are not being so. (Note 2)

A Mercury/Neptune aspect will generally show a person who tells untruths to avoid unpleasant realities, whilst a Mercury/Pluto aspect may have more hidden and destructive reasons for concealing the truth. But as soon as Mars configures with these planets, then lies tend to be very dangerous and subversive. In February and March 2013, both Mercury and Mars are in Pisces, and both have to pass Neptune as guardian of this foggy realm. Moreover, Mercury goes retrograde at 19 Pisces, which means that after conjoining and overtaking Mars, it meets Mars once again. As Mercury is said to be in fall in Pisces this is the recipe for poisonous and damaging lies, and you don’t have to look far to see them.

Mercury conjunction Neptune in 2013

Mercury conjunction Neptune in 2013

When Mercury goes retrograde it often means that it will historically pick up events that happened in the past, often up to 15 years previously. If a scandal comes to light, retrograde Mercury will ensure that it does not go away… it will come back until the poison has been purged. If you look at the transit graph illustration, you will see that Mercury enters Pisces and immediately conjoins Neptune. This is only the second Mercury/Neptune in Pisces conjunction in 165 years, but there are going to be a lot more of them over the next decade. Mercury then catches up with Mars on February 8th at 5 Pisces going on to square Jupiter, which is weak in Gemini just a day later. A Mercury in fall square a Jupiter in exile sets the scene for a wondrous world of deceit and lies which, as Mercury goes on to sextile Pluto and trine Saturn in Scorpio, just has to be forced out in the light of day.

Clearly this is about horses, education and lawyers – the square to Jupiter. Much to the dismay of European consumers, it seems that those frozen pizzas they have been buying labeled as beef, have had as much as 20% horsemeat in them. Now people like horses, and don’t like to think they are eating them, so the furor that followed knew no bounds. The origins of this horsemeat has proved to be extremely hard to trace, but don’t worry, when Mercury returns on the second and third trine to Saturn and Neptune, the list of sinners is sure to be revealed. I suppose Mars’ square to Jupiter indicated the slaughtering of horses, and Mercury figured out there was money to be made if some adjustments were made to the labeling.

At the same time the Germany politician, Annette Schavan, was embroiled in a scandal of her own. She was exposed as having plagiarized material for her PhD thesis. Apparently she had paraphrased some secondary literary material without naming the source in over 60 cases and her doctorate degree was revoked on February 5th 2013, just as Mercury entered Pisces. Being Minister of Education at the time, she was on thin ice and resigned from the government on February 9th. Born on June 10th 1955 she was a Gemini with Mercury in Gemini retrograde on the South Node and in trine to Neptune. Perhaps she thought that it would just be tiring to cite all those 60 sources. Unfortunately as her progressed Mercury conjoined with progressed sun and squared Saturn, the hammer fell. It is really easy for Mercury/Neptune to convince itself that everything is all right and cut a few corners.

A little bit more juicy was the case of Soma Sengupta, who was recently arrested and tried in New York. On the strength of fantastic credentials – graduating with honors from Georgetown Law School; former prosecutor for the Manhattan district attorney and much more, with impressive letters of reference – she was given a prestigious job practicing as a barrister in London and it was all going swimmingly until a clerk noticed that she had actually entered her age as 29 on certain documents… 8 years younger than she actually was. Her letters of reference turned out to be forged and by the time this was all discovered she had already handled 80 criminal cases in court. She was convicted on February 15th and faces a jail sentence of up to seven years.

Lies can be innocent enough, but when they pervade whole institutions or business cultures, leading to financial or moral corruption, then many people can suffer. The cure for lying is to tell the truth, and this can ultimately be the only redemption possible, but it is a frightening prospect. Denzel Washington in the 2012 film “Flight” exemplifies the way as a pilot and an alcoholic every moment of his life became a lie. To watch this film is to be initiated into the world of alcoholism and the constant evasion of truth that this involves.

Living a double life is an inevitable consequence of substance abuse, swindle, infidelity and inauthentic behavior generally. People who have been imprisoned for running investment scams, like Bernie Madoff who ran a giant Ponzi scheme where $65 billion dollars went missing, may find redemption in jail. He was imprisoned – at the age of 74 – and is eligible for release in 2139… with good behavior. Madoff was born on April 29th, 1938 with an exact Mercury/Pluto square. Of course his Venus in Taurus square Jupiter may have made him a little greedy. (Note 3)

An example of the all-pervading corruption revealed by the current Mercury/Neptune interaction has become glaringly apparent in Spain. At a time when the government has initiated a huge austerity drive, when 50% of young people are out of work, it is alleged that members the right-of-center government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have historically been enjoying large payments of cash distributed in envelopes by the party treasurer. Billions of euros have been stashed in Swiss bank accounts for this purpose. The party hierarchy all deny this, including Rajoy, even though the national newspaper El Pais has documents to prove it. 76% of Spaniards do not believe the denials. As Mercury has not yet gone retrograde (at the time of writing) it is a sure thing that the government’s lies will be exposed.

Detecting lies is an art that can be developed. Studies show that the average person scores little better than chance when trying to decide whether a person is lying or not. However trained interrogators get it right up to 90% of the time. As only a very small fraction of communication lies in actual words, and the rest is non-verbal through body language and voice tone, it is incredibly difficult to lie credibly. Liars concentrate on getting their story right, and use so much attention on this, that they have little chance of controlling their bodies. Which is why interrogators spot the frozen body posture of a liar, who is trying to conceal body language, and the monotonous tone of the lie, rather quickly.

Interestingly it has also been shown that we instinctively and intuitively know when we are being lied to. For a lie to work, both people have to agree about it. We want to believe a lie, because there would be so much trouble if we didn’t. So when the husband comes home “late from the office”, agreeing to believe him saves a lot of trouble. Mercury/Neptune types like myself will even help liars along, to get the embarrassment over quickly. Not so Mercury/Pluto types, who interrogate endlessly to get to the truth. And look where that gets them.

Adrian Ross Duncan: February 20, 2012 

1. “Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception” by Pamela Meyer – from where I got some of the inspiration for this article. It is worth watching her TED talk on YouTube:

2. Richard Nixon (Tricky Dick) born January 19th 1913 at 21.35 in Whittier, California. Richard Nixon’s Freudian slip can be seen here:

3. Of his time in prison write Madoff: “They call me either Uncle Bernie or Mr. Madoff. I can’t walk anywhere without someone shouting their greetings and encouragement, to keep my spirit up. It’s really quite sweet, how concerned everyone is about my well being, including the staff…It’s much safer here than walking the streets of New York.”