Owning the words we think, speak and write

I’m cross-posting this on my Mercury retrograde blog, since it has direct relevance on Mercury-ruled activities of thinking, writing and speaking.

The Sun (life force) is currently conjunct Mercury (ideas, communication) and Mars (passion, action, anger) in truth-seeking Sagittarius, trine Vesta in Taurus, prompting me to think and write about what it means to take ownership of what one thinks and writes.


I’ve written a bit about taking responsibility for one’s feelings and one’s actions. I’d like now to consider taking responsibility for one’s words.

On an astrology forum, someone mentioned how Geminis (Sun and Mercury, in particular) seemed to take particular ownership of the words they speak and write, in that they can be inordinately sensitive to how words are used, and abused.

As Mercury conjoins the Sun in Sagittarius, I’m prompted to consider its implications. Stephen Arroyo has this to say about Mercury in Sag in his influential book, Chart Interpretation Handbook: Guidelines for Understanding the Essentials of the Birth Chart:

  • Communicates openly, truthfully, optimistically, enthusiastically, and tolerantly
  • The need to learn is expressed through restless aspiration propelling one toward an ideal
  • Thinking and reasoning are guided by long-term goals rather than mundane details
  • Interest in teaching others what one has learned; learning and teaching are seen as closely related
  • Need to establish connections with others by being direct, truthful, and broad-minded
  • Coherent thinking can be blurred by the over-generalizations that idealistic aspirations motivate (65)

poster20-20mad20loveWhat is this capacity for words to inspire, to uplift, to hurt, to destroy? A friend and colleague of mine who spoke on the subject of music and torture* surmises that the sonic resonances in types of music can have an adverse effect on neural pathways. Do/can words have the same effect? Do/can changing contexts alter their affect? Take, for example, these alternatives: ‘I love you’ uttered sincerely and lovingly is very different from the same words uttered sarcastically and angrily, which is in turn very different from those being uttered in exasperation, impatience or annoyance. And what about ‘I love you’ in the creepy, stalkerly, possessive sense? Brr…

Words, spoken or written, as I have mentioned elsewhere, are psychic energy exchanges. Being aware of this may not ever prevent us from saying anything in anger, defensiveness, or sheer carelessness, but it may be the first step in taking responsibility for what we say and how we say it.

*For more on music and torture, see Suzanne G. Cusick’s article here.

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