FOLLOWING some very favorable statewide newspaper publicity, an influx of out-of-town business soon flooded to fill my calendar with appointments for several months ahead. In the hassle to schedule everyone as promptly as possible, I made a mistake I wouldn't have if I'd kept a proper and wary eye on the planet Mercury. Indeed, I committed the "unforgivable sin" -- I, a Mercury-ruled Virgo set an appointment with a Gemini (also Mercury-ruled) lady for a date and time just twelve hours following the start of a Mercury-retrograde period (which occurs about four times annually and lasts for some three weeks). This didn't really come to my attention until I began preparing her "trends" for the coming year, but since she was coming from some 100 miles distance I decided not to call and reset as the stated nature of her problems didn't exactly favor a three-week postponement.
For some reason, even the preparation of her chart was especially difficult, and took much more than the average time to complete. Realizing I needed as much "help" as possible, I double-checked everything, and researched all areas with extra care, thinking to myself that this was the one time I'd outfox old retrograde Mercury. I was, in my estimation, totally prepared when Mrs. "Gemini" arrived.
She was a charming, refined lady just past 60. Her Aquarius Ascendant added much to her friendliness and unique individuality. Her attire and adornments tastefully reflected her Leo Moon. Her well-aspected second house Jupiter had already told me that she was not hurting financially -- as did the many dazzling diamonds she wore!
Polite as she was, there was something rather strange about this lady -- Aquarius Ascending? Mercury retrograde? Nine of the ten heavenly bodies in the bottom half of her horoscope? Whatever it was, I sensed the person across my desk was present only physically. Her mind, her "spirit," her thoughts were not in attendance in the office. I felt like I was speaking into a total void.
I remembered that soon after arriving she almost knocked a lamp off a table. Shortly after, she struck a heavy ring hard on the edge of the desk, causing me to ask if she'd injured her finger and if she wanted something to treat it. She said she didn't but I noticed she rubbed the spot for some time.
When I suggested that she was probably more introverted than extroverted, then paused for her response, she soon became aware of the silence.
Her response was, "I'm sorry, what did you just say?"
After repeating my comment to her she responded, "Oh, no, really, I am most extroverted."
I knew this couldn't be altogether so -- not with nine of the ten heavenly bodies (planets) below the earth in her natal chart. I asked if she understood what I meant and she replied: "I am always out and about doing things--but truthfully I'd really rather be alone if I had the luxury of choice."
I was willing to accept this contradiction she'd just made; however, as time passed I began to grow weary of her inattention. In one instance of using a simple example in an attempt to explain a complex point, I said, "Your chart indicates you have a much stronger inner desire to control circumstances and your personal environment than you are actually able to do day-to-day (more planets masculine than planets rising).
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"For example," I explained, "if you wanted the alley in back of your property paved, you might feel that all you'd need to do is notify the city council and it would be done immediately. However, you would most likely find you'd actually get this work done only if you circulated a petition among your neighbors and asked them to go with you to offer support before the council."
I almost fell from my chair when her response to this very simple (I thought) example was, "Oh, I never was interested in politics."
Following this response, I was forced to give much more significance to the Mercury-square-Mars in her chart--which often indicates some type of "mental" problem in the areas having to do with logic, or common sense -- no doubt activated by the current retrograde Mercury cycle. It was clear this was not going anywhere at this time. I left the tape running and decided to see if I could establish any sort of communication on any level with this otherwise charming lady.
"May I ask you a somewhat personal question?"
"Pardon?" she replied.
"Exactly what are you thinking about right now?" I asked.
"Oh, I don't know...everything is all jumbled today. I guess I have been studying how you have been reading my horoscope. I want to learn Astrology."
"But," I objected, "you are paying me to read your chart now, not to teach you Astrology. Besides that, you'll have these tapes to aid your study later. If you won't work with me, I can't work for you."
"I'm sorry," she said apologetically, "I'm just a mess, aren't I?"
"No, I wouldn't say that. It seems we both are 'casualties' of a retrograde Mercury. If you still want me to read your horoscope, you'll have to come back in three weeks when Mercury turns direct once again."
"Yes, I will come back then. Now, which direction is the parking lot?" she giggled.
[FOOTNOTE: She did return in three weeks and we completed her horoscope delineation without a single hitch. Lesson learned: Never attempt reading a client's horoscope when both the client and the astrologer are Mercury-ruled -- and Mercury is retrograde!]