Recently, I’ve been coming across articles about two very different social figures: right-wing talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, and literary/cultural critic, Katie Roiphe. They are, to most appearances, very different in their sensibilities. Limbaugh needs no introduction, while Roiphe inspires admiration as well as a lot of venom for her outspoken explorations of sexuality. So the question that crossed my mind was: do their charts have anything in common?

In situations like this, the planet we’re first interested in is Mercury. Why? Because it is the planet that rules communication, thought, speech, expression. In mythology, of course, it is the “winged messenger”. How Mercury is placed in a chart, by sign, by house and by aspect, will typically give us some idea of how the person thinks. With Mercury in Aries we can expect an individual who will likely be rash in thought and speech, perhaps aggressive either overtly or covertly. By house, Mercury can show the areas of life that are of concern: Mercury in the 1st gives a “me first” quality, while Mercury in the 12th house may speak for others, or at least appears to. Finally, the aspects to Mercury add further nuance and detail. But let’s quickly look at a couple of charts. We’ll do Rush first:

Rush Limbaugh

In Limbaugh’s chart, Mercury – marked on the left – is in an opposition with Uranus, which is marked on the lower right. So we know that Mercury symbolizes “thinking”; what does Uranus mean? In a word: deviant, but not in the sexual sense, but as the tendency to deviate from the mainstream. It is the planet of the iconoclast, the free thinker, the provacateur. The hard aspect suggests a sense of force, anger, a roiling quality to it. Now let’s check out Roiphe’s chart.

Katie RoipheThis time we see Mercury, again marked on the left of the chart, squared to Uranus marked on the bottom left. Again: Uranus is a very reliable predictor of unusual speech when it is in contact with Mercury. What’s further interesting about the charts is that both personalities have Sun in the 12th, which can suggest a private search for self-protection, or taking on causes as a protection or projection of the Self. In fact, Roiphe has stated in her most recent book: “In life I will go very far out of my way to avoid any possible conflict or argument, so it is a little surprising that in my essays I often seem to pick fights, and to offend or otherwise enrage people.” What better description of a person with three planets in Cancer (a tendency to withdraw, to be timid with others) but Mercury in contact with contrarian Uranus?

What I find interesting here is the possibility that while the Mercury/Uranus energy suggests “unconventional thinking,” the outward manifestation of it is different, although somewhat reactionary in both cases. I’m not sure most people would link Limbaugh and Roiphe, but, astrologically at least, they appear to be working out a similar need.

This was further brought home to me the other day in an article I came across. It was about a priest who had given up his beliefs and joined a group of atheists. After joining the atheists, he formed his own group in which he “ministered” to other priests like himself. Which raises the question: maybe ministering is what he’s most passionate about and the cause is secondary – beliefe in the existence of God or disbelief in the existence of God – is largely secondary.