The tragic story of Mindy McCready’s recent suicide brought questions from a few readers on whether depression can be seen in a chart. As that word has such broad connotations, it’s not a term I would use. That said, there are charts that certainly show stress around either thinking or emotions, or both. As I mentioned last week, when Venus, which generally symbolizes love and relating, is under stress there can be difficulty socializing or having stable relationships. In terms of depression – or Melancholia, as it used to be called – we look to Mercury and the Moon, the two fastest moving planets in the chart. Under stress, it can be difficult for these two to function. And depending on what kind of stress, we can get a glimpse of what kind of problems turn up.

For instance, Mercury under stress in an earth sign can suggestion a heaviness of thought, depression, if you will. While Mercury in a fire sign afflicted by Mars (which shows up in the chart of poet Sylvia Plath), may be an indicator of anger. In an air sign, Mercury is less likely to lead to unhappiness though it may result in a loss of focus or unrealistic thinking depending on the aspects.

And finally, we have Mercury in a water sign. As he is a well-known figure, and because his chart is so extreme, we’ll take a look at the horoscope of Kurt Cobain, where Mercury is placed in watery Pisces and see how this works in practice.


There’s a lot going on here, but it’s easily broken down. On the right side of the chart, in brackets, we find Sun, Mercury, Venus and Saturn ALL in Pisces. A water sign, Pisces symbolizes, among other things, oneness, empathy and sacrifice, but negatively victimization and vulnerability. With so many placements there, we can anticipate those qualities running deeply through the core of the Self. But there’s much more, as those planets are also connected to both Moon and Jupiter (arrow at the top of the chart) and Neptune (arrow at the bottom of the chart) also in water signs, all of which greatly heighten and increase the sensitivity. In my experience, a preponderance of planets in water signs frequently indicates a tendency to addiction and Cobain’s struggles in this area are well documented. In fact, out of ten planets in the chart ALL EXCEPT TWO ARE IN WATER SIGNS.

And as for the two that aren’t – Uranus and Pluto – both are exactly opposite Mercury, the ruler of thought, which brings us extreme and unconventional communication and thinking. All that Pisces, with its longing to leave the material body, is perfectly suited to a person who was the creative force behind a band named, Nirvana.