Mercury Poisoning (March 2005)
Mercury Poisoning (March 2005)
- By Mark Lerner
Dateline: Eugene, Oregon Sunday March 20, 2005 -- When you think “Mercury,” most people and astrologers conjure up an image of either (A) the planet closest to the Sun or (B) the fleet-footed, winged Messenger of the Gods from Roman and Greek mythology. The Greek name for Mercury was Hermes and – in connection with ancient Egyptian lore – there was supposedly an actual being who went by this name and who was one of the greatest teachers ever to grace the human stage. He was known as Hermes Trismegistus or the thrice-great Hermes who brought cosmic wisdom (particularly related to science, mathematics, astronomy, logic and philosophical truths) down to earth.
Socially, when you connect with the name Mercury, you may be thinking of the original seven astronauts and their Mercury space program, or perhaps the Mercury brand of car, and Mercury dimes from the decades before FDR took over the face of that coin. And residents in Northern California have the San Jose Mercury News to take into their homes on a daily basis.
As a planet, Mercury orbits the Sun in approximately 88 days and is hard to see from the Earth due to its closeness to the Sun. Nevertheless, every so often – when it reaches what is called astronomically its greatest elongation from the Sun – it does become visible to earthlings who have an excellent set of binoculars or telescope. Of course, you need to be looking in the right place at the right time for a few minutes and have clear weather conditions. This occurred a little over a week ago when Mercury and the Moon were both in Aries. Someone looking west and close to the horizon – shortly after sunset – might have been able to gain a rare glimpse of the elusive planet.
Astrological students know that Mercury is said to rule both Gemini and Virgo, and that this planet is strongly associated with the five senses, mental energy, the thought process, reading and writing, information, knowledge, primary education, communication and transportation, business and trade. It is amazing in this regard that Mercury was precisely rising at the moment when the first plane struck the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001. While this was perfectly in keeping – symbolically – with a means of transportation (Mercury = plane) striking the most notable trade (Mercury = commerce) center in the world, it may also have been a reminder that Mercury can sometimes function in a lethal and disguised fashion! Note: I just realized that the station of Mercury now is at 14 Aries – exactly opposite Mercury from September 11, 2001! Airport security people, baggage handlers and national investigative agencies – take notice!
Professional astrologers and their students have worried about the retrograde effects of Mercury for a long time. In my humble opinion, this has become an obsessive and unnecessary nightmare within our art, language and burgeoning science. Yes, it is true that three times a year – for three weeks at a time – the planet Mercury slows down, appears to stop from the Earth’s point of view, goes in reverse for about three weeks, then slows down again, makes a station and then turns direct or forward for several months. These are facts from our vantage point as the third planet from the Sun. However, Mercury retrograde – as I wrote in Welcome to Planet Earth journal many years ago in an important two-part series – is not the problem causing lost luggage, disappearing phone messages and wrongly-signed contracts. It is human beings who don’t slow down, review, reflect and re-evaluate while Mercury is doing its retrogradation. Because we usually refuse to slow our forward-moving and sometimes hectic pace of life, we cause our own problems during the three-week cycle when Mercury is in reverse. Now one of these three-week reversals has just started (Saturday March 19 at 7:15PM EST – chart down below) and hopefully we will all be able to have a careful, thoughtful and still productive three weeks of life (until early on April 12 when Mercury regains forward motion).
Mercury retrograde happens three times a year and because of that frequency and what the planet rules, astrologers have created a TOXIC environment within our field concerning signing of papers, mailing of letters, making agreements, buying property, etc. All kinds of FEARS and WARNINGS are sent forth to clients and students about what NOT to do and what to avoid during Mercury retrograde cycles. You almost never hear astrologers ringing alarm bells when Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto go retrograde for FIVE MONTHS EVERY YEAR. In terms of potentially TOXIC conditions, these five-month retrograde cycles are almost totally ignored – assuming retrograde cycles are “bad,” something I do not agree with.
Retrograde energy should equate with attending to INWARD needs and not necessarily force everyone to take many steps BACKWARD or to become filled with fear about making an agreement with someone. Unless Mercury goes into reverse, you would never have Mercury-Sun Inferior Conjunctions that always take place three times a year and which align Earth, Mercury retrograde and the Sun in periodic and essential “New Mercury” type astronomical alignments. These conjunctions are the birthing points (approximately every four months) for crucial Earth, Mercury and Sun alignments that have to do with vital energy and communication circulating throughout the entire solar system.
The real reason I am writing this article is because the actual elemental substance of Mercury is making big headlines in the past week due to its TOXICITY in the air, water, fish, dental fillings, vaccines, and elsewhere. Mercury is a known neuro-toxin and physicians for the most part (and the entire field of medicine) have been very slow to acknowledge its dangerous and potentially lethal effects on the human body. USA Today ran a cover story on Monday March 14 entitled: Air Pollution from other countries drifts into USA This feature was followed on Wednesday March 16 with a story on page 4A entitled: Groups condemn EPA’s mercury rule
Now remember that both of these stories and the information they are imparting were printed as Mercury the planet was slowing down in Aries from the Earth’s point of view – in preparation for the retrograde station that just took place yesterday. By the way, in watching and reading the news for decades now, I often find that stories about mercury or lead poisoning and contamination often occur when the planets Mercury or Saturn (that rules lead) are stationary or otherwise emphasized in the sky.
The essence of the articles from USA Today is that mercury pollution from coal-burning factories in China, the two Koreas and Asia in general is being carried through the atmosphere and settling into our lakes and streams, poisoning the fish that are then consumed by people – causing all kinds of physical ailments. It is estimated that perhaps 40% of mercury contamination in the USA is coming from abroad. However, our own coal-burning factories and medical-waste incinerators are also contaminating our air and contributing vastly to the same deadly process. In addition, our toxic emissions into the atmosphere are then carried over to Europe giving them severe health problems as well. This is a global challenge and remember that Mercury as ruling planet of Gemini connects with the lungs and breathing. As standard bearer of Virgo, Mercury rules over going to school (the school year almost universally begins in September when the Sun is located in Virgo) and so much that has to do with the function of the brain, learning language, and the nervous system.
It turns out that on Thursday March 10 (on the day of a New Moon), the EPA made a restrictive ruling about smog emissions from power plants that was almost totally applauded (even by environmentalists). However, the same agency came out with a rather watered-down mercury rule on Tuesday March 15 when the Moon was moving through Gemini (Mercury’s first ruling sign) and as the planet in the sky started to slow down before its retrograde station. What seemed to happen with the EPA is that it became business-oriented once again (as has happened so often during the Bush administrations of the past 5 years) and scaled-down a tough ruling that would have severely eliminated mercury toxins from emissions by power planets.
Fearing that a stringent rule would be too costly to companies owning the power plants, the EPA created a rather strange rule that allows some plants that don’t want to reduce their own mercury emissions to pay another plant to reduce their emissions more. This mounts to what we might call “mercury trading” – an odd phrase since the planet Mercury in astrology actually rules over “trade” in terms of business and commerce. At any rate, the reason environmentalists are furious with this rule is that “hot spots” of mercurial toxicity could start developing near the power plants that have decided not to cut their emissions since they have paid other plants to cut down on their own. These “hot spots” – particularly if the plants are near lakes, rivers and streams – will increase mercury poisoning in certain regions of the country.
OK, so far, so good, as far as our story goes. However, the real horror of all this is only now becoming more available to the public. First, here is a little background.
I would assume that most of you have been hearing about potential problems in tooth fillings for even a few decades. Like anyone else, I have known that dentists were using amalgams that contained mercury. How much I never knew and I never looked into the rumors about the possible dangerous affects of having mercury in your teeth and body. In addition, unless you have been living under a large rock somewhere, you have probably heard about mercury in fish. Again, most people have probably taken the news or information with a grain of salt, figuring it couldn’t be too bad and what’s a tiny bit of mercury in the fish going to do to me anyway?
Well, guess what? The situation concerning MERCURY TOXICITY is really, really serious and – who knows? – this could become one of the greatest health crises of all time. Here’s why.
This morning – before tackling this article – I decided to go to Google online to read up a little more on the web concerning problems surrounding mercury poisoning. Wow! What an experience. I only went to about four web sites, but I am overwhelmed with the astounding set of problems caused by mercury settling into the human body, blood stream, brain and nervous system. This is a good example why the web is a fantastic invention for our age. You can find all sorts of data and information that would be impossible elsewhere.
By typing in Mercury Poisoning, the second site listed was something called noamalgam.com Run by a research chemist with a Ph.D. from Princeton (Andrew Hall Cutler), it is primarily a web site to promote his book called Amalgam Illness: Diagnosis and Treatment -- A book on how to cure mercury poisoning. However, his web site contains much, much more than publicity for and reviews about his landmark book on this subject.
By going through the web site, you are introduced to a wide range of potential illnesses that undiagnosed mercury poisoning can or may cause. Some of these include ALS (the infamous Lou Gehrig disease that destroys your ability to move muscles and has no cure), MS (another disease striking the nervous system), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndromes, Fibromyalgia, Autism, Asthma, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, and the list goes on to around 40 diseases.
Now when you are reading the above paragraph, the natural first response is that Mark must have been mistaken or that the guy writing the book and publishing his material on the web is obviously exaggerating. However, Dr. Cutler himself developed mercury poisoning. In his case, it occurred through amalgam fillings in his teeth. He was able to have his fillings removed and then eliminate toxic mercury from his body through a laborious process. He explains – in the book extensively, but also on the web site – the severe problems for the body if mercury becomes a major toxin, how to eliminate it from your body, and the extensive treatments needed to recover more permanently. It turns out that in the past dentists used supposed “silver” fillings for teeth that have a composition of nearly 50% mercury! Mercury – once in the teeth – exudes a mercurial vapor that penetrates through the teeth, into the gums, then into the blood stream, and eventually into brain cells. Once reaching the brain, the mercury can attach itself to proteins and continue to enervate and destroy the human immune system and nervous system in a gradual manner over time. [Note: I do not have statistics about what current dentists are using for amalgams and whether ALL dentists are using amalgams with no mercury.]
Dr. Cutler also explains how mercury toxicity in the body often starts through depression, leading to fatigue and then to all sorts of more elaborate and complex disturbances. While his main focus is on the mercury poisoning so many of us may have (in varying levels) due to mercury concentration in the fillings we received by going to dentists for decades, he is also aware of the mercury toxicity in the air we breathe, the fish we eat, and the vaccines we have received over the years. [More on these mercury hazards in a moment.] I advise everyone reading my article to go to Dr. Cutler’s comprehensive web site to learn more directly from his views on this complex subject. www.noamalgam.com
After trying to digest the above rather scary information, I found another intriguing web site. This is hosted by the California Poison Action Line. Their web address is under www.calpoison.org/public/mercury.html This web site goes into the entire area of mercury poisoning from the methyl-mercury compounds in fish that we eat to the thimerosal (ethyl-mercury) preservative that was in almost all vaccines up until 1999 (when the FDA ruled that it be eliminated from all vaccines except the flu vaccine!). It turns out that mercury is also in batteries, pesticides, diuretics, fluorescent lights, some latex paints, some skin creams (check those labels!), fungicides and antibacterial agents. The so-called “mad hatters” of the 19th century – people who worked in hat-creating factories – and who came down with tremors, depression and other bizarre illnesses were actually afflicted with a form of mercurial poisoning. That is because mercury was used in the factories to be rubbed on to the cloth in hats as a preservative during the felting process.
Alarming as well is that certain types of inorganic mercury find their way into folk medicines and Chinese herbal medicines. It’s possible that mercury may not be listed on the labels of such medicines – assuming they have labels in the first place. Also – mercury may be used in the actual creation of the medicines rather than as an ingredient.
It should be noted that the element of Mercury (designated as Hg in the periodic table and having an atomic number of 80) is found in the earth, but usually not by itself. It combines with other elements and forms ores. From these ores, the mercury is extracted. However, mercury is found extensively in something called “cinnabar” – from which it can also be extracted. In a natural fashion, mercury is emitted through volcanic eruptions (think of Mount St. Helens exploding in May 1980 and the recent rumblings that sent extensive streams of smoke into the atmosphere) and via geo-thermal founts in the earth’s crust. Ironically, Mercury sits next to Platinum and Gold (two of the most valuable metals traded around the world) – elements 78 and 79 in the periodic table. Mercury (80) and Lead (82) – the metal traditionally linked to Saturn and an element that is known to cause retardation in children who ate chips of lead-based paint from deteriorating walls – are also closely linked in the famous chemical table of elements. You will remember that leaded gasoline was a notorious hazard for decades until the lead (think Saturn here) was eliminated from most types of gasoline. We still have lead emissions from power plants to deal with, so the toxicity of lead is not a meaningless subject either.
Perhaps the most shocking part of the California Poison Action Line information on mercury was concerning what to do if a mercury-containing thermometer broke in your home. You will be surprised about what you CANNOT and SHOULD NEVER DO if a thermometer breaks – leading to mercury escaping from the instrument. For example, you CANNOT sweep it up with a broom. That only makes the mercury become smaller into droplets and the smaller it gets, the more vapors can enter the air. Then you breathe in those vapors and it attacks the lungs more viciously than if you swallowed it! You also CANNOT simply vacuum it up. That also serves to release toxic mercury vapors into the air and into your lungs. You CANNOT flush it down a sink drain in your home because the mercury may attach itself to the pipes and release vapors as well. There are recommended procedures for cleaning up a mercury spill in your home and they are extensive.
Most people would never know about the above reality, but with children in so many homes and thermometers (containing mercury) still in use, this is an important subject every person and parent should learn about. After all, thermometers have been used to determine fevers for a long time. Who ever thought breaking a thermometer could cause so much damage? There are alternatives to mercury-containing thermometers on the market today and I would advise every parent to get an electronic or digital thermometer – any kind of thermometer that does NOT contain mercury.
Another web address on Google allowed me to read a current article in Discover magazine entitled: Our Preferred Poison This was written by Karen Wright and it is in the March 2005 edition of the magazine (volume 26 number 3). Here we find a timely expose of all the mercurial toxins from the air, water, fish, amalgams and vaccines. The author of this article sends out a warning about eating large quantities of white albacore tuna fish. Tuna are large-size fish that are also predators. The methyl-mercury that settles in our waterways via atmospheric emissions from power plants is further changed by bacteria in the streams, lakes and rivers. Eventually, the mercury compounds go into plankton that is eaten by the tuna and other kinds of fish. Apparently, chunk-light tuna has far less mercury toxicity than the white albacore type. This has to do with the size of the tuna. Swordfish, shark and king mackerel are also fish that shouldn’t be eaten because of the large percentage of methyl-mercury present.
Mercury toxins may also be in shellfish, so it is important to know where the seafood is coming from and what power plants (particularly those operating coal-based generators) are nearby, and what emission controls are in effect at those plants. Even becoming aware of this, it may be hard to know if the fish you are eating has mercury contamination and how much that contamination is. Remember a large percentage of mercury toxins are coming from emissions released in Asia traveling across the Pacific Ocean and reaching our waterways. Recall that Mercury in astrology rules the air itself and the wind that is ultimately responsible for bringing these destructive, invisible particles to our lunch and dinner tables.
When first learning astrology and its connections to mythology, one studies that Mercury is not only linked to cleverness, mental prowess and dexterity. It is also associated with lying, twisting the truth or outright deceptions. Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. It was also called “quicksilver” in ancient and medieval times. Perhaps its liquidity is another example of Mercury ruling both mental brilliance and deceitfulness. There is a definite trickster component to this planet and its element on the earth. [Note: There are blood and urine tests that can determine if you have mercury toxicity and to what extent. Nevertheless, if mercury has invaded the brain cells for decades and if you have developed one of the diseases mentioned earlier, the true extent and nature of your mercury-based illness may be very difficult to detect.]
One of the reasons the mercury poisoning in fish is so perilous is that pregnant women having the fish pass this through their breast milk while feeding newborns. In addition, women who have mercury poisoning – say from amalgams as well as from eating the wrong kind of fish over many years – may then pass on the mercury poisons to their babies. And if they are breast feeding, many of these children may develop autism. Autism is growing at an alarming rate around the nation and the world. The increase is staggering when looked at statistically since the 1980s. Remember that Dr. Cutler on his web site lists autism as a disease that may be caused by mercury poisoning.
A brief glance at the astrology chart below (calculated for the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.) reveals Mercury stationary retrograde at 14 degrees of Aries and in the seventh house. The seventh house is the connector to all our significant relationships – not just with people, but with the environment, the air we breathe, the fish that swim in the sea. Mercury is almost directly opposite Jupiter in Libra rising. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and suggests the LARGE-SCALE challenges we face in eliminating toxic mercury from our bodies, products, food sources, factories, waterways and atmosphere. The Mercury placement also closely squares the “power line” of this chart – the Meridian containing 13+ Cancer at the top and 13+ Capricorn on the bottom. The top of this chart is the USA Sun placement from July 4, 1776. It is also the Sun for President George W. Bush (born July 6, 1946). The EPA and its administration and policies are under the direct control of the president who is the head of the executive branch of the American government. Perhaps you can e-mail, call or write the EPA about your concerns regarding mercury poisoning and the EPA’s recent ruling NOT to take more decisive action in eliminating mercury toxins from power plant emissions around the nation. In this astrological map for the retrograde station of Mercury, we witness some startling examples of dynamic astrology at work.
Finally, in closing this time, you may know that every degree of the zodiac carries a symbol. First known as the “Sabian Symbols” – from an experience between Dr. Marc Edmund Jones and a psychic Elsie Wheeler in a San Diego park in 1924 – these 360 symbols of the degrees of the zodiac were reformulated in An Astrological Mandala by Dane Rudhyar around 30 years ago. Rudhyar originally was a student of Dr. Jones and the two men were major figures in the humanistic and psychological development of astrology in the 20th century.
The symbol for 14 degrees of Aries is: A serpent coiling near a man and a woman. I happened to notice this and realized that one of the traditional images connected with the planet and winged messenger-figure of Mercury is the Caduceus – with two snakes entwined around a staff or rod of power. In an amazing way, the Caduceus may have been an ancient way of portraying DNA – the key to our genetic evolution – which has a spiraling ladder of nucleotides as its form. There is also an alternate symbol of one serpent coiling up a staff. Apparently, this symbol is related to Asclepius – an ancient Greek figure who was a healer and physician. It is actually this latter symbol that should be connected to modern medicine whereas often the Caduceus is the one emblazoned on certain medical journals. There is also a difference between the medical symbols used by the U.S. Army and Air Force reported in a recent publication I read.
The serpent has always been a representation for both wisdom (Good and God) and/or poison (Evil and Devil). In the above paragraph, we see the connection between Mercury, the Caduceus and serpents. Mercury in astrology is linked strongly with knowledge of ourselves, the world and the divine. Now we know it also has a lethal and destructive side – when it accumulates in the body and tears away at our strength, vitality, consciousness and mobility.
The Karen Wright article in Discover magazine also points to new research that mercury poisoning in the body may also cause some forms of heart disease. You may want to review your own natal chart, progressions and transits to determine strengths and weaknesses of your Mercury (by sign, house, aspect and midpoint). I can also offer consultations (see the EAN store area on the left side of our web site) that will provide you with a primary focus on Mercury in your birthchart and via progressions, transits and midpoints. All of the facts in this article are noteworthy in the sense that Mercury is probably the most underrated and ignored planet in the astrological chart – due to the discovery of the asteroids, Chiron and outer planets.
Keep tuned to this astrological web channel for more late-breaking stories. Use the Contact Mark section on the web site to send me an e-mail or comments on this article and others.
Mark Lerner Publisher Earth Aquarius News
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