Monday 13 September 2010


For the next few days we shall devote ourselves, dear star-crossed reader, to the study of the wandering stars, or stellae errantes, vulgarly known as planets. The first of these and the closest to the sun is Mercury.

Once upon a time the Romans traded stuff, which they called merx. From this we get merchandise, merchant, market, mercenary and mercer. Merx also meant that the god of trade was called Mercury.

To each planet was assigned a metal: Saturn had lead, Jupiter tin, Mars iron, and Venus copper. However, the only planetary-metallic name to have survived is mercury, the stuff you find in thermometers and tuna.

Also, those born when the planet Mercury is ascendant are liable to be fast-moving and energetic and, in a word, mercurial.

P.S. To amalgamate something is to combine it with mercury. It's an old alchemical term that seems to derive from malagma in Latin, which meant bandage.


  1. You do realize the guy with the big dick is Priapus and he is stealing Mercury's staff and sandals, right?

  2. Ah, but how often am I going to get a chance to post that picture?

  3. Incidentally, I shall be off the Internet for a week. There are posts programmed to go up, but I won't be able to reply to comments or correct mistakes with my usual winged alacrity.