So receptive a sign as Cancer is not wholly suitable to Mercury, who easily loses himself, one fluid in another, so to speak. The result is often seen in poor memory, particularly in old age, although, if the planet be well dignified, the mind may be singularly retentive, particularly in the matter of history. In fact, the tendency is often to assimilate precedent, and rather to refer to antiquity than to reason upon actualities. It is good for such persons as may be occupied in what may be called the by ways of life. Dealers in antiquities, bibliophiles, bookworms, and to a less extent, lawyers, may find some advantage in this position. There is in all cases a decided lack of the sense of actuality, and, above all, of originality. Yet the intuition is often exceedingly good ; such people may know, without being told, and without knowing how they know. The understanding is usually excellent, and the sympathy is easily excited. On the other hand, where these people dislike, the feeling is intense; they cannot endure the company of those who are not in harmony with them. Yet, although sensitive, they are more tolerant than the average person. The contrast in this respect with people who have Mercury in Scorpio is singularly well marked ; for the latter, although they may deem it politic to conceal their contempt for inferior minds, keep inwardly the most extraordinary bitterness. Mercury in Cancer is really tolerant ; its natives have the sense that opinions are, after all, not of supreme importance. They are, too, not always aware of their own defect of memory and lack of logic. Here one must pause, confronted by the fact that the most marvelous memory in the world, that of “Datas,” and the most powerful rationalizing mind of modern times, that of Bernard Shaw, both came under Mercury in Cancer. But the Mercury of “Datas” has Venus in exact conjunction, and his memory is purely detached and self-sufficient, and exclusively historical. He remembers dates, and dates only ; and he remembers them in a mechanical manner, absolutely, and not because of their relation to other matters. This is in fact the precise type of memory indicated above as characteristic of this position. The case of Bernard Shaw is explained by the exact trine of Neptune to Mercury, which gives him his extraordinary faculty of detecting the falsity of conventional thought. It may also be mentioned that the effect of Cancer is to make Mercury sway to the purely passive side. The mind is unusually impressionable, and though the inscriptions thereupon be “writ in water,” yet for the moment they sway the native. There is little real stability in the mind, and yet it falls easily into habit, which may be obstinate if subjected for long periods to a single stress. The position inclines to mental idleness, and any powerful will can easily obtain dominion over the mind of the native by appealing to the senses rather than by argument, which arouses obstinate resistance. All this being peculiarly contrary to the best attributes of mind, we must regard Cancer as one of the less fortunate positions for Mercury.
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