Questions that I get asked often have to do with mental illnesses/mental differences/learning differences, and if I’m able to see things like that in the natal chart. The answer to this particular question is yes and no. The natal chart is like a blueprint of possibilities for the person (and the soul) in this lifetime. Just because something “difficult” shows up in one’s natal chart regarding mental illness, learning differences, or anything really, doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will ever manifest that particular difficult or different energy into reality. Though, if the propensity *is* there for mental illness or learning differences to occur, whether or not it actually occurs depends on a number of factors (such as biology, environment, and nurturing), as well as heavier transits hitting the aspect in question, thus activating it. Since I am specifically talking about mental illnesses/mental differences/learning differences, certain aspects made between Mercury and Saturn (specifically the square, opposition and conjunction) seem to cause people some issues in the areas of mental health and information processing/learning. The specific types of issues that these hard aspects between Mercury and Saturn tend to produce are being overly critical of oneself, overly restricting the things that one says, possible learning differences dealing with information processing (though these people are usually very smart regardless), and depression/depressive ways of thinking. This is a trend that I have noticed time and time again, and I suppose the part of me that finds mental health and psychology fascinating wanted to discuss it
**Just for a bit of reference……Mercury is essentially the mind of the natal chart, where we think and learn in a concrete way, and where we communicate. It is traditionally quick and logical. Saturn tends to represent hard work, perseverance, seriousness, and yes, restriction.
***Also, as a disclaimer, I am in no way, shape, or form saying that people automatically have mental issues and learning differences by default when they have these harder aspects in their natal charts. I’m only saying that the possibility could exist of something like depression occurring in their life if one of these aspects is in the natal chart of the person. Just want to make that part really, really clear.***
***Also as a disclaimer, I am in no way saying that learning differences are mental illnesses, and I never would. I only lump them together here because these harder Mercury/Saturn aspects can cause either/or; this aspect can indicate the possibility of one or both of these manifesting in the life of the native. To know for sure which (or both) are actually a possibility in someone’s life, you would need to take the whole chart into consideration. ***
Mercury/Saturn Conjunction: This conjunction blends the energies of Saturn and Mercury together, and depending on how tight the conjunction is, it may be quite hard to discern them from one another (the tighter the conjunction, the harder this will be). Saturn here can cause Mercury (communication and thought) to be more serious, more focused, and possibly more restricted. This restrictive influence could cause one to really censor what they have to say (and sometimes this could be to the native’s benefit, depending on other aspects in the chart). If it isn’t a good thing though, this can make the person extremely cautious about what they say, how they say it, and who they say things to/speak with in general. There can be issues with communicating anything at all, but especially things dealing with the native themselves, and their own emotions (and this will be magnified even more if the Moon is somehow tied to this conjunction/depending on other aspects). Because this aspect causes one to be more serious-minded, it is important that they stay mentally busy and of productive use. Being overly negative in thought and thought patterns is definitely a possibility here if Saturn isn’t kept productive and the mind is allowed to stay idle too long. All of the above can give the mind more of a depressive bent. But unlike the opposition and the square, all of this will feel natural to the native; there is no tug-of-war or tension feeling with the conjunction aspect.
Mercury/Saturn Opposition: This opposition shows up in people that are incredibly smart, but there may be issues in how you communicate and think about everything that you know and want to share. The ability that you have to censor yourself may not feel as natural here in the sense that there may be a tug-of-war quality about it; there may be times that you know it would be in your best interest to NOT censor yourself, and can see what you need to do to not do this, but there can be issues in actually acheiving this and not doing it. Because of this, I feel that this is the one of these three aspects where anxiety can creep in. There can also be a real tug of war in terms of the way that you process information and learn new things. Mercury wants to learn things quickly and wants to share this newly learned information just as fast, but Saturn here in opposition says “hold up, let me really take in this new information I’ve learned.” While extremely smart, you may not process things quite as quickly or in as fluid a way as other people at times, which can leave you feeling less than. The same thing can be said about the way that you communicate this information; it may be a little slower (and you may even speak slower, more deliberately, when you do speak), as a way of really getting your thoughts across in a clear manner. Too much self-censoring, and feeling less than, can leave you feeling depressed. This possible depressive inclination is exacerbated by the seriousness of the mind here, and it’s inclination to lean more towards the “negative.” Learning to consciously balance the mind here, (kind of consciously allowing Mercury & Saturn to come through at times), as well as giving yourself grace to operate differently from other people (we are all unique!) is key here.
Mercury/Saturn Square: Out of all these aspects, this one is probably the most difficult to have in your natal chart. There is no merging here, no give and take, just pure tension all the time, and one has to learn to live and operate in spite of this tension. Mercury is quick, wanting to take in everything that it can learn and always curious. Saturn never really wants to give in to Mercury here, and is constantly “restricting”. At the same time, Mercury never really wants to slow down enough to appease Saturn. Having this aspect can cause some real issues with a lack of self-confidence, shyness (and possibly even loneliness) due to this lack of self-confidence, negative/depressive thought patterns, and a variety of learning differences. Because of Mercury and Saturn not ever seeing eye to eye here with this aspect, the mind (while again, usually very intelligent), may need extra time to really catch up and process in some way. You may have a different way of needing to learn certain concepts (nothing wrong with that, we’re all different!), and one of the ways to take on the challenge of this aspect is to embrace this about yourself if it happens to be the case in your life. The censoring that you can do to yourself here in regards to how you actually communicate can be crippling. It is massively important for any depression that you may suffer from, or for any intense shyness and loneliness that results from this, that you actually do force yourself to communicate your thoughts to the world. I’m not saying you have to turn into Chatty Cathy with anyone and everyone, but communicating when you have knowledge that you want to share (of which you have oodles), or something that you really want to say…..try just saying it. You could start out doing this with people that love you and have your best interest at heart, and slowly widening your circle. By just dipping your feet into the shallow end of communication, you may find that some of the depression, self-criticism, and loneliness that you may suffer from are alleviated some.
To read more on the subject of mental illness & mental differences in the natal chart, here is the link to a blog post of mine about Mercury/Uranus Hard Aspects: