Memory – Mercury or an Earth Water talent

Memory and the ability to recall or re-picture past events is associated with several signs and planet. Mercury and Gemini/Virgo rules short term memory. But Scorpio has a reputation for being the elephant who never forgets, followed closely by Taurus. Cancer, a sentimentalist about the past, also clings on. The Water signs which also includes Pisces are visual and might be expected to have photographic memory abilities.

 In mythology, Mnemosyne was the goddess of memory – the daughter of Uranus and Gaia who mated with Zeus to produce the nine Muses.

Three individuals with extraordinary memories are worth pondering though there are sadly no birth times which might help and no very clear Astro-similarities, though any ideas welcome.

 Stephen Wiltshire, 24 April 1974, an architectural artist and autistic savant, can draw a landscape, buildings; or an entire city after one viewing from a helicopter. He lacked verbal communication skills until he was nine.

  He has a Taurus Sun on the focal point of a Yod inconjunct Pluto and Neptune; with his Pluto square Mars Saturn in Cancer which is turn trines Jupiter in Pisces – with Venus also in Pisces. His Mercury in Aries opposes Uranus.

Laurence Kim Peek, 11 November 1951, Utah, a megasavant with congenital brain abnormalities, and low verbal skills, was the inspiration for Raymond in the Rain Man movie. He had an exceptional memory and could remember the contents of 12,000 books he had read.

 He was Scorpio with his Sun square Pluto and sextile Mars in Virgo and trine Uranus; with his Mercury in Sagittarius trine Jupiter in Aries.

Daniel Tammet, 31 January 1979, Barking, England with an unverified time of 3am, is an English essayist, writer and savant with Asperger’s Syndrome. He does appear to have an exceptional memory though there is a question over whether that is partly due to his training and strategies for remembering or synaesthesia which joins senses not normally connected – to see sounds and hear colours for example. He knows eleven languages and writes so clearly doesn’t lack verbal skills.

  His chart is different from the two above with an Air Sun, Mars, Mercury in Aquarius and Saturn in Virgo.

  Not sure  what conclusions if any to draw.

  I was always intrigued by a story told me years ago by an Army officer who had been seconded to fight with Arab soldiers in the Middle East. He said the illiterate ones could remember highly complex orders on first telling, while the literate ones needed it repeated or written down. Which does suggest that brain changes are involved with education.

  I do have a fairly photographic memory which I might put down to having several planets in the 12th (Pisces natural home) plus a dose of Virgo and Gemini.

Do pitch in.

69 thoughts on “Memory – Mercury or an Earth Water talent

    • Nice article, thanks for sharing Denise. It shows how individual differences when it comes to attention and perception will affect memory performance. I like how this man values the connections to others his learning brings rather than knowledge for its own sake.

      Our attentional biases ultimately influence what reaches our memories; repetition or practice then sharpen recall speed. You can see how this could involve Sun, Mars and Saturn as much as Mercury, Moon etc.

  1. I’ve often wondered about memories and zodiac signs – especially memories required for actors, particularly on stage, to be able to not only precisely remember lines, but convey the emotions and gestures to accompany them (I am incapable of repeating a single sentence word for word that I have prepared for myself, so this ability fascinates me). Since many thespians are Piscean, or have a strong Neptune placement in their vocational chart, I would think that many of the latter must have excellent memories. Which might seem counterintuitive. Maybe in the case of acting, their ability to fully inhabit another personna facilitates certain memory pathways, especially considering that these are artificial rather than the ones constructed from experience.

  2. Other memory thought were the findings of psychiatrist Ian Stevenson who looked into reincarnation and said he found evidence of young children having verifiable memories of past lives. From recollection those memories tended to disappear as the children grew up. And the sceptics lobby naturally blew it all out of the water as delusional and not proven. But it is how the Tibetan Buddhists confirm religious leaders by showing a selected young child artefacts and asking them to pick which belonged to the dead lama.

    • Hi Marjorie

      As you can see, I am fascinated by Tibetan Buddhism. Also by C.G. Jung who famously said he “owed all his greatest insights to the Tibetan Book of the Dead”. The Book describes the various Bardo states from living and dying (in our everyday/relative sense of the words) through to reincarnating.

      I would recommend ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’ by Sogyal Rinpoche for those who want to know more. [Sadly the author subsequently became corrupted by the Western liberal lifestyle he was leading (difficult to adapt to for a monk born and raised on the Tibetan Plateau). He has since been confined to his monastery!]

      I tend to think that all exceptionally gifted youngsters (eg Mozart) may subliminally remember skills and talents acquired in previous incarnations. I certainly think our astrological birth charts reflect our previous traits and actions, the karma we have ourselves created. It will ripen eventually in one life or another.

      • I tend to agree with you Liz. It occurs to me that the birth chart shows where you have come from as much as where you might be heading; almost like a map of the soul which shows what attributes you have brought with you into this life and what energies will be available to you as you seek to realise your potential.

    • As a young very shy teenager taking kids to the seaside with our church. We had to stop half way for the toilets and one of the grown ups wanted something from the post office. I said just go down the street and turn right. Yes there it was, they asked me how did I know?
      No idea at all, we didn’t go anywhere in my family. I was absolutely confident though. Bizarre and I have never forgotten that incident plus I am rubbish at finding my way around without help even now. I have to live somewhere new for about 2 years until I know where I’m going.

      • Hilarious, Linny, I bet you were shocked – you’d been taught to use your brain consistently by that age, and then out leaps the intuition…whew…

    • I’m astounded by the reactions to this posting….they seem far more emotional, deeper than a look into what is meant to be…rational, i.e. the mind. I have in my (astrological) career done the charts of 3 girls (all from very different backgrounds, all around age 4-5 at the time – with a great distance between birth years) who described in detail their lives in another incarnation. It is impossible that they made it up – they were in relaxed circumstances, i.e. all children I had known for years, and had not even considered the possibility they were here before, but they made obvious references, out of the blue, and went into great detail which totally floored me (and their mothers). To be honest, I had never considered reincarnation as a real thing until then, but hearing it from the mouths of babes, was the greatest shock ever…..has anyone else experienced this? I’ve never been able to figure out the meaning of it…..

      • How interesting Maggy. Were there any astrological similarities of sign or aspects between these three girls you talk about? I can never come to any conclusions about reincarnation, and sometimes wonder if we (generally) are somehow surfing inside a kind of universal memory bank. The collective unconscious of Jungian theory may be close to what I am trying to describe.

        When I was 5, my mother and I were in Russell Square underground station one afternoon. As we waited for the train I asked my Mum where are all the people who sleep here Mummy? It was, obviously, years after WW2, and I had no way of knowing that people had in fact sheltered from bombs in the Blitz at Russell Square tube station. A few years later I had an intense series of dreams about the Blitz, and of being an adult woman, a florist, who died then. None of my older relatives had experienced the Blitz directly, or lived in London at that time. For many years I could not watch documentaries about that time in history. I can’t explain any of it. Fortunately, my parents were open minded about such mysterious things.

        • Good question, Jane….all of them had 12th house planets……even only one planet in two cases; and they all forgot (or never talked of it again) by about 5 yrs old….(educated out of that possibly?) quite a few of you have the same experiences, I still don’t know what to think about it to protect against the same experiences in life? I have never had a boy’s chart with it, probably coincidence… as many men as women have deju vu feelings about places of course, but I never actually connected it to reincarnation before I met those children…..

      • @Maggy: yes, my daughter told me about a past life as a servant and how they used dry rags for cleaning and she showed me how they did it. The memories faded after she turned six or so. A friend’s son described being a soldier in the Dutch army in 18thC?? and could describe his uniform in detail with a grey jacket and white crossband over the chest. Another friend’s son talked about his previous life as a stoker on a steam locomotive and spoke about his brother while he has only a sister. These kids are all young adults now and none of them remembers speaking of these things. So yes, the past lives on within us and affects us in ways we may not even be aware of.

        • …that’s total proof of course, Susan, witnessing that! Interesting you know boys with the same experience… it a hangover from the past or trying to tell them something for their future? I don’t know…

          • It’s interesting to look at the chart for WW2 General George Patton, 11 November, 1885 (astrodienst). He famously believed in reincarnation, and apparently recalled other lifetimes as a soldier – there are many stories.
            Anyway, he had Pluto and Neptune in the 12th house. Mercury in Sagittarius is sextile Uranus in Libra, and opposes Pluto in Gemini. His chart is AA Rodden rated, so pretty likely to be accurate re houses.
            It’s also interesting to me that such a notable General lived at a time when freely discussing reincarnation (in our society) was ok. No Twitter storms for him! I imagine some people laughed at him, but he had an impressive military career.

          • Aren’t Draconic charts supposed reveal something about a person’s previous incarnations? It is interesting to see draconic chart planetary placements making hard aspects to a person’s birth chart. For instance, when draconic Saturn is conjunct the natal ascendant, that is almost like a double whammy, especially if natal Saturn is in the 12th house which rules ancestral baggage, karma, one’s spiritual journey etc.
            I didn’t really pay much attention to draconic astrology before (my draconic chart is Leo heavy so I decided to ignore it) but I think there may be something to it. Draconic charts appear to be quite important in synastry.

  3. footnote 🙂

    could memory/info be activated in different ways by different placements and planets?

    ie mercury sq logos, trine klotho, arachne, sextile gonggong in areis and the 12th (with altjira, astraea, lilith on the cusp, and opp moon, house 6, sextile ARMC, pallas, karma, icarus, trine zhulong)

    (an astrologer once told me information would come to me out of nowhere or indirectly and I could either speed up my mind to see both (all?) ways simultaneously or still my mind and receive info).

    ?info through Dreams with altira on the 12th house cusp, and all info coming together 1998 BU48 on the aries point for many of these minor planets, and

    kinesiology for working towards well being/disassociating stress triggers and emotions/clarity/memory/replacing obsolete thought processes/archiving flashbacks and trauma…

    quantum level:

  4. Similar to Laurence Kim Peek, I also have Sun (cancer 7th, plus Moon, Jupiter and Mnemosyne) square Pluto (libra 9th) and sextile Mars in Virgo and trine Uranus (MC – Scorpio).

    I had quite the photographic memory as a student and was always top of the class – my Cap ascendant wouldn’t accept anything less! I also love competing in quizzes. I have a lot of Cancer in my chart (7th house, with a sun, moon, jupiter). My 6th house is pretty empty (aside from Memoria, LOL); however, I have worked in translation, editing, digital marketing and social media in the past. I am very much a words person, goodness knows I am no mathematician! My Mercury is peregrine (8thH, Leo).

    If the “mental rolodex” didn’t work in an exam, I would use visual techniques to recall the information I needed: different coloured highlighters, visualise the page, or draw out mind-maps. I am really good at remembering faces and directions. As visual a learner as I am. I loathe the trend for teaching videos and long webinars. I am a fast reader, and I don’t have the patience to sit through a waffling podcast or webinar (why are they so long!?), if I can read the transcript or PowerPoint in a few minutes.

    • Oh I so agree with your last sentence. I thought I was the only one.

      I can’t understand why you are no good at mathematics – or perhaps you are confusing maths with numeracy (totally different).

  5. Hi Liz
    I think that the Maitreya Buddah is meant to bring to the world the Word as in the creation from the Bible: the creative principle, in other words take humanity a step further in spiritual development, maybe increase the capacity for love, much needed at the moment.
    He is still of the rank of a Bodditsava to use the Eastern term. He is supposed to have incarnated once in Judea a hundred years before Jesus and was know as Jeshu ben Pandira and that is all I know about this Master of humanity

    • Hi again Virginia

      We seem to have moved into the field of semiotics now: words as signs or signifiers used by one person to communicate ideas or feelings to another. I think words are often memorised by savants and those with Aspergers or other autistic conditions without a full understanding of the meaning intended.

      I had a cousin with Asperger’s syndrome who could fool psychologists and lawyers by her use of complex medical terminology and/or legal jargon into believing she had a very high IQ. She not only produced the right words but also produced them in the right context. However simple tests soon revealed she had very limited rational thinking – so much so that her psychologist wondered how she could possibly function in the world. Well the family knew that she survived by memorising behaviour patterns and conversations and repeating them in her daily life. When faced with new situations she was though completely thrown – resulting in panic attacks and disruptive conduct. Her memory was however phenomenal and she quickly learnt what she should/could have said or done.

      ‘In the beginning was the word’ is for me the ‘word’ as the beginning of a legal system comprehensible and communicable to all. Moses was the lawgiver but Jesus Christ went beyond a lawgiver: ‘For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ’ (John 1:17).

      [NB. Tibetan Buddhist Masters view Jesus Christ as a Buddha – the Buddha of Brotherly Love. Jesus did though say he would come again and a reincarnation would imply he was a Bodhisattva rather than a Buddha.]

      One consciousness/one mind, directly experienced and not merely acknowledged linguistically, is the next step in our evolution. It is not a question of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ but rather an awareness that there is no ‘other’. All sentient beings are not only of the same nature but are ultimately one Being; one ‘Ocean of Being’ to use Buddhist terminology. Words as signs and signifiers will not then be necessary.

      Maybe savants etc are ahead of us in this!

  6. Marjorie I just loved that head size thing, just amazing.
    This has got to be one of the most interesting articles you have done. Better than those stupid celebs anyway.
    I have found Mercury fascinating to watch and when in Shadow and,or rx its amazing what Mercury can show you.
    In 1998 Mercury on birthday then turned rx, I had no knowledge of astrology. On the day it passed over that degree I married out the blue, his solar arc Uranus on that Mercury. More or less on a favourable Jupiter midpoint. Hmm. Like being on a flipping roller coaster! Less said, the better. I also had a Venus return on that birthday, another interesting planet to watch. My Sun Moon was activated by Total solar eclipse on my MC!!! As cafe astrology say, can mean catastrophy. Indeed. All these things you learn after the event eh.
    Since I’ve studied the Gods out there, charts bounce around in my head, I often wake up with an answer as the planets talk to me. Lots of wheels which the planets bouncing around.
    I have also noticed this, on a solar return chart if your progressed Sun has just changed houses and the SR chart has part of fortune return to birth part of fortune, it means some kind of fortune, good.
    My Mercury is 13.45 Cancer in the 8th near the Sun in 9th.
    Phenomenal memory always, love subtitles on TV last few years, cannot sit and read books by the hour anymore though. And I’m bored a lot of the time, cannot understand that one.
    For the lady who worries she has dementia, I think we all have it to some degree and new neural pathways open up. I was told more than 15 years ago on my birthday that I had too much white matter, and dementia runs down the maternal line, but I’m still here, and, female hormones don’t help either.
    I wish that others could speak about their charts.
    This birthday I have Saturn trine Venus and get my state pension at last and to make my life complete the SR IC is in my Chiron exact and have to move back to birthplace to have more money in these hard times. Uranus on that Chiron when I married. Yep. ASTROLOGY rocks. No lottery win for me then.

  7. I’m a Virgo-Sag-Pisces with my Virgo sun in the 7th and the rest of my Virgo stellium in my 6th (Mercury, Pluto, Uranus)–in opposition to my 12th House Saturn-Retrograde at 0 Pisces. I make my living as a writer and researcher and am the reigning queen of random factoids when playing trivia with family, friends, and workmates. But I’m absolute crap at math and have a bad habit of flipping the order of numbers–I have to very carefully check any math related work I’m doing at least twice. Other than that 2 fire planets (Moon, Venus), my chart is very earth/water.

  8. There are 4 asteroids that refer to memory, namely, Mnemosyne, Memoria, Nostalgia, & Feldman.
    Feldman gives recurring, persistent memory. In the link below see the charts of the 3 men and
    below each man we see the aspects of 1 or more memory asteroids to important planets in their
    chart. Click on the link below to see their chart.

  9. What a fascinating variety of memory experiences – all so different and I suspect not all well reflected in the professional literature.
    There used to be a tablet-on-stone theory that no child under the age of four could remember anything. This was grimly held onto by the old dinosaurs in the psychology field, who claimed to be experts. This despite credible stories of pre-verbal children being able to describe earlier experiences once they had learned to talk.

    My only other memory oddity story was noticing that my notable talent at spelling deteriorated after I underwent years of psychotherapy. I put this down to – maybe? – a brain hemisphere shift away from the analytic, thinking left brain to the more emotional right brain.
    [It’s maybe too weird to also say that an old riding hat which had been made to fit my head, no longer did after years of therapy as if my head had actually changed shape.]

    Scouring round the net I did come on one relevant paper: “Psychotherapy leads to definitive and demonstrable changes in the brain.” “Experience can change the actual structure of the brain. Brain development is basically an “activity-dependent” process. Every experience excites some neural circuits and leaves others alone. Neural circuits used over and over get strengthened and those that are not used are dropped resulting in “pruning,” i.e., “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
    And that will definitely affect memory as well as other functions.

    What was encouraging was the possibility of rebuilding what had been ‘debuilt’ by damage or neglect. Memory functions can be improved.

    • …that’s an amazing statement about pre and post psychotherapy…….and the riding hat not fitting…..of course it would change your attitude… I am just wondering if the people commenting on here about their Mercury and/or Virgo rising, would like to compare their degree of Virgo to see that these experiences coincide with this particular trait being associated with it (as in Charles Carter’s Encyclopaedia of Astrological Combinations.)…….I thought Mercury was a boring little planet until reading The Importance of Mercury in the Horoscope (Sakoian and Acker). They have always considered it far more influential than even the Sun and Moon. I suppose it’s brilliance is it’s detachment and rationality as all the other planets are full of wrath, lust, revenge and shock etc…..but a lone Merc (unaspected) in its own sign must be very special…. sort of elevated…..?

    • Yes memory is a huge topic, with many areas of research. It also involves many cortices of the brain, so diverse experiences and individual differences are to be expected

      Brain damage cannot be repaired unfortunately. As a tissue it’s pretty weak and highly prone to damage from oxygen deprivation, for example. Relatively minor infections will also be catastrophic, which is why there is a brain/blood barrier.

      Neuroplasticity, where new connections are formed can compensate to varying degrees. But this is not the same as neurogenesis – the formation of new neurons from stem cells, which is the only thing that could repair. It should also be noted that sometimes neuroplasticity can be maladaptive, so a complicated area. Nonetheless, previous to 1980 it was pretty much believed universally that the brain is hard wired in adulthood and that was that. We now know that that is not true.

      It was also believed that neurogenesis was not possible, but we now know that it is – at least in the hippocampus and may have a function in memory. There are studies to see if these adult stem cells can be used in other areas of the brain – I heard of one study called “PISCES” funnily enough, not sure what stage it got to due to pandemic

      So we know a lot more about memory, but the trouble is fMRI can only take us so far. I’m afraid that what we really need to do is put electrodes into peoples brains – slight ethical problem there! Most of what we know about memory now is thanks to epilepsy patients having the electrodes placed anyway due to brain surgery and agreeing to research. This is how the “Jennifer Aniston neuron” was discovered for example – and helped produce models for semantic memory organisation and storage

      Anyway that’s enough from me, sorry I could chat about this all day 🙂

  10. Liz
    You are referring to Gautama Buddha who appeared about 2500 years ago, the bringer of compassion to be followed By the Maitreyia Buddha in about another 2500 years, the Buddha of the Word

    • Hi Virginia

      Do you mean Word or World?

      The Tibetan Master I follow is HH Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche. It all gets a bit complicated but The Tai Situpa is proclaimed in a number of sacred texts as the incarnation of Bodhisattva Maitreya who was crowned as the future Buddha by Buddha Sakyamuni /Buddha Gautama (same historical person).

      The Tai Situpa, in his current ‘life’, initiated a program “Pilgrimage for ACTIVE PEACE – ONE WORLD – ONE HUMANITY” when he embarked on a worldwide tour in 1989. So yes, the Buddha of the World. However Buddhism takes the concept of one world/one humanity a step further during trance meditation – to a direct experience of one mind/one consciousness.

      [In relation to this article, it means a kind of Jungian Collective Unconciousness. Do we all have access to a collective pool of memories and knowledge?]

      The Tai Situpa is said to know past present and future. I once attended a session where he was asked by a member of the audience if he remembered details of his previous incarnations. He answered, with a twinkle, that he often had trouble remembering what he did last week never mind in his last ‘life’.

      I guess we all remember what we want to remember on a ‘need to know’ basis. We obviously block out whatever is not useful at that moment in time.

      • Liz,
        This is off of Marjorie’s topic, but I can’t help asking you. I practiced Karma Kagyu Buddhism for 4 decades. (I have drifted away due to numerous disappointments.). I seemed to *recall* that the usual Kagyu teaching is that the advent of Maitreya will be in about a million years. “Trance meditation” also sounds very unfamiliar. Trance usually has a rather poor reputation in Buddhist circles, as it is more or less the opposite of Vipassyana. Do you have an textual references? Thank you.

        • Hi Lawrence

          Reincarnation includes past memories so not completely off topic. Also today Jupiter and Neptune are conjunct in Pisces – a very spiritual placement for everyone. Maybe that is why I feel the urge to write so much!

          I spent every summer for a decade at Samye Ling in Scotland (a Karma Kagyu Centre) starting in 8/8/1988 when HH The Tai Situpa inaugurated the Temple (a very auspicious date) and subsequently attended his Mahamudra teachings. This isn’t really the place for me to talk about my own ‘one to one’ interviews with HH, or the many ‘waking dreams’ I had of past, present and future. I described several of them to the Abbott who was of the opinion that I had been a teacher in a Tibetan monastery in a previous life! I didn’t remember daily life in a monastery but I remembered many of the meditational practices.

          I actually first came across the Maitreya Buddha on the Palpung Web Centre

          You are correct in saying some ancient texts give the time before the next Buddha in millions of years – but this timing does not equate to our modern timing. In any case time as we know it is relative – it does not exist in any ‘absolute sense’. Past and future are here and now.

          The 5,000 year period between Buddhas was adopted in the fifth century, prior to the start of the Karma Kagyu lineage in the tenth century, and is common in Theravada circles. It is to be found in the Maitreya-sūtra. A slightly different figure of 5,104 years is often used by Tibetan Buddhists, calculated on the basis of an apocalyptic prophecy found in the Kālacakra Tantra.

          The central teaching at Karma Kagyu centres is, as I indicated, the Mahamudra. The preliminary meditational practices followed progressively by new students include samatha, initiation into the tantras (usually Chenrezig, Tārā and Amitābha though there are others), ngöndro and vipassanā. I hesitate to give advice but Mahamudra is now long established in the West so it might be worth your well reading up on it.

          Sorry to be so long winded – blame Jupiter and Neptune.

  11. Thank you Majorie for highlighting previous and relevant charts.

    It must sometimes seem as if you are constantly going round in circles but, as a newcomer to your site, I am truly grateful for your endless patience.

  12. I’ve got quite a memory for trivia but was quite bored in school. Gemini rising with chart ruler Mercury retrograde in Libra/5th and Uranus in Virgo/3rd house of the Mind. I’m also a “word nerd.” I’ve really been enjoying playing Wordle.

  13. I have got like an archive for a brain, which people around me rely on. I am Sag, Mars in Scorpio and Mercury in Sag. I am not sure if those point to strong memory. I was born Nov 1957.

  14. I have a cancer ascendant, moon in cancer 12th house. Mercury in Leo 1st house. Mercury conjunct Uranus, trine Jupiter, square Neptune, sextile Mars. I have the most awful memory. Sometimes I worry that if my husband dies, I won’t be able to recall any lovely memories, or really properly remember him. When he goes away for a meeting it takes me a few days after he returns to accept him back – ‘oh, yes, you’re my husband, of course I love you’ It’s like my mind just refuses to retain anything, so I live in the present moment, unable to ‘believe’ in a future, not learning from the past. I am neurodiverse.

    On the other hand, I do remember vividly, lots of very traumatic and also very wonderful amazing incidents. But there are decades of my life that are a blur. It’s like I have no past.

    I can’t retain, or even receive information that doesn’t interest me, whereas I do remember things that fascinate me. My mind has been the bane of my life, I’m considered crazy by some people, make links between things no one else sees. But I am also very creative.

    • There does seem to be some anxiety about memory with the 12th house (and also Pisces) generally. I have a relative with cancer rising and new moon in the 12th and they are convinced that they have a terrible memory, although it seems pretty good to me. They also say that they have aphantasia, an inability to use visual imagery. I can’t imagine what that’s like.

      Your comments about living in the present, are very interesting too. This is something I note with Pisces, perhaps it’s a 12th house thing too

  15. Thank you Marjorie and the other contributors for this interesting discussion. I am regarded as having a good memory (though not as good as the savants)from having twelfth house sun, uranus and Mars, in cancer, mercury and Venus in Gemini. The sun is in trine with Saturn in Scorpio. Objectivity comes from an Aquarian moon. I suspect the twelfth house planets allow you to process memories.
    I find that I remember things that are said more easily than writing. I also find it difficult to remember lists etc if I need to remember them. Memory of events is an effortless exercise. I think that is because writing something allows you to forget it as it can be recovered later, so allows you to forget it. Two other things: a good memory does not necessarily give good judgment, and secondly it can be a blessing to forget.
    I am intrigued by that philosopher of memory: Marcel Proust. 10 July 1861 a archetypal cancerian with a sun conjunct uranus opposite Saturn but little else on memory though I suspect that the birth time 11.30 pm is erroneous.

  16. I am libra sun, scorpio asc, libra merc.
    I am famous for my memory, but to me this was a choice when I was very young.
    Highly difficult circumstances in my youth made me realise my main protection would be my memory – to remember everything. Ironically, I actually remember making the decision to remember everything keenly.
    I have kept this talent / gift to this day. The new talent I had to learn was to learn to disassociate the emotion with the memory. That took longer.

    • Wendy. Ditto young and on and on experience to yours, I learned to put excess memories in a close box in my head. On October 6th 2015, you see I know the date, of course, I had a very, very strange experience and I opened that box in my memories and it was not pleasant either, liars and cheats seem to follow me everywhere, Pandora wasn’t in it. Trying to tell me to deal with unpleasantness instead of hiding it me thinks or showing me that I’m an idiot for letting people constantly undermine me . It’s not been pleasant looking at these humiliating memories. Truly awful in fact.

  17. In drama school I used to hand-write my lines and others as well, learning the play as I went along. In time I would only write the other character’s lines down in order to make sure that I had actually learned mine. Later I would record on tape as well.

    It was dull and monotonous, but necessary. But believe me, better than finding yourself on stage with an actor who has leapt seven pages forward and having to find a way back without ruining the play.

    • It’s a good skill to have. Learning, memorising and reciting seems to be a skill that is dying out now in schools, which is a pity because I really don’t regret memorising poems and verses I still carry in my head. My mother can recite many classic poems of English literature through memory, speeches from Shakespeare, etc. Originally, the Celts didn’t have the written word but had an oral tradition of handing down information and history through verses and stories. The Welsh and Irish still honour the bardic tradition in the British Isles in order to preserve that part of their history. A Welsh friend’s elderly mother can still remember recitations by the village bard when she was a child.

  18. Couldn’t resist this, (below) from Giordano Bruno, born January or February 1548. No date, sadly, but Jupiter in Pisces and Uranus in Virgo. Mercury is retrograde for part of those months, and is either in Capricorn or Aquarius. Bruno’s book The Art of Memory was based on his memory system. He was so famous for his amazing memory that:

    “I got me such a name that King Henry III summoned me one day to discover from me if the memory which I possessed was natural or acquired by magic art. I satisfied him that it did not come from sorcery but from organized knowledge; and, following this, I got a book on memory printed, entitled The Shadows of Ideas, which I dedicated to His Majesty. Forthwith he gave me an Extraordinary Lectureship with a salary.”

    I have read that the Major Arcana of the Tarot is connected with the Renaissance ‘art of memory’ ideas and practices, such as memory palaces. But I think it’s just a theory, albeit an interesting one.

  19. I remember faces. Moon and asc in pisces. Mercury (r) in virgo in 6th house. When I was a child I loved medical words. Took me half a lifetime to realise ti become a nurse. TY lavender

  20. I can actually remember being a baby in my cot in Cairo, Egypt. I recall what seemed to be a lovely filmy material with light pouring through which as an adult realise was a mosquito net. I have Mercury in mutual reception with Uranus and square Saturn in Gemini, am a Pisces Sun.

  21. I have Cancer rising, an unaspected mercury in Virgo (3rd house) and Saturn in Scorpio (5th). As a child/teenager I had a phenomenal memory, near photographic. We had weekly Latin tests in which I excelled because I could visualise the words on the page. I could memorise and recite Chaucer and Shakespeare (unlike other students).
    But as I have got older my memory has deteriorated quite badly. For many years I was involved in amateur dramatics and had to stop performing because I could no longer remember my lines. My short term memory for things I have heard or read is still OK and I am still good at trivia and word games like Wordle or Scrabble but I seem to have lost the ability to remember the links or relationships between things which was how I used to remember dialogue in a play. I can no longer see the patterns and make the links as I once could. My memory has become less reliable, especially when I discover that other family members remember certain events quite differently to me. I just hope it’s not a harbinger of dementia! I still function just fine in my daily life but my declining ability to see patterns in information is something I experience as a huge loss.

    • I am going that way a bit! My memory was always very good – Mercury/Neptune in the 8th (with grapheme-colour synaesthesia like VF described below) trine Mars in Leo and quintile Moon in Aquarius. 8th House ruled by Jupiter in Cancer in the 3rd house. But I swear I blew my memory chips when I gave birth to my second child…

      However, I also realised that I had spent over 20 years typing and hadn’t hand written anything beyond a reference number or shopping list for a very long time. I remember having to fill something out by hand and it was tiring! I used to hand write letters and essays all the time as a teenager with no problems and I realised that that is how I remember things. I have to rewrite things into my own words, physically on paper. So I started keeping a written journal and my memory is much improved. I don’t know if this could work for you, but it might be worth a try.

      Also keep in mind that remembering absolutely everything is not ideal and forgetting things is not a design fault. Remembering where you parked your car on a tuesday 7 weeks ago isn’t usually very useful, but remembering where you parked today is.

    • Susan, this is madly interesting….you sound as though you have excellent spatial talents…..has your memory really faded, or is it just Life and all it entails, especially at the moment? Many kids with dyslexia can’t communicate what they think, as they see in a different manner….they can do wonders with their hands (drawing, building, designing etc) without being able to explain it. Unaspected Mercury is rare! perhaps you were made to focus on ‘communication’ (i.e. speaking) during your education… your original talents will still be there……psychologists still don’t usually measure for that, which is a pity. That you forgot your lines perhaps meant Mercury was knackered and begging for a break! Is it your vocational indicator (i.e. the planet rising in front of the Sun) as that would stress it more…..if not, the v.i. could perhaps (if you leaned into it) balance things up a bit. Mercury in Virgo is perfectionistic don’t forget, perhaps others didn’t notice as much as you think……

      • Hi Maggie, I do indeed have good spatial skills. When setting up the stage for performances I could always visually identify centre stage while others needed to measure. Including once in Germany where the stage was set at an angle and no one wanted to believe me until someone got an actual plan of the theatre. My husband says I have a builder’s eye! I also irritatingly straighten people’s pictures and help them arrange a room to get best use of the space, which seems pretty Virgo like, but I didn’t realise it was a talent! I have been engaged with words all my professional life but now I am reaching retirement I indeed find myself more interested in other forms of expression. Photography really interests me but the technical stuff makes me hesitant. A telephone is fine for snaps but not art. Sigh…

        • P.s. my south node in Gemini in 12th might also be a hint to stop leaning on verbal skills and try something new, although again professionally I have combined both nodes pretty well working as an editor & translator mostly for publishers & international organisations.

          • ..yes, you recognise the spatial talents, it’s nobody’s fault, just the education system and somehow not fitting into it. Is Mercury actually your vocational indicator? i.e. in front of your Sun with no other planet between? Your husband is on the nail saying you have a builder’s eye……architects commonly have that ‘problem’ where they can’t utter, only silently draw it. The famous Lord Rogers (designer of the Pompidou Centre amongst other famous landmarks of his) couldn’t even write until he was 11 – his mind was full of statistics, visions of buildings etc. but he was considered backwards until then! Probably because our planet has become so verbal, the ‘picture’ thinkers can’t even hear themselves think because they’re being constantly told at school to do the ‘normal’ things….the one thing I’ve found from young kids with dyslexia is that they just loathe repetition – you know – everyone recites the poem, recites the tables, they go blank, words mean nothing to them until they work with their own perspective…..which means silence and the space to find the true self.

          • What is so striking here is that Lawrence, Gnarly Dude, Lavender, and Susan all have Mercury in Virgo! – Susan’s only is unaspected. It’s powerful in it’s own sign, but does it give some kind of striving for perfection? It is rare to have no aspects to it….it’s so fast moving comparatively…..

  22. As a former teacher I would throw my hat in the ring for two types of memory- visual and verbal. I personally found mathematics easy but literature difficult – though I could memorise pages of any subject matter by sight and had an excellent memory for faces.

    Despite having a degree in Pure Maths, Logic and Philosophy, I am much more interested in mystical experiences than in rational explanations for them, and in Tibetan Buddhism in particular. It is said that the next Buddha will be a ‘trance’ Buddha, a knower of past, present and future. It is also said that he/she won’t manifest in our world for another 2,500 years (we are half way through the cycle from one Buddha, or one state of consciousness, to another).

    So mysticism is our future, the future of the human race. ‘Special’ beings with such insight are already here to help and guide us. Unfortunately there are also many charlatans around; people who have jumped on the latest bandwaggon and are out simply for pecuniary benefit. We need our rational faculties to work out who these might be but we should at the same time be open to our own spiritual nature. It is a difficult path to tread.

    BTW I have a Cancer sun trine a Scorpio moon. No major planets in Pisces.

  23. Marjorie, I have Moon/Ascendant in Pisces and cannot confirm your speculation from my experience. I have a very poor visual memory, and so-so memory in general. Mercury is in Virgo, so I have plenty of detail orientation. My own introspection leads me to think that I tend to experience the world though a kind of Piscean fog, an overlay of my own thoughts and feelings, so the visual memory is not stored properly, however vivid the experience may be in the moment.
    Thanks for this most interesting post. My limitations have given me a great interest in the subject of memory.

  24. Worth a look at the chart of Marilu Henner who has “hyperthymesia” / “superior autobiographical memory” (and any others you can locate). People may now her best from her acting on the US sitcom Taxi.

    I first came across her story on this … but lots of videos with her

    I certainly don’t have that level of memory but some of the things they say tally with how I remember stuff.

  25. I have retro Virgo Mercury tightly square Saturn in Gemini and wider to Sag Neptune. My memory is very good for facts and figures. Also in people’s stories and experiences. I’ve come to realise I’m better at remembering and recall stuff when I simply listen rather than make any effort to do so.

    Having been playing the Heardle app recently (Wordle variant where you name songs from an increasing length of the intro); I’m finding myself able to either get it in the first second or I just don’t know it.

    Playing the Worldle game (identify countries of the world from their outline) is interesting because I am terrible at it. Without the context of countries or oceans, or an indication of its size I really struggle. (I know I recognise people from their mannerisms or walk as much as facially). When I started Worldle I barely knew the countries of Africa, so I went and swotted up, and went from being able to name 28/54 correctly to knowing them all within six repetitions. I don’t officially do the memory palace thing but I must have some sort of one going on as I find ways to group them.

  26. There was a fascinating interview with Steven Wiltshire and his sister this morning on the BBC World Service programme “Outlook”. Will be available on their replay channel if anyone is interested.

  27. Virgo 29 d Mercury conjunct Midheaven, sextile Jupiter/Uranus conjunct in Cancer 3rd decan in the 8th House. Venus/Saturn/Neptune conjunct at 0-5 degrees Scorpio in the 11th.

    I do not have an didactic memory, but my friends and family turn to me for family history, and am a trivia champ, but only in topics that interest me. I suck at math and geography. I rarely did homework in the grade/high school years and only passed exams by remembering what happened in class. And loved memorizing Lewis Carroll.

  28. Me again. I think Oliver Sacks is prosopagnosic. 9 July 1933, no time. Looks like he has Merc/Venus opp Moon/Saturn which maybe is informative for someone with ‘face blindness’.

  29. This is fascinating, I have often also wondered about the Moon with memory, particularly the house placement. My brother has an outstanding memory for the past right to when he was very young, every detail. My memory is pretty poor for all that, and not great for faces either. I tend to have a broad brush approach to remembering things. We are both Scorpio rising but he has a Moon in the 12th and Mercury c Sun and Neptune in Sag in the 2nd, my Mercury is in detail driven Virgo….. hmm.

    I was on a course with a guy once who was prosopagnosic, so could not recognise people’s faces, even his own. It was difficult for him if I changed my hair one day to the next as he recognised people by linking facts to names. His condition was related to witnessing a very traumatic experience when he was under 5, which resulted in him being given a different identity. I do believe childhood exposure has something to do with it, like us being able to tell monkey faces apart when we are born but not by 6 months. It might be use it or lose it, or as Jane mentioned, there is also the chance of developing very valuable alternative skills.

  30. What a great subject here! I’ve often wondered about this, but not sure what clues astrology might offer. Mercury retrograde is one thing I’ve considered.
    I have Mercury retrograde natally, and have a form of visual dyslexia – but an excellent memory. Mercury is aspected by Venus, Pluto, and Neptune – although none are exact. What you say about the ‘illiterate’ soldiers is something I’ve thought about. I couldn’t read until I was 9 years old, so learned to memorise things people said as a coping mechanism. Memorising anything is still much easier for me if I hear it spoken out loud. Otherwise, I do everything via colours and shapes of words, and spellcheck! There are still times when I cannot read text – when very tired, stressed, or unwell. Perhaps we, generally, encourage many children to read too early and neglect/undervalue the building of other kinds of memory skills?

    Actor Susan Hampshire (12th May, 1937) is dyslexic, and has done a lot of supportive work for dyslexics. She has Mercury retrograde in Taurus, trine Neptune in mercurial Virgo. Here’s a quote from her:

    “But there is yet another prejudice that dyslexics, and those who try to help them, have to combat. This is the deep-rooted idea that all learning, all education, any expression of ideas, must be done through language, through words. The idea that is possible to learn and communicate visually, through colour and shape, seems to be heresy, though it is one that naturally occurs to dyslexics.”

    • I have Mercury retrograde but oddly I cope better with the written word than the spoken one. At University I barely went to lectures, just read everything up. Nowadays I never listen to podcasts and watch TV with English sub titles on which I find more relaxing.
      My photographic memory is probably fairly short term though I do carry landscape stills of places from long ago very clearly in my head.

      • I’m most certainly a visual thinker. Mercury retrograde conjunct Moon/Mars/Neptune in 3rd house Scorpio like Gill but I have Virgo Rising. It all sextiles Pluto on asc 12th house. My thinking is undiscipined, a little chaotic, I have word blindness but I have very fast recall and memory, possibly because I have an inbuilt system of colours I associate with numbers, letters and dates which makes recall very easy for me. When listening to podcasts/radio I see the images in my head. Brother most probably on the spectrum, father had definite Asperger traits and I have recently begun to wonder if I am also on the autism spectrum. Girls tend to get overlooked in this respect.

        I don’t know if it’s a Mercury Neptune thing but vivid dreams — sometimes like being in a film where I am someone else. I see giant ufos, catastrophes and natural disasters in dreams often!

        • Yes VF, absolutely. I had covid recently (again!) and my fever dreams are the best 🙂

          This very recent one freaked me out a bit though – I was talking to a long deceased relative in my old house and they suddenly stopped and said “Oh Martin is here! I just talked to him, he’s a good guy”.
          They didn’t know this person when they were alive. Martin is a friend and occasional colleague of mine who emails once in a blue moon.
          I woke up, got my phone and it’s an email from Martin, literally sent while I was asleep, asking how I am (not knowing I’m sick)

          Of course, I may just be checking emails in my sleep, probably plausible if you know my life 🙂 Though the phone was on the other side of the room …. but who knows 🙂

      • When I went to lectures back in the 90’s I felt the same as you. You would love them now though! They are all recorded and you can pause, go back – switch on closed captioning for subtitles, search the transcript, and my favourite – speed them up x2 🙂 Lot’s of people moan about it, “oh this isn’t live teaching…etc”, They have no idea 😉

        I am a really slow reader, it takes me ages to get through a book. Although I can read well enough and never had any problems with dyslexia, I can’t skim read very well, which was always a struggle. Conversely though, I write and type very fast. However, once I have read something, I rarely need to read it again, so I didn’t struggle so much once it came to revision. I think what makes me such a slow reader isn’t so much a particular thoroughness, but rather it keeps triggering memories, which my mind will wander off and explore before returning to the text. That’s 4 planets in water, I guess. My husband with no water signs can virtually inhale a book in one sitting. All the bookmarks and half read books in the house are mine…

  31. Hi Majorie,
    I have Mercury, Mars and Neptune conjunct in Scorpio , cancerian rising, my memory even astounds me. I can recall going to see the film Mary Poppins with my father and how we sang songs on our way home. I was probably four .. I can also remember going to see a huge ship in Liverpool and feeling how big it was but also cold with all the grey paint . I think it was HMS Belfast .. my husband is a Pisces sun ( no birth time ) has an awful memory but is amazing at recalling faces but not names ..

    • Hi Gill, just realised after my post that you have Merc/Neptune conjunct same as my brother, different sign and he is missing Mars but his Mars is in Gemini. He has the same memory for childhood.

      • Hi Louisa ,
        I have sometimes thought it a curse as I have a Stellium in the 8th . But I lost my mother 42 yrs ago and I can remember our last conversation and how I felt .. those emotions have carried me through and when my son died 10 yrs ago , it was like a video playing on loop all the wonderful memories we had, that’s when I thought it’s a gift .. whenever I want I pick a lovely memory and I smile .
        Fascinating subject as maybe cancer / Scorpio placements remember how they felt

    • Is that, that unusual?
      I remember going to the Sound of Music at 4, and hating it so much I vomited.
      I remember my first swimming pool experience at 2.

      • I don’t think early memories are that unusual, Marina. My earliest memories pre age 2 and around are linked to stressful situations- cracking all my mother’s eggs ,which I ‘knew’ was wrong because I wanted to see what happened, falling over and hurting my knee, and being banished behind a curtain whilst my baby brother’s nappy was changed. I can remember none of my ‘ happy ‘ experiences that young. I would say my memory is about average generally.

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