Thank You, Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes LackeyDuring one of the hardest periods of my adult life, a time when I was emotionally distraught on a regular basis, withdrawn and having trouble coping, I found Mercedes Lackey’s books and they saved my sanity.

Lackey writes fantasy and a large subset of her books are set in a fictional world called Valdemar, where intelligent beings called Companions mindspeak with humans called Heralds, who are one part marshal, one part angel and one part flawed human being. Companions are essentially large, white horses with blue eyes and they are both psychic and benevolent. Now that’s a lot to swallow if you, Dear Reader, are no longer a teenager, but if you sink into the story you find yourself quickly immersed in a world of heroism, good-vs-evil and derring-do to rival our best beloved legends. Strictly speaking, Lackey’s work is not literature (not any more than that of Stephen King, another of my favorites), but it elevates pulp to a high standard. Perhaps someday it may be called literature, as Dickens’ serials are now.

Lackey’s Valdemar books have become my go-to relaxation books to read. I can count on her to create a world where the good guys win in the end and a child will get to be a hero. When I first found the Valdemar series, I read one, then a trilogy, then avidly ate up everything Valdemar there was. Then, as I didn’t yet feel finished, I read them ALL over again with no break, this time in chronological order. I’m a fast reader and it’s been a couple of years, so I’m thinking of doing it again. While I was on my break, apparently she’s written 5 more and so now I’m reading those.

This blogpost is a fond letter to Mercedes Lackey in gratitude for saving my peace of mind. While reading one of her latest series, I became curious about her chart. In that way that happens when you immerse yourself in a writer’s oeuvre, I feel that I know my way around inside Lackey’s mind. That’s the reader’s arrogance and it occurs the most, I postulate, when the writer is really connected to her work and so the reader feels that connection shine all the way through and right off the page. So I went to Lackey’s chart with some idea of what I’d find.

I expected to find a warm-hearted, geeky girl who lives in her imagination, a rich place indeed. I expected to find a heroic streak, not likely lived out in real life, but in the abstract, through writing. And I expected to find a love of the otherworldly and a big, big faith in the triumph of good. I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s Mercedes Lackey’s chart:

Check out that Mercury in Gemini trine Neptune, circled in yellow. It’s not surprising to discover Lackey is one of the Neptune in Libra generation, a soul-group with a shared vision, a beautiful dream of love, peace and harmony, perpetually asking, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Her Mercury communicates from that place and the Neptune trine guarantees that she sees intuition as a natural extension of rationality and that her writing mind has a deep well of imagination to draw from. Writing, and especially writing fantasy fiction, is a natural talent with her, like breathing. In fact, it’s so easy that it’s almost surprising to see that she actually went to the effort to develop it (most people ignore their natural talents and don’t bother to cultivate them).

The “heroic, but lived in the abstract” side is shown in her Mars in Libra, the white-hatted, white-horsed fellow who wants to win the nice way, the fair way. This is a hero who plays by the rules and fights for the beautiful ideals of Neptune in Libra.

Lackey’s “warm hearted but geeky” side comes straight from her Sun in Cancer conjunct Uranus, which isn’t afraid to stand out and look a little weird in order to march to one’s own drummer. I’ve circled them in blue. Her Cancer Sun is the reason why so many of Lackey’s protagonists are children or teens, at least when they first appear in her world. After that, they grow up quickly.

That Cancer Sun also explains the nurturing handling of her main characters. She puts them through their paces but she is not their punishing god. Punishment is reserved for those with bad intentions. This attitude is also reflective of her Jupiter-trine-Sun, and that Jupiter placed in Pisces, evidence of a faith-oriented personality. Jupiter is also the ruler of her Sagittarius Rising, suggestive that she perceives the world through a Sagittarian lens—as a perpetual quest for meaning and righteousness. Lackey’s portrayal of religion in her works suggests that she believes it is possible to be spiritual and moral outside the bounds of religion, perhaps more so than within. Her Saturn in Virgo in the Ninth House (circled in green) suggests that she grew up in an atmosphere of intolerance, which she herself, as she matured, did not subscribe to. Chiron in Sagittarius in the First squared Saturn underscores that possibility. I’ve never read a biography of Lackey and I don’t even know if one is available, so all this is speculation and shouldn’t be taken as fact.

If it is so that Lackey grew up in an intolerant household, then she has clearly made it her mission to spread tolerant ideas and has created a fantasy world which can positively influence future generations.

That Saturn squares her Mercury, weaving writing into the Great Work of her life, a clarion call she responded to of course, and we get to enjoy the results. Put together with Chiron in Sagittarius, here we find a T-square, suggesting she, at times, has identified as one of the walking wounded and that her healing process is her gift to the world. Whatever that interpretation might mean to her is private, so we’ll draw a curtain over that and move on.

In her transits, Lackey has entered a fallow career period, which I say because Saturn has entered her Twelfth House. This lasts from about Halloween/Samhain of 2013 to January of 2015. It’s a time when Lackey should not expect a lot of herself, should rest, retreat and look inward, preparing for a time of intense work and cultivation of her reputation in 2015 from January to November. This coincides beautifully with a Jupiter Luck period she’ll be having beginning in November of 2015 and lasting for about a year. If I could advise Lackey, I’d say, “Dive deep now and you’ll bounce out really hard at the end of 2015.” She’s also having an intense set of transits to her Neptune, from Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto, over the next year and spilling into 2016, which may trigger a change in direction for her creative content, perhaps for the darker, and knowing Lackey, almost certainly for the better. It’s anybody’s guess what her writing will be like in 2016. Can’t wait to find out.

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