For the Love of Astrology: the Asteroids of Walter Mercado

Walter Mercado History-Miam Museum, 2019

Flamboyant astrologer Walter Mercado is the news because of a Netflix documentary film released July 8th 2020. It is called ‘Mucho Mucho Amor’ and is almost a hagiography – the beatification of Saint Walter. It proves that this particular Puerto Rican astrologer and celebrity has not gone from this world completely. The film resurrects his spirit in all his bejeweled glory. If you already knew of him, you will appreciate his sparkling allure, the twinkle from the cosmic eye, but if you haven’t heard of him yet, then this film will lay bare why he was so revered and why he had the status of a demi-god to millions across the Americas.

Walter Mercado History-Miam Museum, 2019
Walter Mercado in Miami

Mercado is striking for so many reasons. Walter was fond of jewel-encrusted cloaks most of them dazzling and over the top putting Liberace to shame. His mother was deeply religious from Catalonia and his father was a gardener. But  Walter was also a pioneer to have a hugely popular TV Series on Telemundo devoted to astrology. The nearest equivalent in the UK is Russell Grant who was a popular TV astrologer starting in the 1980s. But Mercado had creative panache in spades, and he was a genuine rule breaker in another sense as contrary to embedded machismo in Latino countries, he presented himself as androgynous.

Astro Local Map
Walter Mercado with Sun in San Juan

He used make up, Botox, artistry and an intense theatricality and flair to offer a complete experience where viewers asked is it a man or a woman or magician?  He was all three at once- and more. As soon as he opened his mouth to speak, viewers probably didn’t care as he had the knack of speaking directly to the heart of anyone in his presence. He added spectacle to the oracle and the formula was irresistible as in the Pisces chart (which may have been the day of his ‘Santo’ birth in Santeria), if that Jupiter in Leo and that very well placed Venus in Taurus blessed him with more than usual abundant success. The astro-local map however for his 1931 Taurus birth chart has the Sun-Ascendant line running just east of Puerto Rico but traces a backbone all the way through South America.

There are two possible birth dates 9/3/1932  Pisces, or 25/4/1931  Taurus. The exact times are not really known and some are debating how to ascertain the Ascendant/Angles through rectification techniques. One story goes was that he wasn’t even born in Ponce in the south of Puerto Rico, but on a ship on its way there from Spain. So even the location is disputed although there is a birth certificate for chart number 2 and none for chart number one – the ‘official’ one. The 9th March 1932 birth time is the one Walter and his family celebrated, saying he was born in Ponce, so there is some element of speculation here and I leave that for others to decide, just to focus on the asteroids which keep coming up with curious synchronicities. Astrology is a metaphorical language to deepen understanding, and that should be kept in mind as the symbols are translated. All this confusion adds to the Piscean mystification if he was a Pisces. And the fact that he lasted so long and made several come backs is very Taurus. This does not even get to the question that with a rounded time to the hour often suggests inaccurate timing, so there might be an Aries Ascendant, possible. So while it is difficult to  weigh up the pros and cons of charts, one a double Pisces, and the other a double Taurus, it might prove fruitful to consider each in detail. His nieces said he was ‘ageless’ anyway as if to say an accurate time was irrelevant in his case.
Walter and his gods

Walter appeared to transcend the male-female divide as he exuded a spirituality that reminds us of archetypes of compassion such as Guan Yin- who is rendered in very feminine ways as compassion is ‘Yin’ not ‘Yang.’ The Chinese version of Guan-yin is more often in female form than the original male Bodhisatva of Avalotikeśvara. It was clear Walter’s energy was exceptional and possibly contagious in a good way. When Walter fixed his stare and pointed to the camera, his focused love energy was projected outwards like a laser beam of warmth and the fans must have felt it viscerally as they adored him, treating him as a healing force for good in their lives. His message was never negative, always hopeful. He had radiance and beneficence that he was able to transfer to others. There is no asteroid Guan-Yin but it is likely that one will be named that in the next few years. So if he was a Pisces, it is the sign of poets and mystics. It ruled by Neptune and Jupiter-the more traditional ruler. Walter Mercado absorbed the philosophies of different religions. He definitely blended insights from world religions Buddhism, Hinduism and syncretistic Christianity with elements of Santeria which is actively practised throughout Puerto Rico and nearby Cuba. In the Pisces chart, asteroid Ganesha the Hindu elephant-headed god of luck and abundance is at 7° of Cancer, ruled by the Moon not particularly aspected. But in the Taurus chart, it is at 7° of Libra conjunct his South Node and Vertex and opposite the North Node and Uranus at 16° of Aries. To err towards the Pisces, this blending of religious sources is quite Neptunian, as well as the fact that he studied pharmacology, was claimed to be a healer and psychic and had a cupboard full of drugs and vitamins. But to err towards the Taurus chart, his role in life was to break the mould to bring the wisdom of other cultures into the mainstream. In his house in San Juan, he had statues of Ganesha and intoned mantras to this deity. Walter’s show name was also Hindu – Shanti Ananda – Sanskrit words meaning Peace and Bliss.

the Younger Walter Mercado
the Younger Walter

In the Pisces chart, the first most noticeable is that the Sun is conjunct Polyhymnia – the muse of the sacred -at 18° Pisces. This was noticeable in his affecting presence and repeated emphasis having a positive vibration and spreading love. His words were inspired with a love of the sacred and this included sexuality.  He bonded with fans in a Piscean way sacrificing his own life in order to help fans with theirs: “I have no one. I have channeled my sexual energy into the good of humanity by praying for so many people who ask me for help.” So sublimation was his forte with just a touch of martyrdom thrown in.  And yet, he retained an authenticity which is more Taurus that he was a people-person, down to earth, simple, direct and sincere. In the Taurus chart Polyhymnia is 16° Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, opposite Orpheus in Gemini, of which more later.

Willie Acosta
Willie Acosta

He did however have a devoted personal assistant, Willie Acosta, who became a beloved part of the family and the unsung hero in Walter’s life. But Mercado dodged questions probing his sexuality by saying “I have sexuality with the wind, with the flowers in the garden, with all the beautiful display of nature! I have sex with life! I have sex with everything! With the clothes, with beauty!” If this is not mystically inclined I don’t know what is.  It could have been uttered by Saint Francis of Assisi (Libra) who would have thrown away the cloaks and gone naked. If Mercado was a Pisces, he would have few boundaries. But this could also be the mysticism of the everyday, the simple soul telling the same story over and over of how love redeems the soul. As a Taurus with both the Moon and Mars in early Leo, he exhibited a restraint that  admirable and far as we can tell, he was able to maintain a sheen of sweetness and sincerity that did not vanish in his private life. He really was benevolent and kind and evoked love in those around him. The only whiff of scandal was around 2006 when he naively trusted his business manager Bill Bakula too much and he was robbed of even the use of his own name spending six years in legal wranglings to restore ownership of his name.

For astrologers the asteroid to look for is Urania, and perhaps Astraea, or Stargazer. As a Pisces, Walter’s asteroid Urania is at 9° of Gemini which would place it at the apex of a mutable T-Square between Mars in Pisces and Neptune in Virgo and therefore important. But if he was a Taurus, Urania is at 1° of Aries conjunct Venus at 29 Pisces making it doubly prominent with a feminine vibe to the astrology.  But also, asteroid Astraea, linked to astrologers, is conjunct his Ascendant at 0° Taurus. Such signatures are meaningful for an astrologer as hugely successful as Mercado- and that he had a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Cancer surely facilitated this massive success, ability to capture attention, and make money from astrology.

His motto was ‘Mucho, Mucho Amor’ which could be translated as ‘ Much much Love’ or ‘A Lotta, Lotta Love’ and in the Pisces chart the asteroid Amor is 26° Virgo close to his Vertex and conjunct his South Node of the Moon. He was a believer in reincarnation though was vague about it when probed in interviews. Perhaps this Amor had some previously accumulated intensity that he could always rely on as this incantation that he is most associated with and became the title of the  Costantini and Tabsch documentary. In the Taurus chart, however, Amor is at 8° Taurus just 4 ° from the Sun- giving it the strength of life purpose, and 8° is the midpoint between the Sun and Mercury at 12°.If it was possible to make love to his TV viewers through these verbal mantra Amor in a very big and noticeable way then Walter was the one to do it- the love was palpable even through the screen.

There are two  other asteroids of interest –Walter and Mercado. Walter is the most obvious PNO – Personal Name Asteroid. This is the beauty of asteroids when they come up with the goods- as in the Pisces chart, Walter is neatly placed at 14° not very tight, but still close enough to be significant to his Sun just 4°away at 18° of Pisces. Mercado at 16° Aquarius is less prominent, but still opposite Neptune at 13° Virgo. In the Taurus chart Mercado is at 13 of Libra. Assuming a birth time of 6 am for this chart claimed to be his,  this puts asteroid Walter’ close to the Ascendant at 5° of Pisces. For astrologers the asteroid to look for is Urania, and perhaps Astraea, or Stargazer. In the Pisces chart,  Walter’s asteroid Urania is at 9° of Gemini which would place it at the apex of a mutable T-Square between Mars in Pisces and Neptune in Virgo. His motto was ‘Mucho, Mucho Amor’ which could be translated as ‘ Much much Love’ or ‘A Lotta, Lotta Love’ and the asteroid Amor in the Pisces chart is 26° Virgo close to his Vertex and conjunct his South Node of the Moon. He was a believer in reincarnation though was vague about it when probed in interviews. Perhaps this Amor had some previously accumulated intensity that he could always rely on as this incantation that he is most associated with and became the title of the Costantini and Tabsch documentary. But in the Taurus chart, asteroid Walter is at 4° of Capricorn in the 9th (using Placidus). What was very neat for me was that the music chosen to celebrate Mercado’s arrival on a chariot/throne- at the History-Miami Museum was by Monteverdi. It is the Toccato from his opera ‘L’Orpheo’ – and very exuberant, majestic and uplifting- fittingly Baroque. Walter was nothing if not Baroque which was all about dramatic effect in his outrageous staging for his entrance at the exhibition opening. In the Pisces chart, asteroid Orpheus is at 10° Pisces conjunct Mars opposite Neptune. In the Taurus chart it at 7° Gemini. But this was all very Kingly, and asteroid King is bang on top of his Saturn at 23° of Capricorn conjunct the MC, adding weight to the idea that the documentary released when Saturn was at that same point, posthumously crowned him King at least for that moment. The 1931 birth time of April 25th 1931 offers some clues as we have seen that the view of Walter as the ultimate Pisces was perhaps just the facade, more the persona he wished to project to the world and not the real one at home with his assistant Willie Acosta. There is a birth certificate confirming the April birth date, so this is very telling and weights it towards that chart. As a double Taurus he would be under the rulership of Venus who is in Pisces, the most ideal and spiritual of placements for Venus. Love of luxury and opulence and the longevity, staying power are all very Taurean traits.  The sun in the first house would attract attention- the ‘stop and look’ factor. Urania, muse of astrology is at 1° of Aries in the 12th House dissociate but still conjunct Venus at 29° Pisces and Calliope at 28° who is the muse of Epic poetry and the chief muse of inspiration. At the same degree as Urania is Sappho, poet of the personal and intimate. Another telling placement in the Taurus chart is that Terpsichore muse of dance is at 7° of Aquarius opposite Mars at 8° in Leo and therefore square to his Sun in Taurus. This lends quite a force to the importance of physicality of expression. There is tension and energy here. In his younger days Walter was a dance master, teacher and performer in ballets and shows. He was expert in Flamenco which he learned from his mother. In his TV shows he used his body both to be expressive and making each gesture extra dramatic to communicate strong feelings with that Mars in Leo.

His death was reported in November 2nd 2019 in Scorpio season. He died of kidney failure  and the kidneys are associated with Libra. I wonder if he died with his jewel encrusted boots on – the ‘keep-on-trucking-motto’ of the Taurus- as Walter said he would. This statement hinted at the strength of his spirit, his resolve to never quit, and is the reason why we are still talking about him a year later. Whatever the truth is, the Pisces appears to be his cloak of the magician flashed in our faces to dazzle us with psychic powers, what he wanted us to believe, but the real Walter was the Taurus, a straightforward soul, and wholly down to earth. Without going further into the transits and perhaps his eclipse sequence, these are just first impressions.
Walter Mercado, the astrologer

Walter Mercado is now also an icon on Instagram as practically all the attendees of his opening night at the exhibition posted selfies with him on social media, ensuring his fame to millennials and Gen Z. They don’t have a problem with his androgynous look and his appeal goes beyond boundaries. It is a pity more was not shown in the film about his study techniques, how he learned astrology and from whom, which traditions he knew and whether he thought of himself more as a psychic than an astrologer. It was clear he devoured books and did masses of preparation for every short appearance. He also spoke of the Saturn Return and interestingly once Saturn was at 23° of Capricorn earlier this year, that’s when the film first appeared at Sundance offering this emotional retrospective look at his entire life, closing the chapter. That happened to be conjunct asteroid King.

statue of Walter Mercado
Statue from 50 years of Walter Mercado

But on the other hand, the Pisces chart would suggest that when Saturn goes in to Aquarius in December, he would have been having his third Saturn return as it is placed at 1°,  of Aquarius the herald of the new era of Air. So it will be interesting to see if his reputation boomerangs back into view in December. This detailed tour around his asteroids does not get around the fact that there are still so many unanswered questions, such a mystique, that he was so quasi-religious, knew no boundaries, his extolling of love ‘sobre todo’ i.e. was a projection of a very powerful ability to have all eyes on him, in spite of the doubts about the accuracy of his natal placements.  

© Kieron Devlin, Proteus Astrology, August 9th, 2020.

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Kieron is a London-based and trained astrologer at Proteus Astrology on Facebook and my home page:

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Published by Kieron Devlin

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