The death was announced this morning of the world's oldest person, Dina Manfredini – though of course, a successor has quickly stepped into her shoes. She was 115 years and 257 days old. She was the oldest recorded immigrant to the USA and she worked until she was 90 – but don't tell David Cameron that!
What interested me is that she's one of the very few people who've experienced a complete cycle of Mercury by progression. Think about that for a moment. Most of us will only ever experience a soli-lunar return by progression – several, probably, as the progressed lunation cycle is only about 29.5 years long. The Sun-Venus cycle – the only other one where you get the same kind of phases – is about 19 months or 594 days long, so to experience the complete cycle by progression would take around 594 years. But the Sun-Mercury cycle is a little under four months, or roughly 115 days long.
There are still relatively few people who reach this age, but their numbers are growing. Progressions are about the pattern you came in with at birth unfolding, and now a small but determined band are experiencing this cycle in full. And remember, one of Mercury's roles in mythology was psychopomp – guide and messenger between the heavens and the underworld. Which leads me to wonder whether there's a message for us in all this?
Dina Manfredini: 4 Apr 1897 (Pievepelago, Italy) – 17 Dec 2012 (Johnston, Iowa)
More details at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_people