Fish Can’t Climb Trees – Book Review

Fish Can’t Climb Trees – Book Review

Book review by Alison Price

Fish Can’t Climb Trees by Helyn Connerr

The title Fish Can’t Climb Trees may seem a strange one but it references Einstein’s quote:

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

And on from this that each person can be a genius but they need to be measured differently to each other. That one method of scoring intelligence does not fit all.

Helyn Connerr has written a book about how we actually process information as adults based on astrology.

She references ancient archetypes and builds her case on solid foundations. There are detailed explanations of the twelve possible learning methods as shown by each birth chart Mercury placement.

Connerr writes in an easy to read style with clear and articulate explanations for each sign. She makes memorable symbols for the Mercury signs like Procon for Mercury in Libra that references the Libran need to see both the pros and cons or both sides of any situation.

Say you and your friend both have your Sun in Aries, but if you have Mercury in Taurus you will learn and process information differently than your buddy who has their Mercury in Pisces.

There are chapters on learning style groupings, similarities and differences and polarity, relating and uptake of information. An astrologer will connect this to the astrological elements, qualities and polarities.

This book can be read by non-astrologers but for astrologers is it a wonderful resource on how each Mercury placement actually processes information. These insights can be used if you are a practicing astrologer right now in your daily readings.

My biggest take away from Fish Can’t Climb Trees is that as a teacher I naturally present my classes through my individual Mercury Model and I can see the strength and weaknesses in myself which can be improved to reach through to my own students who have different Mercury signs themselves.

Through the nature of your natal Mercury and it’s sign your speaking, learning, thinking and genius can be shown.

I’ve read a few astrology books in my time and I have to say that Fish Can’t Climb Trees by Helyn Connerr is exceptional on several counts. She has many original thoughts, insights and comments on astrology. She suggests practical methods of dealing with each Mercury sign. She has written a book which is well crafted with a woven message of intellectual diversity that should be embraced and not shunned.

If you are an astrology student, teacher, speaker or lecturer you need to read Fish can’t Climb Trees.

I enjoyed this book immensely.

About the Author

Helyn ConnConnerr_Helynerr, MSc. is creator of personal development workshop the Mercury Model, which is a culmination of her personal interests including her long term study of astrology with its mythic themes and archetypal patterns. The Model assesses individual’s natural cognitive style, and has been successfully adapted into a professional development version too. Author of Learning Without Tears (2008), she has also featured in a wide range of journals and publications, including The Guardian. Helyn currently works as a teacher, trainer, coach and consultant while running her Cumbria-based UK business Astro Innovation.


Learning Without Tears – Book Review

Learning Without Tears – Book Review


Discover how the Mercury Model (TM) can: 

  • Identify a child’s unique learning style
  • Unlock a child’s true potential
  • Turn tension into talking

Buy this book on Amazon.


Of all the astrology books I have had the pleasure of reviewing over the years Learning Without Tears is in a class of its own. Connerr takes the Mercury archetype, well known by astrologers, to a new level.

The author does not complicate the information being presented with an excess of technical terms, words and astrologese. She specifically uses regular dialogue to get her message across to the layperson.

There is the option to skip the detailed astrological explanations, if you wish to clearly focus on the child’s learning style, and not where it originates. With this brilliant approach the author has subtlety woven birth chart features into mainstream education which is directly aimed at parents and teachers.

We often hear the lament that astrology is not taken seriously by science. It is portrayed as the poor relation to astronomy and psychology. This fact was brought home to us during the 2011 online heated discussions. Here lies the beauty of this original book from an astrologer’s point of view. The author has parlayed astrology, and its centuries old traditions, into mainstream educational thought even perhaps without its detractors noticing.


Three Parts

This book is divided into three parts.

Part I – Individual Learning Styles and How They Interact

In the first section she discusses each of the twelve possible learning styles and how they manifest in every child. Presented with colorful animal characters clearly identifying each role.

Areas of similarity and difference are brought out in a subset by the style groupings and divisions which are easily recognizable to the astrology student as polarity, quadruplicity and element.

Connerr presents some real life parent and child scenarios and the resolutions are provided using the Mercury model.

We are challenged to explore our own learning style as parents and to consider how we default to that particular method by personally giving it preference and value


Part II – Variations and Background

She discusses how features in the whole nativity can influence each personality and provide modifications. Then goes on to explain the extraction of the essence for each Mercury archetype during individual analysis.


Part III – Identify a Learning Style

The author provides yearly assessment tables (Mercury ephemeris) to discover each persons learning style.


The New Physics and Essential Mercury

Helyn Connerr MSc is well qualified to write this book. Her background is impressive and she has studied astrology for over thirty years. She brings a scientist’s mind to an astrology problem.

Believing you can observe the energy principle of Essential Mercury in action and watch its effects, she discusses how the principles outlined are shown by planet, element, music, animals, literature, esoterica and the physical body. That Mercury, as an information receptor, is inherent in how we live, breathe and perceive.


Final thoughts

Although this book is aimed at educators, parents and children, one wonders if astrology teachers, when using this method, will find their students benefit and grasp new information in a way each learner can assimilate.

It is quite apparent that we retain our learning style throughout life. If as grown-ups, we choose to embark on further study, we will benefit by aligning ourselves with our own Mercury model.

This simple practice would enhance the adult education process. Rather than thinking, “I’m too old to learn this” perhaps we need to open up our minds, because, obviously we can learn if we are presented and communicated information in a way we each can appreciate

Learning Without Tears comes highly recommended for students, parents and educators.

Author Bio

Alison encourages you to explore your unique creativity and live a satisfying life through your personal astrology. She offers her insights from the heart and with a sense of humor.

Go here to read more about Alison’s story.

If you want to send Alison a quick message go here.

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