Have you ever wondered how and why people think the way they do, or wondered what gives each of us our own unique expression and perception of the world around us? Have you noticed how two people can experience the same situation, and yet describe it as entirely different? While various schools of thought have their own ideas of what makes us tick, within the science of astrology, we have access to precise tools that help us to gain a greater understanding into the inner workings of our personal and collective human experience.
The above questions, the inspiration behind our even asking them, and all other mental meanderings astrologically belong in the realm of the tiny and powerful planet Mercury.
In Roman mythology, Mercury is the swift Messenger of the Gods. Sporting wings on both his feet and head, he quickly communicates knowledge and wisdom between the lofty heavens and all Earth-bound souls in their stewardship. Mercury also watches over and influences the areas of commerce and travel. In astrology, Mercury is said to be the diligent conduit between our spiritual and physical selves; exchanging information between our own Higher Wisdom and our existence at the material level.
The fleet-footed planet Mercury, like its namesake Roman deity, dashes through the heavens like Speedy Gonzales, moving faster than any other planet in our solar system. It takes Mercury a mere 88 days to orbit the Sun, spending just a tad over 7 days in each sign of the Zodiac. Mercury is the closest planet to our Solar center, and as a result, can only be seen either early in the morning or in the evening at twilight. Mercury works closely with the Sun in facilitating our abilities at self-expression, and therefore is never more than 28 degrees away from the Sun in either direction in a Zodiac chart.
Cerebral by nature, Mercury is a busy little guy who divides his time by watching over the highly intellectual signs of Gemini and Virgo, and their corresponding 3rd and 6th Houses of communication, thought processes and work ethics. Mercury also works very harmoniously within the realm of Aquarius – another brainiac sign, and its corresponding 11th House of friendship and group activities. Described by some as an “opportunistic planet, decidedly unemotional and curious”, Mercury’s action is to take things apart, experience their inner workings, and put them back together again. Mercury is also a quickening and enlivening energy that adds mobility and fluidity to our activities, and those of us who have Mercury prominent in our natal charts tend to be witty, lively and brimming with curiosity.
So, how can this knowledge of Mercury benefit us on an individual level, you ask? Simply put, how Mercury’s energy will manifest within each of us personally – indicating our own intellectual and inventive abilities among other things, depends on each individual horoscope as a whole. The Sign and Element Mercury dons, the House in which it occupies, and any Aspects Mercury makes to the other planets will all have a direct bearing on any chart interpretation.
To give you an idea, as the foremost planet of communication, wherever Mercury has set up shop in your own natal chart will indicate not only your preferred method of expression, but how your abilities at communication will be best utilized. For instance, a person with Mercury in the 1st House of the Outer Self would likely be extroverted, and have no problem expressing her or his true nature to others. Their life could essentially be considered a verbal open book. Conversely, someone with Mercury in the 12th House of the Inner Self may be introverted, especially secretive about his or her thoughts and ideas, and are likely hesitant to express what they really think.
On an intellectual level, the House where Mercury resides in an individual chart indicates the area of life in which we utilize our mental talents and put them to practical use. This is also the area of life where we realize our need to make contact with others and increase our academic experience. Corresponding to this, the Sign that Mercury adopts in our individual charts indicates how we communicate our mental talents to the world. Since Mercury tends to stick pretty close to the Sun, it will usually bear either the same Zodiac Sign, or one of the Signs on either side. For example, if your Sun is in Aries, it is likely that you also sport Mercury in Aries, or have it close by in either Pisces or Taurus.
Any aspects to Mercury in our charts will indicate our mental talents and communication styles in a very specific way. Mercury naturally tends to be pretty neutral as far as mental communication, perception and reasoning are concerned. When we add an aspect or two to the mix, we find that these areas of focus take on the energies of the other planets involved, including the signs and houses where they reside. For example, a person who’s Taurus-clad Mercury in the 8th House squares his or her Aquarian Jupiter in the 5th, their inherent tendency toward practical decision-making (Mercury) could become too extravagant (Jupiter) for realistic use. This person would benefit from a strong Saturn placement, which would serve to bring the individual’s brilliant ideas into more sensible, user-friendly applications.
Since Mercury is ambiguous by nature, it is capable of changing on a dime, and can easily take on the characteristics of any planets residing nearby. For example, a person with their Moon snuggled up nice and tight with Mercury would find that their emotions tend to colour their reasoning a bit, and that they are particularly sensitive to what others think of them. This understanding can assist them in recognizing the tendency as it occurs, allowing them to choose whether or not to alter their behaviour accordingly to achieve the best overall results.
In medical astrology, Mercury is associated with the nervous system, the brain, the respiratory system, the thyroid and the sense organs. Any issues that arise, or are hidden, in these areas of the physical body can be indicated easily by Mercury’s placement in our natal charts, any relationships it has with other planets, and its movement in our progressed and transit charts. As you can see, astrology can be an effective complementary diagnostic tool in the ever-expanding realm of health care.
On another practical level, Mercury’s power day of the week is Wednesday. If ever you have a need or a desire to enhance any particular area of your life that Mercury influences, choose Wednesday to begin focusing your intentions on the subject. This is a very powerful method of accessing potent Mercurian energies to manifest our desires, and create a more profound sense of personal and global well being.