Wondering: What is the meaning of my Mercury in astrology?
This article was written for the beginning as well as the advanced astrologer. By the end you’ll not only understand the meaning of your Mercury sign in astrology, but how to interpret it in any chart.
Make sure you read to the end – you’ll be able to accurately interpret Mercury in your natal chart like a pro.
- What Does Mercury Represent in Astrology?
- The Astronomy of Mercury
- Technical Details of Mercury in Astrology
- Mercury in Mythology, Magic and Numerology
- Challenging or Weak Mercury Aspects
- Mercury in Medical Astrology
- Mercury in Electional Astrology
- Weak Mercury Remedy: Meditation to Strengthen Mercury in Your Astrology Chart
- What is the Meaning of My Mercury in Astrology?
What Does Mercury Represent in Astrology?
Let’s get right into the meaning of your mercury in astrology.
You’ve probably heard conflicting information about Mercury, the closet planet to the Sun. Therefore to disabuse modern illusions, I’ll start from the ancient era of Hellenistic astrology. After, we can work our way through the ages with tips on how to strengthen Mercury in our own charts.
Mercury in Hellenistic Astrology
According to the Hellenistic astrologer Dorotheus: “If Mercury is in the ascendant…he will be reasonable, well known to everyone, desirous of instructions and words.” 1
Dorotheus describes Mercury as someone well known and intelligent, perhaps mingled in the affairs of others.
Likewise, the astrologer Manetho states that a well placed Mercury creates men of renown, well spoken people, religious leaders, businessmen, collectors of debt and more. 2
The theme of debt collection and money comes up due to Mercury’s associations with business. Being the swiftest planet (aside from the Moon) it represents exchange as it darts to and from the Sun—mimicking commercial trade routes.
Vettius Valens Anthology states that Mercury ”Rules copper and all coins used in buying and selling—for the god makes exchanges. It is blue in color, sharp in taste.”
Whereas the Moon represents our physical body and emotions, Mercury represents spirit and mind. These associations, as we will show, are correlated with underlying astronomical phenomena.
In addition to money, Valens goes on to use words such as “Education, letters, reasoning, geometry, youth, games, banking, builders, doctors, legal advisors, orators, musicians, and diviners” to describe Mercury.
In the ancient world, Mercury was all things communication, intellect, learning and exchange.
Mercury in Medieval Astrology
Following the Hellenistic astrologers, Medieval astrologers such as Al Qabisi wrote that Mercury signifies rationality and teaching.3
Likewise, another famous Medieval astrologer, Al Biruni, states that Mercury rules intelligence. Yet also notes Mercury rules business and religion. The latter due to Mercuries nimble mind and ability to get to the root of a complex problem. Religions, like businesses, have an underlying universal truth that only certain Mercurial thinkers can deconstruct and grasp.
Another Medieval astrologer, Al Biruni, asserts that Mercury rules: Complex flavors, sky blue, Wednesdays, Sandy Soil, mosques, all coins struck with name and number (currency), taste, speech, childhood, sharp intelligence, affability, elegance, farsightedness, business, secrets, theology, revelation, thieving, lying. 4
Mercury in Renaissance Astrology
After the Medieval era, Renaissance astrologer William Lilly described Mercury as “a man of a subtle and political brain and intellect, an excellent disputant or logician…a searcher into mysteries and learning without a teacher…exquisite in every science…desirous to travel…curious in the search of occult knowledge.”
The above is an indication that during the Renaissance, Mercury was still considered an intellectual planet. It is capable of all types of learning, business acumen and cunning (for good or ill).
Lilly believed it to be the planet of self expression, innovation, communication and interaction with others.
The Astronomy of Mercury
Mercury and Venus are called ‘inferior’ planets—as they are closest to the Earth.
In the ancient Geocentric model, Mercury occupied the second sphere, with the first being the Moon.
The inferiors are fast movers due to their close orbit.
As the orbits of Mercury and Venus are smaller than the other planets, they are never located far from the Sun. In fact, Mercury is always within 28 degrees of the Sun—almost one astrological sign.
This proximity to the Sun means seeing Mercury with the naked eye is rare. The Sun’s light simply drowns the planet out.
Technical Details of Mercury in Astrology
This section consists of technical details for the advanced astrologer. If that sounds like your cup of tea, read on. If not, you can skip this section and still understand what Mercury represents in astrology.
Mercury’s domiciles are Gemini and Virgo, with exaltation at 15 degrees Virgo. It is the only planet with both domicile and exaltation in one sign).5 Its depression is in the opposing sign of Sagittarius and its fall is in Pisces.
Mercury has an orb of influence of seven degrees in traditional astrology. It has a retrograde period of 24 days.
Depending on where Mercury is in relation to the Sun, its significations will change. As Firmicus notes: “If Mercury is a morning star, he is delighted by day with the Sun, but if an evening star, by night with the Moon.”6
Explaining what constitutes a morning star, astrologer Chris Brennan explains that “Mercury…is a morning star, by rising before the Sun on the day of the native’s birth, …he is an evening star, by setting after the Sun on the day of the native’s birth.”7
Mercury’s ability to transcend categories puts it in a similar situation in the Ptolemaic elemental scheme of hot, cold, wet, and dry.
According to Ptolemy, Mercury finds itself capable of being both wet or dry depending on its relation to the Sun and Moon.
Mercury is the only planet capable of being masculine or feminine. According to medieval astrologer Ibn Ezra: “Mercury is mixed…at times masculine, and at times feminine, at times of the day planets and at times of the night planets, at times benefic and at times malefic.”8
In the elemental triplicity scheme, Mercury finds itself as the night ruler of the air element.
Mercury has the ability to transcend categories.
The astronomer Kepler recognized Mercury as a hermaphrodite in his harmonic system. He stated that Mercury “Will belong indifferently to all the Modes or Tones on account of the greatness of its range.”9
Mercury and the Planetary Joys
Due to the close proximity of Mercury and the Sun, Mercury has been interpreted as building upon the Sun’s spiritual attributes with intelligence and reason.
In fact, in the ancient planetary joys scheme, here outlined by Chris Brennan, Mercury resides in the first house.
In the first, the ascendant can be below or above the Sun. This implies that Mercury is capable of traversing both the “higher” world of spirit and the “lower” world of body. It acts as a messenger between the worlds.
A harmonious Mercury imparts logic and reason, superseding raw faith and hope. It balances the raw spirit and emotion of the Sun and Moon with a fierce intellect.
In the joys system, the Sun resides in the ninth house, forming a harmonious trine with first house Mercury. The Moon is placed in the third house, which forms a harmonious sextile with Mercury.
This implies that Mercury works as an intermediary for the luminaries. Through trine and sextile, it helps bring the solar/lunar will to our first house of body and expression.
A harmonious Mercury creates a person who searches for spiritual answers but doesn’t settle for regurgitated religious dogma. An example might be an expert in astrology. This person would have a mercurial mind that digs deep, building on both astronomical science and astrological art.
Mercury in Mythology, Magic and Numerology
In numerology readings, depending on the system used, Mercury can be associated with different numbers.
According to Israel Regardie, an expert in the Western Hermetic Quaballah, “An octagon will indicate ceremonial work of a mercurial nature, since eight is the number of Hod, the Sephirah to which Mercury is attributed.”10
Here the number eight being attributed to Mercury is strictly due to its Hermetic association with the lower sphere of Hod on the tree of life.
Yet, according to the numerologist Cheiro, who follows Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa in his numerology, the number five is the true mercurial digit: “The period of the number 5 is the Zodiacal Sign of Gemini, from the 21st May to the 20th June. It is ruled by the Planet Mercury in its positive aspect, and has the 5 for its number.”
Another fun fact is that day of the week representing Mercury is Wednesday— due to its relation to the Norse God Odin. Hence, the old Germanic word “Wodin” became a root of our English “Wednesday”.
Ancient Gods Representing Mercury
The Roman God Mercury, much like the planet, is the God of traders, travelers, and merchants.
He wore a brimmed cap, a cloak, and carried a purse as necessary for trade.
The name ‘Mercury’ is itself related to the Latin word for merchant (mercari).
Mercury was known for his speed. He wore winged sandals, an allusion to the astronomically swift planet. His speed made him the ideal communicator and messenger of the Gods.
Mercury’s antics as a juvenile associated him with thievery and lies.
The equivalent Greek God was Hermes. Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia. He was the God of travel, commerce, rhetoric, luck, herds, and medicine. His ability to travel between realms made him the guide of souls in the underworld.
Hermes carried the caduceus, a symbol of power to move between realms.
The caduceus had two snakes, wings sprouting from the sides, and a sphere on top.
The Caduceus was a symbol of peace as Mercury “threw his rod between two fighting snakes and stopped their battle, at which point they wrapped themselves around the rod.”
“As Above, So Below”
In Egypt, according to Aleister Crowley, the God Mercury was “Tahuti or Thoth, he invented the art of writing and became a patron of letters…The astrologer, therefore, considers the planet Mercury as pre-eminently influencing the intellect, with all its splendour, trickeries and basenesses.”
In the system of alchemy, Paracelsus devised a theory of three primes, in which ratios of the three primal elements could be altered to create an entirely new substance. Alchemists believed that every substance was derived from some combination of these three base elements. One of the elements was Mercury.
Alchemical Mercury represented both life and death. It was the medium that crossed between worlds of spirit and matter. It was the medium that animated the substance.
As in the astrological sense, alchemical Mercury it was the unifying ghost that brought together body and spirit.
Known as quicksilver, the element Mercury was intriguing to the ancients because of its metallic hue and ability to maintain liquid form at room temperature. The ancient alchemists believed it to be the innate component in all metals which gave them metallic properties.
Mercury was used in everything from talisman making, ceremonies, gold extraction, medicine, embalming, and later thermometers.
It is now known to be extremely toxic, causing severe neurotoxicity and disease.
The earliest mention of elemental Mercury comes from Aristotle, who referred to it as fluid-silver. It derives from Cinnabar, a natural substance found near volcanoes.
Challenging or Weak Mercury Aspects
Now that you understand the ‘why’ of Mercury. You’ll begin to see how a poorly placed Mercury is detrimental to planning, business, and patience.
The Hellenistic astrologer Manetho states: “Mercury in detrimental configurations…fashions foul-mouthed persons, those who speak foolishly…scornful laughers(sic) and those who have varied tales in jesting, gamblers and mimes.”11
Thus, Mercury, at its worst, creates liars, gamblers and cheaters. It is anyone out for themselves that isn’t thinking about tomorrow. It is the quintessential scoundrel.
Renaissance astrologer William Lilly takes it a step further. Stating a negative Mercury makes someone “Troublesome, his tongue and pen against every man.. a great liar..boaster, busy body, tale carrier, addicted to wicked arts..cheating..pretending.”
negative Mercury is a trickster and a showoff. It doesn’t think through the consequences of its actions.
Aleister Crowley writes in his Treatise on Astrology that Mercury was a “playful, mischievous, prankish boy…He was the master of science and knowledge…but the childish knavery persists…so that Mercury became the patron of all kinds of thieves and rogues.”
Consequently, it’s important to keep an eye on Mercury to avoid its pitfalls.
Mercury in Medical Astrology
Mercury in medical astrology carries both Gemini and Virgo significations, meaning it represents diseases related to these signs. The most prominent being respiratory, spinal, pulmonary, motor, gastro and nervous disorders. These significations vary depending on what sign Mercury is in.
Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens states in the Anthology that Mercury “Rules the hands, the shoulders, the fingers, the joints, the belly, the sense of hearing, the arteries, the intestines, the tongue.
Jane Ridder Patrick notes in ‘A Handbook of Medical Astrology’12 that “The areas ruled by the sign of natal Mercury are susceptible to nervous system glitches when Mercury’s natural style of communication is compromised, impeded or overburdened in some way.”
Mercury symptoms manifest as physical, mental, or emotional—depending on sign and placement.
Mercury in Electional Astrology
Electional astrology is the art of pre-planning an event to start at a specific time for greater success. At your chosen time the planets will be aligned, assuring you the best possible result in your undertaking. Think of it as a birthchart for your specific event.
In the art of elections, Mercury represents mathematics, study, trade, commerce, business, writing, travel, politics, or arguments—Any situation in which a strong mind is required.
When preparing for study or business, I always make sure Mercury well placed. In electional astrology, it’s important to make sure your topical planet is harmonious, preferably with the Moon.
Also, place it in a sign and house that makes it prominent. Make sure your Mercury isn’t afflicted by a malefic planet, and that it stays in the house of the topic. You’ll have much more success in your projects if you follow these rules.
I offer full consultations to help you choose elections for any event. By choosing the right time to start your project, you are much more likely to succeed. I find that my projects almost always end with greater success when I plan them out astrologically.
Weak Mercury Remedy: Meditation to Strengthen Mercury in Your Astrology Chart
What should you do when Mercury is weak?
Join me on a journey to strengthen Mercury in your birthchart. We’ll learn how to get in touch with intellect and self expression.
First, sit down in a chair and light a blue candle. Stare at this candle, breathe in and out slowly a few times.
Next, count the number one while breathing in. As you breathe out, imagine your breath feeding the blue candle flame as it grows brighter.
Breathe in again and count the number two. Breathe out and feed the flame.
Do this repeatedly until you reach the number ten.
Picture the candle growing brighter in front of you. Visualize the flames reaching out to you, massaging your throat. As you breathe in this flame, the light fills your body.
With each breath the light grows—expanding into your chest and arms, until there is nothing but bright light filling your torso. Focus on this area. You are filled with the light of pure potential.
Visualize this light surrounding your head, penetrating in and out of your ears, mouth, and eyes. Bask in this light, knowing it is truth.
Now, close your eyes and imagine that you are sitting in a great library. There are multiple stories going as high as the eye can see. There are rows upon rows of bookshelves and documents.
You soon realize that this is the mental realm—where the akashic records of all history are stored.
As you stare a man approaches you. He appears middle eastern, wearing a turban with a beard. He asks what knowledge you seek. You can know anything you choose, he says.
As you reply, he slowly turns and guides you to an elevator, taking you to a secret floor.
When exiting the elevator, you are guided to a section with rows upon rows of crystal shelves. The guide explains that these shelves contain what you seek.
One row has the files of your own life. He points and tells you to speak into a device, and the knowledge you seek will appear before you.
When you speak, focus on what you want, the guide explains. He hands you a key and walks away.
You place the key into the shelf-lock, speak into the device, and ask for what you seek. The shelf opens revealing a book. At first the words appear garbled, but, remembering what your guide said, you focus. As you breathe in, the words begin to make sense.
Read this book in your mind. Hear the words spoken. What does it say to you?
As you open your eyes, you feel invigorated. Reflect on what you’ve learned in this place. Know that it is real. Know that your Mercury and knowledge of self is strong.
If you’d like a personalized ritual made just for you, book a consultation today. Learn to disintegrate negative influences, and transmute yourself into what you want to be.
What is the Meaning of My Mercury in Astrology?
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You’re ready to interpret the meaning of Mercury in your own astrology chart.
We’ve shown that Mercury is intellect, commerce, travel, communication, and all things interactive.
Next, let’s apply these attributes to the sign and house of your Mercury. This will narrow down its meaning.
For example, you have Mercury in Aries. Aries has a lot of vitality, energy, and likes to take action (and risks). This sign is known as self assertive. It likes to be a leader of projects, and doesn’t like taking orders.
Now, let’s take these Aries attributes and apply them to Mercury. Hence a Mercury in Aries would be an excellent public speaker, able to get crowds on their side. They’d love to start new business ventures and would have no problem drumming up support for their cause. They would be ‘hands on’ when setting up their organizations, but may quickly get bored as tropical Aries has a hard time sticking with things until the very end.
The same would apply to a Mercury/Aries education. They would always be on the lookout for new information, quickly absorbing it. They would enthusiastically and seriously apply themselves to their studies. They’d absorb information by sharing what they’ve learned in a group they lead. Yet they may quickly decide they know enough and move onto the next (more exciting) topic.
Now, let’s apply the above to the house Mercury is in. For this example, I’ll place Mercury in the seventh house of partnerships.
If a Mercury in Aries was in the seventh house of the ‘other’, this may mean that the native looks for an outgoing partner with excellent education and communication skills. It may also mean that they enter into a business partnership with a spouse or family member. This person would be able to gain support through excellent speaking, writing, and business talents. Whatever the case, conversations with their partner will never be dull.
These attributes could further change depending on other planets aspecting Mercury, for good or bad.
If you’ve read this entire article, congratulations, you’re a Mercury champ! You’ve learned that Mercury in an astrology birthchart is an intellectual refinement of the planets, signs and houses.
Mercury brings planning, communication and intellect to your chart points—Allowing them to formulate and actualize their goals.
If you’d like help interpreting your Mercury sign, or need tips to strengthen your birthchart placements, sign up for my my newsletter. Get free forecasts, interpretations, meditations and more.
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- Pingree, Dorotheus. Carmen Astrologicum. Abington: Astrology Classics, 2005, 230.
- Manetho, Lopilato Translation. The Apotelesmatika Of Manetho. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2006.
- Abu Mashar & Al Quabisi, Dykes Translation. Introductions to Traditional Astrology. Minnesota: Cazimi Press, 2010, 277.
- Biruni, Al. The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology. Minnessota: Luzac & Co, 2006.
- Pingree, Dorotheus. Carmen Astrologicum. Abington: Astrology Classics, 2005, 2.
- Maternus, Firmicus; Thomas Taylor Translation. Ocellus Lucanus / Firmicus: Of The Thema Mundi. London: Forgotten Books, 2018, 54.
- Brennan, Chris. Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune. Denver: Amor Fati Publications, 2017, 190.
- Abraham Ibn Ezra and Epstein, Hand. The Beginning of Wisdom. Park Ridge: Arhat, 1998, 11. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Beginning_of_Wisdom/fIZgPwAACAAJ
- Kepler, Johannes, Wallis Translation. Harmonies of the World. Create Space, 2014, 48.
- Regardie, Israel. The Tree of Life: An Illustrated Study in Magic. 3rd ed., St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2005, 162.
- Manetho, Lopilato Translation. The Apotelesmatika Of Manetho. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2006.
- Ridder-Patrick, Jane. A Handbook of Medical Astrology. United Kingdom: CrabApple Press, 2006, 52 https://www.google.com/books/edition/A_Handbook_of_Medical_Astrology/mCvvAAAACAAJ