Mercury represents the capacity to communicate, perceive, observe, rationalize, and use reason, as well as to translate one’s thoughts into language, writing, or speech. It represents our sense of curiosity, what we are inspired to learn or teach about, and our style of communication.
In the birth chart of a horoscope, benefic planet Mercury represents how we communicate and the quality of our mind, generally. Its sign and house placement speak to what ignites our intellectual curiosity, the way that we make our inner world intelligible to others, and where we carry an innate intelligence or wisdom.
Mercury is exalted in Virgo because here, Mercury can use its powers of perception and analysis toward Virgoan ends of refining and perfecting a system, craft, or process.
Mercury has its joy in the 1st House of Communication because Mercury’s ability to weave information—or make the unconscious conscious—is especially potent here.
Mercury spends 2–8 weeks in each zodiac sign.
Mercury cycles through the entire zodiac once every year.
Mercury retrogrades 3–4 times a year, and its retrograde motion lasts about 3 weeks.
Mercury Symbolism and Meaning
Ancient astronomers/astrologers observed that of the five visible planets in the night sky, Mercury’s transit moved the fastest, which is how it became personified as a deity of traveling (between the living and the underworld), relaying messages, and exchange of all kinds.
Mercury is the planet of communication, which is why it represents the principle of Logos: mind, thought, reason, and all other forms of communication. It symbolizes our desire to transmit information, make conceptual connections, learn about the world, and share our knowledge with others.
Mercury in Balance
Mercury in balance can be seen as the capacity for skilled communication, heightened faculties of perception and analysis, and the ability to use reason and logic to make decisions. It can manifest as a strong intellect, a communicative flair or wit, and the ability to be versatile and adaptable in one’s thinking.
Mercury out of Balance
Mercury out of balance may manifest as the tendency to rely on an overly logical approach and a refusal to acknowledge nuance, intuition, or apply more holistic thinking. There can be a proneness to being argumentative, mentally overwhelmed, and anxious.
Psychological Aspects of Mercury
Mercury represents the psychological function of articulation and the need to render one’s inner world of thoughts into communicable form through language and writing. Mercury allows us to make sense of ourselves and the world around us and to form compatibility and bonds of connection with others based on shared understanding and interests.
Mercury in Mythology
Since ancient times and throughout many different cultures, Mercury has been conceived of as the Messenger of the Gods who is capable of traveling between the living and the underworld, a transmitter and translator of messages, and a deity of all forms of exchange, including mercantile activities and commerce. Mercury, also known as Hermes in Roman mythology, embodies a hermaphroditic quality and the ability to transcend binaries, polarities, and dualities.