Mercury in Astrology: Its Effects and Living With It


Just as in Mythology, Mercury also finds itself as a messenger in astrological realms too, responsible for everyday communication and expression.

It acts as both a destroyer and as a rebuilder, exhibiting cold characteristics such as a lack of emotion. That said, it is also curious and somewhat opportunistic.

Mercury Astrological Associations:

  • Ruler of the Gemini and Virgo zodiac signs;
  • Exalted in Virgo, weakened in Pisces, in detriment in Sagittarius;
  • Governs the third and sixth astrological houses;
  • Characteristic keyword: Rationality;
  • Associated with the color yellow;
  • Linked to Wednesdays;
  • Representative gemstone: Topaz;
  • Representative material: Mercury;

In today’s society and culture, it is often a person’s Mercury side that we see when we first meet them, thanks to impersonal communication like texting or emails – or an otherwise lack of face to face contact.

This is because Mercury determines our choice of language, and whether we opt for a wordy and emotional tone, or a more abrupt and ‘to-the-point’ way of speaking.

In the network of celestial bodies that make up our solar system, Mercury finds itself as the smallest of all the planets. As a result, it is only visible at two times in the day – once in the morning, and second at twilight.

In ancient times, the Greeks interpreted this as two separate bodies altogether, which they designated Apollo and Hermes, for the morning and evening respectively.

Generations after this, the Romans renamed it to a much more familiar Mercury, after their own God of commerce, profit and trade.

On top of communication, Mercury is also responsible for coordination – the process by which we understand and interpret things like sensory stimulus and thought, both on a surface level and on a deeper subconscious level.

Interpretation is a key element of Mercury’s role, helping us make sense of the constantly shifting world around us, how we express ourselves, how we learn and understand new information, and how we handle various types of energy.

Our Mercury side can exhibit itself in many ways. These can include being adaptable, curious and outgoing, but can also manifest itself as nervousness, being overly-analytical and irritable.

Given that Mercury is a hub of data, and is primarily concerned with communication, it makes absolute sense that our mind visits Mercury more than any other place.

When placed in a person’s chart, it highlights close brotherly relationships thanks to Gemini’s rule – emphasising brotherhood and all the love and challenges that come with it.

It is fundamental to understand that Mercury is full of knowledge and awareness, owed to its close proximity to the Sun.

It is for this reason that Mercury exhibits rationality and well thought out decisions, taking advantage of its exposure to maximum light, both literally and figuratively. It is the ultimate in expression, helping us understand our inner selves and projecting that out to the rest of the world.

On a much more individual level, Mercury reveals how a person processes and interprets information, how they work and the way in which they articulate their points to other people – in effect their general manner of communication, though this only pertains to Mercury as a sign.

Mercury shows where one’s thoughts are in terms of their life and what they think most about.

As we’ve established, Mercury is responsible for our thoughts and communications, but this is only one side of the story.

One of the key aspects of Mercury is its inherent desire for answers as well as meaning – a characteristic that can manifest itself in both good and bad ways.

It can result in an insatiable thirst for the acquiring of knowledge, however, it can also result in things like infidelity too.

Mercury is an expert in all things movement – be it walking, driving, or any kind of transportation. This lies in its thirst for knowledge, showing as adventure and wander.

It is always on the go, never stopping unless analytical problem solving is required. Mercury is able to tell us a person’s thoughts, processes and qualities.

It can also tell us much about a person’s priorities, however focused or non-sensical they seem. It epitomises the very best and the worst of our minds, simultaneously existing as the source of some of our greatest strengths, and greatest weaknesses.

When placed in a prominent position within a horoscope, Mercury can bring out one’s inquisitiveness, curiosity and wisdom – helping them articulate themselves in a thoughtful and eloquent manner.

However, if Mercury becomes too overbearing, it can inhibit one’s emotional side. As a result, a person may try to solve an emotional issue using fact and reason.

When influenced by more aggressive planets, Mercury again can have a good or bad impact on one’s being. For example, one can exhibit an increased intelligence, but then this may be utilised for the wrong reasons under worse circumstances.

In this situation, Mercury’s more unfavourable states can make a person cold, unstable, difficult to understand, and can affect them physically too, such as giving them skin issues and harming their central nervous system. This can lead to difficulties in social environments as a result of their poor communication.

As the planet closest to the Sun, Mercury takes just 88 days to complete a single orbit around our central star, and just 58.65 days to spin around its axis once.

When viewed from our own planet, it is only 28 degrees apart from our Sun at its maximum. Mercury enters its retrograde phase for around 20-24 days every third of a year.

During this time, those who are heavily under Mercury’s influence face difficulties in communication.

It stays in a single sign for approximately 25 days, with a complete journey through the entire zodiac wheel taking around 10 months.

During Mercury’s retrograde phase, it can have a very strong impact on those under its influence.

Inner goals and journeys can come to standstill, so, it is best to use this time to take a step back and reflect instead.

Any new plans should be put on hold, such as business ventures or big changes in your personal life. Instead, time spent thinking about these plans is far more productive.

Asking yourself pertinent questions about the direction of your life is of value here, putting yourself in a strong position once Mercury has left its retrograde state. For safety, it may also be worth waiting for a week or two after Mercury is no longer in retrograde.

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Joy Carter

Astrology enthusiast from an early age, there is a lot more to Joy Carter than meets the eye. She is an experienced practitioner who aims to make her work available to as many people as possible. Instagram, Twitter or Facebook