Mercury: from Casual Conversation to Cogitation

 Mercury Statue next to Metlife in New York City. Copyright Catherine Goshen, March 2016

The planet Mercury shows us how we think best. The ancients understood Mercury to be ‘the thinking soul’ while 17th century master astrologer William Lilly saw it to represent thought as ‘awareness’. Thought, perception, communication… Mercury reflects our mindset and entire thinking apparatus including our nervous system, which binds the brain to the body.

Traditionally neuter (neither male nor female), Mercury takes on the characteristics of the planet to which it is closest. In fact, Mercury can never be found more than one sign (or 28 degrees) from the Sun. Check your own chart! You either have Mercury in the same sign as your Sun, or in one of the signs adjacent to it. Your core identity (Sun) is linked to how you perceive the world (Mercury). Just think about that! If you change the way you perceive the world, profound identity changes may result…

If you have Mercury in either of the signs it rules, Gemini or Virgo, you’re more often than not a logical thinker. The sign of Gemini brings out the communicative and rational side of Mercury (think of the winged messenger of the gods in Greek myth), while Virgo brings Mercury’s discriminative and knowledge gathering qualities to the fore. Mercury not only rules but is also exalted (“honored”) in Virgo. This makes it strong but may cause it to operate inconsistently (and nervous tension often results).

Mercury placed in a sign opposite one of the signs it rules, in Sagittarius and Pisces, feels as if it’s in a foreign land and is said to be detrimented. In Sagittarius Mercury can be inspirational and quick – too quick sometimes! In watery Pisces Mercury may wander, struggling with an A to Z linear approach. People with these Mercury placements do well in vocations which require thinking outside of the box.

Where’s your Mercury? Is it in an earth, air, fire or water sign? Does it lend you to be subtle, elegant and discrete, or a boaster, a prattler and a tale-carrier (Lilly)? Does it serve your core identity, helping you to perceive the world and align it with your will? Or is it in a different sign to your Sun, giving you a multi-dimensional approach to your awareness?

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