The closest planet to the Sun is Mercury, known to the ancient Greeks as the messenger god, Hermes, or in Egypt as Thoth. Mercury symbolizes the mind, thoughts, and communication.
Plato described the intellect as being the highest faculty of the soul with its virtue reason or wisdom. Mercury represents perception and understanding, and is the part of us that thinks and learns.
The individuality (Sun) uses the mind (Mercury) to express itself and adapt itself to creation. The intellect stays close to its source of light and functions as a mediator between the soul and the emotional, imaginative, and physical expressions.
Mercury is the fastest planet in this solar system. Moving at 30 miles per second, it completes its orbit in 88 days and rotates on its axis once in the same period of time. As we look at Mercury from Earth, it is always within 28 degrees of the Sun, and appears to move backward in retrograde motion about three times a year when it is passing the Earth in its orbit.
In a horoscope Mercury will always be in the same sign as the Sun or in the sign on either side. Its forward and backward motion symbolizes the mind's activity in past and future events and ideas. Mercury indicates how a person's mind will function in their thought processes, learning, and communication expression.
Mercury relates to youth who can learn so quickly, because they adapt and change continually. Mercury expresses quickness, speed, and movement. Competition with fellow students or brothers and sisters often spurs them on to learn more, be best, or fastest, etc.
By doing many different activities the Mercurial person develops many skills and versatility; they can change to suit any environment. They can learn quickly, but it takes perseverance and concentrated effort to develop a skill to a high potential.
Mercury signifies the nervous system of the body, which sends and receives messages. Outer perception of the world and inner perception of the self, observation and understanding, are both clarified by the frequencies of yellow light, a vibration associated with Mercury.
The connection from Spirit to the body, or from the physical to the mind is facilitated by Mercury and the nervous system. Language, also a Mercury expression, is an important connection mentally between people and their thoughts, not only words, but gesture, art, and the subtle nuances that can be perceived by attentive observation.
A man I met several years ago was telling a group of us that William James appeared to him in meditation. When he asked James for suggestions, he told the man to work with the concept and technique of "attention." Simply this means where we place our attention or direct our consciousness, being aware or attentive.
Mercury and the mind are like a great lens or focus device; it is an instrument we use to focus our awareness. The soul is the true experiencer of the consciousness, but our direction and consequent awareness depends on how and where we focus the mind. The mind is tremendously powerful; how we use it is up to us.
Mercury in the Signs
Mercury in Aries makes the mind active, quick, assertive, idealistic, innovative, independent, and forceful. Thoughts will tend to come in surges, with much enthusiasm for new ideas, starting projects, and initiating mental activities. The mind may be somewhat combative and argumentative and can easily be motivated by selfish concerns in addition to being impulsive, inventive, and creative.
Mercury in Taurus makes the mind practical, constructive, determined, deliberative, patient, persevering, stubborn, and steady. Thoughts tend to be considered, slow, conservative, and indelibly registered. The mind is able to hold ideas, give careful judgments, evaluate feelings, and appreciate the arts and music.
Mercury in Gemini is dignified making the mind quick, versatile, perceptive, observant, studious, logical, ingenious, clever, inquisitive, and ever active. Thoughts are free, restless, changeable, and adaptable. The mind is communicative, witty, humorous, fast, usually open and skilled in language, science, and the arts.
Mercury in Cancer makes the mind receptive, emotional, reflecting, retentive, impressionable, sensitive, and intuitive. Thoughts tend to be connected to feelings, the surroundings, and often have a good sense of rhythm. The mind tends to think about feelings and can be susceptible to depression.
Mercury in Leo is fallen making the mind willful, commanding, creative, expressive, noble, compassionate, comprehensive, speculative, confident, generous, and dramatic. Thoughts are often general, proud, dignified, organized, and artistic. The mind usually can concentrate well, focusing its energies in a particular direction like a laser.
Mercury in Virgo is dignified making the mind logical, scientific, critical, diligent, prudent, perceptive, detailed, discriminative. Thoughts tend to be analytical, systematic, lucid, correct, businesslike, skeptical, and probing. The mind likes to learn, experiment, and serve by evaluation and discernment.
Mercury in Libra makes the mind rational, balanced, indecisive, comparing, compromising, and esthetic. Thoughts tend to be a series of reasons or arguments the way lawyers or diplomats think and talk. The mind is continually weighing and seeking justice, fairness, balance, harmony, and proportion. The mind is attracted to literature and the arts.
Mercury in Scorpio makes the mind probing, shrewd, secretive, resourceful, penetrating, dynamic, investigating, diagnosing, bold, witty, and even sarcastic or biting. Thoughts tend to be intuitive, psychic, forceful, intense, and acute. The mind is interested in motivation, mysteries, psychism, death, and mysticism, often asking why.
Mercury in Sagittarius is in detriment making the mind roving, versatile, aspiring, broad, exploring, and restless. Thoughts tend to be free, philosophical, religious, and intellectual, attempting to understand principles. The mind likes travel, changes, intellectual stimulation, teaching, athletics, and outdoor activities.
Mercury in Capricorn makes the mind methodical, profound, resourceful, cautious, persevering, painstaking, dry, careful, serious, reserved, conservative, traditional, and observant. Thoughts tend to be slow but deep, pragmatic, organized, discriminating, calculated, and orderly. The mind can be manipulative, authoritarian, controlling, aware of limits, and responsible.
Mercury in Aquarius is exalted making the mind scientific, inventive, original, strong, detached, theoretical, idealistic, and humanitarian. Thoughts tend to be clever, witty, eccentric, radical, dialectical, synthetic, perceptive, and socially conscious. The mind is psychological and likes to study people and social issues, often having very advanced ideas.
Mercury in Pisces is in detriment making the mind intuitive, impressionable, sensitive, subtle, deep, changeable, indecisive, and receptive. Thoughts tend to be imaginative, dualistic, dreamy, artistic, poetic, and humorous. The mind is dramatic, spiritual, idealistic, metaphysical, can have an active fantasy life, and likes to understand many things.
Mercury in the Houses
Mercury in the first house focuses the mind on the self and personality, making them adaptable, changeable, youthful, competitive, excitable, nervous, inquiring, witty, communicative, eloquent or talkative, logical, sharp, and perceptive. One is usually alert to new information with quick comprehension and can be quite persuasive.
Mercury in the second house focuses the mind on values, finances, and possessions. One may have talent in writing or the arts as a communicator and quick worker. Changes in finances and material goods may require adaptability.
Mercury in the third house is dignified focusing the mind on learning, school, competition with siblings of fellow students, and communication. One may learn through conversation, reading, and an active early education may be important. One usually likes communicating and traveling with messages.
Mercury in the fourth house focuses the mind on the home and family life. The mind is intuitive and concerned with roots, loyalties, and the environment. One often prefers to study and learn at home or in a comfortable setting. Changes in residence may require adaptability in one's home life.
Mercury in the fifth house is fallen focusing the mind on children, play, entertainment, and personal happiness. The mind may be creative, dramatic, speculative, and comprehensive in delegating and organizing. One may prefer that games, sports, and entertainment have an educational or intellectual component.
Mercury in the sixth house is dignified focusing the mind on work, improvement, practical necessities, science, and technology. One likes to analyze, criticize, and serve others, preferring work that is mental. Health may be changeable requiring adaptability, self-examination, and discipline. The mind is good at learning techniques and crafts.
Mercury in the seventh house focuses the mind on relationships, partnerships, and marriage. One likes mental relations and responds to ideas. One's partners will tend to be intellectual, communicative, and youthful. One learns from others especially through conversation and give and take.
Mercury in the eighth house focuses the mind in research, investigation, diagnosis, sex, legacies, and death. One likes to perceive and even manipulate motivations. Relationship often involve mental work, and one can learn from the values of others. One may be interested in psychic, occult, and mystical things.
Mercury in the ninth house is in detriment focusing the mind on higher education, intellectual pursuits, travel, and foreign countries. One may be a teacher or like to learn from teachers. The mind likes to explore philosophy, religion, and diverse cultures. Changes in travel may stimulate learning and growth.
Mercury in the tenth house focuses the mind on career and how one is known in the world. One likes to use one's mind in practical ways in order to accomplish goals and attain higher positions. One may use knowledge and ideas in one's work and can be quite competitive.
Mercury in the eleventh house is exalted and focuses the mind on social activities and concerns. One often has many acquaintances particularly among young people, and friends are often gained from school, intellectual, and social organizations. One communicates with many people and is interested in social reform.
Mercury in the twelfth house is detriment and focuses the mind through intuition, contemplation, and meditation. One is often interested in the hidden, mysterious, mystical, the unfortunate, and institutions of social rehabilitation. One usually likes to study in a quiet or solitary environment.
ASTROLOGY TIME PATTERNS (faq)