The mental faculties engaged in perceiving, associating and communicating.
The concrete, mundane mind and its faculties. Perception, memory and speech. The hands and
coordination. Thought, reason and analysis. Learning and communicating. Interacting with
things and surroundings. Electricity and electrical energies. Data and information. Technology
and efficiency. Computers, transportation, cars, telephones and the media. Youth.
Mercury symbolizes the principle of interchange, association and relatedness. It gives a mental
formulation to one’s solar principle, giving one a unique reason for being. Mercury represents the coordination of our many organic, emotional and mental processes— our central nervous system
is one of its many manifestations. Mercury is also the symbol of differentiation; it steps the
unified solar force down to positive and negative electrical changes. Like the mind, which
separates and analyzes, Mercury has a dual character, shown in the mythos of Hermes, the Greek
Mercury, who was not merely the messenger of the gods, but a divine liar, theft and trickster.
Mind and language may attempt to communicate facts, but it can never do so with complete
truth and it can’t replace direct experience, because it necessarily separates the knower and the
For A Man
Although Mercury’s role in a birth chart doesn’t vary significantly for men and for women, in a
man’s horoscope Mercury indicates where a man should be able to operate best without gender
conditioning. As explored in-depth in another feature, Mercury’s angular connections with other
planets, especially Mars and Saturn, reveals how gender biases are transferred to Mercury and
For A Woman
Because Mercury is neutral, biases and prejudices can be exposed with its aid. In woman’s birth
chart, Mercury shows her best approach to attaining social recognition and equality without
engaging in or reacting to gender conditioning and sexual politics.
Mercury spends about three weeks of its 88-day cycle retrograde, and about twenty-percent of
all horoscopes feature Mercury retrograde. In a birth chart, Mercury retrograde indicates a mind
turned inward toward introspection and self-examination. Exploring one’s inner dimensions may
be easier and more inviting than dealing with “real world” issues, and the larger, philosophical
issues underlying life often hold more appeal than life’s more mundane side. One’s own ideas
and thoughts are likely to be more interesting and intriguing than those of others. Mercury
retrograde, therefore, is well-suited for writers, artist, musicians, philosophers and people whose work require the development of new ideas and high degree of concentration and creativity. Far from indicating mental slowness, Mercury retrograde figures largely in the horoscopes of some
of the most intelligent individuals of any era.
Because Mercury’s polarity is neutral, its significance when retrograde does not differ as significantly between men and women as do some other planets. Yet there are some subtle
In a man’s chart, Mercury retrograde suggests an aptitude for studiousness and intense mental work requiring long hours of solo work.
In a woman’s chart, Mercury retrograde suggests a personality who strikes out on her own, often breaking new ground and embodying the ideals of new womanhood during any era.
See the section on The Four Faces of Mercury
for more on Mercury’s significance in the birth chart. In the meantime, read an early treatment of the subject in my A Handbook for the Humanistic Astrologer
, or online browse the section on Directive Intellect
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