An illustration of planet Mercury that shows its pitted, and speckled grey surface

Mercury Astrology Facts:

Glyph: Mercury Glyph
Ruler of: Communication, Intelligence, The Mind
Named for: The Roman Messenger of the Gods
Sign of Dignity: Gemini & Virgo
Sign of Detriment: Sagittarius
Sign of Exaltation: Virgo
Sign of Fall: Pisces
Physical Body: Brain, nervous system, lungs, arms, hands, tongue, bowels
Changes Sign: Every 3-4 weeks

What Does Mercury Represent?

Although it is but little, it is speedy! Named for the Roman Messenger of the Gods, Mercury is the smallest planet (aside from dwarf planet Pluto) in our solar system and the closest to the Sun.

But don’t let its size fool you — Mercury is quick and influential. Mercury is known as the Planet of the Mind, governing intelligence, communication, and mental activity. Its position amongst the stars influences the shifts in our thoughts and communications with one another from one day to the next.

Mercury also rules transportation, intellect, and short-distance travel.

This planet is known for its adaptability, fluctuations, and changeability, depending on its environment. Depending on the zodiac sign it is in on a given day, thought patterns can be either quick, strict, and linear, or slower, creative, and intuitive.

Mercury also rules the parts of the body that are integral to communication and self-expression, including the voice, the tongue, and the hands.

This celestial body also oversees how we “communicate” with our environment, meaning our flexibility and adaptability to our surroundings. Think of this planet as the bridge between the brain and the nervous system—how our bodies react to what the brain perceives and vice versa.

As the ruler of the central nervous system, it also determines how quickly or slowly we act and react depending on what sign he resides in at the time. Since he moves so quickly through the signs, Mercury’s influence shifts often.

In the Birth Chart

Your Mercury sign is the zodiac sign in which Mercury was at the time of your birth. Because this planet is never far from the Sun (within 28°), it is always placed in the birth chart in the same sign as the Sun, the sign directly before, or the sign directly after.

Mercury’s placement in the natal chart speaks to the nature of an individual’s communication and the way the mind works: 

  • Fire signs thought & communication is confident, outspoken, impulsive, opinionated, and direct.
  • Air signs thought & communication is quick, witty, rational, controlled, and erratic.
  • Earth signs – thought & communication is practical, perceptive, logical, controlled, and analytical.
  • Water signs – thought & communication is emotional, imaginative, intuitive, unfocused, and empathetic.

What Does Mercury Retrograde Mean?

You may already know that when a planet is in retrograde, it appears to be moving backward, and thus, its energy shifts. It’s not actually moving backward, but it is an optical illusion, so it appears to be. When Mercury goes retrograde, many things feel challenging, especially communication and transportation. 

Mercury retrogrades occur so often that it has become something of a joke in the astrology community. For three weeks, 3-4 times a year, this planet goes retrograde, causing argumentstechnological failure, and general misunderstandings

However, if you learn to work with the power of retrogrades, rather than against them, you’ll be just fine!

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