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Everything You Need to Know about the Ruling Planet Mercury

Andrea has been an online writer for 8+ years. She mostly writes about dating, couples, weddings, travel, interior design, and gardening.

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Learning about the Ruling Planet Mercury

The first planet in our solar system is named after the Roman god Mercury. He is the equivalent of Hermes in Greek mythology.

Mercury was the messenger of the gods. He spoke on behalf of Jupiter. He is associated with a long list of tasks and chores. He often was an amicable guide.

In astrology, the planet Mercury influences communication, travel, and planning. When Mercury is in retrograde, people’s lives tend to get bent out of shape. The mischievous planet likes to show our flaws.

Mercury in retrograde is meant for a time of reflection and staying at home. You’re not supposed to make big changes to your life during a Mercury retrograde, which occurs about 3–4 times a year.

Gemini and Virgo

Mercury rules over the zodiac signs Gemini and Virgo. Both of these signs are considered intelligent. They have great potential to bring about change.

  • Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac. The air sign is mutable and rules the end of spring. Gemini is about dualism. The sign is represented by twins. Most Geminis seek out and find a partner; they typically don’t like to be alone. Geminis are dynamic, witty, talkative, full of tangled thoughts, they’re jacks of all trades, and they’re fairly amicable. Gemini rules the arms and shoulders. (Gemini has an active inner child unlike any other.)
  • Virgo is the sixth sign of the zodiac. The earth sign is mutable; it rules the end of summer. Virgo is represented by the maiden. Many of the myths around Virgo have to do with the story of Persephone and the harvest. Virgos are often solitary creatures; they’re often the last people to couple up with a partner. . . if at all. The Virgo is hard-working, a perfectionist, down-to-earth, cerebral, and logical. Virgos like to keep their spaces clean and unoccupied. Virgo rules the chest.

Mercury’s influence gives mortals a piece of what it’s like to be a god. Humans have the most complex minds of any known species. They have the highest capacity for language and creative expression. They’re the clear apex predators with superpower level imagination, intelligence, and communication skills.

Mercury is also considered the planet of technology. Through advanced technology, we can now communicate with anyone in the world in seconds.

Mercury Traits

CategoryMercury

Sun Signs

Gemini and Virgo

Modality

Mutable

Rules

Communication, travel, thoughts, technology, boundaries, plans, intelligence, reason, logic.

Effects

Swift influence. Associated with first impressions. People report having an influence from the planet during Mercury retrograde.

Element

Air and Earth

Mercury in the Natal (Birth) Chart

Someone with a great deal of influence from Mercury is said to be curious, adaptable, and indecisive. Both Gemini and Virgo are mutable signs, which is the most flexible modality. On the negative side, they can be overly sarcastic, judgmental, and anxious.

  • All the talkative energy that Gemini and Virgo are gifted with can be a curse. It can result in a higher resting heart rate, moodiness, aloofness, and turbulence.
  • Both Gemini and Virgo need to practice meditation in order to still their busy minds.

Both Gemini and Virgo have the ability to improvise and use quick wit. If you have in your natal chart Gemini or Virgo, you will be gifted with charisma. You will especially have strong communication skills if your sun sign or mercury sign is Gemini or Virgo.

Gemini is considered the sign of communication. Air is already considered the element of thoughts and speech. Gemini gets a boost of the air element with Mercury. The twin sign is often the smartest person in the room, but because they have so many thoughts, ideas, and words — they can be difficult for people to understand.

Virgo’s earth energy keeps her modest and plain. She is quieter than Gemini. She is on a conquest to get every detail correct, and she doesn’t like to be bothered by superfluous noise or showiness. Virgos tend to prioritize their reputations. They want to be seen and revered for their sense of virtue. There is no such thing as perfection, so they often feel defeated and like they never measure up. Virgos are not only prone to anxiety but also depression.

Mercury's Influence

Mercury orbits around the sun much faster than the other planets. The planet’s influence on our lives is short-term and fleeting. We feel it in those short aching periods of Mercury retrograde.

The planet reflects your communication style. It’s about how you formulate and nourish ideas, how you organize your thoughts, how you analyze your surroundings, and make sense of the world.

First impressions are all about what we notice in first communications. First impressions are fleeting, sometimes not even memorable. As we learn more about people, we peel off layers and uncover pieces we didn’t notice in the beginning.

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Mercury dictates whether you write bluntly and to the point without a drop of emotion, or whether you write eloquently and have an extensive vocabulary. (For fun, I looked up my Mercury on my Natal chart, it’s apparently an Aquarius Mercury. This makes a lot of sense to me.)

Facts about the Closest Planet to the Sun

Romans named the planet after Mercury because of its fast pace around the sun. Mercury was known as the swift-footed messenger.

  • The Sumerians knew about the planet at least 5,000 years ago.
  • Heraclitus correctly noted that both Mercury and Venus orbit around the Sun and not Earth.
  • The surface temperature can reach 840 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • At night, temperatures plummet to -275 F.
  • The planet has the greatest temperature swing in the solar system.
  • It is the smallest planet. It is slightly larger than our moon.
  • Mercury doesn’t have a significant atmosphere to stop impacts, so it is riddled with craters.
  • Scientists have theorized that a large impact may have contributed to the planet’s unusual spin.
  • The planet has water ice in the craters around its north pole.
  • Mercury is the second densest planet after Earth.
  • The planet may have Mercuryquakes. Volcanic activity reshaped the planet, but activity likely stopped some 3.5 billion years ago.
Mercury is one of the most important gods in Roman mythology. He had a long list of jobs from communicating messages from gods to mortals, and guiding souls to the underworld. He was considered the god of commerce, travel, messages, speed, and more.

Mercury is one of the most important gods in Roman mythology. He had a long list of jobs from communicating messages from gods to mortals, and guiding souls to the underworld. He was considered the god of commerce, travel, messages, speed, and more.

Mercury in Roman Mythology

Mercury is one of the 12 Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. He is a major god in Roman mythos. He rules commerce, messages, communication, divination, eloquence, travel, luck, boundaries, and even tricksters and thieves. He is given many tasks and responsibilities because of his intelligence and mutability.

The god also served as the guide of souls to the underworld. The term for this is called: psychopomp. Mercury had the incredible ability to speak with both gods and mortals. He quite literally could step into the normal Earth plane and hop back into the cosmos.

Important Notes about Mercury

  • His symbols include: the Caduceus, winged sandals, winged hat, tortoises, rams, and roosters.
  • Other names: Mercurius, Merqurius, Mirqurios, Mircurios.
  • He is celebrated on Wednesday, the middle of the week, when critical communications must take place.
  • His big festival day was on May 15th, the Mercuralia. During the event, merchants sprinkled water from his sacred well onto their heads.
  • Parents: Maia and Jupiter, or Caelus and Dies (Cicero and Hyginus).
  • Consort: Larunda.
  • Children: Lares.

Mercury is often depicted with a caduceus in his left hand. Apollo gave him a magic wand, which was later turned into the caduceus, the staff with the intertwined snakes.

The word Mercury is possibly related to the Latin word merx: merchandise, merchant, commerce, etc.

Mercury didn’t appear in the early phase of Roman religion. As Roman religion was synchronized with Greek religion, he began to appear in texts. His cult was influenced by the Etruscan religion; he shares many characteristics with Turms.

Mercury often appeared with a rooster, a symbol to herald in the new day. He was also depicted with a ram or goat, a symbol of fertility. The tortoise was a reference to a myth that Mercury invented a lyre out of a tortoiseshell.

Ovid wrote that Mercury carried Morpheus’ dreams to sleeping humans. He was depicted on two early bronze coins of the Roman Republic.

Julius Caesar noted Mercury was the most popular god in Britain and Gaul. He was considered the inventor of all art. The lore around him spread to remote and rustic areas.

Mercury’s temple in Rome was in the Circus Maximus, between the Aventine and Palatine hills. It was built in 495 BCE. His temple was regarded as a great place to worship a commerce and travel god in part because it was near a racetrack.

Mercury was borrowed from the Greek Hermes. The archetype itself is hard to trace back. It may be as old as some myths in Mesopotamia.

Mercury was borrowed from the Greek Hermes. The archetype itself is hard to trace back. It may be as old as some myths in Mesopotamia.

Borrowing from Greek Mythology

Before there was Mercury, there was Hermes. He was likely a pre-Hellenic god: the exact origins are unclear.

Some scholars think the Hermes-archetype may have come from Mesopotamia. Ningishzida was a god that was seen as the messenger between gods and mortals. Depictions of the god showed him with a caduceus. The caduceus in Greece was said to have the power to make people sleep or wake up, and it had the power to create peace.

Hermes cults were established in rural remote regions of Greece. He was considered a god of good luck for farmers and shepherds. People also believed Mercury and Hermes had shamanistic healing abilities and that he knew magic. (In modern times, Carl Jung considered Hermes a core part of psychology as the mediator between the conscious and unconscious mind.)

Hermes may have also had connections or thematic overlaps with the god Pan. In some tales, Pan is Hermes’ son. Pan was known as a rambunctious shepherding-god.

In Archaic Greece, Hermes was often depicted as a mature man with a beard. He was dressed as a traveler or shepherd.

In Classical and Hellenistic Greece, Hermes was usually depicted as young, short, athletic, and clean-shaven. Instead of a winged hat, sometimes he wore a petasos, a wide-brimmed hat used as protection against sunlight.

Hermes carried many precious things with him:

  • In art, he often appears with a purse or a bag to carry coins.
  • He had a cloak of invisibility.
  • He lent a golden sword to Perseus to slay Medusa.

Hermes acted as a jack of all trades, an ambitious traveler, and a charismatic talker. These traits are often associated with the element of air. In many ways, Gemini represents the god Mercury.

Virgo appears to be more influenced by the planet rather than representative of it. Virgo better fits the story of Persephone and Hades.

The Greatest Role: Traveling with Souls

The earliest associations with Hermes are chthonic. That means he was heavily associated with death and the underworld. His first job was to travel between Earth and the underworld with the newly departed. His image was often put on gravestones in Greece.

Hermes was also associated with fertility. Families wanting more children would place objects in their homes related to him. They hoped this would improve their luck at having children.

References

  1. Alarcão, Jorge de (1988). Roman Portugal. Volume I: Introduction (p. 93). Warminster: Aris and Phillips.
  2. Biswas, Sukumar (2000). Cosmic Perspectives in Space Physics. Astrophysics and Space Science Library. Springer. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-7923-5813-8.
  3. Davies, M. E.; Dwornik, S. E.; Gault, D. E.; Strom, R. G. (1978). NASA Atlas of Mercury. NASA Scientific and Technical Information Office.
  4. Espenak, Fred (April 21, 2005). "Transits of Mercury". NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Retrieved May 20, 2008.
  5. Glossary to Ovid's Fasti, Penguin edition, by Boyle and Woodard at 343
  6. Gold, Lauren (May 3, 2007). "Mercury has molten core, Cornell researcher shows". Chronicle Online. Cornell University. Retrieved May 12, 2008.
  7. Littleton, C. Scott (Ed.) (2002). Mythology: The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth and Storytelling (pp. 195, 251, 253, 258, 292). London: Duncan Baird Publishers. ISBN 1-904292-01-1.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

Comments

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on March 26, 2021:

Interesting.

Mubarak from INDIA on March 25, 2021:

Perfect knowledge about geography. Thanks for sharing.

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