“Memories of everything…
Of lemon trees on Mercury
Come to me with remedies…
From five or six of seven seas
You always took me with a smile
When I was down…
Memories of everything
That blew thru…” ~ Red Hot Chili Peppers, “On Mercury”
First rock from the Sun with a year lasting just 88 days, the scorched, uninhabitable world known as Mercury is named for the Roman god Mercury, who was considered to be the “messenger to the gods.” Ruler of Gemini and Virgo, Mercury’s influence in your natal chart governs the way you think and your ability to reason. Additionally, it rules education, the immediate environment, particularly neighbors, siblings and cousins, short trips, messages and all forms of communication (speaking, writing, email, etc.), as well as physical dexterity. Because communication is a hallmark trait of the Air signs and Mercury rules communication, Mercury tends to be at its best when its placement in a chart is in an Air sign (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius).
Mercury stays in each sign of the zodiac for 7.33 days before moving into the next one. In addition, because of its close proximity to the Sun, your Mercury sign will always be either the same as your Sun sign or the one right before or after your Sun sign.
Now let’s examine the effect Mercury’s placement in a natal chart has on a person. If you don’t know which sign your Mercury is in, it’s easy to find out.
Mercury in Aries makes for one hell of an overactive mind. Mercury rules thinking and communication, and Aries is an impulsive, impatient fire sign. A Mercury-Aries person tends to speak quickly, darting from topic to topic, and unfortunately — far too often — firing off blunt remarks without thinking, resulting in a chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease. The infamous Aries impatience and impulsiveness combined with Mercury’s influence on short trips also frequently leads to speeding tickets. Yeah, my Mercury is in Aries. Guilty.
Mercury in Taurus loves to think about money, food, and material gain. Taurus has a tendency toward procrastination and laziness, but when it finally does get up and go, it keeps going…and going…and going. This is particularly true for talking and reading. A Taurus-Mercurian will often pick up a book and be unable to put it down until they’ve finished it.
Mercury in Gemini has a quick-thinking, snap decision-making mind and because Mercury is at home in Gemini, the communicative Air sign which it rules, the ability to communicate is far superior. It also imparts a tendency to talk too much and have a sharp wit. This person can have a slight tendency toward superficiality at times.
Mercury in Cancer is extremely sentimental and can’t bear to let go of anything…or anyone. Because of this, its mind has an uncanny knack to recall trivial, random memories. The combination of Mercury’s influence on the thoughts and Cancer’s deep emotions equals a person who will never forget anything that emotionally impacted them. They think with their hearts rather than their minds, frequently reading way too much into what others say or do, leading to hurt feelings when no offense was intended. They are emotional communicators and if you know someone with this Mercury placement, you are probably well aware of how often they will want to cry on your shoulder. My ex-husband was a Mercury-Cancerian, and what comes to mind when I think of him with this description in mind is “yup, yup, yup. That was him.”
Mercury in Leo isn’t a great placement for attention to detail, but it can quickly grasp the bigger picture. When trying to convince someone to see things their way, Mercury-Leo won’t use logic as much as it uses an appeal to the heartstrings. While a Mercury-Cancerian can persuade folks into their way of thinking by appealing to the emotions of others, saying something along the lines of “we’ve got to rescue and nurture that poor, pitiful person,” Mercury in Leo would utilize a more self-serving, guilt-inducing, direct approach, such as “Do it for me. Pleeeeease?”
Mercury in Virgo is at home in this cerebral, meticulous sign which it rules, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Mercury-Virgos seem to believe that if they’ve proven their argument to their own satisfaction, everyone has to agree with him. But there’s no denying the Mercury-Virgo ability toward what is an almost OCD-esque attention to detail.
Mercury in Libra, which is the sign of fairness and balance, can quickly and easily see both sides of anything. It’s excruciating to be witness to the lengthy amount of time a Mercury-Libran takes to make a decision, only for them to change their mind yet again when just one new tidbit of information becomes available. Mercury-Librans do their best decision-making with another person off of whom they can bounce ideas.
Mercury in Scorpio has a subtle, manipulative mind that is always looking to uncover hidden information. This is an awesome Mercury placement for a private investigator, detective, or therapist. Mercury-Scorpions excel at discovering weaknesses in others…and they aren’t above using that information to their advantage. They have a sharp tongue and a knack for saying things that shake people up. But even if for whatever reason they don’t say it, they’re thinking it. Promise.
Mercury in Sagittarius is restless. It has the ability to spin colorful narratives to explain this journey called life. These folks are often quite talented in the fields of science, comedy, or full-time adventure-seeker. When you combine Mercury’s communication influence with Sagittarian traits such as brutal honesty, a Mercury-Sadge — like a Mercury-Arien — tends to say hurtful things without meaning to, lacking the tact needed to look at a situation from an emotional viewpoint.
Mercury in Capricorn isn’t a quick learner, but it never forgets the lessons it eventually absorbs. It has an excellent memory and is a down-to-earth, practical thinker. A Mercury-Capricorn works diligently to improve itself with educational opportunities. It typically feels the need to prove itself to others. Its powers of concentration are so strong that it can make them come across as too serious. There is a tendency toward moodiness and sulking, and thinking optimistically can be quite difficult. A Mercury-Capricorn person, especially if their Sun is also in Capricorn, gives an individual who is very quiet and self-conscience about speaking to strangers.
Mercury in Aquarius people seem to pull knowledge right out of thin air. Mercury in this unorthodox Air sign is exalted here, so they tend to process information with lightning speed. Thoughts are random and disorganized, appearing as sudden flashes and fragments. Mercury-Aquarians often seem to be a little crazy or eccentric. They love nothing more than to say things that are unusual so as to create controversy. They enjoy rebelling against mainstream ideas by supporting beliefs that are controversial. One of my closest friends has this Mercury placement and he will rebel vehemently against a more society-accepted idea or cause — regardless of his actual thoughts on the topic — simply for the sake of being rebellious…which is why I often find myself wanting to slap him upside his deliberately stubborn, water-bearing head.
Mercury in Pisces folks vividly remember in uncanny detail anything they have imagined. But when it comes to reality, the rose-colored glasses through which they see the world, Mercury-Pisceans are masters at seeing what they want to see and hearing what they want to hear. Not surprisingly, Mercury combined with this sensitive Water sign indicates an individual who is too easily hurt, becoming moody and negative over perceived offenses, much like Mercury-Cancerians (Cancer being another water sign). However, this extreme sensitivity frequently puts them touch with the unseen realm; the supernatural. They, like the other two Mercury-water signs Cancer and Scorpio, are more psychic than most people, and they are quite intuitive and perceptive. But Mercury-Pisceans also have a certain naïvete about them. Because they are trusting and gentle, hell-bent on seeing the good in everyone, they are easily fooled. They’re likely be scammed by hard-luck stories or to be suckered in by a phony scheme.