In our solar system Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun. It moves quite swiftly in its elliptical orbit around the Sun, passing the Earth three times during our calendar year.
In astrology Mercury represents the mind, the intermediary link between spirit (the Sun) and matter (the Earth). As an envoy for our spiritual life force, it is a communication channel informing our human experience. Mercury and the sign it rules, Gemini, symbolize the rational mind that is often referred to as the “lower mind” or “lower vibrational octave” of the mind. They define our everyday awareness of the physical world. This is the part of our intellect that keeps us focused on every day details in our immediate environment and processes information we take in from it. It determines how we move about in our local environment and interact with others in our side-by-side relationships.
In Roman mythology Mercury is the fleet-footed messenger of the Olympian gods, carrying information and delivering communications on their behalf. As an emissary between gods and mortals, he travels freely between the two worlds. For these reasons Mercury is associated with movement and interactions, travel and communication, commerce and trade.
In the astrological chart Mercury describes our information filter to the world: how we take in information from our environment, how we process it, and what we do with it. It determines our learning style. It defines our innate skills and intelligence, logic and reasoning ability, adaptability and dexterity. It rules how we think, our mental process, and our intellectual approach to life.
As well as determining our learning style, Mercury rules our communication style: how we express ourselves, sharing our information, thoughts and ideas with others. It determines the manner we employ to communicate. It rules our speech and verbal abilities. Interacting with our peers, writing, and public speaking all come under Mercury‘s domain.
Mercury rules movement, including short trips and all modes of transportation. It therefore indicates the style and manner we use as we move about and interact with our immediate environment. Paying attention to our surroundings and to others is important, whether we are walking, talking, riding a bicycle or driving a car. In order for us to adapt to our local environment and interact successfully with others, we need to be responsive and develop proficiency, agility, dexterity, and street smarts.
As we learn to move about and interact within our environment, taking in information and sharing it with others, we acquire skills that are expected of us in order to function in the world. Mercury rules these “expected skills”, most of which we learn in elementary or K-12 schools. Primary education, therefore, falls under Mercury’s domain.
Mercury expressed through each of the 12 signs of the zodiac represent 12 different languages, or 12 different intellectual styles and approaches to life. The 12 signs are classified by the four elements, which correspond to Carl Jung’s personality types. The fire signs are action-oriented, willful, inspirational and spontaneous. Earth signs are concrete, practical, material and sensation oriented. Air signs are intellectual, communicative and relational. Water signs are emotional, sensitive and creative in nature. Learning about the different intellectual styles represented by Mercury in the 12 signs helps us understand and appreciate differences in human perception, thinking processes, and communication styles.
“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.” – Doris Lessing