The Key to the Mind

Mercury’s position indicates the individual’s degree of intelligence, mental attitudes, and ability to think and communicate.

Mercury, the messenger of the gods, symbolises mentality: our intellect and mental outlook, the way we think and communicate. Mercury, as Hermes, is the emblem for the magus, the wise counsellor, divine messenger—and prince of thieves! Planetary lord of Gemini and Virgo, this fast-moving planet stands for ideas, methods and information, especially as expressed through communication and media. Mercury rules writers, travellers, analysts, magicians, salespeople, astrologers and all types of consultants. Through his rulership of our hands, Mercury also reveals our manual dexterity and mechanical skills. Mercury, god of the crossroads, also governs transportation: how we get where we’re going, both physically and mentally. Are you a hare, or a tortoise? Mercury’s position in your chart will tell all!

Astronomically, Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and the smallest planet in the solar system—if we don’t count Pluto, which has recently been demoted by astronomers to the status of “Dwarf Planet”… Mercury is relatively bright, but hard to see (except at a Solar Eclipse) because he never strays more than a little over 28° from the Sun. Taking just under 88 days to complete his journey through the twelve signs of the zodiac, the speedy Messenger spends less than three weeks on average in each of them, except when retrograde. Mercury turns retrograde three times a year as a rule, for around 24 days, remaining stationary for three days.

Mercury is the traditional planetary ruler of Gemini (communication; intellect), his Day Sign, and Virgo (analysis; critical ability), his Night Sign. Mercury is also exalted in Virgo, due to the ancient sacred geometry of the zodiac. People with these signs prominent in their charts are said to be ruled by Mercury. True to his busy character, Mercury is said to enjoy mixed colours, along with blue and purple; his metal is quicksilver, and his gem is the emerald.

Mercury in Aries

activates the mind. Mercury here doesn’t just study or investigate subjects. It attacks them. If the Sun happens to be in a slower, more methodical sign. like Taurus, the mind could be said to run ahead of the person, darting from conclusion to conclusion before the body manages to catch up.

Mercury in Taurus

thinks about, money, food, owning real estate, and retirement. Like any Taurus placement, Mercury here takes a long time to get moving. But when it does move, it won’t stop. This goes for talking, reading, writing.

Mercury in Gemini

is at home here. The mind tends to be quick and the ability to communicate is definitely superior. The negative side is a tendency to be superficial, but this can be counteracted by an aspect of Mercury to Saturn.

Mercury in Cancer

Since this sign doesn’t like to get rid of things, the mind will tend to remember all sorts of trivial, random memories. Cancer is the sign of emotions and feelings. Anything will be remembered that makes an emotional impression. These folks also tend to be convinced by arguments that have an emotional appeal. They are inclined to put feelings first and logic later. If you have a friend with this placement, be prepared to have them cry on your shoulder a lot while they are telling you about the complaint of the day. On the positive side, they will let you return the favour. Communication, to them, is about emotion.

Mercury in Leo

may not be the best placement for details, but it can get the big picture with little trouble. When trying to persuade someone, this Mercury won’t use logical arguments as much as it tends to use an appeal to the heart. This is different from the emotional appeal that works with Mercury in Cancer. That one runs more like: “We have to nurture that poor person over there”. Mercury in Leo would be something more, well, fiery, such as “Win one for the Gipper”.

Mercury in Virgo

is almost too strong. People with this placement seem to think that if they have proved something logically to their own satisfaction, then EVERYONE will have to agree. Of course, there tends to be great ability to handle details.

Mercury in Libra

gives an active mind that sees both sides of everything. Libra is the sign of the balance. People with this one can take a long time to reach a decision, and then change it quickly when one new bit of information becomes available. Mercury in Libra people think better with a partner around.

Mercury in Scorpio

gives a subtle mind that is always looking for secrets or something hidden. This is a great position for a detective or therapist. Mercury in Scorpio is also great for finding weaknesses in opponents — or anyone else, for that matter. And talk about a sharp tongue! The have an instinct for saying the one thing to shake anyone else up. Even if they don’t say it, they are thinking it. Not a bad placement for a writer of murder mysteries.

Mercury in Sagittarius

is not really illogical. It just doesn’t usually want to be bothered with what it considers trivia, and what the rest of us call the practical necessities of day-to-day living. Dr. Zamenhof had this placement of Mercury. Who is Dr. Zamenhof? The inventor of Esperanto, the perfectly constructed language that nobody wanted to speak. The good Dr. invented it because he thought that if everyone spoke the same language, there would be world peace. Compare this with what a person with the more practical Mercury in Capricorn did. Sir Issac Pittman, who had that one, invented Pittman shorthand. He asked himself what people needed and what they would use. Mercury in Sagittarius can be very good, though, for getting the “big picture”. Sir Issac Newton discovered some of the basic laws that run the whole Universe.

Mercury in Capricorn

according to the late Grant Lewi “can hear grass grow, feel the difference in thickness between two hairs, and smell garlic a block off, against the wind.”

Mercury in Aquarius

can seem to pull knowledge out of the air. This is the sign of “exhaltation” for Mercury, so it tends to process information with wicked speed.

Mercury in Pisces

People with this one can remember in detail anything they have imagined. If something makes an EMOTIONAL impression on them, the memory can seem photographic. When it comes to reality, forget it.

Mercury in 1st

You are mercurial in appearance or manner, especially if Mercury is close to (within 10 degrees of) the Ascendant. You are restless, adaptable, changeable, easily distracted, versatile, and nimble. You enjoy talking but might often monopolize the conversation or fail to listen (you might be too busy thinking about what you will say next to truly listen). You have a mischievous and even precocious manner. Lively and interesting, you quickly adapt to new situations. In fact, you treat most new endeavours with curiosity and great interest. Your first reaction to new stimuli is logical and curious rather than emotional.

Mercury in 2nd

You have a very practical mind and intelligence, seeing the obvious, most logical answer to any predicament often well before others. You don’t like to be put on the spot or pushed into talking or coming to a conclusion. Studies are similar–you need to work at your own pace. You can be quite one-track minded at times, not very happy with multi-tasking, and often quite fixed in your opinions. Sensual stimuli is more relevant to you than abstract concepts.

Mercury in 3rd

This is an especially curious and inquisitive position for Mercury. You are generally very interested in reading, teaching, speaking, exchanging ideas, keeping current with the daily news, and perhaps gossiping. Your interests are many and varied, sometimes to the point that you barely skim the surface of any one topic. You are also very easily distracted and your attention span can be quite short. Quick to learn, you are also swift to share what you know with others. You can be very talkative when you have the chance. You can be a list maker, and often are quite involved in your community. Some of you can be quite nervous or fidgety.

Mercury in 4th

You are an extremely imaginative person who dreams up all sorts of unusual ideas and plans. Your thinking is quite subjective, and in some cases narrow or biased. Some of you might enjoy working at home or keeping a lively, intellectual atmosphere in your home. You tend to retain a lot of information, and are usually quite interested in history, psychology, or politics. You are not quick to embrace a new idea or plan, and can be quite traditional in your thinking.

Mercury in 5th

You tend to use your voice, whether written or spoken, as a means of creative self-expression. You can be witty and humorous, an engaging communicator, and a fun friend. You love playing games, especially ones that employ your intellect. You love tricks, jokes, plays on words, and mimicry. You might be skilled at impersonations. Some of you could be clever at lying. You might have a tendency to promise more than you can deliver, or overstate your case. In some way, you are very entertaining with the spoken and/or written word. Communication and intellectual rapport is most attractive to you when it comes to romance. In some cases, this can indicate more than one lover at once. Curiosity can be a strong motivator for making social and romantic contact. You might also take much pride in your children’s intellectual abilities and talents. You would make a good teacher, as you are very curious about how people learn and can come up with many ideas that allow you to teach others creatively.

Mercury in 6th

You are a person who thinks of all the details that others often forget. Your mind is almost always turned “on” which can make you a little nervous. You are excellent at sorting things out, organizing, and making lists and associations. With your attention to the details and the mechanics, however, you might miss the bigger point! You are exceptionally helpful and others can count on you for making arrangements, researching, and offering advice. You truly love to feel useful. You might have some traits of a hypochondriac, as you notice all of the little aches and pains that others might overlook. Nervous tension could be at the root of many of your health complaints. You might frequently have to deal with duplicitous co-workers. Many of you are good at crafts, mechanics, or anything that requires good manual dexterity.

Mercury in 7th

You have a great love of debate, if only to get closer to your own thoughts and opinions. Bouncing ideas off others helps you to make a decision, although coming to definite conclusions can be painfully difficult for you. You see the other side of the coin. You might often play devil’s advocate. Communication with a partner is craved, and you also love an audience for your own thoughts and opinions, but preferably a one-person audience, as you come alive verbally when it’s one-on-one. You can be quite skilled at keeping a partnership animated and alive with interesting tid-bits, new ideas, and stimulating conversation. You can easily become bored in partnership if the lines of communication go down, even temporarily. You might attract partners who are not especially sincere or downright duplicitous. In order to put an end to this pattern, you might try to avoid scheming and over-analyzing in your relationships. You might also love to talk about and analyze relationships and marriage. You get off on new perspectives that partners or good friends give you.

Mercury in 8th

You are especially curious about what motivates people, as well as all that is mysterious, taboo, secret, and psychological. You are excellent at analyzing people and getting at their motivations, as well as developing strategies. You may have a good mind for finances, medicine, and other subjects that require research and investigation. You speak with authority and others listen, having strong persuasive powers which should be used carefully. You tend to feel that everything we do and experience has a purpose. You have a great, investigative, and penetrating mind and you are excellent at developing strategies, as well as communicating them with others.

Mercury in 9th

You are eternally curious and hunger for knowledge. You enjoy studying and learning, and do it not because you have to, but because you want to. You enjoy exchanging ideas and personal philosophies with others. You can be especially buoyant, enthusiastic, and even inspiring in your communications. While you may not pay enough attention to details, you are skilled at finding a quick solution to problems. You readily see the bigger picture and enjoy sharing your opinions and ideas. You get off on how information affects people’s lives, and you take great pleasure in learning that something you have shared or taught has inspired others to take action, experience something new, or make changes in their lives. Some of you might be too quick to offer advice, however, that might be lacking in thoroughness and practicality, or that you yourself don’t follow. You may be especially interested in learning about different cultures and lands.

Mercury in 10th

You are good with language, and generally use this talent in your profession. You can have an authoritative air about you, or you are talented at communicating and negotiating with those in authority. You might have more than one job going at once much of the time, you could change your career directions frequently, or you could be attracted to jobs that keep you on the move. You require frequent changes of setting or activities in order to remain stimulated and challenged. You are skilled at bringing fresh energy to your conversations or to your job, perhaps because you need the stimulation.

Mercury in 11th

You are endlessly curious about people, group interactions, community affairs, trends, and teams. You are attracted to people who bring new ideas into your experience, and who have something novel to contribute on an intellectual level. You are very forward-looking and fair-minded. Fair play, impartiality, and unselfishness are important ideals for you. There can be many changes or fluctuations in your personal wishes, dreams, plans, and ideals. You might attract friends who come and go, or who are dishonest or duplicitous.

Mercury in 12th

You are not very quick to speak or communicate, especially in childhood, as you need to develop trust in your own abilities to express yourself. You make an excellent confidante–you are very discreet and secrets go into the vault. You might make matters too complex by over-analyzing motives or hunches, and then have problems acting on your intuition as a result. You are very attracted to symbols, sentiment, imagery, and paradoxes. You prefer not to focus on facts and learn best when ideas are presented visually, emotionally, or imaginatively. Learning to communicate clearly is a challenge for you, but one that might put an end to feelings of guilt, of being misunderstood, and to attracting unpleasant situations or duplicitous people into your experience.


There is a strong talent for writing poetry, composing lyrics, pleasing verbal expression, and personal charm. Most people born with this placement have artistic ability and a sense of beauty. Ugliness and anything seriously unpleasant can have a very negative and deep lasting effect upon them, quite similar to those who have Mercury/Neptune and Venus/Neptune aspects. This aspect is good for singers, and gives a naturally pleasing voice. Many composers and songwriters have this aspect. They have the ability to communicate things that are unpleasant in a positive manner and are excellent mediators. This aspect makes one social.


This person has a mouth. They are frequently sarcastic, along with a sharp intellect and wit. The humour is often dark, sarcastic and to the point. They are excellent at argument and debate. Very outspoken, they are never at a loss for words and often instigate arguments with others. People with this aspect, especially the conjunction, square, and opposition, have a gift for honing in on the weaknesses of others and when provoked, they use this in verbal confrontations, regardless of whom they might offend. They are straight to the point, blunt and often tactless in their communications. This is an excellent aspect for reporters, journalists and others, as it gives verbal aggression.


These people often acquire good educations, and are life long students. They are talkative and intellectual, enjoy travel, and have a sense of humour. This aspect inclines one to exaggerate things, and those with this aspect often have big ideas. These people may study many different subjects at the same time, as they have a very wide variety of interests [unless the chart shape is in a bundle configuration]. People with Mercury/Jupiter aspects, especially the hard aspects are quite talkative. They are often know-it-alls and believe they are in the right regardless of the situation. This aspect gives speaking ability, along with a gift for inspiring others through their communications. Hard aspects often bring extensive travel in the life.


This placement gives a tendency to pessimism, depression, and worry. Often the person’s education was not finished or not sufficient in some way. These people are hard working and thorough in regards to study and learning. They are sceptics by nature and often can only see the negative side of life. In some cases, there can be problems with hearing, vision, and communications, but one must look to other factors in the chart to verify this. They are worriers by nature, and can tend to have anxiety concerning the future. There are often problems in regards to the affairs of the houses ruled by Gemini and Virgo and also the house containing Mercury.


I have seen this aspect in the charts of geniuses, meaning the IQ is above 180 [extraordinary intelligence], which is like one in a million. In one case, the Mercury/Uranus aspect [exact square], lined up on the same degree with the ascendant/descendant axis, and with the other, the aspect was exact and lined up with the chart ruler on the same degree. Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury. There s a natural ability for the sciences, with mathematics and all advanced areas of study. The ideas are original and often way ahead of their time. This aspect nearly always gives superior intelligence along with a rebellions nature. The new and unusual fascinate these people. They tend to get bored easily and can be of a high-strung temperament.


These people make excellent liars, and in rare cases, if Neptune is prominent and other factors in the chart support this, there can be an inability to separate truth from lies, with a tendency to pathological lying [though this is not too common]. Sometimes secrets are accidentally revealed. The mind is disorganized; one is scatterbrained, and prone to frequent daydreaming without focus. Mercury Neptune aspects make it difficult for one to focus and concentrate. There can be tendencies to dishonesty, and this aspect is often seen in the charts of thieves. These people can be elusive and deceptive, especially if Neptune is prominent. Mercury/Neptune aspects give psychic ability and a talent for telepathic communications. These people have a need and a love for music. They need to listen to music that they enjoy to balance their psyche and to calm their nerves.


These people enjoy snooping into other people’s business, as they are nosey by nature. This aspect bestows the ability to concentrate, and is excellent for the workings of magick. These people have very powerful and penetrating minds. They have a talent for investigating things and enjoy solving mysteries and other enigmas. They are naturally strong willed and many have an ability to dominate others, just through their thoughts and feelings, especially if Mercury and Pluto are in hard aspect to each other with a tight orb. This is one of the best aspects for mages/sorcerers.

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