Mercury in a horoscope
Mercury is the first rock from the Sun, and, unlike several other planets of the Solar System, it is a rock indeed. The structure of Mercury is very similar to the Earth structure: it has a hard core surrounded by fluid outer core and a silicate mantle, just like Earth does. Mercury is one of the visible planets of the Solar System. It travels in the sky very close to the Sun and can be seen only close to the dawn or to the sunset. Mercury often “disappears” from the view when it gets very close to the Sun from our point of view. The fast speed (the orbital period is only ~88 days, and it spends less than 8 days in each Zodiac sign), the ability to disappear (“play tricks”), and the lack of the regular motion because of the eccentricity of the orbit resulted in association of the planet with the god Mercury (Greek god Hermes) – the quick, witty trickster, who can travel fast throughout the world and the underworld (disappearing out of living people’s view).
In a horoscope, Mercury represents the mind, the ideas, the wit, the thinking process, also learning and communication (writing, speaking, connecting). It rules two Zodiac signs: Gemini and Virgo, and both signs are known to be quite cerebral, even though Virgo is an Earth sign and has many of the Earth qualities: practicality, realistic expectations, caring about everyday life tasks and events, productivity, and practicality.
Mercury gives the fickle Gemini its “trickster” flavor: the witty mind, the quick thinking and the short attention span, curiosity, a desire to access everything at the same time, and the ability to “fly” over the everyday life without being held down by the routine. Gemini is the sign of writers, speakers, communicators, fast learners, and those, who cannot focus on one task for a very long time, because they are easily distracted by even more interesting projects.
Virgo takes other qualities of this ever-changing busy god with many faces. Clear mind, the ability to perform very precise jobs, diligence, productivity, organizational skills, and the love for numbers and order are the best qualities of Virgo natives, who always strive for perfection and efficiency. As with other Zodiac signs, not only the Sun sign, but also the sign of the Moon and of the other planets contributes into the character and life path. For example, someone with the Virgo Moon may express these Virgo qualities just as clearly as the Virgo Sun native does.
Mercurial tasks are extremely important to maintain our everyday life: most of our occupations require thinking and communicating, and the specific order and schedules are necessary for every single human structure and process. This is why the words “Mercury retrograde” horrifies even those, who are not very familiar with astrology. Almost everyone knows that the periods when Mercury goes retrograde bring a lot of mess into our lives: documents and wallets get lost, letters and packages disappear, schedules get messed up, meetings are forgotten, time is lost in traffic, and errors are made in calculations.
The retrograde period is the time when a planet starts moving in a perceived opposite direction through the Zodiac as we observe the planet from Earth. Every planet (but not the luminaries) does this with the easily predictable frequency, but no other planet’s retrograde period affects our lives as much as Mercury retrograde does.
When we look at Mercury from Earth, we can observe it quickly moving through the Zodiac that is defined by the constellations on the backdrop of the Earth’s sky. It moves faster than Earth, so we see it proceeding, for example, from Taurus to Gemini within several Earth days (see the figure). However, as Mercury reaches the part of its orbit that leads the planet to the “other side” of the Sun from our point of view, we start seeing it moving back in Gemini and then may be even going “back” to Taurus. Of course, Mercury never turned back in his orbital motion, but, as we perceive it from our point of view, it did turn back in its motion through the Zodiac signs.
The retrograde motion of the planets has been one of the “arguments” that astrology haters use in their attempts to discredit astrology. However, it is naïve to believe that contemporary astrologers actually think that planets turn back in their orbital motions. The perceived retrograde motion reflects the changing relationship in relative positions of Earth, Mercury and Sun, and astrologers do interpret this phenomenon as a change in our relationship with Mercury and everything that it represents in our birth horoscope.
Every astrological event affects us relative to our birth horoscope. Some of us may not even notice the next Mercury retrograde period if the retrograde motion of Mercury does not trigger the planets and angles in our birth horoscope, while others’ lives may be interrupted in unusually strong and obvious manner, if, for example, Mercury retrogradation occurs in the Zodiac degree of their Ascendant or their Sun. However, we can prepare for the three weeks of Mercury retrograde period in advance if we follow the astrological calendars and know our birth chart, or if we ask our astrologer to warn us ahead of time. When we know in advance when the Mercury retrograde period (which occurs on the average three times a year) will trigger our birth planets and angles of our birth horoscope wheel, we can plan our life so that no trips or important communication tasks are planned for this time. Mercury retrograde time is the best for keeping to yourself and re-examining anything that needs revisiting.