Key words for Mercury include: Quicksilver, Messenger of the Gods, the Traveller between Worlds.
Mercury is the planet nearest the Sun – elusive, unpredictable, and seeming to appear and disappear at will – it was named Hermes by the Greeks, and Mercury by the Romans.
In addition to being the Messenger of the Gods, Mercury held sway over invention, travel, trade, and thievery, and was the special God of news bearers and merchants. He carried the lighted Caduceus (a staff with two snakes entwined around it and two wings at the top) to lead souls to the nether world. The caduceus is still used to represent the planet Mercury.
In Western Astrology Mercury rules the signs of Gemini and Virgo. Gemini is an Air sign and forms part of the Mutable Cross**, therefore it is both adaptable and quick minded.
Gemini rules the Third House of Communication, Early Learning and
Education, siblings, close friends and neighbours. Mercury assists Gemini in building networks and linkages; and easy travelling between them. The World Wide Web is an example of Mercury weaving its magic in Gemini.
Virgo is an Earth Sign and also forms part of the mutable cross therefore it represents the ability to move from one thought form to another, one structure to another, like shifting sands. As a sign of service, Virgo is assisted by Mercury to also reshape other people’s structures whether internal or external. Many Virgos work reshaping people’s health and well-being and the Caduceus is still the symbol used by Western Medicine today.
It takes Mercury about 59 Earth days to spin on its axis (the rotation period), and about 88 Earth days to complete one orbit about the Sun. However, the length of the day on Mercury (sunrise to sunrise) is equivalent to 176 Earth days.
Mercury is also a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is commonly known as quicksilver. The chemical Mercury is a substance that is both fascinating and deadly. In many countries, elemental Mercury is used in artisanal and small-scale gold mining. This releases Mercury into the environment often disrupting and poisoning the local eco systems. It is well known that Mercury is highly toxic and can cause damage to the nervous system even at relatively low levels of exposure. Pools of bright blue water at mining sites belly Mercury’s toxic nature.
Mercury is also commonly used in dental fillings due to its longevity but we now know that over time Mercury can break down and travel through the body causing harm to the human ecosystem.
In relation to the planet Mercury, these same principles apply. Mercury is the ultimate shapeshifter providing the ability to adapt and move from one situation to another, one idea to another, one piece of information to another, one communication to another, one person to another. However, without grounding and containment, this constant motion can cause disharmony and a build-up of toxic residue resulting in nervous system issues and harm to both the internal and external environment. This is particularly relevant in today’s era of constant information and communication.
I believe this is why Mercury is the closest planet to the gravitational pull of the Sun so that it’s movement is kept in check! It is also very close to the Earth which assists in channeling mercurial energy to the earth to be grounded.
It is very important to ground mercurial energy through the feet chakras. This can be achieved by using the Sun (light) to channel excess energy from the lower mind (the never-ending chatter) through the heart and down through the inner channel of the body and into the stillness of the Earth. A daily practice of standing barefoot on the Earth, with your hands on your heart, to sense where your nervous system is at, (or if you cannot stand barefoot on the ground, place a small amount of good quality salt on your tongue) which will greatly assist with grounding excess mercurial energy.
Of course at the same time it is important to be in gratitude of the Earth’s continual service in transmuting this powerful energy.
** Definition of Mutable Grand Cross
A Grand Cross is a planetary alignment in the astrology chart. It consists of four planets at 90-degree angles with each other and each being in a different astrological quality. Every sign of the zodiac is either cardinal, mutable, or fixed. Therefore, a Grand Cross happens when all four planets involved are in the mutable signs of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. This brings a very different energy to the Grand Cross than say a Cardinal Grand Cross or a Fixed Grand Cross, for the mutable energy is probably the most congenial of the three, even though Grand Crosses can be challenging enough in and of themselves.