Hobbies Astrology Mercury in Astrology The Messenger in Your Birth Chart Share PINTEREST Email Print Dan Dangler/Getty Images Astrology 12 Signs of the Zodiac Basics Trends & Horoscopes The Sun & Sun Signs The Moon & Moon Signs The Houses Love & Compatibility By Molly Hall Molly Hall is an astrologer, tarot reader, and author of "Astrology: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Zodiac." our editorial process Molly Hall Updated July 21, 2018 Mercury is the translator and shows how you know what you know. Mercury is your lens, and the shape you give reality. Look for the Mercury symbol on your birth chart to discover the sign and house position. Then, read about each of the Mercury signs. Since Mercury travels close to the Sun, it will be either in the same sign or in the one before or after on the Zodiac. Mercury is the messenger, and in myth, associated with the power of words as spellcasters. In Greek myths, Mercury was Hermes, the winged messenger god and in Roman times, he was portrayed as a trickster. The planet's movements are said to influence communication here below. Mercury rules the signs of the intellect Gemini and Virgo. Mercury's different elements and modalities mean we live in different worlds, as far as perception goes. What Is Mercury Retrograde? A few times per year Mercury slows down in its orbit around the Sun, creating an illusion of backward movement. Imagine being in the “way back” of a station wagon, watching another car on the highway. If the car is going slower, it’ll appear to be going backward, when actually it’s going forward. The retrograde of a planet is this kind of optical illusion. When Mercury is in retrograde, communication can seem to slow down, misfire or go haywire with missed calls and technological snafus. This is why there’s a warning against signing contracts or starting a project during Mercury retrograde. Were You Born During Mercury Retrograde? If you see an "R" next to a planet in your birth chart that means it was in retrograde when you were born. Someone with Mercury retrograde in the birth chart may have a reflective or introverted mind. You might want to mull things over more than most before drawing a conclusion. Depending on which sign your Mercury is in this could give you an interest in the past and a powerful memory. The Meaning of Mercury in Astrology Mercury concerns the mind, and your sign and house position influence the mysterious way you put it all together up there. It determines how you make sense of your world, formulate ideas and share them with others. Your speech patterns, communication style, sense of humor, quickness of thought—all these are flavored by the position of your Mercury. Which element your Mercury is in is a good starting point for understanding your particular type of intelligence. Mercury is at home in the air signs, which lean toward rational and logical thinking. In fire signs, Mercury is quick, instinctive and inspirational, water signs give the mind an intuitive and emotional filter, while Mercury in the earth signs tends to be pragmatic and concrete. In Greek mythology, Mercury as Hermes, the messenger of the gods, has one foot in the physical world and another in the realm of the unseen. Likewise, your Mercury crosses mental boundaries into the mysteries of the imagination and the memories of the past. In the fertile landscape of the mind, your Mercury harvests and interprets your personal experience of life. Knowing your Mercury sign can help you understand and maximize your imaginative potential. It may reveal why you aren’t always on the same wavelength as others, and offer clues to sharing your unique gifts of expression. The aspects your Mercury makes with other planets may explain quirks in your manner of speaking, such as being defensive, chatty, eloquent, emotional, etc. Since the mind can be its own house of mirrors, this also can show a mind drawn to illusions or to playing games with others. In the infinite variety of life, Mercury determines your fascinations, what kinds of puzzles you’ll want to work out, where you’d like to focus your mind power. Mercury’s influence on how you think can steer your career path since you’ll likely be drawn to areas in which your mind thrives and excels. In relationships of all kinds, frictions and confusion can arise when Mercury clashes. For example, an earth sign Mercury may raise an eyebrow at the air sign whose abstract notions seem out of this world. But put two air signs together, and speech resumes at the speed of light. Knowing the tone and timbre of a person’s Mercury can sometimes bridge the gap of understanding.