You may know your “big three” signs, but getting to know the roles of all the planets in your birth chart can grant you a much deeper understanding of astrology....and yourself! In this series, the team at VICE's Astro Guide explain each planet, and how it correlates to your natal chart.
Mercury is the planet of communication and the mind, and its placement in your natal chart can tell us how you communicate, how you make decisions, and how you process and exchange information. It can also offer insights into your unique sense of humor.
Since Mercury is the closest planet to the sun—which represents our ego and core self—its dreaded retrogrades are the most frequent, occurring three or four times a year. Mercury not only rules communication and the mind; it also rules technology, language, transportation, and commerce, which is why we blame those pesky retrogrades for disastrous commutes, misunderstandings, and broken devices. If you were born during Mercury retrograde, you may be more introspective, or an abstract thinker—and have probably learned quite a few lessons about organization in your life!
Mercury is generally associated with duality and rules two signs, Gemini and Virgo, known respectively as the trickster and the reliable messenger. Geminis and Virgos are also likely to feel Mercury retrogrades more intensely than other signs, since it’s their planetary ruler that’s all out of whack! In deeper astrological mythology, Mercury also rules youth, our siblings (blood or chosen!), alchemy (in magical practice and also generally how something can transform into something else), the hands, and the small intestines. But in broad strokes—especially when looking at your own birth chart—Mercury offers the best insight into how you organize and make sense of the world around you.
To find your Mercury sign, plug in your birth date, time, and place into your preferred birth chart generator and find the symbol near your sun sign that looks like Venus with horns. Once you’ve figured it out, read what our team of astrologers at Astro Guide have to say about your Mercury sign!
Mercury in Aries people are direct and to-the-point communicators who are quick to make decisions. You are generally enthusiastic and don’t always think before you speak. You’re probably the type to text back right away...unless you totally forgot about the text because you have a short attention span! You’re a great ideas person who can incite action with your words and may even enjoy challenging others’ with what you have to say. Generally, your communication style is courageous, pioneering, quick, and forward-thinking. You’re an inquisitive person who likes to ask questions and stay organized.
Mercury in Taurus people may be slow to make a decision, but once it’s made, these stubborn folks will not change their mind! Your communication style is thoughtful and deliberate, and though you may not be the most flexible person, you’re intuitive and organized. Generally, you appreciate discussions grounded in reality rather than hypotheticals, and appreciate real-world examples when learning something new. You’re great at developing day-to-day skill sets that are useful in the world, like creating a well-designed and customized planner or repairing the office printer that’s always on the fritz. You have a fantastic understanding of how everyday objects and processes work, and always have a strong grasp on common sense.
Mercury in Gemini folks are quick-witted and know a little bit about everything. Your mind goes a mile a minute and though your thoughts can sometimes seem scattered, communication is generally very important to you and something you pride yourself on. You can be a bit of a trickster, with a wry sense of humor and a love of puns. You’re also a very curious person and skilled researcher, who can be detached and detailed when necessary. You often take things very literally, but—there’s always a “but” with you!—you may also have a bit of a reputation for being two-faced. This is not because you lie, per se, just that you are more prone to giving credence to both sides of the story, which can confuse more pragmatic and intuitive thinkers. You may often respond before thinking deeply about something end up putting your foot in your mouth or blabbing a secret. You’re also a wonderful multi-tasker who can easily and quickly adjust to a changing situation.
Mercury in Cancer people are gentle, intuitive, and sentimental communicators who may sometimes seem sensitive and withdrawn. Though you may be introverted, you’re chatty once someone gets you going, and you have a wonderful sense of humor! You generally need time alone to think and recharge. You’re conflict averse and will do your best to avoid arguments, even though you sometimes take things personally and have a talent for remembering every conversation you’ve ever had. You’re generally very organized, and even if you’re messy, you tend to know exactly where everything is! For you, words always come with the intensity of a feeling—Mercury in Cancer folks make great novelists with their talent for writing about people and developing character storylines.
Mercury in Leo people are the boisterous performers of the zodiac who love to inspire and entertain people with their words. You have a warm and gregarious quality when you speak and there’s a certain dramatism to the language you use. Though you may sometimes make every conversation about yourself, you value fairness in communication and step into your power when you learn that silence can be golden. You take a practical approach to being organized, and take the adage that “time is money” very seriously. You have a special gift at hyping yourself and others up, giving lovely and thoughtful compliments to the people you care about.
Mercury in Virgo people are down-to-earth and practical communicators, and methodical, detail-oriented, and analytical thinkers. Your communication style is matter-of-fact and can sometimes be disarming to those who are more emotional communicators. Organization is important to you, and you usually have the most high tech or inventive hacks to help you stay on top of things. Your mind has a gift for organization, and you’re an excellent researcher who can easily spot patterns and links. Sometimes, you become too focused on the small details and forget the bigger picture. You’re skilled at designing and implementing changes to complicated systems, and are able to quickly pinpoint problem areas that need to be fixed. You also have a great sense of time and routine, and are probably the type who doesn’t need an alarm clock… but will set one anyway!
Mercury in Libra people always seem to have the right words! You come off smoothly regardless of whether things are actually okay, and occasionally make others question whether you’re telling them the truth or just telling them what you think they want to hear. You’re a polite communicator who always asks how others are doing and is careful not to make the conversation entirely about you. You’re a good listener who has a knack for charming people into seeing things your way, and even though you’re not confrontational, you enjoy a friendly debate. Though you can sometimes be judgmental (Libra is the sign of justice, after all), compromise is important to you, and you care deeply about doing the “right” and just thing. You’re inspired by the world and love to read and learn new things, and even though can be disorganized, you always find some creative way to remember where you put your keys!
Those with Mercury in Scorpio are probing, skeptical, intuitive, and perceptive, and may come across as secretive and mysterious. You are keenly aware of emotions, but are also very calculating and business-minded. When it comes to organization, you may rush through things, but that’s because you pride yourself on being swift and incisive. You’re incredibly careful with your words because you understand they have the power to heal or hurt, and you may default to being withholding in order to make the right move. You’re great at cutting communication off if you need to, and you are also a good keeper of secrets. You’d probably make an excellent spy!
People with Mercury in Sagittarius love to inspire others with their speeches, and organize to bring people together and get things done! You tend to talk at length without specificity and use grandiose language, which can sometimes result in putting your foot in your mouth, but hey—every conversation with you is an adventure! You may enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing, and you love hypotheticals and learning something new. As a thinker, you consider the big picture over the fine details, and you’re inventive, imaginative, and visionary. Sagittarius is a freedom-seeking sign, so you don’t care if your ideas fit in with the crowd! You’re studious and well read, but can sometimes be disorganized and often prefer to wing it.
Mercury in Capricorn people have a dry and sarcastic sense of humor, and a goal-oriented approach to life. You are a practical and skeptical communicator, and despite being so business-minded, you are a deeply creative thinker who looks at all sides of a situation to figure out how to proceed. You believe there is truth in everything, but will usually still make the most sensible choice. You’re highly organized and likely the type to keep your planner open to take notes while you’re reading your horoscope. In communication, you may sometimes be withholding or exacting in language because you feel it’s important to maintain your reputation or air of professionalism. You use morose or dire language to make a point, and don’t often romanticize a situation when you’re discussing it. Instead, you prefer a more strategic approach to speaking and put a lot of thought into both what you say and what you mean.
People with Mercury in Aquarius are detached, objective, aloof, intellectual, logical, and cool. Others may find you cryptic, technical, or socially awkward, but the truth is you’re just a loner and a rebel. Still, you love to chat and connect with others, and tend to speak as if you’re older than you actually are. You’re a quick thinker who can get bored easily, but there’s usually some topic that you’re excited to research and become an expert on. You love to debate and you love to be right, but if those two go hand in hand, you’re also more likely than other signs to accept being wrong and enjoy learning something new. You take a DIY approach to many things, including how you get organized, but you’re still a very focused person generally. You refuse to see conventional ideas or assumptions as given and would prefer to dissect these things in great detail, even if that means stepping on a few toes!
People with Mercury in Pisces are the poets of the zodiac—dreamy, intuitive, and abstract thinkers. You may be easily overwhelmed by your surroundings because you are so empathetic, and might “check out” in response. But generally, you’re a surprisingly grounded thinker in that you take your time when learning things, and generally take a sensual approach to expressing things and pay close attention to body language. You take great pride in how you’re organized, even if your methods might not make sense to anyone else. People can be surprised by the way you perceive and understand things, but that’s because you’re attuned to smaller meaningful and intuitive observations. You’re less concerned with the details and more interested in abstract thought and the beauty and possibility of an idea. This can be groundbreaking, but it can sometimes veer into being in total denial about facts if you decide you don’t want to be bothered with them.
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