Associated signs: Gemini, Virgo

Mythology: In Roman mythology, Mercury was the divine messenger, representing merchants, travelers, transporters, and thieves (this lore derived from the Greek deity, Hermes). You’ll usually see him wearing winged sandals (symbolizing his role as a godly courier), carrying a purse (representing commerce), or a staff entwined by two snakes, also known as a “caduceus.” Mercury’s caduceus was used to guide the dead into Pluto’s underworld—or for those who were mistakenly escorted—to bring the dead back to life (this is why the caduceus also represents health and medicine). Mercury has a playful sensibility and can be naughty or nice, depending on which gods or goddesses he partnered with.

Transit: Mercury is an inner planet, taking approximately fourteen to thirteen days to transit a zodiac sign. It goes retrograde three or four times per year.

What it means in your chart: Within the natal chart, Mercury represents communication. Mercury works with the other planets to give context for our emotions, action, and romance (due to Mercury’s interpretation of logic and rationality). When Mercury occupies a constellation, this affects how information is transmitted. For example, Mercury in Aries communicates best through passionate impulsivity, whereas Mercury in Virgo communicates best through systematic structure. By observing Mercury’s placement in a natal chart, we access a deeper understanding of our unique expression.

Retrograde lowdown: Over the years, the word “retrograde” has become synonymous with Mercury. Although all celestial bodies (except the sun and moon) move into retrograde, Mercury’s reverse cycle is the most notorious. And with good reason: When Mercury goes retrograde, all of the messenger planet’s offerings—which impact our daily lives—begin to malfunction. Travel delays, technology meltdowns, and frustrating miscommunications define Mercury’s backwards spin. Since Mercury also governs our ability to interpret information, some astrologers will advise against making major decisions or signing contracts during its retrograde. Unfortunately, our responsibilities don’t halt during Mercury retrograde (though we wish they did!), so during this reverse transit, be sure to proofread all correspondence, triple-check the fine print, and don’t be afraid to repeat yourself when necessary. Retrogrades are a wonderful time for reflection, so celebrate this cosmic slow-down with your favorite introspective activities such as journaling or meditation.

Herbs and Offerings: Harness the power of Mercury with rosemary, lavender, narcissus, vetiver, white sandalwood, marjoram, licorice.

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