Astrology and Horoscopes

Mythology Of Mercury

Mythology Of Mercury

Mythology Of Mercury


In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon, Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, who, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics, such as being the patron of commerce. (Wiki)


Hermes, as represented in the Mantegna tarot

The Greek knew him as Hermes and/or Apollo, the Romans renamed him Mercury. God of the thieves and communication, Mercury was a cunning manipulator. Intelligent and quick on his feet, mythologically this god represented creativity and imagination as well.

Son of Zeus and Maia, Hermes was no sooner born than he was making mischief. He stole and hid Apollo’s prize herd of cattle. Then, finding a turtle, he took its shell and strung it to create a lyre. When Apollo discovered who had stolen his cattle, Hermes charmed the enraged god then gave him the lyre to make up for the trick.

Not long afterward Apollo came across Hermes with a herder’s pipe he had fashioned Apollo was so delighted with the instrument that he gave Hermes the caduceus which was to be his symbol — a wand entwined with two serpents. Hermes bargained hard and won from Apollo knowledge of the art of divination.

Renowned for quickness and dexterity, and for talking his way out of trouble, he became Zeus’ messenger and so was depicted with a winged cap and shoes. Hermes was a sportsman, a wrestler, an athlete, as well as a trader, dealer and thief.

Often depicted as swift and youthful, Hermes was believed to be responsible for guiding departed souls to the underworld. The name ‘Hermes’ literally means ‘boundary marker’. In fact, in ancient Athens, many boundary markers (usually just stone piles) were decorated by a bust of Hermes. (Source)


Mercury with winged heels and caduceus

Yet his role as messenger was a sensitive and responsible one, as was his other job of taking the souls of the dead to Hades in the underworld, for which task he received the title Psychopompus. In this task he echoes the Egyptian god Thoth, the record-keeper of the universe, the master watchmaker. The contradiction between the show-off and the diplomat who dealt with the dead creates a dualism in Hermes that is evident in his children.

Hermes greatest passion was for the love goddess Aphrodite. They had two sons, both sexually unusual. Hermaphroditus was the first female boy, while the dwarf-like Priapus was renowned for his huge phallus. Hermes had many other children, including Pan, by Penelope, wife of Odysseus.

Mercury In Astrology

Astrologically, Mercury represents the mind, clever and quick. The dual nature of his attributes is reflected in his rulership of the signs Gemini and Virgo.

In Gemini he is the trader and quick thinker, always moving, never standing still. He is good at sport and activities requiring physical and mental dexterity. He is a persuasive and convincing talker and teacher.

In Virgo he displays the same cleverness, but in a more detailed and responsible fashion. Here he sifts and dissects, looking for flaws to be corrected. He is the administrator and critic, the analyst and researcher, who can turn his hand to any painstaking task.

Astrologically, Mercury represents our ability to formulate an idea and our ability to express it. Mercury depicts how we look at things and what we do with the knowledge we gain. In Astrology, Mercury signifies the way we use our words and creative actions to obtain what we desire. When these abilities are used in a cunning manner to manipulate others into giving us something they most generally would not have, this is the god of theives portraying himself.

As a side note, when Mercury the planet changes its course to the reverse (called retrograde) this can alter our communication and our ability to get our point across. Think of it as a type of “writer’s block” that lasts for several weeks. Mercury is never more than twenty-eight (28) degrees away from the sun, which makes the only possible aspect Mercury can have with the sun to be a conjunction – a union. When the two are very close, this symbolizes a great amount of harmony and balance between the mind and self. The further the distance, the lesser that partnership’s effect on the person.

Mercury the god also was the possessor of the caduceus. This healing rod symbolizes healing through the mind. It has been stated by persons qualified in the medical field, that when the mind is strong and healthy, the body tends to follow suit. Once more, the closer the relationship between the sun (self) and Mercury (the mind), the more able we are to resist disease.

Mercury at its fastest speed only moves about three times the speed of the sun. At its slowest, Mercury’s movement can hardly be noticed at all. Usually the latter occurs before and after Mercury is retrograde. This too can affect how well we are able to think things through and get our point across.

A person who is borne when Mercury is at its slowest moving rate typically takes time to think things through before answering. A person born when Mercury is moving at its fastest rate of speed tends to process ideas and thoughts very quickly, has a habit of finishing others’ sentences, etc. An astrologer can depict these traits by noting the distance between Mercury and the sun in a horoscope, as well as if it was retrograde or not. The further the planets are apart, the more likely the person is to think things through and vice versa.

Last updated on September 8, 2017 at 12:10 am. Word Count: 936