I am a Gemini man living in Athens, Greece. The ruler of my solar sign is Mercury. So, you understand why I love getting out of my house and going on shopping…The task to purchase the daily groceries provides me with the opportunity to justifiably go out of my house, to change environment and experience at first hand what’s going on in the “world”, to walk towards the market and interact with so many and diverse people.
The street where I am buying most of my daily groceries – and I am having a cup of coffee too – is called “Hermes street”. Actually “Hermes” is the Greek name of Mercury. So, I find it very appropriate that the central street of my neighbourhood, the one with the most intense commercial activity and social interaction is named after the ancient god of commerce and communications. I even conceived the content of this article in between my daily purchases and social interactions in the “Hermes” street…
In this daily itinerary of mine (and yours) to the market place several key functions of the Mercurian archetype are prominently present: getting out of our house, being on the move, experiencing the sights and sounds of our neighbourhood, meeting new things or persons, engaging into a (somehow superficial) conversation with our neighbours or any acquaintances we casually meet in our short itinerary to the market place or in it, exchanging money for goods. There is a lot of Mercury in all these activities, as this is the god of change and mobility, of communications, of reasoning and dialectics, of itineraries, of crossroads, interactions and commerce.
Names say much…Thus, we may deduce a lot of Mercury’s astrological nature just out of its English and Greek name. Mercury has to do i.e. with the element mercury (quicksilver), with a strange metal that is fluid and is ever changing its form. There is even the word “mercurial” in the English language meaning “changeable, volatile, erratic, quick-witted”! And of course Mercury has to do with the word “market” (they both share the Latin radix “merx”)! A “market” is a place where many and diverse people gather, where you can trade something, where you can deal in, sell and buy things and services.
The Greek name Hermes might not ring any particular bell to you. It will though if I tell you that the English word “sermon” is related to it! Thus Mercury has to do with a talk that has been properly methodized and structured, a talk containing irrefutable arguments so that it directs the audience to some specific, desirable conclusion. Under this point of view we all give small “sermons” everyday to the people around us so that we convince them for something, so that we achieve something out of them…
You see the Mercurian archetype is highly individualistic. It mostly takes care of our own personal interests. But its individualism has a gentler aspect too, as Mercury is constantly striving to restore some Unity between us and the others, to maintain a contact between us and the Wholeness…..
The Greek language will help us further to understand the astrological properties of Hermes / Mercury. The Greek verb “hermenevo” is tightly related to “Hermes” and it means “to interpret”…The “interpretation” of something, of a sentence, of a situation, behaviour etc. their “deciphering” and rendering in a clear, lucid and comprehensible manner is quintessential to Mercury – and absolutely essential to every human being.
To explain what I mean let me write you a sentence in Greek:
«H νόηση, η κινητικότητα, η αλλαγή, η διασύνδεση είναι κάποιες από τις βασικές ιδιότητες του Ερμή».
No doubt, that’s “all greek” to you…You are suddenly “in the dark” here…You probably look at the above phrase but neither can you read it nor make any sense out of it. You might even feel confused and disorientated about it, urgently needing some “interpretation”. Thus, most probably you will open a “Google translate” page and copy – paste the above phrase from Greek to English. You will get then something that goes like this:
“The cognition, mobility, changing the interface are some of the basic properties of Mercury”
This definitely makes some sense to you now. Of course the phrase “changing the interface” is not very clear. The “Mercury in you” is immediately alerting you that there might be something wrong about it. Actually, the google’s translation has not been very accurate in this case – it hasn’t done a very good “interpretation” of the Greek phrase (I can see this thanks to my own Mercury). What I actually wrote in Greek is:
“Reasoning, mobility, change, interconnections are some of the basic properties of Mercury”
What you just experienced with the Greek phrase you actually experience constantly, everyday, almost at every single moment of your life: you try all the time to decipher things and situations around you (and in you), to figure them out, to make sense out of the innumerable and diverse instances and situations you encounter in your life: from the very moment you wake up in the morning and try to figure out where you are and what time it is, to you walking to the kiosk to buy a newspaper and to chat a little bit with the newspapers man, to the shortcut you take while driving with your car in order to get faster to your destination e.t.c. In all these instances you strongly activate your Mercury, trying to reason what’s going on, trying to figure out how can you better adapt in your environment and take advantage of the circumstances around you in order to establish a good interconnection with the things and the persons around you and thus more easily and fully achieve your personal tasks.
Thus, a major Mercurian function is to bring things and situations into consciousness and to “reason” them out. Actually “to reason” is to try to understand a situation or a person, to make judgements upon it based on practical facts and situations you previously experienced. Meaning that a good “reasoner” must be curious and observant, a discerning person collecting and accumulating data and judgements over a wide spectrum of situations and facts. And that entails that s/he should have developed a multitude of virtual “information shelves” in his/her brains where s/he has inserted and catalogized those judgements and conclusions. Furthermore, s/he should be able to readily retrieve and combine – under any circumstances – the proper information, in order to smoothly interconnect with his/her environment and efficiently carry through any possible situation s/he encounters!
But where from do things spring out to our consciousness? Out of our own unconscious! Out of the “underworld”! And Hermes / Mercury has a lot to do with the underworld (and consequently with our unconscious). You see, according to Greek mythology he is the god who escorts the souls of the deceased to the underworld! Thus, we might say that he stands at the very threshold between consciousness and unconscious. He somehow partakes of both. He stands high on the Olympus but he comes often down to earth – visiting regularly the underworld too! This mobility and flexibility of his – and his acute reasoning – is rendering Mercury the most suitable god to bring things into consciousness (out of our vast unconscious) and into the Light, to “decipher” the things (the situations etc.) and make them clear, comprehensible, understandable.
Hermes is an Olympian God but a somehow particular one. He does not have a permanent abode in Olympus (heavens) as the other eleven gods have, nor in the underworld. He is rather constantly on the move. And he actually permeates all the three levels of existence: the heavens, the earthy world and the underworld (as we mentioned before he goes often “down under” as a “psychopompos”, as the carrier of the souls). Actually he doesn’t enjoy a very high status among the gods of Olympus as he carries the rather undignifying job of being their messenger – meaning that he is the one that most often gets in contact with the mortals. But exactly for this reason Mercury was much worshipped by the plain people. They were feeling that Mercury was better supporting and protecting their personal interests! He was even a trickster god (he stole Apollo’s cattle) and he was thus favouring any kind of tricksters, like the merchants (they still trick us alright, at least most of them…).
Mercury is the youngest of the Olympian gods and he has thus to do with youth – and more precisely with adolescence. Adolescence is a transition stage between childhood and adulthood. And Mercury has a lot to do with transitions, crossroads and ambivalence in general. Mercury is ever seeking to reconnect us to Wholeness, to somehow return us to the state of absolute Union. You see during the first months of our life we innately carry within us this sense of “Union with everything”, as we descend and incarnate in our earthy bodies. But we loose this sense later on in our infancy and we then experience a very painful and traumatic sensation of “fragmentation” (which actually is the very first step in the process of us becoming fully conscious and independent individuals). The only “remedy” for a child to restore some sense of Unity with its parents and environment is to develop communication skills. By developing communication skills, by even rudimentary speaking and exchanging information with its parents the child develops a sort of cognitive “tenticles” that somehow interconnect it with the huge world around it and thus elementarily restore his/her lost sense of “Unity with Everything”…
Strange as it might sound, the astronomical hierarchy of our Solar system says a lot about the properties of each planet. Mercury is the first planet in that hierarchical order, barely out of the Sun. It is showered by the torrential “consciousness” energies of our Luminary but crucially it resides just a bit out of the Sun so that it doesn’t get totally blinded by it! This fact has a major astrological implication: planet Mercury is able of “peeping” through the blinding “solar curtain”, taking thus a glimpse of the rest of the solar system and of the dark, immense space lying beyond it! And while the somehow “autistic” Sun is totally absorbed by its own existence Mercury realizes (thanks to the strong “consciousness” energies he receives from its nearby star) that there is something beyond the Sun, something proportionally powerful and meaningful! Thus, Mercury is trying to reason over this world that lies “beyond the Sun”, to understand its nature and to establish connections with it!
This stage, of Mercury becoming aware of the existence of non Solar words actually corresponds to the stage of the child loosing its primordial sense of “Unity with everything”. They both are fragmenting and traumatic stages. So, what immediately does Mercury in order to “remedy” the fragmenting experience is to attempt restoring some sense of unity with those “alien” to the solar kingdom words. Mercury stands at the very boundary between these two worlds and it somehow has to bring them together, to interconnect them. And to achieve this he has first to understand the nature of these “newly found” non solar worlds and consequently spot any possible “dialoguing” elements between them and the solar kingdom he serves. That is why properties like “reasoning”, “dialectics”, “interconnection” are ultimately so important to Mercury! There are mere means to the end of restoring some sense of unification between the partial and the whole, between us and the vast “world out there”.
Under this point of view, Mercury seems to be an earlier stage of Venus. Venus is aiming to bring together similar (or complementary) things and to unify them. Mercury on the other hand is striving to achieve some elementary “dialogue” between any kind of disparate elements…
Copyright: Thomas Gazis