Mercury in the Houses
Mercury rules two signs; Gemini and Virgo, and is the natural ruler of the third and sixth houses. Whatever houses have Gemini and Virgo on the house cusp or contained within will have a connection to this house as will the house containing the planetary ruler of the sign that this planet is posited in. If, for example, Mercury is in the sign, Aries there will be a connection with this house and the house containing Mars, the planetary ruler of Aries.
This planet is positioned in the heavens quite close to the Sun – the closest planet in fact. Actually, the proximity of Mercury to the Sun means that if it is not in the same sign then it is either in the sign preceding or following the sign of the Sun. Astrologically, this is important because Mercury is associated with thought and communication. That is, a good deal about the style (sign) a person communicates with and where a person centers the thoughts and attempts to assimilate this information (house) will be reflected by this planet's condition in the chart. However, it is reflective and since it is never far from the Sun (our ego) it may act as a filter and show us what our ego (Sun) wishes to see. In this way it can color our perception, much in the manner that our Ascendant has bearing on our view of the world.
The house position of Mercury will tell us the area of life that a person's thoughts quite naturally gravitate to. This is an area that not only arouses our interests, but an area where we will learn a good deal as well. This is also indicative of the area of life where we can bring Mercury's power to bear as well as where it is needed. This area may find us quite restless as well as inquisitive, but can confer a degree of versatility. Here we may see Gemini and Virgo at work, as Gemini might be easily distracted whereas Virgo tends to be detail-oriented or constant.
Aspects to Mercury in the chart will give us indications of which energies we can incorporate with ease or difficulty, and this will probably include the houses the aspecting planets rule. Easy aspects will be incorporated into our self-image readily, while hard aspects may assume proportions of being thrust upon us.
FIRST HOUSE MERCURY
First-house energies are usually expressed right up front and with Mercury here you may see everything it symbolizes right on the surface of the individual's personality. That can include the Gemini duality of Mercury manifesting as an individual whose personality (first) may seem to change from time to time.
These people may be rather versatile and may approach life with the intellect or seem inquisitive to those who meet them for the first time. Some may seem nervous or develop nervous habits due to the restlessness that Mercury may symbolize. They are often observant and may exhibit a good deal of intelligence. Usually communicative, they may take up writing or be talkative; perhaps too much so in some cases. There may be a good deal of physical activity as well due to the restless nature, and this may be an attempt to express mental energy that they may have an over-abundance of.
This planet can easily reflect the characteristics of the sign it is posited in as well as planets that aspect it. If a first-house placement is in the same sign containing the Ascendant, the world view can be doubly entrenched due to the connection of the Ascendant and Mercury to our perception of the world. If this is expressed negatively, it would be wise to keep that old adage in mind – "A man's mind can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven." Sometimes we tend to see what we wish. On the plus side, due to this planet's connection to the youth in mythology and the first house connection to our physical appearance, it is said that these individuals are likely to retain a youthful appearance throughout their entire life.
This planet's influence might allow these people to become involved in difficult projects simultaneously. However, they should be careful of a superficial approach or projects could be left uncompleted and subjects set aside without being fully learned. Consistency is the key here or the energy can be scattered and make their efforts ineffective. With focus and the energy of Mercury, they can accomplish a good deal.
SECOND HOUSE MERCURY
The second house is the area of the chart which is said to symbolize moveable assets, finances; innate talents and inner resources; personal values and how we seek security. When we find Mercury posited here, our approach to these matters will most naturally come through the intellect. This is also where our mental powers would be most beneficially used to learn about life and how to handle second-house issues.
These people usually take a mental approach to finances and this area is also apt to hold their intellectual interest in other ways, too. They may be clever in the area of finance and something of an entrepreneur. Business activities may include mercurial pursuits such as writing, publishing and the communications media in general as well as teaching. Knowledge may be pursued in the hopes of this leading to financial gain and stability. They may be inventive and gain financially from their inventions. Some may hold mercurial jobs such as secretaries or librarians or work as accountants. The nature of planets aspecting Mercury, the type of aspect, the house and sign position of aspecting planets as well as this planet’s sign placement will color the financial picture more completely. Mercurial assets such as dexterity, flexibility, adaptability and cleverness may be used to this individual's financial advantage.
In the second house we also find indications of how a person goes about seeking security. Here the mercurial powers may be used to give the native a greater sense of security by helping him to understand his environment and the people and things within it.
This planet is the natural ruler of the third house of siblings and close kin. Therefore, second-house placement may work for, or in partnership with, family members. Whatever the case, a second-house Mercury is usually indicative of a person whose mind will be preoccupied with second-house issues. This area will then be transmuted into a learning experience about life in general. Conditions of the second house will give clues as to how this person will fare in grappling with these issues.
THIRD HOUSE MERCURY
The third house is associated with how we think. Planetary energies here will stimulate mental activity and tell us about a person’s aptitude for learning or reasoning. Gemini is the natural sign of the third house, so conditions here will also reflect our ability to communicate. Other third-house matters include short journeys; relationships with neighbors and siblings and other close relatives, excluding parents; and commerce in general.
When this planet is posited in the third, it is considered a strong placement and referred to as accidentally dignified; as the natural sign for the third is Gemini, and this is one of the signs ruled by this planet. This can make for a person that is curious and tends to stimulate the intellect. They may be very observant and rather adept at languages and communication in general. They should endeavor to focus their mental gifts or the restlessness of Mercury could scatter the energy and though they may know a little about a lot, they may lack depth in what they learn.
This restlessness could make for much moving about and someone that cannot seem to sit still. Where communication is concerned, although they usually communicate well, they may be too talkative or say things better left unsaid. They can be clever communicators and may exhibit a talent for writing or public speaking or use these skills in some other form of commerce. Conditions of the third, such as sign placement and aspects, will tell how this person tends to think and learn as well as the style of communication.
Difficulties with any third-house issues will be denoted by inharmonious aspects to it in the third. These may relate to any third-house issue, be it sibling rivalry, learning difficulties or problems with close relatives. The nature and sign of the aspecting planet should be scrutinized for indications of what these problems might be. Harmonious aspects will reflect information in a similar manner and indicate planetary energies that will more easily be assimilated and aid in third-house affairs.
FOURTH HOUSE MERCURY
The fourth house is related to domestic affairs. That is to say, the home of our childhood as well as the home we are likely to wish to make for ourselves as adults. Conditions here tend to reflect how we end things, including the closing years of our life. This is one of the parent houses. Traditionally, it was taken to symbolize the mother, although some believe it to be symbolic of the parent in the background or the parent least influential in our development.
A fourth-house placement is said to give an intellectual atmosphere to early home life. There may have been much discussion in the home or perhaps the home was a place of learning or much value was placed upon intellectual pursuits. This mental activity in the home is likely to be carried out later in life and some of these people will wish to pursue intellectual activities throughout their entire lives. However, Mercury also has a restless nature and this could mean frequent changes of residence. If this was the case, aspects to it will help determine the degree of ease or difficulty the native found in dealing with these changes. Some see this as high adventure while in others it fosters insecurity.
This placement could also manifest as the home being a place of commerce (third) and work (sixth), symbolic of the houses naturally ruled by this planet. This could also mean that, although the home was filled with intellectual activity, the native might not have found early home life terribly supportive in the emotional sense.
Where the parent symbolized by the fourth house is concerned, we may find an individual that looked upon the parent in question as an intellectual or someone very communicative or highly adaptive or clever. For some children, however, this position may exhibit another side; and that is of a parent that is very changeable and, as such, symbolizes a parent that the child might not have been able to rely on or that was frequently away from the home on business perhaps.
FIFTH HOUSE MERCURY
The fifth house symbolizes artistic/creative self-expression, children, financial speculation, and romantic affairs and gives indications of how this particular individual likes to play or their leisure interests. We should keep in mind that the fifth house is ruled by Leo and the Sun so this may be an area where we like to shine just as we may have this desire in our Leo house. In this regard, the fifth and Leo houses share something in common with our Sun house.
With creative self-expression, a fifth-house Mercury may have a preference for literature or may seek to express themselves through writing. This could also manifest as a person that is quite adept at giving their feelings expression (fifth) and communicating (Mercury) this to others. This planet is related to flexibility, and this could mean different modes of creative expression are available to the native. Or that art (fifth) might be used in some way to communicate (Mercury). It is associated with how we assimilate experience and learn. This could be done through art or we could become teachers communicating through art or teaching children different art forms.
When we consider romance, we might suspect a fifth-house Mercury is drawn to the more intellectual type or at least to someone they can communicate with. The changeable nature of Mercury can prove to be fickle at times, so this person may put quantity over quality or, due to the duality associated with Gemini, might have more than one lover. Obviously, sign placement and aspects should be taken into consideration where this is concerned.
Where play and hobbies are concerned, these people are probably drawn to intellectual games like chess or something that in some way stimulates the mind. Or to some, play might mean relaxing with a good book. This planet is said to symbolize dexterity and use of the hands could come into play in areas like needlepoint or woodworking. Financial speculation could include playing in the stock market or other forms of gambling. Conditions of the fifth house will give indications of how they will fare in these endeavors.
SIXTH HOUSE MERCURY
The sixth house is related to the work and service we will perform throughout our lives as well as issues of health. When Mercury is posited in the sixth house, it is considered accidentally dignified and strongly placed. This is due to the natural sign rulership of Virgo over the sixth house, which is ruled by Mercury.
These people are usually capable of doing work requiring a good deal of precision or possibly methodical work needing detailed records, perhaps as a researcher. They may also be very communicative with co-workers in the workplace or somehow rely on communication in their work, possibly as a lecturer. Due to the restlessness of Mercury, they would find routine difficult to deal with, and for some this could lead to frequent job changes. The key here is focus, and if they can harness their considerable mental energy they may be capable of doing highly specialized work. For most cases, this may mean that the native has a need to find their work mentally engaging. They should be wary of a perfectionist streak due to the influence of Virgo. This tendency can paralyze them and be nearly as detrimental as scattered energy.
The relationship to the third house of siblings could play a role in two ways. They may look upon and treat their fellow co-workers as siblings or replay battles of sibling rivalry in the work place.
The relationship to health, for a sixth-house position, could mean a person whose health may be affected by nervousness or a person that might be prone to problems of the nervous system. Industrial workers would be wise to safeguard against damage to the lungs, one of the organs associated with Mercury, particularly if this position is afflicted strongly. On the plus side, these natives can benefit from mental imaging and maintaining a positive attitude which for them is usually beneficial to their health.
SEVENTH HOUSE MERCURY
The condition of the seventh house reflects how we fare in our interactions with society or the public in general. The seventh is considered the marriage house and encompasses committed relationships, whether formalized or not, as well as business partnerships. After crossing over the Descendant the remaining houses, seven through twelve, deal more closely with how we interact with others, whereas houses one through six tend to act on a more personal level. We should keep in mind that once we cross the Descendant we may find the phenomenon of projection at work in the seventh through twelfth houses. That is, if we do not consciously use these energies they will be projected onto others and the environment in general and be reflected to us, much in the manner of a mirror. In this way, we are brought into contact with and are made more aware of these energies so that we can consciously integrate them into our own lives for ourselves.
This phenomenon can take place for good or ill. That is, these traits may be characteristic of traits we admire or those we loathe, which is why the seventh is referred to as the house of open enemies, at times. When this occurs, traits we find distasteful in ourselves are sublimated and denied expression. They then build energy in the unconscious and tend to get projected onto others. People who give expression to these energies, on a negative level, may give us a feeling of being uncomfortable. At best, we will usually not approve of their conduct or something about their character.
This experience, both the negative and the positive, can be used as a learning tool if we can detach ourselves emotionally from this process and look beneath the surface of our interactions with others. Here, quite often, we will find that we harbor these same characteristics as well, but are out of touch with them. Our goal should not be to approve of negative behavior, but to accept these qualities within ourselves so that we can change them and give healthy expression to these energies for ourselves so that we will not have to look to others to do this for us.
When we find this planet posited in the seventh house, mercurial powers may come into play in any of the issues concerned. These people may look for mental compatibility and the ability to communicate with a partner may be very important to them as well. The partner may be perceived as an intellectual or the native may be drawn to the brainy type. This planet is also concerned with youth and this could mean marriage at an early age or a younger partner. The restless and fickle nature, if afflicted, could mean a lover that wanders on the native or could give the native a roving eye and might make fidelity difficult. We should also keep in mind that Mercury symbolizes where we learn through experience; and with a seventh house Mercury, this experience comes through relationships.
Business partnerships will see the same mercurial influence. This could manifest as business involving communications media or perhaps dealing with some form of teaching the public. This native may be a spokesperson for their business or be the one that handles contract negotiations, records or accounting work. If this is not lived out consciously by the native, then the partner may tend to pick up this projection and these tasks would then fall to them as their individual responsibilities. In either case, sign placement, planetary ruler(s) of the seventh and all aspects concerned will give indications of how the native will fare in business, with the public and partnerships in general.
This planet naturally rules the third and sixth houses. This could manifest as a seventh-house Mercury that marries someone that reminds them of, or looks upon them as, a sibling. That is, sibling issues could come into play because of the association with Mercury and the third house. The sixth house influence, on the other hand, could manifest as a person who meets a spouse or potential business partner at their place of work (sixth). Or Mercury could be used in counseling other couples with their problems.
EIGHTH HOUSE MERCURY
When Mercury is posited in the eighth house, we will see its influence in the area of shared resources such as those assets held jointly with a business partner or spouse. The eighth is associated with death as well and this could encompass inherited assets. This could mean being executor of an estate or trust. The eighth include issues such as sex and the occult, astrology and, being one of the natural water houses, the unconscious.
With this planet in the eighth, we might expect the native to have a talent for accounting where finances are concerned. The eighth house is also associated with what lies below the surface and, in this regard, Mercury here is sometimes said to give a talent for research work or in some way probing the depths perhaps in the manner of detective work or psychology. This may manifest as a talent for getting people to open up and talk, which is essential to a therapist.
The natural sign of the eighth house is Scorpio and one of the negative characteristics of this sign is vengefulness, so these people would be well advised of this inclination as some may express this negativity. On a much more somber note, the eighth house encompasses death and conditions here might point out possible causes. When posited in the eighth, it is said that death might be caused by problems with the nervous system or the respiratory tract; both associated with Mercury.
Other problems attributed to an eighth-house Mercury may well come from areas where these people can exhibit talent. Aspects might indicate problems with contracts or wills which should always be checked quite carefully. They should make sure that both parties understand the terms of written agreements to say the same thing. Any sexual difficulties could have mercurial connections such as siblings (third) and may be very deeply buried in the unconscious (eighth). Placement here could possibly act as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind.
NINTH HOUSE MERCURY
With Mercury in the ninth house, the native will learn through experiences pertaining to ninth-house issues. These affairs are higher education, religion, law, publishing, foreign culture, long-distance journeys, as well as relatives of business partners and in-laws.
For some with placement in the ninth house, higher education will be an issue as Mercury energizes the intellectual interests of the native. The course of study could be a ninth-house topic such as religion, philosophy, law, and even teaching as there are a good number of teachers and professors with this placement. This planet's connection to communication would ease the teacher's task of getting their point across to their students. The ninth is also the house of publishing, so Mercury here could be an aid to writers and editors as well as publishers. Further areas of study could be influenced by the sign Mercury is posited in or the sign on the ninth-house cusp.
This planet is considered a restless energy at times and, posited in the ninth house of long-distance journeys and foreign cultures, this could manifest as a native stricken with wanderlust. They may be unusually fond of travel and particularly foreign locales. In this way a ninth-house placement could learn by making his classroom the entire world. This could be a good position for someone interested in the formal study of foreign cultures and anthropology.
When we consider in-laws and associate's relatives, we might find a good deal of communication taking place here. This would aid favorable relations, but we should keep in mind that Mercury refers to intellectual exchange where communication is concerned and does not by itself imply any degree of warmth of emotion that other placements might add. Of course, this depends on the overall tenor of the ninth house and the chart in general.
TENTH HOUSE MERCURY
The tenth is considered the career house and it does encompass professional endeavors and business interests. But we also find here how we would like to be seen by our community and in the eyes of the world in general. This is also one of the parent houses, so placements here will reflect in some way how we perceived the relationship to the parent in question. The parent symbolized here will usually be the parent most influential in our development.
With placement in the tenth, the native will usually wish to be seen as having a superior intellect and may very well possess such mental capacities. Mercury professions might include writers, journalists, secretaries, researchers, etc. The tenth is also said to be connected to politics and this placement could aid a politician in finding solutions to problems vexing society. This position aids in communicating with one's superiors and some of these individuals may help those above them plan strategy for political or possibly advertising campaigns.
If we look to the tenth as symbolizing the more influential parent in our background, we could find this planet symbolizing a parent that was perceived as an intellectual or one that stressed the need for education in order to achieve in life. On the other hand, this parent may not have gotten much of an education themselves and the native may pick up on this unconsciously in childhood and go on to live this out for the parent, thereby attempting to gain the parent's love. The restless nature of this planet could be reflected in a parent that was away on business a good deal of the time. Also, although communication with the parent may have been more than adequate, the warmer side or feeling nature of the relationship may not have been nurtured and the native may have felt that the relationship with this parent was a bit cold or superficial. Conditions of the tenth will shed light on this.
ELEVENTH HOUSE MERCURY
The eleventh house encompasses friendships, group associations, professional organizations, as well as hopes and wishes and goals and objectives.
With this planet in the eleventh we might expect this person to pick friends on an intellectual basis. Communication would probably come into play, and this could mean friends that the native has an easy time conversing with or at least friends who would tolerate the talkativeness of the eleventh-house Mercury individual.
Group associations might include literary organizations or scientific/investigative organizations. The eleventh is naturally ruled by the sign Aquarius and this could encompass groups that promote humanitarian ideals in some way such as Amnesty International. The eleventh house is naturally ruled by Uranus and this connection might include studies of the occult or astrology. The association with the eleventh house to Aquarius here is important because Mercury is considered exalted in Aquarius, and this would make an eleventh-house Mercury accidentally dignified. The influence of Aquarius, aside from bestowing humanitarian ideals, could also foster a love of truth as well as a degree of inventiveness through the influence of Uranus, ruler of Aquarius.
Within these groups, an eleventh-house placement could take on duties associated with this planet such as secretary, scribe, treasurer or spokesperson. This is if the mercurial powers are expressed by the native. With the eleventh house, sometimes it is possible that the native awakens these qualities in others. Mercury also has a connection to siblings and we might meet someone who reminds us of a sibling or someone we treat as such. However, there is the possibility of sibling issues being played out within these groups we join as well. The restless nature of Mercury might be played out here again as wanderlust by a person who is continually joining groups, but moving on again when something else seems to catch their fancy.
TWELFTH HOUSE MERCURY
The twelfth house is sometimes referred to as the house of confinement; meaning prisons, hospitals, asylums and the like. The label of hidden enemies is attached to this house also. On a more personal level, however, this is one of the natural water houses ruled by Pisces and Neptune, and in this regard is symbolic of the unconscious. Energies posited in the twelfth house we usually have to struggle to give expression to, and this is usually the problem for most of us. I should point out that this struggle can yield results well worth the effort required, as we may find assets that are nothing less than hidden treasure.
This planet posited here is said to hinder communications; be they writing, verbal or just formulating our thoughts. The fact that we tend to shy away from twelfth-house energies may give this person the appearance of being uncommunicative and therein lies the rub. If we do not exercise expression of twelfth-house energies, we always tend to feel awkward where they are concerned. It is only by bringing these energies out of the closet that we can learn to be adept at their expression.
With Mercury here, the mental capacities and communicative abilities may have been ridiculed early on. The culprit might have been either a sibling or close relative; both related to the third house and Mercury. These people, however, usually possess good minds. They may be deep thinkers or quite imaginative, but have fear of what others will think of their thoughts or have problems verbalizing them. This position is also related to psychic sensitivity which may allow them to tune into the feelings of others and further muddle the situation if they have the inability to distinguish their thoughts and feelings from others. A positive attitude can work wonders for these people.
Writing would be therapeutic for these people as Mercury could aid in building a bridge between the unconscious and conscious mind. Also, twelfth-house energies can sometimes best be expressed by using these energies to help others with similar difficulties. This could be done with problems in learning, communication or perhaps speech difficulties.
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