Why the Name “Mercury”?

At the Division Contest 2014, in the St. George Church: Mercury members sat on the pew (church bench) with  the symbol of Mercury on it, the Roman god of communication and eloquence.

At the Division Contest 2014, in the St. George Church: Mercury members sat on the pew (a long wooden seat in a church) with the symbol of Mercury on it, the Roman god of communication and eloquence. No coincidence!

Symbol of Communication and Eloquence

One of the most beloved of the ancient deities is Mercury. As messenger of the gods in Roman mythology, Mercury symbolizes communication between people. The Romans largely borrowed the old stories and myths of the Greeks and based their god Mercury on the Greek messenger Hermes. Like Hermes, Mercury is god of communication and  eloquence as well as guide for newly deceased souls to the afterlife.

The word Wednesday originates from Mercury

Mercury by Hendrick Goltzius

Mercury by Hendrick Goltzius

The Romans also made him god of merchants and he lent his name to “mercantilism”. The Latin words
dies Mercurii “day of Mercury” is the origin of the English word “Wednesday”. This Latin root survives in Romance languages, such as miércoles (Spanish) mercredi (French) mercoledì (Italian). Because our Toastmaster club meets on Wednesdays, we were happy about this revelation.

Mercury’s Appearance

The messenger god is generally described as wearing the clothes of a shepherd. He has winged sandals and sometimes a winged hat. He generally carries the caduceus which is a staff entwined with two snakes.

Alex Ross created Flash a fictional comic book superhero  portrayed here by Jay Garrick.

Alex Ross created Flash, a comic book superhero portrayed here by Jay Garrick.

Mercury has influenced the name of many things in a variety of scientific fields, such as the planet Mercury and the element mercury. The word mercurial is commonly used to refer to something or someone erratic, volatile or unstable, derived from Mercury’s swift flights from place to place. The adjective mercurial is also used to describe someone or something having characteristics attributed to the god Mercury (eloquence, shrewdness, swiftness, thievishness); for example, “this speaker has mercurial eloquence”.

His positive image has inspired astronomers, automobile manufacturers, florist logos and even comic book authors.

In astrology, Mercury is even more closely associated with communication.
Here is an excerpt from Cafe Astrology:

Mercury, the messenger of the gods, is the ruler of Gemini and Virgo. Mercury is the messenger in Astrology as it is in Mythology. It is the planet of day-to-day expression and communication. Mercury’s action is to take things apart and put them back together again. It is an opportunistic planet, decidedly unemotional and curious.

In modern times, we tend to “meet” people’s Mercury first. Many people make a connection for the first time through e-mails, for example. Mercury rules whether we are flowery in our speech and/or written words, concise in our choice of words, or business-like even in our personal communications.

Mercury on a St. Lucia stamp from 1949

Mercury on a St. Lucia stamp from 1949

Mercury not only rules communication, it represents coordination. Thought processes, ideas, and sensory information from both unconscious and unconscious sources all need to be coordinated and understood. Mercury analyzes, sorts, groups, and makes sense of things. How do we handle nervous energy? How do we express and convey our thoughts? How do we approach others and information in order to learn and exchange ideas?

When we are “acting out” our Mercury, we are inquisitive, curious, communicative, and versatile. On the negative side, we can be high-strung or nervous, nit-picky, indecisive, and overly technical.


On a personal level, look to Mercury in the chart to reveal how individuals get their point across, how they study, and how they process information. Mercury by sign shows an individual’s style of communication. By house, Mercury reveals where natives seek to have a voice as well as which areas of life they tend to intellectualize and give a lot of thought to. Mercury colors the planets it aspects with a desire for communication and exchange of information. Similarly, the planets Mercury aspects affect the way an individual communicates. Mercury prominent in a chart points to wit, liveliness, and curiosity.