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The smallest planet in our solar system and nearest to the Sun, Mercury is only slightly larger than Earth’s Moon. It is about 36 million miles (58 million kilometres). Despite its proximity to the Sun, Mercury is not the hottest planet in our solar system.

small image of Mercury

Living up to its name, Mercury is the fastest planet in the solar system, speeding along at about 29 miles per second and completing each orbit around the sun in just 88 Earth days.

Because Mercury is so small and so close to the sun, it is the most elusive of the five planets that are visible to the naked eye. You can only catch Mercury at dawn and dusk, and it usually does not rise far above the horizon.

Since ancient times, people observing the heavens have noticed that the naked-eye planets sometimes appear to move backward, briefly shifting from their usual eastward motion to a westward path across the sky. This retrograde motion is an illusion created when one planet moves faster in its orbit than another so that it catches up to and passes the slower world. For observers on Earth, Mercury is in retrograde about three to four times a year.

Mercury in Astrological Terms

Mercury symbol on a yellow background

Mercury is the translator and shows how you know what you know. In mythology, he was the messenger to the Gods (see the mythology section). Mercury concerns the mind, and your sign and house position influence the mysterious way you put it all together up there. It determines how you make sense of your world, formulate ideas, and share them with others.

Mercury is at home in the air signs, which lean toward rational and logical thinking. In fire signs, Mercury is quick, instinctive, and inspirational, water signs give the mind an intuitive and emotional filter, while Mercury in the earth signs tends to be pragmatic and concrete.

Mercury determines your fascinations, what kinds of puzzles you’ll want to work out, where you’d like to focus your mind power. Mercury’s influence on how you think can steer your career path since you’ll likely be drawn to areas in which your mind thrives and excels.

Mercury in Mythology

Mercury, in Latin, Mercurius, in Roman religion, he was the god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he also serves as the guide of souls to the underworld. He is commonly identified with the Greek Hermes, the fleet-footed messenger of the gods.

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