As we move through our days of planetary magic, we come to Wednesday, the day of Mercury.
Mercury is a planet of ambiguity and ambivalence. It belongs to neither the day nor the night, but can belong to either. It is the fastest moving planet other than the Moon, and it changes speeds and directions more than any other. It is associated with argumentation and destabilization, but also the precise, detailed work of critical thinking and communication. Mercury is also associated with travel, commerce, and trade. Mercury was the messenger of the gods, moving between the upper world and the underworld, and as such, is associated with in-between-ness, crossing over, changing directions, and sharing information. Mercury rules the signs of Gemini and Virgo, and is exalted in Virgo.
For today—or any Wednesday—you might make a small altar for Mercury with the things you have available. You can look to the list of correspondences below for the kinds of colors, stones, numbers, and tarot cards you might incorporate. Add things that you associate with Mercury—maybe coins or notebooks, letters and correspondences or postcards. Once you build your altar, take some time to be with it as an aesthetic experience. Notice how being with this altar makes you feel. Drop your attention down into your body and observe what sensations arise as you observe the objects you’ve gathered for Mercury.
Sometimes, Mercury is visible in the night sky. Sometimes it rises before the Sun as a morning star, sometimes it sets after the Sun as an evening star. Right now, because of how close it is to the Sun, it is not currently visible, but around September 23 through November 3, it may be visible in the evening sky after the Sun sets. After Mercury’s retrograde period this fall, it will be at its brightest in the morning sky before the Sun rises, from November 19-December 13.
Whether you are working with or without an altar, I invite you to take some time to meditate with Mercury. It could be five minutes, ten minutes, or longer. Visualize Mercury in your mind’s eye (you can look up pictures of the planet if you don’t know what it looks like), or visualize the glyph for Mercury. Notice what your body feels like as you imagine Mercury. Remember or call up experiences in which you felt in-between places, in liminal spaces, moving between one world and another. You might call up what being in transit feels like for you—on planes or trains, commutes or relocations. Consider returning to experiences in which you received good news or messages from afar. Feel into experiences where you felt like you were communicating clearly and being understood. Notice what these memories feel like in your body, not just as thoughts in your mind.
In meditations like this, I also work with mantras coming from the yoga tradition. For working with Mercury, I use the mantra: “Om Sri Budhaya Namaha.” I use a mala and repeat the mantra 108 times. I also sometimes use mudra, described below.
However you spend your time meditating with Mercury—repeating a mantra, recalling experiences that you associated with Mercury’s significations—tune in to the sensations that begin to accumulate. These could be physical, emotional, or they could be more subtle energetic shifts in your awareness. The practice is for Mercury to become more than just an abstract symbol or something that you think of as “out there” in space. As you begin to notice what Mercury feels like within your body, this becomes a state that you can return to and work with in your magic, and how you understand Mercury astrologically—in your birth chart or in its transits—will begin to take on more embodied significance as well.
Number: 8, and also 2 and 3
Colors: Orange and multi-colored
Metals: “quicksilver and part of tin and glass” (Picatrix)
Stones: “emerald and all stones of this type and has part of asumbedich” (Picatrix)
Chakra: Vishudha, the Throat Chakra
Mantra: Om Sri Budhaya Namaha
Mudra: The little finger is associated with Mercury, so I use Bhudi Mudra—bringing the tip of the thumb and little finger together, with other fingers extended. There is also a mudra from Indian dance traditions used to signify Mercury—Budha Mudra, illustrated below.
Tarot: The Magician
Kaitlin Coppock of Sphere + Sundry also has a beautiful series of Exalted Mercury Cazimi talismanic offerings to "aid in the forms of productivity which rely on mental rigor and analytical processing": https://sphereandsundry.com/product-category/series/exalted-mercury-cazimi/
I love Kaitlin's work, which has been a huge support to me as I have developed my own astrological magic practices.
Kaitlin Coppock, “Planetary Magic: A Beginner’s Guide,” WellBeing Astrology 2020, editor Kelly Surtees, Universal Media Co, 2019: 92-95.
Austin Coppock, “Intro to Planetary Magic,” https://austincoppock.com/shop/intro-to-planetary-magic-course/[online course].
Richard Fish and Ryan Kurczak, The Art and Science of Vedic Astrology: The Foundation Course (Asheville Vedic Astrology, 2012).
Cain Carroll and Revital Carroll, Mudras of India (London: Singing Dragon, 2013).
Gertrud Hirschi, Mudras: Yoga in your Hands (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc, 2000).
Thomas Ashley-Farrand, Healing Mantras: Using Sound Affirmations for Personal Power, Creativity, and Healing (New York: Ballantine Books, 1999).
Richard Palmer, “Delving Into Tarot and Astrology in the Golden Dawn Tradition,” Biddy Tarot, https://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-astrology-golden-dawn/.
Joe Rao, “When, Where and How to See the Planets in the 2019 Night Sky,” December 27, 2018, https://www.space.com/39240-when-to-see-planets-in-the-sky.html.
If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can find them here: