Mercury – planet of communication and information. In modern astrology, he is often associated with the third house, which certainly makes sense. The third house is about short trips, communication, and siblings. But in traditional astrology, Mercury is said to rejoice in the first house, not the third. It might not seem immediately intuitive, but exploring this connection can help you understand both Mercury and the first house on a deeper level.
The first house is arguably the most important house in the chart. It is the hour marker, the house that sets the entire house scheme for the rest of our chart. It is the first impression we make on the world, and the first impression the world makes upon us. It is how we respond to life. It is how we construct our identity. It is, in essence, who we are. So why is Mercury the planet that fits here?
Everything that we encounter in life is information. It is first filtered by our body and senses, which are signified by the first house. But once it goes through that filter, it has to be processed in a way we can understand. And that is Mercury’s job. Mercury is able to quickly pick up and sort all the incoming information, helping us to understand and navigate our world. No living thing can survive without being able to respond appropriately to its environment. Even plants, fungi, and bacteria rely on this process. On this incredibly basic level, Mercury is what keeps us alive.
But it goes even deeper. When we process information, we begin to create categories, which become more complex the more information we receive. We may start with “hot and cold” or “dangerous and safe”, and evolve to “gross and delicious” or “fun and boring.” It’s these categories that help us form opinions, and it’s these opinions that form the basis of our personality. And as we grow, Mercury’s function grows with us, helping us form the beliefs and affinities that guide our lives. In short, what we think is who we are.
In addition, because the first house represents our identity, Mercury does well because Mercury allows us to speak our truth. Mercury helps us boldly announce ourselves to the world. Mercury in the first house helps us stay authentic, intelligent, and honest. It helps us to be fully ourselves.
The Natal Chart
While planetary joys are used more often in non-natal astrology, it still can have important implications in the natal chart. Mercury in the 1st is strengthened and likes where it is, regardless of sign. It simply thrives. So for instance, if you have Mercury in Gemini in the first house, you’ll be a wordsmith who can process information like a quantum computer. But even if you have Mercury in Pisces, the sign of its fall, in the first house, your Mercury will still work well. Your mind lights up in the world of fantasy, poetry, music, and even a little strategic misinformation. You’ll move through the world with an ephemeral quality, and even though your Mercury won’t be sharp and incisive like it would be in another sign, it will be absolutely killing it with the tools it has available. There is a long line of musicians, artists, poets, and even grifters who would heartily agree.
Bringing It Together
The first house is our connection to the outside world. Mercury is how we process and respond to that world. The first house is who we are, and Mercury is how we construct our identities. The first house is about survival, and Mercury gives us the tools we need to survive. The first house is about authenticity, and Mercury helps us communicate and reinforce our true selves. And when you see them together in the natal chart, you know you’re dealing with a strong mind and a skilled tongue, no matter what sign is involved. By understanding the connection between Mercury and the first house, we understand the true function of both – to help us become who we are.
Do you have Mercury in the first house, or do you know someone who does? What is your experience?