Mercury is the planet in the solar system closest to the Sun. Its symbol consists of a circle sat atop a cross, similar to the symbol for Venus, with an open semi-circle above. In the European tradition, Mercury is associated with travel, messages and commerce. In the Indian tradition, Mercury is associated with masculinity, communication and intellect.
Astrology is the study of the stars, planets and other celestial objects in order to make predictions about human character traits, world events and future affairs. It is a pseudoscience, and has been proven to hold no basis in fact.
The study of the heavens has been practiced since the 2nd millennium BCE. It likely began as a way to track season changes for the purposes of agriculture that was soon interpreted to involve divine communications from the gods.
Western astrology can be traced back to Mesopotamia in the 19th Century BCE. It was prevalent in Ancient Greece, Rome, the Arab world and, later, throughout Western Europe. Non-Western astrology was also prevalent in the Hindu, Chinese, and the Mayan cultures.
Astrological symbols date back as far as the Byzantine empire, preserved and copied in Ancient Greece and updated and supplemented throughout the European Renaissance.
Modern Western astrology purports to study the influence that cosmic objects, stars and planets and their relative positions in the skies, have on human lives. The position of the sun, stars, moon and planets at the time an individual’s birth is said to affect or mold their personality, romantic relationships, and future prosperity.
Astrology is often associated with systems of horoscopes. Most people in the West are aware of their ‘star sign’, which refers to one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac. The zodiac sign at the time of one’s birth is said to be indicative of the kind of person they will become.
In the modern day, many make a living as ‘professional’ astrologers, providing readings and making predictions for those who consult with them. They use complex charts and angles to divine supposed wisdom from the placement of the stars and planets, in order to form a complex and detailed outline of an individual’s personality, life and future prospects.