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The Planets in Renaissance Astrology
Christopher Warnock, Esq.
The Nature of Mercury
in Renaissance Astrology

The Planets in Renaissance Astrology
Of Saturn and his signification
Of Jupiter and his signification
Of Mars and his signification
Of the Sun and his signification
Of Venus and her signification
Of Mercury and his signification
Of the Moon and her signification
The Hymns of Orpheus
Orphic Hymn to Mercury
William Lilly
Lilly Biography
Web Site Search
Web Site Search

Of Mercury, his signification, nature and property

from William Lilly's Christian Astrology
(1st ed. 1647, reprinted 1985 Regulus).

Of MERCURY, and his Signification.
Triplicity, Terms & Face
Nature & Elements
Manners & Actions
When ill dignified.
Quality of Men
Colours & Savours
Hearbs & Plants
Fishes, Birds
Minerals & Stones
Friends & Day

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Of MERCURY, his generall and particular Significations.

NAME He is called Hermes, Stilbon, Cyllenius, Archas. Mercury is the least of all the Planets, never distant from the Sun above 27.degrees; by which reason he is seldom visible to our sight:

Activities Ruled by Mercury

Colour He is of a dusky silver colour; his mean motion is 59 min. and 8 seconds; but he is sometimes so swift that he moveth one degree and 40.min. in a day, never more; so that you are not to marvaile if you finde him sometimes goe 66. 68. 70. 80. 86. or 100. in a day: he is Stationary one day, and retrograde 24.dayes.

Latitude His greatest South Latitude is 3.degr. 35.min. His greatest North Latit. is 3.deg. 33.min.

Houses He hath Gemini and Virgo for his Houses, and is exalted in the 15. of Virgo: he receives detriment in Sagittarius and Pisces, his fall is in Pisces.


Triplicity, Terms and Face [Note Lilly uses a different set of triplicity rulerships than I do] He ruleth the aery triplicity by night, viz. Gemini, Libra, Aquarius.

TERMS. He hath these degrees in every Sign for his Terms.

In ARIES, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.
In TAURUS, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.
In GEMINI, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
In CANCER, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.
In LEO, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.
In VIRGO, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

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In LIBRA, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.
In SCORPIO, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27.
In SAGITTARIUS, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.
In CAPRICORN, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
In AQUARIUS, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
In PISCES, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.

FACE. These subsequent degrees are his Faces or Decanate:

In TAURUS, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
In CANCER, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.
In VIRGO, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
In SAGITTARIUS, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
In AQUARIUS, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.

Nature We may not call him either Masculine or Feminine, for he is either the one or other as joyned to any Planet; for if in Conjunction with a Masculine Planet, he becomes Masculine; if with a Feminine, then Feminine, but of his own nature he is cold and dry, and therefore Melancholly; with the good he is good, with the evil Planets ill:


ELEMENTS. In the Elements the Water; amongst the humours, the mixt, he rules the animal spirit: he is author of subtilty, tricks, devices, perjury, &c.

Manners & Actions, when well dignified. Being wel dignified, he represents a man of a subtil and politick brain, intellect, and cogitation; an excellent disputant or Logician, arguing with learning and discretion, and using much eloquence in his speech, a searcher into all kinds of Mysteries and Learning, sharp and witty, learning almost any thing without a Teacher; ambitious of being exquisite in every Science, desirious naturally of travel and seeing foraign parts: a man of an unwearied fancy, curious in the search of any occult knowledge; able by his own Genius to produce wonders; given to Divination and the more secret knowledge; if he turn Merchant, no man exceeds him in a way of Trade or invention of new wayes whereby to obtain wealth.

When ill dignified. A troublesome wit, a kinds of Phrenetick man, his tongue and Pen against every man, wholly bent to spoil his estate and time in prating and trying nice conclusions to no purpose; a great lyar, boaster, pratler, busibody, false, a tale-carrier, given to wicked ARTS, as Necromancy, and such like ungodly knowledges; easie of beleef,

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an asse or very ideot, constant in no place or opinion, cheating and theeving every where; a news-monger, pretending all manner of knowledge, but guilty of no true or solid learning; a trifler; a meer frantick fellow; if he prove a Divine, then a meer verball fellow, frothy of no judgment, easily perverted, constant in nothing but idle words and bragging.


Corporature Vulgarly he denotes one of an high stature and straight thin spare body, an high forehead and somewhat narrow long face, long nose; fair eyes, neither perfectly black or gray, thin lips and nose, little hair on the chin, but much on his head, and it a sad brown inclining to blacknesse; long arms, fingers and hands; his complexion like an olive or Chestnut colour. You must more observe Mercury then all the Planets; for having any aspect to a Planet, he doth more usually partake of the influence of that Planet then nay other doth: if with Saturn then heavy, with Jupiter more temperate, with Mars more rash, with Sun more genteele, with Venus more jesting, with Moon more shifter.

Oriental When he is oriental, his complexion is honey colour, or like one wel Sun-burnt; in the stature of his body not very high, but wel joynted, smal eyes, not much hair; in very truth, according to the the height of body, very wel composed, but stil a defect in the complexion, viz. swarty brown, and in the tongue, viz. all for his own ends.

Occidental When Occidental, a tawny visage, lank body, small slender limbs, hollow eyes, and sparkling and red or fiery; the whole frame of body inclining to drinesse.

Quality of Men and Profession. He generally signifies all literated men, Philosophers, Mathematicians, Astrologians, Merchants, Secretaries, Scriveners, Diviners, Sculptors, Poets, Orators, Advocates, School-masters, Stationers, Printers, Exchangers of Money, Atturneys, Emperours, Embassadours, Commissioners, Clerks, Artificers, generally Accomptants, Solicitors, sometimes Theeves, pratling muddy Ministers, busie Sectaries, and they unlearned; Gramarians, Taylors, Carriers, Messengers, Foot-men, Userers.

SICKNESSES. All Vertigols, Lethargies or giddinesse in the Head, Madnesse, either Lightnesse, or any Disease of the Brain; Ptisick, all stammering and imperfection in the Tongue, vein and

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fond Imaginations, all defects in the Memory, Hoarcenesse, dry Coughs, too much abundance of Spettle, all snaffling and snuffling in the Head or Nose; the Hand and Feet Gout, Dumnesse, Toungue-evil, all evils in the Fancy and intellectual parts.

COLOUR & SAVOURS. Mixed and new colours, the Gray mixed with Sky-colour, such as is on the Neck of the Stock-dove, Linsie-woolsie colours, or consisting of many colours mixed in one. Of Saviours an hodgepodge of all things together, so that no one can give it any true name; yet usually such as doe quicken the Spirits, are subtil and penetrate, and in a manner insensible.


HEARBS & PLANTS Herbs attributed to Mercury, are known by the various colour of the flower, and love sandy barren places, they bear their seed in husks or cobs, they smel rarely or subtilly, and have pricnipal relation to the tongue, brain, lungs or memory; they dispel winde, and comfort the Annimal spirits, and open obstructions. Beanes, three leaved-grasse, the Walnut and Walnut-tree; the Filbert-tree and Nut; the Elder-tree, Adders-tongue, Dragon-wort, Twopenny-grasse, Lungwort, Anniseeds, Cubebs, Marjoran. What hearbs are used for the Muses and Divination, as Vervine, the Reed; of Drugs, Treacle, Hiera, Diambra.

BEASTS. The Hyaena, Ape, Fox, Squirrel, Weasel, the Spider, the Grayhound, the Hermophradite, being partaker of both sexes; all cunning creatures.

BIRDS. The Lynnet, the Parrot, the Popinian, the Swallow, the Pye,the Beetle, Pifinires, Locusts, Bees, Serpent, the Crane.

FISHES The Forke-fish, Mullet.

PLACES. Tradesmens-shops, Markets, Fayres, Schooles, Common Hals, Bowling-Allyes, Ordinaries, Tennis-Courts:

METALS Quicksilver.

STONES. The Milestone, Marchasite or fire-stone, the Achates, Topaz, Vitroil, all stones of divers colours.


WIND & WEATHER. He delights in Windy, Stormy and Violent, Boistrous Weather, and stirs up that Wind which the Planet signifies to which he applyes; sometimes Rain, at other times Haile, Lightning, Thunder and Tempests- in hot Countries Earthquakes, but this must be observed really from the Sign and Season of the year.

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ORBE. His Orbe is seven degrees before and after any aspect.

YEERS. His greatest yeers are 450; his greatest 76; his mean 48; his little or least 20: in Conceptions he governeth the sixth moneth.

COUNTRIES. He hath Grecia, Flanders, Egypt, Paris.

ANGEL. His Angel is named Raphael.

DAY OF THE WEEK & FRIENDS. He governeth Wednesday, the first hour thereof, and the eight. His Friends are Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and his Enemies all the other Planets.


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