According to Greek myth, Mercury (or Hermes, whose name derives etymologically from the piles of rocks which marked trails and guided travelers) was the messenger of the gods. He carried orders from Olympus to the mortals on Earth. The child of the illegitimate union of Zeus with Maia, Mercury was born “unknown to the immortal gods” and had to win his place among them by trickery, cleverness, and cunning. This is why he became the vagabond deity of travelers and wanderers. He is the instinctive foe of the settled who see him as an outcast roaming on the outskirts of society: a pariah, a thief, and a swindler. As ruler of the sign of Gemini, the Twins, he symbolizes the brotherâ€”the alter-ego who teaches us as much as we teach him and is associated with adolescence, a period of intense intellectual discovery. Mercury thus symbolizes lively, sparkling wit, mobility in any form, mental exchange, and interaction. As a result, a person strongly ruled by Mercury is quite likely to be clever and skillful. If Mercury is “afflicted” in one's chart, their intellectual velocity may sometimes become mere mental hyperactivity. In any case, these skills are a great resource in the social realm.
In the Greek tradition, Mars or Aries was the god of war. Although it also symbolizes the elder brother in the cosmic family, it is more likely to be associated with declared enemies or adversaries. Mars morphology is typically virile, angular, and athletic and corresponds to aggressive, domineering, masculine behavior. Likewise, Mars is usually associated with rage, its resultant brutality, and male destructiveness and domination. Psychologically, Mars figures in any situation of conflict, opposition, and confrontation. Martian symbolism intervenes to separate, oppose, and decide and corresponds to duels, war, and any situation in real life which involves confronting an obstacle. Individuals who are greatly influenced by Mars are typically direct and straightforwardâ€”either unabashedly extroverted or furiously introverted. They are extremely active and extremely emotive. Their purpose in life seems to be inextricably mingled with a combat against an unacceptable situation, a challenge which they either issue or are forced to accept.