Compatible? But How’s Your Communication?

Most people who use Western Astrology compare Sun signs with family, friends, and partners to consider compatibility. Vedic Astrologers look to the Moon signs for compatibility. Each system has its beneficial reasons for doing so. But even when the Sun or Moon signs are fairly compatible, if communication isn’t comfortable between two people, the relationship will likely suffer in some capacity sooner or later. Comparing only the Sun or Moon signs won’t hold up if we’re looking for healthy, stable relationships where each person can be themselves and express their opinions, aspirations, and feelings with a certain level of ease, especially relationships between people who live together.

Any two people in a relationship or multiple people in a family, circle of friends, or organization need to be able to talk to one another, express themselves appropriately, and feel seen and understood. This happens with good communication.

Communication is indicated by the planet Mercury. Mercury is very impressionable, flexible, and neutral–and perhaps this is why most astrologers don’t put too much emphasis on Mercury when it comes to compatibility. But despite Mercury’s adaptability, assuming that everyone can adapt to each other and therefore communication is always fine is quite mistaken.

Let me share a quick review of Mercury in the charts of a mother and her two adult children. (Client’s name is withheld for privacy.) We’ll look at the signs each Mercury occupies, which house Mercury goes to in the others’ chart, which natal planets are aspecting (if any), the sign elements, and the relationship of house placement between the two planets.

The mother has Mercury in Sagittarius, which goes to her son’s 6th House. Her son has Mercury in Virgo and goes to his mother’s 4th House. This shows how she often talks to him about her problems, especially when needing help with everyday issues (6th House) and he talks to her about what’s going on with his family (4th House). And since Mercury is in his 4th House, there’s a level of comfort for him as the 4th House is the House that rules our mothers. He enjoys talking with his mother and let’s her say whatever is on her mind, agreeable or otherwise. He is more passive (feminine Virgo) while she is more active (masculine Sagittarius).

The son’s Mercury is in a mutual aspect with the Mother’s exalted Venus. In fact, Venus is her only planet that aspects his Mercury. This solidifies that level of comfort, giving friendliness and a level of harmony between them, from his perspective.

With the mother’s Mercury going into her son’s 6th House (conflict, improvement, health), she may feel like their conversations (even good ones) remind her of everything that needs to be done or get fixed or improved upon. It’s possible that this is picked up by the son also, perhaps at times creating misunderstood ideas that maybe he himself needs improvement or ‘could be better’. The only planet of the son’s that aspects her Mercury is his natal Mars, a planet of will power, bravery, enthusiasm, but also of aggression, impatience, and defensiveness. This aspect could be a reason why their conversations usually aren’t too long.

The mother’s Mercury is in a fire sign, Sagittarius, while the son’s Mercury is in an earth sign, Virgo. Considering the elements alone, she could ‘scorch’ him verbally, if she wanted to. He could ‘snuff out’ her fiery attitude or opinions, if he wanted to. The elements hint at their verbal, expressive compatibility, suggesting they could do really well together but both of them need to watch themselves.

The mother and son’s Mercury’s are in a 4/10 placement. This simply means that the mother’s Mercury is 4 houses from his Mercury, and his Mercury is 10 houses from hers. The 4/10 relationship is a nice one and overall they do talk with ease and seldom have verbal issues. However, we must not forget that this is a mother-son relationship and does not include ease of deep discussions- and does include a generation-gap.

Now let’s look at the mother and her daughter. The mother’s Sagittarius Mercury goes to her daughter’s 10th House, where it conjuncts her natal Saturn-Mars in Sagittarius. Saturn-Mars conjunctions can be quite frustrating; it’s a combination of the fiery, robust energy of Mars with the cool, delayed energy of Saturn (think of going on the brakes and gas pedal at the same time- revved up and smoking but going nowhere). This occurs in the daughter’s chart natally, so imagine how conversations are when her mother’s Mercury joins them! You bet there’s often nice discussions that get derailed easily complicated with debates, arguments, and the inability to converse or deal with differences of opinions when they arise (and they arise often). And let’s not overlook the fact that the mother’s Mercury is coming into the daughter’s 10th House of responsibility. The mother is likely, if not careful, adding to the daughter’s burden she already carries around responsbility coming from Saturn-Mars natally.

The daughter’s Mercury is in Capricorn which falls into the mother’s 8th House, a house of endings and new beginnings, reinforcing- from the daughter’s side now- that their communication will likely by interrupted. The 8th House position also shows the daughter’s desire to have deep and meaningful conversations with her mother but rarely can. Her Mercury also conjoins her mother’s natal Sun in Capricorn. While Mercury and Sun typically find compatibility (Mercury is never too far astronomically from the Sun), the brightness of the Sun can overpower the expression that tries to come out of Mercury; its rays of light can ‘expose the cobwebs and dust’ so to speak, and may hinder the comfort level of conversation.

The daughter’s Mercury is also in an earth sign, like her brother; however, the house placement and the ‘agitation’ caused by the Saturn-Mars natal position in the daughter’s chart make communication between mother and daughter more challenging. We also see that mother and daughter have their Mercury’s in a 2/12 relationship. The daughter’s Mercury is 2 houses from her mother’s Mercury, while her mother’s Mercury is 12 houses from hers. The mother will ‘gain’ from the daughter’s Mercury. A natural benefic two houses away will support whatever it’s two houses from. The mother’s Mercury will not offer much support to the daughter’s Mercury as the mother’s is 12 houses away and anything 12 houses away will feel like a loss or lack of acknowledgment.

Lastly, let’s compare Mercury between the son and daughter. The brother’s Mercury in Virgo goes to his sister’s 7th House, aspecting her Ascendant from there while receiving an aspect from his sister’s Saturn in Sagittarius (conjunct Mars). So he feels the challenging cool/fiery Saturn/Mars from his sister also, through Saturn’s aspect to his Mercury. However, he looks up to her as his older sibling, often for advice and we see this through that Saturn aspect. Saturn represents the ‘elder, counselor, or sage’. In those types of conversations, they do quite well. Their mutual interest in sports (Mars) also helps create compatible and spirited discussions.

The sister’s Capricorn Mercury likewise lands in her brother’s 7th House and conjoins his natal Saturn-Jupiter. Both Saturn and Jupiter are retrograde in his birth chart, so brother’s Saturn/Jupiter indications tend to be internalized (such as discipline, commitment, and fairness). Sister’s Mercury here helps bring out her brother’s more inward focus and, being in the 7th House of relationships, she has been a good, trusted, and reliable source for him to discuss personal problems with. While personal discussions may be uncomfortable for him in general, he does finds a decent level of ease talking with her.

As mentioned earlier, the son and daughter (brother and sister) have Mercury in earth signs- Virgo and Capricorn, respectively. This gives them an elemental layer of compatibility. They also have Mercury in a 5/9 relationship between them. The sister’s Mercury is 5 houses from her brother’s Mercury while his Mercury is 9 houses from hers. This is one of the most beneficial house relationships, similar to comfortable trinal aspects.

Look at Mercury in your birth chart in comparison to the charts of loved ones, family, and friends, even co-workers if you have their charts. Which house does Mercury go to? Which planets aspect? What signs are they in? Are the elements compatible? What is the house relationship between the two Mercurys, how many houses away from each other? By observing these indications, you’ll get a better understanding of why your communication is effortless with some, almost impossible with others, and somewhere in between for yet others.

This will also give you clues for how to improve your communication skills for the relationships that experience difficulty. For the challenged Mercury relationships, whether its by difficult house position, incompatible elements, adverse aspects, or less than beneficial house relationship, learn more about the sign and the house Mercury occupies in that person’s chart. The more you understand their Mercury’s sign and house its in, the better you’ll understand how and why they communicate the way they do (and why it’s challenging to you- and don’t forget it’s challenging to them too!). This insight may not completely eliminate the discord but knowing the ‘background story’ can give you an edge and grant you the knowledge to enable you to change how you react, be aware of what you can add to your conversations, or know when and why to (politely) change the subject if need be.

We focused on Mercury as the planet of communication in this article. Another layer of observation regarding communication is the 2nd House. Use the same observational techniques and assess your 2nd House (sign, ruling planet, location of ruling planet, condition of ruling planet, any aspects to the 2nd House or the 2nd House ruler). Once you’ve done that with your own chart, look at the 2nd House in the charts of others. I think you’ll be surprised what you find.

Take some time to evaluate your own Mercury and 2nd House and that of others. Leave a comment below on what you’ve discovered.


Renate Maria Bell is a certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at

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