Mercurial Mercury benefic neutral malefic

There is always some confusion about Mercury, he is said to be neutral in nature. But the word ‘mercurial’ comes from him so analysing him can sometimes get typical. In chart analysis we need to know if he is capable of auspicious results or not, this is the basic first step. As it is, the two signs he owns, Gemini and Virgo are the 3rd and 6th natural houses of the zodiac. The 3rd house can go both ways and the 6th house is the Maha-dusham-sthan, both are capable of causing severe turmoil in your life. So here are some basic guidelines which can help you in determining how Mercury is going to work in charts. He is not ‘neutral’. (This is from Parshari Jyotish.)

Natural tendencies

  • Natural malefics are Sun Mars and Saturn. Also the astral planets Rahu and Ketu.
  • Natural benefics are Moon, Venus and Jupiter. (The Moon can give his full auspicious benefit only if strong)
  • Naturally neutral – Mercury

Functional behaviour

Mercury will be inclined to behave in a favourable or inauspicious manner as per the ascendant. This is his functional role and will vary with the ascendant sign.

  • Malefic – Mercury is a functional malefic for an ascendant when he rules over any of the three Dusham-sthan, 6th 8th or 12th houses (post here). This will be directly applicable to the ascendant signs of Aries, Cancer and Scorpio. For Libra, Capricorn and Aquarius he owns a dusham-sthan and a kona, but even then his ownership of the dusham can potentially overshadow his ownership of the kona. So for these too I will put him as a malefic. Even if he is influenced by benefics, he will still have to give the fruits of the dusham-sthan concerned. But in this case, his potential to cause mischief may be reduced or the personality may be able to find some positive opportunities in the turbulent results of the dusham-sthan concerned.
  • Functional benefic – We can consider Mercury to be a functional benefic for an ascendant if he owns either a Kendra (1st 4th 7th 10th) or a Kona (5th 9th) house and simultaneously does not own a Dusham-sthan. This condition will be applicable to the ascendant signs of Taurus, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces. (Mercury cannot be a yogkarak graha for any ascendant post here).
  • Neutral  – He owns the 2nd and 11th houses for Leo ascendant. So you can consider him to be a neutral only for this ascendant.


In charts you will find Mercury conjunct other planets most commonly with the Sun or Venus. As per our texts its given that Mercury takes on the malefic or benefic nature of the planet conjunct him. But as this is Parashari Jyotish, this condition has to be seen as per their functional natures. And if he is with both, a functional malefic and a functional benefic for the chart, how do you deduce his nature? So let’s break this down.

Graha yuddha

As you know two or more non-luminous planets, Tara graha, together in a sign is a Graha yuddha, planetary war.

  • If the winner of the planetary war is a functional malefic then Mercury will act like a malefic for the chart. This effect will be enhanced if Mercury is less than than 15deg from that other planet. 
    • eg For Cancer ascendant, Mercury is a functional malefic to begin with, so whatever happens to him, he is going to discharge the unpleasant functions of the 12th house lord. Suppose if he is in Leo 12deg and Jupiter, who is also a functional malefic, is at 16 deg Leo, this will increase his tendency to cause harm.
    • eg For Taurus ascendant, Mercury is beneficial as the ruler of the 2nd and 5th houses. Suppose he is at 12deg Leo and Jupiter, the ruler of the 8th house is at 15deg Leo. Then Mercury will not be able to give his positive results and will behave more as a malefic for the chart.
  • If the winner is a functional benefic then Mercury will act as a benefic but only if he is not a ruler of a dusham-sthan. If he is, then his malefic nature will be reduced to some extent. Again he should be ideally be less than 15deg apart for this influence to be seen.
    • For Cancer ascendant, suppose he is at 12deg Leo and Mars, a functional benefic is at 18deg Leo then this Mars will control Mercury’s 12th house activities or at least give them some positive orientation.
    • eg For Taurus ascendant, suppose Mercury is at 2deg Leo and Venus the ascendant lord is at 5deg Leo. In this case Venus will influence Mercury and enhance his benefic nature.
  • If he is with both a functional malefic and a functional benefic.
    • For Taurus ascendant, suppose he is at 2deg Leo, Saturn yogkarak is at 5deg Leo and Jupiter a functional malefic at 25deg Leo. Now Jupiter may have won the planetary war but he is more than 15deg from Mercury. Saturn is very close to Mercury, so in this case Mercury will accept Saturn’s influence and behave as a benefic.
    • For Taurus ascendant, suppose he is at 12deg Leo, Saturn yogkarak is at 15deg Leo and Jupiter a functional malefic at 19deg Leo. Now Jupiter has won planetary war and will influence both Saturn and Mercury. Mercury will be underJupiter’s influence and behave as a malefic.
  • If the winner of the war is Mercury himself or is he is more than 15deg apart from any other planet then, his basic functional malefic/ benefic nature will prevail as above.

Combust Mercury – Asta

Mercury being the closest to the Sun gets combust more often than the other planets. So in this case you will have to deduce his functional nature from the functional role of the Sun for that ascendant sign.

Moon and Mercury

Another typical case would be Moon conjunct Mercury. This is called Samaagam (post here). Mercury is always close to the Sun, 28deg is the max that they can be apart. And when Moon is within 90deg from Sun, he loses strength, ie his paksha bala is low and he can give inauspicious results for the chart. So Moon conjunct Mercury will mean that Moon will have low paksha bala, ie not very favourable for the person. Thus it is quite possible that Mercury will also behave in an unfavourable manner.

Rahu /Ketu and Mercury

Mercury conjunct Rahu or Ketu will cause some problems in the thought processes, behaviour etc. So unless Rahu/Ketu are yogkarak (post here) for the chart, you can consider Mercury going unfavourable in their presence.


Finally if you are still not sure about Mercury’s role in the chart you can ask the client about a few past incidents connected to Mercury. See if he has behaved in a auspicious or inauspicious manner in the past. Thus you can analyse his role in the present and future for the chart.

(Writing short posts as answers for questions asked can be of interest to everyone.)