Mercury and Saturn: The Battle Between Impulsiveness and Caution in Vedic Astrology

I previously wrote about the planetary configuration of all the planets on the nodal axis in Vedic astrology or Jyotish. Multiple factors have added to this intensity. One is the current planetary war (or graha yuddha) between Mercury and Saturn in Libra. A planetary war is when two of the five “true” planets in Vedic astrology are within one degree of each other (regardless of whether they occupy the same sign or not). These planets are Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. The Moon, Sun, and the nodes (Rahu and Ketu) cannot be involved in wars.


When two planets are in a war, they are vying for the same piece of the zodiacal pie. As my Jyotish teacher says, “Both parties in a war are bloodied.” While Mercury “wins” the war according to astronomical considerations, both are impacted.

 Mercury is the planet of communication, commerce, and intellect. It is ever youthful, quick-witted, fast moving, and changeable. Saturn is the planet of discipline, responsibility, and sorrow. It is mature, cautious, slow-moving and rigid.  While Mercury and Saturn are friendly to each other in Vedic astrology, their temperaments are quite dissimilar. Mercury is impulsive; while Saturn likes to deliberate on matters. Mercury will take risks on a whim; Saturn prefers to know all aspects of a matter before moving forward. This adds more friction to the planetary war; both are trying to exert their style on the other.

 In terms of Ayurveda, Mercury rules majja dhatu or the nervous system. Saturn governs mamsa dhatu or the muscle tissue. (There is some disagreement amongst jyotishis or Vedic astrologers about what Saturn signifies). When Saturn and Mercury come together, it can lead to muscle ticks, muscle tremors or muscle spasm. There can be impulsive behavior which causes a person to push themselves too hard in a workout, thus straining the muscles. Then, the nervous system is exhausted but the individual has a hard time resting.  

This planetary battleground for this duel is in the sign of Libra – symbolized by the scales. Libras enjoy balance and harmony, so a war is the last thing it welcomes.  Libra is a very social sign, often to its own detriment. A feud makes Libra unsettled. There can be a faux pas in social settings. 


As Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac, it also represents partnerships – both personal and professional.  Mercury is dual minded about partnerships; it craves both companionship and independence simultaneously. Saturn is a loner and prefers solitude over company. With the Mercury and Saturn battle, there can be ambivalence about whether or not to continue a partnership. Saturn will address the matter maturely but in a cold manner, while Mercury will try and inject humor into the situation and keep all options open.

 The war occurs in the nakshatra or constellation of Chitra or Spica. Chitra is one of the brightest constellations in the zodiac. Its deity is Vishvakarma, the celestial architect. In Chitra, there is a great need to inventive and creative. Again, how this creativity blossoms will be the question. Will it be in the form of something which has a proven history of success or something that’s never been done before? Chitra is also associated organization and structure. How to balance form vs. function? Will it be done quickly with some shortcuts in between, making changes as desired? Or will it be done in the way that will stick for years to come?

This war ends on Saturday. Those in a Mercury or Saturn planetary cycle (dasha or bhukti) need to be very mindful.  Other powerful planetary dynamics in Vedic astrology will be covered in a future blog.