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The Mercury Cycle: Shame and Glory
If you analyze your constant thinking (your customary inner dialogue), you will
realize that it consists mostly of thoughts about the past and future. Thoughts about the
past evoke feelings of shame and embarrassment – hatred of your looks, your actions, and
your feelings – which you try to hide from other people. Thoughts about the future evoke
fantasies of glory, in which you revel in other people’s approval, approbation and
Shame and glory are the carrot and stick which motivate people in our society.
We are all taught to hide our shame from other people, and to seek glory in their eyes.
Hiding shame and seeking glory is the engine which drives all our social striving. It is
our constant inner dialogue of thoughts of shame and glory which makes us believe that
we are separate and unique and special. Glory and shame are two sides of the same coin:
the me-me-me coin.
This is what the Mercury cycle reveals in the horoscope: people’s inner dialogue
of shame and glory thoughts; that is to say, their self-images and beliefs (about
themselves and other people) which evoke shame and glory. The Mercury cycle shows
different people’s inner dialogues – not so much the content, as the how: how people
compare themselves to others, feel superior to others, judge and criticize others, and
expect things from others. Mercury’s synodic cycle shows the ways in which different
types of people manage (balance) their shame and glory.
Astronomically speaking, Mercury’s synodic cycle of phases reflects its
(approximately) 116-day cycle of revolution around the sun, as this is viewed from the
point of view of the earth. This cycle is delimited by two conjunctions: Inferior
Conjunction, in which Mercury is retrograde and is on a direct line between the earth and
the sun; and Superior Conjunction, in which the sun is on a direct line between the earth
and Mercury; and also by two elongations (varying from 18° to 28° in separation between
Mercury and the sun): Greatest Western Elongation when Mercury rises in the east
before the sun; and Greatest Eastern Elongation when Mercury sets in the west after the
sun. The elongations can be recognized in an ephemeris as the points where Mercury’s
daily travel in longitude equals the sun’s daily travel in longitude.
When Mercury is near the sun, the solar principle has dominance over the
Mercurial principle. Mercury conjunction natives thoroughly repress their shame: they
are all force, fortitude, stick-to-their-guns bullheadedness – making knee-jerk decisions
and then sticking by them forevermore. On the other hand, when Mercury is relatively
distant from the sun, the Mercurial principle dominates the solar principle. Mercury
elongation natives flaunt their shame: although they are thoughtful and analytical about
their decisions, they are also trifling, flighty, and well aware that everything they say and
do is phony.
Natives born with Mercury conjunct the sun (within two days of IC or five days of
SC) tend to operate on instant, gut-level impressions and responses rather than on
reflection and thinking things through. They rely more on intuition and cunning rather