Just about everyone who follows astrology has heard the term “Mercury retrograde.” This is an approximately three-week spell, happening three times a year, wherein Mercury appears to move backwards through the zodiac. It’s a visual illusion—Mercury is actually passing between the Earth and the Sun, creating an apparent rather than real effect. (Mercury’s year is a third the length of ours, hence, this happens three times a year).
I know it seems like a lot more frequently than that. Lots of people say that “Mercury is always retrograde,” which is not true—but Mercury is always Mercury, which means it’s tricky, and requires a combination of cleverness, skill, and respect to handle, whether moving retrograde or direct.
The first and last days of any Mercury retrograde are usually the most challenging. Those days are called stations, which is short for stationary; one is that station retrograde (when the retrograde begins), and one is the station direct (when it ends). The word station in this context means “changes directions.”
There can be considerable confusion on the day of Mercury station, and in fact for about four days on either side there’s something astrologers refer to as “the Mercury storm.” Think of this as the change of direction rippling out in time. It’s turbulent, just like a ferry pulling into the dock, with the captain putting the engines in reverse to slow the ship down. When that happens, the water is churning in all directions.
On the day of a Mercury station, that’s how the mental and psychic energy feels. We get the worst, and the most interesting, manifestations of the retrograde on the days that it begins and ends—and that happens next on November 6, the day of the 2012 presidential election, when Mercury stations retrograde in early Sagittarius.
Someone on the Planet Waves research team compared all the dates of retrogrades to the dates of presidential elections, and discovered that Mercury had never before stationed retrograde on a the day of a presidential election.
And it’s only stationed direct once. Take a guess what year that was.
It was 2000, when Al Gore won the election and George Bush took office. Remember the chaos that surrounded that election? It really was classic Mercury station material. And it’s not a good precedent. Clearly, it was a terrible outcome; we ended up with a president who owed nothing to the people, because the people did not elect him. The Supreme Court elected him, in part by halting a recount. (The station direct happened in Libra, the scales—an appropriate sign for describing judicial intervention.)
Mercury stationing retrograde on Election Day begins a long process of the retrograde, just in the last hours of the voting process. All of the tallying, the news reporting, the certifications, and the legal challenges, will happen not just under a retrograde; most of it will happen under the influence of the station and the subsequent retrograde. This is unlikely to be pretty.
We are looking at the possibility of irregularities that could take weeks or months to sort out, and where the truth may never be known. The results may seem to change suddenly. With the retrograde happening in Sagittarius (another sign associated with the courts), there are likely to be legal challenges. My colleagues and I at Planet Waves have been analyzing this chart for a year; it seems to illustrate the meltdown of the electoral process.
We don’t really need astrology to see this coming. Most of us are familiar with Republican efforts to block Democratic voters in many states, including purging the voter roles, blocking early voting in Democratic counties, blocking Sunday voting places where black people go from church straight to the polls, requiring identification that many old people, students, and poor people lack, and numerous other games. These fraudulent efforts are being conducted in the name of allegedly preventing fraud; yet the only fraud we’ve actually seen has been in years when a Republican won, particularly 2000.
The organization Common Cause lists Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia as states vulnerable to problems. For example, there could be poll watchers whose job is really to bully people at the polls, and block them from voting. Common Cause wrote in a recent report that these are “states where races are expected to be competitive, which makes voters in those states particularly vulnerable to challenges.” Quoting one Tea Party voter reform activist, we hear they want to make voting “like driving and seeing the police following you.”
All these efforts conclude on a presidential Election Day—the first in history—where Mercury stations retrograde. It makes perfect sense, really, at least as an illustration and even pointing to a result.
There’s an especially interesting factor in the chart for the retrograde, which suggests the potential for even more complications than normal. Mercury will be in Sagittarius, and Jupiter will be in Gemini. If you know a little astrology you might recognize that Mercury will be in Jupiter’s sign and Jupiter will be in Mercury’s sign. That’s a rare condition called mutual reception.
It can have several effects. One is that the planets can seem to trade places in their influence. We have to look carefully what’s coming from what direction, who is projecting and who might be blaming someone with doing with what they just did.
Another interpretation is that of a hostage situation. The two planets are in a sense held captive in a sign they have little in common with.
A third interpretation is that this indicates in which seemingly different political theories and approaches actually support one another. In an election, we’re supposed to be differentiating between the candidates, but we don’t usually notice the ways in which their approaches and conduct are similar or identical.
We tend to overlook the ways that boundaries that are breached during Republican administrations become business as usual during Democratic administrations. Many were upset or even outraged at Guantanamo Bay, saying it represented the most oppressive conduct of the Bush/Cheney administration. Obama promised to change that, and he’s left it in place. There are many examples of how this happens.
And this is described by the planets representing the opposing forces being in one another’s signs, locked in a kind of spiral that they cannot get out of. Part of that spiral is the extent to which corporate money, in vast amounts, has been infused into this election, thanks to the Citizens United ruling of 2010.
Behind the façade of ideology is the fact that “the business of America is business,” and I don’t mean the local ice cream shop. I mean the companies that can afford to buy elections.
The Last Weeks of the Race
Let’s look at the few weeks prior to the election, which are just as interesting as Mercury stationing retrograde. On October 6, one month before the election, Mars arrives in Sagittarius. Currently, there is a power source in Sagittarius that’s in part responsible for all the religious fanaticism we’re seeing in the world, including the strange beliefs driving the American right wing, and is mirror image, what we call “extremist Islamists.”
Most people think these Koran-thumping Muslims are weird; I say that the American fundamentalist movement is far stranger. We know about their apocalyptic thinking, the notion that the world is ending and that Jesus is coming back and therefore, let’s help things along and have a big for-profit, misogynistic hate orgy.
Mars in Sagittarius (the planet of aggression in the sign of religion) is going to heat this up, and we’re very likely to see numerous unusual outbursts of religious fervor in October and early November. This will be on both sides of the ideological divide.
Sagittarius is also the sign of international affairs; Mars trekking across this sign in the last weeks of the election and for the week after looks like some kind of contentious international event. In the first week of November—right before the election—Mars is right in the thick of the Sagittarius mix, making contact with a group of small planets that carry themes of cruelty, warfare, grief, and mourning. Are we looking at some outsized terrorism event? An assassination? A “new” war?
We are also in the midst of the 2012 aspect—Uranus square Pluto, which spans from mid-2012 through early 2015. The charts of Iran are aligned with this aspect, and the current astrology is coming right at them. Some form of manipulated international event is likely to influence the election, with everyone standing in shock wondering how this could have happened.
If you ask me, this chart and the scenarios that surround it have as much in common with the election of 1980 as they do with the election of 2000. The 1980 election was influenced by the hostage crisis in Iran. Reagan and Bush cut a deal with the terrorists, who kept the hostages through the election and then released them just as Reagan was being sworn into office on Jan. 20, 1981. This was a facet of what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, which finally bubbled up to the surface in Reagan’s sixth year in office.
On one level, all of this chaos is a ruse. It’s being used by people who have other agendas, those that thrive in conditions where order has been broken up into a kind of cultivated anarchy. The chart for the 2012 election is a warning to be aware of the agendas that are at play.
As author Chris Hedges wrote after the Citizens United decision that allowed unlimited corporate spending in elections, “Liberals, socialists, trade unionists, independent journalists, and intellectuals, many of whom were once important voices in our society, have been silenced or targeted for elimination within corporate-controlled academia, the media and government.”
For this reason, he says, political discourse ignores or marginalizes nearly all of the brightest thinkers. Even if they get into the media, can they count on people knowing who they are? I was once watching an interview with Ramsey Clark, who was identified as a “peace activist,” not as the former attorney general of the United States.
Hedges continues, “The uniformity of opinion is reinforced by the skillfully orchestrated mass emotions of nationalism and patriotism, which paints all dissidents as ‘soft’ or ‘unpatriotic.’ The ‘patriotic’ citizen, plagued by fear of job losses and possible terrorist attacks, unfailingly supports widespread surveillance and the militarized state. This means no questioning of the $1 trillion in defense-related spending. It means that the military and intelligence agencies are held above government, as if somehow they are not part of government.
“The most powerful instruments of state power and control are effectively removed from public discussion. We, as imperial citizens, are taught to be contemptuous of government bureaucracy, yet we stand like sheep before Homeland Security agents in airports and are mute when Congress permits our private correspondence and conversations to be monitored and archived. We endure more state control than at any time in American history.”
So what are we to do? Pay attention. Yes, vote. Help bring out the vote; encourage others (especially young people) to vote and try to take at least one other person to the polls, who might not normally go.
Question what you see and hear in the media. Question your own opinions. Educate others about what you learn. Use every tool at your disposal to get the word out. Take a personal stand and refuse to believe lies, and refuse to be manipulated. Research the truth yourself, and try to figure out what’s really going on. Yes, Mercury will be retrograde, and it may be hard to get to the bottom of things. But astrology is no excuse.