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Home » Current Events, Featured Articles

Mercury Retrograde and the 2012 Election

Posted by on Friday, August 24 201216 Comments

Mercury Retrograde and the 2012 Presidential ElectionOne of the most striking astrological events on the day of the 2012 Presidential Election in the United States is that the planet Mercury goes retrograde.

Just about every astrologer who has commented on the election at this point has made note of this event, and its potential significance for the election.

The most frequent comparison is to the 2000 election, because that was the most recent instance in which Mercury was retrograde on Election Day.

The purpose of this article is to talk a little bit about what Mercury retrograde is, how it has worked out in some previous elections, and what it might mean for the upcoming presidential election in November.

What is Mercury Retrograde?

“Mercury retrograde” is a period of time in which the planet Mercury appears from our vantage point on Earth to stop moving forward in its usual path across the zodiac, and instead does a U-turn and starts moving backwards, contrary to its usual direction.  The period of time in which it appears to move backwards from our vantage point lasts for about three weeks, and this is called a “retrograde period”.

The two most important dates within the three-week Mercury retrograde period are known as the two “stations.” The stations are the actual dates when Mercury either stops moving forward in the zodiac and begins moving backwards, or conversely when it stops again at the end of the retrograde period and then starts moving forward again.  When Mercury first begins the retrograde period it is said to “station retrograde,” while when it reaches the end of the retrograde period it is said to “station direct”.

Here is a diagram to illustrate the concept:

Mercury Retrograde Diagram

Mercury retrograde periods happen about three times a year.  They are seen as significant because in astrology the planet Mercury is associated with topics such as communication, speech, writing, technology and calculation. When a planet goes retrograde it is deviating from its course and going contrary to its usual direction, and so symbolically this means that there is something about the topics associated with the planet that have similarly been reversed or gone awry.

Astrologers generally associate Mercury retrograde with things like miscommunication, delays, false starts, technological breakdowns, situations lacking in resolution, uncertainty, and times in which previous actions must be revisited.

If you would like to read about this in more depth, astrologer Celeste Teal has a good write-up on Mercury retrograde, in which she provides a pretty standard account of how contemporary astrologers conceptualize this phenomenon.

One of the most notable instances of miscommunication under Mercury retrograde in recent times that we have covered here on The Political Astrology Blog was the flub that occurred on Inauguration Day in 2009 when President Obama was being sworn in, which led him to retake the oath of office the next day.

The Mercury Retrograde Period in November 2012

Later this year, in the weeks leading up to the election in November, Mercury begins to slow down.  Eventually, right on November 6, Mercury will station retrograde, and then it will begin moving backwards in the zodiac.

The exact station is calculated to occur just after 6:00 p.m. eastern time (ET) actually.  This coincides perfectly with the day of the 2012 presidential election in the United States, and the Mercury retrograde is easily the most notable astrological event that will occur that day.

Mercury stations on Election Day at 4 degrees of Sagittarius, and then over the next few weeks it slowly begins moving backwards through early Sagittarius, falling back into the previous sign of the zodiac, Scorpio, on November 14, and then eventually it slows down again and stations direct at 18 Scorpio on November 26.

Here is what that looks like in the Swiss Ephemeris, which lists planetary positions for each day of the year, with the notable dates being highlighted in yellow:

Ephemeris for November 2012 with Mercury stations and ingress highlighted

(The ephemeris lists planetary positions at the start of each day.)

As you can see, the Mercury retrograde period begins on Election Day, and then it lasts for almost exactly three weeks, eventually ending in late November. So this raises the question: With such a significant astrological period starting right on Election Day, what does this mean for the election itself?

Mercury Retrograde in the 2000 Election

The last time that Mercury was retrograde on Election Day in the United States was in the year 2000, in the presidential election of George W. Bush vs. Al Gore.  Anyone who is old enough to remember that election 12 years ago may recall that that Election Day didn’t go very smoothly.

On the night of the election the electoral votes were so evenly divided between the two candidates that ultimately the outcome hinged on whether Florida went for Bush or Gore. During the course of the night the news networks originally called Florida for Bush around 8:00 p.m. ET, but then this prediction was retracted around 10:00 p.m.  A few hours later, around 2:30 a.m., it again looked like Florida had gone to Bush, so much so that Gore called Bush on the phone and congratulated him on winning the presidency. But then a couple of hours later, by 4:30 a.m., the vote count changed again, this time in favor of Gore, leading him to call Bush in order to rescind his concession.

What followed was 36 days of legal wrangling by both parties. Important turning points occurred on November 26, which was the deadline set for the recount by the Florida Supreme Court, and then on December 12, when the US Supreme Court delivered their verdict on Bush v. Gore, which ended the litigation and effectively decided the election.

What is interesting about the Mercury retrograde during the 2000 election is that Mercury actually stationed direct on Election Day rather than stationing retrograde. Or in other words, the Mercury retrograde period ended on Election Day, around 9:30 p.m. ET, whereas in 2012 the period will begin on Election Day. Many astrologers would be quick to point out that the events associated with Mercury retrograde periods are commonly thought to extend beyond the exact stations by a few weeks due to what is known as the “shadow periods.” Nonetheless, it does seem notable that the 2012 election will coincide with what is usually regarded as a more problematic segment of the retrograde period, when compared to the 2000 election. Essentially this raises the question of whether it is possible for the 2012 election to have even more problems than the 2000 election did.

Issues During the 1960 Election of Kennedy vs. Nixon

Prior to 2000, only a handful of elections coincided with Mercury retrograde periods. One of the most notable in the 20th century was the 1960 election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

November 8, 1960, 12:00 AM, Washington, DCThe 1960 election took place on November 8, and on that day Mercury was right in the middle of its retrograde period, starting out the day at 14 Scorpio, with the Sun at 15 Scorpio (chart to the right).

The 1960 election was notable for three reasons:

  1. It was the closest election in the 20th century according to the popular vote, with Kennedy winning with a lead of only 0.1%.
  2. Election night itself was abnormally suspenseful and protracted, in a way that was similar to the 2000 election.  Kennedy was initially thought to have won early in the evening, but then later it became too close to call.  Some newspapers were concerned that they might have to print retractions since they went to press and announced Kennedy as the winner before the dust had settled. Nixon ended up delaying his official concession speech until noon the following day.
  3. There were some widespread issues with voter fraud, which ultimately may have decided the outcome of the election.

Because of Mercury’s association with calculation and number reckoning, when it goes retrograde this can sometimes lead to problems and irregularities with respect to these topics. Within the context of elections, the issue of voting irregularities sometimes seems to be particularly important, whether due to fraud, hanging chads, or what have you.

It is interesting that one of the things that the 1960 and 2000 elections share in common is not just how close they were, or how suspenseful election night was, but that both had issues with voting irregularities.  Could this become an issue again this year when Mercury goes retrograde on election night?

A Recent Example with the 2010 Australian Election

A more recent example of the type of scenario that astrologers are concerned about with respect to Mercury retrograde and the US election actually occurred a couple of years ago in the 2010 election in Australia. Thanks to astrologer Kelly Surtees for bringing this to our attention.

Australia is on a parliamentary system, which means that voters elect a specific party to power each election rather than a person, although each party selects a specific leader to represent them prior to the election.

Ephemeris for summer of 2010 with Mercury stations highlightedThe Australian election took place on August 21, 2010, and Mercury stationed retrograde at 19 Virgo early that same day. By the end of the day it became clear that the votes were so evenly divided that it led to a tie between the two parties, which resulted in a hung parliament.

After more than two weeks of deadlock the situation was finally resolved on September 7 when the incumbent Prime Minister Julia Gillard was able to secure the votes that her party needed, thus ending the deadlock and establishing the outcome of the election. Gillard was then sworn in a week later, on September 14, just one day after Mercury stationed direct at 5 Virgo.

So, to summarize, in the 2010 Australian election Mercury stationed retrograde on Election Day and this coincided with a hung parliament. A few weeks later the issue was finally resolved and the new government was sworn in a day after Mercury stationed direct.

Since Election Day in the United States this year also coincides with Mercury stationing retrograde, just like it did in the 2010 Australian election, it naturally raises the question of whether something similar might take place in the US this year as well.

Concluding Remarks

Based on the examples given above, I hope that it is clear now why many astrologers are talking about the Mercury retrograde on Election Day this year. It is already generally associated with delays, miscommunication, uncertainty and technological snafus, but when it exactly coincides with a major election the implications can be much more far-ranging and important, as was the case with the 1960, 2000 and 2010 elections mentioned above.

One of the things that came up during the course of our research for The Political Astrology Blog’s official prediction for the presidential election this year is that this Mercury retrograde seems to be specifically tied into Mitt Romney’s chart. There seem to be some interesting parallels between the dates of the two stations in early and late November and some parts of his birth chart that become activated around the same times.

More specifically, Romney has a repetition of the same time-lord periods being activated November 6–8, and then again on November 26–29.  These dates are significant because they are right around the same times that Mercury stations retrograde on November 6, and then stations direct November 26.

This seems to imply that there is something about the election that is still unfinished for Romney until later in the month. Yet it is not clear if this is because the election itself is still contested until then, as in the 2000 election, or if it is some sort of personal matter that Romney doesn’t fully resolve until later in the month.

Whatever specifically happens, this upcoming Mercury retrograde period should provide an illustrative example of a phenomenon that is widely regarded as significant within the astrological community, and we look forward to seeing how it unfolds.


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Written by

Chris is a practicing astrologer from Denver, Colorado, USA. He is the former President of the Association for Young Astrologers, as well as the former Research Director of the National Council for Geocosmic Research. He offers personal consultations and teaches online classes through his website at www.ChrisBrennanAstrologer.com.




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16 Comments »

  • nicole says:

    nicely written. very clear, especially for those of us with no astrology background.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well written piece on the US election. The only point I would make is, remember to keep an eye on the larger picture i.e. the role of the slow moving planets, as these have a lot to say both about the current political agenda, and the reasons for the particular type of chaos that Mercury retrograde can bring. Concerning the 2000 election, clearly Pluto hovering around US ascendant was heralding a new type of political era, one in which secrecy and dirty campaign tactics were set to play a big part. Mercury is the messenger of the gods, and in Scorpio, he serves Pluto. In 1960, transiting Saturn in Capricorn was one of the key players, as was Neptune. The televised debates played a significant role. A sweaty (Capricorn-ian) Nixon did not make good tv viewing. With this in mind, it is interesting to ask, what is the bigger picture saying in 2012? The current Uranus/Pluto square is reaching US ascendant ruler, Jupiter (traditional ruler of Romney’s Sun..). I am interested in the financing of the campaign, and particularly in the role of the super-pacs, mindful of the way they will influence the election outcome. Mindful too.. of US progressed Moon, ruler of the Cancer sun, which is soon to be beseiged (i.e. moving between Mars and Saturn) so sort of caught between a rock and a hard place. What is there really to chose? Anway. Back to the core of your article.. Mercury.. in detriment in Sagittarius… Mmmmm I look forward to reading your future articles. Best wishes, Elizabeth

  • Ed Tamplin says:

    Nice work Chris. I agree that this could make things very interesting if the result is a clsoe call. The Australian Federal election of 2010 was certainly a cliffhanger, left undecided until the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, managed to sweet talk two independents her way. It gave her the slimmest possible majority.
    But for weeks the entire country was held in suspense. Astrology gave a powerful clue. The sweet-talk had a little to do with transiting Mercury coming to her Venus, whilst transiting Venus also came to her Mercury.
    Gillard called the election for August 21 2010. A day that Mercury was stationary heading retro and the leadership Sun opposed Neptune to the degree. Total confusion. Gillard’s government were finally sworn in on September 14 – the day that Mercury turned direct. Incidentally Julia Gillard has a Virgo Midheaven.
    I wrote that she’s win after a long delay. I was alo convinced that the progressed Sun coming to the Moon of the Aussie horoscope I use of January 26 1788 symbolically showed our first female Prime Minister. This is a link to a short video grab of a presentation I gave on the election a month before.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRndqq9o-a4&feature=channe

    Regards
    ET

  • No Tribe says:

    Certainly something off-plan is going to happen. It pays to look at the Nov 13th eclipse to see how it will play out for the purposes of deciding the election. It seems fairly obvious that Romney is going to find it well-being, as the eclipse point at 21 Scorpio makes an exact trine to Romney’s natal 21 Pisces Sun. Romney’s progressed 1st House Uranus at 21 is also in aspect.

    Romney’s progressed Jupiter is conjunct the eclipse point, at 22 Scorpio. A natal Sun-Jupiter/Moon trine activated by an eclipse, and he’s just lost the election?!? I don’t think so. In fact, Romney’s natal Jupiter is retrograde, and makes an exact conjunction to the eclipse point, in 2020, 8 years, might mean something.

    Given it’s 6th – 10th, that looks to me like a career advancement in work.

    No wonder Romney is so wealthy, he was born on a Jupiter station– turned retrograde one day after his birth.

    I know this blog used the Nov 6th election date for it’s prediction, but if we are right in sensing that the election date settles nothing, then that’s not the date to go off of in making a prediction.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    The New York Times ran a story yesterday that may provide some additional clues about what the Mercury retrograde on Election Day will be all about. The article is titled “A Tight Election May Be Tangled in Legal Battles”. Link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/us/politics/legal-battles-on-voting-may-prove-a-critical-issue-in-election.html

    Relevant excerpt:

    “In Wisconsin, the home state of the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, the attorney general has just appealed to the State Supreme Court on an emergency basis to review two rulings barring its voter ID law. But even if all such cases are settled before Nov. 6 — there are others in Florida, Iowa and South Carolina — any truly tight race will most likely generate post-election litigation that could delay the final result.”

  • Kay Kraeuter says:

    I believe the Mercury retrograde this year will center around the skewed polling. We are being told that Obama has widened his lead based on polling that presumes a 2008 turnout. If the polls continue the trend of an Obama lead and turnout is lower among the democrat base, the retrograde “surprise” may mean an unexpected Romney landslide.

    Also, we must remember Saturn’s transit into Scorpio on October 5th. The Obama slogan of “fairness” will be trumped by the harsh realities of the economy at that time. Unlike Libra, Scorpio doesn’t care about “fairness” it wants facts, retribution and resolution without regard to “feelings” or social niceties. It is also interesting to note that Saturn will be in a square aspect to Obama’s natal Jupiter in the 12th, and along with a plethora of disturbing aspects in Obama’s progressed chart, this could be a very dangerous period.

  • David says:

    I’m suspicious of “skewed polling.” It doesn’t seem to have a basis in fact. The methodologies are well-established and tested. There are some emerging wrinkles — households that only use cell phones, for example, skew towards Obama and thus excluding them could skew polling results — but there are many organizations doing polling in many places and the preponderance of data tell a similar story. I recommend anyone with an interest in this topic check out Nate Silver’s NY Times column, 538. He brilliantly explains all of this several times a week.

    I posed a question elsewhere on the site: given that the polls and general circumstances seem to be far worse for Romney at this point (late September) than might have been predicted astrologically, could it be that the Mercury/Neptune issues occurring on Election Day might manifest as a challenge to the legitimacy of the election rather than confusion over the process of the election? For example, more birth certificate madness or some other nonsensical political tantrums rather than, say, malfunctioning voting machines in Cleveland?

    Also, another scenario occurs to me: a murky element in this election that might fall within the Mercury/Neptune rubric is voter suppression. Lawsuits are currently ongoing about this in a number of states, but it is difficult to project how much these laws — or what is left of them after the legal battles — might impact voting. Could this be a hidden driver of election night surprises?

    Thoughts?

  • Chris Brennan says:

    I would second that recommendation of Nate Silver’s 538 column. Good recommendation David.

    A challenge to the legitimacy of the election was always on the table, since that was part of what happened in 1960 and 2000.

    Voter suppression is the main issue discussed in the New York Times article I linked to above. One of the main potential scenarios at this point is that some sort of widespread or particularly crucial instance of voter suppression is uncovered, and then this is contested by the opposing party, which is what leads to the delayed results, presumably due to litigation. A similar situation could easily play out with vote tampering though.

  • Mark Cullen says:

    Nice research Chris,

    I just wanted to point out that the United Kingdom general election in May 6th 2010 also occurred while Mercury was retrograde! As with Australian result the outcome was a hung parliament and the political shape of the new government was unclear for several days afterwards. This eventually, led to the formation of the first coalition government in Britain since WWII.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Thanks Mark! I didn’t know that the UK election resulted in a hung parliament that year as well. Very interesting!

  • Leisa Schaim says:

    I found a couple of examples recently of possible Mercury retrograde vote-counting snafus that could occur in the upcoming election. It’s pretty obvious how these could be really problematic.

    1) In March of this year, two local races in Palm Beach County, Florida had the voting results of the winners and losers switched due to a software error, which was not discovered until after the mistaken results were announced publicly. The election supervisor is disturbed both that the vendor knew about the technical problem, and also that the paper auditing process is inadequate/conducted after results are certified.

    http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/10/09/cbs4-investigates-palm-beach-countys-2012-ballot-debacle/

    2) Due to a legislative change in the Florida state election code, about half of all Florida counties will be required to use new software for the elections, which some of them had still not received as of approx. two weeks ago. There is concern that there won’t be enough time to test the software properly before the election.

    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/latest-election-worry-change-voting-software

  • Chris Brennan says:

    It looks like things are falling into place quite nicely now, both with the hurricane, as well as with other factors:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/us/politics/hurricane-and-other-worries-buffet-presidential-race.html

    “Meteorology is only one wild card facing the campaigns in the final week. On Election Day, the winner may not be known right away; results in one or more states may be close enough to merit recounts. In Ohio, which could decide the election, so many provisional ballots may be cast — and by law are not counted right away — that it may be mid-November before a winner is declared.”

  • Mark Cullen says:

    Regulus Astrology was spot on in his prediction (made in early May 2012) that the ingress of Saturn into a water sign, amplified by the North Node in Scorpio, significantly increased the probability of flooding and/or a storm before the election. He speculated that if this occurred the response of the candidates could have a significant effect on the election outcome. Bullseye!

    http://regulus-astrology.com/pdf/American_Pres_Election_Contests.pdf

    Mark

  • Chris Brennan says:

    I just posted a new article detailing some of the issues surrounding the Mercury retrograde on Election Day and how it indicated some major problems for the Romney campaign’s secret get-out-the-vote program called Project Orca:

    http://politicalastrologyblog.com/2012/11/14/mercury-retrograde-and-romneys-project-orca/

    I also detailed some of the other retrograde-related issues that occurred on Election Day in our post-election wrap-up article:

    http://politicalastrologyblog.com/2012/11/10/obama-wins-2012-election-as-predicted/

  • I read your website page, but what you wrote not convinced. The reasons? If Mercury in retrorade move was for somethin in the Obama success, WHY you did’not erect the chart at the date of this move? I mean november 6th at 23h05 Universal Time? And WHY you did not made an analysys of this chart?

    In fact you did not did it because this Mercury move happened AFTER voting results.

    Mercury moves is not the key of Obama success.