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mercury
Mercury Retrograde and the 2012 Election

Shortly after the polls close in the Eastern Time zone on Nov. 6 the planet Mercury goes retrograde. Practically speaking retrograde motion is just an optical illusion caused by the relative motion of the Earth around the ecliptic, but astrologically, retrograde motion is a significant factor, particularly when it involves Mercury.


Astrologers have long observed that, when Mercury goes retrograde, communications suffer and technology seems more likely to fail. Most of the time Mercury retrograde is an irritation that manifests itself in things like garbled messages, lost e-mails and batteries that go dead at just the wrong moment.  But what happens when retrograde Mercury’s famous knack for screwing up communications impacts a Presidential election?


Actually, we know quite well what happens. The last presidential election that took place when Mercury was retrograde was during the election of 2000; and don’t we all fondly remember hanging chad. On that election day Mercury was not only retrograde but in a square with Neptune, doubling the confusion. Weeks went by with the issue of who actually won still in doubt until the Supreme Court weighed in to call an end to the recount.


There have been two other Presidential elections since 1950 during which Mercury was retrograde. One was in 1980. That year Ronald Reagan handily beat Jimmy Carter. No recount was required.


The other was in 1960, when John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard Nixon. The results of that election were vigorously contested, with Republicans seeking to have the votes cast in Texas and Illinois thrown out because of alleged (and quite probable) vote fraud. People close to Nixon urged him to demand a recount but, wary Capricorn that he was; Nixon decided to accept the results.


In 1980 retrograde Mercury made no significant aspects. In 1960 it was square Uranus, a disruptive aspect that often brings shocking news (such as the election of our first Catholic President.) On Nov. 6 2012 retrograde Mercury will be trine Uranus and in a wide square with Neptune.


So can we expect a repeat of 2000 next week? It is likely that there will be some disruption of the voting process, with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy being a contributing factor, but I don’t think it will be nearly traumatic as what we saw in the 2000 election. In my opinion the trine between Mercury and Uranus signals an easier flow of information. It also indicates that the results of the election will be in some way surprising. Of course, considering how equally divided the country is, a lot of people are going to be shocked and annoyed no matter who wins.

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