1. Don’t start a blog entry. I started this blog on October 26; Mercury, a sometimes-troublesome little planet that moves rather close to the sun,had turned retrograde five days before (early on the 21st). Now, in the third week of November, having had to deal with all sorts of stuff in my other job (as, if you must, know, a rhetoric instructor at a fly-by-night university close to the Rocky Mountains), and with the hermaphroditic one having turned direct a few days back, I finally get back to it. I should have known better.
  2. Don’t hold a national election (or, probably, any other sort of election).
  3. Don’t try to launch a website on which people all over the country (and, likely, U.S.citizens in foreign countries and sundry territories) will try to sign up for a complicated new healthcare program.
         2a. Pay particular attention, here, to times when Republicans of various sorts will do anything to discredit a healthcare program, for if you start your program with Mercury retrograde or turning so, you give those Republicans  all sorts of rhetorical ammunition.
         2b. Pay even more particular attention when the healthcare program in question seems to have enough flaws even without technical glitches, when you haven’t hired the best people to put together your website, and when the website has to handle a humongous amount of traffic.


The election I have in mind took place back in the dim times: November 7, 2000, to be exact, when a fellow named George W. Bush, sometimes referred to as “Shrub” and sometimes as other things, ran against a fellow named Al Gore, who as yet had not started his discussions of painful truths and such, discussions in which he has probably accomplished more than he ever would have as President of this fair land. Some so-called glitches showed up in the vote-count in various locales, particularly in a former prison colony known as Florida, wherein one of Shrub’s siblings served as manipulator-in-chief. Not surprisingly to many, out of the confused shrubbery emerged King Shrub himself, the declared winner of that state, and therefore of the whole country. Then, considering himself one of the elect, Mr. Shrubbery let himself get taken to Washington DC, whereat he metamorphosed into The Decider and proceeded to preside presidentially over and lend an underhand to sundry unpleasant developments.

Astrologers throughout the land, hearing of perhaps-mistaken and perhaps-carefully-programmed vote-counting machines and of rather odd problems related to hanging chads, immediately betook themselves to their ephemerides, there to note that Mercury, retrograde since October 18, turned direct at 9:26 pm EST on November 7, just after the pools closed. Further, at 2:28 am of that day, Mercury had retreated (in retrograde motion) back into Libra, where he remained until 4:42 pm on the 8th. Thus Mercury dipped back into Libra for just a bit before he turned direct. Further, a few days before and after the election, Mercury squared Neptune, a planet often associated with deception.

All in all, astrologers saw a picture of instability brought about by misinformation, deception, legitimate mistakes (rather common during Mercury’s retrograde) as underworld elements (Scorpio) affected the so-called course of justice (Libra). Things seemed to have gotten lost or miscounted, machines seemed to have work in oddly un-machine-like sorts of ways, and it seemed that no-one knew what to make of the hanging chads. It all seemed to resemble, at least to this observer, many elections in South American countries when the CIA, for a long time under the direction of the Great Bush himself, moved through the lush underbrush to gain control of as many governments as possible, “disappearing” inconvenient people just as effectively as undercover agents in Florida some years later would disappear inconvenient votes.

Some of you may remember all that. Though we can all take comfort in the knowledge that Mercury retrograde doesn’t always produce bad results (for many a great writer has had natal Mercury retrograde, and many a writer great or otherwise has found Mercury’s retrograde periods optimum times to go back over written material brought near-to-completion just before the retrograde station, much as Mercury goes back over an area of the zodiac traversed weeks or days earlier), an enormous amount of evidence points to the havoc Mercury retrograde can wreak (so to speak) on a practical level. And whatever else we think of them, elections seem like resoundingly practical matters. Practical matters undertaken during the retrograde generally need re-doing later, as we saw in the election of 2000.

Note the first horoscope given above, cast for the moment the pundits declared Gore the winner: Mercury, at the end of its retrograde, now in stationary position, in the critical final degree of Libra (having progressed only 4’ of arc into that sign, having arrived from Scorpio) as the focal planet of a yod formed with the Moon and Saturn, and in a dissociate (out of sign) square with Neptune (mentioned above). A yod suggests a fork in the road, and the nation clearly reached one that day; Mercury-Neptune suggests deception – suggests, we might say, that deceptions took place in the days after the election, as Mercury, now in direct motion, moved through the precise square with Neptune on November 15 (having made that aspect twice in the previous six weeks: in direct motion on October 1 and in retrograde motion on November 1). With Pluto at 11 Sagittarius on the U.S. Ascendant, and with natal Pluto in the US 2nd house and opposed natal Mercury in the 8th, the chart suggests the possibility of a power-grab by plutocrats who control the press (Mercury-Pluto), factors pointing to the influence of mainstream media on developing events.

Perhaps also worth noting: all United States national elections, taking place as they do in early November, have horoscopes with the transiting Sun in the U.S. 12th house, traditionally considered the house of hidden enemies, secrets, and self-undoing. This fact may suggest a pattern visible in our elections in which the elected person rarely follows through on promises made during the campaign.


Mercury rules, among other matters, the flow of information, particularly within immediate environments and for practical purposes. (Mercury’s retrograde doesn’t indicate that you can’t enjoy poetry, for example, for though your enjoyment comes from a kind of information-flow, it arises from aesthetic matters (Venus) as much as conceptual ones (Mercury). Ditto for enjoying music or  reading Melville’s The Confidence Man – and your re-reading of that text, one dealing with deception, avatars, and shady dealings of all sorts), but if you see Mercury’s retrograde approaching (so to speak), you’d do well to give yourself extra time to meet deadlines, assume that you won’t have the information you want or when you want it, and assume that if the Electronic Deities have it in their mind to give you a hard time, they’ll probably choose Mercury’s retrograde as the time to do it. During that period, mails slow down, cars seem to reveal heretofore unseen problems, and various sorts of electronic media and machines seem to give the humanoids problems that only the non-astrologically-minded will find surprising.

Why the government of the most powerful nation in the world, a place with more technical expertise than it knows what to do with and more people with purported know-how than the ocean has plankton – why such a government would choose the period before a Mercury retrograde to launch a major project that depends for its success on an untested website meant to serve millions of people – well, I was going to say that such a move “is beyond me,” but that doesn’t seem accurate. I don’t feel surprised at all, as my observations over the past several decades have completely convinced me that the government-in-question almost never thinks anything through carefully.

The most recent retrograde station of the hermaphroditic One (Mercury) took place on October 21st at 6:29 PM EDT. See the second horoscope above, cast for the moment of the retrograde in Washington D.C. (the so-called seat of government, named after a Freemason with wooden teeth). The third horoscope – the double wheel – shows those planetary positions in the outer wheel and the United States horoscope in the inner wheel. “Holy Toledo?” you say? And we haven’t even factored in the eclipse of November 3 at 7:50 AM EST (daylight time having ended at 2:00 AM that day). But in honor of H.D. Thoreau, I will request that we deal with one thing at a time (for Henry, on his death bed, when someone asked him whether he would, in his last moments, finally  take the Christian sacraments, said, “One world at a time, please”). 

The retrograde took place right on the cusp of the United States’ 12th house; Saturn a few degrees behind Mercury at the station, soon entered that house as well, a matter I’ll discuss more fully in future installments (though I will point out here that Saturn’s transit of the 12th can suggest a dissolving of the coherence of government, an increase in government secrecy, and all sorts of difficulties related to the United States’ tendency to play the role of authority-distributor in the world (Saturn in the 10th), that authority coming about because of the ongoing procurement of the resources of others as a way to find “national security” (Sun in Cancer in the 8th).) Got all that?

Obamacare rolled out officially on October 1st, with Mercury at 2 Scorpio, a significant position, as the coming retrograde would take Mercury back to 2 Scorpio again at the direct station on November 10th. Thus at the Obamacare rollout, Mercury had just entered the “shadow of the retrograde.” Astrologers have long held that once a planets enter the shadow of its retrograde (the area of the zodiac that the planet will traverse during the coming retrograde), projects or sequences of activity begun will probably need re-doing, re-thinking, or re-envisioning after the direct station. Sometimes one doesn’t complete the process until the planet re-crosses the point at which it made its station. In this case, Mercury re-crosses 18 Scorpio (the point of the retrograde station) in the final week of November. Government spokespeople have said that they expect to have the Obamacare website “fixed” at that time. Perhaps. Perhaps, too, we will have to wait until Mercury gets out of the United States 12th house in the middle of December. Or perhaps, with Saturn in the U.S. 12th and Pluto moving to oppose the U.S. Sun – well, let’s not discuss until a future installment.

The evidence strongly suggests that many folks within the Beltway would benefit from some good astrological advice. Yet I have this odd feeling that though Obama and I went to the same college, he isn’t about to contact me. If you run into him in the street, tell him, before the Secret Service people drag you away, that he will find my rates somewhat reasonable.


Tim Lyons

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