Perhaps the most important indicator of the outcome of the 2012 U.S. presidential election is the planet Mercury. This little powerhouse rules virtually every aspect of the electoral process, from the data processing and decision-making of the populace; to the voting places, machines, and ballots; the advance and exit polls; and the tabulation, recording, and reporting of the vote. And on Election Day 2012, Mercury forms its retrograde station, at 5:58 p.m. EST, just as after-work voting heats up on the east coast.
The importance of this event is highlighted by Mercury’s placement, from the perspective of the nation’s capitol. (1) Mercury is exactly on the Descendant at 4° Sagittarius, an angular position that emphasizes Mercury’s pivotal role in determining our choice. Angular planets are strongly emphasized, “louder” than they normally would be, and carry an out-of-proportion weight in the chart. The Descendant symbolizes how we relate with others, the alliances we form, and the ways we use these to structure our interactions with each other.
A retrograde station signifies a reversal, a pause in the forward momentum of the affairs governed by that planet. Although no planet ever actually travels backward, it can appear to, from our vantage point here on earth, and these times inaugurate periods of stepping back to reconsider where we’ve been and where we’re headed. Mercury retrograde in particular is (in)famous for creating problems and glitches with data, information and communication, and for evoking some very unlikely circumstances while generally pretty effectively gumming up the works.
Four degrees of Sagittarius is also the degree of a Black Hole, a deep space anomaly that promotes instability, pervasive change, reversal, and the substitution of an alternate reality for the one previously in place. Black Holes are stellar remnants of collapsed stars whose gravitational force is so great, not even light can escape them (hence the name). They both attract and drain energy, and represent the expenditure or waste of vast amounts of energy and resources. When Black Holes are active, things are not as they seem — the surface appearance belies the underlying reality.
Mercury coming to station exactly on a Black Hole is a rare event. It has only happened once before on Election Day in the U.S., and that was the calamitous election of 2000. Yes, the contest that brought us the Florida voting debacle, with its Palm Beach Butterfly Ballot, the mysterious 16,000 “anti-votes” cast for Al Gore in Volusia County, and the interminable recounts, with their fascinating new lingo of hanging, dangling, dimpled, and pregnant chads. A succession of legal challenges eventually led to a 5/4 split decision along Party lines in the U.S. Supreme Court, which handed the presidency to George W. Bush, loser of the popular vote, some five weeks later.
But that was a direct station, with Mercury poised to resume normal forward motion. In 2012 we’re dealing with a retrograde station, and the effect could conceivably be much worse. The period surrounding the station is known as the “Mercury storm,” and that’s a very apt descriptor, as the period can be chaotic, random, and turbulently hectic.
Vote tampering is a very real possibility, with the Black Hole’s propensity for altering realities, and we’ve already seen a strong push toward making many of these potential votes disappear even before they’re cast, in true Black Hole style. Voter suppression is back big time in the U.S., with almost half the states passing new voting laws since 2010. In GOP-run legislatures across the country, tougher voter ID laws aimed at disenfranchising poor and minority voters, likely Democratic constituencies, threaten to rob as many as five million Americans of their Mercury-ruled power of choice and having their voices heard. Changes in early voting procedures and times have added to the likelihood that not everyone who wants to will be able to cast a vote. (For example, in Florida, the electoral armpit of America, Republican legislators eliminated early voting on the Sunday before the election, the traditional day when black churches organized and bussed their congregants to the polls.)
Mercury also rules the weather, and station periods are notorious for erratic or extreme conditions. If the weather turns foul on Election Day, voter turnout will be even further suppressed. (Weather has already been a factor in the campaigns: the first day of the Republican National Convention was cancelled due to concerns over Hurricane Isaac, and Obama’s DNC nomination acceptance speech was moved indoors, to a much smaller venue, over threat of severe thunderstorms.)
With Mercury on a Black Hole on Election Day, both advance and exit polls are virtually meaningless; whatever the pundits and experts say, this election has a mind of its own, and its outcome is very much in doubt. This also raises the specter of deliberate manipulation of the polls, in an attempt to either deflate enthusiasm or encourage over-confidence in one camp or the other, both of which can result in fewer voters bothering to show up.
Adding fuel to the fire is Mercury’s contact with other celestials at its station, principally a square to Neptune and Chiron at 0° and 5° Pisces and a trine to Uranus at 5° Aries. All these points are also retrograde, implying a less than helpful stance in how they manifest and a willingness to go against the grain or promote reversals.
Neptune here suggests that confusion and illusion will be the order of the day, along with a healthy dose of deception or misdirection. Beware electoral sleight-of-hand in the tabulation process, with electronic voting systems that are notoriously easy to hack and amend. Chiron evokes maverick behaviors and suggests a wounding of some sort, while Uranus rules shocks, upsets, regime change, and sudden, unexpected disruption, and also ties directly, via its rulership of electronics, to potential e-vote fraud.
Expect system breakdowns, long lines, disputed results, and general confusion or chaos. Many races may not be decided on election night, and Jupiter in an exact inconjunct to the day’s Sun (14° Gemini to 14° Scorpio) may indicate that the final decision ends up in the courts again.
Stationing Mercury also makes some dramatic contacts to both candidates’ charts, and this emphasizes the zodiacal areas they share. Mercury is squared Obama’s natal Chiron at 5° Pisces and Romney’s natal Mars at 6° Pisces. That could spell a wounding for Obama and a victory for Romney, but regardless, it’s a sure marker of a real slugfest between the contenders, opening wounds and making for a very nasty campaign.
Mercury is also trine to an exact synastric conjunction of Romney’s Saturn with Obama’s Mercury, both at 2° Leo. This could suppress (Saturn) Obama’s vote (Mercury), and has already soured his message (Mercury), emphasizing fear (Saturn) over the “hope and change” banner of 2008.
Finally, Mercury conjoins Romney’s natal Descendant at 1° Sagittarius and opposes Obama’s natal Moon at 3° Gemini. This could signal a fundamental alteration in how the public (Moon) reacts to both men, with Romney forming a closer bond (Descendant). There is also a suggestion, with the Black Hole involved, of an unexpected domestic (Moon) alteration for Obama, which could signal a return to Chicago.
Whatever the outcome, the 2012 election is likely to be another for the record books, as Mercury stationing retrograde on a Black Hole says, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
(1) The chart set for 5:58 p.m. on November 6 in Washington, D.C. has 4° Gemini on the Ascendant and Mercury at 4° Sag on the Descendant.
Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at firstname.lastname@example.org