On November 8th 2016, Donald Trump appeared to win the 2016 election through the winner-take-all system of the electoral college, despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. As an astrologer, citizen and person, I found this event to be extremely shocking, tragic and frightening. Yes, I withdrew from everything and had a bit of an existential crisis. I mean, I also had my Saturn return to the degree shortly after, but this event of the election and my confidence in my prediction of its outcome was definitely a big part of it. Alright, so I didn’t have a real birth time for Hillary, so, lesson learned there. But we kind of did have a real birth time for Donald Trump, and I still do not see why he is where he is with his chart and the techniques I use. But then I realized I’m not wrong necessarily…at least not yet.
The election is officially decided on December 19th, when the electoral college votes. I noticed that Mercury would be stationing retrograde that day back on June 13th 2016. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at the time. Mercury retrogrades during electoral college votes haven’t always been too eventful. In 2004, the electoral college vote occurred during a Mercury retrograde, and the only thing that happened was that a Democratic elector accidentally voted for John Edwards as President instead of Vice President. A minor quirk, nothing world changing. Why might we consider this Mercury retrograde to signify anything different?
Uh, because this Mercury retrograde is conjunct Pluto, and Pluto is currently opposite the USA Sun. Mercury contests and suspends matters which are settled or otherwise run smoothly, and is often associated with elections, voting, counting, calculating. Pluto has a tendency towards extremes, making big things small and small things big. Think of the proliferation of memes under this Uranus-Pluto square, and the term microagressions. We discuss and share on machines that we can carry in our pockets, and these machines used to be as big as buildings just a few decades ago. Big things become small, small things become big. Previous Mercury-Pluto conjunctions show us that a little fluidity in traditional divisions and alliances can have a big impact. And since it is occurring opposite the USA Sun, it’s going to pertain to that country, regarding its leaders and national identity. Here are a few examples of other Mercury-Pluto conjunctions which seem pertinent to tomorrow’s vote.
October 23rd 1987 – Mercury retrograde conjunct Pluto in Scorpio
Six Republicans broke ranks to join congressional Democrats in voting down Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. This is one of the most infamous Supreme Court rejections, and it was on the basis of Bork’s extremely conservative judicial philosophy. The 2016 electoral college vote presents a similar situation where a few conscientious conservatives could powerfully affect the result of a process that usually goes on unnoticed.
Strangely enough, this particular retrograde was extremely relevant for Trump. Just the day before on October 22nd 1987, Trump landed in New Hampshire by helicopter and gave his first political speech. There was a lot of buzz about him entering the 1988 election. He seemed to want to fan the flames without actually entering the race. He later said it was just a ploy to sell more copies of Art of the Deal which was about to be published, but in context of where his life has headed since then, this event has taken on more significance. We are now just past the precise Saturn return of this event. I can’t tell if this Saturn return means that this would be a culmination of sincere political ambitions or a punishment for having flirted with politics just for attention, either by being forced to bear the responsibilities of the office, or being thwarted from it in disgrace.
And uh, for whatever it’s worth, I was born at this Mercury Rx-Pluto conjunction myself, on October 23rd 1987. And look what I’m talking about as Mercury is stationing retrograde conjunct Pluto!
Bill Clinton and George W. Bush
Both men were born with Mercury conjunct Pluto in Leo, and both have had interesting and occasionally intersecting experiences with Mercury-Pluto conjunctions. Bill Clinton is also an elector, and will be experiencing a Mercury-Pluto recurrence as he casts his electoral vote tomorrow for his wife, Hillary Clinton.
December 19th 1998 – Mercury conjunct Pluto in Sagittarius
President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19th 1998, possible due to Democrats defecting and supporting the impeachment. There was a retrograde Mercury conjunction to Pluto on December 1st, in the midst of Republican plans to impeach President Clinton.
December 13th 2000 – Mercury conjunct Pluto in Sagittarius
The Supreme Court effectively handed the presidency to George W. Bush in a 5-4 decision to halt the recounts. It isn’t a retrograde conjunction, but clearly relevant to today’s situation regarding popular vote/electoral vote splits.
January 16th 2010 – Mercury conjunct Pluto in Capricorn
Bill Clinton and George W. Bush teamed up to raise funds for Haiti which was devastated by an earthquake. The unusual pairing of Presidents from opposing parties working together toward a common cause seems to be another manifestation of bipartisan actions during these Mercury-Pluto conjunctions.
The conservative magazine National Review published a special issue, with anti-Trump essays from over 20 leading conservative thinkers and intellectuals. Obviously a lot of people were opposed to Trump, but this is THE NATIONAL REVIEW. For more perspective on why this was a pretty big deal, read this reaction from Politico. If the previous retrograde Mercury-Pluto conjunction saw conservatives striking out against their party’s own frontrunner, will we see this again on Monday against the tentative president-elect?
Astro-Historical Parallel to Election of 1824
The 2016 election has often been compared to the 1824 election between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson mirrors the political personality of Donald Trump – larger-than-life, foul-mouthed, rude, brutal, a political “outsider” of great wealth and independent fame who claimed to be looking out for the common man. John Quincy Adams on the other hand more closely resembles Hillary Clinton: erudite, analytical, someone who had a close connection to a previous presidency, perceived as a Washington insider and power player.
In 1824, Jackson won more popular and electoral votes than JQA, but not enough to put him over the top. Since the Electoral College vote was inconclusive, the election was thrown to the House of Representatives. The Speaker of the House was Henry Clay, whose policies were closer to that of JQA than Jackson. JQA promised to nominate Clay for Secretary of State if he could get the House to vote for him as President. This is exactly what happened – the House of Representatives voted for JQA despite the fact that he had less popular votes and electoral votes than Andrew Jackson, and Clay became Secretary of State. Jackson and his supporters derided this as a “Corrupt Bargain”, and 4 years later Jackson handily defeated JQA.
From October 29th 1824 (the general election) to February 9th 1825 (when the House of Representatives voted for JQA), Uranus had traveled from 12-17 Capricorn, completing an opposition to the US Sun at 13 Cancer. This transit occurs once every 84 years, indicating a period of upheaval or renewal for the nation’s leaders. The so-called “Corrupt Bargain” occurred on January 9th 1825 while Mercury was retrograde, heading back to the position of Uranus while Representatives were being convinced to make JQA President instead of Jackson. By the time Congress got around to voting for President, Mercury had completed a retrograde conjunction to Uranus opposite the US and was moving forward. In other words, Jackson’s upending of American politics (the first wave of the Democratic Party) was the Uranus transit to the US Sun, but it was subverted by secret deals and legal trickery, Mercury retrograde. It ultimately couldn’t be held back as he won the Presidency in 1828, but in 1824, it was thrown for a loop.
The parallel to today is that instead of Mercury going retrograde over Uranus while opposite the US Sun, Mercury is going retrograde over Pluto while opposite the US Sun. Pluto transits only occur once every 248 years, so the United States has never experienced this transit before. Indeed, a word commonly read about the 2016 election is “unprecedented”, or as Trump calls it, “unpresidented”. Pluto is a planet associated with transformative and traumatic experiences, the deepest darkest secrets, taboos and extreme powers. Pluto’s transit opposite the US Sun can be read as the country and its leaders facing down the deepest darkest aspects of ourselves. The open airing of resentful views toward women, racial minorities, immigrants and religious minorities from Donald Trump and his supporters, as well as his flirtation with fascism is a testament to this Pluto transit to the US Sun.
Just as in 1824, there will be a Mercury retrograde conjunction to an outer planet in opposition to the US Sun, and it takes place on December 19th 2016, the day the Electoral College meets. Using 1824 as a guide, it seems to suggest that through various means, Mercury retrograde will subvert the agenda of Pluto. We know there will be some sort of attempt to stop Trump, even if it is unsuccessful. There is a petition with nearly 5 million signatures supporting the electors to vote in Hillary Clinton instead. Electors are receiving thousands of emails, being begged to change their vote. “Hamilton electors” are trying to convince other electors to change their votes to a Republican alternative such as Mitt Romney. Lawrence Lessig claims that about 20 Republican electors have privately contacted him for legal advice about switching their vote, although we won’t know how accurate that is until tomorrow. It’s clear that something unusual is to be expected with this electoral college vote. But what?
All we can say for sure is there will likely be something unresolved about the electoral college vote and it will not be resolved until the votes are tabulated by Congress on January 6th 2017, 2 days before Mercury’s direct station, while the Sun is conjunct Pluto. The contacts of the Sun and Mercury to Pluto are very interesting when you consider the history of the electoral college. The very first electoral college was held on February 4th 1789, featuring a Sun-Mercury-Pluto conjunction in Aquarius. Quite fitting for an institution where extreme power is held in the hands of a few and as a distinctly Aquarian expression of skepticism of the people’s will. One wonders if it will finally be done away with in 2035, its Pluto return.
May we never live in dull times.
Thanks to Nick Dagan Best for his insights on this topic and for helping me get my` astro-mojo back.