Media Medium
16 November 2000


Mischievous Mercury's US election trickery

Mercury's backward loop sent the US media reeling
in the face of last week's election fiasco.

Three times a year, for three weeks at a time, the planet Mercury appears to go retrograde, making a backward loop through the zodiac. At the beginning and end of this loop it stands still and is said to be on its station. This unexciting astronomy becomes the stuff of imagination for astrologers who insist that things on earth connected with Mercury - like communication, media, trade and transport - go wonky on these tricky movements. The U.S. election shambles seems to prove the point.

Mercury's retrograde arc began on 18 October and ended on the night of the election. CBS called for Gore just after 8:00pm EST. Mischievous Mercury turned on its station at 9:29pm and within half an hour, the networks turned, too. At 10:00pm the election was declared too close to call. Then at 2:17am, the networks gave it to Bush and Gore phoned to concede. By 3:30am it was undecided yet again and Gore withdrew his concession. This see-saw situation, as the vote hung in the balance, is reflected in Mercury's placing in the last minutes of the last degree of Libra the Scales. Mercury had moved into Libra on the morning of the election and it entered Scorpio next day, heading for a square of confusing Neptune a week later (November 15).

The American astrologer Caroline W. Casey has pioneered astrology as 'Mythic News', and the election has shown that the old god Hermes is alive and well, living as the media monkey in the modern age. In mythology, Mercury is the Greek Hermes, the messenger of the gods who is a thief and wheeler-dealer, a trickster and a liar. He is the god of number and language, associated with the Gemini Twins, and he is duplex, androgynous and a-moral.

In the spirit of entertainment, the networks jump the gun on exit polls and the election becomes the media's call. Its fake calls are a sign of fake authority, symptomatic of the wider problem that for the media, the race matters more than the issues. As Todd Gitlin observes, most of the absurd Bush claims about his Texas record, and his scary understanding of international affairs, went unquestioned and unanalysed. His frequent gaffes and malapropisms - signs of Dubya's own suspect Mercury - were more fun than the yawning ignorance they covered.

So what happens next? With Mercury moving into fixed and power-hungry Scorpio, a bitter entrenchment has begun and the world awaits some higher authority to sort out the mess. In mythology, it is Zeus, king of the gods and the Law itself, who silences Hermes with a nod of his head. The horoscopes of the main players point to a Bush win but there are sure to be more legal wrangles in the coming months. The American horoscope suggests electoral reform but the media, the major culprit of the fiasco, will slip away unscathed.

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