The Debt Ceiling Bill and Mercury Rx

Oops! Not that you need astrology to wonder if this latest strange “compromise” in U.S. politics will prove unwise, or will be reversed, or will instigate confusion, or misinterpretation, and so on, but that the votes in the House and Senate and presidential signing are all taking place just as Mercury sits stationary, turning from direct to retrograde motion for three weeks (something it does three times each year), gives one pause. Divine timing, indeed! And we are playthings of the gods.

Mercury, the planet of communication and short-distance travels, pausing, starting up again, to go in the opposite direction!

I used to tell clients not to sign contracts during Mercury Retrograde periods, plus travel and communications likely to be snarled. What this thrice yearly three week period IS good for is rethinking things, delving deeply into inner matters, turning the mind inward to contemplate its own thinking process, and so on. And it’s certainly about time this disunited states of America turn inward to begin to investigate its own thinking and communication process. Any chance we might begin to see the dangerous, destructive effects of polarized thinking, not to mention the two-party system that underwrites it?

Here’s astrologer Eric Francis’s take on the situation, both politically and personally. Thanks to

Today is Tuesday, August 2, 2011. As of this writing, Mercury has slowed down to 1/10th of a degree per day — not quite as slow as Pluto, but respectably creaky. For those watching the United States debt situation, note that Mercury stations at 10 minutes to midnight Tuesday, Washington DC time — just before the witching hour when the nation’s borrowing ability runs out.

Earth & water - photo by Eric.

This is the perfect astrological setup for whatever agreement is reached being reversed, or falling apart at the last second. The situation is reminiscent of Election Day 2000, when Mercury stationed retrograde just a couple of hours after the polls closed. That evening it was a sure thing that Al Gore had won; overnight, the winner had switched to Bush, the election was contested, and someone managed to ‘win’ the presidency with fewer popular votes and fewer electoral votes. So we cannot underestimate the mischief that Mercury retrograde can arrive with when the stakes are high and the timing is, er, just perfect. Tuesday night could be a bit more stressful in Washington than Monday morning’s newspapers were suggesting.

Personally, perhaps you’re noticing the mental tension of the station. It may be showing up in your relationships, in your ability to do routine tasks or your motivation. Take it as slowly as you can these days, and try not to burn energy with needless stress. There are likely to be things that are unresolved, and you can safely let go of most of them until you have a better sense of the conditions and the mental landscape. You may feel a temptation to rush — check for the intuition to chill. Note that some love these phases, others seem immune to the tricky effects, and I am sure this is learnable as well as appearing as an inborn trait for some.

Mercury stationing retrograde is the kind of astrology you can feel. It’s a good way to tune in to the in-body and in-mind aspect of astrology. Mercury the actual planet is close to us during retrogrades, and the thing is a giant magnet. When it comes to mental patterns and communications (the two things that Mercury of astrology fame is most closely associated with), we do have some leeway by increasing our level of mindfulness. Work with the best information you can get, and update in realtime. If nothing else, Mercury stationing in Virgo is calling for alertness, flexibility and attention to detail.

An event of this potency in Virgo brings up the Chiron aspect of this sign: imagine Mercury focused like a laser, able to penetrate into a few additional dimensions. Chiron is not in Virgo at the moment — but it’s in a close opposition to Mercury right how, so it’s part of the equation. The two planets most closely associated with Virgo are standing opposite one another. This can have the feeling of a standoff, a dance, a direct encounter — check your life for which one or ones. This is not merely a meeting between two ideas; it’s about two different orders of reality. Chiron in Pisces has a full-spectrum, multidimensional feeling, focusing something from another level of realty. Mercury stationing in Virgo feels like a struggle for clarity on the purely rational, logical level. And this can miss the point. If there is anything happening on the level of a conscious decision, it’s more about the way we make decisions than any one choice. It’s about the way we apply logic (or skip that step) rather than any one issue or question.

Think of it: Mercury in Virgo, stationing — that’s pretty self aware.


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