For all the talk about Mercury turning retrograde on election day, nothing too dramatic or bizarre actually happened. To be sure, there were some significant voting problems in various states as voters were forced to wait well into the night to cast their vote even after Obama had been declared the winner. Hurricane Sandy also created problems for many voters in places like New Jersey, although it did not affect the outcome of the race in any significant way. The vote in Florida was so close that Obama was only declared the winner yesterday -- four days after the fact. That's the kind of delay one would expect from a Mercury retrograde, so that is a modest reflection of its energy potential. Overall, however, Mercury did not confound or delay the decision. Last week, I suggested that the problems would more likely be manageable since the USA chart for the 2012 election was much less afflicted than the chart for the 2000 election. This proved to be correct, although I was still surprised and frankly a little disappointed that we didn't even get a single state recount. Mercury definitely came in at the very low end of its spectrum of disruption and confusion. It may be time for the concept of Mercury retrograde to be subjected to a more rigorous Popperian assessment.
But with the win behind him, Obama must now deal with the fiscal cliff. Obama must negotiate a deal with House Republicans in order to prevent automatic cuts in spending and tax hikes. This is a huge issue with major economic implications as failure to come to an agreement may well cause another recession. The fiscal cliff is also creating jitters on Wall Street as last week's decline was the result of investors weighing the possibility of slower growth and higher taxes if no deal is struck. The deadline for a deal is December 31, although it is also possible that one could occur after the deadline in January with a retroactive clause to restore funding. A post-facto January deal would nevertheless cause some profound angst in the financial markets until it actually got done. With so much on the line, can Obama find common ground with his long-time adversary Republican House Leader John Boehner?
There are any number of ways to delve into this question, all of them indirect and therefore quite inferential and speculative. But that goes with the territory of astrology. For me, one of the most intriguing windows on this question concerns the relationship of Obama and Boehner. When this relationship comes under planetary pressure by malefics like Saturn and Mars, there is more likely to be rancour and discord. When benefics like Jupiter and Venus are more prominent in the relationship horoscope, then an agreement is more likely. I have found the Davison relationship chart to be useful in this regard. Basically, this is a horoscope that is cast from combining the charts of the two individuals. One takes the the halfway point in between the dates of birth of Boehner and Obama, as well as their places of birth. Since we don't know Boehner's birth time, this is a more approximate chart so we have to confine ourselves to planet-to-planet contacts. Nonetheless, it is still revealing.
This time around the prospects look fairly good that a deal will eventually be struck. Transiting Saturn is not really in the picture (at least this particular picture which is only an approximate chart) as it does not form aspects with any planet. However, there are two contacts in November that suggest there may be some difficulties in this relationship in the short run. On November 23, Mars and Uranus form a very powerful and intense t-square with the natal Sun. With Mars in the mix, we should expect some conflict here. Uranus symbolizes sudden or unexpected developments, so it may come out of the blue. Perhaps this will coincide with a breakdown of talks, or a sudden change of heart of one of the individuals that is poorly received by the other. Just four days later on November 27, Mercury will end its retrograde cycle in an exact conjunction with the natal Saturn. Mercury-Saturn combinations are not usually found in positive situations as they represent heavy or onerous communications that is often met with frustration or disappointment. Will this be a case of "back to the drawing board"? It may well highlight a time of blocked progress, especially coming so soon after the Mars-Uranus-Sun pattern.
The presence of these difficult aspects suggests that a quick deal may be unlikely. Jupiter will aspect Venus quite closely in early December so perhaps that will mark some substantial progress. Perhaps they can even work out a deal then -- I'm not sure yet. I will revisit this question in future weekly posts in this space.
Meanwhile, markets reacted negatively to Obama's re-election as it increased the likelihood of the fiscal cliff and higher taxes, especially on capital gains. The Dow lost more than 2% closing at 12,815. Indian markets fared better, however, as the Sensex suffered only a fractional decline closing at 18,683. This negative outcome was in keeping with expectations as I thought that the aspect between retrograde Mercury (trading) and Saturn (loss) would likely translate into a fall in the markets.
This week looks difficult again for the markets as Mercury forms a square aspect with Neptune on Tuesday and Wednesday. Mercury then continues to run the gauntlet as it enters into a tense alignment with Mars on Thursday. To add to the reservoir of available energy, there is also a solar eclipse on Tuesday at the tail end of sidereal Libra. While a mixed week is still somewhat possible here, the most likely outcome would seem to be for more downside.
Transits for Tuesday 13 November 2012 9.30 a.m. New York