Published by WallStreetWeather.net
On August 2, Mercury the planetary energy of communication, movement, and commerce, will appear from Earth’s vantage point to move retrograde until August 26.
Mercury is a dualistic energy that when strong tends to bring multiple choices, situations, and events. Mercury is the trickster. Just when we think we’ve figured things out, Mercury slows down its speed and turns retrograde three to four times a year. Mercury traveling in reverse motion over the next 24 days revisits the same degree area of the zodiac Mercury traveled between July 18 and August 2. Conditions can arise during the retrograde period necessitating the need to rethink and review. Mercury retrograde is best suited for revisiting previous issues and resolving unfinished business rather than moving forward with completely new endeavors. The key is to maintain a flexible attitude and schedule.
Mercury the messenger is a multitasker. Reflecting its dualistic nature, Mercury conveys its message most effectively through the signs Gemini and Virgo. Gemini’s curious nature collects all kinds of information; Virgo sorts through all the details to dissect what is useful.
What is unique about this Mercury retrograde cycle is that both facets of Mercury are being expressed as Mercury stations retrograde. Mercury is movement and Mars is action. As Mercury turns retrograde at the beginning of Virgo, Mars will be at the end of Gemini.
It's essential to understand the energies in play leading up to August 2. Just as Mercury began to substantially slow down its speed, Mars in Gemini began operating out-of-bounds July 25 as the Moon (sentiment) was in Gemini.(1) Mars demands swift action while Mercury is trying to keep up with the latest information and a multitude of choices that is in constant flux.
Although Mercury entering Virgo (July 28 at 1:59 PM EDT) can strengthen the ability to sort through the avalanche of information, its opposition to Neptune in Pisces can make things seem even more confusing. Mercury opposite Neptune brings our full awareness to issues and situations that are not what they appear to be. Something is “fishy” about the “facts.” In the chart for Mercury entering Virgo set for Washington DC, Mercury in Virgo is in the sector representing the Obama Administration and rules the sectors of the chart representing debt, entitlements, taxes and subsidies, as well as the sector representing Congress.(2) It is up to President Obama to convey the facts as succinctly as possible to contrast the illusions of Neptune which resides in the sector representing the opposition.
Oppositions represent opposing yet complementary energies as they are in compatible elements and share the same mode of expression. Oppositions also tend to involve other people or symbolize other aspects of ourselves. Balance must be found since both energies need each other in order to be whole. For example, Virgo is physical health and Pisces is mental health. Wholistic healthcare recognizes that you cannot separate one from the other and truly be healthy. Both energies represent being of service: Virgo through employment; Pisces through selfless service (expressing compassion for others without expectations).
These energies are strengthened with Mercury in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces in their “home” signs. Here the practical earth element meets the emotionally sensitive water element. Visionary ideas and creative endeavors must be grounded in reality. As mutable signs, Virgo and Pisces represent the ability to adapt to changing conditions.
Uncovering the facts concealed behind the mask requires a two step approach that blends the best of both energies:
1. Do your own research and analysis, retreating from the endless stream of infotainment “breaking news” that masquerades as news reporting.
2. Time for quiet reflection allows intuition and inspiration to flow through.
Mercury opposing Neptune represents the “Full Moon” phase of the Mercury/Neptune cycle that began when the two planets aligned on February 20, 2011. Events that began around that time could reach a critical juncture during the next six weeks as due to Mercury retrograde, Mercury opposes Neptune three times: July 28/29, August 8, and September 8.
Mercury is the message which Neptune delivers wrapped up in the symbolism of dreams, myth and metaphor if we are willing to use our intuition to decode the message. Oppositions represent the need to make a choice. The origin of the word apocalypse means to “lift the veil” or to uncover. This is what the world and especially the USA is going to be doing during this Mercury retrograde.
The Moon at its closest distance to earth (perigee) and Void-of-Course (VOC) in Virgo as Mercury turns retrograde August 2 at 11:50 PM EDT can accentuate the snafus and surprises commonly experienced during Mercury retrograde.(3)
Communication systems are highly susceptible to outages and breakdowns, data is more prone to inaccuracies and revisions, and travel delays/cancellations can alter schedules. Reconfirming appointments and schedules, double checking all facts and figures, allowing extra time for accomplishing tasks and for travel, and having a copy of important data can make things easier. These energies can also generate a lot of nervous energy that can upset the digestive system. Eating simple (i.e. unprocessed) foods slowly in a relaxed environment can help.
Rather than starting something new and making major decisions and purchases, it is time to put the Re prefix in front of everything you do: reapply, reform, renegotiate, repair, revise, redo, reconnect, reinvent, retry, etc. Mercury retrograde in Virgo is a good time to get organized and complete all those outstanding odds and ends. If you’re looking for employment, reapply to companies that rejected you in the past. Reconnect with past contacts and previous clients. (August 4, 18, and 23 can be favorable for this.)
There are “twin” sides to the Mercury retrograde period. Circumstances and information can be revised and attitudes reversed during Mercury retrograde, while information and events that first occur during Mercury retrograde can be revised after Mercury turns direct. Individuals and entities born when Mercury is retrograde have the potential to navigate the cycle better and can be more motivated to take action during retrograde periods.
I have written several times that since the USA was born with natal Mercury retrograde in Moon-ruled Cancer opposing Pluto in Capricorn, Washington has developed a penchant to pass legislation when Mercury is retrograde relating to debt/deficits, taxes, subsidies and entitlement spending.
The last time Mercury was retrograde (March 30 – April 23), Democrats and Republicans narrowly averted a government shutdown over the current fiscal year budget with a little over an hour to spare.(4) A tax cut deal was reached during the Mercury retrograde before that (December 10-30, 2010).
Now as Mercury is about to turn retrograde, once again Washington is racing to reach agreement on raising the debt ceiling to avert a government shutdown. As I described in “S&P Downgrades U.S. Outlook to Negative For Not Learning Saturn’s Lessons,” what these time periods also have in common is that Saturn in Libra was exactly conjoining the USA’s natal Saturn. Known as the Saturn return, it represents a time that the USA is faced with making difficult decisions to get its fiscal house in order. Thus far Washington has chosen to delay making the difficult decisions because it requires a total transformation of the tax code so that everyone pays in proportion to their income. Now as the USA fully experiences its Saturn return (exact August 28), President Obama’s “balanced approach” of spending cuts and revenue enhancements for deficit reduction appears to have acquiesced to the pressure to maintain the status quo at the expense of the general welfare of the nation.
In this post and this post I described how the planetary energies now raise the potential for a government shutdown. I wrote that if a shutdown takes place, an agreement could be settled between August 6 and 12. Even if a government shutdown is averted, Mercury opposing Neptune raises the potential that at least one of the ratings agencies will downgrade the USA’s current AAA credit rating.(5)
Mars leaving Gemini for Cancer August 3 hours after Mercury turns retrograde indicates that people are more prone to express their anger if they feel their most basic security needs are not being met. Neptune which has been retrograde since June 3, backtracks into Aquarius August 4 (until February 3, 2012). Mercury returning to Leo August 8 and opposing Neptune a few hours later indicates that the public will reconsider and react to what has happened since Mercury conjoined Neptune (and Mars) in Aquarius on February 20. Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, the planetary energy of rebellion and revolution and Neptune dissolves boundaries and barriers. It was during that time that public uprisings to protest autocratic governments reverberated throughout the Middle East, northern Africa, and even China, together with protests to counter extreme (Aquarius/Uranus) legislation in Wisconsin and other states occurred. Mars squaring Uranus in Aries and opposing Pluto in Capricorn at this time indicates a resurgence of public protests around the world demanding government reforms.
Leo rules leaders and all forms of speculation such as the stock market. Mercury in Leo opposing Neptune in Aquarius could indicate that what is said by corporate and political leaders could reverse investors’ current beliefs. Certain asset price bubbles could begin to burst. This is especially true in the USA where Mercury turns retrograde in the sector ruling the stock market (in the chart set for Washington, DC). More news about insider trading, fraud, and scandals coupled with the ever changing storyline in Washington is primarily driving the market now. Keep in mind that it can be difficult at this time to distinguish fact from fiction.
I’ve written during previous Mercury retrograde periods that the stock market has a greater tendency to reverse its pattern leading up to the retrograde period as Mercury turns retrograde. If not then a reversal is most likely to occur August 8, or around the midpoint of the cycle when the Sun conjoins Mercury (and Venus) in Leo August 16. The Neptune influence does not help to create a clear trend which means Mercury could spin its wheels, ending up pretty much where it was when Mercury turned retrograde.
Even though the Sun in Leo and the Sun’s conjunction to Mercury and Venus in Leo August 16 can boost market confidence, Venus disappeared from the morning sky in mid-July. No matter what kind of reversals occur during Mercury retrograde, it is unlikely the three major indices will exceed their 3+ year highs made on May 2 this year.
Mercury turns direct August 26 with the Moon in Leo. Although I wrote that the Federal Reserve would probably temporarily intervene to ensure there is ample liquidity and probably lend or buy/sell Treasuries and mortgage securities if needed in the event of a government shutdown, the market should not expect Fed Chairman Bernanke to talk about doing QE3 at this year’s Jackson Hole conference that day.
Just in time for the holiday season, the next Mercury retrograde begins November 24 (Thanksgiving Day) to December 13. Occurring in the global sign of Sagittarius, snafus related to long distance travel. Geopolitical issues could take center stage now.
(1)Mars “out-of-bounds” July 25 – August 22 means that because Mars is operating well outside the boundary of the ecliptic (the path of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun), its energy is acting in extreme ways.
(2)Pluto is the ruler of the chart, signifying that the nation is focused on the debt ceiling. Pluto in Saturn-ruled Capricorn in the sector representing the nation’s revenue indicates that the Treasury’s ability to pay its bills and interest on the debt (Pluto) could be delayed if legislation (Mercury) is not passed in time (Capricorn/Saturn) to increase the debt limit (Capricorn/Saturn).
(3)Emotions tend to be closer to the surface when the Moon is perigee. The Moon is VOC when it has finished making any major relationships to the Sun or other planets before entering the next zodiac sign. These times are best for doing routine things where no specific outcome is needed. Dates when the Moon is VOC all day during Mercury retrograde: August 11, 15-16, 25.
(4) Agreement was reached at 10:54 PM EDT April 8. The Moon was in Gemini having just turned VOC at 10:24 PM. Reflecting the powerplays and dealmaking, the Sun was about to conjoin Mercury in Aries as Pluto in Capricorn turned retrograde.
(5)Neptune rules credit (“to believe”). Venus opposing Neptune August 21 and the Sun opposing Neptune the following day further emphasize that a credit rating downgrade could have the opposite effect on the world’s reserve currency to what people believe. At a minimum it would be a blow to the USA’s pride and dispel the illusion that some people have that this is the only nation in the world with a triple-A credit rating.