Mars, Mercury Retrograde, and Election Day Madness: What to Expect

Updated: Apr 18


Welcome to the Zodiac Dispatch, Soho House’s new bi-monthly zodiac dispatch that looks at the intersection of astrology, politics, and culture rather than typical star-sign romance telling you who to date. X asks the questions that are on everyone’s minds--When will we go back to Coachella post-covid?--but it answers them astrologically, based on readings of planetary transits that will be explained in each article.


If there is an agenda to this column in general, it is to go beyond simple sun-sign understandings: I’m a Virgo, he’s Taurus. Such understandings, while essential, are not the most searching ones--they’re kind of like the astrological equivalent of going to Burning Man and not doing acid, or being into Dave Matthews Band, when you could be listening to Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew.” So, X is a small attempt to not be like the Dave Matthews Band of astrology columns and to get further into the planets and transits that shape our lives.




With all this in mind, let’s inaugurate X by turning to the upcoming, looming, anxiety-producing US presidential election, which will occur on November 3, 2020, right in the middle of an astrological clusterfuck. There will be two major retrogrades happening around this date that involve Mars (War) and Mercury (Communication). Gulp. But what does that mean exactly?


A retrograde is an important astrological event during which a given planet appears to be moving backward in the sky in relation to us on Earth. Retrogrades are like glitches in the Matrix, and, like glitches in the Matrix, they lead to cosmic quirks. So, for example, when Mercury--known as the Messenger Planet, Planet of Speech--goes into retrograde, communication tends to become muddled, slowed down, difficult and confusing.


On Election Day, Mercury retrograde will reach its peak in Libra (Justice). The implication of this placement will be the possibility of legal wrangling over the Voice/vote/speech of the American people. We can expect intensified communication breakdowns online, in the media, and between local officials. Expect also delays in voting results, precipitated in part by tardy mail-in ballots. Mercury after all governs mail, deliveries, and conveyances.


If these predictions seem a bit alarmist, consider a previous election when Mercury was in retrograde: Bush v. Gore (2000). We will recall it was an election settled not by the People’s voice but by the Supreme Court after a month of weirdness. While those days of hanging chads feel almost quaint and poetic now, they point, at least in an astrological sense, to the kinds of difficulties we might be encountering this time around with Biden challenging Mayor McCheese for power.


So all this is going on with Mercury--and we haven’t yet touched on Mars retrograde. Mars is the warlord planet of energy and fire. It will be going retrograde through the sign it rules, Aries, from September 9th to November 13th (a super rare transit which won’t happen again until 2067). When a planet is in the sign it rules, it’s kind of like the planet is supercharged. Or, to use basic arithmetic to help explain this upcoming Mars moment: Mars/War+Aries+rare retrograde= Viagra roid rage. Indeed Mars retrograde is a placement that can manifest as internal social pressure, reckless aggression, and violence. People can feel pent up, stymied, and on edge. Basically if people fight, they fight dirty. Mars retrograde denotes a period of no gentleman’s honour. We are outside proper and civilised bounds. The boxing gloves are now off.


Think of these two retrogrades, therefore, as gasoline and match. Unclear speech and election results, delays, uncertainty, and legal wrangling will exacerbate pent up Mars retrograde energy and its tendency toward unrest. Expect jostling, altercations, Federal agents, militias, and vigilantes--all in the name of Democracy and other such chimeras.


Back in 2016, when Trump began his ogre-like march to power, he talked about draining the swamp in Washington, DC. He should’ve checked some astrology though. If he would have, he’d’ve seen that four years later, we would literally be in one of the most heavy-duty astro-political moments in forever. Far from a drained swamp, we are quite possibly about to sink into an even thicker morass with muddy Mercury and simmering Mars.