July 4, 2013

Wendy Davis, Mercury Rx, and Midnight at the Filibuster

On June 25, 2013, as I watched Senator Wendy Davis (D-Texas) stand and speak for eleven hours to lead Texas Democrats on a filibuster to block Senate Bill 5 - legislation that would create new abortion restrictions and close down 42 women’s reproductive health clinics, leaving only 5 in the entire state - I worried how Mercury’s retrograde station would affect the outcome.

Mercury, also known as Hermes, messenger of the gods, has

dominion over all transportation and communication. If the bill passed, the poorest women in Texas, those in El Paso, Brownsville, Abilene, Lubbock and Amarillo, would have the farthest to travel for their medical care. Those in El Paso would have to drive just less than 600 miles – an eight-hour trip each way. 

But more immediately, I was concerned about communication issues because Mercury represents every form of it, from the most basic elementary education with its books, pencils, papers, reading and writing; proceeding on through to mail, contracts, leases, deeds, agreements, wills, appointments, phones, novels, newspapers, blog posts, legislative bills, speeches and filibustering…just to begin. 

Our ability to say what we mean and to mean what we say is less acute during the retrograde period, as well as our ability to discriminate. Our critical faculties are dimmed as well–in most cases. There are exceptions to the rule, but nearly always, it leads to confusion and uncertainty. Mercury is prominent in the charts of people who are woefully misinformed, like Texas Representative Jody Laubenberg, whose Mercury is in slow, methodical Taurus conjunct the south node (a malefic). She mumbled her words and seemed anything but a wealth of knowledge or voice of authority. In addition, she was under the misnomer that a rape kit could end a pregnancy. 

Mercury retrograde represents backtracking and sidestepping, and by referring to the rape kit as “another form of abortion,” she advocated for the very thing she is trying to make illegal 20 weeks later. In that case, perhaps she is also under a Neptunian delusion that women should be allowed abortions only at the times that she, herself, feels are appropriate. When Laubenberg was ridiculed for placing restrictions on her fellow women without even understanding the procedure, she retreated and had nothing else to say. 

Mercury has dominion over all spoken and written word. It regulates our rational thought, mental clarity, and filters the material between our brains and our tongues (or not, as the case may be).  It controls whether we are deliberate thinkers or jump to conclusions, and whether we are hearing or speech impaired, have learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia, epilepsy, schizophrenia, stutter, or in the case of a certain myopic governor, just can’t see the forest for the trees. 

 In short (who am I kidding?), Mercury processes and disseminates information, and is the main tool for teachers, writers, journalists, librarians, orators, advertisers, salespeople (especially those who travel), couriers, coders, commentators, critics, filibusterers and many more. As if Mercury doesn't have enough to do, as the ruler of Virgo, it reigns over health care, too.

Of course, no planet actually stops in its orbit around the sun, nor does it reverse direction. But from our vantage point on earth, planets appear to do so, and it has a significant effect upon the matters that each planet represents. It’s quite common, with some planets seeming to move in backward motion roughly half the year (ever feel like you’ve taken one step forward and two steps back?), but Mercury is the quickest, and that may be why we notice its effects more than those of Neptune and Pluto, for instance.

The retrograde period begins a few days before the planet appears to stop its motion. Its backward trek lasts for about three weeks until it reaches its direct station. Then it appears to stop again before returning to direct motion and speeding away. It does this about every four months. The current cycle started when Mercury began to slow down, preparing to change direction, around June 15.

When Mercury is retrograde, there are all kinds of transportation and communication problems. Mail is misdirected, keys are lost, votes are recounted…Mercury was retrograde during the 2000 presidential election when Florida recounted the votes due to “hanging chad,” and “the winner,” George “Dubya” Bush, conveniently had a brother serving as the Governor of that state. Mercury was also retrograde during the 2012 Election that returned Barack Obama to office, but it challenged astrologers trying to predict the winner months before the event.

It’s also not a good idea to sign contracts, leases, wills, bills and other legal documents during a Mercury retrograde phase. It’s not even advisable to make important decisions. Something will go wrong. Did you read the small print, dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s? Is all the information there, and is it all correct? Was something slipped in at the last minute without your knowledge? Did an extra page appear in the contract? Does it really mean what you think it means? Are you sure? Absolutely sure?

Retrograde Mercury highlights the flaws in our arguments, and forces a restructuring of our thoughts, ideas and plans. It is at its most powerful during the retrograde cycle, and that is when unresolved issues come back to haunt us, demanding to be re-examined and dealt with again. 

These periods tend to coincide with profound, 
critical and fated events of historic or global importance. 

The issues are thrust upon us, like it or not, and we have little control over the outcome, other than how we respond. We temporarily become more introspective and contemplative of the matters under the jurisdiction of the sign through which Mercury is traveling. 

During the current retrograde cycle, Mercury is in Cancer, the sign of women, motherhood, fecundity, fertility, birth, lactation, family, domestic matters, “Home, Mom, Apple Pie,” patriotism, boats and the sea. 

At the same moment that Senator Davis 
was standing for women not only in Texas, but nationwide, and was holding the floor in those pink running shoes while the clock ticked toward midnight, the hour when the Senate's special session would end and the bill could no longer be voted upon, transiting Mercury was stationary retrograde, about to stop in its tracks. 

Some of the symptoms of this period are misunderstandings and confusion; friends plan to meet for lunch, but one thought it was Thursday, the other thought Saturday, or the time or place are mixed up. Sometimes it obscures the facts, or we’re missing vital pieces of information. Or we are misdirected with a sleight-of-hand.

It interrupts communication, causing malfunction or loss of electronic equipment such as computers and telephones (
a beaver caused Internet access and cell phones to go down in a wide area of New Mexico last week). It is rarely advisable to set up networks or make changes to computers during Mercury’s retrograde period. 

It is also infamous for coinciding with glitches and missed connections in transportation and accommodations. Whistleblower Edward Snowden was not on the plane to Cuba. Now he is stuck in limbo while various countries decide whether or not to grant asylum to him under pressure of trade agreements coming due. I’m betting Snowden didn’t know that Mercury's retrograde period tends to bring unforeseen changes and blockages.

On Tuesday, the Bolivian president's jet was rerouted because France and Portugal refused entry into their airspace, amid suspicions Snowden was on board. The plane landed in Vienna with no sign of the whistle blower. Maybe the Bolivian plane was the designated decoy. There is a certain irony in Snowden being charged with spying by people who are spying. That's convoluted Mercury logic.  And the re-routing of the plane clearly coincides with Mercury retrograde.

Mercury is a trickster, and in an attempt to block the filibuster, Republicans began trying to disqualify Senator Davis for mentioning Planned Parenthood and for adjusting her back brace.

(Texas will eventually have to change their filibuster rules to include the physically disabled because it discriminates. But one thing at a time…) 

Finally, and literally in the 11th hour, Republican Sen. Donna Campbell claimed that sonograms weren’t germane to Bill 5 in an attempt to get the third strike against Senator Davis. But invasive vaginal sonograms are mandatory for all abortion patients. How is that not germane to the issue? That’s what 180,000 people watching online, and a Capitol building with hundreds of others wanted to know, and what Senator Kirk Watson (D-Texas) asked. At great length.  Calmly. And slowly.

Here’s what Donna Campbell doesn’t want you to know about vaginal sonograms. 

Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst (R-TX) tried to rush a vote on whether or not the filibuster could continue, but Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-TX), who attended the session straight from her father’s funeral, and who has Mercury in outspoken Sagittarius, insisted on being recognized. The sheer nerve.

Dewhurst blew her off when she requested he walk her through his procedural rulings.

“Did the President hear me, or did the President hear me and refuse to recognize me?" she asked. 

Still not called on, she persisted.

"At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” and the crowd roared. 

Rules were called into question. A vote was required to end the filibuster, but the voting couldn’t be heard over the raucous marathon of cheering and chanting in the gallery. Democrats had the ball and were skillfully milking the clock while Republicans tried to speed up the game. It was really very good drama, playing out not just to the last minute, but beyond. Midnight came and went and Republicans indicated that a vote had been taken and passed, while Democrats declared that the vote had taken place after midnight and died. Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and his minion left the Senate floor. Confusion reigned and various media reported differing winners. 

Three hours later, Dewhurst conceded that the bill was dead.

Mercury was in the last hours of its stationary motion. It paused in its tracks at 8:02 A.M. CDT, at 23 degrees Cancer on June 26, just hours after the filibuster ended. 

Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, said, “Republican Senate leaders realized they were on very shaky legal ground,” when they declared victory on Senate Bill 5 a couple minutes after midnight—going so far as to change the time stamp on the Legislature’s official web page.” 

True to a retrograde cycle, Governor Perry will try to force the bill through as part of three bills in a second special session to be debated again. And in true Mercury trickster style, he’s being sneaky about the time and place that it will be done. 

In fact, while I have been working on this post, three states have passed strict new abortion laws by sneaking them into other bills without public debate. 

* Texas House committee approves abortion rules
* North Carolina latest state to seek tighter abortion clinic rules
* Ohio Democrat: GOP’s new abortion laws would never have survived public debate

There are two more phases to this cycle before it ends.

Mercury will officially pause, end its backward journey, and begin direct motion again at 13 degrees Cancer. The direct station is the most powerful, and should be utilized for maximum benefit. July 20 should coincide with a turning point.

Finally, on August 4, Mercury will once again reach 23 degrees Cancer, where it began the cycle. The chips have fallen. 

Unless it all gets rehashed in the next cycle in October, in the sign of Scorpio, because a retrograde Mercury cycle is also a time when matters begun under a previous retrograde cycle will finally arrive at an end. 

Remember early on when I wrote that “Our ability to say what we mean and to mean what we say is less acute during the retrograde period, as well as our ability to discriminate. Our critical faculties are dimmed as well–in most cases. There are exceptions to the rule…?”

An exception that comes to mind are people born while Mercury was retrograde. Of course, Mercury is unique for every individual, and must be read in context with the rest of the chart, but Wendy Davis has a very interesting natal Mercury Retrograde.

When I don’t have a birth time, I usually use a sunrise chart, or maybe a noon chart if someone has burst into sudden infamy or renown. If the moon changed signs on the date of birth, I then cast charts from midnight to midnight to see the exact range of the moon that day, and that’s what I did with Senator Davis's chart.

The moon moved from Aquarius to Pisces on her date of birth. Most people with the moon in Aquarius (Princess Diana, Pope Francis, Ashley Judd) are intellectual, progressive, and politically-minded types. 

Most people with the moon in Pisces are romantic, creative types (Leonardo daVinci, Michael Jackson, Percy Bysshe Shelley). 

So I wanted to see a chart with the moon in Aquarius. 
When I cast the chart for the latest time of day that the moon was in that sign, it gave me a birth time of 5:30 PM. And there are some interesting things about this speculative chart.

For one thing, look at the degree of the midheaven 22 Cancer,
(women, family, motherhood), just one degree from the current Mercury’s retrograde station. And conjunct the midheaven are the moon’s north node (a beneficent, and particularly fortunate in that position) and the Part of Fortune (also a beneficent)
at the highest point of career, reputation, honor and path in life. It’s impressive.

Another interesting point about this chart is that the moon’s nodes changed from direct motion to their normal retrograde motion at 10:26 A.M. the morning of her birth. Planets gain strength during their direct stations, and it appears the same may be true for the moon’s nodes. The North Node is a
benefic of the quality of Venus or Jupiter.

One more quick one before I go on to show you something else. Neptune, ruler of the 6th house of health is rising in Scorpio
(sex, death, rape, abortion, surgery, the welfare of the people, Persephone). It’s also the dispositor of Chiron, the asteroid associated with health issues and teaching. Neptune trines Chiron with a separation of only 26 minutes. Chiron is in compassionate Pisces in the 5th house of children as well as the house of romance and sex without commitment. Aquarius is the sign on the 5th house showing progressive and intellectual attitudes about them.

It would be interesting to see where her asteroid goddesses are, but asteroids aren’t my forte, and it’s a lot of work to do without an accurate birth time, so I’m going to pass for now.


As said earlier, if Senator Davis’s birth time is close to 5:30 PM, then the stationary retrograde Mercury (communication as ruler of Gemini / health as ruler of Virgo) would have made its station within a degree or two of her natal midheaven (honor, career, reputation), north node (a benefic, forward movement) and Part of Fortune (luck)

Transiting Venus
(feminine principle) in Cancer (women, motherhood, family planning) would occupy the 10th house (honor, career, reputation)

Transiting Mars
(assertiveness, effort) in Gemini (communication) on the cusp between the 8th house (sex, death, rape, abortion, surgery, the welfare of the people, Persephone) and the 9th house (philosophy, medicine, religion, law) would trine her natal ascendant (physical body, personality, in this time and place) in the sign of Libra (balance, justice, diplomacy)

The transiting moon
(women, motherhood, mood) in Aquarius (intellectual, progressive, revolutionary) would square Senator Davis’s natal Neptune (the mood and inspiration of the times) in Scorpio (sex, death, rape, abortion, surgery, the welfare of the people, Persephone), which is conjoined by the transiting north node (shines a favorable light). The square represents the stress of the event, and sets off the Neptune trine to natal Chiron (health issues, teaching, wounding, protecting)
, which has been progressing toward a return to its natal place for several months.

That’s all I’m prepared to speculate about without an accurate birth time.


There’s another chart we can look at even without Senator Davis’s exact birth time. 

Born July 4th, 1776, The United States has the sun in Cancer,
(Home, Mom, apple pie; Mother, God, country), and the moon in Aquarius (freedom, liberty, equality).

When comparing Senator Davis’s chart to the Sibly chart, we can’t use her ascendant, midheaven or Part of Fortune because they move so fast, but she could have been born up to about five hours before the speculative 5:30 time, and her natal moon would still be conjunct the natal moon of the United States of America in Aquarius
(freedom, liberty, equality). There is a strong lunar connection (intuition, influence, emotional rapport)
between Senator Davis and women in the U.S.

Progressive, intellectual, unconventional approaches to motherhood and families are shared through the Aquarius moon. The moon is the ruler of the U.S. 8th house
(sex, death, rape, abortion, surgery, welfare, public opinion and values, Persephone abduction) where the senator’s natal north node conjuncts get this – the United States natal retrograde Mercury in Cancer, just 1 degree 06 minutes ahead of the current retrograde Mercury station. Transiting Mercury will have to go through its entire retrograde cycle and return to its stationary degree before it will complete the conjunction to the natal U.S. Mercury on August 4. That will likely be a critical date in the abortion debate. 

A couple of days prior to that conjunction, direct Mercury will conjunct Senator Davis’s natal north node and possibly her midheaven and Part of Fortune, putting her in the spotlight once again. 


  1. Insightful. I wonder how it all play out.

  2. I have to say that I am alarmed that she chose the last waning light before a new moon to announce that she will run for governor. I banged my head against my desk repeatedly. I hope her other planets will be strong enough to overcome it.


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