Mercury rules mentation — the use of the mind — and communication, and other related topics. But when you consider the chart for an entity, in this case the United States, the meaning of Mercury subtly changes but still has the same core meaning. For a nation, Mercury represents the press, formerly just the printed press, but now also the cable news networks and news carried on the Internet in places such as Facebook and YouTube. As the means of communications have expanded, so have the referents of Mercury. This brief discussion of the meanings of Mercury is a foreword to the discussion of a transit of Mercury coming up in the next two years.
In the natal chart of the US, Mercury is opposite Pluto with an orb of a little over three degrees, not terribly tight. This suggests that the press has been a transformative medium in American history. For example, with the rise of political parties in the late Eighteenth Century, newspapers were also created simultaneously to support the parties being formed and that press did much to support the birth of those political parties. And even today most of the press, while perhaps called “non-partisan”, are closely associated with political parties: the New York Times is associated with the Democratic Party these day, and so are the cable channels CNN and MSNBC, so much so that it is often called MSDNC. Fox Cable news channel is a mouthpiece for the Republican party.
But coming up will be a transit of Pluto opposite the natal Mercury just before the Pluto return, as can be expected from the geometry of those two planets as just mentioned. This is likely to change our relationship to the press. First, lets looks at a graphical ephemeris showing the whole period of the opposition. We can see that the opposition first becomes close in early 2019, where the red curved line representing transiting Pluto comes close to the dashed horizontal gold line representing natal Mercury. The first exact opposition happens shortly after the Saturn Pluto conjunction of January 2020. The exact opposition continues to happen throughout 2020 and 2021, including a stationary period in the Fall and Winter of 2021 about three quarters into the graphical ephemeris. Finally, in 2022 as the actual Pluto return happens, the opposition is ending but still as close a it was in 2019. So we have Pluto opposite natal Mercury being effective for at least four years, 2019-23, if not extending even further. Perhaps it can be considered to be happening now, with the rise of the term “Fake News”. If so, it will grow, though the standard theory of time suggests that it will be more powerful after the aspect than before.
One can see that as soon as Pluto went away from the opposition of the Sun, which continued on at least through 2017, it began approaching the opposition to Mercury and the shouts of “fake news” began to be heard. Since in the current times the Sun represents the government and especially the President of the United States, this opposition to the Sun represented the animosity toward whomever was President before 2017, resulting in the obvious upset election in 2016. Not only were people angry with the government and its representative, but they were also mistrustful of the press. Jim Acosta from CNN being booed should have been no surprise.
Today in America — and perhaps other places in the world, witness the UK, Spain, Brazil — “truth” is a very partisan issue; depending on your political viewpoint a thing is either black or white (or perhaps in America we should say blue or red), with no shades of grey allowed or even an expression of a wrong color viewpoint. And if you believe white then black believers are a spawn of demons and deserve to be in a low circle of Hell.
But here we are talking about Pluto opposite the US Mercury, so let’s restrict our comments to the United States. This opposition suggests some major changes in store for the press and their connections to the bigger world, and the way we believe in truth in the United States.
According to Democrat partisans it is only because of the brave American press that we know of the nefarious crimes of President Donald J. Trump, such as his attempts at bribery of the new president of the Ukraine, a place that we need to help fight the Russians so that we don’t end of fighting them in America, as one Democrat-sponsored witness in Congress said, later quoted by the Congressman from Hollywood California. If this sounds familiar, it is because George W. Bush said that we had to fight terrorists in Iraq so we did not have to fight them here. To the Republican partisans Trump is a brave man who is trying to stand up to the nefarious doings of the Deep State which thinks him a bad spokesman for the American agenda: he’s not smart enough (or politician enough) to know he should put lipstick on the pig, and the press is not telling this story of the Deep State coup.
Currently there are several extremely important issues that a free press should be reporting on, but we hear mostly nothing about them in the prestige press. This lack of reporting of vital matters that could be of use to Americans in seeing the world represents a big problem for citizens who want to understand the true relationship of their country to the world.
The Washington Post recently published what is called the Afghanistan Papers that reveal that throughout America’s longest war, which is still happening, Americans were lied to with great regularity, that the people running the war did not know what was going on, and that the press pretended that all was going smoothly. This has been compared to the release of the Pentagon Papers in the Seventies that disclosed similar stupidity in regards to the Vietnam War, which at the time held the distinction of being the longest war of the United States. The Pentagon Papers were a phenomena at the time. Newspapers published excepts, and there was much talk about them. They even played a role in the Watergate crisis, whereas the President sent people to burgle the office of the psychiatrist who was treating the person who released the Pentagon Papers. But in today’s world, these newly released documents which expose a similar malfeasance for a recent war don’t get any respect. Perhaps now that we only have an economic draft so that only the children of the poor end of fighting the wars it is of little concern to Democrats to represent families with children killed in the current iteration of what has been called regime changes wars.
The UN commission called the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released a report in 2018 accusing the Syrian government (a putative enemy of the United States) of using poison gas on its population, even though this did not make sense since the Syrian side was winning and had no reason to do something that would bring international condemnation with no upside for them. In response the US, UK, and France bombed Syria. But in recent weeks there have been several whistle-blowers from inside the OPCW and a document dump from Wikileaks that have shown the the OPCW report was contrary to the opinions of its staff and was oriented to align with US government beliefs and so that the report (and thus the OPCW itself) has no credibility. One would expect this to be a big story, that a UN commission lied and thus several countries committed war crimes as a result, but there is no news of this.
The third major story that is not given coverage is the unlawful imprisonment and torture of a man who is considered by many independent observers as the most important journalist in the world today, whose reports many mainstream newspapers published once upon a time, but who now can not give that journalist the time of day. The extradition trial of Julian Assange has been truly a kangaroo court that is happening in Great Britain, a travesty that has been compared to the Dreyfus case that eventually roiled France at the end of the Nineteenth Century. But if the press reports about Assange at all, it is to deposit calumny on him. Many Democrats consider him — in cooperation with Vladimir Putin — the reason Hillary Clinton lost the election in 2016.
Around the world at the time we are seeing a huge number of protests against the government of each country. When looked at from above, all these protests are against the neoliberalism that has dominated the world for the last forty years. But some protests get much more coverage in the American press than others. The coverage of the Hong Kong protests against an official US opponent, even though they have been quite devoid of deaths and injuries, has been given very great media coverage, as opposed to the limited converge of the Yellow Vest movement against the government of a US ally, even though many have lost limbs or eyes from the activities of the French police, who apparently are more violent than the Hong Kong police.
The first Jupiter Pluto conjunction on April 4, 2020 is interesting because it is right opposite the natal Mercury, so this conjunction will have something to do with the media. Pluto on this date is opposite natal Mercury with an orb of less than one degree. The transiting Sun is opposite the natal Saturn, and to further accentuate Saturn, transiting Saturn is trine the US MC, as is transiting Venus (and thus transiting Venus and Saturn, both at the beginning of air signs, are trine), and thus the transiting midpoint of Venus and Saturn is on the Midheaven. Venus and Saturn together talk about a limitation of justice, a concept that can be applied to many issues effecting the world today. One of the meanings Ebertin gives for this midpoint is “the urge to seek solitude” which I’m sure we can all relate to.
What I have called the mainstream media in the United States, for example the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, is being increasing paid attention to only by older readers and watchers, while younger people, those who grew up more in what can be called The Internet Age, get more of their news online. This has caused a spilt in the Democratic Party which I call the split between the MSNBC Democrats — who get there news from the cable TV channel MSNBC — and the Jimmy Dore Democrats — who get their news from the YouTube channel The Jimmy Dore Show. This dynamic can also be seen in the current Democratic primaries across the country, playing out in the dichotomy of the two remaining candidates. As the population ages and people born before 1960 continue to die, one can expect more and more news to be gotten online, which causes much worry among those producing legacy media. But they also have themselves to blame: if they better reported the truth instead of what their owners want, there would be more trust of them among younger people.
A good source showing that media criticism is nothing new is the book Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman (the main author, which is why his name came first on the title page) and his long time collaborator Noam Chomsky, published in 1988. There is also a YouTube video. After the book was published, Herman (who was an economics professor at Wharton) edited a magazine called Lies of Our Times, specializing in debunking the lies of the New York Times, which is indeed a full time job.
And of course before that were truth telling journalists such as I. F. Stone (who reported about what was really happening in Korea or Vietnam and whose Weekly newsletter was a must-read for Vietnam War protestors), A. J. Liebling (who famously said the press is free only for those who own one), Wilfred Burchett who was the first reporter at Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped, despite an embargo of Japan by the United States, and George Seldes, a critic of the press in the Thirties and Forties (even though he died at 104 in 1995) who said “The most sacred cow of the press is the press itself”.
So among the great changes that we will see in the upcoming decade will be changes in the media landscape of America and citizens’ relationship to it. As the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ reminds us, after you fail to tell the truth for a long time you will be disbelieved even if what you say is now true.