TRANSCRIPT: Ep 54 | Mercury Gets Our Vote – Hopefully!


054 | Mercury Gets Our Vote – Hopefully!

Jen: Welcome to the Big Sky Astrology podcast, with April Elliott Kent and me, producer and cohost Jen Braun. Hey friends, Jen here. Today is November 2nd, 2020. And here with me of course, is someone who gets my vote for fantastic friend, astrologer April Elliott Kent. Hi, April!

April: I’m voting for you too, Jen!

Jen: Oh, thanks pal! That’s really nice.

April: That’s wonderful. That is wonderful. First of all, I can’t believe it’s November already. I know we say that at the beginning of every month, but it is just seems to startle me anew every month.

Jen: I know.

April: And I can’t believe that it is already election month.

Jen: I agree. The election is a week and a day out to us – in real time. But of course, by the time this episode drops for all of you, it’ll be just a day or two in advance.

April: Indeed.

Jen: And we wanted to remind folks to go vote, if you’re living in the United States,

April: How are they doing it where you live? Do you have in-person and mail-in ballot and all those options?

Jen: Yes, we have both of those options. And in fact, I’ve already cast my ballot. I voted absentee – as did Joanie, my wife. This morning, we actually went online… we can go online and check to see if our vote had been received and counted. And I got the response online that it had been, which is great.

April: Yes.

Jen: And then Joanie said, “Hey, I don’t think I’m going to check, since yours was received and counted…” – because she dropped them off at the same time – “I’m going to assume that mine was.”

April: No, no, no.

Jen: And I knew that Mercury is retrograde right now.

April: Right.

Jen: I said, “I really think you should log in and see if your vote was counted.” And she did. And it’s all good. So: We voted, it has been counted. How about you, April? What have you done?

April: Well, not yet. I’ve got a big heap of mail sitting on my dining table and I know my ballot is in there because I did verify that I received it and the information that comes along with it. I have to reserve the time to sit down, and I have to really get up to speed, I have to really study. It’s like cramming for an exam for me. Because I’m pretty tuned-out of the news most of the time. That’s been my coping strategy during these unprecedented times. And so, I really have to get up to speed.

Jen: You mean for the school boards and stuff like that?

April: All of that kind of stuff. Propositions in the state of California. Yes, school boards and city council and all of that stuff. There is so much; it’s a pretty big ballot.

Jen: Yes. There were a lot of judges and stuff on our ballot. And we had to do a little research ourselves.

April: Yes, you do. And I like to sit down and really look at that stuff. I’ll sometimes sit and speak with my husband and just kind of bounce stuff off of him. Say, “Does this sound right?”

Jen: Yes.

April: And kind of the reasoning process… it’s really nice in this time when we have Mercury back into Libra, it’s a really good time to sit and really think things through and look at both sides and analyze things and all of that good stuff.

Jen: Absolutely.

April: I am looking forward to casting my ballot. And I’ve been using an absentee ballot for many years now, but I will go ahead and fill it out and take that little piece of paper that has the number on it for the ballot. And I usually drop it off at either a local polling place or the registrar of voters. And yes, I have followed up… I think I followed up the last time with that little ticket where you could go online and make sure it was received. And we really encourage everyone to do that. Do the whole process, because Mercury is retrograde and it is turning around to go direct on Election Day, which we will talk a little bit more about in just a moment. But it just sort of warns us to be careful and double-check everything.

Jen: Yes. If you’re in Minnesota, what you do is you can log on to the Secretary of State’s website and you put in your identifying information and find out that way.

April: Oh, interesting.

Jen: So I know that states do it differently and some, I know, don’t have a way to check it at all…

April: Yes. I think in California actually, it’s a county thing that we check with?

Jen: Okay.

April: Yes. So good luck everybody.

Jen: And then I will also, in the show notes, post a a couple of resources… I know people have been so stressed out related to the election and feeling anxiety about what’s going to happen. So I’m going to add a couple of links and resources; it’ll be some helpful information.

April: Well, you shared those with me this morning, Jen. And one of them was a very short audio piece and probably ran on the radio or part of a podcast. Nice and short, easy listening. And the other one was a short article. And they actually really did help me with a few techniques for calming my mind. Because of course, it’s not just the election, it’s the election on top of a really crazy year with the COVID numbers spiking and people reacting to that… and so many different things. So I think they were great resources.

Jen: Oh, good.

April: And you’re kind of our calm voice of reason here on the podcast. Because there were a few times when things have been getting really crazy and you’ve shared some good techniques for breathing or meditation or any of these kinds of things. And they’re really helpful. Even if you’re a person who doesn’t normally engage in a lot of meditative practices or anything like that, hey, they really do help, and now’s a really good time to avail yourself of them.

Jen: Well, thank you for that. And that podcast was actually called “Life Kit” from NPR. And a couple of episodes ago, they had one on sleeping better. So if that would help anybody, you can find it wherever you find podcasts. Again, it’s called “Life Kit.”

April: I’ll have to listen to that because I am not sleeping well at all.

Jen: Oh…

April: And I just chalked it up to kittens because we do have this kitten situation in the night.

Jen: That is very valid.

April: Well, probably that podcast is not going to help me a whole lot with that situation. But a lot of people I’m speaking to – my clients – are really having a lot of problems with sleeping. And it’s not surprising. There is so much that’s filling our minds. And one thing that I liked in, I  think it was the podcast episode that you sent me, the presenter was asking, “Well, is this the reason I can’t remember anything? From all the stress?” And the guy said, “Yes, absolutely. You’ve got so much stuff already vying for attention in your mind. That is like, it’s really hard to shoehorn in anything else.” And man, you and I have both been talking about how Neptunian we’re feeling, and not being able to hold on to concise information or facts or any of that stuff.

Jen: It’s so true. So take care of yourselves this week.

April: Take care of each other this week, too.

Jen: Yes, and those resources, if you have trouble finding the show notes, you can always find them on our website,

April: Good reminder, Jen.

Jen: Hey, and speaking of podcasts, weren’t you recently on a podcast that you wanted to share with folks?

April: I was indeed. My good friend, Mel LaFara of Energetic Principles Podcast invited myself and our mutual friend and colleague, Simone Butler to appear on the 100th episode of her fine podcast.

Jen: Wow.

April: I know. This is, like, aspirational for me and Jen here. We’re gaining on her, we’re at 54!

Jen: Yes, we sure are!

April: So, I’m pretty happy about that. Yes, it was a really exciting thing to celebrate. And we’re all here in San Diego. We all served together on the San Diego Astrological Society’s board. So they’re good friends of mine. And it was really fun to chat with them. The format was very similar to what we do here, talking about the big highlights – in her case – of the month. So you might check that out wherever you got this podcast… unless you got it at our website… you won’t find Mel’s there. But it’s in iTunes or Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts – you can find that there. It was a really fun and extensive discussion. And speaking of which, I’d like to just do a quick plug for a couple of friends who have new books out.

Jen: Do it.

April: One is Christopher Renstrom, who has a beautiful new book called “The Cosmic Calendar” which I can’t recommend highly enough. And Simone Butler wrote a book called “Moon Power” about the Moon a few years back. And the publisher has repackaged it in a beautiful new edition. And I think it’s called “10-Minute Moon Rituals.” They took a lot of the content from the book and retooled it just slightly… gave it this beautiful cover and artwork. And it’s a terrific resource for people that like to do lunar ritual. So that is “10-Minute Moon Rituals” by Simone Butler and “The Cosmic Calendar” by Christopher Renstrom.

Jen: They both sound like they might be very helpful for folks. And I will link all of that, including the podcast, in the show notes.

April: Oh, of course you will. Bless your heart. Alright…

Jen: Well, so first on the show sheet this week – speaking of Mercury stationing – we have Mercury stationing direct at 25° 53 minutes of Libra on November 3rd. April, what does that mean for us?

April: Well, first of all, just to clarify what stationing means. Stationing, which we’ve talked about before, is when a planet is in that moment where it is standing still: It’s getting ready to either move retrograde or direct. And Mercury has been retrograde since October 14th, so now we know that it’s finished with that, it’s standing still, it’s getting ready to turn around and move direct again. So it’s a particularly potent moment in a retrograde cycle for any planet and kind of unstable energy around the planet at the time that this is happening,

Jen: Which means what for us?

April: Well, we’re all looking at the fact that this is happening on Election Day. And we have mentioned this a couple of times on the podcast and not to overemphasize it, but I don’t think we really can’t. It’s really important to know that things having to do with the mail, with making one’s voice heard, with technology… are all subject to instability on the day that Mercury is stationing to change direction. So even though it’s going to be moving direct, which on the face of things sounds kind of positive, it’s worth just noting that it is in this unstable state. It is in a struggle with Saturn because it’s at 25.53 of Libra, and Saturn’s at what? 25-26 degrees now?

Jen: Exactly.

Jen: And we’ve mentioned this before, but just a line or two for our newer listeners about what retrograde means?

April: Retrograde just means that the planet appears to be moving backwards in the sky from our earthly perspective. And we’ll leave it at that.

Jen: Perfect.

April: But just to say, it’s a time when the qualities or things that we associate with that planet don’t necessarily behave exactly the way we expect them to. So that now, as I say, it’s going to be appearing to turn direct, to move forward in its orbit… and normally that’s a good thing… but it will take a little while for it to get past the point where it originally turned retrograde, that’s the point where we kind of feel we are in the clear. So that’s not till November 19th. So we’ve got a little bit of an unstable period here with Mercury.

Jen: Is this energy happening for everybody on the planet? Is this particular to people’s individual charts? What does that mean?

April: Well, the answer is: It’s really kind of both. What we talk about in the podcast each week – and probably on a lot of the podcasts that you’ll listen to, if you listen to a number of astrology podcasts – is we’re talking about the interaction of the planets in the sky. Apart from your chart, my chart, anybody’s individual chart, the planets are interacting with each other in the sky in a particular way. When we’re talking about Mercury changing direction, we’re talking about Mercury in the sky; and that is having a particular overall influence. But what you can do with that degree that we mentioned – in this case, almost 26 of Libra – what’d you do is you find the house of your birth chart where that degree of Libra falls. Usually you can get there by finding the house cusp in your chart that has Libra on it. Usually that’s where this degree is going to end up because it’s towards the end of the sign.

And depending on the symbolism normally associated with that house of the chart, we can say you are especially feeling these Mercury changes in this area of your life. For example, 25.53 Libra… where’s that in your chart, Jen?

Jen: 12th house.

April: This would be: You’re working on things on an unconscious level, on a subconscious level, going back in your mind to past experiences that have been unresolved, and perhaps had been weighing on you. That is one way we might see Mercury moving backwards in the 12th house of the unconscious.

Jen: And where is it in your chart?

April: In my chart, it is in the 11th house.  One thing that it did was put me in contact with my old colleagues here, Mel and Simone. Because I hadn’t really spent a lot of time chatting with them in recent months… in fact, since I stepped down from that board at the beginning of the year, so it was nice. The 11th house is about groups and friendships that are centered around groups or common interests. And they’re both my astrological colleagues. So I got to do that. I also spoke a couple of weeks ago for a group in Florida. I did a big online event that took a full day. And then on November 7th, I’m doing a lecture, an online lecture for a conference. So those are both 11th-house activities.

And the retrograde exhibited itself in the form of it taking a whole lot longer to prepare that workshop for Florida than I expected that it would. It did go well, but what you’ll often find in situations like this – if you’re trying to do something that’s very dependent on technology working well and you do it while Mercury is retrograde or stationing – you can have unexpected situations and consequences arise. Because Mercury rules technology and communication, so when it’s retrograde, it’s not behaving in the way we expect it to.

So I had to do that. And who knows what will happen when I do the online event on November 7th. By then Mercury will technically be direct, but it is still kind of in that shadow period of the retrograde. So hopefully that will all go smoothly.

Jen: Yes. And I want to put a plug in for your presentation on “Neptune and Relationship,” April. I’m going to put a link in the show notes. And what is the group that you’re doing that for?

April: It’s an online conference called “Breaking Down The Borders.” It’s The International Academy of Astrology that puts this on every year. And it’s called “Saints and Suckers: Neptune in Relationship.”

Jen: So anyone can sign up that is listening if they would like to.

April: Yes. Thank you for that plug, that reminder.

Jen: You’re welcome.

Jen: One more piece about this whole, “Are these transits that we’re talking about every week for everybody, or just specifically for certain people and how it fits in their chart?” When we say transiting planets, what are we talking about, April?

April: We’re talking about the planets currently in the sky. And that’s all an astrology chart is, is a map and a snapshot of the sky at a given moment. Usually we’re using the chart of the moment a person first drew breath. That’s a natal chart, a birth chart… that’s your individual map. But the skies didn’t stop moving at the moment you were born. Right?

Jen: Right.

April: Insultingly enough, they continue traveling. Transits are a technique that astrologers use to reflect your interaction with the current sky. So we’ll look at what’s happening in the sky in and of itself like we do on the podcast every week and yes, that’s impacting you, but it’s impacting everybody. It’s the weather. And then the interaction between the transiting planets and your birth chart are what make it personal for you. We, unfortunately, are not in a position to do that. Because, although we like to think that you’re all our friends, we don’t actually know your birth charts. So we can’t speak with that specificity… but definitely, that is the next step for you – as you learn more about astrology – is to take the things we’re talking about that are very general to everybody in a week, and apply it to your own birth chart. And that’s what an astrologer does in a reading, for instance, or in these reports that I sell from my website as well. Does that help?

Jen: It helps a lot. And if you’re interested in getting a reading with April or looking at the reports she offers, those are always in the show notes.

April: Yes.

Jen: So what’s happening next on the show sheet?

April: Oh, it’s all about Mercury again. This week, Mercury is making its final of three squares to Saturn. And this week Mercury is at 26° and 31 minutes of Libra, Saturn at 26° 31’ Capricorn on November 6th, 01:11 AM Pacific Standard Time.

Jen: And what does a square mean?

April: A square is conflict and friction that has to be resolved. An aspect between two planets tells us the nature of the dialogue between these planets. So we know the planets involved here are Mercury and Saturn – the planet of communication, and the planet of boundaries, restrictions, hard work and this sort of thing.

Jen: The planet of “No.”

April: The planet of “No.” And Mercury is the planet of “Why not?”

April: So we know they’re in dialogue because they’re in aspect. And the nature of that aspect is square. It’s a conflict, it’s a disagreement. There is an opportunity that exists to gain better clarity about something, or to really get your message through, really get your voice heard. But Saturn’s going to make you work hard to achieve that. It is not going to go smoothly. It’s not going to be easy. If you’re working on a project like writing something or working on some big project for your work or helping your kids with a project for school, Mercury and Saturn being in square says, “You can really do a great job on this, but you’re going to have to work extra hard at it. It’s not going to go super smoothly.” So even if it’s the kind of thing that you’ve done in the past – it’s been really easy for you – allow extra time now because it’s not going to go that easily. You’re really going to have to really win this particular battle.

Jen: I remember you saying that oftentimes when you have three squares like we’ve had, the third one – hopefully, in theory, at least – is the “easiest.”

April: Yes. It is. We had the first one in this trio on September 23rd. And then we had one last week on November 1st. So this is the last one. And we will link in the show notes to the episodes where we talked about the last two. But just know, Mercury moves pretty quickly, so when it makes one of these kinds of aspects three times, it still is in a pretty compressed period of time. This is what? 40 days maybe or something.

Jen: Yes.

April: So it says: This could possibly be something that you have been working on or should have been working on since late September. And now you’re coming into the homestretch and it’s time to complete it. And there’ll be a little extra hard plush to get it out the door. But I do think the third time, the aspect is exact, it’s a little bit easier. Mind you, this happens really close to the station, the Mercury station. So it might be little trickier.

Jen: Little shaky.

April: Little frustrating.

Jen: Okay.

April: Jen?

Jen: Yes?

April: Do you know what time it is?

Jen: What time is it?

April: Moonwatch…

Jen: Moonwatch…

April: Play it!

April: Yes, good people, it’s Moonwatch! And this week, we have a Last Quarter Moon in Leo. 16° 36 minutes of Leo, the Sun in Scorpio on November 8th, 05:46 AM Pacific Time.

Jen: What does a Last Quarter Moon mean?

April: It is the last critical moment in the 28-day lunar cycle. It begins with a New Moon, which we had on October 16th. Then we have a First Quarter Moon about a week later. Then we have a Full Moon a week after that. We talked about that on our last episode. Now we’re at the Last Quarter Moon. So we’re finishing up a transiting lunar cycle.

Jen: And if anyone wants to hear about all eight of the lunar phases, you can go back to Episode 34, “The Eight Lunar Phases: Have Them With a Salad.” Which I’ll link in the show notes.

April: I can tell by the delight on your face, you loved that title. You’ve always been particularly partial to that one!

Jen: I am fond of that title.

April: It is a good evergreen episode to revisit.

Jen: And I’m also fond of the episode artwork for that one. If folks ever want to see the episode artwork, you can go on and see it. Because, if you’re in Apple Podcasts or something like that, it’s always the same episode artwork every week. But April does do specific art each week. We’ve not really ever said that. And you can go on the website and take a look at the specific artwork for that week if you want.

April: Yes.

Jen: I suggest it.

April: Alright. So Last Quarter Moon means we’re at the point in the lunar cycle where we are reviewing what we have been doing for the last few weeks. We have a little more perspective now. We can see what’s gone right, what’s gone wrong. And we can make our last push to try to accomplish what we set out to do at the New Moon. We’ve still got another week and the final push. It’s a winding down, wrapping up phase of the Moon. And at this particular Last Quarter Moon in Leo, the Moon is trine Mars and sextile Venus. And it’s on a Sabian symbol which also speaks a little bit about music and harmony, “A Non-Vested Church Choir.” So I think at this particular time, it’s important to join your voice with others. You have a better chance of being heard. And that is a very appropriate Sabian symbol for election time, I think.

Jen: I was just thinking that; it’s perfect, actually.

April: Yes. Now the Sun at the Last Quarter Moon is recovering from its Full Moon opposition to Uranus, which we talked about extensively in last week’s episode. And now the Sun is trine Neptune, which after the tumult of the Sun with Uranus, this to me suggests a little more healing, little more rest for the Sun this week.

Jen: That seems nice.

April: Yes. I think so.

Jen: We’ll see how realistic it winds up being with the election here in the US. But hey, it’s nice in theory!

April: We are just going to have to see how that goes. It could just be that there is more taking to our couches and bingeing Netflix…

Jen: Perhaps.

April: …with salty snacks.

Jen: Welcome unofficial sponsor, Netflix!

April: Yes! Welcome back!

April: So, the Sabian symbol for the Sun at this Last Quarter Moon is “A Woman, the Father of Her Own Child.” So the tension of this Last Quarter Moon to me is between on the one hand keeping to ourselves, which is “The Woman, the Father of Her Own Child.” And then on the other hand, making the effort to collaborate with others… which is, I think, that Sabian symbol for the Moon. And the spirit of those signs, generally, Leo is… it’s a little more outgoing, let’s say. It prefers to do creative things on its own, generally speaking, but it doesn’t mind having other people around to participate in the process… and tell them how great they are doing!

Jen: Said the Leo!

April: Exactly! Whereas Scorpio is a little more withdrawn and – generally speaking – likes to keep its cards close to its chest and do things on its own.

And this is also the message, I think, of… we just wanted to sneak in a word about an aspect we have technically coming up next week between Venus and Mars. We noticed we’re going to have a very full week next week, so we thought we’d sneak this one in here. Because in the chart for this Last Quarter Moon, you can see an opposition that’s almost exact between Venus and Mars. It’s exact the very next day after the Last Quarter Moon – on November 9th. And that is – to me – a similar message from  Venus and Mars. On the one hand, wanting to relate, wanting to be in a duo, be in a partnership, have somebody to bounce ideas off of. And on the other hand, there is that Mars in Aries across the chart that just wants to do things on its own, in its own way.

Jen: And of course, Mars is still moving backwards…

April: Seemingly forever. And both of them are making squares to Jupiter and Pluto. So that’s a big dynamic configuration that is building up at that time.

Jen: Yes. Well, I had a thought about all of this, which is: With the Last Quarter Moon being in Leo, Leo is linked to the heart. And I thought, perhaps, it’s about opening your heart to collaborating with people who don’t look like how you expect them to look, “A Non-Vested Church Choir.” You know, when I think of a church choir, of course, I think of them in their vestments, their robes and all matching. This is a non-vested church choir. So they’re not quite looking how, in my mind… it’s not Sister Act, it’s not Whoopi Goldberg… oh, was that an eighties reference that I just made?

April: It was. Well done!

Jen: And the Sabian symbol on that degree of Scorpio, “A woman, the father of her own child” makes me think of our friends who identify as gender fluid or non-binary… and transcending or transforming your ideas of how people quote unquote “should” look.

April: Yes. That’s a good insight. And that’s why we like the Sabian symbols. They’re so evocative and they give us little pictures and ways of imagining the planetary energy. And I mean, we do have a lot of new listeners… and some may be baffled by, “What are the Sabian symbols?” Because we do refer to them quite a lot. And the Sabian symbols are a series of word pictures that were intuited by a psychic named Elsie Wheeler way back in… I think it was 1915?

Jen: 1925.

April: 1925, here in my beautiful San Diego in Balboa Park. She sat with astrologer Marc Edmund Jones and intuited a phrase – a word picture – for each of the 360 degrees of the zodiac. For me they’re a bit like a writing prompt. They give me a vision, an idea, that you can sort of lay on top of just the planetary aspect itself. At a Last Quarter, you have the Sun square the Moon, the basic aspect that defines the Last Quarter Moon. But then onto them – depending on the degree of the zodiac that these fall at – you can find these Sabian symbols. And you can find them by Googling online. Lynda Hill had a wonderful book about the Sabian symbols, “360° of Wisdom.” But I believe it’s out of print. Our friend Blain Bovee has a book on the Sabian symbols. I think there’s a Marc Edmond Jones book still in print.

So people might want to learn more about the Sabian symbols. They’re really interesting. I never really enjoyed them when I was first starting out in astrology. And it took me a long time to really get a feel of how to work with them. Not be quite so literal about the way you interpret them. And just like you were doing – and that I was doing – we’re both getting slightly different messages from them, slightly different pictures. So that’s the Sabian symbols.

Jen: I think they can be interesting.

April: Well, my friend, that is everything we have on our show sheet. What do you think? Have we done it?

Jen: I think we have! One more slam dunk! That’s the extent of my sports knowledge…

April: We’ve slipped another one past the goalie! How’s that?

April: You live in Minnesota! You should relate to that!

Jen: Absolutely!

April: Well friends, whatever sport you follow, thank you for listening to The Big Sky Astrology Podcast. If you like what you’ve been hearing, be sure to subscribe to the podcast. And also, you can leave us a rating or a review. And we hope that you’ll spread the word. Tell your friends that like astrology, share it on social media. You can read the show notes and also full transcripts of each episode and leave your comments at our website,

Jen: Thank you so much to everyone who showed support during our September Podathon. Of course, each week, we’re going to be thanking one of you by name. April, who do we have this week?

April: This week we want to give a shout out to Kerrin Gibbons!

Jen: Yay, Kerrin!

April: Kerrin was also the winner of our big Podathon first prize – of a 90-minute reading with me!

Jen: That’s fantastic!

April: So Kerrin, we really do appreciate you. We thank you so much for listening to the podcast and for lending your support during the Podathon.

Jen: It’s great. We do appreciate you so much. And if you didn’t get a chance to support us during our Podathon, you can always make a donation at our website, And if you kick in $5 or more, we will invite you to the upcoming special episodes for the Equinoxes and Solstices.

April: Well, that is it for us this week. Join us again, bright and early next Monday. And until then, keep your feet on the ground…

Jen: …and your eyes on the stars.

Thank you for listening. To learn more about April Elliott Kent, please check out her website,, where you can sign up for her newsletter, read her thought-provoking weekly essays, purchase her books, sign up for a personal astrology reading, and more.

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