Pluto Astrology

The 2022 Swedish General Election: A Study in Retrogradation

Mundane Astrology

This post focuses on the Swedish 2022 election and the process of government formation thereafter. I realize it may be uninteresting to non-Swedes who don't know anything about Swedish politics, but I still decided to publish it in English. The fact is, even if you don't know the story here, there are still some interesting and very exact lessons to be learnt about retrogradation. The news links will be in Swedish, but these are just for reference.

The ruling Social Democrats led by Magdalena Andersson (left) lost the election against a right-wing coalition led by the liberal-conservative Moderate Party. The Moderate Party Leader Ulf Kristersson (right) became the new Prime Minister of Sweden. Image: Alexander Mahmoud

On September 10, just one day before the election day, Mercury went stationary retrograde on 8°55'' Libra. As I have discussed previously (in Swedish), such a planet is perceived to be "holding its breath" before it starts its backward movement from the perspective of Earth. Holding its breath with regards to what, you might ask? With regards to an act of weighing the scales - Libra. The result literally hung in the balance in this unusually close election.

The morning before the election. Mercury turns retrograde on 8°55'' Libra.

The Quality of Time

Now, let's imagine that we have a rationally-minded skeptic in the audience. Let's call him Paul. With all the mental prowess of a 6H Virgo stellium, Paul raises his voice:

"This doesn't prove anything. Mercury is often in Libra during Swedish elections [1] whereas in many other countries it will never be in Libra on election day. Just because Mercury is rarely in Libra in, say, the United States elections, does that mean Americans do not weigh the scales on election day? Or if Mercury is in Virgo during a Swedish election, are we not, then, weighing the scales? You're just seeing patterns where you want to. If you're being objective, you would realize that astrology is not making any sense whatsoever."

Paul is a rational thinker and his objections should be taken seriously. Astrologers should not duck such challenges but should respond to the best of their ability. Here is my repsonse:

Transits are important because they reflect the changing quality of time. This is one of the core tenets of any form of astrology.[2] If different moments of time did not come with different qualities, staring at a birth chart wouldn't make sense at all.

We can argue about why we believe time has quality. But chances are, if you begin to pay attention to the world in this way, you begin to see how different time periods have their qualities expressed through the transiting planets - especially if you live through such a time period yourself.

Back to the Swedish election: If you followed it, like I did, you may remember that the weighing started with unusually many opinion polls before the election - one every day. This began to be criticized after Mercury had already been in Libra for some time. So already before the election, we get a sense of how that Mercury in Libra quality was pervading the air.

Then, during and after the election, the result was too close to call. At first, the Social Democrats looked like they were going to stay in power. But after a couple of hours, the scales had tilted in favor of the right-wing coalition. And there were at least two cases on election night when a single mandate flipped to the opposing side - it was highly dramatic, as I recall it. After several more days of counting votes, the scales tilted just a little bit further to the right and flipped an additional mandate from the Social Democrats to the Moderate Party.

What I'm trying to say here is that the general experience that surrounded the election is important. It is that experience of a constant, mental (Mercury) weighing operation (Libra) going on that can tell us something about what the quality of time was like. At first, the weighing was going on every day. Then, during and after election day - when Mercury had gone retrograde - the weighing concerned votes that had already been cast. The process became backward-looking, retrospective. And because of Mercury's station right before election day, there was the additional sense of holding one's breath, changing directions, like a vacuum waiting to be filled.

Mercury is merely one example. Many more planets could be involved for a fuller picture of the election.

Other examples of Mercury retrograde in Libra during the same time could also be invoked - such as the sudden shifting of balance in the war in Ukraine against Russia, a much more swift and decisive tipping of the scales, just as Mercury in Libra had ground to a complete halt. Thus, Mercury stationary retrograde in Libra could express itself somewhat differently, but always within the bounds of the Libran archetype.

If we compare this to the recent American Midterm Elections, we would find that it had a rather different quality. There was a large opposition between Moon-Uranus in Taurus and Sun-Mercury-Venus in Scorpio, preceded by a total Lunar eclipse. It was certainly a tense moment (and more so), but this tension was expressed very differently from the election in Sweden - because the quality of time on November 8 was very different from the quality of time on September 11.

Mercury Direct, Pluto Direct

Mercury went direct again on October 2. Three days later, as Mercury began picking up speed, the first signs of progress began to be seen both in the central government negotiations, in Stockholm municipality and in Uppsala municipality. [3] The to-be Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson met with the Speaker of Parliament and reported that the discussions within the right-wing coalition were "constructive and going forward according to plan".

The negotiations took longer than expected though. On October 12, the time limit set by the Speaker was running out. Kristersson responded that he needed two more days and promised that everything would be finished by then.

Here I want to add Pluto to the discussion. The Lord of the Underworld had just gone direct on October 8-9, but remained more or less stationary for the coming week. It seems to me that when Pluto goes stationary, the energy can be likened to "dropping a bombshell" or to a "moment of truth" of some sort.

In fact, October 10 marked the day when Russia initiated massive bombing campaigns against Ukraine, including Kiev, after months of relative calm. On October 4 - bearing in mind that Pluto is more or less stationary for many days - North Korea launched missiles over Japan for the first time in five years. So the bombshells being dropped need not be figurative, especially with Pluto in Capricorn denoting themes of government, punishment and exercise of power.

In the case of Sweden, if Kristersson's request for two more days was a "moment of truth" (Swedish media commentators speculated that he would fail), the end of the two days was akin to "dropping a bombshell". The Liberal Party had been forced to make hefty concessions - the party had "sold its soul" (Pluto) for a few ministerial posts (Capricorn), according to many disappointed liberals.

All of this would probably not be enough to convince our friend Paul as to the validity of astrology. Especially now, in retrospect; this post should have been published several weeks ago. But if you are there at a particular moment when something happens, chances are that you would be more inclined to agree that yes, this does reflect the general experience of that particular day, the general sense of what was going on - the general quality of time.

In any case, I have one final ace up my sleeve.

The Mercury Retrograde Shadow

On Monday, October 17, Kristersson was finally elected Prime Minister of Sweden - five hours after Mercury had exited its retrogade shadow.

Remember that Mercury went stationary retrograde on 8°55'' Libra? Check any ephemeris and you will see that it finally proceeded to 8°56'' Libra around 7 AM on October 17. At 11:59 AM (according to the astrologer Mats Bergman), Kristersson was elected. This is what astrologers refer to as "exiting the retrograde shadow".

Ulf Kristersson elected Prime Minister. Mercury has just exited its retrograde shadow.

Paul is finally beginning to soften a bit. "Alright", he says, "that is interesting. But if, however unlikely, astrology does work in certain cases, we would have to do some rigorous testing before we could draw any definite conclusions." And he is right, again. Astrologers need to become more meticulous at gathering data if they ever hope to convince the skeptics. We also need to become more careful and systematic in our approach to chart analysis. A little less jumping around from one planet to any other, from whatever aspect happens to draw your gaze to the next; a little more structure and orderly sequences - without throwing intuition out the window, of course. I doubt I will have the time to gather enough data to make a difference. What's really needed is a team of astrologers working together, contributing to a collective database. But in the meantime, this last example from the Swedish election should be enough to help you defend yourself and at least hold your ground when you encounter someone like Paul.

Why Worry About Transits?

We have seen how Mercury went retrograde right before the election. Then, during the retrograde period, there were constant negotiations between the coalition parties. After Mercury went direct, the first signs of progress began to appear. Finally, just after Mercury exited its retrograde shadow, the new prime minister was elected.

I think we can be sure that none of the party leaders in the right-wing coalition tried to time these steps with the movements of Mercury (or Pluto). They did not try to follow the dictum: "When Mercury goes retrograde, don't make any major decisions. Postpone decision-making until Mercury goes direct or - even better - until it has exited its retrograde shadow." And yet, the process of government formation has followed these steps to the letter. Because this is how life works. Our lives are forever reflected in the heavens, whether we like it or not.

This raises the question: Why worry about transits? Why fear Mercury retrograde, any other retrograde, or a planet in fall or detriment? Why actively postpone a decision until a period is over? If you need to make the decision now, why not just go ahead and do it? If the heavens were "unfavorable" to buying the house or quitting the job right now... then you probably wouldn't even be thinking about it! But if you're able to go ahead with it, that means you can do it - so do it! Your actions will never be "out of tune" with the cosmos. Whatever we do will be reflected in the sky, whether we can see it or not.

Remember, the Creator holds everything in His hand. [4] We cannot escape fate, but we can exercise our free will to take responsibility for our lives. And if we do so with sincerity in our hearts, there is even a chance that it will aid soul evolution.


  1. ^ The Swedish election falls on the second Sunday of September.
  2. ^ In the words of Carl Jung: "Whatever is born or done at this particular moment of time has the quality of this moment of time."
  3. ^ Stockholm and Uppsala are the only municipalities I have checked. I followed the news day by day, so I am confident that these news links do represent the first signs of breakthroughs. It has since also been revealed that "something finally happened" in the national-level negotiations on October 3, as the Moderate Party changed their negotiator.
  4. ^ Or: "The Great Mother encompasses all". Or: "The Soul creates whatever circumstances it needs for its own evolution". Take your pick. :)

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