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August
Changes—

August 22
Pallas Athena retro

August 28
Pluto direct;
Mercury retro


A U G U S T   2 0 0 3   R E T R O G R A D E   W A T C H

Retrograde Watch
by Maya del Mar

There are three planetary changes this month. On August 22, Pallas Athena turns retrograde in Aries, and on August 28 we get a double whammy. Pluto turns direct in Sagittarius, and Mercury turns retrograde in Virgo.

Strategist Pallas Athena turns retrograde in the sign of Aries, the sign of pioneering and of meeting challenges.

In the myth, Pallas Athena sprang full-grown from the head of her father, Zeus, clad in her armor. She is the warrior goddess, who knows how to plan, strategize, and defend. She also knows how to mediate and make peace. Pallas represents the principle of creative intelligence—often put into the service of the patriarchy. I call her "General Pallas."

Pallas in Aries is about taking the initiative and meeting challenges. She entered Aries on April 17, when protests of all kinds were breaking out in Baghdad, with huge crowds massing against the U.S., with signs—"Leave our country." That was when the Administration signed an exclusive multi-million contract with Bechtel for work in Iraq. Since then we’ve seen the U.S. taking care of the oil and of its corporations, but neglecting care for Iraqis, e.g., not providing food and security for Iraqis, releasing half a million Iraqi soldiers but providing no infrastructure for jobs, blocking Iraqi self-determination.

With Pallas retrograde, we will rethink all of our initiatives and our challenges. What are our strategies for taking care of ourselves? How do we go after what we want? How do we handle challenges? Can we learn to use peaceful ways of dealing with aggression? Can we learn to fulfill our own needs peacefully? Pallas can use muscle, but her preference is to use brains, communication, and negotiation. She is a defender rather than a conqueror. For instance, she rules the immune system in the body. Protecting our own health can be an issue now.

Pallas will turn direct on December 6, ready to act out some of the new strategies she will be developing during these next months. She returns to this retrograde place at 27 Aries in February, and leaves Aries just afterwards—after spending nearly a year in Aries. This is a time to re-evaluate the whole big problem of war and peace.

It’s helpful that until mid-December, Mars—who is associated with Aries—travels in the peaceful sign of Pisces. Now in August, when Pallas turns, Mars is retrograde in Pisces, slowing it down. But on the other hand, Mars, now super-close and bright, is featured in the heavens. Pallas, Mars, and Aries all relate to war. The whole issue of war is now up for grabs. This autumn is when a strong peace movement could turn around the old idea of the normalcy of war.

On August 28, Mercury turns retrograde at 27 Virgo.

This is the year we get to rethink our practical approach to life. There are four Mercury-retrograde periods in a year, and this year they are all in earth signs, which is where we tune into how things work on this earth—which is, after all, where we live. We now ask, what are the tangible results of my life?

Virgo is the analyst, the one who picks apart the pieces to see what they do, and then fits them back together again. (I’m suddenly remembering how my Virgo Mercury son took apart everything when he was a very little boy, long before he could put the pieces back together. Working with engines is still one of his talents.) Virgo Mercury always sees how things could be improved, and thus can be quite critical, both of situations and of people.

We may be dissatisfied with many things during the three weeks of this Mercury retrograde period. That doesn’t mean we have to change everything in our lives. It does mean that now is the time to make an objective valuation of what we want to keep and what we want to change, both in our life circumstances and in ourselves. It’s an excellent time to actually take on a new health routine, learn a new skill, or develop a discipline for our spiritual work.

Earth signs have to do with values, including self-valuation, and now we can take a personal look at the priorities in our lives—those things which make us feel more worthwhile—rather than running on automatic (which earth signs are also prone to do), or on the basis of what we think others want of us.

We are each more in our personal world when Mercury is retrograde. It’s the perfect time to evaluate ourselves, but a bad time to evaluate others, or the world. Thus agreements with others and with the world may not be what our very subjective mind is thinking they are at this time. People are on different wave lengths. These three weeks are a poor time to sign contracts or to make agreements. Things tend to change later, and we may be disappointed. I find this even happens for me with purchases then, so now I wait until Mercury is direct to buy anything except routine necessities.

Mercury is essentially movement, the message-carrier. Movement, of machines as well as people, tends to be slowed down, and sometimes stalled. It’s a most unfavorable time for buying a car, particularly now that Mars is also retrograde.

Mercury turns direct on September 20 at 13 Virgo. At that time it is trine Chiron and sextile Saturn, which means that all kinds of structural healing (bodily, social, political, economic, etc.) will get a jump start then—particularly in another week when Mars turns direct on September 27.

This retrograde Mercury will be not only personal, but also much related to mass consciousness—for Pluto is turning direct at the same time. Our own take on solving social problems will be much on our minds.

Pluto turns direct on August 28 at 18 Sagittarius.

There are always major upheavals, or socially transformative events, which take place around the days when Pluto turns direct. Pluto direct is release of great stored power. Mercury turning retrograde now will surely help us to ponder the significance of the events of these days.

With Pluto, a productive type of analysis is psychoanalysis, for Pluto relates to the deepest recesses of the subconscious. The juxtaposition of Pluto direct with Mercury turning retrograde in Virgo is a rare opportunity to really look into inner motivations of both ourselves and of society. This is underscored now by Pluto’s square of Moon, who also deals with the subconscious and with "the people." Pluto and Moon can be considered two octaves of the same tone, and are now reinforcing one another to deeply stimulate the right brain.

This next month offers us the opportunity to synthesize right and left brains, with Pluto-Moon’s unconscious creativity, and Mercury’s keen analyses.

Pluto turns retrograde again on March 24, 2004.

This day, August 28, also gives us the Mars-Sun opposition, which occurs about every two years, midway in Mars’ retrograde period. Oppositions help us with awareness and illumination, in Mars’ case awareness of our aggressive urges. Sometimes this awareness comes about through projection, or arousing aggression towards us in someone else. This is a time when aggression will be clearly outlined, and we will be able to look at, analyze, evaluate, and perhaps heal the destructive aspects of those drives within ourselves. Anger is often a clue as to where they reside.

Mars is now at its maximum closeness to earth as well. This may be a restless, stirred-up, disturbing, and chaotic time. However, it offers us great opportunities for insight, healing, and ultimate transformation of our destructive urges. Pisces, Mars’ sign now, is a water sign, and feelings may flow copiously. But with Virgo, we can understand and channel them. Both mind and emotions are powerful now.
Back to current issue

August 2003
Table of Contents
August Daykeeper Home
Will Gray Davis Survive the Recall?
Praying for World Peace at Iceland's Sacred Sites
Quaoar and Reproduction: A Link Beyond Time
Crystal's Meditation—
Love Will Free You
Daily Success Guide
August 1 through 31
Monthly Astrological Influences for August 2003
General Sun Signs,
August 2003
Cancer New Moon Cycle Report
Retrograde Watch—
Pallas & Mercury Retro; Pluto direct
August Skywatch
Goddess of the Month: Inanna
Books Reviewed: Llewellyn Treasures on Nodes and on Prediction
Maya's Astrology Favorites: Two Handy Tools for Astrologers
Sign of the Month: Leo Maya's Sun Sign Archives

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