S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 3 R E T R O G R A D E W A T C H
by Maya del Mar
September starts off with six bodies retrograde, which is many more than average. They are four of the ten major planets, one asteroid, and maverick Chiron. The month ends up with only three retrogrades, which is average. Two planets, and Chiron, turn direct during the latter half of September.
Retrogrades are like brakes. They slow down our action in the world. However, they give us time to explore our inner scenery, which we often neglect in the rush of living.
We most notice the retrograde personal planets, which include Mercury, Mars, and Venus, because then our personal lives and projects slow down. Now we have two personal planets in reversed direction. Mercury is retrograde in Virgo, and Mars is retrograde in Pisces. Mercury is about perception and communication. Mars is about purpose and action. Trying to push events will be frustrating.
These two planets are in opposite signs, the mutable signs of Virgo and Pisces. The Virgo-Pisces polarity is highlighted at the September 10 Full Moon, with Sun in Virgo and Moon in Pisces. We will deeply feel both signs thentogether those two signs will be occupied by seven of the ten major planets. Virgo will focus on order, details, and competence. Pisces, on the other hand, looks at the whole picture, and acts through feeling and intuition. This is a polarity of re-orientation, especially through service, purification, and healing.
Mercury turned retrograde in Virgo on August 28, just after the New Moon in Virgo ushered in a very strong Virgo month. Mercury retrograde turns our thoughts inward. We review the past, and perhaps try to change course. We are more into ourselves then, and our unique view of life. Since Virgo is always trying to improve things anyway, Mercury tends to be constructive when it's retrograde in Virgo. However, the urge is to do things our way, and cooperation can be difficult. And, with the retrograde, much of this improvement remains on inner, conceptual levels.
Mercury turns direct on September 20. We can begin then to come out with some of the things which have been on our minds, or things we've been preparing during the retrograde period. Mercury, after turning direct, manifests easily. Save contracts to sign, or major purchases until then. Mercury will return to the degree where it turned retrograde on October 4, and finally we are into a new phase of communicating with the world.
The three weeks of Mercury retrograde is a fine time to do a special healing project, study something, establish a health routine, or prepare for the future. Inner work is favored. And even as we connect with the outer world, it's our inner reactions that are emphasized.
When Mercury turns direct, our minds are apt to be on establishing new conditions for security, perhaps through physical or social healing, or perhaps through work or investment. As discussed in other places in this issue, food and labor will be important, along with U.S. security.
Marsgreat, gigantic, beautiful Marsturned retrograde on July 29, at New Moon in Leo, and will turn direct on September 27, just after New Moon in Libra. All these changes of direction at new moons give the planets much more oomph in their reversed trips, whether it be on outer or inner levels. It also adds a strong influence of the new moon involved to the planet's subsequent journey. It's helpful, then, to reread the appropriate new moon as you're contemplating the planet's action. For instance, Mars as it turns direct will carry a Libran influenceuntil it turns retrograde again in a couple of years. Read New Moon in Libra to fill out the picture. You might also reread all about the energy field of Libra in the Archives. I also wrote a good deal about Mars in various sections in the last two Daykeepers.
When Mars is retrograde, we re-evaluate our purposes, aims, and goals, and how we go about achieving them. Mars is in indirect, subtle Pisces, and we're especially interested in the psychological aspects of situations, and in seeing the whole picture. Integration is important. Mars' conjunction to Uranus during most of this time lends intuition, brilliance, and the ability to overturn old ways of seeing things.
We've had a month now of Mars retrograde. How has it been for you? Mars retrograde, as well as Mars in Pisces, tends to manifest in depletion of physical energy. You might have found yourself lethargic and slow, and unable to get projects, or even daily life, off the ground. Also, Mars is aggression, and with Mars retrograde we tend to direct aggression inward. Cooperation is naturally difficult now, and we can start blaming ourselves for problems. If we blame others, it can be productive to look inside and figure out where our resentment is coming from. Most likely it stems from a very old condition in our lives, or in the other person's life. With Mars in Pisces, compassion can be a key to resolution.
Pisces is a universal sign, and government is reflecting this retrograde Mars. Many aspects of Bush's administration, including the illegal attack on Iraq, are now being examined. In California the whole state government, as well as the political process, is being reviewed and discussed by the public as it hasn't been for years. (California is a Virgo state.)
Cancer and Capricorn, both discussed in General Influences, together are the family axis, and they are prominent this month. This means that many of the themes now are familial, from our own families, to affinity groups, to trade and labor groups, to ethnic groups, to nations, and to the world family. Security frameworks will be re-organized.
Capricorn's drive for business success versus Cancer's need to care for real people is the theme of the month. The strong Libran emphasis wants justice, and can either fight or negotiate to achieve it. WTO trade agreements are a major focus here. With oppositions and squares, tension will continue on all the issues brought up now, at least until the next Mars retrograde, which will be in Taurus in October, November, and December of 2005.
Mars returns to the degree on which it turned retrograde on November 7, and then the triple transit of Mars retrograde is over. The degrees covered three times are from 0-11 Pisces. Where are those degrees in your chart? This has been the area of review and re-organization.
On December 16, Mars enters Aries, which is where all planets begin their new cycles. And on December 17, Mercury, then in the business sign of Capricorn, turns retrograde again.
Chiron turns direct on September 17. Chiron in the sky is between Saturn and Uranus, and can manifest in similar ways to both of them.
Chiron appreciates Saturn's form, and yet at the same time it needs to bring in those vibrations which allow that form to function at Uranus' higher level. Sometimes Saturn can be rigid, and Uranus can be disruptive. But when the form finally realigns, it becomes more whole, which is what healing is all about. The chiropractor is Chironicworking with the spinal column in a way which realigns it and allows a better energy flow. Chiron is ultimately a healer.
We might say that the whole world now has back pains, and Chiron in Capricorn wants to heal them. All structures, including the structures of those institutions which we have created to run the world, are Capricornian. They are the backbone of society. Most of them today are not working well. And now Chiron is unleashed to take her chiropractor's hammer and knock them in the appropriate places. It must be hard to know where to start!
This direct station, however, tells us Chiron's current focus. Thus we cannot talk about Chiron now without including Saturn and Ceres, now conjoined transiting the U.S. Cancer Sun. Ceres is the mother of harvests, and Saturn is government and business. The U.S. is getting an intense month-long lesson in the issues of fair trade, agriculture, and "free" trade. What are the structures that will allow for basic nurturing throughout the world?
Chiron opposes this pair, but she is in Saturn's sign of Capricorn. This mean that Chiron disrupts the status quo, but how? Does he oppose the big U.S. corporate interestsit is an opposition, after allto work for the rights of smaller farmers, who constitute most of the world's population? But Chiron is, after all, in the business sign of Capricorn, and maybe the three of these planets collude to enlarge and extend those exploitative and people-starving methods, or, with Libra strong now, they agree on changes which can help both corporations and small farmers, such as fair trade, and farmer co-operatives.
Whatever happens on September 17-18 will give us clues as to the outcome of this conflict, which is vital to human survival.
Chiron IS a healer, and it's now trine Mercury, poised to move direct. This is an indication of harmonious resolution, at least for now. All healing endeavors should be freed to move forward.
The Chiron-Saturn opposition, still in Capricorn and Cancer, occurs again in August 2004 and in December 2004. Chiron is then speeding towards conjunction with the U.S. Pluto in Capricorn, indicator of the plutocratic elite of the U.S.
This opposition now in September 2003 may be just the first of our Saturn-Chiron lessons (they are both teachers). May we be good students.