D E C 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
There are two planetary changes this month. Pallas Athena turns direct at 10 Aries on December 6, and Mercury turns retrograde at 13 Capricorn on December 17.
Saturn, the only other planet traveling retrograde, is very involved in both of these turns. Saturn slows things down, as well as adding depth, seriousness, and endurance to situations. In these cases, Pallas, the Strategist, will be serious about her assertive leadership and defensive abilities, now reasserting themselves. And Mercury will be seriously reviewing weighty subjects.
Pallas turns direct as the focal point of a cardinal (active) T-square, which gives her a lot of energy. Venus in Capricorn has just finished squaring Pallas, making her feel good about her role as commander. And Pallas is about to square Saturn, who will give the stamp of authority to her projects.
Pallas Athena has a lot of savvy. She was the governor of Athens, and she knew how to build and maintain a society, in both war and peace. She is especially known for her defensive abilities. For instance, she is associated with the immune system. Now, in Aries, she is using her strategic skills to take the initiative in defending against challenges. Right now the Iraqis have some of the most difficult challenges to deal with in the U.S. taking over their country, and they are apt to show a new aggressiveness in defending their integrity.
Saturn is close to the U.S. Sun, and the U.S. in particular represents Saturn for the next year.
Pallas will travel direct until February 2005! During this next year she will travel through half the zodiac, and turn retrograde in Libra, which can be the sign of peace (and war). Pallas cycle is about four years.
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and it represents the beginning of a new cycle. This direct turn in Aries is the continuation of that beginning, which occurred when Pallas entered Aries on April 18. It was then that the Bush Administration allowed looting of the National Museum and National Archives of Iraq, and began signing enormous contracts with big campaign contributors. The Iraqis organized huge anti-U.S. protests, with calls for "U.S., leave our country!" Publicity about the massive amount of radioactivity remaining in Iraq also came out then (denied by U.S.).
Pallas direct is stirring up a lot of activity. Among the foci is Sun conjoining Juno on the U.S. Ascendant, which shows a huge consciousness of terrorism in the U.S. at this time. Conjunctions begin new cycles, and today renews that cycle of terrorism for the U.S. for the next year.
Mercury turns retrograde about every three months, in more or less the same element for two years. It stays retrograde for three weeks, and is blamed for all sorts of snafus.
All retrogrades provide opportunities for us to get re-acquainted with ourselves, to shift from automatic to manual. Mercury is especially noticeable, because it is associated with our thinking, perceptual, and communication processes. When Mercury is retrograde we are each tuned into our own wave lengths, and we are apt to have different understandings of the same situation. Mercury retrograde is a time to rethink situations in our lives and to review the past. Its time to repair and to renew. All "re" words are appropriate now. It is a time to refrain from making agreements with others.
Where agreements, contracts, purchases, etc. are concerned, it is far better to wait until Mercury is direct, as myself and many others can attest. Mercury will turn direct on January 6, conjoined the Galactic Center at 27 Sagittarius. We will all receive some important instructions then.
In the year of 2004, all of the Mercury retrograde periods begin in earth, and finish in fire. We can look at our practical problems, and then turn to vision for new solutionswhich we can begin to manifest when Mercury turns direct.
On December 17, Mercury turns retrograde in Capricorn, the sign of business and government. Mercurys big influence during this trip is Saturn, who happens to be Capricorns planet. Saturn is an energy of caution, care, authority and hierarchy. Both sign and planet are slow and careful, which is very incompatible with fleet-footed Mercury. This will be an exceptionally difficult Mercury retrograde period.
Mercurys trip really begins on December 13, when Mercury opposes Saturn. Neptune, the planet of oil, confusion, and inspiration as well, is part of this complex. Mercury, who needs things clearly marked, is in trouble from the beginning.
Mercury moves very slowly, and then turns retrograde on December 17, and begins to backtrack. On December 21-22, Mercury retrograde again opposes Saturn, to mark the Solstice seed chart for the coming year with that signature. On December 30, Mercury backs up into Sagittarius, and then turns direct there on January 6.
On January 21, Mercury has again caught up to Saturn for its third and final opposition.
This Mercury retrograde, Mercury opposed Saturn, cycle lasts then from December 13-January 21.
For each of us, those six weeks are a time to do inner work on grounding our personal authority, and strategizing how to communicate it. That is a big assignment, and six weeks is none too long. (Saturn takes timebut it endures.) We can begin by noticing what is on our minds and in our lives as Mercury enters Capricorn in early December.
For more information on the Mercury retrogrades of 2004, read my article in the December-January Mountain Astrologer.