Strength can be defined in many ways. You can be strong emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or physically. Astrologically, strength in general is usually seen with Pluto, Scorpio, and the 8th house.
Emotions are ruled by the Moon, 4th house, and Cancer, so having your Moon in Scorpio or the 8th house, Pluto in Cancer or the 4th house, your 4th house cusp in Scorpio or 8th house cusp in Cancer, or your natal Moon in aspect to your natal Pluto can show a natural emotional strength. All of us can find the way we can be emotionally strong through the Moon-Pluto midpoint, the exact middle of your Moon and Pluto, which is where their energies merge. This position can show you the best way for you to cultivate emotional strength. Focus on the sign and house position, and any planets conjunct, square, or opposite. You can work on developing emotional strength under transits which help you focus on the energy. You can do this when transit Pluto is in your 4th house, transit Moon is in your 8th house, with transit Pluto sextile or trine your natal Moon, or with transit Jupiter, Saturn, or Pluto conjunct, square, or opposite your Moon-Pluto midpoint.
The mind is ruled by Mercury, Gemini, and the 3rd house, so having your Mercury in Scorpio or the 8th house, Pluto in Gemini or the 3rd house, your 3rd house cusp in Scorpio or your 8th house cusp in Gemini, or your natal Mercury in aspect to your natal Pluto can show a natural mental strength. Your Mercury-Pluto midpoint can show how you can cultivate mental strength as well. You can work on developing mental strength when transit Pluto is in your 3rd house, transit Mercury is in your 8th house, with transit Pluto conjunct, sextile or trine your natal Mercury, or with transit Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, or Pluto conjunct, square, or opposite your Mercury-Pluto midpoint.
Your spiritual self is ruled by Neptune, Pisces, and the 12th house, so having your Neptune in Scorpio or the 8th house, Pluto in Pisces or the 12th house, your 8th house cusp in Pisces or 12th house cusp in Scorpio, or with natal Neptune in aspect to your natal Pluto can show spiritual strength, and your Neptune-Pluto midpoint can show you the best way to cultivate spiritual strength. You can work on developing spiritual strength when transit Neptune is in your 8th house, transit Pluto is in your 12th house, transit Pluto is conjunct, sextile, or trine your natal Neptune or transit Neptune is conjunct, sextile, or trine your natal Pluto, or when transit Jupiter or Saturn are conjunct, square, or opposite your Neptune-Pluto midpoint.
Physical strength can be seen with Mars, Aries, and the 1st house, having Mars in Scorpio or the 8th house, Pluto in Aries or the 1st house, the 1st house cusp in Scorpio or the 8th house cusp in Aries, or natal Mars in aspect to natal Pluto, and your Mars-Pluto midpoint can show you the way to develop physical strength. You can work on it when transit Pluto is in your 1st house, transit Mars is in your 8th house, transit Pluto is sextile or trine your natal Mars, transit Mars is conjunct, sextile, or trine your natal Pluto, or transit Jupiter or Saturn are conjunct, square, or opposite your Mars-Pluto midpoint.
For strength in general, you can look at your Sun, which rules you overall, and if you have your natal Sun in aspect to your natal Pluto, this can give you more general strength. Your Sun-Pluto midpoint can show how to cultivate general strength, and you can work on it with any positive transit aspect to your natal Sun, or transit Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto conjunct, square, or opposite your Sun-Pluto midpoint. It can also be helpful to focus on your Black Moon Lilith, who governs a hidden, inner power and strength that we all have access to.
The basics: A retrograde occurs when a planet appears to be moving backwards from our vantage point here on Earth. It isn't actually moving backwards, it just appears that way. Mercury turns retrograde most often, about 3-4 times per year, and lasts for several weeks. When a planet retrogrades, what that planet rules tends to be thrown off, along with what the sign it's retrograding in rules.
With Mercury retrograde, we experience a shadow and a storm. The shadow period starts when Mercury first hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn direct at, and ends when it last hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn retrograde at. Most people don't feel the effects of Mercury retrograde until it enters the storm period though. The storm period of Mercury retrograde is when Mercury is moving at its slowest, less than 40 minutes per day. Mercury is a fast-moving planet and hates it when he's moving slowly. There's usually two storm periods, one around the time Mercury turns retrograde, and one around when it turns direct.
This Mercury retrograde begins on August 30th at 9:04AM ET and ends on September 22nd at 1:31AM ET. The shadow period starts August 10th and ends October 6th. The first storm period is August 22nd - September 6th, and second storm period is September 18th - 26th.
Here we go - it’s that time of the year again, MERCURY MADNESS! (for those of you new, that’s my affectionate term for Mercury retrograde) This Mercury retrograde is entirely in the sign of Virgo, an earth sign who is one of the signs Mercury naturally rules (along with air sign Gemini). Virgo rules our work lives, daily lives, and health. So get ready for some wonky work, wonky days, and wonky health! We may lack a work ethic, have difficulty sticking to deadlines, forget schedules, miss the details. We may not want to deal with the daily grind of life, the chores and tasks that have to be done on a daily basis, get sick of the routines. There may be bad news on the job front, in the economy, or with some specific workplace. There can be health news that isn’t so great (my mind immediately goes to Zika but who knows).
Virgo rules structure, order, organization, so we can lack organization and structure, feel like there’s too much disorder, and we’re a bit all over the place. Virgo can be an anxious, nervous, fidgety sign, and rules stress so we can have some extra nerves and anxiety, stress ourselves out way too easily and way too much, and boy do we need a break!
Things are made worse this go around because we have something called a mutable t-square going on. A t-square is when two or more planets oppose one another and square (three signs away) a third planet (forming what looks like a square). Jupiter in Virgo opposes Neptune in Pisces with both square Saturn in Sagittarius. Mars will also be in Sagittarius during this retrograde, and the Sun will be in Virgo, with Mercury retrograde in Virgo. So this mutable t-square (these are the mutable signs) gets riled up in a big way, and we’re super scattered and unfocused and all over the place. We need to focus on the missing sign, which is Gemini, so we need to think more, ask questions, be curious, pay attention to the little picture, and gather the information and facts.
It gets worse too, because there’s a second t-square occurring at the same time, a cardinal t-square. When the retrograde begins, Venus in Libra will be opposite Uranus in Aries with both square Pluto in Capricorn. Jupiter will leave Virgo during the retrograde and join Venus in Libra, adding to the energy, Every time we’ve had double t-square energy with a cardinal and mutable t-square, the energy has been explosive. There’s been more violence, more outrage, more attacks, more bloodshed. I’m really worried about this period with Mercury retrograde mucking things up!
To add even more energy to this, a solar eclipse occurs in Virgo, the sign Mercury is retrograde, on September 1st, and a lunar eclipse occurs on September 16th in Pisces (where Neptune is), so the eclipses add in more energy. Like there isn’t enough as it is!
And oh yes, there IS more - Mercury retrograde begins at 29 degrees of Virgo. 29 degrees of any sign is called the anaretic degree, and is a point of crisis energy. The 29th degree is the last degree of a sign, so it’s a bit frantic. Whenever Mercury retrogrades over this degree, this tends to trigger some wild energy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some sort of big event that occurs at the onset of this retrograde.
While retrograde, Mercury will conjunct (align with) Jupiter, pretty early on September 2nd at 1:18PM ET, though the start of the retrograde is essentially conjunct Jupiter. This is at the very end of Jupiter in Virgo, so they’re both energizing each other as they zoom past one another, and there can be big, expansive energy. This aspect can amplify whatever may be coming to pass at this time, so we need to be careful we don’t let it get so big it blows. Jupiter can be optimistic, so we can try to look at the bright side now. Mercury also squares (hard aspect) Mars on September 12th at 2:58PM ET, and this can be a period where anger is boiling, tempers are flaring, and we need to have outlets for aggression to avoid explosions. At the end of the retrograde, Mercury trines (positive aspect) Pluto on September 20th at 9:26PM ET, and this can help us to regain some power and control again, or make a change that needs to be made. Pluto actually ends his own retrograde on September 26th, 4 days after Mercury does, and they both end trine one another, so this can help bring some better end by the end of the month.
The retrograde begins at 29 degrees Virgo, so those of you Virgos born September 20th and on can be impacted by the start of the retrograde most. The retrograde ends at 14 degrees Virgo, so those of you Virgos born September 5th - 8th can be impacted by the turn direct most. Note that if you have any planets or house cusps at 29 degrees (regardless of sign), the start of the retrograde can trigger the energy of that planet/house cusp, so pay special attention to it at the start.
The main key is for all of us to get grounded. Energy is flying all over the place and so will we if we don’t find a way to ground ourselves and not fly away with the wind. And if nothing else, let’s try to keep calm and carry bourbon!
For the rest of you, check the house(s) Mercury will be retrograding in of your own natal chart, and any aspects Mercury will make during its retrograde to your natal planets, to fully understand how it will impact you personally.
If you have Mercury retrograde in your natal or progressed chart, you may not feel the worst of this. Those individuals generally don't experience the difficulties of the retrograde because it feels more natural to them. Of course, chances are everyone else around them doesn't have the same aspect, so they can still experience difficulties brought on by others.
Anaretic Saturn in Capricorn
Jupiter Conjunct Pluto 2020
Saturn Conjunct Pluto 2020
July 2020 New & Full Moons
August 2020 New & Full Moons
Jupiter in Capricorn: December 2019 - December 2020
Saturn in Aquarius: March - July 2020, December 2020 - March 2023
Saturn in Capricorn: December 2017 - March 2020, July - December 2020
Uranus in Taurus: May - November 2018, March 2019 - July 2025, November 2025 - April 2026