Astrology for Aug. 22-28, 2022: The Illusion of Reversal

The Illusion of Reversal

Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone.

Labels, Names, and Stories

As Mercury makes a trine to Pluto (Aug. 22, 2022, 2:58 pm PDT), a portal opens for reinvention. It’s like a young person who goes away to college and recognizes the opportunity to adopt a new nickname (or drop an odious one), and drop their “partier” label for a spot on the Dean’s list..

Names and titles matter. They are Mercury’s way of telling the world what to think of us.

Mercury in aspect to Pluto calls attention to the power of names, words, and definitions to influence how we’re perceived. Usually, that begins with how we think of and talk about ourselves. This week, take notice if you find yourself using self-deprecating jokes or putting yourself down. Note how often you apologize reflexively, when no apology is required, apologizing for simply existing. When Mercury connects with Pluto, it’s time to take control over our labels, names, and stories. They matter. So do we.


Like the Roman virgins charged with tending the sacred flames of Vesta, Virgo’s job description includes duty, ritual, and devotion. As the Sun enters this sign of sacred service (Aug. 22, 2022, 8:16 pm PDT), it initiates a season of renewed dedication to whatever we value most.

What is our devotional offering to the world? It’s less about anything we do, specifically, and more about the way we do it. Virgo’s dominion includes those quiet acts we perform regularly and that keep things going. Watering the plants. Washing the dishes. Caring for the animals. Doing the laundry.

If those seem like small things, imagine a time you found yourself in a place that was dirty, decrepit, and cluttered, where animals foraged for food, dirty laundry and dirty dishes were piled high, and everything smelled bad.

Try to live an orderly life in disorderly surroundings. See how well you’ll eat if no one tends the crops. Try to survive the coming winter without Vesta’s sacred flames.

Try to live in a world without Virgo, and you’ll see that neglecting the small things turns out to be a very big thing indeed.

The Illusion of Reversal

Uranus, the planet of liberty, unpredictability, and rebellion, turns retrograde this week (Aug. 24, 2022, 6:54 am PDT). A transiting planet that’s retrograde appears to behave contrary to its usual mode – in the case of Uranus, seeming to toe the line and go along with the crowd. But the key phrase here is “seeming to.” Retrograde motion is an illusion, and so is this reversal of character.

Uranus will retrograde all the way back to 14º56′ Taurus, which it last visited around May 8. A feeling of liberation that emerged at that time will be reexamined in the coming months. What are you willing to give up – or put up with – to maintain your sense of freedom? You’ll be much clearer about that by the time Uranus turns direct on Jan. 22, 2023.


Mercury enters Libra this week (Aug. 25, 6:03 pm PDT), and it will eventually turn retrograde in this sign (Sep. 9-Oct. 2), resulting in a longer than normal stay. Mercury in the preceding sign, Virgo, analyzed the information at hand and sharpened critical thinking skills. In Libra, Mercury likes to use those skills to engage others in debate, bargaining, haggling, and negotiation. We’ll have until Mercury enters Scorpio on Oct. 29 to refine our negotiation tactics.

Libra is a sign associated with good manners, but those with this placement whom I’ve known well actually love a good argument. They’re scrupulously fair, though, and when you’ve won the point, they concede without hesitation. What’s important is that the debate be fair and the opponents equally matched, and that the truth and value of what’s under discussion be fully revealed.

During this protracted Mercury in Libra period, be prepared to take your ideas to the marketplace and engage in a spirited debate about them. You’ll soon find out whether they hold water.


Are you beautiful? Worthy? Lovable? And who gets to decide that, exactly? Venus in square aspect to Uranus (Aug. 26, 2022, 9:34 pm PDT) offers an opportunity to break away from other people’s opinions about our worthiness and instead, to celebrate our true, unique beauty – of face, body, mind, talent, and spirit.

But don’t be surprised when that celebration is interrupted as Venus opposes Saturn (Aug. 28, 2022, 11:27 am PDT). Negative feedback or flat-out rejection might force us back onto ourselves. The question Saturn wants us to ask is, can we approve of ourselves even when others don’t?

Venus is also a financial planet, and money is another way of evaluating what things – and what we ourselves – are worth. When Venus tangles with Saturn, we usually have to work extra-hard for our money (Saturn). And during her skirmishes with Uranus, we might encounter sudden gains or reversals (Uranus). That’s noteworthy from a practical standpoint, but also because our relationship with money reveals scads about our confidence, security, and values. Sample questions: Are you giving more than you’re getting? And is money making you more or less free?

Brilliance Rather than Fisticuffs

Imagine you’re a supervisor tasked with delivering a major software upgrade on a very tight deadline. Your most talented programmers are precise, thorough, and painstaking Beth; and her molecular opposite, Carl, quick-thinking, funny, with a staggering amount of knowledge and facility. Together, these two represent your best chance of meeting the deadline – but they can’t stand each other. You suppress fantasies of locking them together in a room for the duration. Instead, you call them into your office, give them the assignment, ignore their protests, and hope to heaven that the gamble ends in brilliance rather than fisticuffs.

The Sun and Mars – both fairly willful symbols – meet in a square aspect this week (Aug. 26, 2022, 10:27 pm PDT), just hours before the Virgo New Moon (Aug. 27, 2022, 1:17 am PDT). In the cool, logical, Mercury-ruled signs of Virgo (careful and analytical, like Beth) and Gemini (multifaceted and clever, like Carl). But that doesn’t mean we’ll find it easy to keep our cool; that’s not how the passionate Sun and Mars work. They’re not team players by nature, but figuring out how to use them together is our best chance for success.

This aspect defines this Virgo New Moon month, emphasizing Virgo’s lesser-known physical, earthy, volcanic side. You won’t always find Virgo behind a desk, nose in a spreadsheet. Yes, a Virgo can defrag your hard drive, but you’ll just as often find yourself on cheering them on at a softball match. So watch out, Carl. In any face-off between Gemini and Virgo, the latter usually has the last word.

Writing and collages © 2019-2022 April Elliott Kent

For more of this week’s highlights, listen to my latest podcast episode!

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