Pallas, named for Athena, is one of the most persistent and long-enduring of mythological figures, but despite the fact of 2 Pallas, the asteroid and her namesake being more than two centuries past discovery, there is remarkably little consensus about interpretive themes in the nativity. Mostly, there is some vague notion that she rules patterns and pattern-recognition as well as a kind of Amazonian female typology. In broad terms, I find the current thinking on Pallas – especially considering her astrological venerability – to be woefully weak and dissatisfying. This article will demonstrate that far from representing a footnote in the nativity, Pallas is a major, profound and powerfully potent focal point in the astrology and offers an enormous insight into a client’s highest potentials, because it determines undiluted ability and the fundamental theme of competence.
Originally, Pallas’ major rulership beyond the martial sphere was as Patroness of weaving and craft work. Astrology, by dint of the fact that weavers do not normally achieve celebrity is hard to find.
The qualities of patterns are indeed important to Pallas, and if we study the chart of MC Escher, whose pattern creation is well-founded and recognised we find a remarkable occurrence; Pallas is peregrine, in Cancer in the 12th house, Neptune’s artistic domain; is it any wonder that so much of Escher’s great works featured sea-creatures, crabs, quirky and rather lunar themes, strange religious architecture (Lunar/12th House themes) and other oblique, weird and similarly Cancerian motifs?
But Pallas is about more than pattern and textiles, for she was also the Goddess of weaponsmiths. This is an important distiction to make from the usual interpretation of warrior-themes, because it combines the craft aspects of her dominion that are found in the make-up of the weaver and the pattern-loving artist and creates a link between the themes of craftsmanship and the business of war; it is, if you like the “hands-on” and creative elements of providing warrior-solutions that are emphasised.
Here then is the nativity of Daniel Wesson, who partnered with Horace Smith in the 1850s to create the first repeating rifle (with which the West was arguably won) and made his fortune – estimated at some $50 million by the time of his death – as co-inventor of the renowned Smith and Wesson gun brand. Most intriguingly when we consider the chart we can see immediately that if we disregard the placement of Pallas, the grand trine from Mercury and Uranus is lost! Here Pallas is in the sign of Virgo which suggests a practical solution to a problem, with trines from Uranus – thus invention – in ambitious and methodical Capricorn and Mercury – thus the problem-solving thinker – in the wealth-generating sign of Taurus, a major theme of his life as an inventor and wealthy weaponsmith is told through Pallas’ placement within the grand earth trine, a theme that would be missed without the inclusion of Pallas in the interpretation!
But Pallas lent her patronage to others too, the weaponsmith was not the only student of the warrior arts who found her favour, and latterly, especially via the Greek interpretations, she came to represent competence on the battlefield, not so much as a mundane fighter, but as a strategist.
Here then is the chart of Bernard Montgomery, latterly “Montgomery of Alamein”, who alongside George Patton is probably ranked as the greatest military strategist of modern times. He famously defeated Germany’s brilliant ‘Desert Fox’ – Erwin Rommel in a series of decisive and often desperately daring military campaigns across the deserts of North Africa during the Second World War. A soldier his entire life, Monty’s chart shows a number of remarkable configurations, a near-peregrine Uranus in Libra (his wife died very suddenly from an insect bite leaving Montgomery devastated: he never remarried) a Cazimi Mercury in Scorpio (traditionally ruled itself by Mars, thus a brilliant and Martial mind), also an intriguing quindecile from Jupiter to Mercury indicating an obsession with leadership and most pertinently of all, a tee-square to Pallas in Aquarius in the 8th, Scorpio’s natural house. Thus by employing his great intellect he was able to create unorthodox (Aquarius) military strategies (Pallas) that allowed him to outfox the formidable Desert Fox.
And since we have made the comparison of Montgomery to Patton, then it might be informative to look at this other unorthodox genius in the field of military strategy. Ironically, Patton and Montgomery famously disagreed when they were asked to collaborate during the Battle of the Bulge, and both were considered “difficult” by their superiors, but there is no questioning their strategic abilities. Patton’s chart shows a wealth of remarkable configurations, not least a tee-square to warrior Mars conjunct royal Regulus, and this given its energy from the opposition of Mercury and Pluto (and he wasn’t nicknamed “Old Blood and Guts” for nothing!), but pertinently, a near-partile conjunction of Pallas with the Sun in ruthless Scorpio tells us that not only was he a brilliant strategist, his reputation for having an enormous ego as a strategist is entirely deserved! Patton knew very well that he was a great military commander, there were no “ifs or maybes” in his thinking!
Here then we begin to grasp some of the broader connotations of pattern-analysis and manipulation; Pallas gives a strategic vision coupled with the means to see it realised successfully. This concurs with the mythology; Pallas offered victory to her followers in the form of the Goddess Nike, usually on her outstretched palm. Pallas therefore describes where we might excel, and indeed be victorious in our own life. The association with Nike, fleet of foot and victorious both gives rise to Pallas’ configuration as being representative of great ability in sports and athletics too, because of the competitive, battling qualities combined with strong motor skills and hand-eye coordination implicit in the archetype.
Consider the placement of Pallas in the charts of sportsmen and women. Steffi Graf, who won numerous grand slam victories and an Olympic Gold in tennis has Pallas at the apex of a tee-square in Capricorn, or Tracy Austin, another tennis great with a peregrine Pallas in Cancer in the 8th. Or how about Muhammed Ali, whose Pallas in Capricorn in the 5th Quindeciles Pluto in Leo in the 12th? Here there is obsession relating to proving dominance and brutal, ruthless power realised through strategic artistry (otherwise known as: “dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”)
Returning to the mythic root then, Robert Graves noted that Pallas was the parthenogenous daughter of the Titan Metis who ruled wisdom and knowledge and is associated with Mercury. This leads to the conclusion that from knowledge (Mercury) comes wisdom (Pallas). This is why the Goddess was always attended by an Owl – denoting wisdom, but more specifically skill, a high degree of hand-eye coordination, fundamentally then the owl represents a specific blending of mental veracity, experience, and motor skill, which combine to represent craft, practical ability and thus ultimately competence. It also posits the view that Pallas, who remained a virgin and never wed, is the archetypal daughter. Thus Pallas can give a very clear indication of daughters, both subjectively (what kind of daughter “style” – if female – the native manifests) and perhaps more succinctly, it gives a clue as to the relationship and themes of the native’s own daughter(s) too, should they have them.
Parthenogenesis in biology is the birth of an insect from an unfertilised egg; and it is profound therefore that all of the themes of Pallas are somewhat Virgoan, there is an implied purity, a non-sexual, chaste theme of maidenhood which runs through the myth. Pallas, in the later Olympian versions of her genesis was born fully armed and armoured directly out of Zeus’ forehead (again signifying wisdom) and it is intriguing to note that Hera, enraged at Zeus for fathering a daughter without need of her involvement, spontaneously gave birth to Hephaestus, known in Roman lore, as Vulcan; thus the proximity of Vulcan to the Sun is no accident; “like father, like son” cleaves to the essence of the archetype, and where Pallas represents the daughter, it may be fair to suppose that Vulcan in the astrology offers some essential insight into the male children too.
Combining all these factors it appears that Pallas then represents an essential quality of ability or competence. This resonates with the chaste maiden theme of the daughter because the ability or undilute skill it represents is unsullied and uncorrupted, it is beyond reproach; thus it gives an indication of where in life we might find the highest, most victorious and splendid of our achievements; it is where, if you like, we might achieve something that is so beyond reproach that it could be considered unequivocal, and that is why, the astrologer ignores the gift of Pallas at their peril.
1) Vulcan (Hephaestus) was also a smith, so he is the male facsimile of the weaponsmith facet of Pallas.
2) Pallas is probably the mythic root of the Virgin Mary archetype.
3) There appears to be a strong case for rulership of Virgo by Pallas, since this explains many of the mythic roots. My personal feeling is that there is an area of crossover between military leadership and analytical strategy, Pallas was not a fighter herself, but a war leader, the patron of great generals. For this reason she seems to carry connotations of both Leo and Virgo, and it is interesting to note that Regulus, in the final degree of Leo and thus the cusp of Virgo, is said to give military honours, power, success and leadership ability with a possible disastrous fall from a prominent position.