Tectonic Triggers: The Hidden Power of Station Points (Part 2: Mundane
by Ray Grasse
Under a Sacred Sky is a fascinating collection of essays
by the author on the ancient art of astrology, ranging from discussions of
its use in our personal lives to its value for understanding historical
cycles and patterns. Along the way Ray Grasse also interjects the story
with some of his own personal experiences in the discipline, while
exploring its broader implications for subjects like synchronicity,
spirituality, and the yogic concept of the chakras. This book includes
interviews with Rick Tarnas and Laurence Hillman and is suitable for both
beginner and advanced students of the subject.
This article is part 2 of the chapter on station points taken from Ray
Grasse's new book.
Part 1 (on Station
Points in Natal Astrology and in Prediction) can be found here.
Station Points and Mundane Astrology
At the start of part 1 of this article, I asked whether you’ve ever
had the experience of looking at someone’s chart and were mystified by
the seeming discrepancy between their personality and what was indicated
by their horoscope. Now I’d like to pose a similar question, but in
relation to mundane astrology: Have you ever studied a historic event or
development where the horoscope for that event didn’t quite seem to
explain it, or account for its magnitude?
As with personal horoscopes, such discrepancies can be due to a variety
of things – such as the delayed influence of prior stelliums and
eclipses, transits to a nation’s horoscope, or yet undiscovered planets.
But in some cases, I’ve found that the precipitating cause for an event
may lie in a powerful station point. As an example, consider one of the
most dramatic and widely discussed events of the classical world – the
assassination of Julius Caesar, on March 15, 44 BCE. The transits for
that day were interesting in their own way – most notably, we find a
T-square to Saturn which involved Pluto, the Sun and Mercury. But as
important a configuration as that may be, it’s not an exceptionally rare
one, nor does it manifest as the death of a great leader every time it
Yet when we look at the ephemeris for March 15 of that year,
we discover that Pluto was in the midst of a major station point. This is
notable for a few reasons. For one, it served to amplify the energy of
Pluto far beyond the norm, and along with it, the archetypal motifs of
death, secretive actions, power struggles, and transformation. But just
as importantly, the station simultaneously amplified the force of the
T-square it was involved with – thus taking a dramatic planetary pattern
and making it into something truly historic.
Station points like this are important for yet another reason. When a
planet changes direction – particularly one of the outer, slow-moving
bodies – it’s akin to the shifting of tectonic plates deep in the
collective unconscious. Time and again, one finds station points
illuminating historic developments in ways that aren’t immediately
obvious from examining ‘snapshot horoscopes’ drawn up for singular
moments in time. As with the study of personal horoscopes, looking at an
actual ephemeris page sometimes offers advantages over the
computer-generated chart, since it can reveal at a glance whether an
event falls within a planet’s stationary zone.
Battles, Wartime Milestones
With that as a starting point, let’s begin by focusing our
attention on historic events that appear especially dramatic or explosive
in nature, to see whether they occurred in proximity to significant
planetary stations. Below are some of the major battles or wartime
developments I found that illustrate this. (Note: as I mentioned earlier,
stationary periods for the outer planets extend considerably farther out
than those of faster-moving bodies like Mercury and Venus, so I’ve
naturally given a wider berth to those in terms of their span on the
- British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on
October 19, 1781, an event regarded as the decisive turning point for
American forces in the Revolutionary War. At the time, Pluto was
- Allied soldiers stormed the beaches at Normandy on June 6, 1944, the
same day Neptune changed direction – a fitting connection, considering
how closely the attack was not only associated with ocean-based forces
but with strategic misdirection by the allies of German
- The Siege of Leningrad during World War II took place on September
8, 1941, during a triple station of Mars, Uranus and Saturn. (P.S. As
pointed out in part
1 of this article, note that this was also the date U.S. presidential
candidate Bernie Sanders was born!)
- The Cuban Missile Crisis formally came to an end on October 28,
1962. When Jupiter turned direct the very next day, it was as if the
entire world breathed a collective sigh of relief over having averted a
global nuclear holocaust (something I remember from my own
- A tragic milestone in American history was the “Wounded Knee”
incident on December 29, 1890, when roughly 300 men, women, and children
were slaughtered by U.S. soldiers – an event regarded by many as the
symbolic climax of the conflict between Native American tribes and the
U.S. government. This event occurred during a station of Saturn.
Political Crises and Scandals
- The Watergate scandal began on June 17, 1972, as triggered
by the arrests of the so-called “plumbers” at the Watergate hotel in
Washington D.C. Pluto was stationing at the time.
- The first of the Pentagon Papers was published in the New York Times
on June 13, 1971, between two stations of Uranus (media) and Pluto
(hidden secrets). The documents had a catalyzing effect on the protest
movement at the time, by revealing closely guarded information about
American military operations in Vietnam.
- Documents obtained by Edward Snowden exposing secret NSA
surveillance programs were first released on June 5, 2013, during a
station of Neptune in Pisces. (It was exactly during a later station of
Neptune, on June 12 of 2015, that media sources published reports how
Snowden's stolen documents may have led to breaches of U.S. security by
China and Russia, as a result of their decrypting NSA documents leaked by
- From September 9 to 13, 1971, New York was rocked by deadly riots at
Attica Prison, resulting in 43 deaths. This took place exactly during a
Mars station, followed several days later by Saturn turning direct.
- Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968, during a double
station of Uranus and Mercury.
- Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, under the double
station of Venus and Jupiter – a seemingly odd planetary pairing, though
it makes sense in light of the outpouring of love for Lincoln amongst
supporters following his death, not to mention the jubilation amongst his
detractors south of the Mason/Dixon line!
- Mahatma Gandhi's nephew, Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated on May 17,
1991, on the same day that Saturn went retrograde in Aquarius.
- On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge in West Virginia
collapsed and killed 46 people – an event made famous in connection with
the so-called “Mothman” mystery. Three planets were nearly motionless
when this happened: Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto.
- The stock market crash on “Black Friday,” October 29, 1929, took
place as Pluto was still at a near-crawl, having turned retrograde on
- On November 20, 1936, a levee failure in Kazuno, Japan resulted in
the deaths of 375 people – this occurred exactly as Saturn was
stationing in watery Pisces.
- It’s especially significant when two or more outer planets
experience their stations close to one another, and one such convergence
took place during the third week of July 2014, when Uranus and Saturn
stationed just three days apart. Among other things, it’s important to
note that these two planets have long been associated with aviation
disasters – including history’s deadliest: the Tenerife airport disaster
in the Canary Islands, when two planes collided on a runway and killed
583 passengers, just as Saturn and Uranus were locked in a nearly exact
square. During the double planetary station of July 2014, the following
dramatic events unfolded: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in
eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers; two Ukrainian fighter
jets were shot down; a Taiwanese jet crashed; an Algerian passenger jet
was reported missing; the Israeli/Palestinian conflict heated up
dramatically, and some media commentators even began comparing the events
of that week to those which ignited World War I, due to reawakened
tensions between Putin’s Russia and the United States.
Cultural Breakthroughs, Discoveries, and Turning Points
From there I started focusing my attention more on
developments concerned more with breakthroughs or advances in culture –
technologically, archeologically, scientifically. Among the interesting
correlations that came up were these:
- On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy’s historic announcement about
sending a man to the Moon took place on the same day that Jupiter changed
direction in futuristic Aquarius.
- In its own way, NASA’s Apollo 8 was almost as much of a watershed
event as Apollo 11’s Moon mission seven months later, since it was the
first time ever that humans broke free of Earth's orbit (raising
nightmarish concerns amongst many over the men’s fates, had anything gone
wrong); this was also the mission when astronauts took the now-iconic
photos of the Earth seen from a great distance. The journey lasted from
December 21 to 27, 1968, with Pluto turning retrograde on the final day
of the mission.
- On May 27, 1937, the same day that Neptune turned direct, the Golden
Gate Bridge formally opened to the public – a structure associated not
only with scenic photographic vistas but with numerous suicides.
- When Prohibition was formally repealed in the U.S. on December 5,
1933, with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, Neptune was
grinding to a halt (finally going retrograde on December 15).
- The Parliament of World Religions in Chicago was a watershed moment
in the global exchange of religious ideas, and lasted from September 11
to 27, 1893. At the time there were three major stations occurring –
Pluto, Neptune, and Jupiter.
- The most successful sex reassignment surgery prior to recent years
was performed in Sweden on November 20, 1952, for Christine Jørgensen
during a station of transformational Pluto.
Archeology and Paleontology
- On December 23, 1938, during a station of
Neptune, the coelacanth – a fish thought to have been extinct for
millions of years – was caught by fishermen off the coast of South
- On September 19, 1991, the remarkably preserved body of “Otzi the
iceman” was found high in the Alps, during a Uranus station in Capricorn
(the zodiacal sign associated with mountains and hilltops).
- Several days later on September 22, with the station of Uranus still
in effect (though with Neptune now grinding to a halt as well), the
Huntington Library made the Dead Sea Scrolls available to the public for
the first time.
- On July 17, 1959, archeologist Louis Leaky and his wife Mary
discovered the first skull of Australopithecus in Tanzania, during a
double station of Jupiter and Neptune in Scorpio.
- On November 4, 1922, Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamen‘s tomb in
the Valley of the Kings, Egypt – an event widely regarded as among the
greatest archeological discoveries in history. When Carter finally peered
into the newly opened tomb, he was asked, “Can you see anything?” To
which he replied, “Yes, wonderful things!” In addition to the full Moon
in effect that day (with the Scorpio Sun also forming a trine to Pluto),
Venus was turning retrograde that same day and forming a nearly exact
sextile to Uranus. Venus rules beauty, of course, and retrogradation
implies a backward-looking perspective, and both of those features were
on display in the events of that day.
Media and the Arts
- Johnny Carson began his 30-year run as host of the
Tonight Show on October 1, 1962, during a station of Saturn in
media-oriented Aquarius; his term on the show ended on May 22, 1992,
during another Saturn station in Aquarius.
- David Lean’s film Doctor Zhivago, with its story centering
around the Russian revolution, premiered on December 22, 1965, during a
double station of revolutionary Uranus and Pluto.
- The Woodstock Festival ran from August 15 to 18, 1969, during a
station of Saturn in Taurus. The Saturnian influence is visible in the
dilapidated, mud-soaked conditions festival-goers contended with that
weekend. (That same weekend also saw the most powerful tropical cyclonic
system to reach landfall in recorded history, when Hurricane Camille hit
the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing billions of dollars
- On February 3, 1959, a tragic plane crash took the lives of three
prominent rock-and-roll musicians – Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P.
“The Big Bopper” Richardson (an event memorialized in Don McLean’s song
“The Day the Music Died”). At the time, Neptune was virtually motionless,
going retrograde just four days later on February 7.
- On June 11, 2015, Rupert Murdoch stepped down as CEO of 21st Century
Fox – a move some commentators described as the “end of an era.” That
same day Mercury changed direction, and one day later Neptune went
- While one finds planetary stations involved with the careers of
various musical groups, an unusual number of them seem to be constellated
around the career of the Beatles. For starters, they began their 48-night
residency in Hamburg, West Germany on August 20, 1960, on the same day
Jupiter went direct in Sagittarius.
- The Beatles made their famous appearance on Ed Sullivan on February
9, 1964, during a station of Neptune.
- The Beatles’ second movie Help! premiered on July 29 1965,
the same day Neptune turned direct. (Note how Neptune’s influence is
visible even in the movie’s title – a plea to be rescued!)
- From the moment of its release on June 1, 1967, the Beatles’ album
Sergeant Pepper was hailed as a milestone in pop music history.
While the entire mid-Sixties reflected the influence of the revolutionary
Uranus/Pluto conjunction in effect throughout that period, that
dual-planetary influence was amplified dramatically in the days leading
up to Pepper's release, with both Uranus and Pluto turning
direct within less than 24 hours of each other.
- The Beatles’ album Magical Mystery Tour was released in the
UK on December 8, 1967, precisely as Saturn was stationing and sextiling
Mercury and Mars, while inconjuncting Jupiter. Their much-criticized film
of the same name premiered several weeks later on December 26, on BBC-TV,
during a station of both Jupiter and Pluto (with Pluto turning retrograde
literally within hours of the broadcast).
- The iconic cover for the Beatles’ album Abbey Road was
photographed on August 8, 1969, the same day Neptune turned direct in
I hope these examples have provided some sense of the potential
influence of planetary stations on both the person and collective levels.
The simplest point to bear in mind is that whenever a planet is
relatively motionless, its energy becomes amplified, as are any aspects
it may be making at the time. When studying the predictive trends in a
horoscope – be it your own, a client’s, or that of a nation—it’s
especially important to note those points when the activating planet
changes directions, since those will serve as key trigger points.
Planetary stations are just one tool in the astrologer’s ever-expanding
trade, but they can offer critical insights into our understanding of
events in ways that may not be immediately obvious through other means.
About Ray Grasse:
Ray Grasse is an associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer. This article
has been excerpted from his recent book Under A Sacred Sky (Wessex, 2015). His website is www.raygrasse.com
© Ray Grasse, 2015
Ephemeris extract provided by Ray Grasse
Caesar: By Louis le Grand [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Battles: pixabay.com, CC0 Public Domain
Politics: Oliver F. Atkins (1916-1977) [Public domain], via Wikimedia
Disasters: Silver Bridge collapse [Public domain], via Wikimedia
Cultural: By NASA / Bill Anders [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Archeology: By 120 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia
Media: designed by David Edward Byrd, [Public domain], via Wikimedia