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Tectonic Triggers: The Hidden Power of Station Points (Part 2: Mundane Astrology)

by Ray Grasse

Order at Wessex Astrologer
or amazon.com

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

Julius CeasarAt 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 comes around.

Ephemeris 44 BCE 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

BattlesWith 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 calendar.)

  • 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 stationing.
  • 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 intelligence.
  • 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 childhood.).
  • 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

  • Politics 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 Snowden.)
  • 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.

Disasters, Tragedies

  • Disasters 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 October 21.
  • 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

CulturalFrom 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

  • Archeology 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 Africa.
  • 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

  • MediaJohnny 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 in damage.)
  • 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 retrograde.
  • 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 Scorpio.

Concluding Thoughts

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.

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Current Planets
18-Nov-2017, 12:47 UT/GMT
Sun2622' 9"19s20
Moon2652'13"14s38
Mercury1728'39"25s24
Venus1351' 8"14s54
Mars1653'13"5s37
Jupiter827'16"13s22
Saturn2622'45"22s26
Uranus2522'56"r9n16
Neptune1128'13"r8s07
Pluto1728'48"21s46
TrueNode1850'19"r15n10
Chiron2426'53"r1n19
Explanations of the symbols
Chart of the moment
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