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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 1 of the chapter on station points taken from Ray Grasse's new book.
Have you ever looked at someone's horoscope and felt puzzled by the discrepancy between the planetary energy expressed in their personality and what was suggested by their chart? For instance, a person with a heavily Saturnian chart but who exhibits an unusually Jupiterian personality? Or someone with a confident-looking horoscope who acts relatively timid in person?
There are any number of possible reasons for discrepancies like that - overlooked declinations, alternate systems of measurement (such as Vedic or Hellenistic), or simple misinterpretation. But one factor I've sometimes found to be responsible involves what astrologers call the station point. Look up that term in any basic astrology source and it will usually say that it's when a planet slows down and stands relatively still before changing directions, and either starts going backward ("retrograde") or forward ("direct"). Think "station" as in stationary, in other words.
But while many astrologers look to the station point primarily for what it tells us about when and where a planet is changing direction, stations possess another level of meaning that's often overlooked, and which could be even more important in symbolism than its role as a directional marker. Why? Because in the process of slowing down and grinding to a seeming halt, the influence of that planet is dramatically amplified, creating what one early teacher of mine called a "branding iron" effect.(1) To use a simple analogy, imagine you're walking very quickly across a surface of freshly poured cement. You'll make impressions on that surface, no doubt, but they probably won't go deep. But if you were to stop midway across that surface and stand motionless for a minute or two, your feet would sink considerably deeper, making a more noticeable impression.
Station points are like that. Because a planet occupies one spot in the zodiac for a longer period, it has the chance to make a deeper impression on your horoscope than it normally would. Just as importantly, not only will that planet's energy be amplified, but any aspect it forms to other planets will be, too. Grasping this simple fact can hold dramatic implications for our astrological practice, and has led me to believe that station points are among the most significant - but overlooked - tools of our trade. What I'll be doing in this chapter is examining some of the implications of station points for both personal charts as well as mundane, socio-cultural horoscopes, as well as for prediction. To begin with, let's look at their role in the natal horoscope.
When looking at charts, many astrologers will naturally check to see whether a planet is retrograde or direct, but comparatively few stop to examine whether that planet falls within the broader span of its station, or what might be called the "stationary zone" - those days on either side of that shift in direction when the planet is comparatively motionless. Much of the reason for that oversight is no doubt due to the fact that modern computers perform most of the calculations for us nowadays, thus eliminating the need to even open up an ephemeris - a simple act that would quickly reveal whether or not a planet falls within a stationary period.(2)
Of course, many of the horoscopes you study might not include any planets directly within the penumbra of a stationary period. But when they do, it can provide added clarity and insight into individual's lives. Consider the case of inventor Nikola Tesla, who famously displayed extraordinary intuition into the hidden laws of nature. His understanding of electricity and other "invisible" forces was so profound he's come to be regarded by some as almost more of a mystic than a scientist. Born on July 10, 1856, in Smiljan, Croatia (0.00 AM LMT) his chart shows that Neptune was at 20 degrees of Pisces, and was trining his Sun, widely squaring Mercury, and forming a sextile to Uranus in his 1st house. Together, these factors show an intuitive and imaginative personality - but not necessarily anything extraordinary.
But when we open up the ephemeris for July 10, 1856, we see that when he was born, Neptune was stationary and occupied the same zodiacal degree from May 13 all the way up through August 4 of that year (and occupied the same exact degree and minute from June 21 to 25). In short, Tesla was born well within the influence of the Neptune station. This amplifies the importance of his natal Neptune considerably, along with its associated aspects. Little wonder he had such an intuitive mind regarding nature's energetic forces (note the sextile to 1st house Uranus in Taurus) - just as it's also little wonder he also experienced bitter disappointments in his business dealings with colleagues like Thomas Edison (Tesla's Neptune squaring Mercury)!(3)
With these points in mind, let's take a look at some cases of well-known individuals born during planetary stations, using examples for each of the major planetary bodies (remembering, of course, that the Sun and the Moon never go retrograde). An important note: in the case of faster moving bodies like Mercury or Venus, a planet will slow down and occupy the same zodiacal space for only a few days, while in the case of slower moving bodies like Pluto, a planet can remain in the same basic degree for a month or two on either side of its directional shift - and can occupy the same exact degree and minute for seven or eight days straight. As a result, I naturally allow a wider berth for the date-boundaries of outer planet stations than for those of the faster-moving bodies. With that said, let us begin.
Individuals born during these periods display a heightened emphasis on the mind and communication, with the zodiacal sign involved providing further clues into its expression.
Individuals born during a Venus station often display a pronounced interest in the arts, an appreciation of worldly pleasures, or a love of social interactions throughout their lives.
Individuals born during a Mars station can exhibit a sense of power or assertiveness in their personalities, and sometimes a quality of sexual magnetism. If stressfully aspected, there may be issues with anger or power struggles in their personal or professional lives.
Being born under a Jupiter station can manifest as a more religious or ideological inclination, or simply as a more expansive vision in one's work or personal life.
Individuals born during Saturn stations are often notable for their tenacity and discipline, and can be "late bloomers" in their professional or emotional lives. There is sometimes an underlying heaviness to their personalities, as if they're bearing a heavy weight, but they can also reveal surprising depth.
Those born under the influence of stationing Uranus can be independent with a strong concern for personal freedom and self-expression. Depending on aspects to personal planets or horoscopic placements, they may be interested in social reform and progressive social change or, at the other extreme, behave like 'free agents' who selfishly follow their own rules without regard for others.
Depending on aspects to personal planets or horoscopic placements, those born under the influence of a Neptune station may show special sensitivity towards the arts, spirituality, or humanitarian concerns - or more negatively, a susceptibility to escapism, self-delusion, or messianic tendencies.
Depending on aspects to personal planets or horoscopic placements, individuals born under the influence of Pluto approach their lives with a sense of both passion and will, qualities that can either lift them to the heights of creativity and spiritual achievement or plummet them into depths of anger or despair.
One of the major challenges for any predictively-oriented astrologer is being able to pinpoint not just the meaning of an emerging pattern but its timing. If one's approach to prediction chiefly involves working with transits, that usually includes looking at the dates when those aspects are exact by degree, or what some call partile.
But station points can play a pivotal role in refining these interpretations. For instance, suppose Saturn is squaring a client's natal Sun over the course of a given year. The ephemeris or computerized 'hit-list' might show that this square will be exact three times during that year. But as often as not, you'll discover that the most important manifestations of that aspect won't occur when the aspect is exact, but at other times before, during, or after those precise dates. That's because the Sun/Saturn square can be triggered along the way by other, secondary factors, such as eclipses, transits from the other planets - or, as we'll now see, station points.
For instance, over the course of that client's year, Saturn will be stationary at various times while crossing over that exact square point, inching a little ahead or behind each time. Every one of those stationary periods will activate that Saturn/Sun square in a powerful way. As a result, what might have seemed at first glance to be three exact trigger points can actually prove to be five or even more triggers (especially if one includes the station points on either side of that square zone). In short, rather than simply noting the key times when the transit is exact, it's vital to pay attention to the station points associated with that entire period. Each one will provide further clues into the unfolding drama represented by that transit.
Along with that, station points can also play a role in what I call the "sneak preview" effect, by providing us with an early glimpse into impending trends long before they happen. To illustrate this, let's remain with our example of the client experiencing a transiting Saturn squaring their Sun. Long before that aspect becomes exact, Saturn will have slowly inched forward and backward through the zodiac, like the ebb and flow of a tide, while making its way towards the partile point. Every time it stops to change directions, those station points will activate that impending square, and thus serve as early 'windows' into what will likely happen more fully later on. In the case of our Saturn/Sun client, they could start seeing problems crop up at work, such as difficulties with their boss or an increased workload. If so, that will suggest that the exact square further down the road will likewise be work-related - or possibly even indicate a danger of getting fired or laid-off. Armed with that knowledge, the client can take necessary precautions by being more careful on the job - or even making contingency plans for alternate employment possibilities.
1. My thanks to the late Goswami Kriyananda for suggesting the “branding iron” analogy regarding station points.
2. If you wish to study planetary stations in horoscopes but don’t have a hardbound ephemeris on hand, there are several good ones available online for free. My personal favorites are those which feature color-coding to make the retrogradation periods more visible (like the one offered at Michael R. Meyer’s helpful site www.khaldea.com/ephemcenter.shtml).
3. When studying a stationing planet in someone’s chart it’s also important to note whether it is the ruler of the Ascendant, Sun, or Moon sign, since that makes its impact more pronounced. For that matter, any house ruled by a stationing planet will assume greater importance in someone’s life. Of course, it’s also important to consider whether the stationing planet is retrograde or direct, since that will color its expression in other ways.
4. Besides his notoriety as an outspoken religious and political figure, Louis Farrakahn hails from an unusually diverse background that mirrors the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction trine the Sun in his natal chart. As a child, he was an expert violin player and had played with the Boston Civic Symphony by the age of 13, and in 1946 was one of the first black performers to appear (and win an award) on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour. In the 1950s he began a professional music career recording several calypso albums under the name of “The Charmer,” with one of his songs appearing on the top 100 Billboard chart for five years in a row.
5. Also, J.S. Bach composed what is arguably one of the most ‘Plutonian’ works in the annals of classical music – the famed Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor. Listen to any recording of this classic work and notice how its descending bass lines evoke the cavernous depths of the psyche in an almost Phantom of the Opera-like manner, while paradoxically hinting at the highest spiritual impulses as well.
6. Bill Wyman is a fascinating example of Pluto’s influence in a number of ways. Besides providing the thumping bass lines for many of the Rolling Stones’ greatest hits, Wyman has also enjoyed a hobby as an amateur archeologist, even designing and marketing a patented “Bill Wyman signature metal detector” that’s been used to find ancient relics in the English countryside. Wyman also gained notoriety for his offstage bedroom exploits, admitting to affairs with nearly a thousand women over the course of his career.
22-May-2018, 16:14 UT/GMT
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