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Planetary Stations and Working with them

In most astrological ephemerides and almanacs, there is a section detailing planetary stations. If you look in an ephemeris, you can occasionally see an R or D with a planet on certain days. What are those and how can you use them?

Our solar system consists of the sun with the planets revolving around the sun. We live upon the Earth, which revolves around the sun. The Earth has a satellite, called the Moon which revolves around the Earth. To observers on Earth, it is not apparent that all this revolves around the sun. That wasn't discovered until around 1514. Because we are revolving around the sun, along with the other planets, it creates an optical illusion, retrograde motion. This occurs when a planet in the sky appears to first slow, then stop and then move backward against the stars. After a time it will again slow, stop and then begin to move forward again. The Sun and Moon never retrograde. All the other planets do.

An analogy is that of two cars on a highway. Both are moving forward, but one is moving faster than the other. The faster one appears to overtake the slower. If you view the cars against the background, the slower car would seem to be moving backward relative to the background. Also we cannot see the curved orbits of the planets, we only see them against the relatively immobile starry background. So Mercury and Venus, which revolve around the sun inside Earth's orbit, only seem to be moving back and forth relative to the sun.

The degrees where a planet turns retrograde (R or Rx) and also turns direct (D), are sensitized degrees. Rather than just passing over that particular degree, the planet actually stops and changes direction there. So that degree is given an extra hit of energy by that planet. It energizes that degree in a way that is similar to an eclipse. The days a planet stations (either retrogrades or turns direct) are high energy days, similar to eclipse days.

How can we take advantage of these energies? First and easiest is to note the days of these stations. They are emphasized. Things which happen on those days or within a day or two may become prominent or important. Like eclipses they intensify action, and it is best to keep to routine as much as possible, unless you want chaos, change and unexpected surprises, good or bad. The planet is changing gears and the things that the planet rules are about to change direction and focus.

The planet with the most frequent and shortest retrograde period is Mercury. Every four months or so (about three times a year) Mercury stations, goes backward for about three weeks, then stations and moves forward again until the next retrograde. Mercury being the planet of everyday communications and short travel, it can disrupt mail, telephone and cars. It's a good time to get to tasks you have been putting off until a rainy day, clean out closets, answer correspondence that has been piling up etc. It isn't a good time to start anything new, sign any contract, or buy a car or computer.  It can cause weird computer problems that clear up after Mercury goes direct. Try to avoid installing new software or a new computer system while Mercury is retrograde. You will be happier with your system in the long run if you wait. Really.

This illustrates the next way to use retrogrades. While each planet is retrograde, its energies are turned inward. You can't see its effects that well, but you can sure feel them. It is also a good time to catch up on old matters in relation to that planet. The outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, retrograde four to five months each year. Their retrograde periods aren't as big a deal as Mercury, Venus and Mars, but they have an effect nonetheless. Retrograde in general tends to rule anything which starts with re- Restart, renew, recall, renovate, recreate etc. The concept of doing over or reviewing is in tune with retrograde energies. If you want to reinforce a spell, use a retrograde period for the planet that rules the matter. Or just Mercury retrograde in general. The things ruled by that planet may not operate as smoothly during retrograde periods, but unexpected ideas, applications and correspondences may spring up. What retrogrades do is offer opportunities to go over, review and change what we have done. We can take a rest, look back, re-evaluate, see what worked and what didn't and then think about plans for the future. Wait for the direct motion to do new things. Retrograde is for finishing up old business.

Keep track of which planets are retrograde, and you can modify your activities accordingly. At the very least, watch out for those days when planets station. I have found they are usually chaotic, rarely go pleasantly, and anything started or signed on those days is screwed up, flawed, or requires some massive changes and revisions.

Third: track stations with respect to your personal horoscope. Just as an eclipse conjunct  or opposite a planet or point (within three degrees) energizes and highlights it, the house it's in and the matters and house(s) it rules, so will a station. If Venus stations on your Moon, watch out for romance, some sort of sentimental dealings with your mother, a friend from the past, an ex-spouse etc. to come into your life around the time of the station. The timing may be within a week either side of the station, but something will be highlighted. Find which houses in your natal chart are ruled by the Moon (Cancer) and Venus (Taurus and Libra) in your chart. Matters pertaining to those houses will also be highlighted. The three outermost planets, Uranus Neptune and Pluto have more subtle and less dramatic effect when they station. That's because they move slowly, and retrograde longer, around five months. Just their passage over a degree is enough to cause change. With the station degrees themselves, look only to Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn for dramatic effects.

The stations of Venus and Mars were considered important in the ancient world. Venus stations roughly every 17 months for about 6 weeks. Mars stations roughly every 25 1/2 months for about 2 1/3 months, the least frequent station. People born with retrograde planets, especially Mercury, Venus and/or Mars see the world a bit differently, from inside out so to speak. Retrograde placements in a natal chart can also indicate karmic issues and lessons brought from past lives. A chart with no retrograde planets (less common than it seems) shows a person starting life with a clean slate. But they also have trouble with introspection and retrospection. Times when there are five or more planets retrograde (rare) are times of cosmic looking back, and when people should think about the past and where it can lead us, rather then just blithely moving forward. Take time during retrogrades to sit down and think about things, reflect and evaluate.

Doing work with past lives, history, research, psychometry etc. can be enhanced during a retrograde, especially Mercury. Doing a working to get in touch with the lessons you need to learn, done during a time a retrograde planet in your natal chart is retrograde in the sky (not even in the same degree or sign) can give insight into those issues.

Fourth you can track the entire retrograde cycle. This can manifest in several ways. First as tracking the cycle of the planet from one direct station through station and retrograde to the next direct station or one specific retrograde cycle. Second, you can track each planet as it moves around the entire zodiac from Aries to Pisces and back to Aries, but for Uranus and beyond, that may be more than a lifetime's work. Third, you can track a specific retrograde cycle. This starts before the retrograde station when the planet reaches the degree it will eventually go direct (you have to look ahead), through the slowing of motion, to the retrograde degree, back through the retrograde period, through the direct station and ends when the planet reaches the degree it started retrograde at. I'll Illustrate with Mercury. On January 20, 2001 Mercury hits 15AQ26, the degree of the direct station, it then slows and turns retrograde on February 4, at 0PI47. Then it retrogrades back and makes the direct station on February 25 at 15AQ26. Then it moves forward and hits 0PI47 on March 17, 2001. So the whole cycle lasts about two months. The actual retrograde period is only three weeks, but the cycle is longer than that. With the outer planets this cycle can last the greater portion of a year.

Retrograde is a part of the natural cycle of the planets as we experience them living on Earth. Start becoming aware of retrogrades, and see how their energies work with your magickal activities.

Blessed Be.

Stations 2005-2012

Dates are for North America (If using UT (Greenwich mean time) The station may be listed on the following day. North America is 4-10 hours behind UT. Continental US is 5-8 hours behind, 4-7 hours during daylight saving time)

Jupiter retrograde 2/1/05 R18 Libra

Mercury retrograde 3/19/05 R14 Aries

Saturn direct 3/21/05 D20 Cancer

Pluto retrograde 3/26/05 R24 Sagittarius

Neptune retrograde 5/19/05 R17 Aquarius

Jupiter direct 6/5/05 D8 Libra

Uranus retrograde 6/14/05 R10 Pisces

Mercury retrograde 7/22/05 R20 Leo

Mercury direct 8/15/05 D8 Leo

Pluto direct 9/2/05 D21 Sagittarius

Mars retrograde 10/1/05 R23 Taurus

Neptune direct 10/26/05 D14 Aquarius

Mercury retrograde 11/13-14/05 R10 Sagittarius

Uranus direct 11/15/05 D6 Pisces

Saturn retrograde 11/22/05 R11 Leo

Mercury direct 12/3/05 D24 Scorpio

Mars direct 12/9/05 D8 Taurus

Venus retrograde 12/24/05 R1 Aquarius

Venus direct 2/3/06 D16 Capricorn

Mercury retrograde 3/2/06 R26 Pisces

Jupiter retrograde 3/4/06 R18 Scorpio

Mercury direct 3/25/06 D13 Pisces

Pluto retrograde 3/29/06 R26 Sagittarius

Saturn direct4/5/06 D4 Leo

Neptune retrograde 5/22/06 R19 Aquarius

Uranus retrograde 6/19/06R14 Pisces

Mercury retrograde 7/4/06 R1 Leo

Jupiter direct 7/6/06 D8 Scorpio

Mercury direct 7/28/06 D21 Cancer

Pluto direct 9/4/06 D24 Sagittarius

Mercury retrograde 10/28/06 R25 Scorpio

Neptune direct 10/29/06 D17 Aquarius

Mercury direct 11/17/06 D9 Scorpio

Uranus direct 11/20/06 D10 Pisces

Saturn retrograde 12/5/06 R25 Leo

Mercury retrograde 2/13/07 R10 Pisces

Mercury direct 3/7/07 D25 Aquarius

Pluto retrograde 3/31/07 R28 Sagittarius

Jupiter retrograde 4/5/07 R19 Sagittarius

Saturn direct 4/19/07 D18 Leo

Neptune retrograde 5/24/07 R22 Aquarius

Mercury retrograde 6/15/07 R11 Cancer

Uranus retrograde 6/23/07 R18 Pisces

Venus retrograde 7/27/07 R2 Virgo

Jupiter direct 8/6/07 D9 Sagittarius

Pluto direct 9/7/07 D26 Sagittarius

Venus direct 9/8/07 D16 Leo

Mercury retrograde 10/11/07 R9 Scorpio

Neptune direct 10/31/07 D19 Aquarius

Mercury direct 12/1/07 D23 Libra

Mars retrograde 11/15/07 R12 Cancer

Uranus direct 11/24/07 D14 Pisces

Saturn retrograde 12/19/07 R8 Virgo

Pluto enters Capricorn 1/25/08

Mercury retrograde 1/28/08 R23 Aquarius

Mars direct 1/30/08 D24 Gemini

Mercury direct 2/18/08 D8 Aquarius

Pluto retrograde 4/2/08 R1 Capricorn

Saturn direct 5/2/08 D1 Virgo

Jupiter retrograde 5/9/08 R22 Capricorn

Mercury retrograde 5/26/08 R21 Gemini

Neptune retrograde 5/26/08 R24 Aquarius

Mercury direct 6/19/08 D12 Gemini

Pluto retrogrades back into Sagittarius 6/13/08

Uranus retrograde 6/27/08 22 Pisces

Jupiter direct 9/7/08 D12 Capricorn

Pluto direct 9/8/08 D28 Sagittarius

Mercury retrograde 9/24/08 R22 Libra

Mercury direct 10/15/08 D7 Libra

Neptune direct 11/2/08 D21 Aquarius

Pluto enters Capricorn (for many years) 11/26/08

Uranus direct 11/27/08 D18 Pisces

Saturn retrograde 12/31/08 R21 Virgo

Mercury retrograde 1/11/09 R7 Aquarius

Mercury direct 2/1/09 D21 Capricorn

Venus retrograde 3/6/09 R15 Aries

Pluto retrograde 4/4/09 R3Capricorn

Venus direct 4/17/09 D29 Pisces

Mercury retrograde 5/6-7/09 R1 Gemini

Saturn direct 5/17/09 D14 Virgo

Neptune retrograde 5/28/09R 26 Aquarius

Mercury direct 5/30/09 D22 Taurus

Jupiter retrograde 6/15/09 R27 Aquarius

Uranus retrograde 7/1/09 R26 Pisces

Mercury retrograde 9/6/09 R6 Libra

Pluto direct 9/11/09 D0 Capricorn

Mercury direct 9/29/09 D21 Virgo

Jupiter direct 10/13/09 D17 Aquarius

Neptune direct 11/4/09 D23 Aquarius

Uranus direct 12/1/09 D22 Pisces

Mars retrograde 12/20/09 R19 Leo

Mercury retrograde 12/26/09 R21 Capricorn

Saturn retrograde 1/13/10 R4 Libra

Mercury direct 1/15/10 D5 Capricorn

Mars direct 3/10/10 D0 Leo

Pluto retrograde 4/7/10 R5 Capricorn

Mercury retrograde 4/17/10 R12 Taurus

Mercury direct 5/11/10 D2 Taurus

Uranus enters Aries 5/27/10

Saturn direct 5/30/10 D27 Virgo

Neptune retrograde 5/31/10 R28 Aquarius

Uranus retrograde 7/5/10 R0 Aries

Jupiter retrograde 7/23/10 R3 Aries

Uranus retrogrades back into Pisces 8/13/10

Mercury retrograde 8/20/10 R19 Virgo

Mercury direct 9/12/10 D5 Virgo

Pluto direct 9/14/10 D2 Capricorn

Venus retrograde 10/8/10 R13 Scorpio

Neptune direct 11/7/10 D25 Aquarius

Venus direct 11/18/10 D27 Libra

Jupiter direct 11/18/10 D23 Pisces

Uranus direct 12/5/10 D26 Pisces

Mercury retrograde 12/10/10 R5 Capricorn

Mercury direct 12/30/10 D19 Sagittarius

Saturn retrograde 1/26/11 R17 Libra

Uranus enters Aries 3/12/11 (for many years)

Mercury retrograde 3/30/11 R24 Aries

Neptune enters Pisces 4/4/11

Pluto retrograde 4/9/11 R7 Capricorn

Mercury direct 4/23/11 D12 Aries

Neptune retrograde 6/3/11 R0 Pisces

Saturn direct 6/12/11 D10 Libra

Uranus retrograde 7/10/11 R4 Aries

Mercury retrograde 8/2/11 R1 Virgo

Neptune retrogrades back into Aquarius 8/5/11

Mercury direct 8/26/11 D18 Leo

Jupiter retrograde 8/30/11 R10 Taurus

Pluto direct 9/16/11 D4 Capricorn

Neptune direct 11/9/11 D28 Aquarius

Mercury retrograde 11/24/11 R20 Sagittarius

Uranus direct 12/10/11 D0 Aries

Mercury direct 12/13/11 D3 Sagittarius

Jupiter direct 12/25/11 D0 Taurus

Mars retrograde 1/23/12 R23 Virgo

Neptune enters Pisces 2/3/12 (for many years)

Saturn retrograde 2/7/12 R29 Libra

Mercury retrograde 3/12/12 R6 Aries

Mercury direct 4/4/12 D23 Pisces

Pluto retrograde 4/10/12 R9 Capricorn

Mars direct 4/13/12 D3 Virgo

Venus retrograde 5/15/12 R23 Gemini

Neptune retrograde 6/4/12R 3 Pisces

Venus transits Sun 6/6/12 15 Gemini (inferior conjunction—a BIG DEAL in the Mayan calendar)

Saturn direct 6/25/12 D22 Libra

Venus direct 6/27/12 D7 Gemini

Uranus retrograde 7/13/12 R8 Aries

Mercury retrograde 7/14/12 R12 Leo

Mercury direct 8/7-8/12 D1 Leo

Pluto direct 9/18/12 D6 Capricorn

Jupiter retrograde 10/4/12 R16 Gemini

Mercury retrograde 11/6/12 R4 Sagittarius

Neptune direct 11/11/12 D0 Pisces

Mercury direct 11/26/12 D18 Scorpio

Uranus direct 12/13/12 D4 Aries

12/24/12 supposedly the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. But unless you are a Mayan, it probably will continue anyhow.  It’s just their equivalent of a new millennium. That’s all.

© 1999, 2005 Estelle Daniels, all rights reserved.

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Article index

The Age of Aquarius

Alternative Sabbats

Auntie Estelle's Predictions for the Millennium

Basic Electional Astrology

Basic Qabala

BBS, Cyberspace and Privacy

Ceremonial Magick


Choosing Divination

Cord Magick


Dressing Kabbalistically

Eclipses, why are they such a big deal?

Ethical Garage Saling

Finding Magickal Tools

The Future of Witchcraft

House Shields

I Ching
Initiation Instant Circle Know Your Gods Know Yourself Kwan Yin, Mother of Mercy LBRP
Magical Ethics for Teens

Magick in the Workplace

Magickal Timing Tools

Mars Close Encounter

Mercury Retrograde

Modern Magic Carpets

Moon/Mercury Aspects and Psychic Ability

Moon Phase Timing

Moon Spells and Lunar Correspondences

Parents and Wicca

Planetary Hours

Planetary Stations

Psychic Attack

Psychic Manipulation

The REAL Millennium

Tarot Meditations

To Know, To Will, To Dare and to Keep Silent

Void-of-Course Moon

What is Divination?

Why a Circle?

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