Cosmic Talk
April 1998: Stationary and Retrograde Planets

This volume of Astrology Resources' publication focuses on the meaning and significance of stationing and retrograde planets. During the coming four months (May-Aug 1998) six of the transiting planets  (Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) will appear to station and then travel retrograde in the sky.  This article will define the meaning of stationing and retrograde planets and focus on the potential significance of this phenomenon to your own experience.

This paragraph is for those of you who are curious about what is meant by the terms, 'transiting,'  'station' and 'retrograde.'   Planets always move  forward in motion, but at particular intervals in time, from the perspective of earth,  it appears that a planet slows down and then stops
its movement in the sky.   This is referred to by astrologers as a planetary station.  A planetary station is made when a planet appears to
halt its movement..  If it appears from earth as if that planet then begins to move backward, we call this apparent movement retrograde motion and the station a retrograde station.  Again, the planet may appear to be moving backwards when viewed from earth.  What is really occurring is the variations of orbital speeds during certain times of the year and therefore it just appears that the planet is moving backwards through the sky.  When it appears from earth as if a planet is just beginning to move slowly forward again, that is referred to as direct motion and a station direct. The two *lights,* the Sun and Moon, do not form stations or appear to travel retrograde in the sky.  But Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto do.

Here's an analogy borrowed from astrologer, Demetra George, that may illustrate this point further.  If you are sitting in a stationary train
and another train speeds by, you may feel as if you are moving backwards and even experience a lurching sensation in your stomach.  In reality you have not moved, but the effect you experience is real.  In the same way, when a planet is moving retrograde at the time of your birth, you will experience that planetary function in a different way than if it was in direct motion at your time of birth.  Also, to clarify the meaning of the word 'transiting,'  a transiting planet refers to the planet's position by degree and constellation in the sky during the time period referenced.
Maybe you've heard folks say, "Transiting Pluto is wreaking havoc in my life right now!"  That would mean that the planet Pluto's current position
in the sky is making some sort of key contact with the person's birth chart.

Retrograde planets are considered to carry more *oomph* than a planet in direct motion.  The degree and constellation (i.e. which astrological sign) a planet  is in at the time it forms its station can be very significant to an individual if it links to key planets or houses in the natal or
progressed charts.  In this sense, stations carry the most 'oomph' of all.

When a planet is retrograde in its apparent motion at the time of a persons birth, we would say that he/she has a natal planet retrograde.  If you have a copy of your birth chart, retrograde planets are typically noted with an 'R' or 'Rx' beside them.  Some people have no retrograde planets natally, some have a few, others still have four or more.  Two retrograde planets is the average.

What is the effect of a natal planet that is retrograde?  Speaking from my own personal and professional experience, the one thing I can say for sure is that the energy of that planet is more pronounced than if it were direct.  If the planet is stationary at the time of birth, or at
significantly reduced speed, it is even more pronounced.  That is, retrograde and stationary natal planets function at the extreme ranges of
their expression.  Retrograde and stationary planets have heightened energy nd the state of retrogradation can alter or divert the energy of a planet from its normal expressions.  Why would this be so?  When a planet is retrograde it is actually closer to the earth.  This is why the planet's
energy is more pronounced.  This means its energy is more personal to the person who has it retrograde in the natal chart.  It can mean that it is difficult for the person to experience that planet's energies as separate from the self.  In this sense, it can be difficult to 'control' a
retrograde planet or experience its energies objectively.  It is easier both to objectify and to detach oneself from the energies of planets in
direct motion.

When a planet is stationary or retrograde at birth, the expression of that planet's energies are usually less obvious, less open, and much more
inwardly focused.  I've found that when the planet who rules the sign that the natal Sun, Moon, or Ascendant is in, the person may seem shy or be cautious in approaching new situations.  A person with four or more retrograde planets tends to be someone who  marches to their own drum beat.
When an astrologer does a forecast for a client, one very important aspect of that forecast involves looking into the future to see the positions the transiting planets are going to be moving through over a particular period of time, most commonly one year into the future.   The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars typically move quickly and make their 'aspects,' or make contact  with our natal planets for no more than a few hours (in the case of the moon) to a few days (in the case of Mars.)  But if Mercury, Venus or Mars forms a station while in contact to key points or planets in a person's natal chart, it can be quite significant.  Why is this so?  When a planet turns retrograde, it traverses a particular range of the zodiac for a sustained period of time.  As it moves backward, it will move through a portion of the zodiac it had already appeared to travel, and will do so again when it moves forward.  Therefore, if it is also contacting key points or planets in a persons natal chart, it is possible it will make that contact several times over the course of a month (with Mercury) up to several years (if the planets is Pluto.)

My Warmest Regards to you.
Terri McCartney
Practice random acts of kindness

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