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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Because of the planets’ differing speeds and orbits, they all appear at times to reverse their usual direction and go retrograde. On the day a planet reverses direction, as well as on the day it resumes its direct motion, it is said to be stationary because, against the background of the fixed stars, it appears to have paused in space. A planet that has paused before going retrograde is said to be stationary retrograde, while a planet pausing before going direct is said to be stationary direct. When a planet becomes stationary, it is said to take its station. The stationary period for each planet is regarded as being inversely proportional to the speed of its motion. Thus, for example, the period of Mercury’s station would be one day; Venus’s, two days; Mars’s, three days, and so forth (i.e., the slower a planet moves, the longer it tends to remain stationary).

In an astrological chart, stationary planets are usually indicated by a small “S” that appears at the lower right of the planet symbol. (Many astrologers use “SR” and “SD” to distinguish stationary retrograde from stationary direct.) Someone born when a planet was stationary will have that planet’s particular characteristics deeply engraved in her or his nature. For example, someone born when Mercury was stationary will mature into a highly mental person. With respect to transiting, the days that a planet is stationary are considered to be fortunate for the matters associated with the particular planet, although the interpretation varies according to whether the planet is going direct or retrograde. Thus, for example, the day Mercury is stationary direct would be good for embarking on a journey, while the day it is stationary retrograde would be good for beginning a meditative retreat. Some contemporary astrologers regard the points in a chart where planets take their stations as highly sensitive areas that should be watched when other planets transit them.


Bach, Eleanor. Astrology from A to Z: An Illustrated Source Book. New York: Philosophical Library, 1990.
Brau, Jean-Louis, Helen Weaver, and Allan Edmands. Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: New American Library, 1980.