How to add a further dimension to planetary aspects

Italian version

Using standard astrological techniques, when we want to define the position of a planet in a zodiac chart, we consider its ecliptic geocentric longitude value or its apparent annual movement along the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Another reference system, the equatorial one, is based on the celestial projection of the Earth’s rotation plane using two reference coordinates. They are right ascension – the angular distance of a point measured on the equator to the east from the vernal equinox – and declination – the angular distance of a point north or south of the equator. These values, which make it possible to pinpoint the position of a celestial body uniquely, are analogous to the geographic longitude and latitude used to identify a place on the Earth’s surface.

On the other hand, using the longitude of the ecliptic exclusively, we have the planet’s position to the zodiacal constellations, but not its exact placement in the sky. Let’s go back to the geographic reference system. In that case, it is as if we were trying to identify Rome on the globe by considering only the longitude value when we also find Venice and Copenhagen on roughly the same meridian. So, for example, when we say that the Moon and Mercury are conjunct at 15 degrees of Libra, we assume we see them paired in the sky, but in reality, they could be as distant as two cities on the same meridian but not on the exact parallel. Therefore, the declination aspects introduce a second dimension that allows us to uniquely define the position of the planets on the celestial sphere, allowing us to detail some parts of the astrology interpretation.

Two planets are parallel when they have the same declination (north or south) with a maximum deviation of about one degree. They are contraparallel when they have the same declination but one north and one south of the equator. Due to the obliquity of the ecliptic to the Earth’s rotation plane, the maximum declination aspect is 23 ° 45 ‘north or south. However, the planets do not regularly lie on the ecliptic plane but can deviate from it by some degrees (up to 17 ° for Pluto); this implies that, by adopting the equatorial reference system, the planets can exceed the maximum declination. When this happens, the planet is marked as OOB (out-of-bound), indicating a particular dynamic reflected in the theme’s analysis.

Declination aspects in astrology recent history

The declination aspects do not seem to have aroused the interest of ancient authors, unlike the parallels of latitude (the north and south height of the planets to the ecliptic plane). In the nineteenth century, a proponent such as Zadkiel (born Richard James Morrison, an English astrologer known for his Zadkiel’s Almanac) advocated extensive use of declination parallels, considering them even more potent in their effects than the classical aspects of the conjunction. The Belgian astrologer Gustave-Lambert Brahy, the founder of the Revue Belge d’Astrologie in 1926, says that these aspects can explain the stock market, economic fluctuations and (as far as slow planets are concerned) significant historical events. For the author, the upper planet in declination dominates the lower one, and the inversion of the relationships leads to the change of dynamics [1]. For the German H. Freiherr Von Klöckler, the influence of the declination aspects appears extremely doubtful, without prejudice to the potential effectiveness of the Moon’s parallel with the other planets [2]. Some authors use the data in the theme of synastry, considering that these aspects reinforce the values ​​of co-dependence in the relationship. In general, the feeling that one gets from it is that the topic arouses an intense enthusiasm or, on the contrary, a cautious indifference in the community of astrologers as if it were two different worlds that hardly meet.

Declination aspects interpretation

We can assimilate the parallel aspect to the conjunction on the ecliptic and the contraparallel to an opposition; at least, that’s what most proponents of the method claim. However, combining different representation systems (ecliptic and the equatorial in this case) presents risks unless their respective scope can be precisely defined.

The planetary aspects on the ecliptic plane are closely linked to the zodiacal symbolism. The planet in the sign specifies how its function is integrated into the zodiac. On an archetypal level, the zodiac represents our consciousness in its twelve manifestations linked to the seasonal cycle: the physical, soul and mental model we come into the world.

The planet in declination aspect, on the other hand, expresses an extra-zodiacal reality, outside the meaning of a personality reflected in the larger macrocosmic whole. It is as if the planet were playing alone, free from the constraints of the individuality it represents, becoming an impersonal force of destiny that weaves the web of events undisturbed. In this sense, the parallel aspects would help discover those gifts, talents, apical events and negativity (in the case of the contraparallels) that are difficult to contextualise in the “horizontal” relationship given by the zodiacal longitude. The “vertical” symbolism of the parallel aspect is like a look at the powers of destiny, an exit from the individual microcosm to savour the planetary influence in its pure state.

In the case of an out-of-bound planet, we can expect it to provide the individual with a tendency not to accept limits, developing an incredible creative potential in the context of the symbolism of the reference planet. Or, in its negative expression, an unstable or abnormal behaviour if confronted on society’s standard parameters.