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Declination in Astrology - I

Italian astrologer and my friend, Tania Daniels is one of the authoritative figures in the astrological community as far the astronomical concepts are concerned and declination is her forte! My endless conversations with her about declination and other astronomical ideas, instilled the inquisitiveness in me to explore astrological techniques with a refined understanding of astronomy. Having said, I am always a work in progress!


Declination is the measure of the distance of the planets above and below the celestial equator. From a geocentric standpoint, the Sun’s journey is perceived through the equinoxes and solstices where the declination of the Sun is 0° at Aries (spring equinox), 23° at Cancer (Summer Solstice), 0° at Libra (Autumn equinox) and 23° at Capricorn (Winter solstice).

The apparent path of the Sun ranges from 23° North and South of the equator which is the maximum declination degrees of the Sun. While the Sun’s path ranges between those points, other planets go beyond the 23° north or south point and when they do, they are termed as Out of Bounds. Paul Newman, in his book, Declination in Astrology says, “Out of bounds planets are wild and unrestrained. Their energy is extreme, uncontrollable, vulnerable, independent, awkward, extraordinary, privileged and creative”.

Generally, this is viewed as a modern idea but I don’t believe it to be so. In fact, declination itself is considered to be a modern idea erroneously by a part of the community but it has played a major role in major conceptualisation of the astrological techniques. The 4th century Indian astrologer, Varaha Mihira mentioned that a conjunction should be judged by considering the declination of the bodies in conjunction.

Parallels, Conjunctions & Contra-parallels

As astrologers, we are familiar with the planetary conjunction which is basically when two or more planets are placed in the same zodiac longitude. When the planets are placed in the same degree of declination, they are considered to be Parallel and it is considered similar to planetary conjunction.

Two planets placed in the same zodiacal longitude may be way off in declination degrees and two planets in the same declination degrees may be way off in zodiacal longitude. So, it is very obvious that a conjunction is very powerful when the planets are in conjunction by zodiacal longitude and by declination.

When two planets are placed in the same declination degree of one sign but in opposite hemispheres, it’s called Contraparallels. Generally, this is treated as zodiacal opposition but I am not sure about it because of an inherent conjunction. When the planets are placed at opposite hemispheres by declination, the result of the conjunction might show both the extremes of such a zodiacal conjunction but there is no logical way of this position functioning like an opposition.

Example chart

We will take a look at an example to understand declination with Adolf Hitler’s chart. Please note that this is strictly astrological.

With Virgo rising, Hitler had an Out of bound Mars in the 10th house of the day chart which straightaway describes his terrible period as a dictator of Nazi Germany. It is noteworthy that Mars is placed very early in the sign and it is actually not so potent despite its position in the angular 10th house. Mars rules the 3rd and 8th houses which are the houses of longevity. However, if you notice the chart closely by checking the declination, it is not so surprising to understand the astrological background of the terror this man unleashed from 1941-1945 claiming millions of lives. The AC is squaring Mars by whole sign and is in an exact square with Saturn and not to miss the whole sign opposition of Saturn and Mars. Another interesting point to note is that the AC in the bounds of Mars in Virgo.

Primary Directions

The rule of thumb in primary directions is that symbolically each degree on the Equator (measured in Right Ascension) that crosses the MC is equivalent to one year of life. Because it takes almost 4 minutes for one equatorial degree to pass over the MC, every 4 minutes of ordinary clock time added to the birth time advances the chart by about one year of life in Ptolemy’s system of primary directions.

Holocaust has a history and an origin that we can go back to but the main thing began in 1941 after Germany invaded Russia in June 1941. By this time, Hitler was 52 years and 2 months old. To have the primary directed chart, we need to multiply 52.16667 by 3.9604 (midpoint of Ptolemy & Naivod also proposed by Anthony Louis: I call this the AL key), we get 205.109956 minutes. If we advance 206.6 minutes to the birth time which is 18:30 hours, we get 21:57 as the directed birth time. Below is the directed chart.

In the directed chart, we see that the AC is towards the end of Libra in the bounds of Venus as of June 1941. However, the directed AC is just about to enter Scorpio into the bounds of Mars which is a very descriptive of what would happen between 1941-1945. In a very hasty decision of invading Russia, Hitler scripted his own downfall just when Mars was about the become the time lord by Primary Directions.

Declination is really an effective layer of chart reading in astrology which most of us are blind to and this is a very rich area to research, present and study. I hope to include Declination as part of my chart analysis henceforth and I will try to write more on Declinations in the future.

Deeclination image source: Wikipedia

Let peace be!

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