Parallel of declination is usually explained as one of aspects. If the term 'aspect' is defined as the path two planets affect each other, it is not wrong to regard parallel of declination as one kind of aspects. However, I think parallel of declination is different from other aspects, semi-square, sextile, square, trine, quincunx, opposition, etc. because celestial equator is a different circle from the ecliptic. Consequently its quality of effect should be different from other aspects. Everything and everyone we meet on this earth is represented by one of the twelve houses - in other words, they are indicated by ecliptic coordinate, longitude. And, in my opinion, planet's degrees of declination indicates strength and weakness of its effect.
Concerning the degrees of declination, I classify it into three; 1) over 23.5° North, 2) over 23.5° South, 3) 0°. Needless to say, "23.5°" is the obliquity of the ecliptic. For example, in a natal chart, if the Moon is over 23.5° North, the native's mother has great influence on the native, at least, who was born on the Northern Hemisphere, and vice versa. Some modern astrologers say that Pluto is exalted in Leo. Being a traditional artist, I can hardly approve of it, however, it can be explained by its degrees of declination. Pluto reached at its maximum degrees in the northern declination in 1947, and Pluto was in Leo at that time. So, I think Pluto had just showed its strong influence by being at its maximum degrees of declination, not by having any dignity in Leo.
Practitioners of I-ching play sekifu (shooting occulted item) as recreation or training, that is, a person writes a name of material, like as 'desk' on a piece of paper, hides it in his pocket, and gives some hint, then others guess it by I-ching - it is an elegant game. I have tried sekifu by means of astrology for many times, and found the planets being at 0 degree of declination was remarkable in the chart. I feel that it is similar to a planet being in the same degrees as the Dragon's Head. For example, when the questioner said "animal, eatable", Jupiter was at 0°S and the answer was 'whale'.
Some astrologers say parallel of declination has intense effects and is similar to conjunction. I do not agree with them and I think its effect is not so great as major aspects but it has latent effects. For instance, in 1946 there were many rape and murder cases in Japan, it was signified in the spring equinox chart, Venus SQR Mars, Moon SQR Pluto. The murderer was arrested, he confessed that he had raped and killed women since 1945. The spring equinox chart of 1945 does not have obvious signification but the Moon was parallel to Uranus, so I can see the effect of parallel is latent. And besides, if parallel is strong as conjunction, the cases must have been known by the public in 1945, not in 1946. I have many examples like this.
Ivy M. Goldstein-Jacobson seems to have regarded parallel of declination as major aspect. She says, "The conjunction and parallel are always good, bringing two significators together to conclude the matter." ( Simplified Horary Astrology, p.79 )
"Even if the Moon is void of course but is parallel Fortuna, she still will bring the matter to perfection." ( ibid., p.80 )
"Even when the Moon makes no aspect at all except the parallel to Fortuna it will save her from being void of course. The chart then is not only usable, but may be the best assurance of success in the matter." ( ibid., p.116 )
As I mentioned above, parallel of declination is not a major aspect. She presented two example charts of void of the course the Moon but parallel to the Fortuna, "What is the matter with me?" at page 90, and "Election for a trip" at page 266. In both charts, the Moon is really void of course, however, the Moon is in its own sign Cancer or in the sign of Jupiter, Pisces. According to William Lilly, the Moon is not much impeded by being void of course when it is in Cancer, Taurus, Sagittarius, or Pisces. ( Christian Astrology, p.299 ) So the dangerous of the latter chart, starting a trip when void of course the Moon, is lessened, and both charts have good reasons to give answers as Jacobson mentioned even if the Moon was not being parallel to the Fortuna. I think it is proper to say that the Moon being parallel to the Fortuna is just a signification reinforcing other factors, not a signification that can give an affirmative answer by itself.
Is there any difference between parallel and contra-parallel? The answer varies among astrologers. In my experience, contra-parallel is obviously different from parallel (counter-parallel). In 1987 and 1988, I was seeking a new job, and applied for more than thirty companies. Some gave me notification of appointment, but others did not. I had recorded the date and time of my visit to those companies, then I erected and examined the charts carefully, and in five charts of failure I found Saturn was parallel (counter-parallel) to MC. On the other hand, it was successful when Saturn was contra-parallel to MC. ( Of course the success and failure can be explained by other significations too. ) This is also valid in horary charts when the querent asks about his/her job, for I have several examples. Observing natal and horary charts, I would say the counter-parallel conducts the influence of a planet to the other straightforwardly, the contra-parallel conversely. The reason that astrologers often confuse the contra-parallel with the counter-parallel may be that people tend to react positively to the influence of benefics just as we are apt to respond negatively to malefics.
As stated above, the parallel to the angles must not be overlooked, especially the parallel to the ascendant. As far as I observed natal charts, a planet being parallel to the ascendant seems to affect the native's temperament rather than his/her appearance. Here, too, the effect of parallels is latent as well as in mundane charts, it cannot be seen by the others.
Those who have studied Lilly's Christian Astrology may remember how he explained the difference between antiscion and contrantiscion. "... and as there are Antiscions, which of the good Planets we think are equall to a sextile or trine; so are there Contrantiscions, which we find to be of the nature of a square or opposition:" ( Christian Astrology, pp.91-92 ) This seems to be similar to what I mentioned the difference between counter-parallel and contra-parallel. In fact, I regard the antiscion as one kind of parallel. Ebertin says, "Some fixed stars are of very great declination from the ecliptic. ... Moreover, practice shows that this declination does not appear to matter at all." ( Fixed Stars and their Interpretation, p.11 ) I think this means that heavenly bodies act not only through their bodily place but also via their ecliptic intercepts, that is, the planet's declination and the declination of the intersection of the ecliptic and the perpendicular dropped from the planet. Therefore we can say that the planets are parallel of declination via the intersection of the ecliptic and the perpendicular dropped from them when one is at the antiscion of the other. Examining the charts carefully, I feel the antiscion is weaker than the parallel.
There are two reasons that so many astrologer overlook the parallel of declination, one is that the planets are often in conjunction or opposition when they are parallel or contra-parallel, so it is difficult to confirm the effect of parallel, the other is that planets' declination are not entered in some ephemeris. However, it is useful if one wish to delineate the charts precisely. Of course we should not forget that it can only visualize the picture more clearly than the longitudinal aspect alone depict, not strong as the longitudinal aspects.
1. Lilly, William. "Christian Astrology" Regulus. 1985 (3rd Ed.)
2. Goldstein-Jacobson, Ivy M. "Simplified Horary Astrology" 1961
3. Ebertin-Hoffman. "Fixed Stars and their Interpretation" A.F.A. 1971
4. Jayne, Charles A. "Parallels - their hidden meaning" Astrological Bureau. 1978 (2nd Ed.)
5. Keyes, King. "Parallels to Midheaven and Ascendant" A.F.A. 1979
6. Garret, Helen Adams. "Karma by Declination" 1992 (Revised Ed.)
© 1997 H. Shuseh Kokubu. All rights reserved.