Most modern astrologers, when interpreting a horoscope, consider the planets’ natal positions in terms of their longitudes, meaning, and where they’re located on the 360-degree tropical zodiac. Some astrologers also consider a planet’s declination, which is its latitude, or its location by degrees north or south of the equator. This perspective provides an entirely new dimension to interpretations, or what might be called the missing half of astrology. Paul F. Newman brings this missing half into the light with his Declinations in Astrology, The Steps of the Sun.
Getting a conceptual picture of declinations can be a bit of a challenge, since the equator and ecliptic are two great circles made from intersecting planes with the sphere of the Earth. Basically, the zodiac is centered on the ecliptic, which is the path the Sun takes on its annual trek. The ecliptic is different from the equator, which is the line around the middle of our Earth separating the northern and southern hemispheres. While the Sun is always right on the ecliptic by definition, the other planets may be north or south of the ecliptic, and usually within 23 degrees of the equator.
A planet’s declination is given as a number of degrees and minutes, plus “N” or “S” to denote whether the planet is north or south of the equator. Two planets in the same declination are said to be parallel, and this condition is said to be similar in power and meaning to the conjunction. Two planets in the same degree, but one north and the other south, are said to be contraparallel, and this one is like an opposition. Declinations in Astrology covers this basic geometry, and unveils the unheralded significance of declinations in chart interpretation. In this system, some degrees are more interesting than others, notably zero and when planets go out of bounds (OOB). When a planet is at the zero degree, it’s in the process of moving from the northern hemisphere into the southern, or vice versa. The author explains that these planets “represent energies bursting to manifest on the earth plane.” OOB planets are those that have moved beyond the most northern or southern declination of the Sun, which is 23º26′. Planets in these regions are outside of the boss’s control (the Sun’s control), and they tend to be wild and unrestrained. The fascinating relevancy of planets near the zero line and those that are out of bounds is fleshed out through case studies.
What’s particularly intriguing about these individual charts is that they represent the creative personalities that reflect the value of declinations for a zeitgeist, for the cultural trends of the time. These artists, writers, and actors who appear in a pioneering TV show, a novel, or some other popular medium, carry the astrological message of a planet at the zero point, or one that’s out of bounds. Perhaps the story of Neptune on the zero line best illustrates the author’s technique. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Neptune was at 22ºN. Neptune drifted south until it reached 22ºS in the mid-1980s. Over the course of this movement, it was within one degree of the zero point (the acceptable orb) between November 1942 and June 1946. This obviously corresponds to World War II in a very precise manner, and is interpreted as “collective ideals forced into the light, clashing and changing.” Then, Newman describes a movie called Cat People which was first released on December 6, 1942 and symbolically resonates with Neptune on the zero line. In this story a woman metamorphoses into a wild jaguar when her emotions are significantly aroused. This becomes problematic when she gets married, since being intimate could make her change, and then she might tear her husband to pieces. She goes to see a psychiatrist, and from there the plot thickens…. This classic film noir shows how Neptune – or any planet on the zero line – has qualities that are close to the surface and cannot be ignored.
In a section called Out of Bounds Tales, we find out how the first public showing of Steamboat Willie portrays an OOB Moon, Venus, and Mars, and makes Mickey Mouse an archetypal hero. Walt Disney’s horoscope also features an OOB Mars, giving him the same kind of zany martial traits as Mickey. Disney’s Venus and Jupiter are precisely parallel, giving him an abundance of artistic creativity, and since these planets are also parallel his Sun, he personally evolves and grows by identifying with this creative side.
Also in this section is a discussion of the avenging hero, who masks himself so he can act more freely. These heroes include The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Lone Ranger, and Batman. The Lone Ranger’s TV premier was on September 19, 1949 when the Moon and Uranus were OOB. The Moon OOB is often present when the public is emotionally moved by a film or character. Uranus OOB shows the radical nature of the hero, who acts outside of the law but for the sake of truth and justice. Readers will have fun connecting the dots between OOB and zero point planets with the many celebrity profiles and first-run charts provided in the narrative.
Declinations in Astrology also includes the study of antiscia, which is where vital points are discovered by mirroring planets along the solstice line. And you’ll get a deeper understanding of first magnitude stars by seeing how their declinations empower or weaken their status. Want to know if you or perhaps someone you know will be famous? The answer is in the planetary connections to specific stars, and you’ll find the technique and the stars in this pioneering book.