2021: Turning Point

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we take a peek into the future as we examine the implications of Saturn in Aquarius square with Uranus in Taurus, an aspect set to dominate the major talking points of 2021.

In this article I will look at the past history of this square, its potential implications in the modern era and its significance for individuals, especially those born under a Fixed sign (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius) or with a strong emphasis in those signs. It should also be understood that although the major points in this crisis occur in 2021, we are already seeing its early effects this year with the arrival of Saturn into Aquarius.


Firstly it will be helpful to gain some context from history so we will begin by looking at the previous instances of this square in the last millennium. Squares between Uranus and Saturn will occur twice every 35 years or so, resulting in a massive amount of data where the pattern will be very difficult to discern and overall more general in nature. For more specific information that is likely to be more revealing we should instead study the instances of squares between these two planets when Saturn is in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus.

When we do this we find that there were only two instances of this in the last thousand years, and they were separated by less than a century. The first of these took part in the latter half of 1432 and the second longer square covers most of 1522 and the first months of 1523. Because astrological influences often take time to manifest their impact in human terms, especially when the planets concerned are slow like these two, we need to look at what happens just after these periods as well as what happens during them and it can also help us to see what was going on just beforehand. We therefore need to look at the 1430s and 1520s.

Before we do that however it’s worth pausing to consider this information from a magical perspective, because it indicates that whatever is coming is karmically connected to human activity in the early 15th and 16th centuries. Collectively and individually we will be dealing with that again, in a modern form, whatever it happens to be. Its echoes are reaching us. Yet in this case many centuries have passed and so we can certainly expect this manifestation of the square to take on a new form even though we will see similar themes.

These two previous instances of this square can be considered a pairing of sorts, a first and second Act of a larger story, if you like. However the upcoming square of 2021 does not have a partner about 100 years in our future – the next time Uranus is in Taurus and Saturn is in Aquarius, Uranus leaves Taurus for Gemini before completing the square. So one thing that differentiates what is coming from what has been before is it will be a more isolated and singular development focused very strongly on the early to mid 2020s.

Before looking at the events from history it is also helpful to initially take note of the general nature of the aspect concerned so that we have something to expect or look for. Saturn – Uranus aspects are about re-organisation and restructuring of order and the emergence of breakthrough ideas and inventions, often motivated by severe necessity (i.e. the need to invent something becomes so pressing that someone actually does it and it changes the world). This aspect implies a struggle or conflict between freedom (Uranus) and order (Saturn) and the arrival of a moment in which the hold of authority is seen to tighten but ultimately fracture or crumble. It does not have an easy energy, there is pressure and irritability and an urge to overturn rules and topple icons of the past. It implies an upset of the implicit order, whatever that is. The apple carts are overturned. There is a rumor of things being lost or given up so that things can go in new directions – a whisper of sacrifice, and in darker forms, of atrocity, particularly against the downtrodden or repressed. Inventions and discoveries connected with a Taurus/Aquarius kind of square involve information technology, tradition reformation, things with very big economic impacts and things connected with Earth or Sky lore (geography, labour, cartography, farming, agriculture, flight, space/cosmos, etc).

I will return to this topic for a deeper dive later, but we do indeed see all of these themes being given major highlights in the historical record, as the following shows.

The 1432 Squares

In the second half of the year 1432 Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus formed two exact squares, one on July 22 and one on October 23. These two squares took place in the first 4 degrees of the signs and were the final squares of five between Saturn and Uranus, but the previous three squares had taken place with Saturn in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries. The square begins to gather strength in May 1432 and by the end of 1432 the square is separating rapidly, but a slow aspect like this shows itself for several years afterward as the impact of it in the minds of people gets translated into actions. This is also generally true of all things connected to Saturn. So we can expect to see some significant events connected to this aspect taking place in the latter half of 1432 as well as leading up to it (in 1430-31) and following it (in the mid to late 1430s).

The first thing that leaps out from the historical record in this period is the trial and martyrdom of Joan of Arc. A national hero of France and a popular cultural figure, Joan claim to have received visions from God that led her to take the side of France in military campaigns against the English. She was captured in the spring of 1430 and put on trial in 1431 accused of heresy including trumped up charges of cross dressing (she was wearing boys clothing to protect her from rape while in prison, since the clothing could not be ripped off, or because her dress had been taken from her by guards). She was burned at the stake aged 19 for this ‘heresy’ on 30 May 1431, less than two months before the first exact square (which took place with Saturn in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries).

On a grander political scale this period also sees the coronation of Henry VI of England as King of France at Notre Dame (December 16 1431), a ceremony taken in response to the earlier coronation of Charles VII as the French king. Henry is just 10 years old having succeeded to the throne at only 9 months of age, the youngest ever person to do so, and with his coronation as King of France he became the only king to be crowned in both France and England. The expense of the two coronations, one in England and one in France, causes an economic crisis for his country in 1432.

There’s one incalculably significant thing from the historical record in this period, but it comes later than 1432, although the exact dating is mysterious. This is the invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg sometime in the late 1430s or possibly in 1440. The mystery is that we don’t know how long he was working on the idea and it’s possible that this is the point at which it initially occurred to him to build the device. Legend has it that the notion came to him in a flash and if that is true rather than apocryphal then this would be a good candidate for when it occurs. This is the arrival of the modern book with all that it brings, the dawn of the information age and the engine that will enable the Renaissance. At the time of its arrival however, the book was somewhat redundant since very few people knew how to read. Gutenberg ended up with hundreds of copies of his bible and only a handful of people locally who could read them. It would take several decades of change in literacy before the true power of the book would begin to manifest itself. In the meantime however book production centred on Venice where ships took copies printed on Gutenberg’s “marvelous machine” all around the world. In this respect the 1430s were the last decade of a world where written scripts were precious items which, once lost, were gone forever. It is impossible to measure the massive change in human experience that this invention caused. It is arguably the most important invention after the plough and the birth of agriculture.

The 1522 Squares

These squares took place in the later degrees of Taurus/Aquarius, covering the last decan of both signs and focusing the square onto 21° and 25 – 26°. They began to grow strong in March 1521 and faded away around February of 1523.

This brings us into the dawn of the Reformation and the influence of Martin Luther. This is another era where the impact on modern times is huge. Luther, excommunicated in 1521 for pamphlets he was mass producing, now challenged the orthodoxy of the Catholic Church and won, causing it to significantly split for the first time in its 1500 year history. This fracturing of the Popes former absolute monopoly of power over spiritual and mundane matters soon led to further fragmentations such as the various Protestant groups and the Church of England. Luther criticized the Catholic church for its use of indulgences (‘get out of hell free’ cards that the Vatican sold when important and wealthy people sinned) and emphasised a faith in Jesus as the way to salvation (rather than good works) as well as the concept of a ‘priesthood of all believers’ to take the place of authoritarian figures like cardinals and popes. The Protestant Reformation was a media revolution made possible by Gutenberg’s printing press, directly tying the second square to the first, a hundred years prior. Luther’s translation of the Bible into German provided one of the turning points in the development of mass literacy.

Also in this period Catholic Spain conquers all of the Aztecs, wiping them out with deception, plague and warfare (including cannons, guns and horses). Cortes lands his expedition force in 1519 and by 1521 the great city of Tenochtitlan, estimated to be home to a quarter of a million people, had been completely destroyed. Many statues and other religious icons were destroyed and replaced with Christian ones, the Aztec people who remained were banished from the site and the Spanish began building what came to be Mexico City on top of the misery, bone and blood. Montezuma II, one of the last Aztec rulers, had been given a warning by a great seer named Nezahualpilli in 1410 and had been warned that cities would be destroyed in a few years and omens would follow to prove this true. These omens (at least 8) did indeed follow in the next decade and included Montezuma II seeing the stars of Taurus and images of fighting men riding ‘on the backs of animals resembling deer’ in a magic mirror made from the crown of a bird.

A third event from this period is also significant, this being that on September 8 1522 the voyage began by Magellan in 1519 completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth, a voyage of just under 3 years. Magellan himself did not survive the trip, having been killed in 1521 by natives in Guam (where he was trying to convert them to Catholicism). In fact most of what did leave in 1519 did not make it around the globe – 15 of 265 men and only one of five ships returned. The voyage was plagued by scurvy, storms, battles, mutiny, and a lack of preparation – Magellan thought once the Pacific side of the Americas was reached it would take only a few days before reaching Asia, but it took almost 4 months and about 30 men died. It was actually following this exhausting journey that Magellan died on the shores of Guam. A 16th century maritime map also show that Portuguese seafarer Christopher de Mendonca first sailed into Botany Bay in this period, adding Australia to the maps 250 years before Cook.


The 2021 Squares

Now we must get into a time machine and take a dizzying journey almost 500 years into the future before we find another instance of Saturn in Aquarius square with Uranus in Taurus. Before speculating on what this might signify I will lay out the lifetime of the squares to come.

With Uranus in Taurus since 2019 the squares really began in late March of this year with Saturn’s ingress into Aquarius, the sign from which it naturally squares Taurus, but they do not start to grow strong until December of this year and then reach three peaks in 2021, one in mid February, one in mid June and a final one in the last week of December. The energy of these squares hangs around as processing, repercussion and consequence throughout all of 2022 before finally fading away as 2023 begins. It will then ‘sink in’ as it were over this decade and the next. This square is mostly emphasising the second decan (with the last two peaks at 13° and 11°) but the first peak is in the first decan (like the 1430 squares) at 7°.

So we can expect Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus to be a dominant force in world events of 2021, to continue to play out over all of 2022, and to have established its major impacts by 2023. However, it is going to take many years for the collective awareness to process whatever it is bringing, as this is always the case with major aspects, and in this processing other manifestations can still emerge, most of which will be in the 2020s.

With some reflection on the historical record we see some interesting possibilities. In both the war against the Aztecs and the story of Joan of Arc we see an unlikely pair of tales both of which have as their central theme a vulnerable figure struggling against an invader and a more powerful enemy and eventually being completely and horribly crushed. The conviction with which both cleave to their spiritual beliefs in the face of annihilation is both admirable and a key factor in their tragic destruction. In Gutenberg we see the emergence of a world changing machine and some powerful consequences of it a hundred years later in the Martin Luther story. Martin Luther is another rebel with spiritual convictions, but what sets him apart from both Joan and the Aztecs and possibly enables him to evade their miserable fates is the power of media. Despite persecutions he succeeds in resisting the authority he is kicking against and while it is not destroyed it is forever changed and its monopoly over western spirituality is ended. The dissemination of his ideas and the inability of the Catholic authorities to stop them from being spread throughout Europe and the world is probably the key which secures his success rather than failure.

Cortez, Joan, Magellan, Luther and to an extent Gutenberg all became popular and enduring cultural icons, figures who show up often in film, literature, music, and many other arts, in the case of Joan of Arc she became a national treasure. So another thing they have in common is that these squares bring out individuals and characters whose influence and image lasts not just for a lifetime or two, but many centuries. In the case of Luther and Gutenberg that influence is still extremely powerful. They impact the status quo in radical ways, leaving it irreversibly altered for the future. We can’t seem to escape their influence.

Notice that in the historical examples regardless of the outcome it is an unpleasant and difficult process filled with conflict, sacrifice and danger. We see this in the burning of Joan of Arc as well as in the genocide of the Aztecs and the struggle of Luther as well as in the circumnavigation of the globe and the economic consequences of trying to unite rulership of England and France with two coronations. Once we understand that there was once a world in which such a thing was not possible, the idea of anyone being able to put their ideas into print and spread them was also quite terrifying in its time. The edginess of all these events and the struggle and conflict involved in them are all indicators that we are dealing with a square aspect. Like their geometric namesakes squares signify sharp turning points, and the events of a Saturn/Uranus square are significant turning points which affect the structure of societies and governing bodies of people. If we take the printing press, the invasion of South America, the discovery of Australia and the circumnavigation of the world together, then they can also all be seen as key developments towards a broader theme of globalization.

Another key theme is direct challenge to authority or schisms within its ranks – Joan of Arc and Luther are obvious examples, but Gutenbergs machine was also a threat to scholarly authorities like the monastic orders and universities who until then had a monopoly over knowledge. Additionally if we see things from the Aztec point of view their line of rulers was being challenged and ultimately were extinguished.

Following the murder of George Floyd a few months ago large numbers of people in the United States felt that the time had come to topple statues of historical figures connected to the oppression of black people and people of colour. The Washington Redskins recently dropped the Redskins from their name and are currently known as the Washington Football Team until a new name is chosen. I’ve already written last month about how Aunt Jemima is being retired. These changes to names and acceptable icons have the stamp of Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus all over them. It’s very likely that 2021 will see more of this happening in other places as well as in America. While they appear to be cosmetic they are actually significant because they represent a deeper change within the psyche of people who have completely lost their tolerance for what they represent, a sign that the Saturn/Uranus squares will be deeply racial in their focus and will lead to some kind of radical face-lift of nations and societies.

The idea that in spirit every human being is born equal to every other human being (Saturn in Aquarius) clashes with the mundane reality that individuals are born into different circumstances with a dizzying variety of different advantages and disadvantages (Uranus in Taurus). Squares between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus are tense affairs where necessity meets with hard, practical facts and realities – sure, everyone in the village must have enough food to survive through the winter, but the harvest was ruined by lightning storms. Sure, you have the same potential to make a difference as everyone else, but not if you are a black lesbian or just any person in poverty. This conflict breeds the necessity for radical and far-reaching ideas which bring systemic change to the future. It is one of the core challenges of this square.

In this case what I think we are seeing already is the rapid buildup of the internet into a major economic force as a result of the pandemic crisis, and this crisis will be a stimulus to not only the movement of human activity online and to scientific and technological development such as 5 and later 6G as well as potentially Q-bits but also to every aspect of human life. The book, after almost 600 years, is being phased out as the way we form repositories of knowledge. 2021 is the year in which the internet finally comes of age. We have been living through its infancy for the last 30 years, and now the child is emerging. The hope of many of course, is that it will mature and begin to show more of its adult potential. That is going to be up to us to determine throughout this decade. The argument over what the rules should be, the lines on the battle map in terms of who gets control over this, are going to become reinforced and energized by this square.

We are in for something of a struggle for control over a new paradigm, that much is clear. Authority never goes willingly, and as the fate of Joan and the Aztecs shows, sometimes this square means curtains for resistance. But what you stand for matters, and if you truly believe human society is going in the wrong direction then you have a moral duty to all future generations to resist it. I suspect and hope that at least part of what happens under the square will involve people becoming restless about the environmental change we are all experiencing. We have seen what happens to the air and the water when it is left alone to repair itself. Perhaps 2021 will be a year in which human beings wake up to the necessity of radical change in our attitude collectively towards the resources of this planet. Certainly this aspect carries that potential with it.

The pandemic may have more to do with all of this then seems at first glance. Whether or not it does come back this year or next year, certainly the threat of it coming back will be there and this threat may be what the Saturn/Uranus square is primarily about. Alongside the debates about the internet, the future of crowds, travel and racism in society we are likely to hear talk about the future of globalisation – a reliance on global trade is a disaster when national borders have to be closed. Economies will have to learn to transition to local or national models, like a backup system, and they will need to do this quickly and smoothly. It’s also true that a large number of these outbreaks could be prevented if we only learn to treat animals with love and respect – our farming practices are deeply unhealthy and in my view inhumane and inhuman, but from a bacterial standpoint they are a paradise.

Food and basic supply shortages, interruptions and irregularities are a Uranus in Taurus theme and the square with Saturn in Aquarius may see this as a headline story at some point in 2021. This may well be pandemic related but could also happen as a result of a Brexit fallout. Politically we also cannot ignore the upcoming November election in the United States which looks set to be contested unless the result is extremely clear. The disastrous prospect of history repeating itself in the form of two presidents instead of two kings (and then also two ‘coronations’) is waiting in the wings. Only a landslide result that is indisputable appears able to avert this outcome, and even that is in doubt. The pandemic reaches into this potential too, not only because it is a major political issue (yet only one in this incredible year) but because it is likely to ignite the politics of postal voting and also because it is going to force a delay in the counting, which gives room for all kinds of shenanigans. It seems very likely to me that this square will have a lot to do with the upheaval that is going to be happening to the United States over the next two or three years as a result of its first Pluto return. The United States is the face of leading authority in the world and its position is rapidly eroding, so these squares could be the significant turning point in that. Of course, this begs the question of where authority will land next, and I do not think these squares provide that answer, so if that is to come we are entering a kind of limbo in that respect.

On this note it’s worth considering that in the last 5-600 years the overall centre of authority in world affairs has slipped out of the hands of the religious and into the hands of the scientific. Since the scientific paradigm is now the dominant paradigm, it might also be that the new Luther is within the scientific community and not the religious community. We may be looking at a period in which the news from science and technology is of a breakthrough nature in which the old paradigm is significantly and meaningfully revised. This might be a kind of Reformation period for science, a fracturing of the authority held by mainstream thinkers by a wave of new thinkers. However, since there is no equivalent to a Pope in the scientific community it will be harder for this kind of Reformation to focus itself.

One dark horse I’ve had my eye on for many years which is finally breaking through into mainstream awareness is the UFO phenomena. It may have escaped your notice in all the mayhem but the question of whether these things actually exist has now been resolved. The Pentagon has released video from trained pilots along with an admission that it has been studying what it calls UAP’s (unidentified aerial phenomena) since at least 2007. An organisation composed of government insiders including Dr. Hal Puthoff, Chris Mellon, Luis Elizodo and former Lockheed Skunk works director Steve Justice has emerged calling itself TTSA (To The Stars Academy) which “collects documents and physical materials from public and private sources related to the UAP phenomena to study it and then transitions the transformative technologies behind it to wider applications of public benefit.” They claim to have in their possession physical pieces of craft that have been recovered and to be in the process of investigating them. On top of this, a massive leak has occurred involving former Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency, Vice Admiral Thomas R. Wilson. This leak concerns the secret study of captured craft “made by non-human hands” under legally protected corporate projects which Wilson was denied access to when he became curious, then furious. This leak is well documented yet has not yet broken through into mainstream media, but it’s only a matter of time before someone picks it up. Since all of this is actually already happening and since both breakthrough technology and flight are connected to this square (Durer designed the first flying machine in 1522, according to my research), there is also a genuine possibility that something connected with this will be the reality breaking news of 2021. We may also see a renewed effort to venture into space.

A square between Saturn and Uranus (which will occur twice approximately every 35 to 40 years) is a major turning point in our culture as new technologies and ideas make direct impacts. The previous three squares between these two planets (disregarding signs) took place in 1952 (the atomic age, the electric guitar and Rock and Roll, electrical household items), 1976 (the electronics era, synthesisers and punk, the first commercial home computers) and 1999/2000 (the internet age, the ‘millennium bug’ scare and techno). There is an energising and enlivening power in every square and in this case that power tends to push us forward into a new mini era, a generational zone in which life looks very different to the way it used to. What could be expected in 2021? Potentially, robotic intelligence could take off with 5G – we may be moving out of the era of smart devices and into the era of smart homes and buildings, a very different world in which we have relationships with the personality of our fridges and conversations with our bathrooms. In other words our relationship to solid, material things (Taurus) is set to come alive with intelligence and opinion (Aquarius).

There is also a strong current of defiance to this square, a protesting, rebellious energy driving it to overthrow shackles and obstructions to freedom of expression. Just a couple of years or so after the 1952 squares we arrive at the civil rights protest movement and the story of Rosa Parks. In the mid-70s we find ourselves in the middle of the women’s rights and gay rights movements. In 1999 there was the so-called “Battle of Seattle”, a massive series of protests against the WTO and globalisation which were met by two battalions of the National Guard, ultimately forcing the media to report on why anyone would oppose the WTO, thereby framing the anti-globalisation argument as a mainstream concern for the first time. So there is clearly a spirit of defiance in Saturn/Uranus squares but it really has to be careful about how it handles this motivation because it could get out of control very easily. It can get overtaken by the need to change something, everything, without having any kind of thought through plan to replace it with. This results only in chaos and confusion. Under this square movements for change often suffer from a lack of leadership or cohesive organization.


Glad you got here.

While we will all have to deal with whatever changes this square is about to bring, some of us will also be dealing with it on a more personal level. Really, anyone with anything significant happening in their birth chart in the first half of either Taurus or Aquarius are the primary group here. Next to them is anyone with anything in the first half of either Leo or Scorpio. If we go by Sun sign alone, then that’s everyone who has a birthday in any of the following times of year:

Late January or early February (Aquarius)
Late April or early May (Taurus)
Late July or early August (Leo)
Late October or early November (Scorpio)

Of special interest to the square this time are people with planets at specific degrees of Taurus or Aquarius, namely 7°, 11° or 13°. If you have a key that matches one of these degrees, then you are having a Saturn or Uranus activation of that key in 2021. This activation will strongly pick up the square between Saturn and Uranus, especially if the activated object is in a square with something else in your natal chart. Additionally anyone with their Sun sign at 7°, 11° or 13° of any Fixed–Stable sign (or near to it) will get a strong dose of this square in 2021. The birthdays of those people are as follows:

January 28th, February 1st, February 3rd (Aquarius birthdays)
April 27th, May 1st, May 4th (Taurus birthdays)
July 30th, August 3rd, August 5th (Leo birthdays)
October 30th, November 3rd, November 5th (Scorpio birthdays)

(If your birthday is up to 4 days away from these dates you should also expect a pretty strong dose of the square during 2021).

The general influence of this square on individual people is that it creates pressure and tension around a need or desire for lasting change in their lives. While the rest of us are coping with the collective turning point of 2021 these people will also be going through a mirror version in their personal lives. They actually have the most to gain of all of us going forward, but only if they go with the flow, not if they resist it. This means working with the need for changes of direction in the long term course of their lives. The people with the most again from this square are those people born on the above days who are ready and willing to engage in such change. For them, this is potentially the breakthrough year they may have been waiting a long time for.

Being more specific than that is very difficult without looking at someone’s chart but we can say that the Taurus people and the Aquarius people mentioned above have to related but quite different experiences. For the Taurus people or Taurus keys the influence of Uranus will have been making them feel quite restless for a number of years already. These people currently fall into two camps, one that is sick and tired of the same old and is ready to rethink and restructure things and the other who is having a much more difficult time trying to hold onto the status quo. If you are a Taurus person you want to be in the first camp, the one trying to move onto to new pastures. This applies to you even if you are not noticing any great changes in your life or any need for it at this point – that just means it’s coming in the next few years.

That said, the problem of 2021 is that for the Taurus people or keys who are ready for change and wanting it, Saturn is throwing some unexpected spanners in the works and slowing them down or possibly just jamming it completely for a period of time, while for those who are resisting change and trying to hold onto the status quo Saturn is hard at work crumbling it from within. In both cases the intent is to concentrate attention on what is really working and will continue to in future and this probably means cutting out of your life things which are extraneous to that or just impractical now that you are moving on. It’s a pruning period in which blockages to growth must be gradually phased out.

While the Taurus people are grappling with the need to make radical changes, the Aquarius people and keys are grappling with the need to come down to earth in crazy and often frustrating circumstances. A perhaps unusually serious, somber and sober mood has become the order of the day for them since Saturn entered this sign early this year – and if we know anything about Aquarius its that it is a very people oriented sign keen on mixing with as much variety of humanity as possible while retaining its independence, and 2020 has not been a good year for either of those things. Since I doubt the trouble and threat of a pandemic is going to go away anytime soon I imagine that the social scene of 2021 is also overshadowed by the square in a way that is difficult for these people to bear, especially as they have to endure more and more of it. Some Aquarian people are extremely serious in nature rather than the “kooky”, “weird”, “avant-garde” types that modern astrology associates with the sign more frequently. These people may actually be suffering from depression in 2021 as their naturally sombre outlook on the future takes on more gravity.

Regardless, the activation of Aquarius keys by Saturn will be calling for the invention of new rules and moral principles as well as a sober concentration of mental focus, but the square from Uranus in Taurus will continually shake up any ideas so that there is prologued indecision that breeds nervousness and fear. From the Aquarius perspective this square brings over-complications and extremely confusing decisions which can only be overcome with maturity, time and patience. For the more experimental Aquarian people this square brings some experiments to an abrupt end because there is a need to narrow down the focus, while for the more sober and serious ones the lesson is in not being so earthbound that it smothers their future options.

The other two Fixed/Stable signs, Leo and Scorpio, are not being directly interacted with by this square but they are still powerfully affected by it. This difference often manifests in things happening around them rather than to them, things they need to act on. So while the Taurus and Aquarius among us has things going on that are changing it, the Leo and Scorpio in us is dealing with the direct conseqences of those changes happening around us, often experiencing it in the changing behaviour of others rather than changes in our circumstances.

A delicate balance between freedom and responsibility must always be struck in squares between Saturn and Uranus. Humanity must continuously evolve out of the paradigms that bind it. At the same time it must understand the consequences of the choices it makes on the future. Squares between these two planets are moments in which we must make an unavoidable choice, turn a corner left or right onto a committed path that leads in one direction or another. We look back at the past and try to judge which way to go now. Once we have made that turning, the momentum carries us forward and is nigh impossible to break.

That, in a nutshell, is where we all stand in 2021. From an astrological perspective it is only the beginning of a decade that will herald unprecedented change, but the choices we make now will determine the hand we have to play with for the rest of the century.

Occult Aspects I

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month and next I am continuing the loose Neptune theme of the last few months with a post on the connections between planets which are not visible in the birth chart. We will also look at the astrology of Amelia Earhart, David Bowie, William Faulkner and Anne Frank. 


Fair warning – the techniques outlined in these two messages are more suitable for students of astrology at an intermediate or advanced level of study. For beginners these techniques could not only be confusing but also overwhelming because they yield more detail to an already complicated and detailed situation. Essentially we will be looking at the birth chart using a microscope to see some of the cellular structure or the wiring under the board. Understanding these articles is also helped by an understanding of mathematics and geometry, although in the modern world computers make the labour in this unnecessary. That said, however, beginners in astrology can still benefit from learning about these techniques – you may be one of the few who just gets it straight away, or you may just file it away and look at it again at a later point, as I did.

Both of these messages, this one and next months, will explore ways in which the objects (planets and Lights) in the birth chart can be connected to one another in ways which are not immediately readable from looking at the chart itself. They are also an advanced course in the topic of astrological aspects. We might term this entire field ‘occult aspects’ because they are aspects hidden from view as far as looking at a chart is concerned. This month I will talk about declination and the importance of parallel and contra-parallel aspects.


To begin with it helps to identify what declination is by reflecting on the following – most people know that the Moon goes around the Earth about once every 28 days, giving rise to our word month. It’s also widely known that during that time there will be a period when it is filled with light as a Full Moon and a period when it can’t be seen at all, called the New Moon. The New Moon occurs when the Moon is in relatively the same position as the Sun in the sky, so she is not visible during the day because she is washed out by the sunlight nor is she visible by the night because she has descended below the horizon with the Sun. She has basically disappeared from view for a few days because she is very near to the Suns positioning in the heavens. It is also common knowledge that from time to time the disk of the Moon passes directly in front of the disk of the Sun, eerily covering it and giving rise to a total eclipse. The total eclipse of the Sun was one of the most fearsome and awe-inspiring occurrences in the skies of the ancient world and in early times it could create panic.

Fortunately, this was not a monthly occurrence! It is in fact comparatively rare, with most times that the Sun and Moon are in the same place in the sky being simple New Moons and not eclipses. The reason for this is that most times the Moon will be passing either above or below the Sun, not in front of it. In astrological and astronomical terminology this is called a difference in declination, a degree of distance north or south of the equator, projected into space. This celestial equator is a Great Circle around the Earth, and I will come back to it in a moment, for now its important to understand that this is different to the Great Circle of the ecliptic, which is the apparent path of the Sun through the sky over the course of a year (actually caused by us going around the Sun, so seeing different backdrops of stars behind it). The ecliptic is where we get our zodiac positions from, in other words it is the central column of the zodiac. The ecliptic circumnavigates the sky around the Earth through the 12 constellations that also inform the 12 signs of the zodiac, which are seasonal divisions measured from the twin equinoxes and twin solstices, the places on the ecliptic where the time of sunlight and day is equal, or at its zenith or nadir, compared to the time of darkness and night. These signs of the zodiac are named after the constellations, but they are not the same thing. They are instead 12 divisions of the year, 3 parts for each of 4 seasons, measured from the soltices and equinoxes. This is the tropical zodiac used in western astrology, the sidereal zodiac uses the constellations instead, however both zodiacs arise from and are centred upon the Great Circle of the ecliptic.

Although we draw the zodiac from this ecliptic ring formed by the annual passage of the Sun against the backdrop of the stars (in the sidereal zodiac) or the seasonal rhythm of light and darkness, growth and decay that this delineates through the year (in the tropical zodiac), the solar system is a highly complex organism composed of interlocking cycles (including orbits, rotations on axes and boundaries between light and dark), and this is not easily represented on a piece of parchment or paper. As an example, the three dimensional ‘donut’ shape of the zodiacs ring is ‘squished’ and loses its three dimensional form when it is pressed into a two dimensional birth chart. The donut becomes a flat circle. Simply put, we can no longer see if the Moon is above or below the Sun when there is a New Moon. In fact, we can’t see this kind of relationship for any of the objects in the chart, because they have all been pressed down into a circular ring when they were once sprinkled throughout a three dimensional torus. Objects which once had a height in the sky have all been compressed and thus lost their distinctions by height.

Working with declination is how we restore this dimension to our work with the chart. Declination is a measurement of distance north or south of the celestial equator, which as I stated above is simply the equator of the Earth extended into space, forming another Great Circle. Declination is sometimes expressed as a plus or minus value instead of a north and south value respectively and it is measured in latitude, not longitude like the positions of objects in the zodiac is. Depending on when and where you are viewing it from, the Sun can be anywhere between 23°28’N latitude of the equator, or 23°28’S latitude of it (it can go very slightly over this number as it’s not exactly precise, but it is never further than 24° N or S). These are the boundaries on either side of the equator that we call the tropics, named for Cancer and Capricorn because these are the tropical zodiac signs that the Sun enters when it reaches them. If we also extend the tropics into space like the equator, the Sun never climbs higher north or south of these two tropical rings. During the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun enters the sign of Cancer, it is at 23°28’N declination, which is as high as it can get in the northern hemisphere. It is the height of summer. During the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere the Sun is 23°28’S declination, entering the sign of Capricorn, and as low as it can get in the sky in the northern hemisphere. It is the depths of winter. During the equinoxes (day and night equal) the Sun is entering Aries (start of spring) or Libra (start of autumn) and crossing the celestial equator, switching hemispheres and heading towards the extreme north or south of its travels, the solstices. It will be at 0° of declination. The southern hemisphere keeps to the same timing (it shares the equinoxes and solstices with the north) but the seasons are switched with their opposites – winter to summer and vice versa and autumn to spring and vice versa.

Visually what this means is that the Earth has a donut shaped ring around its middle within which (from the surface of our planet) the Sun can be visible and it will never climb higher or lower than the edges of this torus. The apparent path of the Sun when viewed from Earth – the ecliptic – will always be within this torus. So the Great Circle of the ecliptic can be 23°28’ above or below the Great Circle of the celestial equator, but never more than this. We can imagine this as a donut shape within which (looking out) the ring of the ecliptic is threaded like a string or a strand of spaghetti, following the path of the Sun, and it is moving up and down from the middle band of the donut over the course of a year, forming a spiral as the Sun moves from top to bottom as well as around the inside. From the outside, it looks like this (all images in this article should expand when clicked):


Essentially, from Earth the Sun has a boundary or region in the sky beyond which it cannot pass unless the tilt of the Earth is itself catastrophically changed, or (even worse) we are knocked out of orbit. However every other object – including the Moon – is free to pass this boundary of 23°28, north or south, but most of the time they won’t do so as their orbits around the Sun are pretty much on the same plane in the solar system. The Moon is the most likely to range beyond the Suns boundaries in the sky because it is going around the Earth and not around the Sun. In other words, most of the orbits around the Sun are like the rings on a vinyl record, one which is only slightly warped. This means they are more often than not inside the 23°28’ (23.4°) boundaries, north or south – although their declination can be different from the Suns, they will still frequently be within the same zone that the Sun is confined to. This also means they generally only pass through the same backdrop of constellations that the Sun passes through, the main 12 of which are the zodiac constellations. These 12 constellations are therefore the Suns celestial family, for it never visits the other major constellations that shine beyond the zone it lives in, or only touches their edges. For example, there is no zodiac sign for Ursa, the Bear, because the Sun is never seen in the constellation of the Great Bear, it’s way too far north of the celestial equator. This is a manifestation of the Solar Logos, the body and intelligence of the Sun expressed as a celestial being. It defines the zodiac as the primary evolutionary coding of conscious life on this planet, the astral family of this life. Light from all of this family is within each thing that is born and lives here, animate and inanimate.



This being understood, when two objects in the sky are in the same hemisphere (i.e. both are north of the celestial equator or both are south of it) and they are at the same declination or within 1° of one another by declination, then they are parallel to one another in the sky.This parallel relationship, which cannot be seen in the birth chart, is closest to a conjunction aspect in nature because it joins the two planets together and unifies them in some way, they are on parallel tracks of flight like two birds in the sky. We can think of planets in parallel as being in a kind of invisible conjunction, no matter if in the birth chart they are in a conjunction, trine, square, or any other aspect, or not in aspect at all. If these two objects are in a conjunction in the chart, however, the parallel between them will serve to intensify and scale up the effect of that conjunction, putting an ! over it similar to the emphasis produced by placing the conjunction on an angle like the ascendant or midheaven. This is because if you were to look at it in the sky a parallel conjunction is an exact occultation between the two objects (like an eclipse) with the nearer object passing in front of the more distant object. It really looks like a conjunction in the sky when you look at it, because the two objects are occupying the same position relative to the view from Earth. In a non-parallel conjunction the objects will be separated because one will be above the other in the sky.

Take a look at this birth chart for Amelia Earhart, below.


Note the close conjunction between the Moon and Pluto in Gemini (the sign of traveling). They are in a conjunction, with only 3° of separation. You might think they were next to one another, until you look at the declination. This is shown in the box in the top left corner below the breakdown of the Elements and Modes. After the symbol and name of the object (Moon, Sun etc.) there is a column showing its position in the zodiac (longitude) and the column next to that is the column for its declination. There you can see that the Moons declination is listed as +26° while the declination for Pluto is listed as +12°. This means they are in a conjunction but they are not parallel. When you look at it in the sky it looks like this:


The thick white line in this image near the bottom is the celestial equator. The blue line curving around the top of the picture with the tropical zodiac signs on it is the ecliptic, the path of the Sun. Notice that, even though they are both positioned on the relatively same point of that curved blue line, the Moon is about twice as far away from the thick white line of the celestial equator as Pluto is – in terms of distance from that white line, Pluto lies about halfway between it and the Moon. That’s a considerable distance when you look at it visually. It means that she has a close conjunction of the Moon in Pluto but that it is not parallel. It’s a regular conjunction.

Compare this to the chart for David Bowie, where the Moon and Pluto are both in Leo (the sign of the entertainer) but there is a gap of 9° separating them – probably still a potent conjunction, especially given the presence of Saturn forming a bridge between them, but not one that would be especially strong without Saturn.


Until you look at declination. In this chart I have put a red circle around the declination data, in case you had trouble finding it. There you see that both the Moon and Pluto are a +23°. They are parallel. When you look at this in the sky this chart looks like this:

Bowie MoonPlu.JPG

First, notice the distance between the Moon and Pluto. That is the space of 9° between them in the zodiac, which is measured along the ecliptic, the blue line that bisects the image from left to right, passing through Regulus. Now notice the celestial equator in the bottom left portion of the picture, the thick white line. When you measure the distance from the Moon to this line, and then measure the distance from Pluto to this line, they are about the same. That’s the parallel between them. Notice how Saturn is slightly closer to that white line. That’s because its declination is not +23° but instead +19°. This means that the conjunction between the Moon and Saturn is not a parallel conjunction, and nor is the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto. This creates two bridges between the Moon and Pluto in this chart, one which is formed by the connection by conjunction that they both have with Saturn, and one that is formed by their parallel with one another. A third connection between them is that they are all in Leo. A fourth is that all are in the constellation of the Crab, sometimes called the Cradle, or the Scarab. These stars are connected with rebirth and the reinvention of the soul. 

So what we call a conjunction is perhaps more properly referred to as an alignment, a close positioning relative to positioning on the Great Circle of the ecliptic, but not relative to the Great Circle of the celestial equator. A true visual conjunction is relative to both, and its called an occultation in astronomy and a parallel conjunction in astrology.

It’s worth stating again that objects in the sky can be in any aspect to one another or in no aspect at all, and still be in a parallel to one another. On its own a parallel relationship between two objects that have no other aspect with one another can usually be left out of discussion if time is a constraint. It only becomes powerfully significant if the nature of the parallel between the two planets somehow underscores a theme that is more obviously and strongly represented in the chart anyway, or is an issue at hand for the person because of transits or progressions. A parallel does have some important differences to a conjunction, though, and I will get to those. However, a conjunction and especially a close conjunction between two objects who are also parallel to one another is an exceedingly powerful conjunction that should be given extra weight in consideration of the chart as a whole. When you have a lot of conjunctions to consider, for example when you are dealing with a chart where there is a stellium, a multiple conjunction of four or more objects, then looking for parallels can help you to sort them and to focus on what really stands out. Later I will have more to say on how to interpret the different combinations. For now, we need to look at a mirror of the parallel.



The mirror image, reflection or opposite of parallel is when the two objects have the same declination (or within 1° of being at the same declination) but one is north (or positive in declination) while the other is south (or negative in declination). This means they will both be the same distance from the celestial equator, but on different sides of it. This is called contra–parallel. Again, planets do not have to be in an aspect for them to be contra-parallel, and they can also be in any aspect to one another in the zodiac. It is therefore possible for objects to be in a conjunction but also contra-parallel, or in a trine and contra-parallel, etc.

Here is an example of a contra-parallel conjunction from the chart of Nobel prize winning author William Faulkner. He was born with the Moon at 28° of Virgo (a writers sign) and Jupiter at 23° of Virgo, with Mercury between them at 26° of Virgo. All three of them are in a conjunction with one another. By declination the Moon is at -3° while Jupiter is at +3°. Mercury is at +0°, positioned precisely on the celestial equator. Here is how that looks in the sky.

Faulkner MooJup.JPG

Notice how the Moon and Jupiter are about the same distance away from the thick white line, the celestial equator, but on opposite sides, while Mercury is placed upon it. The Moon and Jupiter are in a contra-parallel conjunction, while Moon and Mercury and Jupiter and Mercury are in a simple conjunction which is not contra-parallel. Notice also that the Sun is centred on the ecliptic ‘(always, because it’s the Suns path) but is also not that far away (1° of declination) from the celestial equator – Faulkner was born just after the September equinox. The equinox occurs when the Suns path (the ecliptic) crosses the celestial equator, and we can see this in this picture because the path of the ecliptic (the blue line) has just intersected with the path of the celestial equator (the white line). We can also see that it is the September equinox rather than the March equinox because at the point where the intersection of these two circles occurs, the glyph for the sign of Libra appears on the ecliptic. A skilled astrologer or astronomer can read time as well as location from images of the sky, although location is harder to pinpoint.

To help you visualise all of this here is the same image zoomed out so that you can see all of one side of the Earth including the horizon line which divides the sky (the black area) from everything which is below it (the green area). It also shows the latitude and longitude lines (black coloured lines) used in map references.

Faulkner zoomout.JPG

The contra-parallel is most similar in nature to the opposition aspect. Therefore, an opposition aspect that is also contra-parallel is an extremely tight and powerful opposition that will become a major life task for the person who carries it with them. It will be a “true” opposition rather than just an opposition in the zodiac, because the objects will be on diametrically opposite sides of both the celestial equator and the ecliptic. If the orb between the two planets in opposition is very small or exact, then a contra-parallel between them will tighten the screws considerably, locking them into an opposed relationship. Again, from an interpretive standpoint the effect will be similar to having the opposition placed at one of the angles such as the ascendant or the midheaven, but with the twist that it can do it in any of the houses/temples. It will also become dominant over other oppositions which are not in a contra-parallel relationship.

Here is the chart of the famous and tragic diarist Anne Frank.


You can see that her Sun in Gemini is in opposition with her Saturn in Sagittarius, a sign of a sober spirit enduring hardships and burdens, but they are quite the distance apart with the Sun at 20° of Gemini and Saturn at 27° of Sagittarius. At 7°, the opposition should be fading out leaving her with more room to maneuver and less confinement. However, the declination of her Sun at +23° and her Saturn at -22° puts them in a contra-parallel relationship which, for practical purposes, seems to have completely negated that 7° of distance and made her life an archetypal example of the tragedy and hardship that Sun opposite Saturn can bring, while still showing us something positive about the human spirit in her philosophical musings and her sad, private words that have left a lasting legacy. Here are two images showing the contra-parallel opposition (two are required because the Sun and Saturn are literally on opposite sides of the globe).


In this first picture note the position of the Sun towards the upper left and its relative distance from the thick white line of the celestial equator below it. Also note the position of Uranus because it will be useful as a reference in the second image, below.


In this image the globe has been rotated but you can still see Uranus towards the top. More importantly you can now also see the position of Saturn in the lower right, about as far below the thick white line of the celestial equator as the Sun was above it in the previous image.

A couple more things before we move on – notice from the birth chart for Anne Frank that the declination of the Sun was +23°07’. Remember that I said that 23°28’ is the limit that it reaches from the celestial equator, and you will realise that Anne Frank was born a few days before a solstice. Additionally, you can tell that it is the June solstice, because the Sun is at +23, not -23, and so it is almost as far north as it can climb.

And, isn’t it incredible that the people of the ancient world had this all figured out, merely by observation and meticulous record keeping, often on stone tablets or hundreds of thousands of bits of dried out parchment or leaves? That they not only knew all of these things, but went to the incredible effort of building monuments like Stonehenge, Machu Picchu and the Giza Plateau, just to express it in an earthly form? Does this not by comparison make our own city planning look like the result of children let loose in a nursery filled with plastic building blocks? We often think of ourselves as the pinnacle of human development, and certainly to our knowledge this is true technologically, but it is not true in others, and it may not even be true scientifically or culturally. The knowledge and centuries of time required to work all this out without basic technological tools and just water clocks for measuring the passing of time, and the effort then required to then express it in monuments, for whatever reason, surely gives us pause for thought about the comparative sophistication of our own efforts, and our own modern vanities. We may have a more complicated understanding now than we did then in some areas, but in flattening the splendor of the sky onto a two-dimensional birth chart, we lost something – an appreciation of height and depth that was innate to people of the ancient world because they did not look at charts, they looked at the sky. And they were patient, observant and very, very smart compared to what most people believe, they had to have been.


Ok, your brain is likely well exercised by this point, so what now? What to do with this? 

As far as I’m aware not much has been written about the nuances that arise from the combinations between different aspects, parallels and contra-parallels – most interpretive stances on the matter of declination simply state that a parallel is like a conjunction and contra-parallel is like an opposition, and they interpret parallels and contra-parallels between two planets very similarly to those aspects. There is little distinction made between a Sun and Moon conjunction and a Sun and Moon parallel. They are read the same in most takes on the subject.

However, this ignores the reality of the situation in the sky. There is a difference, as the examples in this post should help to make clear. A conjunction usually takes place in a single sign, perhaps two different ones if the conjunction takes place near a sign boundary, but if it does involve more than one sign it is limited to any two adjacent signs. For example the Sun and Moon conjunction could take place in Libra with both the lights in Libra, or it could be that one Light is in Libra and the other in Virgo or Scorpio, the two signs either side of Libra. Thats because a conjunction is limited by the orb of a conjunction, usually about 7° or 8° of longitude, the degrees of the zodiac.

But parallel and contra-parallel declination is measured in latitude, and even though it has a tight 1° orb of influence by latitude it has no restrictions of orb by longitude at all. It is unfettered from the zodiacal sequence, and thus a parallel can exist between the Sun and Moon (or any planets) in any combination of signs. Similarly, a contra-parallel can exist between two planets in any signs, not just signs in opposition. Thus the parallel and contra-parallel represent hidden paths that can exist between two objects, allowing hidden messages to be passed between them. They add a more individual potential to planets and Lights because they enable them to communicate with each other in unconventional and special ways, bringing all kinds of zodiacal combinations into play which resemble conjunctions and oppositions but are given an extra twist by potentially being in exotic sign combinations. The parallel and contra-parallel therefore potentially express far more individuality and strangeness than a conjunction and opposition can. They also represent a refreshing challenge for the astrological mind – how does one interpret a conjunction between a Sun in Taurus and a Moon in Leo, or an opposition between Jupiter in Aries and Mercury in Pisces, for example? The result is a chimera, a hybrid creature that is more of a unique animal. The parallel and contra-parallel are like a magical potion that can produce strange and unusual results. This is wild magic, difficult to define. It’s powerful, transmutative stuff.

Added to this zodiacal chaos is the fact that parallels and contra-parallels not only occur alone but can also occur when the two objects concerned are in aspect. There can be parallel and contra-parallel sextiles, trines and squares, as well as conjunctions and oppositions. Taking all of this into consideration it becomes clear that there is actually a tremendous amount that can be written about the contra-parallel and parallel, many volumes more than the often repeated “like a conjunction or opposition”. In fact the entire topic is a goldmine just waiting for an astrologer to tap into both in terms of research and professional focus.

With all of this said there is a process that you can go through which will help you to reach an interpretation involving parallel and contra-parallel declination. This is my process which I have arrived at through 30 years of practice with astrology and about 20 years of practice with declination.

First, make a list of all of the parallels and contra-parallels in the chart. Many astrological programs can compile a report showing this information for you. Don’t be tempted to experiment outside of the 1° orb – declination does not involve a full 360° like the zodiac does and the distance between objects in declination can be much shorter over longer periods of time, so the 1° orb is the most practical one. Let it go even if it is 1°01’ of orb in declination.

Next, make a tier 1 grouping of all the parallels and contra-parallels which exist between objects that have an aspect with one another in the birth chart, no matter what the aspect is. Put everything else into a tier 2 grouping. If the tier 1 grouping is very large and requires some organization you can prioritize it either by the size of the orb of the declination (so that 0°45’ of orb is ranked higher than 0°55’, for example) or by the following scheme: Lights, chart ruler, angular planets, the rest. You can prioritize the second tier the same ways if you need to. 

The difference between the first-tier and the second-tier is that the first-tier admits more accessibility. The presence of a major aspect in the birth chart alongside the parallel or contra-parallel gives the hidden connection a way to express itself in recognizable form. It makes it easier for the person to recognise what that connection is and to communicate it to others. However there may still be challenges with this process if the aspect is a square, an opposition or difficult conjunction, and the influence of the parallel or contra-parallel will add a unique spin to the conventional interpretation of the aspect. Objects in parallel or contra-parallel in the second tier will be more difficult to access and define as well as communicate to others. However, the strangeness and wildness of their magic will be undiluted and far less conventionally expressed when it does find a way out. It can bring a spark of genius and an innovative twist on what we expect.

Pay special attention to any parallels or contra-parallels which involve either of the two Lights, as these can be very important to address. Also pay close attention to parallel conjunctions and contra-parallel oppositions of any kind as these will be especially strong, particularly if the orb of the conjunction or opposition is very small, so below 4°. People who are born during eclipses will display this in their charts, but others can too, as any two planets can have this relationship.

In building up your own general interpretation of parallel and contra-parallel it is helpful to meditate and reflect upon the following contrary combinations:

A) a conjunction that is parallel compared to a conjunction that is contra-parallel.

B) an opposition that is contra-parallel compared to an opposition that is parallel.

In the first case, a conjunction that is parallel is like a super-conjunction, but a conjunction that is contra-parallel implies that the two objects have a degree of separation and so there is potentially more objectivity in being able to view them as separate parts. They will be like two particles locked in orbit around a nucleus, rather than a fusion of two objects into a nucleus. They may merge and disengage periodically.

In the second case an opposition that is contra-parallel is like a super-opposition, but an opposition that is parallel implies that there is some kind of hidden alignment between the two objects in opposition which can be called upon to help them cooperate more. While the super-opposition can become a super support structure for the entire chart, providing lasting stability and strength through the long process of bringing opposing forces into balance, an opposition that is parallel is often easier to find balance with but trickier to keep in balance because it is less firm than the super-opposition.

After thinking about all of what I have said here for a while, you should be able to move forwards in your interpretation of other aspects which are parallel or contra-parallel and when you do this you will have embarked upon a journey into a wondrous territory of astrology which has seen very few visitors. There is one more thing I would like to tell you about before you go, however.



I wrote earlier that:

“every other object including the Moon is free to pass this boundary of 23°28, north or south”

That’s important. What it means is that while most of the time the sky wanderers of our solar system are found within the same regions of the sky that the Sun is confined to, sometimes they slip outside this net. They go beyond the gaze and watchful eye of the commander and roam into foreign realms. The teenager goes away on holiday, leaving the nest to get away with things “off the record”.

Remember also that I said that the Moon goes beyond this boundary more than the other objects do, because it is going around the Earth and not around the Sun. That was only partly true – Pluto is also moving beyond this boundary quite often, and this is because of the incline of its orbit into the plane of the solar system, within which most of the other planets have their orbits.

When a planet goes farther north or south of this boundary then the Sun can, it is called “out of bounds”, meaning the bounds of the solar realm. It is sometimes even venturing into the territory of non-zodiacal constellations and collecting exotic forms of Light for the Sun from places it cannot visit itself, for ultimately it will always return to the solar realm to deposit this experience.

The general interpretation used by astrologers for an out of bounds planet or Moon is that it will act wildly and eccentrically, as if touched by some aspect of Uranus, but in my practice I find it more useful to consider where the planet is venturing into, where is it going where the Sun does not shine, and how will that affect its tropical zodiac sign position? In cases where the planet is only a short distance away from being over the boundary of 23° 28’ (which is most of the time), then it wont have ventured very far beyond the borders and will be collecting something from the zodiacal sign constellation, albeit an outlying part of it that is more exotic than the usual fare. This will give an inventive and creative spin to the expression of the zodiac sign, it will operate slightly outside of the box but near enough to it to be able to easily make sense of it as an expression of that sign. However in cases where there is an extreme venturing beyond this boundary, the object can visit star constellations that the Sun does not reach at all and in these rare cases there is something even more exotic being collected. It is still being collected for the tropical zodiac sign that the object is located in, and the object will still therefore express itself as its tropical zodiac sign nature inclines it to, but there will be a part of that object that operates without regard to the usual rules. This can be very good or very bad for the person, and the rest of us. It depends on how they choose to handle the fact that they are (in reality) somewhat outside of the rules as they apply to the rest of us, and what the innate behaviour of that planet is when it is given its freedom. A topical example of this is Donald Trump, who, with his (strongly placed) Mercury out of bounds, has (for example) no problem with claiming that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any supporters. It happens to be half-true, half-jest, in mercurial style. He also gives us many more obvious examples of the behaviour of someone with Mercury out of bounds. 

I hope that this explanation has been clear and that it excites you enough to begin including declination in your astrological work. Below I have given you a list of individuals who have notable parallels or contra-parallels so that you have some resources to begin looking into. Their chart data is available online.

Although this is an intermediate or advanced lesson in astrology, computers have made working with declination a lot easier in the modern world, and if our technological progress continues in the coming century it seems likely that it will become even easier and perhaps even find its way into the mainstream comprehension of astrology. If some kind of holographic or 3-D display technology breaks through we may finally have the ability to display the sky in a form that truly represents its complexity and shape, which may be truly revolutionary for astrology by doing away with the need for birth charts as we know them now. Parallels and contra-parallels would then become part of what we can see when we look at a map of our births, partly restoring the visual origins of astrology.

Where are the parallel and contra-parallels in your astrology? Are there any out of bounds planets, or the Moon? How do these factors play out in your life? Have fun considering these things, drop a comment or question below if you wish, and thank you for your time. Also, a very special thanks, always to the generous people who support this site through Patreon, you are the best!

Next month, more occult aspects!

Research Suggestions

Donald Trump (Sun and Uranus in parallel conjunction in Gemini, Sun and Uranus in contra-parallel opposition with Moon in Sagittarius, out of bounds Mercury in Cancer)

Ted Bundy (Moon and Mars in Sagittarius in parallel conjunction, Moon and Mars both in contra-parallel opposition with Uranus in Gemini, Pluto in Leo trine and contra-parallel Moon and Mars in Sagittarius)

Paramahansa Yogananda (Mercury and Venus parallel conjunction in Sagittarius, Mars in Aries in contra-parallel opposition with Saturn in Libra, Pluto in Gemini parallel Virgo ascendant).

Alexandre Dumas (out of bounds Moon in Taurus, Mercury in Cancer parallel Leo ascendant, Mercury in Cancer parallel sextile with Mars in Taurus, Mercury parallel Chiron in Sagittarius, Venus parallel conjunction Saturn in Virgo)

Christopher Reeve (out of bounds Moon and Mars in Sagittarius, Sun and Mercury in contra-parallel conjunction in Libra, Jupiter in Taurus contra-parallel Chiron in Capricorn, Uranus in Cancer parallel Pluto in Virgo).

Edith Piaf (out of bounds Moon in Gemini and Mercury in Sagittarius, Moon contra-parallel Mercury, Sun in Sagittarius parallel Venus in Capricorn, Uranus and the Dragons Head in parallel conjunction in Aquarius, Uranus/Dragons Head in Aquarius contra-parallel Pluto in Cancer).

Lucille Ball (Moon out of bounds in Capricorn, Leo Sun parallel Pluto in Gemini, Mars in Taurus parallel Dragons Head in Taurus, Jupiter in parallel conjunction with Dragons Tail in Scorpio, Uranus in Capricorn contra-parallel opposition Neptune in Cancer).