Let’s talk about Parallel and Contra-Parallel of Declination aspects.
It’s a mouthful, but I have a quick video tutorial to cover the astronomy involved. Don’t worry if it doesn’t sink in straight away. There won’t be a quiz. We’ll cover questions in the comments, and focus more on the practical results of having a parallel or contra-parallel aspect.
Parallel Aspects Defined
The Parallel Aspect of Declination is formed between two or more planets with the same declination or distance north or south of the ecliptic. If the planets are both North or both South of the ecliptic, the parallel aspect is read as a conjunction. If they are the same declination but one is North and one is South, then the contra-parallel is read as a 180 degree opposition.
These aspects are strongest when the orb is kept to 1 degree or less, so unlike a square where we allow up to 10 degrees of orb, the parallels are allowed 1 or maybe 1.25 degrees.
Why are Parallel Aspects Important?
Parallels connect planets that may not otherwise be in aspect. They also magnify the intensity of any other aspect between the two planets or points involved. So if you have Mars sextile Saturn AND Mars parallel Saturn, you have a whole lot of Mars/Saturn contact going on.
The best way to get a handle on this is by example so everyone can get out their chart. (You can upload yours in the gallery, if you are a GVA Circle Member or Registered for Open Memberhship, if you want to share, check or discuss.) When you get your chart up you will see a list called ‘declination’ on the ‘additional tables (PDF)’ option. If you are using another program or an ephemeris, look for the list of daily ‘declinations’.
They will look like this: 20°35’27” N (the N is for North. North is also represented by a + and South by a -). Make a list of any planets that are within one degree of declination + or – in your natal chart. If both are + or both – they are parallel. If one is + and the other – they are contra-parallel.
For example I have the Pluto at 23°17’46” N declination and the Jupiter at 23°21′ 7″ N so Jupiter and Pluto are parallel. They form wide sextile aspect by sign, so this parallel is an additional emphasis, pulling them into closer contact. Make sense?
We use the parallel and contra-parallel to discover planetary connections. It’s also important in transits.
To demonstrate, here is a list or outer planet declination right now. Check to see if these are in aspect (1 degree orb) to any of your natal degrees.
Also, check your declination list for natal parallels and contra-parallels. They also progress and can be used in return charts, horary, event charts, etc. If you use them in your synastry chart comparisons, you’ll find connections otherwise missed.
Give a shout if you want some help. I or other declination savvy GVA’ers will lend a hand.
You can take a screenshot of your declination list from astro.com and post that in the gallery too.