Paul F. Newman: Declination in Astrology, the Steps of the Sun

It’s strange the way that some great books manage to escape your attention. My feeling is that you have to be ready for a title before it  mysteriously find its way into your hands. Paul F. Newman’s, Declination in Astrology being a classic example. It must have first come to print some time ago, the Wessex Astrolger reprinted it in 2006. How could I have missed this little gem of a book? It’s educative, incredibly interesting and has some really great horoscopes.

Declination is something that despite the best efforts of a few great astrologers is still largely ignored by many in the community. However if you have ever heard the terms parallel and contra-parallel, then declination is the determining factor and the book begins by clearly explaining just what declination is.

A planet’s position can be measured using different systems, in the ephemeris a planet’s celestial longitude is given. This is measurement from O degrees Aries, along the Ecliptic eastward. For declination, a different measurement system is used. A planet’s position is measured using the celestial equator as the principle circle of reference. Declinations is equal to the measurement in degrees, minutes and seconds of arc N. or S. of the Celestial Equator. “Declination is a form of latitude rather than longitude”

I find the idea of a planet positioned N or S of the celestial equator, particulary interesting. From a historical perspective, countries in the Northern Hemispere seem to have followed a completely different evolutionary pattern to countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Furthermore there is more water in the our planet’s Southern Hemisphere and more landmass in the Northern. My conclusion is that declination seems to be touching on something  that has a quite profound, spiritual, evolutionary meaning. Paul F. Newman cites many 20th century astrologers who have worked on declination, for example Rudhyar, Horicks and Micahux (I had never heard of these guys before), C.C. Zain, etc. etc. The book is thoroughly researched throughout. I think the key is that Southern declination is more karmic and spiritual in nature, while Northern declination is more objective and outgoing.

Clearly declination must play a role in mundane astrology. From the time of Pluto’s discovery both Pluto and Uranus were in Northern signs for at least four decades, Pluto finally moving accross the line south in the late 1980’s. The crossing of the “line” being a time of profound importance and meaning.  “The line of zero declination that divides the northern and southern hemispheres, the equinoctial line, the equatior, is one of the most critical positions in declination. It is a change-over point and planets are highly charged when passing here.”  

Another area that is deeply intriguing is the idea of a planet being Out of Bounds (OOB). The Sun’s maximal declination is 23 degrees 26.5 N or S of the equator. Some planets (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Uranus and Pluto) go beyond this boundary, while Saturn and Neptune do not. A fascinating array of horoscopes are drawn upon to illustrate the workings of planets that are OOB, from the Wizard of Oz (Mars OOB) where “all three ‘men’ are lacking some vital quality” and the wizard is a fake, to the horoscope for the birth of the manuscript of Tarzan of the Apes, where Mercury (ruler of both writing and apes) is OOB. Just take a look at your own chart and those of close friends and family. My son has Venus and Mars closely conjunct in Sagittarius in the first house of his horoscope, but both planets are also OOBNewman writes that it is more unusual for Venus to OOB than Mars, stating that in the past hundred years or so, Mars is twice as likely to be OOB as Venus. Venus OOB in the horoscope of a man is often linked with an extreme feminine side, examples given are Rudolph Valentino and Liberace 🙂 !! Incidentally, my son’s Venus is much further OOB that either of them.

But honestly this book contains so much more, for example a study of our major solar festivals from ancient times, antiscia and fixed stars. This is a book to treasure and to learn from, it will tweak your mind, and on top of all that, it really is a damn good read. 

Paul Newman: Declination in Astrology, the Steps of the Sun, is available on-line at the Wessex Astrologer, and costs 15.95 plus postage.


Over Liz Hathway

Liz Hathway is a British born astrologer currently based in Amsterdam. Liz studied astrology at the Kosmos in Amsterdam, at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London and with well known horary astrology John Frawley. Liz also holds an MA (with distinction) in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, from the University of Wales, in Lampeter, and was short-listed for the 2016 Alumni Association MA CAA Dissertation Prize.
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