Before I even start today, a big thank you to the lovely Elsa for writing me up yesterday 🙂
One of my recent avenues of research, has been to look at the historical basis of the parallel and contraparallel; I am especially intrigued by the possibility since the conjunction across the plane of the ecliptic would be greatly intensified – in theory – by a corresponding conjunction across the other axis to it; it would be – if you like – a double conjunction.
If you are standing on the beach and you look out to sea and there is a ship on the horizon and then up in the sky directly above it there is an airplane then that is the real-world equivalent of a conjunction on the ecliptic. Similarly, if you look into the sky and there is an airplane and you turn ninety degrees and see another airplane in the sky at the exact same height above the horizon then that is the equivalent of a conjunction by parallel.
So clearly, is you look out to sea and witness an airplane crashing into a ship on the horizon that is the equivalent of a conjunction on the ecliptic and by parallel. It stands to reason then that a conjunction in your chart that is also in parallel aspect ought to be spectacularly intense! Here then, it might be worth bearing in mind the traditional understanding of the parallel aspect: this from The Astrologer’s Magazine, Volume 1, Number 1, August 1890:
“The parallel is like the conjunction in effect and nature but more powerful.” I should add that the bold type is not mine, but the original text is emphasised thus, it seems that the author (Alan Leo) was keen to have this particular observation given especial emphasis.
Later on, in the subsequent volume (September 1890) there is an in-depth article about orbs (it seems nothing really changes) wherein it is stated:”The closer the aspect, the stronger the effect, always taking into consideration the relative strength of the planets in aspect, viz., if in their own houses, angular and whether the aspect is a strong one. In order of strength, the Parallel come first, then the conjunct, then opposition, then trine, then square, then sextile, the latter being the weakest of the aspects.” (my emphasis here). FYI the article concludes that 5 degrees should be a general guide for the major aspect, although “no hard-and-fast rule should be made, as exceptions are commonplace.”
The Astrologer’s magazine which leans heavily on the old sources but invites many articles from the likes of Sepharial and Alan Leo, seems to me to be very sound in its general approaches. I am struggling to find many other sources of wisdom about the parallel, although to my wandering mind, the beautiful potential of the juxtaposition by conjunction and parallel is just too divine in prospect to ignore, and even beyond my rather mystical predilections the logic is eminently sound, it is simply a conjunction across the corresponding axis; how is that not a conjunction of at least considerable merit?
Many disagree and consider that – like the much misunderstood Quintile – the Parallel is at best a quirk. In truth, I can see a logical reason why the parallel has been demoted to its footnote status in the astrology, and that is simply because it so very difficult to calculate using a traditional ephemeris. It is only very recently that the discovery of parallel conjunctions has been rendered accessible through the employment of software, but we have rather ‘forgotten’ its import in the intervening hiatus.
As an example let us consider an aspect that normally makes itself felt in the life: Sun conjunct Pluto. Now if the parallel is to have any relevance then we ought to consider that those with the double conjunction should undergo some very Plutonic experience; and boy, is that an understatement.
You can imagine that any perfect alignment of spheres of this type is rare, and indeed it is.
Consider first of all, Della Reese whose chart evinces the conjunction by both parallel and declination of Sun and Pluto, in 1979, after taping a guest spot for The Tonight Show, she suffered a nearly fatal brain aneurysm, but made a full recovery after two operations by noted neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Drake (a suitably Plutonic character) at University Hospital in London, Ontario. This was Reese’s second brush with death. A number of years earlier, she accidentally walked into a plate glass door in her home. She was sliced so badly by the broken glass she required a thousand stitches to close her wounds and lost nearly her entire blood supply.
Then there is the case of Albert Ayler, who is generally seen as the most primal of the free jazz musicians of the 1960s; critic John Litweiler wrote that “never before or since has there been such naked aggression in jazz.” Ayler disappeared on November 5, 1970, and he was found dead in New York City’s East River on November 25, a presumed suicide. For some time afterwards, rumors circulated that Ayler had been murdered, possibly due to his involvement in the black power movement. Plutonic themes abound here and Ayler’s chart too evinces the double conjunction of Sun with Pluto.
Other ‘double conjunctions’ evince similar effects; how about Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of photo-journalism and candid photography whose chart displays a super-rare double conjunction of Moon with Neptune? “Photography is not like painting,” Cartier-Bresson told the Washington Post in 1957. “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative,” he said. “Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.” Talk about trying to capture the intangible!
Consider the double conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune. The conjunction alone makes an artist in whatever sphere it is found, but the fact that both Katherine Hepburn, Shelley and Madonna share it cannot be a coincidence!
As a final consideration, Elsbeth Ebertin, matriarch of an astrological dynasty who made a specialisation of synastry was born with Chiron (the astrologer) in conjunction and in parallel with Neptune; and further, this double conjunction itself conjunct to Venus; small surprise then that her best-known work is “The Astrology of Romance.”
My considered view is not that the parallel should necessarily be given great consideration, but the perfect alignment must always be given some weight whenever it is found. This latter example should be especially noteworthy in the study of astrologer’s own nativities, there are nearly always powerful applications to Chiron of one form or another in these cases.