April 18, 2024

“Declination Conversion” by guest astrologer Donnalyn Kirchner


Donnalyn Kirchner practices, teaches, and lectures on astrology in San Jose, California. She is a former President of the South Bay Astrological Society. You can find her and more of her Declination work on the Internet at www.AstrologyWithDonnalyn.com.

Have you ever analyzed astrological measurements for a serious accident and found that they did not fit –did not capture– the nature and intensity of the event? There’s hope: if we introduce planets’ declination degrees and convert them to zodiac degrees, we can illuminate the accident picture dramatically!

What we commonly think of as a planet’s zodiac degree–its “Longitudinal” position–is just one of three zodiac degrees that correlate to the planet’s actual position in our sky. Astrology derives meaning from planets’ positions along the ecliptic (the Sun’s apparent path through the zodiac). But most of the time, except for the Sun, planets are located off the ecliptic. So we must decide which point(s) along the ecliptic to use as a planet’s zodiac degree.

Astrologers almost exclusively use the longitudinal zodiac degree for position reference (the zodiac degree the Sun would be at if it were at that planet’s degree of Longitude). However, for a planet’s position off the ecliptic, there are two other meaningful zodiac degrees, known as the “Declination-Equivalent” and “Declination-Antiscia.” By taking these other zodiac degrees into account, we can fine-tune our astrology and better analyze the timing of events, including serious accidents.


A planet’s Declination-Equivalent and Declination-Antiscia degrees are the two zodiac degrees at which the Sun could be if it were at that planet’s degree of declination (the distance north or south of the celestial equator). Except for the solstices, for every degree of declination the Sun passes on its trek North, it passes the same degree of declination again on its way South. So for each degree of declination there are two corresponding zodiac degrees. The position closest to the planet’s regular, longitudinal zodiac degree is its Declination-Equivalent zodiac degree. The other position is its Declination-Antiscia zodiac degree.

Many astrologers already use raw declination degrees to determine whether two planets are “parallel” or “contra-parallel” one another. While this provides some information, it has drawbacks. Raw declination degrees do not have the impact of zodiac degrees. Notice the differing impressions you get reading “12N43” and “26Leo25.” Both correspond to the same point on the ecliptic, but more information floods into your mind with the latter notation. More importantly, raw declinations do not show all the aspects we use, such as squares, semi-squares and quindeciles.

Caution! Because declination-conversion increases the potential number of aspects, it is crucial to strictly limit aspect orbs and to focus on measurements that either activate tense natal configurations or have their own clear, significant symbolism.

Declination-conversions are easily calculated using software such as Halloran’s AstrolDeluxe. Conversion tables are also available on the Internet.


Events that do not appear using regular, longitudinal measurements often do appear dramatically when we use declination-based measurements.

Declination-based solar arcs are calculated in the same manner as regular solar arcs are, except that we start with the Declination-Equivalent version of the chart. No software I know of calculates Declination-Equivalent solar arcs, so we must calculate them by hand. Fortunately, the Declination-Equivalent solar arc Sun, Nodal Axis and Angles are always in the same positions as in the longitudinal solar arc chart. For the other planets, we just add the Sun’s arc to the planet’s Declination-Equivalent position.

For transits, we compare the three versions of the event chart (Longitudinal, Declination-Equivalent and Declination-Antiscia) to the three versions of the natal chart. This results in nine sets of inter-aspects. Although this sounds excessive, there are many repetitions, and we ignore them. And by keeping orbs extremely tight and focusing only on transits that activate tense natal configurations or have clear symbolism, the number of transits is quite manageable.

To illustrate, let’s look at the measurements for Christa McAuliffe when the Challenger space shuttle exploded. Christa was born September 2, 1948 at 10:13 p.m. EDT in Boston, Massachusetts. The Challenger exploded right after launch at about 11:40 a.m. EST on January 28, 1986 near Cape Kennedy, Florida. All seven astronauts aboard were killed.

Looking just at Longitudinal measurements, Christa had SA Moon=Neptune (0°04’s) and SA Node=Mars (0°17’a), along with T Pluto=Node (0°29′), T Jupiter=Asc (0°28), T Node=Jupiter (0°15′), and a few trigger transits. The Moon’s Arc to Neptune is certainly intriguing, but the overall pattern does not “pop” the way we might expect for such a major event. And it doesn’t seem to highlight any particular natal configuration.

Looking at the measurements revealed using declination-conversions, we find two natal configurations being sharply activated. Christa’s Declination-Equivalent chart features a configuration of interlocking squares and semi-squares comprising the Ascendant (24Tau59), Uranus & Pluto (6Can51, 8Can38), the Moon & Saturn (23Leo04, 24Leo35), and Neptune (8Lib00). There is also a separate partile Jupiter-MC semi-square configuration (17Sag03, 2Aqu03). Neither of these configurations shows up in Christa’s longitudinal chart.

When Challenger exploded, these two natal configurations were activating each other by mutual solar arc quindeciles and major transits. Specifically, Christa had SA Jupiter(q)=Pluto (0°01′), SA MC(q)=Moon/Saturn (0°09′) and SA Asc(q)=Jupiter (0°26’a), accompanied by the following transits: T Uranus=Moon (0°01′) & Neptune (0°03′); T Pluto=Neptune (0°19′); T Saturn=Jupiter (0°20′) & MC (0°20); and T Jupiter=Saturn (0°04′) & Asc (0°28′). There were also appropriate trigger transits to the two natal configurations, and a few significant transits to other planets, including T Pluto & Uranus=Venus (0°17′, 0°05′), with Venus ruling her Ascendant. Note also that the tight SA Moon=Neptune we saw in longitude now makes more sense, because it is activating one of the natal configurations revealed in declination!

The acute activation of these two configurations provides apt symbolism for Christa’s very public demise during the space launch. The configurations involve both Angles and the rulers of the following houses: 3rd (vehicles); 7th (public outreach); 8th (death); 9th (exploration); 10th (public status); and 11th (flight). The 7th House involvement reflects the fact that Christa’s participation in the flight was part of NASA’s attempt at public outreach by putting a private citizen into space.

Of the six other people who perished in the Challenger explosion, reliable birth times are available for three: Judith Resnik; Francis Scobee; and Michael John Smith. Using declination-conversions, the explosion also shows up dramatically for each of these astronauts. For Resnik, a declination-based sesquiquadrate from Saturn to Venus & Mars was activated, with Saturn ruling her MC, and Venus & Mars ruling her 12th House & Ascendant. For Scobee, a declination-based Neptune-Mercury sesquiquadrate was activated, with Neptune ruling the 8th House (death) and Mercury ruling the 11th House (flight). For Smith, a Neptune-Mars opposition was activated with Neptune ruling the 8th House (death) and Mars ruling the 9th House (exploration). Smith’s measurements appear in both longitude and declination, but with declination-conversions his chart ruler–the Sun–is also activated by Neptune. Without declination-conversions, the event shows up strongly in only one chart.

In studying numerous other serious accidents using this technique, I have repeatedly found substantial measurements involving either activation of relevant natal configurations or else extremely tight measurements with clear, significant symbolism of their own. We need more research and refinement before we can use the technique reliably for prediction. But now that we know valuable information is buried in declinations, we must simply develop efficient ways to excavate it!

***Another interesting declination technique is covered in Carolyn Egan’s November 29, 2002 article “Declination Waves for the Future” in the “Analytical Techniques” archives of this website.