Part 2 – Theory: history, celestial latitude, parans, advices

As the planets, fixed stars are a visible presence on our sky, so there has to be a meaning for them too, fixed stars symbolise something and astrologers want to know what.

The first fundamental problem with which we have to deal in our way to understand the meaning of fixed stars is to determine their position. The big difference from planets is that fixed stars are not on the ecliptic, but they have celestial latitude. What this means?







As one can see in the left picture, stars generally are not on the ecliptic, but they have celestial latitude, which means that they are south or north from the ecliptic. We use the ecliptic as reference because this is the plane where planets and the Sun are, they are all aligned in that plane.


How we measure fixed stars position?

The simple method used by Ptolemy was to draw a line from the fixed star to the ecliptic and to assume that projection on the ecliptic is the position (the degree). This is the position we find in almost all books, the fixed position: Antares – 9,54 degrees in Sagittarius, Regulus – 0 degree in Virgo etc.

The problem is that this is not a real position, but just a projection on the ecliptic. One immediate, visible weakness for that system is that, on the sky, the real fixed star and the degree assumed to her will not rise in the same time for the most fixed stars (depends on their celestial latitude).

What is the solution? One solution claimed is parans.


Parans is a totally different technique to measure the position of the star, because it matters when the star rises, culminates, sets or is on the Nadir. The result depends very much on the latitude of the observer, his place on Earth.

There are four points where a paran can occur: (1) the rising side of the horizon, (2) the setting side of the horizon, (3) the upper part or “culminating”, (4) the part below or “on the nadir”. If any planet or fixed star is any of this four points in a 24 hours period they make a paran relationship which can be: both rising, one rising, other culminating, both setting etc. Of course, the most important position is if the fixed star is angular at birth.

The use of parans is rejected by many astrologer, including Diana K. Rosenberg, so must be done carefully. Especially, connecting different angles in order to get a relationship (example: one planet rising and one star culminating) seems a little awkward.


Advices when using fixed stars

1. Use small orbs, no more than 1-2 degrees;

2. When using parans the angles symbolise the age: Ascendant symbolise early age, MC symbolize middle life, the Descendant symbolize later years and the Nadir symbolize the end of life and the period after death;

3. In a fixed star – planet aspect, the fixed star symbolize the type of influence on your life, while the planet symbolize the area of life where the influence is perceived, your actions, activities, processes that are changed by the influence;

4. We must understand the meaning of constellations in order to understand fixed stars; everything is related.


The Fixed Stars & Constellations by Vivian Robson

Essays on Astrology by Robert Hand

Horoscope Symbols by Robert Hand

The Beginning of Wisdom by Avraham Ibn-Ezra

Classical Astrology for Modern Living by Lee Lehman

Astrological Roots by Joseph Crane

Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars by Bernadette Brady

Secrets of the Ancient Skies by Diana K. Rosenberg