Glossary of Astrological Terms

- A -

Air
One of the four elements. The air element finds expression in zodiac through the three signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius and is held to represent among other things: thought, communication, and relationship. See also Fire, Earth and Water.
 
Alcabitius system
Method of house division, using time division to trisect the diurnal semi-arc, similar to the more popular Placidus system, yet believed to be accurate for polar regions.
Angle
Any of the four cardinal points are called Angles. The Eastern Angle is also known as the Ascendant, the Western Angle the Descendant, the Southern Angle is the Medium Coeli (MC) and the Northern Angle is the Imum Coeli (IC).
 
Angular houses
Are those which fall on the angle, namely the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses.
 
Angular planets
Are planets which fall on an angle. Some believe that a planet is angular if it falls anywhere within the 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th houses, while others consider only a tight conjunction of planet and angle, including planets which fall on the other side of the angle in the adjoining house.
 
Archetype
An original pattern or model. The essential principle behind an idea.
 
Ascendant

The degree of the zodiac which rises over the eastern horizon. In early Greek astrology, this degree was called the Horoscopos, from which the word horoscope was derived. Sometimes the term Ascendant is used to describe the entire sign which is rising. The Ascendant is considered by most astrologers to be very significant in chart interpretation, although the specific symbolic meaning varies greatly.
 
Aspect
The angular relationship between planets and other points in the horoscope. These are often divided into Major and Minor aspects. The Major aspects include the Conjunction, Sextile, Square, Trine and Opposition, while the Minor aspects are derived mathematically from these and include the Quincunx, Semi-square, Semi-sextile, Sesquiquadrate, Quintile and Bi-Quintile. The interpretation of aspects depends on the planets or points involved, as well as the particular aspect itself. The degree of arc in which the aspect has effect depends on the nature of the planets involved and is called an Orb.

- B -

Bi-Quintile
An aspect of 144 degrees of arc, arising from a division of the 360 degree zodiac into two-fifths. See also Quintile.
 
Bi-Septile
An aspect of 102.8 degrees of arc, arising from a division of the septile aspect by two. See also Septile.
 

- C -

Cadent
From the Latin "to fall", the Cadent houses are those which "fall away" from the Angles, namely the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th houses. Traditionally interpreted as a weakening influence on the planets which tenant these houses.
 
Campanus system
A method of house division adapted from an earlier Arabian system by Giovanni Campano, a 13th century astrologer. The system is one of the Quadrant systems, so named because they use the Ascendant/Descendant and MC/IC axes to divide the chart into four quadrants. The Campanus system distinguishes itself by using the cusps of the house to mark the center of the house. This system causes distortion of the houses in charts cast for polar locations.
 
Cardinality
One of the three modalities which finds expression through the signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. These signs share a common dynamic, namely that of initiating action, setting things in motion and providing leadership. See also Fixity and Mutability.
 
Chart
Term used synonymously with horoscope. See Horoscope.
 
Choleric
One of the four temperaments, associated with the element of fire. The choleric personality is believed to indicate an optimistic, youthful, impulsive temperament, prone to spontaneous outbursts of emotion. See also Melancholic, Phlegmatic and Sanguine.
 
Composite chart
A single horoscope which shows the combined planetary positions of two people, formed by the midpoints of each planet, often drawn for the location where the couple resides. The composite is believed to describe the relationship between the two people. Many astrologers focus primarily on the aspects in the composite chart and the house positions of the planets, while paying less attention to the signs in which the planets are placed.
 
Conjunction
An aspect formed when two or more planets are located at the same zodiacal degree. Generally interpreted as an inseparable connection between the two planetary energies, the interpretation of the conjunction dependes heavily on the planets involved. Where they share an affinity, the conjunction is often seen as a positive influence.
 
Cusp
The imaginary line that divides one house or sign from another, although some house systems regard the cusp as marking the center of the house. Cusps are a subject of much discussion and disagreement. Some believe that a planet on the cusp of two houses or signs will share the influence of both, while others maintain that the cusp is the strongest point, and therefore a planet on the cusp will demonstrate most clearly the influence of the sign or house it is moving into. A rationalization for this latter idea is that through progression, the planet will remain for the maximum time in the applying sign or house.
 

- D -

Decile
An aspect of 36 degrees of arc, arising from a division of the 360 degree zodiac into 10ths. Sometimes called the semi-quintile.
 
Delineation
Meaning to draw a line, the term is used in astrology to mean to paint a portrait of a horoscope, in other words, to interpret.
 
Descendant
The opposite point to the Ascendant, usually the cusp of the 7th house, also known as the Western Angle.
 
Detriment
When a planet is in the sign which is opposite the sign of its dignity, it is said to be in detriment. A planet is detriment is weakened, because the sign's characteristics are not in affinity with the natural expression of the planetary energy. Example: Mars is in its detriment in Libra. See also Dignity, Exaltation and Fall.
 
Dignity
When a planet is in its own sign, it is said to be in its dignity. See Ruler. Example: Mars is in its dignity in the sign of Aries. See also Detriment, Exaltation and Fall.
 
Direct station
The point where a stationary planet begins its direct motion, compared with a retrograde station, where a stationary planet begins its retrograde motion.

- E -

Earth
One of the four elements. The earth element finds expression in zodiac through the three signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn and is held to represent among other things: sensuality, physicality and materialism, incarnation, pragmatism and boundaries. See also Fire, Air and Water.
 
Ecliptic
The apparant path of the Sun around the Earth, so named because it is on this path that Solar and Lunar eclipses take place.
 
Electional astrology
The practice of astrology the purpose of which is to choose the most advantageous moment to begin an undertaking such as a wedding, a journey, a business venture, a theater opening, etc. A number of possible charts are cast and based on the appropriate significators, one chart and its related moment in time is elected.
 
Elements
Evolved from the ancient paradigm that saw all matter as either fire, earth, air or water, the astrological elements form the essence of the signs of the zodiac. Each of the four elements is represented by a sign in each of the three modalities, Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable, forming twelve unique archetypal principles. Some astrologers also attribute an elemental correspondence to houses. See also the individual elements: Fire, Earth, Air and Water.
 
Ephemeris
A table listing the positions of the planets and nodes and usually including other astronomical data.
 
Equal House system
Method of house division that divides the horoscope into twelve equal sections, starting with the Ascendant (or more rarely the MC.) In this system, the MC does not coincide with the cusp of the 10th house.
 
Esoteric
Pertaining to the inner, as opposed to exoteric, or outer.
 
Exaltation
According to a system of affinities attributed to Ptolemy, a given sign affords such a positive atmosphere for a planet that the planet is said to be exalted or in the sign of its exaltation. This is considered even more powerful than when it is in its dignity. Example: Mars is exalted in the sign of Capricorn. See also Detriment, Dignity and Fall.

- F -

Fall
When a planet is in the sign which is opposite the sign of its exaltation, it is said to be in its fall. A planet in its fall is believed to be severely weakened, because the sign's characteristics are inimical to the natural expression of the planetary energy. Example: Mars is in its fall in the sign of Cancer. See also Detriment, Dignity and Exaltation.
 
Feminine
Controversial term describing the polarity of a sign, ascribed to Ptolemy. The even-numbered signs Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn and Pisces (which incidentally represent the earth and water signs) are said to be feminine. See Polarities. See also Masculine.
 
Fire
One of the four elements. The fire element finds expression in zodiac through the three signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius and is held to represent among other things: intuition, action, spiritualty, creativity and drive toward individuality. See also Earth, Air and Water.
 
Fixity
One of the three modalities which finds expression through the signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. These signs share a common dynamic, namely that of blocking action, maintaining status quo and they provide stability. See also Cardinality and Mutability.

- G -

Glyph
The inaccurate, but widely used term for the graphical symbol for a planet or sign. The correct term is Sigil.
 
Grand Cross
A pattern of aspects involving at least four planets which form two oppositions at right angles to each other. Usually, these planets will fall in signs of the same modality (Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable) each in its own element. This is believed to generate a great deal of friction in the horoscope, often with obvious and creative results.
 
Grand Trine
A pattern of aspects involving at least three planets which form trines with each other. Usually, these planets will fall in signs of the same element (Fire, Earth, Air or Water), each in its own modality. This pattern is believed to indicate a great deal of harmony in the horoscope, as the planetary energies seem to cooperate with one another.

- H -

Horary astrology
The practice of astrology, the purpose of which is to determine the answer to a specific question. A chart is erected for the moment the question is asked (or the moment the question is understood. Horary theory provides detailed rules for determining the correct moment for which to cast the chart), and interpreted according to very specific rules.
 
Horoscope
The symbolic, usually two-dimensional representation of the heavens, from a particular place at a particular time.
 
Houses
The twelve divisions of the horoscope based on the time and place of birth. There are many methods of performing this house division and astrologers disagree about the validity of the various systems. Houses are generally interpreted to represent the arenas or areas of life in which an activity takes place or an event is likely to manifest itself. Each facet of life is said to be represented by a particular house and it is one of the astrologer's tasks to correctly identify the corresponding house of a given problem.
  
Humours
See Temperaments

- I -

Imum Coeli (IC)
The opposite point to the MC, often interpreted as representing the most private or secretive part of the chart.
 
Inconjunct
Sometimes used as synonymously for the Quincunx aspect, sometimes used to imply that there are no aspects.

- J -

(no entries)

- K -

Koch system
Method of house division, named after the German astrologer Koch, using time division to trisect the diurnal semi-arc. This system causes distortion of the houses in charts cast for polar locations and tables of houses are only available up to 60 degrees latitude.

- L -

Luminaries
The Sun and the Moon.
 
Lunar Nodes
The points at which the orbit of the Moon meets the Ecliptic. There is disagreement as to the importance and interpretation of these points, also called the North and South nodes for the points where the orbit crosses the Ecliptic in the northern and southern hemispheres, respectively. Some astrologers maintain that the nodes are of great importance while others disregard them completely. There is, however, some degree of acknowledgement that the nodes represent points in the chart that are sensitive to aspects from radical, transitting and progressed planets.

- M -

Major aspects
The Conjunction, Sextile, Square, Trine and Opposition are the group of aspects usually known as the major aspects. All other aspects are known as Minor aspects.
 
Masculine
Controversial term describing the polarity of a sign, ascribed to Ptolemy. The odd-numbered signs Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius (which incidentally represent the fire and air signs) are said to be masculine. See Polarities. See also Feminine.
 
Medium Coeli (MC)
Meaning "the middle of the skies", the MC is the point at the moment of birth where the Ecliptic crosses the meridian of the place of birth. As the culmination point, the MC is usually interpreted as representing issues of ambition, career, outward striving, making one's mark on the world.
Melancholic
One of the four temperaments, associated with the element of earth. The melancholic personality indicates a conservative, practical, dependable temperament, prone to stubborness and possessiveness. See also Choleric, Phlegmatic and Sanguine.
  
Midheaven
Se Medium Coeli (MC).
 
Midpoint
The point on the zodiac between two planets or other astrologically significant points, believed to be sensitive to aspects, transits and progressions in the same way as the individual planets. Usually interpreted as a kind of mini-conjunction between the planets involved, the midpoints are believed to be particularly important if they aspect a third planet in the horoscope.
 
Midpoint trees
Graphical representations of the midpoints which fall within a specified orb of a given planet, believed to illustrate in greater detail the quality of expression that planet is likely to have.
Minor aspects
See aspects.
 
Modalities
Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable, the modalities are often called the Quadruplicities or the Qualities. Each represents a different dynamic - the cardinal modality initiates action, the fixed modality holds and maintains action, while the mutable modality adjusts and fluctuates.
 
Mundane astrology
The practice of astrology, the purpose of which is to examine issues related to national and political trends. Although the techniques of natal astrology may sometimes be used to examine important persons such as world leaders and royalty, mundane astrology tends to emphasize the interpretation of eclipses, solstices, planetary conjunctions, and lunations.
   
Mutablility
One of the three modalities which finds expression through the signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. These signs share a common dynamic, namely that of adaptability, changeability and they provide flexibility. See also Cardinality and Fixity.

- N -

Natal astrology
The practice of astrology in which the subject of interest is the interpretation of a birth chart.
 
Natal chart
A birth chart or horoscope drawn for the moment of birth.
 
Native
The subject of a natal chart.
 
Nodes
see Lunar Nodes

- O -

Opposition
An aspect of 180 degrees of arc, formed by a division of the 360 degree zodiac by two. Under normal circumstances, the planets involved will fall into opposing signs, with a different polarity and element, yet united around a common archetypal theme. The opposition is usually intepreted as providing tension between the planets involved.
 
Orb
Planets are considered to be in aspect when the relationship is within the accepted Orb or area, expressed in degrees of arc. There is very little agreement about the correct size of orbs, and different rules apply for the various astrological disciplines. Sometimes a planet is assigned an orb, other times it is the aspect itself which carries an orb.
 
Orientations
Along with the elements, polarities and modalities, the orientations are a way of grouping the signs and houses. The three orientations: Personal, Social and Universal, describe a way of orienting energy in time and space.
 
Outer planets
A term used most often to refer to the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Also called Transpersonal planets.

- P -

Part of Fortune
The point in the horoscope which is the same distance along the zodiac from the Ascendant as the Sun is from the Moon. For example, if the Sun and Moon are in conjunction, the Ascendant and Part of Fortune will also be in conjunction. There is much disagreement about the interpretation and importance of this fictive point in the chart.
 
Personal
One of the three orientations where energy is oriented toward one's own experiences, feelings, thoughts and activities. The personal signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer and the personal houses are the 1st through 4th houses. See also Social and Universal.
 
Phlegmatic
One of the four temperaments, associated with the element of water. The phlegmatic personality indicates a withdrawn, sensitive, emotional, somewhat unstable temperament prone to moodiness and self-protective behavior. See also Choleric, Melancholic and Sanguine.
 
Placidus system
Method of house division, named after the 17th century astrologer Placidus de Tito, using time division to trisect the diurnal semi-arc. The fact that the Placidus system is one of the most widely used is due in large part to the widespread availability of Placidus house tables, especially in the popular "Raphael" series.
 
Planets
In most brances of modern astrology, the term is applied to the heavenly bodies, with the exception of meteors and comets, which revolve about the Sun, plus the Sun and the Moon. Astrologers realize that the Sun and Moon are not planets in the astronomical sense, but continue for the sake of convenience, the traditional nomenclature. In ancient times the term, which means "wanderer" was applied to those heavenly bodies which appeared to move against the backdrop of fixed stars.
 
Polarities
A division into two, usually the gender of a sign: Feminine/Masculine. Some astrologers use the terms Negative/Positive to refer to the polarities, while others, in an attempt to avoid a sexist use of the traditional term, use Yin/Yang. Greene indirectly makes a case for a non-sexist usage of the terms Feminine and Masculine by comparing a sign's orientation to the biological human sexual functions. In other words, a sign orienting toward an outgoing, penetrating one-pointedness, maps to the biological masculine, while an inward-turning, containing or nourishing orientation maps to the biological feminine. Care must be taken not to confuse a discussion of Feminine with a discussion of women, or Masculine with men.
 
Progressions
Chart positions derived by the birth chart for a specific time after (sometimes before) birth, using a fictive key, such as "one day for a year" whereby the actual positions of planets on a given day after birth are believed to reflect issues which take place on the respective year of the person's life. For example, to examine the issues of a person's 21st year, one would compare the natal horoscope with the actual planetary positions that occurred on the 21st day after the person was born. The theory of progressions is based on the belief that the macrocosm (in this case, the year) is contained in the microcosm (the day) and the aspects formed between the progressed planets and natal planets, or between transits and progressions will describe issues for that particular time. Progressions are held to be meaningless on their own, but are indicators of timing and the unfolding of the potentials represented in the birth chart.
 
Psychological astrology
The practice of astrology, the purpose of which is to provide information, insight or advice about psychological issues or issues of personal or spiritual growth. The primary tool is the natal chart and usually the progressions and transits to the natal chart.

- Q -

Quadrants
The axes of the Ascendant/Descendant and MC/IC cause a division of the horoscope into four parts, called quadrants. Some astrologers assign characteristics to the individual quadrants, which can be seen as progressing from the Ascendant and 1st house to the 12th, as a progression of seasons or as the life-cycle of human development. have many names. The first quadrant has been called vernal, sanguine and infantine; the second meridianal, choleric and youthful; the third autumnal, melancholic and mature; the fourth wintery, phlegmatic and decrepit.
 
Quadruplicities
See Modalities
 
Qualities
See Modalities
 
Quincunx
An aspect of 150 degrees, where the two aspecting planets are separated by five signs of the zodiac. Many astrologers, including Richard Idemon, consider this aspect to by very significant, even deserving a place among the so-called Major aspects. The quincunx is often interpreted as providing frustration, confusion, irritation or oddness to the planets involved.
 
Quindecile
An aspect of 24 degrees, arising from a division of the 360 degree zodiac into 15ths.
 
Quintile
An aspect of 72 degrees of arc, arising from a division of the 360 degree zodiac into fifths. Astrologers disagree as to the importance or effect of this aspect, which sometimes is interpreted as providing emphasis, power or single-mindedness to the planets involved.

- R -

Radical
Meaning "root", radical is normally used to mean a natal horoscope for living beings or any other kind of base horoscope, for example an electional or event chart drawn for the birth or start time. The term Radix is sometimes used instead. Typically used to distinguish radical positions from progressed or transitting positions.
 
Radix
See Radical
 
Rectification
The process of adjusting or determining a birth time by referencing known events and dates and working backward from progressed or transitting positions.
Regiomontanus system
Method of house division, evolved by the 15th century astrologer Johannes Muller, who used the pseudonym Regiomontanus. This system produces accurate results in polar regions.
 
Relationship chart
Often confused with a Composite chart, the Relationship chart presents in a single drawing the derived planetary information of two individual horoscopes based on their midpoints in time and space.
 
Retrograde
From the Latin "to step backwards", this term is applied to the apparent backward motion of the planets through the zodiac. Traditionally interpreted to provide a negative or weakening effect on the planet, modern astrologers tend to interpret retrograde motion as providing a slight internal or introspective influence.
 
Retrograde station
The point where a stationary planet begins its retrograde motion, compared with a direct station, where a stationary planet begins its direct motion.
 
Rising sign
See Ascendant
 
Ruler
The planet which corresponds to the house or sign in question. Example: Jupiter is the ruler of the 9th house and of Sagittarius. Actually, when speaking of houses, the correct term is Lord. In this case, Jupiter is Lord of the 9th and ruler of Sagittarius. Various systems of correspondences exist, most widely used is from Ptolemy. See also Dignity.

- S -

Sanguine
One of the four temperaments, associated with the element of air. The sanguine personality is individualistic, relates to the world using the intellect and likely to disconnect from the emotions, freedom-loving, friendly, communicative, cool and dry. See also Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic.
 
Satellitium
Three or more planets in conjunction, or more often merely grouped in the same sign or house. Also called Stellium.
 
Semi-decile
An aspect of 18 degrees of arc, formed by a division of the 360 degree zodiac by 20.
 
Semi-sextile
 
An aspect of 30 degrees of arc, formed by a division of the 360 degree zodiac by twelve, or a division of the sextile aspect by two. Interpreted usually as a milder or more suble form of sextile aspect.
 
Semi-square
An aspect of 45 degrees of arc, formed by a division of the 360 degree zodiac by eight, or a division of the square aspect by two. Interpreted usually as a milder or more subtle form of square aspect.
 
Septile
An aspect of 51.4 degrees of arc, formed by a division of the 360 degree zodiac by seven.
 
Sesquiquadrate
An aspect of 135 degrees of arc, the combination of a square and a semi-square. The sesquiquadrate is usually interpreted as providing an influence of irritation or agitation on the planets involved.
 
Sextile
An aspect of 60 degrees of arc, formed by a division of the 360 degree zodiac by six. Interpretted as having a gently beneficial influence on the planets involved.
 
Social
One of the three orientations where energy is oriented toward relating with others. The social signs are Leo, Virgo, Libra and Scorpio and the social houses are the 5th through 8th houses. See also Personal and Universal.
 
Square
 
An aspect of 90 degrees of arc formed by the division of the 360 degree zodiac by four. Under normal circumstances, planets in square will share the same modality but different element, polarity and orientation. Squares are usually interpreted as providing a frustrating influence, because the planetary energies are in conflict or competition.
 
Stellium
Three or more planets in conjunction, or more often merely grouped in the same sign or house. Also called Satellitium.
 
Succedent
The houses which follow the Angles "in succession" are given the name Succedent, namely the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th houses. See Angular and Cadent.
 
Synastry
The comparison of two individual horoscopes, focusing in particular on the cross-aspects between charts. The synastry chart can be seen to describe the way two people relate to one another.
 

- T -

T-Cross
A pattern of aspects in which two planets form an opposition and a third planet at their midpoint, in square. Also called a T-Square. Interpreted as a powerful influence on the individual, the opposing planets generating a great deal of tension, often discharged by the focal planet.
 
Temperaments
The early Greek theory of four humours, which links bodily fluids with dispositions or tempers. The fluids were Phlegm, Black Bile, Yellow Bile and Blood, which correspond to the temperaments Phlegmatic, Melancholic, Choleric and Sanquine, respectively. A person's temperament was believed to be affected by a lack or excess of a particular fluid.
 
Topocentric system
Method of house division, proposed by Polich and Page, which is capable of calculating house cusps for any place on earth. The system is said to have been derived from experience by projecting known events onto a chart, as opposed to other house systems which have been derived mathematically.
 
Transit
From the Latin, "to go across", a transit is the crossing of a planet in the heavens over another point (usually a point in the natal or other horoscope). The aspect formed between the transitting planet and the point in the horoscope is interpreted using the inherent symbolism of the aspect itself (for example whether it is a trine or a square) and the planets involved. Particularly in psychological astrology, a transit is thought to indicate a catalyst for the unfolding of a psychological process, whether or not it results in concrete events.
  
Trine
An aspect of 120 degrees of arc, formed by the division of the 360 degree horoscope by three. Under normal circumstances, planets in trine will share the same element. The trine is normally interpreted as a harmonious influence on the planets involved.
  
T-Square
See T-Cross

- U -

Universal
One of the three orientations where energy is oriented toward relating with the universal or transpersonal. The universal signs are Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces and the universal houses are the 9th through 12th houses. See also Personal and Social.

- V -

(no entries)

- W -

Water
One of the four elements. The water element finds expression in zodiac through the three signs Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces and is held to represent among other things: feeling, instinct, sensitivity and subjective evaluation. See also Fire, Earth and Air.

- X -

(no entries)

- Y -

(no entries)

- Z -

Zodiac
The belt centered on the Ecliptic that is 8 degrees wide on either side and is divided into twelve equal parts of 30 degrees each, called the Signs of the Zodiac. The signs were named for the constellations that at one time lay more or less behind the sign, much as street names often receive their names from a particular tree or natural landmark.

- # -

 signglyphs.gif (2410 bytes)

Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sagittarius

Capricorn

Aquarius

Pisces

 

Copyright 1998-2004, Logos, Asaa. All rights reserved.
Sidst opdateret: 07. September 2004 16:34:26 +0200