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Glossary - for the astrologically impaired

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  • Glossary - for the astrologically impaired

    If anybody has anything they want (or need) added, please let me know!


    Accidental Dignity: A planet placed in the house that is ruled by the sign of its dignity. (i.e. Mars in the 1st house is accidentally dignified, even if it’s not in the sign of Aries.) See also Dignity.

    Admetos: the sixth of the symbolic planets used in Uranian Astrology

    Affliction: an old term from traditional astrology to describe a really sucky aspect to a Malefic. As in, “that damn Saturn is afflicting my Venus.”

    Age, Astrological (Great Month): a phase of about 2200 years (give or take), which is also 1/12 of a Great Year. It’s the amount of time necessary for the Vernal Equinox (the solstice point indicating spring) to go through one entire constellation. Often referred to by the sign on Equinox point - i.e the Aquarian Age. (See also Great Year)

    Air Signs: The signs ruled by the element of Air, namely, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius

    Alcabitus: A house system that uses the arc of the Ascendant to calculate the houses. (Geek speak: trisecting the arc of the AC, projected onto the ecliptic)

    Anareta: from the Greek word for ‘destroyer’. It’s an old term usually used to describe a malefic on an anaretic (or critical) degree

    Anaretic Degree: The area between 29 and 30º in every sign that is thought to indicate highly emphasized elements of the chart, usually something ‘fated’ like a fundamental problem with authority. (Sometimes called the Critical Degree – though that refers to other degrees than just 29.)

    Angles: The four lines in the horoscope that separate the Cardinal signs from the Mutable signs. (Translation: very important.) They are the Ascendant, Imum Coeli, Descendant and Midheaven.

    Angular Houses: Any house whose starting point is one of the Angles. Example: the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th. Sometimes also referred to as the Cardinal Houses.

    Antiscia: (plural, Antiscion) Usually only used in Uranian astrology, it’s slowly being adopted elsewhere. It is the opposite position of any major point (i.e. the AC or Vernal Equinox). The word comes form the Greek word for ‘shadow’.

    Aphelion: the point in a planet’s orbit farthest from the Sun.

    Apheta: The planet or point considered the strongest in the birth chart. (It is synonymous with hyleg) It was mostly used in traditional astrology, balanced with the Anareta to determine the length of life.

    Apogee: the part of planet’s orbit that puts it farthest from the Earth.

    Apollon: the fifth of the symbolic planets used in Uranian Astrology

    Apparent Motion: the motion of a planet as seen from the surface of the earth. This is why the Sun seems to “rise” as sunrise and planets appear to go retrograde, or backwards, even though both of those things don’t really happen.

    Applying Aspect: An aspect that is approaching exact or moving closer. Applying aspects are generally considered stronger than separating ones.

    Arabian Parts: A mathematical construction originating in (guess where) the Middle East, that takes three points of the horoscope and uses them to calculate a new point. For example, the Part of Fortune is an Arabic Part.

    Arc: No not the one from Indiana Jones, but the math concept that tracks the elliptical path of a planet’s travel.

    Aries: the first sign on the zodiac, associated with the Ram, Fire and ruled by Mars. This is a cardinal sign.

    Ascendant: the easternmost point of the horoscope, which represents the horizon of the earth. Also called the rising sign.

    Ascending Planet: a planet found between the AC and the MC (i.e. in the 12-10th houses), which is therefore moving up in the sky.

    Ascension (Long and Short): briefly, it describes how some signs rise faster over the horizon than others, seen most especially at the more extreme latitudes.

    Aspect: Any way that two (or more) planets interact with each other. These include the conjunction, the sextile, the square, the semi-sextile and many others. (Note: parallels and contraparallels are based on declination so they aren’t usually referred to in most aspect listings . . . but they should be!)

    Aspect Pattern: A series of aspects that form a bigger, geometric design. (See Grand Trine, Yod, Grand Cross, Stellium or Kite)

    Asteroids: those little chucks of rocks that are too small to be planets but too large to be ignored. They are almost always found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

    Astral/Astro Twins: People born at different times or places that have nearly identical horoscopes.

    Astrolabe: an old tool used to measure the positions of the planets before we had nifty things like computers or calculators to do the math. It looks like a globe surrounded by many concentric circles. (It’s also the name of Rob Hand’s astrology company).

    Astrologer: Someone who finds reading the birth charts of perfect strangers to be fun (probably out of some sort of twisted sense of curiosity).

    Astrology: the science and art of being an astrologer

    Aquarius: the eleventh sign of the zodiac, represented by the symbol of the water bearer and (oddly enough) the element of Air. This is a fixed sign.

    Ayanamsa: a Hindu word that describes the slippage between the Tropical and Sidereal zodiacs

    Balsamic (Moon): the moon phase less than 45º behind the Sun, associated with personal destiny. (And a really nice vinegar.)

    Benefic: a planet that is considered to be “nice”, or a helpful influence in your chart. The two traditional benefics are Jupiter and Venus. (See Greater or Lesser Benefic)

    Beseiged: a planet unlucky enough to be placed between the two malefics that is said to be restricted or unable to express its positive side.

    Biquintile: a minor, easy aspect at 144º, based on the 5th harmonic

    Birthtime: the time you first drew breath, not what time the doctor thought you’d be born. It’s one of the most important pieces of data in astrology.

    Biseptile: a minor, hard aspect at 103º (or so), based on the 7th Harmonic.

    Bowl: one of seven horoscope patterns, which places all the planets in one hemisphere of the chart (north, south, east or west).

    Bucket: another horoscope pattern, which is a bowl with one planet nearly opposite the bowl, making it look like the handle of a bucket.

    Bundle: another horoscope pattern where all the planets occupy about 120º of the chart, or 4 houses.

    Cadent Houses: the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th houses, ruled by mutable signs and considered to be sort of scattered in their energy. (See also Terminal Houses)

    Campanus: an ancient astrologer who devised a house system using the eastern horizon. (Geek speak: The prime vertical is cut at thirty degree intervals starting at the east point of the horizon, and these points are projected onto the ecliptic using house circles.)

    Cancer: the fourth sign of the zodiac, represented by a crab and the element of Water and ruled by the Moon. This is a cardinal sign.

    Capricorn: the tenth sign of the zodiac, represented by a goat, the element of Earth and ruled by Saturn. This is a cardinal sign.

    Caput Draconis: (a.k.a. the Dragon’s Head) an old term for the Moon’s North Node

    Cardinal Signs: The signs located at the cardinal points (or angles) of the horoscope. They are considered active and dynamic in expression. (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn)

    Cauda Draconis: (a.k.a. the Dragon’s Tail) an old term for the Moon’s South Node

    Cazimi/Casimi: a planet that forms an aspect within 30º of the Sun; being so close it is said to “burn up,” the meaning of the word cazimi.

    Celestial Equator: a mathematical projection of the Earth’s equator infinitely into space.

    Celestial Sphere: another mathematical construction, this time imagined as a sphere around the Earth on which the stars are projected, kind of like a planetarium, in effect. (Hey, nobody said this was modern)

    Ceres: one of the five major asteroids, named for the Roman Goddess, and said to represent where and how we are best nurtured.

    Chart: A horoscope

    Chaldean, Order of: no, not a secret Astrology club, but an ancient Middle-Eastern system that ordered the planets by their apparent speed from the surface of the Earth. The order was: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon.

    Chiron: one of the five major asteroids, named for the Greek centaur. (Go read the myth.) It is said to represent the weakest or most wounded point of our character, but also where we are able to help others with the same problems. An example: the relationship counselor who’s had three divorces.

    Combust: a planet conjunct the Sun with an orb of less than 3º. It is said that the Sun therefore outshines this planet in the chart. (Which is true – not too many planets shine, unless you polish them really well.)

    Composite Chart: a type of chart for comparing two horoscopes, which takes the average of all the times and locations and plots everything for the middle point.

    Conjunction: two (or more) planets close to together, with an orb of less than 7-8º.

    Constellation: a bunch of stars that look like a connect-the-dot picture to observers

    Contraparallel: the relationship/aspect between two planets at the same degree of declination, but on opposite sides of the Celestial Equator. Example: a planet at 23N would be contraparallel to planet at 23S. (See also Declination)

    Co-Ruler: a holdover from the days before the discovery of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Back then with 7 planets and 12 signs, most planets had to do double-duty. The only ones still doing so these days are Venus (Taurus and Libra) and Mercury (Gemini and Virgo).

    Critical Degree: traditionally they are 0, 13, and 26 degrees of the Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn); 8-9 and 21-22 degrees of Fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius); and 4 and 17 degrees of Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces). So what, you say? Any planets found at a critical degree is emphasized and often more important in the chart. (See also Anaretic Degree)

    Culmination: a term describing a planet at the Midheaven or highest point of the chart.

    Cupido: the first of the symbolic planets used in Uranian astrology.

    Cusp: an imaginary line that separates one sign or one house from another.

    Daylight Saving Time: An adaptation of Local Time to permit one extra hour of sunshine in the summer or winter. Sometimes called War Time.

    Debilitated, Debility: a planet in its sign of detriment. (See Detriment)

    Decan/Decanate: 1/10th of a zodiac sign, or divided into three. It is used to further refine planetary positions by indicating a co-ruler of the sign. The rulers rotate by element. Example: the first decanate (0°-10&#176 of Aries is Aries, the second (11°-20&#176 Leo and the third (21°-29&#176 Sagittarius. So a planet in the second decanate of Aries would act like Aries with a hint of Leo energy. This is one primary reason why not all Sun signs are exactly the same.

    Decile: a minor aspect of 36° from the tenth harmonic

    Declination: the third dimension of astrology, which describes the position of a planet in relation to the celestial equator. Maximum and minimum declination is set by the path of the Sun appears to move in the sky as we orbit it. The North boundary is the Tropic of Cancer and the South is the Tropic of Capricorn.

    Decreasing In Light: an older term to describe the waning Moon.

    Derivative Houses: a way of looking at the houses that relates them to another based off an arbitrary point. Example: the 5th house represents your children. With derivative houses, the 5th house from the 5th house (the 9th) would represent your grandchildren. (Don’t think about it too much – it’ll just give you a headache.)

    Descendant: the point opposite the Ascendant and the cusp of the 7th house that indicates where the sun sets.

    Detriment: a planet in the opposite sign of its dignity, said to negatively affect its expression.

    Dignity: each planet rules at least one sign and when located there is said to be in dignity. It is where the planet feels “at home” and best able to express its energy.

    Direct Motion: the normal (clockwise) orbit of a planet as seen from the earth.

    Directions: See Progressions

    Dispositor: the planet that rules the sign another planet occupies. For example, Mercury disposes of Venus in Gemini because Mercury rules Gemini. The dispositor is thought to affect the energy of the disposed planet.

    Dissociate Aspect: an aspect within orb, but out of the same sign. Example: a conjunction between the Sun in Libra and the Moon in Scorpio, or a trine between Venus in Gemini and Mars in Capricorn. Remember the orb has to be less than 7°.

    Diurnal Arc: the time it takes for a planet to move from its rising point on the horizon to its setting point.

    Dragon's Head: See Caput Draconis

    Dragon's Tail: See Cauda Draconis

    Duplicate Signs: the replication of a set of signs on house cusps that happens when another sign is intercepted. They therefore have more expression of their energies in a chart. (See Interception)

    Dwad/Dwadasama/Dwadachamsha: (duh’wad-a-sama.) A division of 1/12 of a sign (or about 2 1/2&#176 stolen from Hindu astrology. Each dwad is said to rule a different sign, with all 12 signs being a small part of each other. Here’s a link to a visual chart.

    Earth Signs: the signs ruled by the element of Earth, Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.

    East Point: the sign and degree of the point rising over the Earth’s horizon at any given moment. (Also known as the Equatorial Ascendant)

    Easy Aspect: See Harmonious Aspects

    Eclipse: a period when one planet blocks another from the view of the Earth. Most common are solar (where the Moon blocks the Sun from the Earth) or lunar (the Earth blocks the Sun from the Moon). They always occur in pairs over one lunar month. (See Saros Series)

    Ecliptic: the Earth’s orbit around the Sun

    Electional Astrology: a system of astrology that predicts the best time to do a specific action (i.e. get married, start a new job, buy a house).

    Elements: the four basic building blocks of the universe as determined by the Greeks.

    Ephemeris: a book of planetary positions calculated for those of us who find the math to figure each planet by hand to be tedious. It also contains other astronomical data, such as eclipses and declinations.

    Equal House: a system of house division which takes the AC degree and sets the next house exactly 30° away. So if you have an AC of 28° Gemini, the second house would start with 28° Cancer. This makes every house exactly the same size.

    Equator: the plane perpendicular to the axis of the Earth’s orbit.

    Equinox: from the Latin word ‘aequinoctium,’ or equal night; it occurs when the Sun is directly over Earth's equator. This makes the days and night have equal length and sets the boundaries between spring (0°Aries) and fall (0°Libra).

    Esoteric Astrology: a branch of astrology that covers such topics as reincarnation, karma and other forms of spiritual symbolism.

    Essential Dignity: See Dignity

    Event Chart: a chart cast for a particular event as opposed to a person.

    Exalted: the word for a planet in the sign it expresses itself best in, other than its dignity. For example the Moon is exalted in Taurus and the Sun is exalted in Aries.

    Exoteric Astrology: the branch of astrology that studies observable events, such natal or mundane astrology.

    Face: a traditional term to describe dividing each sign into section of 6° each.

    Fall: the opposite of detriment; the sign where a planet expresses most of its negative qualities. Example, Jupiter is in fall in Capricorn and Mars is in fall in Cancer.

    Feminine Signs: the earth and water signs; Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces.

    Finger Of God: See Yod. (And oddly enough that rhymes with ‘God.’ Go figure.)

    Fire Signs: the signs ruled by the element of fire, namely Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.

    Fixed Signs: signs associated with a succedent house: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.

    Fixed Stars: stars that appear not to move in the sky because of their distance from the Earth. (But of course they’re not really fixed in place. We just don’t have the attention span to see them noticeably move.)

    Flat Chart: See Natural Chart

    Focal Point: any part of a chart that is emphasized by planetary placement, aspects or signs.

    Fortuna: See Part of Fortune

    Gemini: the third sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a pair of twins and the element of Air, and ruled by Mercury. This is a mutable sign.

    Geniture: See Natal Astrology

    Geocentric: astrology based upon the Earth being the observation point (i.e. the center).

    Gibbous Moon: when the Moon is in a position 135° to 180° ahead of the Sun. It is said to be a time for motivation.

    Grand Cross/Square: a configuration where at least four planets, in the same quadruplicity, form squares to each other; with two oppositions. In the chart, this looks like a giant box with an ‘X’ in the middle. (See Aspect Patterns)

    Grand Trine: a configuration where at last three planets in the same triplicity form trines to one another. This looks like a giant triangle in the chart. (See Aspect Patterns)

    Great Year: an astrological “year” based on the time it takes the equinox point to rotate through all the signs of the zodiac. Remember that the equinox moves through each sign in about 2200 years, so a Great Year is about 25,000 years give or take. (Not too many of us celebrate our Great Year birthday.)

    Greater Benefic: another name for Jupiter, from traditional astrology, which viewed him as a bringer of luck.

    Greater Malefic: another name for Saturn, from traditional astrology, which viewed him as bringing misfortune in a really nasty way.

    GMT/Greenwich Mean Time: the time at exactly 0° (the Prime Meridian) in Greenwich, England. Why start there? Because England was the world power at the time the maps were drafted. So there.

    Hades: the second of the symbolic planets used in Uranian astrology.

    Hard Aspects: squares, oppositions, quincunxes (sometimes conjunctions) that produce tension, which leads to change.

    Harmonics: the system of creating aspects, derived from the division of a 360° circle into segments. For example, the 4th harmonic would be 360/4 or 90°, which is a square aspect.

    Harmonious Aspects: trines, sextiles (sometimes conjunctions) that produce easy energy exchange.

    Heliocentric: astrology based up on observation from the surface of the Sun (i.e. Sun centered).

    Horary Astrology: a system of astrology that answer questions based on the time a chart was drawn up. You can use it to find everything from your car keys to if you’re pregnant.

    Horizon: the boundary between Earth and sky, represented by the AC/DC axis

    Horoscope Patterns: Arrangements of planets that make interesting shapes to the eye. They add an additional layer of interpretation to your chart. (See Locomotive, Bowl, Bucket, Bundle, Seesaw, Splash or Splay.)

    House: one of the twelve mathematically derived segments of the chart. Their sizes and positions are determined by one of the many sets of house systems. (No one style is the only correct one.)

    House Cusp: the boundary between one house and another

    Houses, Table Of: a book that allows an astrologer to calculate the location of each house cusp by hand. (Back in the dark ages of the 20th century this is what we used instead of those new-fangled computers, you young whippersnappers.)

    Humanistic Astrology: person-centered as opposed to event-centered astrology. Examples are natal, or synastry.

    Hyleg: See Apheta

    Imum Coeli: the cusp of the fourth house and the southernmost point of the chart. The term is from a Latin phrase meaning ‘Bottom of the Heavens.’ It’s not exactly the same thing as the Nadir (semantically), but many people still call it the Nadir anyway. (Yes, I’m a grammar whore.)

    Inconjunct: See Quincunx

    Increasing Light: an older term for the waxing Moon

    Infortunes: See Malefic

    Ingress: the term for when a planet moves out of one sign and into another.

    Inharmonious Aspects: See Hard Aspects

    Inner Planets: the planets in their orbits outward from the Sun to Mars

    Intercepted Sign: a sign that doesn’t have a house cusp to rule but hides within a house because of ascension and several other factors. The sign isn’t missing, but unable to express itself freely. Interceptions are more common the higher you move in latitude from the equator and always happen in pairs.

    Juno: one of the five main asteroids, named for the Roman goddess and said to represent marriage needs and potentials.

    Koch: another house system, this one based on trisecting the diurnal arc.

    Kronos: the fourth symbolic planet of Uranian astrology.

    Latitude, Celestial Angular: the distance north or south of celestial equator

    Latitude, Geographic Angular: the distance north or south on the Earth measured from the equator

    Leo: the fifth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a Lion, the element of fire and ruled by the Sun. This is a fixed sign.

    Lesser Benefic: another name for Venus, from traditional astrology, which viewed her as bringing luck in smaller doses than her big brother, Jupiter.

    Lesser Malefic: this is Mars, the smaller (but no less intense) version of the Greater Malefic, Saturn.

    Libra: the seventh sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a set of scales, the element of Air and ruled by Venus. This is a cardinal sign.

    Lights: older terms for the Sun and Moon (because they give off light, duh). The Sun was the Greater Light, the Moon the Lesser Light

    Lilith: a point believed to be Earth’s second satellite. It’s not been formally discovered, but people claim to have seen its shadow on the earth during its orbit. It represents the mysterious and sinister side of femininity.

    Locational Astrology (also Astrocartography): a system of astrology that interprets your chart to find the best place for you to live.

    Locomotive: a chart pattern with all the planets in a 240° section of the chart

    Longitude, Celestial: the distance in arc degrees from 0° to any point of the ecliptic

    Longitude, Geographical: the arc of distance on the Earth’s surface, east or west of the Prime Meridian

    Longitude, Zodiacal: celestial longitude translated into zodiac terms.

    Lord: older word for the ruler of a sign

    Luminary: See Lights

    Lunation: one period of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth

    Masculine Signs: the signs ruled by either the Fire or Air elements: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius

    Medical Astrology: a system of astrology that studies your health as expressed in your chart

    Medium Coeli: the opposite point from the Imum Coeli, from the Latin for ‘Middle of the Heavens’ and the cusp of the tenth house. It’s also called the Midheaven or MC.

    Meridian: a line of geographical longitude

    Meridian, House system: system that uses the Aries point (0&#176 as the basis and places a house cusp every 30°.

    Midpoint: the average of the zodiacal position for two planets

    Mundane Astrology: system of astrology that deals with world events

    Mutable Signs: the signs that occupy the cadent houses: Gemini, Virgo and Pisces

    Mutual Reception: two planets placed in the sign of the other’s dignity, i.e. Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius. (No it’s not a play in American football.)

    Nadir: the point directly opposite the zenith; the lowest point of the celestial sphere. Not to be confused with the IC.

    Native: Another way of saying ‘the person for whom I’m doing this chart.’

    Natal Astrology: the system of astrology that casts a chart for an individual person, based on their birth details

    Natural Chart: a chart with 0°Aries on the AC and the rest of the signs placed likewise around it. (See Flat Chart.)

    Nocturnal Arc: the time it takes a planet to move from its setting point to its rising point in the opposite hemisphere.

    North Node: the mathematical point where the Moon’s orbit intersects with the ecliptic in the north. (See also Caput Draconis.)

    Nonile: a 40° aspect, based on the 9th harmonic (Not quite the opposite of Denial.)

    Obliquity Of The Ecliptic: the angle between the plane of the ecliptic and that of the equator

    Occidental: An older word for ‘western’, which refers to planets that rise and set after the Sun.

    Occidental Houses: houses 4 through 9

    Opposition: a 180° aspect of the 2nd harmonic

    Orb: the range in which an aspect is considered valid – the commonly accepted range is 7°.

    Orbit: the imaginary hula-hoop path that a planet makes as it moves around another planet/star.

    Oriental: An older word for ‘eastern’, which refers to planets that rise and set before the Sun. (And if used around an Asian person, most likely to get your butt kicked).

    Oriental Houses: houses 10 through 3

    Pallas Athena: one of the five asteroids, named for the Greek goddess, representing pattern recognition and intelligence. Sometimes the name is just shortened to Pallas.

    Parallel: the relationship between two planets at the same degree and hemisphere of the celestial sphere. (See Also Declination)

    Partile: another name for an exact aspect.

    Part of Fortune: the most common Arabic part used in the West, which symbolizes joy and good fortune potentials. It is derived from the positions of the Sun, Moon and AC.

    Peregrine: a “lost” sort of planet that isn’t in a sign of one of its essential dignities, dignity, detriment, exaltation, term, fall, or face.

    Perigee: the point of planet’s orbit that brings it closest to the Earth

    Perihelion: the point in a planet’s orbit that brings it closest to the Sun

    Pisces: the twelfth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a pair of fishes, the element of Water and ruled by Neptune. This is a mutable sign.

    Phase: the various stages of the Moon’s orbit as seen from Earth (or what my parents thought astrology was for me).

    Placidus: the most common house system, which is really difficult to calculate as it’s based on the nocturnal and diurnal semi-arcs. The system is named for the Spanish monk who thought it up and obviously had the time to do trigonometry all day.

    Planet: a large chunk of rock in orbit around the Sun, that appears to move from the vantage point of the Earth.

    Porphyry: another house system best described as based off of the angles. (Geek speak: The trisected arc between the MC and the AC, with the ecliptic locations becoming the eleventh and twelfth houses, etc and so forth.)

    Poseidon: the eighth symbolic planet of Uranian astrology

    Precession (Of The Equinoxes): the movement of the Earth’s axis around the ecliptic, in backwards motion through the zodiac signs. The equinoxes drift backwards a little bit each year and are said to precess, or move backward. (See Great Year.)

    Primary Directions: a term for progressing house cusps based on the rotation of the Earth (and really, really mathematically complex). These days it’s a catch-all phrase for any method of advancing house cusps.

    Progressions: an encompassing term referring to advancing the house cusps and planets in the horoscope. Commonly used methods are secondary progression and solar arcs.

    Quadrant: one of the four sections of a horoscope composed of one angular, one succedent and one cadent house.

    Quadruplicity: one of the three groups (Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable) that all signs are assigned to.

    Quincunx: a 150° aspect of the twelfth harmonic that makes little irritating adjustments in your life. (See Inconjunct.)

    Quindecile: 24° aspect of the 15th harmonic

    Quintile: 72° aspect of the 5th harmonic

    Radix/Radical: another term for natal

    Reception: See Mutual Reception

    Rectification: any of the various systems to calculate the chart when one of the key birth data values is missing (most commonly birth time). It’s a very time-intensive and complex process, where the astrologer links important events in the native’s life to parts of their potential chart.

    Regiomontanus: a similar house system to Placidus but without the awfully complex trigonometry.

    Retrograde: the apparent backwards motion of planet, as observed from the Earth, even though it really doesn’t go backwards.

    Right Ascension: the measurement, eastward from 0°Aries, along the celestial equator. (As opposed to, of course, the Wrong Ascension.)

    Rising Planet: any planet on or near the Ascendant

    Rising Sign: See Ascendant (AC)

    Ruling Planet: the planet that disposes of the Ascendant, or rules the sign it’s located in. If you have Virgo rising, Mercury is your chart ruler. (See Dispositor)

    Sabian Symbols: an occult division of the zodiac by degree, used for divination.

    Sagittarius: the ninth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by an archer, the element of Fire and ruled by Jupiter. This is a mutable sign.

    Saros Cycle: the 18-year cycle of eclipses, which has about 70 eclipses, both lunar and solar.

    Scorpio: the eighth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by either an Eagle (old) or a Scorpion (new), the element of Water and ruled by Pluto. This is a fixed sign.

    Secondary Progressions: a method of progressions that uses a “year for a day” symbolism. Each day after birth is considered to represent a year in the native’s life.

    Seesaw: a chart pattern that equally distributes all the planets in two hemispheres, where most oppose each other, like on the ends of a seesaw. (See Chart Patterns)

    Semi-Sextile: a 30° aspect of the 12th harmonic

    Semi-Square: a 45° aspect of the 8th harmonic

    Separating Aspect: an aspect that has reached partile and the planets involved are now moving apart.

    Septile: a little used 51 3/7° aspect, based off the 7th harmonic

    Sesquiquadrate, Sesquisquare: 135° minor aspects from the 5th harmonic

    Sextile: a 60° aspect from the 6th harmonic

    Sidereal Astrology/Time: sidereal refers to the actual movement of the stars as distinguished from the standard clock time of the Earth. Because the sidereal zodiac rotates at a different speed than the tropical, there is a growing gap between the two systems.

    Significator: the fast moving planet in an aspect. It’s also used interchangeably with Planetary Ruler.

    Singleton: a planet that is the only inhabitant of the hemisphere, element or quality in which it is found.

    Signs: the twelve divisions of the zodiac

    Solar Chart: a chart used to guesstimate the Ascendant, by putting the Sun on the rising degree.

    Solar Arc: a method of progression that takes the Sun’s daily motion and advances each planet by the same amount.

    Solar Eclipse: See Eclipse

    Solar Return: a chart for the exact time the Sun returns to its position in your natal chart

    Solstice: the two points of the ecliptic where the Sun reaches its highest (0° Cancer) or lowest (0° Capricorn) points, signaling the change of seasons.

    South Node: the mathematical point where the Moon’s orbit intersects with the ecliptic in the south. (See also Cauda Draconis.)

    Splash: a chart pattern where the planets are evenly distributed around the zodiac. (See Chart Patterns.)

    Splay: a chart pattern for planets scattered randomly around the zodiac with no discernable pattern. (See Chart Patterns.)

    Square: a 90° aspect from the 4th harmonic. Occasionally called a Quadrate, Quartile or Tetragon.

    Station, Stationary: the point where a planet appears motionless, as it’s either about to turn retrograde or direct

    Stellium: a conjunction of three or more planets, where each planet is conjunct all the others. (See Aspect Patterns.)

    Succedent: the houses that “follow” the angular ones. They corresponded to the fixed signs.

    Superior Planets: planets whose orbits are larger than earth's. The term is sometimes restricted to the three outermost planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

    Synastry: a group term for any of the methods used to compare two horoscopes at the same time. (See Composite)

    Synthesis: the art of combining the various factors revealed in a horoscope and building a balanced judgment of the chart as a whole.

    Syzygy: points where a planet is opposite the Sun; usually in reference to the Moon during an eclipse. (Plus it’s a killer word in Scrabble.)

    Taurus: the second sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a Bull, the element of Earth and ruled by Venus. This is a fixed sign.

    T-Cross: See T-Square

    Temporal Houses: houses two, six and ten, ruled by earth signs; symbolic of the material aspects life. As a group they form the trinity of wealth.

    Terminal Houses: those houses ruled naturally by water signs: four, eight and twelve. They pertain to endings and results and symbolize occult interests. (See also Cadent Houses)

    Topocentric: another variation of the Pladican house system, supposedly more accurate.

    Transit: the comparison of the planets in their current positions to those in your natal chart, used in predictions.

    Translation of Light: a term used in horary astrology to describe the activity of a planet that applies in aspect, in turn, to two other planets that are separating from a mutual aspect, thereby translating "light" or energy and symbolically reuniting the planets and the matters they represent.

    Tredecile, trecile: a minor easy aspect belonging to the 10th harmonic (decile) group; separating distance 108°. Also called a sesquiquintile.

    Trigon: the three member signs of a triplicity. Also used as an alternate term for grand trine. (See also Grand Trine)

    Trine: a 120° aspect from the 3rd harmonic

    Triplicity: the group of three sign belonging to the same element (i.e. Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces).

    Tri-septile: a seldom-used inharmonious minor aspect, belonging to the septile (seventh harmonic) family; separating distance, 154°17'.

    Tropical Signs/Zodiac: the positions of the signs/constellations as they were in the sky approximately 2000 years when western astrology was being developed. (See Sidereal.)

    T-Square: an aspect pattern involving two planets in opposition, with a third square both of them. Surprisingly enough (like you couldn’t guess from the name) it looks like a ‘T’ in the horoscope.

    Universal Time: See Greenwich Mean Time

    Uranian Astrology: a school of astrology founded in Germany, which relies heavily upon the interpretational emphasis of midpoints in addition to traditional astrological elements.

    Vernal: Another word for spring – the vernal equinox

    Vertex: the intersection of the ecliptic and the prime vertical, found in the western half of the horoscope. It’s often considered a ‘third’ angle and a very sensitive point

    Vesta: one of the five asteroids, named for the Roman goddess and indicative of where we give 150% in our lives

    Via combusta: literally ‘fiery way’; refers to a section of fixed stars that falls between 15° Libra and 15° Scorpio. Used primarily in horary astrology as an indication of unfortunate or ineffectual situations.

    Virgo: the sixth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a virginal woman, the element of Earth and ruled by Mercury. This is a mutable sign.

    Vocational Astrology: astrological career counseling

    Void-Of-Course: the period when a planet is separating from its last aspect before it changes signs. Traditionally this is a time of confusion in the area of life ruled by the planet. A v/c can last anywhere from minutes to days. Consult your local astrologer for details.

    Vulkanus: the seventh symbolic planet used in Uranian astrology. (No relation to the place Mr. Spock is from.)

    Water Signs: the signs ruled by the element of Water: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces

    Yod: an aspect pattern composed of one planet quincunx two planets that are also sextile each other. It looks much like an isosceles triangle and represents an area where the native has to make a lot of adjustments. It’s often viewed as coming from events larger than life, hence the ‘Finger of God’ appellation.

    Zenith: the point opposite the nadir in the celestial horizon. (The ‘up’ direction)

    Zeus: the third symbolic planet used in Uranian astrology

    Zodiac: the common name for the twelve signs that are used in Western astrology, from a Greek word meaning, ‘Circle of Animals.’

    **You may copy this post as long as you quote me as the source. Copyright theft is bad karma.
    Last edited by KEishin; June 12th, 2006, 12:46 PM.
    Astrology Forum Guide- Do you know YOUR planets?
    Certified Astrologer - AMAFA - through the American Federation of Astrologers

  • #2
    Hey, that's a really useful guide! Thanks, Keishin