A listing of different astrological words or terms and their meaning. Click on the letter below to jump to the relevant section. I anticipate adding to this as I go along, so if it isn’t here yet, it may turn up sometime soon.
Above the Earth / Horizon – When the planets are in the upper part of the chart (houses 7 to 12). Also known as above the horizon. Generally speaking, you would want the planets of your sect in the upper part of the chart (Sun, Jupiter, Saturn above the earth or horizon for a day chart; Moon, Venus and Mars above the horizon for a night chart.)
Accidental Dignity – When a planet is dignified in ways other than by its zodiac position (domicile, exaltation, triplicity, term (bound), or face (decan). Accidental dignity can include things like a planet being in an angular house, free from combustion, being direct or swift in motion or having a positive aspect to a benefic or a fortunate fixed star.
Accidentally Debilitated – When a planet is debilitated not because of its zodiac position, but other factors such as being in a cadent house, combust the Sun, or receiving a difficult aspect from a malefic.
Air Signs – The air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Air signs are associated with the intellectual, sociable, and changeable.
Almuten – When a planet has more essential dignity than the ruler of the sign. This usually happens when a planet is in exaltation, as well as being in its own triplicity, term or face as well.
Angle – An angle refers to one of the angular houses (1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th). Also known as the cardinal points, or pivots.
Angular – The angular houses are the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses. Planets within these houses are said to be more visible, active and powerful.
Apogee – When a planet is at its highest elevation in the sky, and furthest from the earth. This is also the start of the planet’s new cycle, either the conjunction for superior planets (Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn), or the superior conjunction for the inferior planets (Mercury and Venus). As they are so distant from the earth at this time, they are dimmer (weaker in light) in the sky but are said to be strengthened by their conjunction with the Sun. Said to be good for higher-minded activities, less so for physical ones (and vice-versa for Perigee – when a planet is closest to earth).
Applying – When a planet is applying to another, it is within orb of reaching the exact aspect degree between them, but has not reached it yet.
Aquarius – Aquarius is the 11th sign of the zodiac and is associated with maintaining (fixed) the dark of Winter against the approach of longer days. Aquarius is a fixed air sign ruled by Saturn in traditional astrology and Uranus in modern astrology. Aquarius is represented by the symbol of the water bearer.
Aries – Aries is the 1st sign of the zodiac and synced to the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. At the Spring Solstice (0° Aries 00′), there are equal amounts of light and dark in a day. However, from this day forward the light starts to dominate. Aries is a cardinal fire sign ruled by Mars and represented by the symbol of the ram.
Ascendant – The zodiac degree coming up over the eastern horizon at the time, date and place for the chart that is being erected. In many house systems it is the start of the 1st house. In Whole Sign Houses, it floats in the 1st house. Planets in this house ascend above the horizon and become visible.
Aspect – When planets are a certain geometrical distance apart they are said to be in aspect with each other. The most common aspects are the conjunction (0° apart), the sextile (60° apart), the square (90° apart), the trine (120° apart), and the opposition (180° apart). The conjunction strictly speaking is not an aspect but is considered one for convenience’s sake. There are many other aspects as well such as the semi-sextile (30° apart), quincunx or inconjunct (150° apart), and quintile (72° apart). ,
Barren Signs – The barren signs are Gemini, Virgo and Leo. Sometimes known as sterile signs.
Below / Beneath the Earth – When planets are beneath the earth, they are in the lower part of the astrology chart (below the Ascendant / Descendant axis). Also known as beneath the horizon or under the earth.
Benefic Planets – Benefic planets are said to be naturally helpful. Jupiter is called the greater benefic (as it moves slower than Venus, it is able to pass on its potential benefits to other planets for a longer time). Venus is called the lesser benefic (it’s transits move quickly, so the good fortune does not last as long). Jupiter is of the day sect, so it is called the benefic of sect for diurnal (day) charts. Venus is of the night sect so it is called the benefic of sect for nocturnal (night) charts. Also known as the fortunes.
Besieged – When a planet lies between two malefic planets. This can happen when the two malefics are co-present with the planet involved, or by aspect. The planet is trapped – as between a rock and hard place, or out of the frying pan and into the fire. Also called a containment in Hellenistic Astrology.
Bestial Signs – Zodiac signs that are represented by a 4 footed beast or animal. This includes Aries (ram), Taurus (bull), Leo (lion), Sagittarius (centaur), and Capricorn (goat). They are said to be somewhat animal-like in their emotional reactions, and may lack the social graces of the signs that are considered humane. Also called quadrupedian. Includes all the fire signs, as well as two earth signs (the other earth sign Virgo, is one of the humane signs).
Bicorporeal Signs – The bicorporeal signs are also known as double-bodied or mutable signs. They are the signs just after the fixed signs, and prior to the cardinal signs. These signs are associated with change and adaptability, as they signify the upcoming change of seasons. It is said that the first half of a bicorporeal sign may be quite fixed like the previous sign, whereas the second half may be quite cardinal, similar to the sign ahead of it. Gemini (the twins), Virgo (the maiden and the bird), Sagittarius (half horse, half man), and Pisces (the two fish) are the double-bodied or bicorporeal signs.
Cadent Houses – The cadent houses are the houses that are falling away from the angular houses by primary motion. They are the 12th, 3rd, 6th, and 9th houses. Planets in cadent houses are said to be weak, and lacking in power. Their time has already been (when they were angular), but now they are falling away from that high place (the angle).
Cancer – Cancer is the 4th sign of the zodiac and synced to the Summer Solstice in the Northern hemisphere. At the Summer solstice (0° Cancer 00′), it is the longest day of the year with the most light. However, from this time forward, the dark will start to increase. Cancer is a cardinal water sign ruled by the Moon and represented by the symbol of the crab.
Capricorn – Capricorn is the 10th sign of the zodiac and synced to the Winter Solstice in the Northern hemisphere. At the Winter Solstice (0° Capricorn 00′), there is more dark than light, as this is the shortest day of the year. From this day forward though, the light will start to increase. Capricorn is a cardinal earth sign ruled by Saturn and represented by the goat or mythical sea-goat.
Cardinal Houses – The cardinal houses are a traditional reference to the angular houses (1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th). These houses are very visible, and planets in a cardinal house are considered strong.
Cardinal Points – Another name for the angles, the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses.
Cardinal Signs – The cardinal signs are all synced to the start of the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. Aries is synced to the start of Spring, Cancer to the start of Summer, Libra to the start of Autumn, and Capricorn to the start of Winter. Cardinal signs are known for their initiating qualities, just as they initiate the start of a new season. The cardinal signs were traditionally referred to as the tropical signs.
Cazimi – When a planet is extremely close to the Sun it is said to be cazimi or in the heart of the Sun. Hellenistic astrologers allow a 1° orb for this, whereas Medieval astrologers (including horary) usually give an orb of only 16′ for the Cazimi. Some astrologers see this as extremely strengthening while others see this as a time when the planet is purified and regenerated, and therefore maybe even a little vulnerable. The cazimi with the Sun represents the start of a new cycle for the planet (superior conjunction only for the inferior planets).
Chariot – In Hellenistic Astrology, a planet is said to be in its own chariot when it is within 15° on either side of the Sun (known as Under the Beams) but is not hindered because it is in its own domicile, exaltation, or bounds. Medieval astrologers do not seem to recognize this as being a way to bonify a planet under the beams.
Chaldean Order of Planets – The traditional order of the planets in accordance to their speed. The list is Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon.
Choleric – One of the four humors in astrology. It is associated with the season of Summer and the element of fire. The temperament is hot and dry. Those of the choleric temperament are often seen a hot-headed, easy to anger, quick to react.
Collection (of virtue of light) – Used in horary astrology. When two planets both apply to a third planet, the third planet “collects the light” of the other two. It can represent a person or event that brings the two planets (and what they represent in the chart) together. Particularly useful when they were no aspects between the original two planets to start with.
Combust/ion – When a planet is combust the Sun it is said to be debilitated, being weak and vulnerable. William Lilly gave an 8° 30′ orb for combustion and said that the planets should be in the same sign.
Considerations before Judgement – Used in horary astrology. A listing of aphorisms which can indicate that a chart might not be fit to be judged.
Containment – Also known as a planet being besieged. Hellenistic term for when a planet is caught between two malefics, whether by co[presence, or by aspect.
Co-Significator – A planet that rules a subject or area of the chart with another planet. In horary astrology, the Moon is a co-significator of the querent, along with what other planet rules the ascendant. In horary astrology it can also include planets inside a house under consideration, or the ruler of an intercepted sign in a house under consideration. Planets making strong aspects to the main significator may also be considered co-significators.
Cronos or Kronos – The Greek name for the god associated with Saturn.
Culminating – Often refers to planets at the midheaven (MC) as that is the highest part of the chart. In ancient astrology, a planet that was said to be culminating under the earth meant that it was conjunct the IC.
Culminating Beneath the Earth – When a planet reaches the IC.
Cusp – A dividing line between the houses. In horary astrology a planet within 5 degrees of the cusp of the next house was considered to be in that next house.
Dark Houses – Name for the houses that do not aspect the Ascendant by Ptolemaic aspect. Namely the 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 12th houses.
Day or Diurnal Chart – An astrological chart is considered to be of the day or diurnal sect when the Sun is above the Ascendant / Descendant axis.
Debility or Debilitated – A planet is essentially debilitated in the sign of its detriment or fall. A planet that is debilitated cannot easily carry its core principles or significations. This can be alleviated if a debilitated planet receives good accidental support or fortitude. In horary and other medieval astrology, a planet that is peregrine can also be considered debilitated. It may also be accidentally debilitated by being cadent, combust the Sun or is receiving a difficult aspect from a malefic.
Decans or Decanates – A system that breaks down each zodiac signs into three equal parts of 10 degrees each. In horary and medieval astrology they are known as the Faces.
Declining – When a planet is falling away from an angle into a cadent house.
Decumbiture – Used in medical astrology from medieval times. Takes into account when someone took to their bed (decumbere means to lie down) with an illness. Erecting a chart for this time can give clues on the illness, and how to improve the matter.
Derived Houses – Often used in horary astrology, derived houses are a way of getting more information out of a chart. If the 5th house represents our children and the 11th house represents friends, then the 11th house from the 5th house (the 3rd) represents our children’s friends.
Descendant – An angular point, directly opposite the Ascendant. Planets here are descending below the horizon (the ascendant /descendant axis is the horizon). Often refers to others or the other in a chart. In many house systems it is the start of the 7th house. In Whole Sign Houses, it floats in the 7th house.
Dexter – Refers to aspects coming from the right (dexter means “of the right”). A dexter aspect is said to be more powerful than a sinister (from the left) aspect. A dexter aspect is one in which a faster planet makes an aspect to a slower planet behind it in zodiac order. This means that in the cycle of the two planets, the slower planet is waxing (moving away from the conjunction but not having yet reached the opposition). So you could have a dexter sextile from a faster planet in Pisces to a slower one in Capricorn. If you were at the center of the chart, then on your right would be earlier zodiacal signs. This also means that the aspect is flowing in a diurnal or primary motion – clockwise, as opposed to the movement of the planets (secondary motion) which is anti-clockwise.
Dignity or Dignities – Refers to a planet being stronger because of essential dignities (caused by the zodiac sign it is in) or accidental dignities (other conditions such as house placement or aspects to benefic planets).
Dispositor – A planet that rules the sign a planet is in. For example, Venus is the dispositor of Mercury in Taurus because Venus rules Taurus. The condition (dignities and debilities) that Venus is in and whether Venus can see the planet will have some bearing on how much assistance it will be able to give to the planet.
Diurnal – Having qualities of the day or the Sun. The diurnal planets include the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn (also Mercury when it is oriental/rises before the Sun). Planets that are diurnal tend to be more active, direct and outgoing. All the planets, except the Sun and the Moon, have a diurnal and a nocturnal rulership. Mercury is diurnal in Gemini, Venus is diurnal in Libra, Mars is diurnal in Aries, Jupiter is diurnal in Sagittarius, and Saturn is diurnal in Aquarius. The diurnal signs are fire and air signs.
Diurnal (Day) Chart – A astrological chart is considered a diurnal or day chart when the Sun is above the Ascendant/Descendant axis.
Diurnal Hemisphere – The houses above the Ascendant/Descendant axis. The 7th to the 12th houses.
Diurnal Motion or Revolution – The same as Primary Motion. Diurnal refers to the Sun, and astrological chart wheels move in a clockwise direction (as opposed to the planets) which represents the Sun’s travel in a day. A planet on the horizon at dawn will be near the 1st house, that same planet will be near the 10th house at midday, near the 7th house at dusk, and near the 4th house in the middle of the night.
Diurnal Sect – meaning that the Sun is above the Ascendant/Descendant axis.
Domicile – A planet is in its domicile (home) when it is in a sign that it rules. Just as most people are at their most comfortable in their own home, so a planet is better able to do what it signifies when it is in its own domicile. Mars is domicile in Aries and Scorpio. Venus is domicile in Taurus and Libra. Mercury is domicile in Gemini and Virgo. Jupiter is domicile in Sagittarius and Pisces. Saturn is domicile in Capricorn and Aquarius. The Sun is domicile in Leo while the Moon is domicile in Cancer.
Dominion – Anther name for rulership.
Double-bodied Signs – The double-bodied signs are also known as bicorporeal or mutable signs. They are the sign just after the fixed signs, and prior to the cardinal signs. These signs are associated with change and adaptability, as they signify the upcoming change of seasons. It is said that the first half of a double-bodied sign may be quite fixed like the previous sign, whereas the second half may be quite cardinal like the sign ahead of it. Gemini (the twins), Virgo (the maiden and the bird), Sagittarius (half horse, half man), and Pisces (the two fish) are the double-bodied signs.
Earth Signs – The earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Earth signs are associated with practicality, realism, and what is tangible.
Ecliptic – The ecliptic is the path that the Earth takes around the Sun, although from our perspective on Earth it seems that the Sun is traveling around the Earth. This apparent path of the Sun is synced with the solstices and equinoxes, and therefore the seasons and the tropical zodiac signs.
Electional Astrology – A branch of astrology where the astrologer elects a time when the planetary energies are at the best they can be (given the time limits imposed) for a particular activity or event.
Elements – The elements refer to the triplicities or groupings of 3 signs that share a common attitude or approach. The different elements or triplicities are Fire (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius), Earth (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn), Air (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius), and Water (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces).
Equinox – The Spring and Autumn Equinoxes refer to when there is an equal amount of light and dark in a day. The Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is synced to 0° Aries 00′ and the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is synced to 0° Libra 00′.
Essentially Debilitated – A planet is essentially debilitated when it is in the sign of its fall or detriment. It may also be debilitated if it is peregrine. Basically, it needs to be the zodiac position that the planet is in that is causing the debility.
Essential Dignity – A planet having essential dignity will depend only on its zodiac position (other factors will be accidental dignity). The main essential dignity when it is in a sign that it rules (domicile) or in its sign of exaltation. A planet doesn’t need to exert as much energy to gain what the core signification of the planet represents when it is in the sign of its domicile or exaltation. A planet may also be considered essentially dignified when it is in the sign of its triplicity, term (bound) or face (decan).
Evasion – When two planets are about to have an aspect perfect, but the slower moving planet perfects an aspect with another planet first. Often signifying that something that was wanted, is intercepted by another.
Exaltation – A planet in the sign of its exaltation is like an honored guest in someone’s home. It is not in its own home (domicile) but it does have a lot of freedom to do what it wishes and express itself and its core principles. The Sun is exalted in Aries, the Moon in Taurus, Mercury in Virgo, Venus in Pisces, Mars in Capricorn, Jupiter in Cancer, and Saturn in Libra.
Faces – Medieval name for the decans. A system that breaks down each zodiac signs into three equal parts of 10 degrees each.
Fertile Signs – The water signs, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are thought to be quite fertile. Scorpio may be the least fertile, and perhaps because it is the Fall of the Moon, can sometimes indicate ease in falling pregnant, but trouble with carrying them to term.
Fire Signs – The fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Fire signs are associated with the inspirational, passionate, and all-consuming.
Five Degree Orb – Many traditional astrologers say that a planet within 5 degrees of the next house cusp is considered to be in the next house. Does not apply for Whole Sign Houses.
Fixed Signs – The fixed signs are traditionally also known as solid signs. The solid or fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. These zodiac signs are associated with the middle periods of the seasons and the fixed or unchanging nature of the seasons during the times associated with these signs. There is often a slower but more enduring quality to these signs.
Fortunes – Another name for the benefics.
Gemini – Gemini is the 3rd sign of the zodiac and associated with adapting to the upcoming turn of the seasons from Spring toward Summer. Gemini is a mutable air sign ruled by Mercury and represented by the symbol of the twins.
Gender – The zodiac signs are divided into different genders, masculine and feminine. Some prefer to use the terms yin and yang instead of masculine and feminine. The masculine or yang signs are said to be more active, while the feminine or yin signs are said to be more reactive or passive. The masculine or yang signs are said to be related to the planets of the diurnal sect, whereas the feminine or yin signs were said to be related to the planets of the nocturnal sect. Each planet has a masculine and feminine sign, and the signs alternate from masculine or yang to feminine or yin around the zodiac. The masculine or yang signs are Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius. The feminine or yin signs are Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces.
Hayz – When a a planet is in the same hemisphere as the light of the sect and is in a sign that is also of sect. So in a diurnal chart, the planet is in the same hemisphere as the Sun, and is in a masculine sign. For a nocturnal chart, the planet is in the opposite hemisphere from the Sun, and is in a feminine sign.
Heart of the Sun – When a planet is within 1° of the Sun, it is said to be In the Heart of the Sun. When a planet is within 15° of the Sun it is said to suffer from being burnt up by the Sun (Under the Beams). An exception is made when the planet gets within 1° of the Sun. When a planet is this close, it is thought to be immune to the issues associated with being Under the Beams (hidden, secret, not visible). Some Medieval astrologers later amended this to Cazimi, and it is thought that this increases their signification. Many Medieval astrologers defined this as within 16 minutes of the Sun, and not the full 1° on either side.
Heliacal Rising and Setting – When a planet is within approximately 15 degrees of the Sun, it is not able to be seen. The moment when a planet is last visible before going underneath the beams (becoming invisible) is known as the heliacal setting. The moment that the planet becomes visible again, after being under the beams (and therefore invisible) is known as the heliacal rising.
Helios – The Greek name for the god of the Sun.
Horary Astrology – A branch of astrology that explores a question being asked. The querent (the person asking the question) asks the astrologer about a subject, and when the astrologer understands, or decides to undertake exploring the question, they erect a chart that will be reflective of the question asked.
Horizon – Defined by the Ascendant/Descendant axis. The upper horizon (houses 7 to 12) is diurnal (as the Sun is visible when in these parts of the chart). The lower horizon (houses 1 to 6) are nocturnal (the Sun is not visible when in these houses).
House of Joy – Houses where the traditional planets are said to be strong. The Sun has its joy in the 9th house. The Moon has its joy in the 3rd house. Mercury has its joy in the 1st house. Venus has its joy in the 5th house. Mars has its joy in the 6th house. Jupiter has its joy in the 11th house. Saturn has its joy in the 12th house.
Houses – Traditionally what we now call the signs were called the houses. For example, Aries and Scorpio were the houses of Mars. Traditionally what we now call the houses were called the places.
Humane Signs – the zodiac signs that are represented by human figures. This includes Gemini (the twins), Virgo (the maiden), Libra (perhaps included as it presupposes that a human hand holds the scales) and Aquarius (the water bearer). All of the air signs are included here, with the addition of earth sign Virgo. Humane signs are said to be known for their social niceties and intellectual skills.
Humors – The four temperament types. Sanguine (air), Choleric (fire), Phlegmatic (water) and Melancholic (earth). The humor or temperament types relate to the natural disposition and general health of a person.
Imum Coeli (IC) – In Latin it means “bottom of the sky’. The Imum Coeli (or I.C.) is one of the angles of an astrological chart, and is directly opposite the M.C. (Medium Coeli). In quadrant based house systems, it is the start of the 4th house. In Whole Sign Houses, it can be floating in the 4th or in one of the other houses underneath the horizon (2nd, 3rd, 5th or 6th).
Infortunes – Another name for the malefic planets.
Ingress – When a planet moves into a new sign it is known as an ingress.
Inferior Planets – The planets between the Sun and the Earth, namely Mercury and Venus are the inferior planets. In the Planetary Spheres, the Moon is included as being one of the inferior planets. The Moon and Venus are considered feminine and Mercury is either feminine or masculine, depending on whether it rises before or after the Sun. When the inferior planets are waxing (after the superior conjunction with the Sun), they set after the Sun (as evening stars).
Intercepted Signs – With some house systems, it is possible to have three signs in a house. When this happens, a whole sign will be intercepted or contained within a house, without ruling that house, or the next house.
Jupiter – Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and is associated with growth, expansion, knowledge, law, ethics, morals, generosity, and enthusiasm. It is the greater benefic, whereas Venus is known as the lesser benefic. Jupiter is considered the greater benefic as it moves slower than Venus and therefore its effects last longer. Jupiter is the benefic of the sect for those of the day or diurnal sect. Jupiter rules Sagittarius (masculine or yang sign) and Pisces (feminine or yin sign).
Kronos or Cronos – The Greek name for the god associated with Saturn.
Leo – Leo is the 5th sign of the zodiac and representative of the time that the peak of Summer has occurred (0° Cancer) but is still maintaining (fixed) the light against the upcoming advance of the dark. Leo is a fixed sign ruled by the Sun and is represented by the symbol of the lion.
Libra – Libra is the 7th sign of the zodiac and synced to the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. At the Autumn Solstice (0° Libra), there are equal amounts of light and dark in a day. However, from that day forward, the days will get shorter and the dark will start to dominate. Libra is a cardinal air sign ruled by Venus and represented by the symbol of the scales.
Lights – Another name for the Sun and Moon, to distinguish them from the other planets. They are sometimes called the Luminaries as well.
Lower Midheaven – Another name for the Imum Coeli or IC. Imum Coeli is Latin for “bottom of the sky”.
Luminaries – The Sun and the Moon are known as the Luminaries, to distinguish them from the planets. However, it is not unusual for astrologers to include the Sun and Moon in with the other planets when discussing them, for the sake of simplicity.
Major Dignities – Another name for essential dignities. The major dignities are when a planet is in a sign of its rulership, or its exaltation.
Malefic Planets – Malefic planets are said to be naturally troublesome. In traditional astrology, Mars is known as the lesser malefic (as it usually moves faster than Saturn, its effects do not last as long). Saturn is known as the greater malefic (as it is a slower moving planet, its ability to produce a malefic influence last longer generally speaking). The South Node, and the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are also often considered malefic. The malefic planets are also known as the infortunes.
Malevolents – Another name for the malefic planets.
Masculine Planets – The Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are considered masculine planets. Masculine planets are more active and outgoing. Some prefer to use other terms such as yin and yang or passive and active rather than feminine and masculine.
Medium Coeli (MC) – In Latin it means “middle of the sky”. The Medium Coeli (or MC) is one of the angles of an astrological chart and is directly opposite the Imum Coeli (IC). In quadrant based house systems, it is the start of the 10th house. In Whole Sign Houses it can float in various houses (8th, 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th). The position of the MC is often linked to career or our public reputation.
Melancholic – One of the four humors. Associated with the element of earth and the season of Winter. It is of the cold and dry temperament. Those that are of the melancholic temperament tend to be more pessimistic, slower to act and rather serious.
Midheaven (MC) – Another name for the Medium Coeli (the Latin phrase medium caelum means midheaven)
Minor Dignities – Also known as the accidental dignities. The minor dignities are when a planet is in its own triplicity, term (bound), or face (decan).
Modes – The modes are also known as quadruplicities. The modes refer to a group of 4 zodiac signs that share a common theme. The modes are cardinal (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn), fixed (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius), and mutable (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces).
Mundane Astrology – A branch of astrology that deals with events happening in the world at large including world events, political leaders, nations, weather and historical trends. Also known as Political Astrology.
Mutual Application – When two planets move towards each other, such as when you have a faster-moving planet applying to a slower-moving retrograde planet.
Mutual Reception – When two planets aspect each other and are in each others dignity. This is usually be domicile or exaltation. To be in mutual reception by minor dignity, you would need both planets to have two each of either triplicity, term or face in each others signs. When two planets are in mutual reception and in aspect, they both receive each other. They both are agreeable to each other and be mutually satisfied.
Mutable Signs – The mutable signs are also known as bicorporeal or double-bodied signs. They are the signs just after the fixed signs, and prior to the cardinal signs. These signs are associated with change and adaptability, as they signify the upcoming change of seasons. It is said that the first half of a mutable sign may be quite fixed like the previous sign, whereas the second half may be quite cardinal like the sign ahead of it. Gemini (the twins), Virgo (the maiden and the bird), Sagittarius (half horse, half man), and Pisces (the two fish) are the double-bodied or mutable signs.
Night Chart – An astrological chart is considered to be of the night or nocturnal sect when the Sun is above the Ascendant / Descendant axis.
Nocturnal – An astrological chart is considered nocturnal when the Sun is above the Ascendant / Descendant axis. The nocturnal planets are the Moon, Venus, and Mars.
Nocturnal Hemisphere – The houses beneath the Ascendant/Descendant axis. Namely the 1st to the 6th houses.
Nocturnal Sect – A chart is considered to be of the nocturnal sect when the Sun is below the Ascendant/Descendant axis.
Nodes – The North Node and the South Node are not physical entities, but points where the orbit of the Moon intersects with the ecliptic of the Sun. When either of the Nodes is close enough (usually about 15 degrees or less) to a Full or New Moon we have an eclipse.
North Node – A point where the orbit of the Moon meets with he ecliptic of the Sun. In Hellenistic Astrology, it is associated with increase. In Vedic Astrology, the North Node is known as Rahu, which represents the head of a dragon (without a body). in modern astrology some believe that the North Node is what we need to be working towards (whereas the South Node is what we are already familiar with).
Occidental – When a planet rises after the Sun. A planet is occidental when it is within 180° of the Sun but later in the zodiac than the Sun. Occidental means “western”, and so it is also related to the descendant, which represents the west, and where the Sun sets. In astrological texts, if a planet is described as “occidental in the figure”, it means that the planet is close to the descendant.
Occidental Hemisphere – The hemisphere to the west. Includes from the 4th to the 9th houses.
Occidental Quarter – The part of the chart that falls on the western side, but beneath the horizon. This includes the 4th, 5th and 6th houses. Also known as the phlegmatic quarter.
Orb – An orb is an allowance given to aspects that are not exact but are still considered close enough to count as an aspect. For example, a sextile is when planets are 60° apart but with an orb of 3° on either side, planets from 57° to 63° apart would be considered sextile.
Oriental – When a planet rises before the Sun. A planet is oriental when it is within 180° of the Sun but earlier in the zodiac than the Sun. Oriental means “eastern”, and so it is related to the Ascendant, which represents the east, where the Sun rises. If an astrological text talks about a planet being “occidental in the figure”, it means that the planet is near the Ascendant.
Oriental Hemisphere – The hemisphere to the east. Includes the 11th, 12th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th houses.
Oriental Quarter – The hemisphere to the east, that rises from the horizon. This includes the 1st, 12th and 11th houses. Also known as the Sanguine Quarter.
Peregrine – A planet is peregrine when it has no essential dignity at all. It is not in a sign of its domicile or exaltation, and it is not in the sign of its triplicity, term (bound) or face (decan). Peregrine means “alien” or “foreigner” in Latin. It leaves the planet with no resources in the zodiacal position it is in. It has no agency, and may even arouse suspicion, as it is seen as an outsider or drifter, with no valid reason to be there.
Perigee – When a planet is closest to the earth. This is at the opposition to the Sun for the superior planets (Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) and the inferior conjunction for the inferior planets (Mercury and Venus). Planets are brighter at this time, as they are so close to the earth. Said to be excellent for more physical earthly matters, and less so for high-minded intellectual or philosophical matters.
Phlegmatic – One of the four humors. The phlegmatic temperament is associated with the water element and the season of Autumn or Fall. It is a cold and moist temperament. Those of the phlegmatic temperament tend to be emotionally sensitive, lacking in motivation and often sluggish.
Phlegmatic Quarter – Also known as the Occidental Quarter. The part of the chart that is to the west (occidental) but beneath the horizon. Includes the 4th, 5th and 6th houses.
Pisces – Pisces is the 12th sign of the zodiac and is associated with adapting to the upcoming turn of the seasons from Winter into Spring. Pisces is a mutable water sign ruled by Jupiter in traditional astrology and Neptune in modern astrology. Pisces is represented by the symbol of the two fish.
Pivot – Another name for the angles, the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses.
Places – Traditionally what we now call the astrological houses were called the places.
Planetary Hours – The seven traditional planets are each given a equal amount of time over which they rule during daylight (from sunrise to sunset). The first hour of the day relates to the planet that rules that day, and then follows in the Chaldean order of planets.
Planetary Joys – Traditional concept that says that the traditional planets do best in the houses of their joy. Mercury has its joy in the 1st house. The Moon has its joy in the 3rd house. Venus has its joy in the 5th house. Mars has its joy in the 6th house. The Sun has its joy in the 9th house. Saturn has its joy in the 12th house.
Political Astrology – Another name for Mundane Astrology. Looks at the astrology as it effects large groups of people, such as nations, political leaders, world events and weather.
Precession – Precession is a change in the orientation of the rotational axis of a rotating body. In this case, we are talking about stars, and that they move approximately 1 degree every 72 years. Over time this has meant that the tropical zodiac signs associated with the constellations are no longer always relevant. Sidereal astrology takes the precession of the constellations into account, whereas tropical astrology syncs the zodiac signs to the solstices and equinoxes.
Primary Motion – Primary motion is associated with the rotation of the earth. An astrological chart wheel moves in a clockwise direction that represents the travel of the planets along the ecliptic of the Sun. A planet on the horizon at dawn will be near the 1st house, that same planet will be near the 10th house at midday, near the 7th house at dusk, and near the 4th house in the middle of the night.
Ptolemaic Aspects – The traditional aspects, also called the major aspects. These include the conjunction (0°), sextile (60°), square (90°), and the trine (120°).
Pushing Power – When a planet in its own dignity aspects another planet that has no dignity of its own, it is said to lend some of its own dignity to the planet that has no dignity.
Quadrupedian – Pertaining to the bestial (4 footed animal) signs, namely, Aries, Taurus, Leo, Sagittarius and Capricorn.
Quadruplicitities – The quadruplicities are a group of 4 zodiac signs that share a common theme. Quadruplicities are more commonly known as the Modes and refer to Cardinal (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn), Fixed (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius), and Mutable (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) signs.
Quarters or Quadrants – The division of the chart by the four angles, the Ascendant, IC, Descendant and MC into four separate sections.
Querent – In horary astrology, the person who asks the question is the querent.
Quesited – In horary astrology, the person or thing that is being asked about is the quesited.
Radical Chart – The original or source chart. When using derived houses in Horary Astrology, the radical chart is the original houses of the astrology chart. In using progressions, or profections from a natal chart, the natal chart is the radical chart.
Radix Chart – The root or base chart. You need a base chart to calculate solar returns, secondary progressions, and other timing technique charts.
Receiving – A slower moving planet receives the aspect of a faster moving planet when the faster moving planet is in one of the dignities (domicile, exaltation – or two of the minor dignities (triplicity, term or face) of the slower moving planet. So Saturn will receive a planet in Libra (the exaltation of Saturn). When a planet receives another, there is a greater likelihood that the slower moving planet will grant what the faster moving planet wants. This is because of ‘generosity’ – the slower moving planet feels some sort of obligation to a planet that is in one of its dignities.
Reception – When a planet aspects its dispositor by sign, exaltation or two of the minor dignities (triplicity, term or face). So if Venus in Aries aspects Mars (as ruler of Aries and dispositor of Venus in this instance) then Mars receives Venus. This means that Mars will allow some of its strength to pass to Venus, as she is in a sign that he is the domicile ruler of. Like a good host, Mars wants to make Venus comfortable in his home. IN this instance, Mars will be less destructive to Venus, and offers her some protection.
Refranation – When an aspect between two planets doesn’t get a chance to perfect because the applying planet stations retrograde.
Regiomontanus Houses – A quadrant-based house system, very popular with Horary astrologers.
Retrograde – A planet is retrograde when it appears to be moving backward from our perspective on Earth.
Retrograde Shadow Period – The shadow period extends the time that a retrograde planet may cause difficulties. The start of the shadow period is when the planet first crosses over the degree it will retrograde back to in direct (prograde) motion. The shadow period ends when the planet has returned to direct motion again and crosses the degree it was at when it first started its retrograde motion.
Rulership by Sign – When a planet is in a sign that it rules. Also known as its domicile.
Sagittarius – Sagittarius is the 9th zodiac sign and is associated with adapting to the upcoming turn of the seasons from Autumn towards Winter. Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign ruled by Jupiter and represented by the centaur which is half man and half horse.
Sanguine – One of the four humors. The sanguine temperament is associated with the element of air and the season of Spring. It is of a warm and moist temperament. Those of the sanguine temperament tend to be easy-going, optimistic and well balanced.
Sanguine Quarter – Also known as the Oriental Quarter. The hemisphere to the east (oriental), that rises from the horizon. This includes the 1st, 12th and 11th houses.
Scorpio – Scorpio is the 8th zodiac sign and is associated with maintaining (fixed) the increase of the darkness over light during Autumn. Scorpio is a fixed water sign ruled by Mars in traditional astrology and Pluto in modern astrology. Scorpio is represented by the symbol of the scorpion.
Scrutinize – A degree-based aspect. (Hellenistic Astrology term)
Secondary Motion – Secondary motion is the movement of the planets which is generally in a counter-clockwise direction in an astrological chart. When planets appear to be retrograde, they appear to be moving backward against this secondary motion and in a clockwise direction.
Sect – Sect is a division of the planets or astrological charts into diurnal (day) or nocturnal (night). An astrological chart is considered diurnal when the Sun is above the Ascendant / Descendant axis and nocturnal when the Sun is below the Ascendant / Descendant axis. The diurnal planets are the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn. The nocturnal planets are the Moon, Venus, and Saturn. Mercury can be either nocturnal or diurnal.
Separating – When a planet is separating from an aspect with another planet, it is still within the orb of that aspect, but the exact aspect has already occurred.
Sidereal – Sidereal astrology has the zodiac signs synced to the constellations, whereas Tropical astrology has the zodiac signs synced to the seasons in the Northern hemisphere. As the constellations are advancing about 1° every 72 years, this means that the current Sidereal zodiac positions are about 23° behind the Tropical zodiac positions.
Signification – The people or things that a planet, sign or house may signify in a chart.
Significator – A planet that signifies an event or person in horary astrology. The signficator is determined by the ruler of the cusp of the house that relates to the person or topic under review.
Sinister – Refers to aspects coming from the left (sinister means “of the left”). A sinister aspect is said to be less powerful than a dexter (from the right) aspect. A sinister aspect is one in which a faster planet makes an aspect to a slower planet ahead of it in zodiac order. This means that in the cycle of the two planets, the slower planet is waning and suggests that it is retiring or weak. So you could have a sinister sextile from a faster planet in Capricorn to a slower one in Pisces. This means that the aspect is flowing against the diurnal or primary motion (which is clockwise) – and moves anti-clockwise, in the same direction as the movement of the planets (secondary motion).
Solid Signs – The solid signs are what the Hellenistic astrologers referred to as fixed signs. The solid or fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. These zodiac signs are associated with periods in which the season is in the middle of its cycle and fixed or not moving from one season to the next. There is a slower but more enduring quality to these signs.
Solstice – The Spring and Autumn Solstice points are when there are equal amounts of light and dark during the day. The Spring Equinox is synced to 0° Aries and the Autumn Equinox is synced to 0° Libra.
South Node – A point where the orbit of the Moon meets with he ecliptic of the Sun. In Hellenistic Astrology, it is associated with decrease. In Vedic Astrology, the South Node is known as Ketu, which represents the body of a dragon (without a head). In modern astrology some believe that the South Node is what we have brought with us into this lifetime, and are familiar with, whereas the North Node is what we need to be working towards.
Subterranean – When planets are subterranean they are in the lower part of the astrology chart (below the Ascendant / Descendant axis).
Succedent Houses – These are the astrological houses that rise up towards the cardinal houses via primary motion. The succedent houses are the 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th. Succedent houses are not as powerful as cardinal houses, they are rising up to that level (the angle) but are not there yet. There is ambition and high hopes, as they strive to succeed to that angular level.
Superior Planets – Planets beyond Earth, namely Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in traditional astrology. Superior planets are considered masculine, and in their waxing phase, they rise above the ascendant before the Sun.
Synodic Cycle – The cycle of the individual planets with the Sun as they move from one conjunction with the Sun to the next conjunction with the Sun. For Mercury and Venus, it is from superior conjunction to superior conjunction (the inferior conjunction happening around halfway through their cycles).
Taurus – Taurus is the 2nd sign of the zodiac and is associated with maintaining (fixed) the building of the light of Spring. Taurus is a fixed sign ruled by Venus and represented by the symbol of the bull.
Terms – A medieval name for the bounds. These are divisions of each sign ruled by a different planet (but not the Sun or Moon). A planet in its own terms (or bounds) it is dignified (but is considered a minor dignity when it comes to reception etc). In Hellenistic Astrology the Egyptian Bounds are quire popular. In Horary Astrology, the Ptolemaic Terms seems more popular. The Egyptian Bounds and Ptolemaic Terms are slightly different.
Thema Mundi – The Thema Mundi is the theoretical birth chart of the universe that is thought to have been devised by ancient astrologers to serve as a way of teaching astrological concepts.
Third Person Horaries – When a horary involved asking about a third person. Derived houses are used for these horaries, as the result doesn’t directly affect the querent.
Translation of Light – When a inferior planet, still within orb of separating from one planet is already in orb of making an aspect to another planet. The inferior planet translates the light or the virtue from the planet it is separating from to the planet it is applying towards. Also known as Transference of Virtue.
Transference of Virtue – Same as Translation of Light.
Transpersonal Planets – The transpersonal planets are the planets beyond Saturn., namely Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Triplicities – The triplicities are a group of 3 zodiac signs that share a common theme. The triplicities are commonly known as the Elements and refer to Fire (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius), Earth (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn), Air (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius), and Water (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) signs.
Tropical Astrology – Tropical astrology does not sync the zodiac signs to the constellations (as Sidereal astrology does), but rather to the seasons in the Northern hemisphere. The Spring Equinox syncs to 0° Aries, the Summer Solstice to 0° Cancer, the Autumn Equinox to 0° Libra and the Winter Solstice to 0° Capricorn.
Tropical Signs – The cardinal signs were traditionally called the tropical signs. The tropical signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Tropical means turning and refers to these signs being synced to the turning of the seasons. Tropical signs tend to be initiating, dynamic, and fast.
Turned Houses – Another name for Derived houses.
Under the Beams – When a planet is within 15° on either side of the Sun it is said to be Under the Beams. As the planet is so close to the Sun, it cannot be seen. This often leads to the properties of the planet seeming to be hidden, secret, or not visible. A planet is said to not be hindered by this if it is in its own domicile, exaltation, or bounds (known as a planet being in its chariot). Some medieval astrologers allow up to 17° for Under the Sun Beams. Also known as Under the Sun’s Beams.
Under the Earth – When planets are under the earth, they are in the lower part of the astrology chart (below the Ascendant / Descendant axis).
Via Combusta – Translates to “the fiery road”. Generally said to be planets between 15 degrees Libra to 15 degrees Scorpio. This is thought to be a particularly difficult position for the Moon. Generally it is thought to be a hostile and debilitating area of the chart. As Libra is the exaltation of Saturn and Scorpio is the domicile of Mars, this may be partly responsible for why it is thought to be so difficult. The placement of difficult fixed stars in these positions may also have played a factor in this.
Virgo – Virgo is the 6th sign of the zodiac and is associated with adapting to the upcoming turn of the seasons from Summer into Autumn. Virgo is a mutable earth sign ruled by Mercury and represented by the maiden with the bird.
Virtue – An effective force or power.
Void – Meaning empty. Often applied to the Moon but medieval astrologers also included the other planets as well. A condition were the Moon (or other planets in medieval astrology) is out of orb of any aspect for the duration of its time in a sign.
Void of Course Moon – There are several versions of the Void of Course Moon. In Hellenistic Astrology the Moon is considered void of course when it will not make an exact Ptolemaic aspect within the next 30 degrees, regardless of sign boundaries. The medieval definition of the Moon void of course is when it has moved beyond the orb of an aspect and will not make any other exact Ptolemaic aspect until it changes signs. There is some supposition that William Lilly may have considered the Moon void of course when it was not within orb of making a Ptolemaic aspect with another planet (regardless of sign boundaries).
Water Signs – The water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. The water signs are associated with being emotional, receptive, and fluid.
Whole Sign Houses – An astrological house system that contains the whole of a sign in each astrological house. The first house is dependent on the Ascendant, but the MC and IC may float in any number of houses (from 7th to 12).
Witness – A sign-based aspect. (Hellenistic Astrology term)
Yod – The Yod is an aspect pattern where a planet is inconjunct two planets that are sextile to each other. Also known as the Finger of God aspect.
Zoidion – Zoidion is an ancient Greek word for the astrological signs means an image, animal, icon or living being.
Zeus – The Greek name for the god of Jupiter.