BASIC  WESTERN  ASTROLOGY

GLOSSARY 

 AFFLICTED:  Unfavorable planetary aspect:  Squares, oppositions, and  Quincunxes

AIR SIGNS:  See Elements.

ANERETIC DEGREE:  The final degree of a sign (29th), also called degree of fate.

ANGLES:  The lines of the chart wheel which lie at 0 degree (Ascendant), 90 degrees (I.C.), 180 degrees (Descendant), and 270 degrees (M.C.).  These major points represent cardinal qualities.

ARC:  An angular measurement between two celestial planets or points.  Any part of a circle, measured around its circumference.

ASCENDANT (ASC):  The cusp of the First House. It is also called the Rising Sign.  The degree at which the Zodiac rests over the horizon of the birth place at the time of birth.  The Ascendant reflects the individual's personality and physical characteristics.

ASPECT:  The angular distance, calculated in specific number of degrees of the chart wheel, between two celestial points or planets.  It shows the nature of the relationship between planets or points in the birth chart. The following are the major aspects:

Conjunction (0 Degree) - Planets that are together in the Zodiac,  indicates prominence of the two energies.

Semi-Sextile (30 Degrees) - Planets that are about 30 degrees apart in the Zodiac,  indicates growth, can be uncomfortable.

Semi-Square (45 Degrees) - Planets that are about 45 degrees apart in the Zodiac, indicates internal tension and stress.

Sextile (60 Degrees) - Planets that are about 60 degrees apart, indicates cooperation and opportunities.

Square (90 Degrees) - Planets that are about 90 degrees apart, indicates challenges.

Trine (120 Degrees) - Planets that are about 120 degrees apart, indicates comfortable conditions where their energies are concerned.

Quincunx, or Inconjunct (150 Degrees) - Planets that are about 150 degrees apart, indicates the nature of adjustments the person will be required to make.  It is an uneasy aspect with karmic lessons.

Opposition  (180 Degrees) - Planets opposite each other in the Zodiac indicates where the individual will be aware of differences. 

BIRTH CHART:  It is also called Horoscope, or Natal Chart.  A birth chart is a diagram of  the positions of the planets, calculated for a specific time and place.

COMBUST:  When a planet is vey near the Sun in the birth chart, it is theorized that the planet loses some of its force.

CARDINAL SIGNS:  See Qualities.

COMPOSITE CHART:  Two individual birth charts which are merged to form one.  It shows the relationship between two individuals.  It uses the midpoints (half-sum) between pairs of same planets in two  birth charts, interpreted as an indication of the relationship between the people involved.

CONFIGURATION:  An aspect which has three or more planets.

CONJUNCTION:   Two or more planets sitting next to each other.  A conjunction gives great strength to the energies of the interacting planets.

CUSP:  A line dividing the twelve houses, the midway point between two signs.

DECLINATION:  The distance of a planet north or south of the celestial equator.

DEGREE:  1/360 of a circle.

DESCENDANT:  The opposite point from the Ascendant:  Cusp of the seventh house.  It Describes a person's interaction with another.

DETRIMENT:  The sign opposite the sign of rulership.  This is a sign where the planet's energy requires effort in order to be successful.  It is the opposite  sign of its own sign. 

DIGNITY:  A classical astrology term used to indicate comfort or standing of a planet in a particular position.  Positions and aspects that strengthen the nature of the planet.  A planet is dignified when it  is near the Ascendant, Midheaven, in an angular house, in its natural house, or favorable aspected.

EARTH SIGNS:   See Elements.

ELEMENTS:  Four groups of three signs:  Fire, Earth, Air and Water.

Fire Signs - Active, energetic, impulsive, willful, enthusastic: Aires, Leo, Sagittarius.

Earth Signs - Practical, cautious, dependable, stubborn, conservative: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn.

Air Signs -Intellectual, sociable, versatile, detached, mental: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius.

Water Signs: Emotional, sensitive, imaginative, impressionable: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces.

EPHEMERIS (Astrological Calendar):   A listing of the Sun, Moon, and planets' places and related information for astrological purposes.

EQUATOR:   The imaginary line drawn around the Earth, dividing it into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. When this line is extended into space, it is called the celestial equator.

EXALTATION:  A sign or house where a planet is favorable posited, and the planet is capable of its best expression.  Opposite of  FALL.

FALL:  The sign opposite the sign of exaltation.   This is a sign where the planet's energy tends to "fall away" from the  best expression.  

FEMININE SIGNS:  The Earth and Water signs.  Feminine signs are refered to as negative, and indicate passive and receptive energy.

FIRE SIGNS:  See Elements.

FIXED SIGNS:  See Qualities.

GRAND CROSS (GRAND SQUARES):  A configuration in which four planets form mutual squares.  It creates a lot of tension.  It indicates a life in which there are many challenges, and a strong awareness of one's place in the world.  If there are problems, little can be done to change them.  One way to use the energy is to funnel it into a planet that forms a good aspect to one or more of the planets in the Grand Cross.

GRAND TRINE:  When three planets meet each other to form an equalitarian  triangle.  This is a harmonious configuration. There is a great deal of ease within this pattern, which allows the person to relax and take life as it comes.   The problem can be that the person expects life to deliver on a regular basis, and becomes frustrated when this does not happen.  The strength of this pattern is maximized when the person sets goals and pursues them in ways compatible with the element in which the pattern occurs.

HARD ASPECTS:  It is also called stressful or unfavorable aspect.  Squares, oppositions and quincunxes are hard aspects.  They create tension and friction.

HOROSCOPE:   See Birth Chart.

HOUSES:  A birth chart is divided into 12 segments beginning with the Ascendant.  The dividing lines between the houses are called house cusps.  They are numbered counterclockwise from Ascendant.  Each house corresponds to certain aspects of daily living.  (The planets also transit in counterclockwise direction.)

I.C.  (Immum Coeli):  One of the four major angles of a birth chart.  It is the beginning of the fourth house and is a very personal point in a chart.

INTERCEPTED:  A sign that is contained wholly within a house; it does not appear on any house cusp.  Intercepted signs appear only in Birth Chart (Horoscope);  there are never any intercepted signs in the Zodiac.

KARMA:  Conditions brought about through cause-and-effect relationships.  We experience karma in the present, based on our past actions, and we accumulate future karma through our actions in the present.

M.C. (Medium Coeli, or  Midheaven):  Cusp of the Tenth House.    One of the four major points in the birth chart and is at the highest point of the sky at the birth time.   It is the beginning of the tenth house and represents public life and reputation. Opposite of Immum Coeli (I.C.).

MASCULINE:  Fire Signs and Air Signs.  Masculine signs are assertive and self-assured.

MERIDIAN:  The meridian at Greenwich.  The point from which time and space is measured.  It divides longtitude into east and west.

MIDHEAVEN:  See M.C.

MIDPOINT:  The midpoint (half-sum) between two planets, points, or house cusps.

MODE:  See Qualities.

MUTABLE SIGNS:   See Qualities.

NATAL CHART:  See Birth Chart.

NODES:  The North Node and South Node of the Moon are those points on the ecliptic where the Moon crosses it going either north or south.  They are always opposite to each other. The Moon's Nodes retrograde (clockwise) along the ecliptic about 3' per day.

Moon's North Node (Dragon's Head): A beneficial point.

Moon's South Node (Dragon's Tail):  An unfavorable point.

OPPOSITION:  An opposition is when planets are exactly opposite each other in the chart wheel.  Oppositions create stress and conflict.

ORB:  The space in the chart wheel measured in degrees, between planets and points, by which an apect may vary from exactness, and still remains effective.

POLARITY:  Opposite signs effect each other:  Each sign has a relationship with its partner across the Zodiac. Masculine and Feminine.

PROGRESSION:  A method of advancing the planets and points of a birth chart to a particular time after birth.

QUALITIES:  Three groups of four signs: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable.  Three ways in which individuals express themselves through their thoughts and actions.

Cardinal Signs:  Active, powerful, assertive, ambitious, impatient:  Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn.

Fixed Signs:  Organized, resistant to change, stable, consistent, patient, stubborn:  Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.

Mutable Signs:  Adaptable, resourcesful, responsive, restless:  Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces.

QUINCUNX (Inconjunct):  See ASPECT. 

RETROGRADE:  When a planet appears to be moving backward from Earth's perspective.  The energy of a retrograde planet is usually less assertive. Sometimes, retrograde means "unfinished business."  It will reverse the situations, change our feelings and regular activities.

RULERSHIP:  The association of a planet with a specific house or sign. Different signs are "ruled" by different planets and their influences can be affected by this fact.

RULING PLANET:  The planet that rules the Rising Sign, the sign on the Ascendant - the First House Cusp.

SATELLIUM (STELLIUM):  A cluster or group of three or more planets in one sign or house, sometimes a multiple conjunction.  Often the focal point of the birth chart.

SATURN (OR OTHER PLANET) RETURN:  The time when a planet has moved forward (transit) in the Zodiac to the same degree it held in the birth chart.  These times are significant because the planet's energy is most aligned with the individual's energy when it is in that degree.

SIGNS:   The twelve 30 degrees divisions of the Zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquairus, and Pisces.

SOLAR CHART:  It is a birth chart, or Horoscope, in which the  positions of the planets are calculated for noon, Greenwich, but with  Sun's longitude on the Ascendant.  It is used when the birth time is unknown.

SUN-SIGN ASTROLOGY:  As seen in newspaper Astrology columns, predictions for the day, month or year ahead on the basis of Solar Chart.

SYNASTRY:  The comparison of two  birth charts to find strength and weakness and to determine compatibility in a relationship.

T-SQUARE:  The T-Square is fairly common in the birth charts.  It is defined by an opposition between two planets, with a third planet forming a square to both.  There is abundant energy for constructive, or destructive action. The focus is on the third planet that is the source of the potential solution to the problem and conflict. 

TRANSIT:  The movement of a planet over or in aspect to a sensitive point, planet, or house cusps in a birth chart. 

VOID OF COURSE:  A term describing a planet that does not make a major aspect before changing signs.  It  primarily refers to the Moon.

YOD:  The Yod is made up of two planets that form a sextile, and both planets also form a quincunx (150 degrees) to a third planet.  The  third planet and these two planets are generally in incompatible signs, either by element or quality, and thus do not naturally work together easily.  There is an element of destiny in such a pattern.  The individual must adapt to the energies or experience great pains.

ZODIAC:  From the Greek "Zodiakos," meaning "circle of animals."  A band in the heavens is divided into twelve signs, each containing 30 degrees of longtitude and acting as a barometer for various human traits.