Astrological Glossary of Terms
Air - One of the four basic elements. The air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
Angles - The four points of the chart that divide it into quadrants. The angles are sensitive areas that lend emphasis to planets located near them. These points are located on the cusps of the First, Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Houses in a chart.
Ascendant - Rising sign. The degree of the zodiac on the eastern horizon at the time and place for which the horoscope is calculated. It can indicate the image or physical appearance you project to the world. The cusp of the First House.
Aspect - The angular relationship between planets, sensitive points, or house cusps in a horoscope. Lines drawn between the two points and the centre of the chart, representing the Earth, form the angle of the aspect. Astrological aspects include conjunction (two points that are 0 degrees apart), opposition (two points, 180 degrees apart), square (two points, 90 degrees apart), sextile (two points, 60 degrees apart), and trine (two points, 120 degrees apart). Aspects can indicate harmony or challenge.
Cardinal Sign - One of the three qualities, or categories, that describe how a sign expresses itself. Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn are the cardinal signs, believed to initiate activity.
Chiron - Chiron is a comet travelling in orbit between Saturn and Uranus- Although research on its effect on natal charts is not yet complete, it is believed to represent a key or doorway, heating, ecology, and a bridge between traditional and modem methods.
Conjunction - An aspect or angle between two points in a chart where the two points are close enough so that the energies join. Can be considered either harmonious or challenging, depending on the planets involved and their placement.
Cusp - A dividing line between signs or houses in a chart.
Degree - Degree of arc. One of 360 divisions of a circle. The circle of the zodiac is divided into twelve astrological signs of 30 degrees each. Each degree is made up of 60 minutes, and each minute is made up of 60 seconds of zodiacal longitude.
Earth - One of the four basic elements. The earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.
Eclipse - A solar eclipse is the full or partial covering of the Sun by the Moon (as viewed from Earth), and a lunar eclipse is the full or partial covering of the Moon by the Earth's own shadow.
Ecliptic - The Sun's apparent path around the Earth, which is actually the plane of the Earth's orbit extended out into space. The ecliptic forms the centre of the zodiac.
Electional Astrology - A branch of astrology concerned with choosing the best time to initiate an activity.
Elements - The signs of the zodiac are divided into four groups of three zodiacal signs, each symbolised by one of the four elements of the ancients: fire, earth, air, and water. The element of a sign is said to express its essential nature.
Ephemeris - A listing of the Sun, Moon, and planets' positions and related information for astrological purposes.
Equinox - Equal night. The point in the Earth's orbit around the Sun at which the day and night are equal in length.
Feminine Signs - Each zodiac sign is either masculine or feminine. Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) and water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) are feminine.
Fire - of the four basic elements. The fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
Fixed Signs - Fixed is one of the three qualities, or categories, that describe how a sign expresses itself. The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. Fixed signs are said to be predisposed to existing patterns and somewhat resistant to change.
Hard Aspects - Hard aspects are those aspects in a chart that astrologers believe to represent difficulty or challenges. Among the hard aspects are the square, the opposition, and the conjunction (depending on which planets are conjunct).
Horizon - The word horizon is used in astrology in a manner similar to its common usage, except that only the eastern and western horizons are considered useful. The eastern horizon at the point of birth is the Ascendant, or First House cusp, of a natal chart, and the western horizon at the point of birth is the Descendant, or Seventh House cusp.
Houses - Division of the horoscope into twelve segments, beginning with the Ascendant. The dividing line between the houses are called house cusps. Each house corresponds to certain aspects of daily living, and is ruled by the astrological sign that governs the cusp, or dividing line between the house and the one previous.
Ingress - The point of entry of a planet into a sign.
Lagna - A term used in Hindu or Vedic astrology for Ascendant, the degree of the zodiac on the eastern horizon at the time of birth.
Masculine Signs - Each of the twelve signs of the zodiac is either ((masculine" or "feminine." The fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) and the air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) are masculine.
Midheaven - The highest point on the ecliptic, where it intersects the meridian that passes directly above the place for which the horoscope is cast; the southern point of the horoscope.
Midpoint - A point equally distant to two planets or house cusps. Midpoints are considered by some astrologers to be sensitive points in a person's chart.
Mundane Astrology - Mundane astrology is the branch of astrology generally concerned with political and economic events, and the nations involved in these events.
Mutable Signs - Mutable is one of the three qualities, or categories, that describe how a sign expresses itself. Mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. Mutable signs are said to be very adaptable and sometimes changeable.
Natal Chart - A person's birth chart. A natal chart is essentially a "snapshot" showing the placement of each of the planets at the exact time of a person's birth.
Node - The point where the planets cross the ecliptic, or the Earth's apparent path around the Sun. The North Node is the point where a planet moves northward, from the Earth's perspective, as it crosses the ecliptic; the South Node is where it moves south.
Opposition - Two points in a chart that are 180 degrees apart.
Planetary Rulership - The sign in which a planet is most harmoniously placed. Examples are the Sun in Leo, and- the Moon in Cancer.
Precession of Equinoxes - The gradual movement of the point of the Spring Equinox, located at 0 degrees Aries. This point marks the beginning of the tropical zodiac. The point moves slowly backward through the constellations of the zodiac, so that about every 2,000 years the Equinox begins in an earlier constellation
Qualities - In addition to categorising the signs by element, astrologers place the twelve signs of the zodiac into three additional categories, or qualities: cardinal, mutable, or fixed. Each sign is considered to be a combination of its element and quality. Where the element of a sign describes its basic nature, the quality describes its mode of expression.
Retrograde Motion - Apparent backward motion of a planet. This is an illusion caused by the relative motion of the Earth and other planets in their elliptical orbits.
Sextile - Two points in a chart that are 60 degrees apart.
Sidereal Zodiac - Used by Hindu or Vedic astrologers. The sidereal zodiac is located where the constellations are actually positioned in the sky.
Soft Aspects - Soft aspects indicate good fortune or an easy relationship in the chart. Among the soft aspects are the trine, the sextile, and the conjunction (depending on which planets are conjunct).
Square - Two points in a chart that are. 90 degrees apart.
Sun Sign - The sign of the zodiac in which the Sun is located at any given time.
Synodic Cycle - The time between conjunctions of two planets.
Trine - Two points in a chart that are 120 degrees apart.
Tropical Zodiac - The tropical zodiac begins at 0 degrees Aries, where the Sun is located during the Spring Equinox. This system is used by most Western astrologers and throughout this book.
Void of Course - A planet is void-of-course after it has made its last aspect within a sign, but before it has entered a new sign.
Water - One of the four basic elements. Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.