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Glossary of Astrological Terms
AFFLICTED: Unfavorable planetary aspect: Squares, Oppositions and Quincunxes.
AIR SIGNS: Signs possessing the qualities of the element Air: intellect, thought process etc. The Air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.
ANERETIC DEGREE: The final degree of a sign (29th). Also referred to as the degree of fate.
ANGLES: The lines of the chart wheel which lie at 0 degrees (Ascendant), 90 degrees (I.C.), 180 degrees (Descendent), 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 it's circumference.
ASCENDANT: The Rising Sign. The degree at which the Zodiac rests over the horizon of the birthplace at the time of birth. The Ascendant represents the persona and image to the world.
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.
BIRTHCHART: A diagram showing the exact positioning of the planets in the signs at the moment of birth.
COMBUST: When a planet is very near the Sun in the birth chart. It is theorized that the planet loses some of its force.
CARDINAL SIGNS: Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Represents initiative.
COMPOSITE CHART: Two individual charts which are merged to form one. It shows the relationship between two individuals.
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.
CYCLE: The time it takes a planet or point to make one complete revolution in the heavens.
DECANATE: The division of each sign into three equal parts of 10 degrees each.
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 7th house. Describes one's interaction with another.
EARTH SIGNS: Signs belonging to the element Earth (practical etc.). Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn.
ELEMENTS: Four-fold division of the Zodiac: Fire, Earth, Air, Water. Signs of the same element share qualities of that element.
EPHEMERIS: Astrological almanac listing Zodiacal positions of the planets and other Astronomical data.
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.
EQUINOX: A time of equal day and equal night occurring twice a year at the beginning of Spring and Autumn.
FEMININE SIGNS: The Earth and Water signs. Feminine signs are referred to as negative and indicate passive and receptive energy.
FIRE SIGNS: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Signs with the qualities of the element of Fire (Willfull, energetic, etc.)
FIXED SIGNS: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Fixed signs are stubborn.
GEOCENTRIC: The convention that the Earth, rather than the Sun is at the center of the Solar System.
GRAND CROSS: Configuration in which four planets form mutual squares. It creates a lot of tension.
GRAND TRINE: When three planets meet each other to form a triangle; a harmonious configuration.
GREAT YEAR: The period when the pole makes a complete circle.
HARD ASPECT: Squares, oppositions and quincunxes. Aspects which create tension and/or friction.
HOUSES: The celestial sphere as a 360 degree circle is divided into twelve sections called houses. They are numbered counterclockwise from the Ascendant (9:00 position). Each house represents certain aspects of life.
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.
M.C.(Medium Coeli): One of four major points in the birth chart and is at the top of the chart (beginning of the tenth house. It represents public life and reputation.
MASCULINE SIGNS: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius. Masculine signs are assertive and self-assured.
MERIDIAN: The Meridian at Greenwich. The point from which time and space is measured. It divides longitude into east and west.
MIDPOINTS: The midpoint between two planets or angles and sometimes house cusps.
MUTABLE SIGNS: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. Flexible nature.
NATAL: Birth. The natal chart refers to a chart for the time of birth.
NODES: The north and south nodes of the moon are those points on the ecliptic where the moon crosses it going either north or south.
OPPOSITION: An opposition is when planets are exactly opposite each other in the chart wheel. Oppositions create stress.
ORB: The space in the chart wheel measured in degrees, between planets and points, by which an aspect may vary from exactness and still remain effective.
POLARITY: Opposite signs effect each other: each sign has a relationship with its partner across the Zodiac.
PROGRESSION: A method of advancing the planets and points of a natal chart to a particular time after birth.
QUALITIES: Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable.
QUINCUNX (INCONJUNCT): An arc of 150 degrees. An uneasy aspect with karmic lessons.
QUINTILE: An aspect of 72 degrees. An easy aspect representing accomplishments.
RETROGRADE: When a planet appears to be traveling backwards from Earth's perspective. The energy of a retrograde planet is less assertive.
RULERSHIP: Different signs are "ruled" by different planets and their influences can be affected by this fact.
SIDEREAL TIME: Time reckoned by the stars rather than by the Sun.
SOLSTICE: When the Sun reaches its maximum declination. This occurs twice a year, at the beginning of Summer and Winter.
STELLIUM: A group of planets gathered in one area of the Zodiac; sometimes, a multiple conjunction.
SUN-SIGN ASTROLOGY: As seen in newspaper Astrology columns, predictions for the day, month or year ahead on the basis of Solar Charts.
SYNASTRY: Comparing natal charts to find strengths and weaknesses in the area of compatibility.
TRANSIT: A planet's movement through a sign or house.
VOID OF COURSE: A term describing a planet that does not make a major aspect before changing signs. It is primarily wit respect to the Moon.
ZODIAC: From the Greek 'zodiakos', meaning 'circle of animals'. A band in the heavens divided into twelve signs, each containing 30 degrees of longitude and acting as a barometer for various human traits.

Another Glossary

ACS:  Astro Communication Services. Founded by Neil F.Michelson. Known for their astrology software and Atlas publications.
AFA:  American Federation of Astrologers. Publisher of the monthly magazine, Today's Astrologer.
Affliction:  An outdated term that describes either a unfavorable or difficult aspect (i.e. Squared or Opposition), or a placement of a planet or angle in a sign that does not suit it, (i.e. Mars in Pisces). Also describes a relation with a "malefic " such as Saturn.
Air Signs:  Aquarius, Gemini, or Libra. These signs are the air signs. The air signs are usually connected with communication and the intellect. In a natural wheel they occupy the third, seventh and eleventh house.

Aneretic Degree: The final degree of a sign (29th). Also refereed to as the degree of fate.
Angles:  The lines of the chart wheel which lie at 0 degrees (Ascendant), 90 degrees (I.C.), 180 degrees (Descendent), and 270 degrees (M.C.). These major points represent Cardinal Qualities.
Angular Houses:  The first, fourth, seventh, and tenth houses. These houses are generally connected with the Cardinal signs and Cardinal Qualities. 
Arabic Parts:  A series of sensitive points largely defined by and used by Arabic astrologers. Usually a calculation of adding the positions of two factors in the chart, for example: the moon and the ascendant, and subtracting a third factor, as an example the sun. Part of Fortune is an Arabic Part.

Arc: An angular measurement between two celestial planets or points. Any part of a circle, measured around it's circumference.

Ascendant:  The point of the zodiac that falls on the eastern horizon at the time of the your birth. This is the same as the first house cusp and describes your personality and character and how you relate your world. Also known as the Rising Sign. This is the intersection of the horizon and the ecliptic in the East.
Aspect:  An angular relationship between two planets, angles, etc. The angular distance between two factors in the horoscope, in celestial longitude. These relationships are based on harmonics and multiples. The major aspects are Conjunct, Trine, Sextile, Squared, and Opposition, though there are many intermediate minor aspects. These first three aspects are generally considered to be beneficial and the last two considered to be difficult, though the more difficult aspects can act as teachers and help you to learn and grow.

Asteroids:  The Asteroids are a belt of orbiting debris of what has been speculated as a disintegrated planet between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.  The four major asteroids considered in today's astrology are Pallas Athene, Ceres, Juno, and Vesta. There are thousands of these boulders in orbit between the Red Planet and the Giant Planet.
 Astrolabe:  Tool for recording astrological calculations.
 Astrologer:  A professional who studies the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence of the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs.
Benefic:  Planets and aspects that were thought to give positive influences. Traditionally, Jupiter and Venus are the two Major Benefics (or Greater)in that order, though Mercury and the Moon are also considered Benefic (or Lesser). Conjunct, Sextile and Trine aspects are also considered Benefic.

Birth chart: A diagram showing the exact positioning of the planets in the signs at the moment of birth.

Cadent:  The third, sixth, ninth and twelfth houses. These are ruled by Mutable Signs and are generally associated with the Mutable qualities.
Campanus:  Thirteenth century mathematician and astrologer who devised the Campanus House System.
Cardinal Signs:  The signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. These fall at the Cardinal Points of the Zodiac, with Aries beginning at the "Vernal Equinox" or first point of Spring, or the beginning of the Zodiac. These signs are generally associated with action and beginnings. They are also associated with initiatory and dynamic actions. See also Qualities
Chiron:  A small celestial body (planetoid) between Saturn and Uranus. Discovered by Charles Kowal in 1977 and named for the mythical centaur noted for healing and teaching.
Classical Horary Astrology:  Practice of providing answers to current patterns or predictions (horary) by the system devised by William Lilly in the 17th century. This system only includes the planets discovered up to that date. Sun, Moon, Mercury,Venus,Mars,Jupiter and Saturn.
Combust or Combustion:  When a planet is positioned in the same sign as the Sun and is less than 8 degrees away from the Sun, it is said to be combust. This is a consideration in Horary astrology. Combustion implies that the action of the planet is weakened.

Conjunction:  An aspect formed when two angles or planets are at roughly the same angle (usually within an orb 8-10 degrees)
Constellations:  The groupings of fixed stars, (Orion, Big Dipper,Scorpio, etc.). Twelve of these groupings are named for the twelve sections that the Sun's path travels in one year as appeared from the Earth. It is these twelve sections that lend their name to the twelve signs of the Zodiac. In Astrology, it is not the constellations that are important it is the Sign of Zodiac.
Contraparallel:  An aspect in declination when two planets have (within a 1° orb) the same degree of declination, but one is North and the other is South. Read by most astrologers as similar to an opposition.

Critical degrees:  13 and 26 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn (the Cardinal signs). 9 and 21 degrees in Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius (the Fixed signs). Also 4 and 17 degrees in Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces (the Mutable signs). The Critical Degrees concept comes from the Hindus. Thought to be a sensitive point that strengthens the power of the sign.
Current Patterns:  ACS's preferred term for Predictive Astrology. They prefer it because they believe one can study various methods of moving the chart in time and prognosticate possibilities or even probabilities. The chart, then, shows us "patterns" which we may choose to follow or to alter. The term "predict" suggests fated outcomes that will happen. Thus the change to current patterns as it includes free will. The owners of IRAI agree and use this term throughout the web site.
Cusp:  1) A line dividing the houses. The beginning of an astrological wheel of house starts with the Ascendant and moves counterclockwise. Astrology in interpretation places great value of the beginning of the house, thus when dealing with signs that are close to the beginning of a house it can represents a gray area where the individual may be affected by both signs, the preceding house and the house of entrance. This line is measured in degrees 2) The degree of the zodiac (celestial longitude) where one astrological sign ends and the next begins.
Decan, Decanates:  A division of the signs into 10 degrees each of which is subtly different from one another due to the different rulers involved.
Declination:  A coordinate system measuring positions North or South of the celestial equator.

Descendant:  The angle that is exactly across from the Ascendant. It is the cusp of the seventh house. Your descendant relates to your marriage and partnership and interaction with others.
Detriment:  Planet in the opposite sign it rules. Indicates that it is not operating at the full power or influence that it could. More influence of the sign it is in rather than the qualities of the particular planet. Can indicate a need to adhere to rules and regulations. Example: Mars in Libra in the Natal chart would be considered detriment because Mars rules Aries and the opposite sign of Aries is Libra.
Dignified or Dignity:  Planet that rules the sign it is in. Indicates a control of circumstances. Example: Mars in the astrological sign Aries in a Natal chart would be considered Dignified.
Directions:  1) The North, South, East and West of the celestial and terrestrial maps. 2) A system of studying current patterns that moves all factors in a horoscope in an uniform amount symbolically forward or backward in time, according to a specified arc, such as the Solar Arc (Sun's progressed motion in one year). Another example is the Ascendant Arc, which uses the movement of the progressed Ascendant in a year. Generally the "directed planets" are interpreted by comparing them with the natal planets.
Dragon's Head
see Moon Nodes
Earth Signs:  The signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. These signs represent 'Earthly' qualities such as stability, responsibility, and practicality. In the natural wheel they occupy the second, sixth and tenth house.
East Point :  The angle which is rising over the eastern horizon at the earth's equator at any time. A sensitive point defined as 90° East of the intersection of the meridian with the ecliptic; used by some astrologers as the an auxiliary Ascendant. Should more correctly be called the Equatorial Ascendant, but the term East Point is the most common.
Easy Aspects or Soft Aspects:  A harmonious and easily flowing aspect such as Conjunct, Trine or Sextile and Quintile. For in depth information on the aspects, please visit Lesson 4.
Eclipse:  An eclipse is the partial or total obscuring of one of the luminaries by the shadow of the other. At the same time, either or both luminaries are within orb of an aspect to the Lunar Nodes. The Eclipse is considered a Solar Eclipse when the Sun and Moon are conjunct otherwise known as a New Moon. It is considered a Lunar Eclipse when the Sun and Moon are in opposition or a Full Moon.
Ecliptic:  The orbit of the Sun and all the planets around the Earth: the celestial circle that the Sun, as seen from the Earth, seems to follow within the span of a year.
Electional Astrology :  Refers to the method of "electing" or choosing in advance, a time that is astrologically favorable. One erects a chart for a time in which the current patterns would be interpreted as indicating success in the anticipated activity (such as an opening of business, getting married, etc.) and then the individuals concerned strive to cause the event to happen at that exact time.
Elements:  Air , Water , Earth  and Fire .
Ephemeris:  Pronounced "eh-FEM-er-is". A book that supplies the positions of the Sun, Moon and Planets, usually daily. Positions are usually given in celestial longitude, latitude and declination. Noted are the eclipses and the ingresses of each planet, the Moon Nodes and Sidereal Time. Plural is referred to as ephemerides. They are usual for Noon or Midnight Greenwich Time. To view this month's midnight ephemeris of Central Daylight Savings time click here.
Equal House System:  The system that takes the first house being the Ascendant and dividing the remaining 11 houses into equal 30 degrees slices. The Midheaven House system starts with the Coeli or Midheaven being the cusp of the 10th house and dividing the other 11 house as equal 30 degree slices.
Equatorial Ascendant (EQ):  See East Point

Exalted:  Planet energies that are expressed harmoniously with complementary forces and display increased virtues that are magnified. The Planet feels comfortable in this friend's home. Example: Mars is a guest in Capricorn in the Natal chart and excels while visiting.
Fall:  The Planet's opposite sign in exaltation and has difficulty expressing its true qualities. The planet is out of its natural element. Example: Mars visiting Cancer.
Feminine Signs:  Earth and Water signs. Feminine refers to receptivity and not gender. Also referred to as the Negative or Passive signs in some antiquated astrology texts.
Finger of God:             see Yod

Fire Signs:  Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. These signs are considered fiery, passionate and spontaneous. In a natural wheel they occupy the first, fifth and ninth houses.

Fixed Signs:  Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. These signs are associated with fixed and stable emotional characteristics. The also correspond to the Succedent houses of the wheel in the Quadruplicities.
Fixed Stars:  Stars that seemed to be fixed in the "vault of heaven." They form about ninety some constellations. Examples are the Betelguese, Vega and the stars that make up the Zodiac. The appear to move from Earth with the rest of the heavens. As the heavens move so does this "vault" so they rise in the East and set in the West.
Flat Chart or Natural Chart:  A chart in which the first house is set at zero degrees Aries. Frequently used when the birth time and therefore the Ascendant is not known.

Geocentric:  1) The most commonly held view in astrology, regarding the positions of the observer on the Earth as center of the cosmos, in contrast to the heliocentric view of the world, which is the sun as the center. 2) In reference to latitude, refers to using measurements based on the angle formed at the Earth's center between the line extending to the surface at the location and the line extending to the surface at the equator. (This can vary from geographic latitude by as much as 12 minutes.)
Greater Benefic:  Jupiter. Assumed to bring you major blessings. Used in Classical Horary Astrology
Greater Malefic:  Saturn. Assumed to be the cause of stress and strain in your life. Used in Classical Horary Astrology
Gregorian Calendar :  The Calendar used in general by the world nowadays. Introduced by Pope Gregory XIII as a revision of the Julian Calendar in 1582.
Hard Aspects:  Inharmonious aspects. Generally considered to be the Squared and Opposition and others. Aspects when the energies do not always help.
Harmonics:  The astrological study of integral division of the circle. For example:, by 2, 3, 4, 5 and etc. The aspect Quintile is considered the 5th harmonic.
Harmonious Aspects:  Conjunct, Sextile and Trine. Also referred to as the Soft aspects or Easy aspects.
Heliocentric:  1) The view of the universe, according to the modern knowledge, with the Sun  as the center of our planetary system. 2) The practice of erecting the chart by using the Sun as the viewpoint thus having instead of a SUN sign the individual would have an EARTH Sign . The further away a planet is from the Sun the less its geocentric position varies. The inner planets Mercury and Venus can be 180° in variance.

Horary:  This is the practice of answering questions through the horoscope at the time the question was asked. Horary means "by the hour". The chart would be cast for the moment the question was given birth in the person's mind or asked of the astrologer. There are modern horary practices but much would not exist without the pioneer efforts of the 17th century gentleman, William Lilly, 1602-1681. To learn more about horary astrology, visit the English Merlin.

Horoscope:  A diagram of the map of the heavens at a particular time of an event (birth or another event). It contains the representation of the luminaries (Sun and Moon) and the eight planets viewed from he place of the event. The horoscope simultaneously records two movements of the heavenly bodies. First, the movement of the planets and luminaries through the Zodiac and second, the movement of the Zodiac around the Earth.
House:  A section of the Zodiac, mathematically defined, which represents a particular area of life. The four quadrants which result from the system of axes are each subdivided into three fields. The calculation of the system axes is identical in almost all the various schools of Astrology the method of subdividing differs. See House System. The resulting houses correspond to the twelve signs of the Zodiac but are not identical. For more information go to this page.
House Cusp:  A House Cusp is the dividing line between Houses on the Zodiac Wheel. When a planet is said to be in a House Cusp, this means that the planet is positioned on this dividing line, therefore giving the planet influence over two adjoining houses.
House System:  The way of dividing the houses varies according to the method used. The best-known are the Koch (developed by Dr. Walter Koch), Placidus (developed by Placidus de Titus), Campanus (developed by Giovanni Campani) and Regiomontanus (developed by Johannes Muller) and Equal House.

IC:  See Imum Coeli
Imum Coeli:  The bottom of the heavens. The fourth house cusp in non-equal or Quadrant House System. Represent the family relations and the home life. Also known as the Nadir.
Ingress:  The simple definition is entrance. In astrology, this refers to the entrance of planets into the twelve houses as denoted on the ephemeris.
Interception:  1) A sign that falls between two adjacent house cusps, but neither of those house cusps are in that sign. Since most House divisions are unequal, at some latitudes it is quite common to have a chart where two opposite signs are entirely contained within houses, so that no degree of either sign appears on a House Cusp. In such a chart, two other opposite signs will appear on two house cusps each. 2) A  planet that is in a degree of the sign that is intercepted (contained within a house and not a cusp) is said to be intercepted itself. Some astrologers then interpret that planet's energies to be blocked in expression

Julian Calendar:  A calendar introduced in Rome in 46 B.C.E. Established a year of 365 days with every fourth year having 366 days.

Koch:  Dr. Walter Koch (pronounced 'coke'), a German astrologer who found the Koch House System or Birthplace House System.

Latitude:  1) Celestial: Angular distance North or South of the ecliptic—measured in degrees, minutes and seconds. 2) Terrestrial: Angler distance, north or south of the equator—measured in degrees, minutes and seconds.
Local Sidereal Time:  The time of birth at the birthplace, converted to sidereal (star) time. It is the hour angle of the vernal point (0° Aries). This is the figure from which the house cusps of the chart are derived.
Longitude:  1) Celestial: Angular distance, measured in degrees, minutes and seconds—east of 0° Aries, along the ecliptic. Astologers are using Celestial Longitude when they speak of House positions or planetary position in signs. 2) Terrestrial: Distances measured east and west—in degrees, minutes and seconds. The 0° point is the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, England
Luminaries:  The luminaries are the Sun and Moon. Often Astrology speaks of ten planets which include the luminaries of the Sun and the Moon even though they are not technically planets.
 MC:  See Medium Coeli

Malefic:  A term used in Classical and Medieval/Renaissance Astrology that refers to planets or aspects thought to have negative influence on the native. It usually refers to the planet Saturn and Mars, the Major Malefics (or Greater) . In modern Astrology minor Malefics (or Lesser) are also Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Masculine Signs:  Air and Fire Signs. Those signs, regardless of gender that suggest aggressiveness, directness In antiquated Astrology texts they are referred to as the Positive Signs or Active Signs.
Medium Coeli, Med. Coeli, MC:  The Midheaven. Taken to be the point directly overhead. In the chart in an unequal chart it is the cusp of the tenth house. This describes your career and public ambitions and your relations with superiors.
Meridian:  The invisible lines surrounding the Earth that run North to South and are measured in degrees. The Prime Meridian is 0 degrees at Greenwich England.
Midheaven:  The point when the Meridian of the birthplace intersects the ecliptic. Defined as the cusp of the 10th house in most house systems, See also Medium Coeli, Mid. Coeli, MC
Midnight:  Can be defined at 00:00 hours, the beginning of the day—or at 24:00 hours, the end. Most astrologers use 24:00 hours to mean Midnight. Midnight ephemeris is always a zero hour ephemeris.
Midpoints:  Sensitive points halfway between two factors in a horoscope.
Moon Nodes:  The astronomical calculation of when the Moon's orbit intersects with the Sun's orbit. The two intersecting points located opposite each other in the Zodiac are differentiated by ascending and descending or more commonly, North and South Nodes. If the Sun and the Moon are positioned at one of these nodes, there is a solar eclipse. In Karmic Astrology the Moon Nodes have a leading role.
Mutable Signs (a.k.a. common):  The signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. Signs associated with adaptability and flexibility.They also correspond to the Cadent Houses in the Wheel identified as part of         the Quadruplicities.

Mutual Reception (see diagram):  Two planets are said to be in mutual reception when they are in each other's signs of rulership.  The example in the diagram is Mars in Taurus and Venus in Aries. Each planet has influence over the others' sign.  Referring to one directs you to the other and then refers you back to the originating planet. Much like an endless loop. Because they are in each other signs they mutually support each other.

Nadir:  See Imum Coeli
Natal Chart see also Horoscope:  A chart of the solar system based on the Birth Data of an individual.
Natural Houses or Flat Chart:         The display of the horoscope wheel houses beginning with Aries as the first house        cusp then Taurus, Gemini, etc. in order, continuing counter clockwise until the 12th        house,  Pisces, meets the first house, Aries.
Node:  The point of interception between a planet's orbit and the ecliptic. See also Moon Nodes
North Node:  see Moon Nodes
Novile:  A minor aspect between two planets or points that measures 40°. Some interpretations include brooding, realization and/or redemption. The glyph for the Novile varies according to the software program. Some just use the capital "N" and others have more elaborate symbols as  . (See Legend)

Occultations:  Usually referred to when the Moon eclipses another object in the sky particularly a smaller object from our view on Earth. The word is derived from the Latin root "occult" which has nothing to do with the supernatural and simply means "to conceal or hide". An animated example can be viewed here. Some Astrologers interpret according to what the Moon is eclipsing and for how long.

Opposition:  An aspect representing an angular difference of 180 degrees or a situation where two planets are directly across a chart from each other. Generally this can cause difficulty and discord.
Orb:  The difference between an exact aspect and the actual aspect. It also describes the maximum difference where an aspect still takes place. This is the amount allowed on either side of an aspect to be considered valid. For example: a square is an aspect of 90°. If an aspect falls within 85° to 95° of each other it would be considered "in square." Individual astrologers assign the orb for the chart based on their own research and data. This varies from one astrologer to the other.

Parallel:  An aspect in declination where two planets are in the same degree (with an orb of 1 degree), both North or both South of the celestial equator. Read by most astrologers as similar to a conjunction.
Part of Fortune:  Arabian part most commonly used by astrologers. Found by subtracting Sun's position from the sum of the Ascendant and Moon positions in degrees. Suggest fortunate circumstances.
Peregrine:  Planet positioned in a sign where it possesses no essential dignity. It is neither dignified nor debilitated.  It is a planet that seems to be independent of others. In interpretation in Horary Astrology, the astrologer determines if it could be a debility by where it is placed in degrees and relationship to angles of specific houses as apropos to the question.  Planets that enjoy mutual reception can not be considered peregrine. The simple determination on whether or not a planet is peregrine is if it is Unaspected.

Personal Planets (inner planets):  Mercury, Venus and Mars are considered the Personal or Inner Planets for purposes of interpretation. 
Personal Points:  The assigned points in a horoscope that are important to the interpretation as a whole but are not necessarily planets or the luminaries. An example of a personal point would be the Ascendant and the Midheaven (M.C) and often are the points identified by the angles of the horoscope.

Placidus;  Spanish Monk. Placidus de Tito, 17th century. Creator of the Placidus House System. One of the most commonly used house systems today.
Planet:  From the Greek "Planetes" or the wanderer. Describes any body that appears, from Earth, to move.
Planets:  The planets in Astrology are considered the TEN planets: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. However, this is an astronomical error because the Sun and Moon are not considered planets by the strictest definition. This definition of the planets dates back to the times when the Earth was considered the center of Universe. The Sun and the Moon are considered the Luminaries or Lights in astrology although treated as planets. It is important to note that western astrology has extended astronomical discoveries to the science. Chiron is now treated as a Planet although considered a planetoid or rogue asteroid between Saturn and Uranus. Asteroids alone are now considered part of the equation in erecting a chart for individual. The science of Astrology progresses along side the science of Astronomy.
Precessions:  The slow advancement of the fixed-star heavens through the movement of the Earth's axis. Therefore, the constellations, which gave the signs of the zodiac their names, move another 1° every 72 years. The result is the advancement of the firmament for the length of an astrological sign (30°) every 2160 years. This movement is designated in Astrology as new era or age (e.g. Aquaria Age). As a result western Astrology sees the constellations as only donors of their name to the science, precessions are not as emphasized in the western practice of Astrology.
Prime Meridian :  The line of longitude that passes through Greenwich, England, and that is the zero line for expressing longitude on the Earth's surface.

Progressions:  Term used for advancing planets and house cusps from birth to a second point in time. Usually one day for each year. The systems of studying current patterns that move the chart symbolically forward or backward according to one unit of time equated with another. The most common form, secondary progression, is the usual one day for each year. Thus if a person is now 30 years old, the positions 30 days after birth are considered symbolic of that of the 30th year. Other systems of progressions equate a lunar month with a year, ad with a lunar month and so on.
Quadruplicities:  The qualities of the astrological zodiac signs defined as either, Cardinal, Mutable or Fixed. Also describing the Natural Houses qualities. Also known as Modes.

Regiomontanus:  German Astrologer, (Johannes Müller) 15th century, who devised the Regiomontanus House System. The House system most often used in Classical Horary Astrology.
Relative House or Relationship Houses:  Houses 3, 7 and 11. Associated with the Air Signs.
Retrograde :   Apparent backward motion of a planet as appearing from the Earth. Thought to cause difficulty in a person's chart. Click here for an animation of what astronomically is happening!
Return Chart :  A chart calculated for the moment a planet returns to the same position it held in the Natal Chart. Used to interpret current patterns for the time period signified by the return, e.g. Solar Return for one year. Lunar Return for one month.
Rising Sign:  Another word for Ascendant.
Ruler:  Each astrological sign and house is governed by at least one planet (or body). The planet is said to rule that sign or house. In the opposing sign and/or house, the planet is in its detriment or fall. Example: Aries is ruled by Mars and is opposite of Libra. Mars in Libra would be considered in detriment. A planet that is positively placed is considered exalted if in the sign that is complementary. Example: Mars in Aries would be considered dignified or dignity. It would be exalted in Capricorn and Fall in Cancer the opposite of the exaltation.
Sextile:  An aspect with a difference of 60 degrees. A generally helpful and 'positive' aspect.
Sidereal Time:  Time in relations to the fixed stars, rather than clock time.
Sidereal Zodiac:  A Zodiac based on the placement of the stars, not the Vernal Equinox. It is used in Eastern, Hindu, or Vedic Astrology.
Signs:  Twelve 30° segments of the ecliptic which can be defined tropically or sidereally. Not the same as constellations, which are unequal in degree star groups that can be seen beyond the general path of the ecliptic. The classical Greeks named the Tropical Signs for the constellations that, at that time, approximately coincided. Due to the Precession of the Equinoxes, the Signs and the Constellations no longer coincide. See also Zodiac.
Soft Aspects or Easy aspects:  A harmonious and easily flowing aspect such as Conjunct, Trine or Sextile and Quintile

Solar Return:  A horoscope cast for the moment when the Sun returns to the exact degree/minute/second of celestial longitude which it occupied at birth. This moment will be within a day or two of one's birthday. The horoscope is considered symbolic of the coming year.
South Node:  see Moon Nodes
Square:  Aspect with a difference of 90 degrees. Generally causes difficulty and discord.
Station:  The point at which a planet appears motionless from the perspective of the Earth, about to change from Retrograde to direct (forward) or direct to Retrograde.
Succedent Houses:  Houses 2, 5, 8 and 11. Associated with the Fire Signs
Sun Sign:  You Sun Sign is what most people refer to when they say that they are a "Gemini" or a "Sagittarius". In effect the Sun Sign is the sign of the Zodiac that the Sun is in on the day you are born. It presents a generalized description of your personality.
Sunrise Chart :  A horoscope calculated for sunrise on the day of birth at the birthplace. Used sometimes within the time of birth is unknown. The Sun's position at sunrise defines the Ascendant. Other cusps are based on the house system used.
System of Axes:  The horoscope is divided into two main axes: The East-West axis and the North-South axis. East/West=Ascendant and Descendant and the North/South=Midheaven (Medium Coeli, MC) and Imum Coeli (Nadir, IC). The Midheaven is the Noon point of the Sun and Imum Coeli is the Midnight point of the Sun. This creates the hub of the wheel for the chart. For more information go to this page.
Syzygy:  1. Astronomy a) Either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun. b) Either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth. c) The configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line.

Temporal Houses or Substance Houses:  Houses 2, 6, 10. Usually associated with the Earth Signs.
Terminal Houses or Endings Houses:  Houses 4, 8, and 12. Associated with the Water Signs.
Time Zones or Time Types:  In calculating a horoscope it is not enough to know the time of day a person was born. It is also necessary to know in what type of time the birth was recorded. Additionally, the mathematics of chart calculation involve the use of other time types that are not generally used by the public, such as sidereal time. The various time zones and time types are listed below. These are by no means exhaustive. The best resource you have in determining the exact time zone for someone chart is the ACS Atlas or If these two references fail then call the Local Library Reference desk for clarification.
Daylight: (DST) Advancing clocks one hour during summer to take advantage of extra sunlight in order to increase industrial output and allow more daylight recreation time.
Double Daylight: (DDST) In effect in Great Britain during some periods of World War II. Clocks were advanced two hours to utilize extra sunlight and conserve energy for essential, wartime activities.
Local Mean Time: (LMT) The average (mean) solar time at any given location.
Local Time: (LT) Clock time.
Standard Time: (ST) Introduced by law at the end of the 19th century (largely due to railroads in the U.S. for their timetables). Establishes zones of time, one hour wide and 15° of longitude. All the clocks within a zone centered around the standard meridian of longitude use the local mean time of that meridian.
Sidereal Time: (Sid.) Measurements are based on the Earth's rotation on its axis. A sidereal day is the interval of time its takes a particular star (sidereal) to cross the meridian of a location twice.
Universal Time (UT)or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT): this refers to the local mean time of Greenwich, England which is at the Prime Meridian.
War Time: (WT) Advancing clocks one hour (during the two world wars) in order to conserve energy for key industries and activities.

Transit:  1) The actual positions of the planets on any given date 2) The passage of a planet through a sign or house (e.g. The sun transits Aries from about March 20 through April 20. 3) The passage of a planet over any degree which forms significant aspects to any planet or important point in a chart.
Transpluto:  Hypothetical planet said to orbit beyond Pluto. Sometimes called Bacchus (or Isis or Persephone), not to be confused with the asteroid Bacchus,which is physically observable.
Trine:  An aspect with a difference of 120 degrees. A generally helpful and positive aspect.
Triplicity also triplicities:  This describes the grouping of signs denoting their element and the quality of the house they occupy.

Tropical Zodiac:  Zodiac that follows the path of the Sun. The First point of Aries corresponds to the vernal Equinox, not an actual star position. Also called a Philosophical Zodiac.
Uranian Astrology:  The astrological study of eight hypothetical (never observed) planets postulated by Alfred Witte and Friedrich Sieggrun—Cupido, hades, Zeus, Kronos, Appolion, Admetos, Vulcanus,Poseidon. Also called Transneptunian planets.
Vertex:  Intersection of the prime vertical the with ecliptic in the west. Assumed by some astrologers to be like an auxiliary Descendant. Sometimes association with fate and wish fulfillment.
Via Combusta :  The Burning way or Combust Way is considered the section of the zodiac between 15° Libra and 15° Scorpio, except for 23° through 24° Libra. This was a rule for Horary astrology that is not used much these days suggesting this part of of the zodiac as being the most dangerous because of the violent fixed stars that reside there. The exception results because the fixed stars Spica and Arcturus reside there and are considered fortunate stars which contradicts the original concerns. Via Combusta is often confused with combust, they are quite different in definition.

Water Signs:  Signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Signs which represent receptivity, sensitivity and the emotions. In the natural wheel they occupy the fourth, eighth and the twelfth house.
Yod or the Finger of God:  Aspect planetary chart pattern that is formed by three planets. Planets A and B are inconjunct (quincunx) and planets A and C are inconjunct (quincunx) and finally planet B and C are sextile each other. See illustration here

Zodiac:  From the Greek Zodiakos, meaning "circle of animals" or "zoo". In astrology, this is the path of 16° on each side of the ecliptic through which the Sun, Moon, and all the planets travel. The Zodiac is divided into twelve sections of the heavens or signs named for the the twelve constellations (not the same as the size of the actual constellations). Each of the sections comprise of an equal 30° of the 360° path.
Zodiac, Astronomical:  Constellations — groupings of stars that form a rough circle. Observable in an arc across the southern sky, beyond the invisible Great Circle that we call the ecliptic. The constellations are unequal in size, and should not be confused with the signs.
Zodiac, Sidereal :  The division of the ecliptic into twelve 30° segments, originally based on a Babylonian system using the fixed stars Aldebaran (in constellation Taurus) and Antares (in constellation Scorpio) as reference points.
Zodiac, Tropical:  The division of the ecliptic into twelve 30° segments, based on the Earth's seasons. The location of the Sun at the Vernal Equinox (when day and night are equal in the northern hemisphere's spring) defines 0 degree Aries, as the beginning of the zodiac signs. This is the zodiac most commonly used in western astrology.