Astrology Mini Dictionary

Astrology Mini Dictionary

Here is a list of the basic concepts with their definitions, which are currently used by astrologers.

Application – a diminishing distance between planets; an aspect which will become more exact in the future (e.g. in progressions)

Arabian parts – points on the ecliptic calculated by referring to the position of two planets or of the Ascendant and Midheaven. They are rarely used nowadays because their working has not been corroborated.

Ascendant (Asc.) – the cusp of the first house of the chart; the point of intersection of the ecliptic and the horizon in the eastern part of the sky. A sign degree ascending on the Eastern horizon at the moment of birth. It is marked with a red arrow on the chart. The opposite sign degree is the Descendant (Dsc.)

Aspect – angle between two planets (or a planet and an axis or another point) in the chart. The most significant aspects are the conjunction (0°), the semi-sextile (30°), the sextile (60°), the square (90°), the trine (120°), the inconjunct (150°) and the opposition (180°). The aspects are divided into harmonious, flowing ones (60°, 120°) and inharmonious, challenging ones ((90°, 150°); the conjunction (0°) and the opposition (180°) are harmonious or inharmonious depending on the nature of the involved planets; the semi-sextile is ‘neutral’ and it has a differentiating quality.

Aspect figure – three or more aspects which form a particular pattern in the chart. The planets involved in the pattern have a modifying effect on one another. The most significant aspect figures are: stellium – at least 5 planets in a conjunction (4 in the case of luminaries); Grand Trine – in which three planets are situated at angles of 120 degrees; Small Trine – at least 3 planets, two of which are in trine to each other and they both form sextiles to a third planet; Kite – at least 4 planets: Grand Trine, in which two planets form a sextile with the fourth planet; Yod (Finger of God) – at least 3 planets where one planet is linked by two quincunxes to two planets which in turn are linked by a sextile; Mystic Rectangle – at least 4 planets forming two trines and two sextiles; Grand Cross – at least 3 planets forming four squares and two oppositions; T-square – at least 3 planets forming one opposition and two squares; an aspect figure may also involve the Ascendant or Medium Coeli instead of a planet, but such a figure is usually weaker.

Aspect pattern – a shape formed by several aspects in a chart. The most important aspect patterns are: splash shape – the planets fairly evenly spread around the horoscope; splay – the planets evenly spread around the horoscope with one cluster of minimum four planets (three if there is a luminary involved); locomotive – all the planets contained within 240 degrees; bowl –  all the planets located in one hemisphere of the horoscope; bundle – planets grouped together within the space of 120 degrees; bucket – the bowl with minimum one of the planets in the opposite hemisphere to all the others, in the opposition to the midpoint of the other planets; see-saw – the planets forming two groups on opposite sides of the chart, the groups no less than sixty degrees apart; tripod – planets in three clusters, situated at least 60 degrees apart, the model tripod being the Grand Trine.

Astrological archetypes – the basic building blocks of the psyche; each Zodiac sign represents one of the prototypes, which constitute our reality. An individual (microcosm) and the surrounding world (macrocosm) are expressions of all archetypes.

Astrological program – a computer program which makes astrological calculations, chart drawings; in Poland the most popular programs are Urania, Mandala, Astrolog, Capella.

Astrology – a system of knowledge which studies the influence of planetary cycles on the life on the Earth. It is the oldest and the most precise of all the known typologies of personality. Within the discipline, which is a cross between art and science, exist different branches with different methodology, subject matter and different levels of astrological expertise. See also: subdivision of astrology and Humanistic Astrology.

Chart ruler – the planet that rules the Ascendant in the natal chart.

Cosmobiology – a scientific term describing a discipline which deals with the influence of cosmic energies on life on the Earth.

Cosmoecology – a discipline which studies the relations of the cosmos and the outcomes of human life on the earth. The most advanced subdivision of cosmoecology is cosmoecology of culture which studies the incidence of astrological archetypes in artistic creations, mainly in film, literature, painting and music.

Cosmogram – synonym for horoscope. However, since the word horoscope is so abused by the media, the word cosmogram is increasingly popular among professional astrologers. A cosmogram in its basic meaning is a chart, from which an astrologer obtains the information. It is a sky map which symbolically depicts a given time and space.

Decan – threefold division of each sign of the zodiac into 10 degree segments (there are 36 decans); the first decan of any sign has the characteristics of the first sign of a given element (e.g. the first decan of Aries has Arian qualities, the second – Leonine, the third – Sagittarian).

Descendant (Dsc.) – the cusp of the 7th house; see also: Ascendant (Asc.).

Dominant – the most prominent zodiac sign in the chart, whose dominance is built by a number of planets in this sign, also by the planets in the corresponding house; other important factors are the significant position of the ruler of the dominant sign, and the important aspects it receives, which are significant in chart interpretation. Usually there are a number of dominants in a chart, which also change with time.

Directions (progressions) – an astrological technique which focuses on symbolical (rather than actual) movement of the Sun around the zodiac.

Dvadasamsa – 1/12 division of each Zodiac sign (2°30′); within each Zodiac sign the first dvadasamsa has the characteristics of this particular sign, the second dvadasamsa – of the following sign, and so forth (e.g. within the sign of Pisces the first dvadasamsa is Piscean, the second – Arian, the third – Taurean, etc.). There are 144 dvadasamsas on the Zodiac wheel.

Dynamic zodiac – an advanced technique of astrological interpretation, which allows for describing each zodiac sign via its relations to other signs on the zodiac wheel (e.g. for the sign Leo: Leo is Taurus for Cancer, which is Pisces for Leo and at the same time Leo is Pisces for Virgo, which in turn is Taurus for Leo). This technique is useful in interpreting –> Mandalas of the zodiac (dynamic mandalas of the zodiac).

Ecliptic – the path travelled by the Sun on its apparent path around the Earth.

Elements – four basic building blocks of the universe: Fire, Earth, Air and Water; in astrology it is assumed that a person, as a part of the universe, has got inside all the four elements, which express themselves with differing force and ways in his existence (both in its physical and mental aspect); the twelve signs of the zodiac are divided into four elements: Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) and Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces).

Ephemeris – a table with daily positions of the celestial objects; older ephemerides often showed the positions at noon; modern ephemerides show the midnight positions of the planets

Equinox – the point of intersection of the ecliptic and the celestial equator; the spring equinox corresponds to 0 degree Aries and the autumnal equinox corresponds to 0 degree Libra.

Horoscope – the graphical portrayal of the natal chart, i.e. the graphical portrayal of the planetary positions at a given time as viewed from the location at which it occurs. To cast a horoscope the exact time (date and hour) and place of an event are required; in a broader sense, the term horoscope also implies the interpretation of the natal chart.

House cusp – the point defining the beginning of a house, which is its most active part; however, as there are numerous house systems, it is very hard to specify the house cusps of succedent and cadent houses, while the house cusps of angular houses, i.e. Asc, IC, Dsc and MC are clearly marked.

Houses – twelve segments of unequal size into which the horoscope is divided; the division into houses is connected to the Earth’s rotation; in order to obtain the accurate houses the exact time of birth or the beginning of an event must be known; there is an analogous relationship between the houses and the signs of the zodiac (1st house – Aries, 2nd house – Taurus, etc); the first, fourth, seventh and tenth houses are termed angular houses, the second, fifth, eighth and eleventh are termed succedent houses, and the third, sixth, ninth and twelfth are termed cadent houses; there are numerous house systems used by astrologers today, the most popular being those of Placidus, Koch, Porfiry and Regiomontanus; the houses symbolize spheres of individual experience.

Ingress – a planet’s entry into a new sign of the zodiac.

Imum Coeli (IC) – the cusp of the fourth house. See also Medium Coeli (MC).

Luminary – the Sun or the Moon

Mandalas of the zodiac – a technique which makes it possible to explain every concept or process, which may be classified as belonging to one of the twelve →archetypes of the zodiac. The basis for interpretation of a given mandala of the zodiac is the zodiac circle with a given archetype (a zodiac sign) as the rising sign, with the other sign in appropriate, subsequent houses. The technique employs two points of reference: the houses and the signs of the zodiac. The most acclaimed mandala of the zodiac is Mandala of Authority (Capricorn), discussed in detail by Professor Leszek Weres in a monthly magazine Nieznany Świat (nr 4/97 – 9/97). See also: Dynamic Zodiac

Medium Coeli (MC, Midheaven) – the cusp of the tenth house of the chart; the highest point of intersection between the meridian and the ecliptic; the polar opposite of the Imum Coeli (IC).

Midpoint – a point on the ecliptic situated between two planets or two other horoscope factors; as a rule the midpoint situated directly between the factors is considered, and not a far midpoint situated 180 degrees opposite.

Minor aspects – the angles between planets whose significance has not been confirmed (the quintile, the biquintile, the semi-square, the sesquiquadrate, etc).

Node – point of intersection between the planet’s orbital path and the ecliptic; in astrology mainly lunar nodes are considered.

Orb – the margin of deviation allowed for an aspect to remain valid; natal astrology tends to use orbs up to 10°, depending on the nature of the aspect and the planets involved; a five-degree-orb is usually used in synastry and 2°30′ in transits and progressions.

Planet – in astrology a planet is a celestial body which appears on a chart drawing; the Sun and the Moon are thus counted as planets, and so are the asteroids and the lunar nodes in vedic astrology. Each planet represents one of the archetypes – a sign of the Zodiac and a sector of the chart.

Polarity – the division of the Zodiac into positive (masculine, active, jang) signs, namely Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius, and negative (feminine, passive, jin) signs, i.e. Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces; the fire and air signs are active, and the earth and water signs are passive. The polarity of the Zodiac epitomizes the basic polarity of the Universe.

Progressions – see: Directions

Quadrant – the division of the signs of the zodiac or the houses into four sectors; each quadrant encompasses three houses (quadrant 1 – houses 1-3; quadrant 2 – houses 4-6; quadrant 3 – houses 7-9; quadrant 4 – houses 10-12).

Qualities – the division of the zodiac into cardinal (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), fixed (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius), and mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces).

Reception – a link between two planets which are in each other’s domicile, i.e. in the sign ruled by the other planet (e.g. Mars in Gemini and Mercury in Aries).

Retrograde motion – an apparent backward motion of a planet through the zodiac.

Ruler (of a sign or a planet) – a planet assigned to and expressing the nature of a given sign and house (e.g. Mars as a ruler of Aries and the first house); when a planet is situated in its “own” sign, it is thought to express its inherent qualities in their purest, most archetypal form.

Separating aspect – an aspect which, although still in orb, has passed the point at which it was exact; this aspect will go out of orb in progressions.

Significator – a planet which stands for a particular element of chart interpretation, e.g. traditionally the Moon is the significator of mother, and the Sun and Saturn of father.

Stationary phase – the transitory phase when the planet moves from direct motion to retrograde motion and vice versa.

Sub-dvadasamsa – 1/12 division of each dvadasamsa, corresponding to the 12 signs of the zodiac.

Systematization of astrology:
1.    Natal astrology
2.    Comparative astrology (synastry and composite)
3.    Predictive astrology: transits and progressions
4.    Electional astrology (determining the best time to begin a specific activity)
5.    Horary astrology
6.    Mundane astrology (political)
7.    Medical astrology
8.    Astrocartography
9.    Astrological feng-shui
10.    Astrometerology

Transit – a moment when an actual moving planet forms an aspect to a horoscope factor in the natal chart.

Zodiac – the band of the sky along the ecliptic; it is sometimes thought to encompass the whole celestial sphere; it is divided into twelve signs. Astrology works with the tropical zodiac, which begins at the spring equinox (0 degrees Aries); the signs of the zodiac are not identical to the constellations of the same names (in the sidereal zodiac, not used in astrology, the signs of the zodiac are identical with the star constellations).

Zodiac sign – a segment of the Zodiac equal to 30 degrees. Signs are determined from the point where the Sun crosses the celestial equator at zero degrees Aries around March 21st of each year.

Artur Święch
The Sun in Aquarius, 2008