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Astrological Glossary

Astrological Glossary | Definition of Terms
Below are definitions of some widely used astrological terms:
  1. Altitude: The elevation of a star or planet above the horizon, its vertical distance measured in degrees, Horizon 0, Zenith 90.
  1. Anaretic Degrees: When a planet reaches 29 to 30 Degrees, it has reached a critical phase of development. The Anaretic planet cannot be ignored when the it is activated by major predictive factors, such as transits and eclipses. Any attempt to ignore or delay results in serious frustration and failure. Planets at these degrees triggered by Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto indicate important karmic concerns.
  2. Angles: The angles are the first, fourth, seventh and tenth house cusps, the cardinal points of the zodiac. These points are considered the most sensitive points of the chart.
  3. Apex: The region in the constellation Hercules towards which the solar system is moving at about 12 miles per second.
  4. Aphelion: The point in a planet's orbit where it reaches maximum distance from the sun.
  5. Apogee: The maximum distance of the Moon or satellite of a planet form the surface.
  6. Ascendant: Also known as the First House Cusp, or Rising Sign, the Ascendant is the position of the Sun on the horizon at the minute of your birth. Astrologers consider it an even stronger psychological indicator of the personality, especially as it is perceived by others.
  7. Aspects: The relationships between the planets are measured by astrologers, and if there is a connection between specific degrees, the planets are said to be "in aspect" to one another. The relationship can be expressed positively or negatively, depending on the planets involved and the specific angles at which they connect.
  8. Conjunction: Conjunctions "blend" the energies of the two planets who occupy the same space within 8 degrees.
  9. Co-ordinates: The latitude and longitude of your place of birth. If you do not have this information, you can look it up in an atlas, or online at Wikimapia or Google Earth. Providing this information is most helpful as it saves the astrologer time in looking it up.
  10. Cusps: The space of one degree on either side between two houses or signs. People born "On the Cusp" are people born within a degree of the change between one sign to the next. They may strongly exhibit characteristics of both signs.
  11. Elements: Each sign is related to one of the elements: Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) or Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces).
  12. Equinox: 21 March, 21 September, when the days are equal night to day.
  13. Grand Square or Cross: A subset of the 90-degree Square aspect. Squares are one of the more challenging aspects. They indicate stressful interactions between the aspecting planets. A Grand Square or Grand Cross combines four such aspects in such a way that the four planets also form two oppositions in what looks like a "Cross", while the planets form a "Square" in the chart.
  14. Houses: Astrological Houses are created by different methods (called House Systems). Every astrological chart has 12 different houses. Each house is related to a specific area of life or interest (for example the 1st house relates to sense of self, the 2nd house relates to money, and so on).
  15. Interceptions: Intercepted houses are those that have the same sign on both cusps. Planets in intercepted houses offer the greatest insight into a given incarnation because the resulting shift announces a lifetime of predictable karmic breakthrough. Intercepted planets do not begin to manifest their latent energy until they have progressed into a "Free" sign.
  16. Lunation: The cycle of the Moon (Full, waxing, waning, etc). The cycle of the Moon at birth gives the astrologer additional clues to the emotional and psychological make-up of the client.
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  1. Midrash: A genre of rabbinic literature constituting an anthology of homilies and sermons, based upon biblical from the 7th or 8th century AD until about the 12th century.
  2. Modalities: Each sign is related to a specific modality or "Response Style". Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn are "Cardinal" (they tend to act directly and decisively). Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius are "Fixed" (they tend to act persistent and determined). Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces are "Mutable" (they tend to be adaptable, flexible).
  3. Mutual Reception: When two planets occupy the signs ruled by the other, it adds energy to their interactions.
  4. Opposition: A 180-degree aspect. Oppositions indicate that the aspecting planets work to opposing ends, generally (though occasionally the opposite is true - oppositions by nature are the most contrary aspects).
  5. Rahu Kal: 'Rahu' and 'Ketu' are twin Vedic planets with essentially malefic characteristics, as explained in detail in our 'Planets' section. Rahu Kal is an inauspicious time of the day when no important decisions or new plans, should be attempted. The timing of this event is different for each day of the week and occurs according to the local time of a given location. This lasts for about one-and-a-half hours.
  6. Rectification Charts: When an Astrologer is unable to locate the birth time for the querent, he or she may look at significant events in the client's life, and make an educated guess as to the actual birth time.
  7. Sextile: A 60-degree aspect. Sextiles are one of the more positive aspects. They indicate pleasant opportunities formed when the aspecting planets contact one another.
  8. Solstice: 21 June, longest, 21 December, shortest.
  9. Square: A 90-degree aspect. Squares are one of the more challenging aspects. They indicate stressful interactions between the aspecting planets.
  10. Talmud: The authoritative body of Jewish tradition comprising the Mishnah and Gemara
  11. Trine: A 120-degree aspect. Trines are one of the more positive aspects, but they lack much motivating factor. They indicate easy interactions between the aspecting planets.
  12. T-Square: A subset of the 90-degree Square aspect. Squares are one of the more challenging aspects. They indicate stressful interactions between the aspecting planets. A T-Square combines two such aspects in such a way that two of the three planets also form an opposition in what looks like a "T" in the chart.
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Page Last Modified On: 2022-09-27
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