Angles, the Four: four points in an astrological chart marked by the ascendant, descendant, midheaven (zenith) and nadir. See horizon and meridian.
Aphelion: the time and point where a planet is furthest from the sun; see also perihelion.
Apogee: the point or time when Moon is furthest from the Earth.
Aquarian Age: one of the twelve great ages, each lasting 2160 years, brought about by the precession of the equinoxes; properly known as the Aquarius-Leo Age; we are entering this age sometime around now or in the future – the date is debatable, though the astronomically-correct date is in the 2100s – and we are leaving the Pisces-Virgo Age, which has prevailed since around the time of Christ.
Array: a general spread of planets in the heavens or a chart which forms an overall shape, without having to involve aspects or configurations; examples are hemispheric/bowl array, bundle/cluster, locomotive/open-angle, bucket/wedge, seesaw, tripod, splash, splay and star.
Ascendant: the point on the eastern horizon, on the left of a chart, where the zodiac, Sun, Moon and planets rise; the opening cusp of the first house, the place of persona and personal aspiration.
Aspectarian: a list of aspects formed between planets in a given time period, with their times – for example the Complete Aspectarian in the back of Raphael's Ephemeris.
Aspects: angles of relationship between two moving planets; stages in a synodic cycle at which recognisable developments, transitions or crises can occur, found by subdividing the zodiac by divisors such as 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12. Minor aspects are finer angles found by dividing the zodiac by 5, 7 or 9.
Aspects: fundamental: conjunction and opposition; challenging: square, semisquare and sesquiquadrate; flowing: trine and sextile; incidental: semisextile and quincunx; applying: approaching exaction, into aspect; separating: moving out of aspect; retrograde: an aspect formed by either one or two planets in retrograde motion.
Astrology: the study of the motions of the planets and rotation of Earth in relation to them and the zodiac, for the purpose of eliciting meaning and significance from them, as indicators of fundamental energy-permutations on Earth, in our lives; the study of subjective time; the mother of all sciences; a path to awareness and a brilliant way of whiling away the hours!
Astronomy: the objective study of the heavens and their physical mechanics through observation.
Birth, moment of: the valid moment of birth of a person or animal is its first breath, while for a venture or event it is the first moment it can definitely be said to have started as a real event, usually physically (such as moving into a house, convening a meeting, getting into the car for a journey).
Cardinal signs: see modes.
Chiron: a small planetoid (not an asteroid) which orbits eccentrically between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus, on a cycle of 51 years, discovered in 1977; it works through the knower within us, through lessons learned, and with a miraculous touch, if we are open to it.
Configuration: a structure of aspects between three or more planets, linking them together as a whole circuit.
Constellations: star patterns to which symbolisms and identities have been given; those on the ecliptic own the same names as the signs, but are moving apart from the signs at the rate of one sign every 2160 years (see precession); the constellations are not used in astrology generally – the confusion of names for constellations and signs is regrettable.
Cradle: usually, three consecutive sextile aspects plus one opposition in a bowl-like structure; can be a string of 3-4 consecutive aspects of the same type, plus a wide aspect such as opposition, sesquiquadrate or trine.
Crisis: an intense situation where things come to a climax or crunch, characterised by a slowing of time, feelings of extreme difficulty and obstruction, irresolvable problems and an inevitable giving up of previous expectations or ways of seeing things – a possibility for a breakthrough or a new start.
Cross-quarters: the four midpoints between the quarter points of the year (solstices and equinoxes, at or around 15° of the four fixing signs; Beltane in early May, 15 Taurus, Lammas in early August, 15 Leo, Samhain/Hallowe'en, early November, 15 Scorpio, and Candlemas/Imboic, early February, at these points the seasons go through definite cyclical changes; these are points of energy-manifestation, and were marked by the ancient British and others as fire festivals, to mark stages in the annual cycle of life-force; the cross-quarter points are the four points at 15° of the fixing signs, which the planets cross each at their own times.
Cusp: the boundary of either a sign or a house.
Cycles: diurnal: the cycle of day/night; sidereal: the motion of the Moon or any planet around the zodiac; synodic: the cycle of aspects between any two moving planets; lunation: the synodic cycle between Sun and Moon, creating Moon's phases; metonic: the 18.6 year retrograde cycle of the moon's nodes around the zodiac.
Descendant: the point on the western horizon, on the right of a chart, where zodiac, Sun, Moon and planets set; opening cusp of the seventh house, the place of relationship.
Detriment: a planet is in detriment in a sign opposite its home sign(s), and its energy is in some way hampered by the quality of that sign, while still being strong; see also rulership, exaltation, fall.
Direct motion: forward motion of a planet through the zodiac; see retrograde and station.
Eccentric planetary orbits: the orbits of Mercury & and Pluto, which are elliptical and inclined to the ecliptic – while all other planets orbit on roughly circular, regular ecliptic orbits.
Eclipses: a partial or total cutting off of the light of the Sun (at newmoon) by Moon passing in front of it, or of the Moon (at fullmoon) by Earth's shadow passing over the Moon; these are mega-transitions; they can occur only when a new or full Moon is close to the lunar nodes; they tend to happen in twos or threes around the time of this closeness, at opposite times of the year, varying through the metonic cycle; the ancients paid great heed to these and their symbolism and stillness.
Ecliptic: the plane of the solar system; as seen from Earth, the path of the Sun through the heavens – most of the planets orbit within a few degrees of the ecliptic.
Electional charts: charts cast in order to help in the making of choices and the selection of auspicious times for planned activities.
Elements, the four: fire, earth, air and water, characterising different energies and attentions which work through the zodiac signs; there are three signs of each element, in trine formation, each sign representing one of the modes.
Energy-weather: subjective atmospheres, nuances, energy-conditions, which can be sensed in life, and described astrologically.
Ephemeris: a book of tables showing the motions of the planets, plus other useful data, usually for either noon or midnight GMT each day; the sourcebook of the modern astrologer.
Ephemeris, noon or midnight: as long as you are clear as to which you are using, neither is better; if you are better using the 24-hour clock, use a midnight, and if better using am/pm, use a noon ephemeris; calculations of charts, and estimates of timings must be adjusted when using either.
Equator: 1. terrestrial: 0° latitude, an imaginary great circle around the planet which is perpendicular to the poles of Earth's rotation; 2. celestial: Earth's equator projected out into space, used largely by astronomers, inclined at 23° from the ecliptic.
Equinoxes: spring (0 Aries) and autumn (0 Libra) the midpoints between the solstices; the days when sunrise to sunset are equal through day and night; times of energy-transition.
Events charts: charts drawn up for events, in order to examine them closely, timed for their moment of occurrence or beginning.
Exaltation: each planet is exalted in one sign, where its energy is refined and elevated to a qualitatively perfected level; see also rulerships, fall, detriment.
Fall: a planet is in fall in the sign opposite its exaltation – here its energy is qualitatively obstructed and comes over problematically; see also rulerships, detriment, exaltation.
Fixing (fixed) signs: see modes.
Focal planet: a planet which, by dint of its position, sometimes also rulership patterns, tends to focus the energy of a chart or array.
Genders, yang and yin: the male and female forces, respectively; these alternate sign to sign through the sequence of the zodiac (fire and air signs are yang, Earth and water signs yin), and hemicyclically (summer is yang, winter yin).
Grand aspects: major and rare aspect structures where .a string of planets encircles the zodiac with a string of the same aspect – for example, the grand trine, grand cross, grand sextile or grand octile.
Grand Cross: at least four planets in mutual aspect to one another, with two oppositions across the cross; a very powerful and challenging configuration.
Grand Trine: three planets forming a triangle of trine aspects; a powerful and harmonious configuration.
Group psyche: collective consciousness, aware and unconscious, and its various states at any moment or time; the transpersonal.
Halley's Comet: a prominent regular comet, well known, which lives mostly out beyond Pluto, but plummets into the solar system to swing closely to the Sun once every 76 years (last in 1910 and 1985-6); it introduces new, unforeseen energy and issues and turns of events into the concrete sphere of life, usually of small form but big significance.
Hemicycles: half-cycles of lunar or planetary motion; these can be waxing/waning, beginning and ending at conjunction and opposition, or objective/subjective, beginning and ending at the two square aspects.
Home signs: see rulerships.
Horary charts: charts cast oracularly in order to answer questions; the time of the asking of the question is used, and special rules apply.
Horizon: the ascendant-descendant line, horizontally drawn across a chart, above which is the visible sky, below which is the area of the sky hidden by Earth; see meridian.
Houses, tables of: a book of tables used in calculating the houses in a chart – a basic astrological tool.
Houses, the Twelve: a twelvefold subdivision of the Earth's sky (six houses above and six below the horizon), found by subdividing the quadrants between the four angles into three. There are different systems of calculation of houses: the one used in this book is the Koch or Birthplace system.
Indigestion, astrological: what happens when you study too much astrology – the best remedy is to talk to trees, climb mountains, shower in cold water or drop the lot for a while.
Individualisation: a process whereby people explore their own individuality and define their own realities, toward individual ends; the process at work in the zodiacal hemicycle beginning at Capricorn and ending at Gemini, and in the waxing hemicycle of any planetary relationship; see also wholisation.
Ingresses: the entries of planets into new signs, crossing over their cusps; usually these indicate a change of themes, and a fresh breeze, and a choice.
Intercepted signs: signs which can crop up in a chart which do not cross any house cusp, always in pairs, opposite one another; more common in temperate and polar latitudes, or when one of the solsticial signs is rising.
Issues: charged ideas, feeling-tones, associations, around which we preoccupy ourselves, restricting openness of responses to life, triggering trains of reactions when certain questions or associations come up.
Kite: a grand trine with an opposition from one of the planets to another, which forms two sextile aspects to the remaining planets.
Latitude: terrestrial: N-S coordinates of position on the earth's surface; ecliptic: position above or below the ecliptic – for most planets only a few degrees.
Lights, the: generic term for the Sun and Moon, to distinguish them from the planets.
Longitude: terrestrial: E-W coordinates of position on earth's surface; ecliptic: position along the ecliptic, measured in degrees and minutes of signs; see latitude.
Meridian: the zenith-nadir line, roughly vertical in a chart, running through the centre of Earth from the point where the zodiac culminates in the sky to a point beneath the Earth.
Midheaven: the point Sun reaches in the sky at midday; a point where a line moving up from due south meets the ecliptic; top of the meridian; opening cusp of the tenth house, the point of social identity.
Modes, the three: the three phases of each season; modes of operation of the zodiac signs; the cardinal signs initiate and set the tone for the season (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), the fixing or fixed signs carry through the purpose of the season (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius), and the mutable signs conclude and assimilate the season (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces).
Mutable signs: see modes.
Midpoint: the degree half way between any two planets, where it can be said that the combined energy of those planets is strongest, regardless of whether they are in aspect; some astrologers use many midpoints, but others do not; they can be useful when two planets are 15-45° apart, for sometimes it will be found that their midpoint forms a strong aspect to another planet, where neither would individually be in aspect – this gives extra underlying meaning to a chart or situation.
Mutational cycles: a mutation is a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn; successive conjunctions tend to fall in signs of the same element, but when there is a change, there is a Great Mutation.
Nadir: the bottom end of the meridian, a line projected downwards through the centre of the Earth from the midheaven; the point Sun reaches at midnight; opening cusp of the fourth house, the place of personal identity.
Nodes, lunar: the points where the Moon's plane of orbit round Earth intersect Earth's plane of orbit round the Sun (the ecliptic); these are at opposite sides of the zodiac; at the north node, Moon is climbing above the ecliptic, at the south it is falling below it; the nodes move retrograde through the zodiac in 18.6 years (a generation); also called Dragon's Head (N) and Tail (S); when a new or full moon occurs close to the nodes, there will be an eclipse.
Occultation: an eclipse by the Moon of a planet or star.
Octile: one of the aspects of the 45° family, mainly sesquiquadrate and semisquare , but also including conjunction, square and opposition.
Octile Triangle:greater: sesquiquadrate-square-sesquiquadrate; lesser: semisquare-square-semisquare; octile kite: semisquare-semisquare-semisquare-sesquiquadrate, with an opposition on the long axis and a square on the short axis; octile rectangle: semisquare-sesquiquadrate-semisquare-sesquiquadrate, with two oppositions crossing it.
Orb: an area around a planet or aspect wherein it may be said that the aspect is operative; orbs can be defined closely or widely, and do not have fixed or definite cut-off points.
Perigee: the point or time when Moon is nearest Earth.
Perihelion: the time and point where a planet is closest to the Sun; see also aphelion.
Precession of Equinoxes: a 25,868 year cycle of motion in the Earth's axis of rotation, caused by gravitational pulls from Sun and Moon, causing the equinox points to move westwards through the constellations at the rate of one degree every 72 years, one sign every 2160 years – at present, they are 25° from the start of the cycle. See Ages.
Planets: functional: Mercury, Venus and Mars; social/identity-forming: Jupiter and Saturn; transformative: Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Power points in time: times when there is a more intense or poignant energy-configuration at work than usual, where it is possible to make greater than usual leaps of consciousness or to attain subtle states; when slower-moving planets are involved, we can have power periods which can last several years and affect history on a longterm basis; exceptional energy-weather.
Psyche: the whole of our consciousness, including awareness, thoughts, feelings, all modes of consciousness, imagination, perception and sense of self.
Quarter phases of the Moon: newmoon, waxing halfmoon (first quarter), fullmoon and waning halfmoon (third quarter).
Quarter-points: the opening cusps of the cardinal signs; the solstice and equinox points.
Raphael's Ephemeris: a somewhat archaic but very useful noon ephemeris, packed with data, easily portable, covering each year in a separate volume.
Rectangle or mystic rectangle: Trine, sextile, trine, sextile, with two oppositions crossing it; can be formed by octiles too.
Retrograde motion of planets: the apparent temporary backward movement of the planets (not Sun or Moon) through the zodiac, caused by our being on a moving observation platform; the planet itself does not truly change direction.
Rising and setting points of mainly Sun and Moon, but also planets and stars, on the local horizon were used by the ancients both for observation of their motions, and for ceremonial and energy-working purposes; when Sun or any planet on the ecliptic is in a summer sign it rises NE (in the northern hemisphere), when in a winter sign it rises SE, and when in an equinoctial sign it rises E; Moon can oscillate up to 5° N or S in latitude of the ecliptic; the ancients built alignments of stones or markers to various rising and setting points.
Rulerships of signs: Each planet is at home in, or rules, two signs, and Sun and Moon each are at home in one, while the outer planets each co-rule a sign with other planets; rulerships qualify the character of each sign, and show which signs best embody different planetary energies; in its home sign, a planet is strong and typified. See detriment, fall, exaltation.
Singleton: the sole planet in the empty hemisphere of the zodiac in a bucket configuration, also called the `handle' – this becomes a strongly focal planet.
Solstices: winter (0 Capricorn) and summer (0 Cancer), in which the Sun is lowest or highest in the northern hemisphere sky; the shortest and longest days of the year; the gateways to the timeless or to the power of life.
Stations: times and zodiac places where any of the planets is stationary, turning either from direct to retrograde (St.t.R), or from retrograde to direct (St.t.D); these are times when it is possible to feel a planet's energy clearly.
Stellium: a multiple conjunction with at least three planets involved.
Summer Times/Daylight Saving Times: many countries change their clocks by ordinance for parts of the year, usually by one hour, ostensibly to lengthen the evenings for recreation; each country has its own dates, although there is increasing standardisation in all states of USA and in the countries of EU. Details are found in V. D. Chase's Timezones books, or in the ACS World Atlas or American Atlas; dates of the current British Summer Time are found on the opening page of Raphael's Ephemeris.
Time: 1. clock time: accurately measurable objective time, based on the diurnal cycle of 24 hours; 2. subjective time: inner experiential time, which can stretch and contract with changing energy-weather or states of consciousness.
Time zones: each country is in a time zone, which is measured in hours east or west of Greenwich, so that all clocks in that zone are coordinated; in astrological calculations and ephemeris consultations, account should be made if you are in another zone than Greenwich (GMT or UT), since all ephemerides are calculated for GMT. See also Summer Times.
Transits: motions of the planets in the heavens in relation to planets, cusps or points in an astrological chart; a useful technique for understanding personal changes.
Trapezium: a four-sided aspect structure with two sides parallel and the other two sides the same aspect.
T-square: a square-opposition-square aspect structure.
Unconscious: that part of our psyche which talks in urges, imaginal symbols, knowings, irrational fears, of which we are unaware or partially aware; distinguished in this book from the conscious (what we tell ourselves is going on), the subconscious (what we could be aware of quite easily, were we more awake) and the superconscious (our sense of spirit, our centre or visionary capacities; the unconscious can also be seen as personal and/or transpersonal/collective in its content and experiencing.
Void-of-course: when the Moon has gone through its last major aspect (conjunction, sextile, square, trine, opposition) to other planets before leaving a sign it is void – it is best not to start new activities until it has ingressed into the next sign; this can be used with other planets as well.
Wholisation: a process whereby individuals find their belongingness in society and the world at large, fitting in to what is asked of them; the process at work in the zodiacal hemicycle beginning at and ending in Sagittarius; see also individualisation.
Yang: see genders.
Yin: see genders.
Yod: a quincunx-sextile-quincunx aspect triangle; this can be up-stepped with an opposition from its apex to the midpoint on the sextile, bringing in two added semisextile aspects.
Zenith: see midheaven.
Zodiac: the twelvefold subdivision of the ecliptic, anchored in the quarter-points which mark the extremes (solstices) and midpoints (equinoxes) of Earth's cycle of polar axial tilting to the Sun, or seasonal cycle.