Astrology Library

Astrology Definitions – A

letter a

acronycal
Said of the rising after sunset, or setting before sunrise, of a planet that is in opposition to the Sun, hence in a favorable position for astronomical observation.
affinity
A binding by mutual attraction. The Sun is said to have an affinity with all the planets; Mars with Venus, in a magnetic or physical sense; Venus with Jupiter, in a philanthropic sense as one who loves his fellowman; Venus with Mercury, in an artistic sense.
afflicted
(Afflicted by / in affliction with): Unfavorably aspected. Loosely applied to: (a) any inharmonious aspect to a planet, or (b) to any aspect, particularly the conjunction, parallel, square or opposition, to a malefic planet. Also by some authorities applied to a mundane or zodiacal parallel with, or when, besieged by both Infortunes (q.v.). Some authorities consider that the sensitive degree on any House cusp can be afflicted, though any such consideration must be confined to instances where the birth-moment is known to a certainty.
Air signs
The mental or intellectual signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius. Considered collectively, sometimes termed the Air asterism.
Akasa, Akasha
The fifth element of Pythagoras. A celestial ether, or astral light that fills all space. According to occult teaching every thought and action which takes place in the material world, is recorded in this akashic medium, whereby one possessed of psychic vision can read and translate the panorama of history: the Akashic Records. They also hint that some day science will be able to tap this record, probably through some application of radio reception, and thus draw upon and even re-enact the words and actions of past ages. Cf. Blavatsky’s “Secret Doctrine.”
alchemist
The prototype of the modern chemist. (a) An early school of scientists who sought a formula for the transformation of baser metals into gold-a quest laughed at for centuries but now realized through the modern atom-smasher. (b) The Rosicrucians of the Middle Ages, supposed to possess powers of psychic perception, who sought, the hidden spirit concealed in matter.
alchemy
(1) Medieval chemical science, which sought the transmutation of other metals into gold, a universal cure for disease, and a formula for long life. (2) The art of extracting juices from plants for medicinal purposes. (3) In occult terminology, the chemistry of nature: based on primary assumption that there exists a universal solvent by which all atomic elements can be transformed into their original substance.
Aleph
(Heb., Ox.). The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; a symbolical reference to the constellation Taurus, then considered the first Sign of the Zodiac. The most sacred of the Hebrew letters; seldom pronounced because indicative of the Deity.
almanac
A book or table containing a calendar of days, weeks and months, to which are added astronomical or other data. Its use dates back at least to the Alexandrian Greeks. The Roman almanac was the fasti – days on which business could be transacted.

The earliest of which we have concise record is that of Solomon Jarchus, 1150 A.D.. Purbach published one from 1450-6. His pupil Regiomontanus issued the first printed almanac in 1475. The most outstanding almanac maker of the Middle Ages was Nostradamus.

All English almanacs were prophetic until the year 1828; and until 1834 the stamp duty was 1s.3d. per copy. The first almanac in the U.S. was issued in 1639 by William Pierce. It was exceeded in popularity by Poor Richard's Almanac (1732-57) issued by Benjamin Franklin. Watkins Almanac, issued since 1868, has an annual circulation of upward of two million copies. The chief Astrological Almanacs of the present epoch are 'Raphael's', first published in 1820, and 'Zadkiel's', first published in 1830. All governments now issue an Ephemeris and a Nautical almanac. See 'Ephemeris'.

anareta
(noun)(Gr., destroyer). The planet which destroys form; that which kills, if such a term may be applied to a planet that unfavorably aspects the hyleg
anaretic
(adjective) see 'anareta'
Angle
Any one of the four cardinal points in a Figure, or map, of the heavens; variously referring to the Zenith, or South Vertical; the Nadir, or North Vertical; and the East and West horizons: the cusps of the Tenth, Fourth, First and Seventh Houses, or the Medium Coeli, Immum Coeli, Oriens (Ascendant) and Occidens (Descendant) of a Solar or, indeed, of any Celestial Figure. Usually identified as the Southern, Northern, Eastern and Western angles. They are the most powerful and important arcs in Astrology. Planets therein become immensely potent for good or ill, according to the nature of the planets and their aspects. The term may refer to the shape and position of the House as placed on the square maps employed by the ancient astrologers. v. Map of the Heavens.
Many depose that the Ascendant is the most powerful angle in any Figure, though Ptolemy gives preference to the Midheaven, or Zenith, since the celestial bodies are uniformly more potent in their effects at their meridian altitude than when rising.
Angular
Said of a planet in an angle or in an angular House. The angular Houses (1, 4, 7, & 10) bear a correspondence to the Cardinal Signs, and planets therein posited are materially strengthened, though whether beneficially or adversely depends upon the nature of the planet itself as also upon the nature of the aspects it receives from other planets in the Scheme.
angular velocity
The angle through which a planet sweeps in a unit of time. Technically, the daily motion of a planet, expressed in degrees and minutes of arc, is its Angular Velocity.
Anima Mundi
“Soul of the world.” An occult term applied to the all-connecting consciousness, or divine essence, which permeates and animates everything in Nature. According to occult lore all sentient life is fused, blended and unified by Anima Mundi so that in reality there is no such thing as separateness. Radio-activity symbolizes this principle. Synonym of the oriental term Alaya.
Anipathies
The unaccountable aversions and antagonisms people feel toward each other when positions in their Nativities are in conflict. Among the causes of such conflict are the luminaries in dissociate Signs, or in inharmonious aspect to one another; the Ascendants in opposition Signs; the Infortunes conjunct or in inharmonious aspect to the luminaries, or to each other, or in opposition from angular Houses.
Sometimes loosely applied to planets seen in an inharmonious relationship through an adverse aspect, whereat they are considered to bear an anipathy to one another.
Apheta
Prorogator. The planet or place that exercises an influence over the life and death of the native. see Hyleg.
apparent motion
In describing motions it is traditional to speak of them in terms of what they appear to be rather than what they are. The west wind personifies the wind that comes out of the west but which actually blows in an easterly direction. Because of the axial rotation of the Earth, the planets appear to rise over the Ascendant and travel across the meridian to the west, while they actually travel in the opposite direction. The Signs likewise appear to travel in a westerly direction while actually they do not travel at all. When we say the Sun is in Taurus, we are not actually speaking of the Sun's travel or of its position, but of the Earth's position and travel as measured by the Sun.
Applying
v. to apply. Said of a body in motion toward a point whence it will aspect another body. (v. Aspect.).
Applying, Retrograde: When the applying body is in retrograde motion. (see 'Motion'.)
Some authorities have used the term 'approach' as synonymous with 'apply'. The faster-moving body is said to be applying to an aspect of the slower-moving one. Precision in this regard might indcate, for example, that Saturn in direct motion could be applying to an aspect of Uranus, Neptune or Pluto only. Aspects are more powerful when forming than when separating. If either planet be retrograde, the influence is said to be injurious, or the promised result so subject to delay that it is of little value when it materializes.
Aquarius
The eleventh sign of the zodiac.
Arabian Parts, or Points
Of the so-called Arabian Points, Fortuna, or the Part of Fortune, is the best known to modern astrologers, although its full significance is not generally realized. These Points tend to show that the Arabians understood the value of the Solar Houses — those based upon the Sun’s degree as the Ascendant, thence erecting twelve Houses consisting of successive thirty degree arcs. If any Figure be revolved to the point where the Sun’s degree is on the Ascendant the Moon’s position will coincide with the geocentric House position of Fortune; Mercury to the Point of Commerce; Venus to the Point of Love; and so on. Instead of revolving the Figure the Arabians gave rules whereby these planetary House-positions could be inserted in a Figure based on a birth-moment. Thus the Scheme showed each planet in two House-positions: one based on its relation to a rising degree, the other on its relation to the Sun itself. Naturally the rules for computing these locations infer a knowledge of the correct birth-moment. However, it is incorrect to assume that these points cannot be utilized when the birth-moment is unknown. On the contrary, a Figure erected with Aries 0° as an Ascendant can be more comprehensively interpreted by the use of most of the Arabian Points than in perhaps any other way. The so-called Solar Equilibrium system is entirely based upon the Arabian concepts.

To use these Points without a known ascendant degree cast a Figure with Aries 0° as an Ascendant and proceed as follows:

Revolve the Figure until the Sun’s degree is on the Ascendant, then divide it into Houses consisting of successive 30° arcs from that degree.

The Moon’s position is the Part of Fortune and shows the lunar influence in shaping adult individuality and destiny, just as the Moon’s relation to the rising degree shows the lunar influence upon the personality and the physical development of the early years.

Mercury’s position is the Caduceus, or Point of Commerce.

Venus’ position is the Heart, or Point of Love.

Mars’ position is the Sword, or Point of Passion.

Jupiter’s position is the Pomegranate, or Point of Increase.

Saturn’s position is the Hour Glass, or Point of Fatality. This Point is also known as the Point of Love of Brethren, indicating those for whom one feels a sense of responsibility.

Uranus’s position is the Lightning Flash, or Point of Catastrophe.

Neptune’s position is the Trident, or Point of Treachery.

Pluto’s position is the Gavel, or Point of Organization. (The last three are modern applications to utilize the three planets of modern discovery.)

Now revolve the Figure until the Moon’s degree is on the Ascendant and continue.

The Sun’s position is the Point of Spirit.

Mercury’s position is the Point of Faith.

Venus’ position is the Point of Female Children.

Jupiter’s position is the Point of Male Children.

It is worthy of note that Mars and Saturn bore no relation to matters which come under the influence of the Moon.

With the Sun on the Ascendant, locate a point as far distant in a converse direction, as the Moon is distant in the order of the Signs. This is the Point of Spirit. Advance the Point of Spirit to the Ascendant and the Moon position becomes the Point of Merchandise.

Placing the Moon’s dispositor — the Ruler of the Sign in which the Moon is posited — at the Ascendant, the Moon becomes the Point of Bondage.

Insert the position of the Lunation or Full Moon next preceding the day of birth, and place that on the Ascendant, and the Moon position locates the Point of Life.

Taking the Mercury position as an Ascendant, the Moon position is the Point of Servants.

Mars’ position is the Point of Understanding.

Taking the Venus position as an Ascendant, the Moon position is the Point of the Mother.

Saturn’s position is the Point of Fortune in Husbandry.

Taking the Mars position as the Ascendant, the Venus position is the Point of Plays.

Jupiter’s position is the Point of Discord.

Taking the Saturn position as an Ascendant, the Sun position is the Point of the Father.

Moon position is the Point of Magistery and Possessions or the Point of Inheritance.

Mars’ position is the Point of Sickness.

Jupiter’s position is the Point of Brothers and Sisters.

Cancer 15° is the Point of Journeys by Water.

(Instead of rotating the chart, it is equally practicable to locate the Point of the Father, for example, by computing the arc from Saturn to the Sun, and if this is a 40° separation, say “The Sun is in a Second House position to Saturn, hence the Point of the Father is in the Second House.”)

If you have an hour of birth from which to compute a Rising degree, mark the cusps on the circumference of the Figure and consider these additional Points:

With the Lord of the Second House as an Ascendant, consider the altered House-position of the cusps of the Second House. This is the Point of Goods.

With the Lord of the Ninth House as an Ascendant, consider the altered House-position of the cusp of the Ninth House. This is the Point of Travel by Land.

With the Lord of the Twelfth House as an Ascendant, consider the altered House-position of the cusp of the Twelfth House. This is the Point of Private Enemies.

With the Moon as an Ascendant, the cusp of the Eighth House becomes the Point of Death: the point where experience must crystallize into either regeneration or disintegration.

If the birth was at night, with the Sun below the Horizon, in Houses I to VII, put Jupiter on the Ascendant, and consider the House-position of Saturn as the Point of Brethren.

With the Venus-degree on the Ascendant, the cusp of the Seventh House is the Point of Marriage. Marc Jones suggests that with the cusp of the Seventh as an Ascendant, the Venus-position might be taken as the Point of Divorce.

With Saturn on the Horizon, the position of the Lord of the Eighth House is the Point of the “Most Perilous Year.”

Finally, for the Point of Honorable and Illustrious Acquaintances, apply the Sun-Fortuna arc of the Geocentric Figure to a Solar Figure as follows:

If a night birth, usc the Sun as an Ascendant and consider the House-position of Fortuna. If a day birth, use Fortuna as Ascendant, and consider the House-position of the Sun.

The Point of the Father appears to be the Point of Sudden Advancement, except that if Saturn be combust Jupiter is to be taken as the Ascendant in considering the House-position of the Sun. The passing of the progressed Moon over the sensitive point in the radical Figure indicated by the Part of Fortune is supposed to stimulate all matters having to do with worldly possessions. It is generally supposed that it is also affected by aspects to this point — according to the nature of the aspect, and of the aspecting body. This point is not commonly progressed, but Sepharial suggests that research might possibly show that the continuous adjustment of the point in its relationship to the Ascendant to accord with the changing relationship of the progressed Lights, would be productive of tangible results.

All these points are susceptible to stimulation or accent by Lunations, Full Moons, and Eclipses on these degrees, and by transit or progression of the planets over the arcs in which they are located. In short they represent just that many added points of sensitivity and receptivity.

arc
A portion or segment of a curved line, such as a circle, or ellipse. Hence the orbital distance separating two bodies, or between two points.
Ares
The Greek god of War and Pestilence: Son of Zeus and Hera, consort of Aphrodite. The Romans associated him with Mars, the enemy of tyrants and defender of the just.
Aries
The first sign of the zodiac.
Armillary Sphere
A skeleton sphere suggested by concentric rings which represent the relative positions of the celestial circles of the equator and the ecliptic revolving within a horizon and meridian divided into degrees of longitude and latitude. It was invented by Eratosthenes (q.v.), who by this means computed the size of the Earth, and inclination of the ecliptic to the equator; also the latitude of the city of Alexandria. The armillary sphere is frequently used as a decoration, such as the beautiful specimen cast in bronze and supported on the shoulders of Atlas, which adorns the entrance to Rockerfeller Plaza in New York.
ascendant
The zodiacal sign and degree that appeared on the eastern horizon at the specific location and time of your birth (or whatever time the chart is cast for). The point at which the eastern horizon intersects the ecliptic. It is denoted on your birth chart as the cusp of the 1st House. The sign of the ascendant is your "Rising sign."
Ascending
A term loosely applied to any planet on the eastward side of the line between the cusps of the Fourth and Tenth Houses, which by the diurnal motion of the Earth is rising in the heavens. More precisely it applies to a planet on, or near, the eastern horizon, or in the First House. A planet oriental and matutine to the Sun is said to ascend to the Sun. One that is occidental and vespertine to the Moon is said to ascend to the Moon. Ptolemy describes the luminaries, when so placed, as guarded.
Ascension
The vertical rising of a planet above the Ecliptic, equator or horizon. Right Ascension, the circle of declination reckoned toward the east from 0° Aries, measured in the plane of the Equator. Oblique Ascension, measured on the Prime Vertical. The Midheaven is directed by Right Ascension; the Ascendant by Oblique Ascension.

Signs of Long Ascension: Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius.

Signs of Short Ascension: Capricorn to Gemini inclusive.

Ascensional Difference
The difference between the Right Ascension of any body and its Oblique Ascension: used chiefly as expressing the difference in time between the rising or setting of a celestial body, and six o’clock; or, six hours from the meridianal passage. To find this, add the log. tangent of the declination of the planet, to the log. tangent of the latitude of the place. The sum will be the log. sine of the Ascensional Difference. This added to the planet’s Right Ascension, when in South declination (or subtracted, when in North declination), gives the Oblique Ascension of the planet. The reverse process yields the Oblique Descension.
aspects
an angle the planets make to each other in the horoscope, and also to the ascendant, midheaven, descendant and nadir. The aspects are measured by the angular distance along the ecliptic in degrees and minutes of celestial longitude between two points, as viewed from the earth. They indicate focal points in the horoscope where the energies involved are given extra emphasis.
Aspect Patterns
Grand Cross. The Grand Cross (also known as Cosmic cross) consists of four planets connected by four squares and two oppositions. It is possible to have a Fixed, Mutable or Cardinal Grand Cross in a birth chart.

Grand Sextile. The grand sextile is an infrequent aspect pattern made between six planets or other stellar bodies, which are all placed approximately or exactly 60 degrees apart from each other, forming six sextiles. The configuration will appear to be a hexagram across the natal chart.

Grand Trine. The Grand Trine consists of three planets or other points in the horoscope that are all separated by a span of 120 degrees thus forming an equilateral triangle.

Kite. A Kite consists of three planets in a grand trine that are then connected to a fourth planet. The pinnacle planet is connected by an opposition and two sextiles.

Mystic Rectangle. Despite its name there is nothing mystical about the Mystic Rectangle. This pattern consists of tense and harmonious aspects. It has four planets connected in a rectangle of two squares and two sextiles. Two oppositions cross connect the opposite planets.

T-Square. The T-Square is considered a pattern of tension in which two planets in opposition are both in a square aspect to a third planet.

Yod. The Yod is also known as a Finger of Fate or a Finger of God. A Yod is formed when two planets that are in sextile also form inconjuncts to another planet.

Aspectarian
A chronological list of all aspects formed during a specified period. Most astrology magazines carry an Aspectarian for the concurrent month; and one for the year is now usually appended to the Ephemeris.
Asterism
A constellation. Sometimes misleadingly applied to a zodiacal Sign, but can be applied to the three signs of the same element, considered collectively.
Astral Body
In occult terminology a replica of the physical body, but more subtle and tenuous. It penetrates every nerve, fibre and cell of the physical organism and is constantly in a supersensitive state of oscillation and pulsation. The psychic faculty within the astral body is impressionable to extra-sensory vibrations. The astrological concept is that of a magnetic field wherein the individual does most of his thinking, and from which he draws impressions by way of interpreting changes in the field due to cosmic radiation.
Astral Light
In occult terminology, the invisible region that surrounds the Earth, perceived by those who are psychically developed. Within its realm is recorded every condition, event or circumstance – past, present and future. It is called the “great terrestrial crucible,” in which everything is resolved and perpetuated. The psychically gifted behold there, in panoramic detail, the histories of nations and individuals, and are able to reveal coming events by what they see mirrored on the astral screen. It has been spoken of as the Mercury of Nature.
Astral Projection
In occult terminology, the partial or complete separation of the astral body from the physical body, and visiting another locality, near or far. This occurs in sleep – though, as a general rule, one does not recall the experience on waking. The adept can command his astral body to go any place he desires in order to make observations and investigations, and acquire essential information. Some dreams are the result of such travel episodes.
Astrodynes
(also called Cosmodynes). A technique to measure the strengths, weaknesses, harmony and discord in an astrological chart. It was originally developed in 1946 by Elbert Benjamine (aka C.C. Zain) of the Church of Light in Los Angeles and W.M.A. Drake.
Astrolabe
A mechanical device, predecessor to the sextant, whereby mariners determined the time of day by the Sun, of the night by the stars, and the height and depth of mountains and valleys. The astrolabe of Christopher Columbus was on display at the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial. The oldest known example, called “The Mathematical Jewel,” is of Persian origin. It was made by Ahmad and Mahud, sons of Ibraham (q.v.) the Astrologer of Isfahan, and is in the Lewis Evans collection in the Old Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, England. The invention is attributed by some to Hipparchus (q.v.) but others credit it to the Arabs, some 400 years prior.
Astromancy
A system of divination by means of the stars, the practice of which had much to do with the popular connotation of Astrology with fortune-telling, which modern scientific Astrology has had to live down.
Astrometeorology
Investigation of the relation between the Solar system bodies and the weather.
Astronomical unit
Mean distance of Earth to Sun, or 92,900,000 miles; employed as a unit for indicating intra-solar system distances.
Astronomos
The title given by the priests to the Initiate in the seventh degree of the reception of the mysteries in the Initiation at Thebes in Egypt.
Astronomy
The science that deals with the heavenly bodies: their positions, motions, magnitudes and conditions.
Astrotheology
A system of theology founded on what is known of the heavenly bodies, and of the laws which regulate their movements.
Aten
The solar disk, or more specifically the light that proceeds from the sun, as defined by Akhenaten, or Amenhotep IV (obit. circa 1397 B.C.), father-in-law of King Tutankamen, who promulgated a religion largely based on astrological teachings.
Athazer
An ancient term applied to the Moon when in conjunction with the Sun, or separated from it by an arc of 12°, 45°, 90° 150°, 160°, or 180°.
Aura
In occult terminology, a pyschic effluvium that emanates from human and animal bodies and inanimate objects. It is composed of electro-vital and electro-mental magnetism; an envelope surrounding that of which it partakes – visible only to the psychic. The aura is multi-colored and brilliant, or dull, according to the character or quality of the person or thing. To the seer, the aura of a person is an index to his hidden propensities.
Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights
Scientists associate the phenomena with unusual sun-spot activity, and astronomers are working on the theory that the sun-spot cycles, generally recognized as having some connection with economic trends, are the result of planetary movements. The most brilliant display of the Aurora Borealis in fifty years occurred on January 25, 1938. Transatlantic radio was interrupted and crowds in Holland, awaiting the birth of Princess Juliana’s baby, cheered the display as a lucky omen for the little Princess Beatrix, who was born January 31, 1938, with 15° Aries on the Asc., and 6° Capricorn on the M.C. At this time Venus and the Sun were forming conjunctions with Jupiter, and Mars was forming a conjunction with Saturn.
Axial Rotation
The diurnal motion of the Earth around its axis; also similar motion on the part of any other celestial body.
Ayanamsa
An ayanamsa is the longitudinal difference between the Tropical zodiac and a sidereal Zodiac. The difference changes with time, due to the precession of the equinoxes, but may be defined as a fixed difference at a specific date, such as 1st Jan 1990.
Azimene
Said of a planet posited in certain weak or lame degrees or arcs which, if ascending at birth, were supposed to make the native blind, or lame, or otherwise physically afflicted.
Azimuth
A point of the horizon and a circle extending to it from the zenith; or an arc of the horizon measured clockwise between the south-point of the horizon and a vertical circle passing through the center of any object.

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