Collection of astrological Terms and Definitions
•angles- The four angles are created by the horizon bookended by the ascendant and the descendant and the vertical line of the midheaven and the IC (immum coeli, latin for “bottom of the sky”). These are the most active points in an astrological chart.
•aspect – When two astral bodies relate to each other in space in specific geometrical orientations we call that an aspect. For example, when a planet is at a 90° angle to another planet, those planets are at a square to each other. The square is the aspect. Other possible aspects are conjunctions (sharing close degrees), oppositions (180° between planets), trines (120°) and sextiles (60°).
According to the quality of a particular aspect the planets involved will be affected in one way or another. How planets relate to each other through aspects teaches us a lot about a cosmic map whether it’s of a person or an event. As the planets, Sun and Moon travel through their cycles they continuously aspect other astral bodies, activating parts of each of our charts in specific ways.
•cardinal – First, leading, primary. The cardinal signs initiate a change in season. This quality of instigating a process is inherent to the cardinal signs which are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
•cazimi – When a planet is cazimi it has entered the heart of the Sun. It’s in the very exact moment of conjunction with the Sun, passing through its powerful beams. In the case of
•conjunction – When two planets are in conjunction or conjunct, they are within 10° of each other. In the case of the luminaries, the Sun and Moon, they need to be within 8° of another planet or luminary to be conjunct. Conjunctions indicate that two astral bodies are sharing close quarters such that their influences may blend or depending on the two involved, one may overpower, inhibit or amplify the other.
•detriment – A planet is in detriment when it’s opposite the sign it rules. In this case, the planet encounters obstacles at every turn; it is located in its least likely place to successfully carry out its habitual tasks.
•dignity – Signs and planets relate to each other in particular ways. A planet is at home in one or sometimes two signs. From that place of power it has access to all its tools and gets to be in the space it prefers. Whether a planet has dignity or not refers to whether the sign it’s in supports its natural abilities or impedes them. A planet has dignity and is in good condition when it’s in its domicile or exaltation. The opposite is true when it’s in fall or detriment.
•ecliptic – This is the path along which the Sun travels through the year. Eclipses occur when the Moon’s path crosses the Sun’s hence the name ecliptic.
•exalted – Exalted planets have the most dignity possible next to being in the sign of their rulership. This is like a planet being in the home of someone who has similar priorities, an amenable space and excellent tools for the planet in question.
•fall/exile – A planet is in fall, also known as exile, when it’s in the sign opposite its exaltation. Conceptually this is also true; instead of being exalted, celebrated, adulated, the planet is outside of a position of recognition and praise. It’s been exiled to a low place. Planets in fall are not able to act at the level of their full potential. They struggle with the nature of the sign they are in.
•fixed – One of the sign quadruplicities. The quad referred to in this quadruplicity is the group of the four signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Fixed refers to a constancy of nature. These signs tend to keep going what’s already begun, carrying things steadily along.
•luminary – The Moon and Sun are luminaries. They emit light by which we see our world, illuminating the proximal sky to a greater extent than any other astral bodies.
•mutable – One of the sign quadruplicities. The quad referred to in this quadruplicity is the group of the four signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. Mutable refers to a changeable nature, adaptive and responsive. These four signs mark transitions between seasons, regardless of hemisphere, pointing to the capacity these signs have for change.
•opposition – When two planets oppose each other at 180° across the sky they are said to be in opposition. This aspect usually presents externally as conflict between people.
•rulership – Each sign of the zodiac is ruled by either a planet or a luminary. For example, the Sun rules Leo and the Moon rules Cancer. This indicates a kinship between the sign and the planet or luminary; they share qualities and resonate with each other. When the Sun, Moon or planets are moving through the sign or signs of the zodiac they rule, they are said to be at home or in domicile. This is a strong placement as someone at home has their favorite tools at hand and is comfortable where they stand.
There are different rulerships in traditional versus modern astrology. I use traditional rulers which include only the planets visible to the naked eye. In traditional astrology, Pisces is ruled by Jupiter (not Neptune), Scorpio is ruled by Mars (not Pluto) and Aquarius is ruled by Saturn (not Uranus).
•sextile – Half a trine, a sextile appears when two astral bodies are at 60° to each other. This indicates positive potentiality. Good things can happen but some work needs to be put in to bring that flow into reality.
•square – When two planets are at 90° to each other they create a square. This aspect shows up as internal tension. It is neither positive nor negative. There may be an edge to it but it’s also a necessary building block in some way, likely to be strengthening.
•stellium –Three or more astral bodies in one sign is referred to as a stellium. Some astrologers consider it a stellium only if four or more things share one sign. Either way a stellium tells us there is considerable activity happening in that one area of the sky.
•transit – When a planet moves through a particular constellation it is transiting that designated space. As planets travel through signs of the zodiac they also travel through that part of each person’s natal chart. At times that can have significant impact, activating dynamics that aren’t always active. For example, we refer to a person having a Saturn transit when Saturn is in aspect to a meaningful point in that person’s chart whether it’s where a planet is located or on the angles.
•trine – When two planets are at 120° to each other they form a trine. In this aspect there is easeful movement of rays between the bodies in question, a supportive connecting flow.