Glossary of Astrological Terms

Here is a list of terms commonly found in the translations of ancient astrological texts:

  1. achrematistikos: From the Greek "chrematistikos", meaning profitable. In this case the "a" at the front causes it to mean the opposite. In other words: not a profitable place.
  2. acquisition: As in the place of acquisition. This is the 11th sign counting from the lot of fortune counting fortune itself as the 1st and going in a counterclockwise direction. Similar in nature to the 11th house.
  3. affliction: This is a condition of a planet that is poorly aspected by malefics or ill dignified.
  4. alchocoden: This is the bound lord of the apheta (or hyleg) according to Hellenistic sources. Medieval era astrologers usually used the almuten of the hyleg. Used in length of life calculations.
  5. almuten: Means the "strong holder". This is the planet that has the most dignities in a given place in the zodiac, according to the dignities of house, exaltation, trigon (or triplicity), bound (or term) and face (decanate).
  6. anangke: One of the three fates referred to by Hellenistic philosophers, meaning agnoia, or unwit. Also known as ignorance. Thought to be associated with Saturn.
  7. aphesis: The greek word for releasing, as in the releasing of a debt. Often used in connection with time lords governing periods of an individuals life.
  8. apheta: Also known as the "giver of life". Was used in length of life calculations by the greek and medieval astrologers.
  9. Aphrodite: One of the greek gods, has references to the planet Venus.
  10. apotelesma: The greek word for astrological influence literally meaning "outcomes".
  11. arabic part: A sensitive point in the sky usually derived from 2 planets and the ascendant. For instance: Arabic part of Fortune = Longitude of Asc + Longitude of Moon - Longitude of Sun. (day time formula)
  12. Ares: One of the greek gods, has references to the planet Mars.
  13. ascendant: The sign rising in the east at a given time. Determined by the intersection with the eastern horizontal plane with the ecliptic in tropical zodiacs.
  14. ascensional times: Similar to progressions, refers to the number of degrees that pass over the meridian (equatorial degrees) in the time that a given zodiac sign rises. Used in connection with forcasting events, also known as circumambulation, or primary direction (of which there are different types).
  15. aspect: A greek word related to looking or seeing. According to greek optical theory, looking is to cast a ray out from the eye to an object, seeing a passive reception of the perception back from an object. In astrology, this refers to the divisions of the circle by numbers starting with 2. A conjunction is not technically an aspect because there is no looking or seeing involved, only a presence.
  16. aversion: A term used to indicate a lack of acknowledgement between zodiac signs based on aspects (of 30 and 150 degrees to be precise). Some Hellenistic astrologers thought aversion to be cancelled by like-engirding, equal power, or commanding and obeying relationships. For instance Leo is in aversion to: Virgo, Capricorn, Pisces and Cancer. However, Cancer is like-engirding which may allow Leo to "have dealings" with planets in Cancer. Aversion is the most unfavorable of circumstances according to Hellenistic astrologers, due to an inability for the planets involved to function. At least with squares and oppositions they can "see" eachother to be able to work out differences.
  17. benefic: A planet, that without much effort on an individuals part is naturally beneficial and conducive to life. A planet that moderates or balances.
  18. bi-corporeal: Litterally means double-bodied, refers to the mutable signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.
  19. bound: One of the dignities also known as terms (from the latin - terminus), thought of as delimiting a certain circumstance within a certain confine of life. Often used in life expectancy calculations.
  20. cardinal: The signs of thequadruplicity: Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Somes times called tropical.
  21. cazimi: Arabic term meaning, "in the heart of the Sun". Technically, this means that a planet has to be either directly in front of the Sun's disk or behind it, by plus/minus 15' arc. A very rare condition, and a powerful dignity according to arab sources.
  22. chrematistikos: From the Greek "chrematistikos", meaning profitable. In other words: a profitable place in which a planet can conduct affairs.
  23. chronocrator: Derived from the greek word "chronos", meaning "time" and "crator" meaning "lord", hence: time lord. It is a planet that has governance over an individuals life for a period of time on a given subject.
  24. circle of the Other: Refers to the ecliptic. Platonic terminology.
  25. circle of the Same: Refers to the motion of the celestial sphere caused by the daily rotation of the earth (celestial equator). Platonic terminology.
  26. circumambulation: A form of progression known as primary directions. See "ascensional times".
  27. combust: A form of debility that befalls a planet because it is "burned" by the Sun. Technically, within 8 degrees either side.
  28. conjunct: A planet that is in the same sign as another planet (by greek standards). Later astrologers applied an "orb of light", standard by which planets outside this orb are not conjunct even if in the same sign. This "orb of light" is also used with aspects. In the last century, the orb of light became confused with orb of aspect.
  29. co-sectarian: A reference to the guardians of the sect. For the Sun, the co-sectarians are Jupiter and Saturn; for the Moon, Venus and Mars.
  30. debility: A general hindrance placed upon a planet due to its unfavorable position. Can be based upon the essential dignities, accidental dignities or aspects.
  31. decennia: One of the greek time lord systems based upon the minor periods of the planets, counted in months: Saturn 30, Jupiter 12, Mars 15, Sun 19, Venus 8, Mercury 20, Moon 25 = 129 months (10 yrs, 9 mths), starting with the planet period that is in sect (giving it 10 years and 9 months), and handing over sub periods (in months) to the planets following in zodiacal order from birth (again based upon the minor period). After 10 years and 9 months, the next planet in the order of the signs from the last major period receives the current major period.
  32. decline: This is what the greek astrologers called a cadent house; i.e. a planet is said to be in decline when in a cadent house.
  33. depression: Another name for fall. One of the essential debilities.
  34. destroyer: That planet in a primary or other direction that brings life to an end by making a malefic contact with the apheta.
  35. dexter: An aspect ray cast to the right (against the direction of the signs).
  36. dignity: The essential strength of a planet in a given location. A planet is in dignity when it is in it's own house, exaltation, trigon, bound, and phase or configuration (aspect). Face was added later as another dignity. Reception and/or mutual reception strongly affects essential dignities for better or worse depending on the circumstances.
  37. direct: 1. To move a planet or point foreward as in a progression. 2. A planet that is transiting foreward in motion. Sometimes called "additive in numbers".
  38. direction: The progression of all of the planets at the same rate as the Sun, a day representing each year.
  39. dispositor: The planet taking up the rulership from another ruler determined by planetary placement. For instance: Mars in Virgo; the dispositor of Mars is Mercury, because Mercury is lord of Virgo.
  40. distributor: The planet that is the current bound lord in a circumambulation.
  41. diurnal: Having to do with the day time. Used in referring to the sect of a chart: i.e. either diurnal or nocturnal sect.
  42. domicile: A zodiac sign where the planet is most comfortable and therefore has authority. The most important dignity according to medieval and later sources. According to Hellenistic sources each type of dignity had its own purpose.
  43. dodekatamoria: Also known as "twelfth part". This is the division of a sign into 13 equal sections, based upon the Moon's monthly cycle against the background stars.
  44. dyad: Also "dyadic". Comes from Plato's indeterminate dyad. The creation of the dyad is one of the earliest stages in the creation of the universe. That which is dyadic is contrary in nature. This is not the same as opposite, because this implies a relationship that can be derived from the first of a pair. For instance "hot" implies "cold". In the dyad, however, there is no relationship whatsoever between the pair. In astrology it is said that the signs that are either 1 or 5 signs apart are in aversion to eachother and therefore have no relationship. Therefore, a dyadic or contrarial nature is implied. Dyads generate unpredictability and are of the nature of Plato's "Other".
  45. dwadasamsa: Also known as "twelfth part". This is the division of a sign into 12, 2.5 degree sections. Based upon the lunation cycle of the Moon returning to the Sun each month.
  46. eclipse: The movement of a heavenly body such as the Moon or the earth in the way of the Sun's rays blocking light from reaching the earth or the Moon. A special case of occultation involving the lights.
  47. equal-rising: These are signs that have the same rising time due to being equally distant from the equinoxes.
  48. equinoctial: Another name for the tropical or cardinal signs.
  49. exaltation: One of the essential dignities, may have roots older than the dignity of house lord, but now considered by most astrologers to be slightly less important than domicile lords
  50. face: The 5th dignity based upon decanate, and ruled by one of the 7 planets, used by ancient astrologers to ascertain physical appearance. Or, depending upon the context, can refer to 2 planets that are as far away from their domiciles as they are from eachother. In other words, Venus in Leo and Mercury in Cancer are both in face because they are both 2 signs away frm their own houses.
  51. fall: A debility of a planet based upon its being opposite to its own exaltation. Its usage means figuratively a depression or hole in the ground where something drops out of sight, thereby not allowing the cosmic soul to perceive the issue. Because the issue (planet) is seen to have little merit in this place, the cosmic soul tends to deny requests made by this planet on behalf of the native.
  52. falling amiss: A planet falls amiss when it is in one of the unfavorable houses (2nd, 6th, 8th and 12th) or is unfamiliarly configured to it's own domicile (i.e. - aversion). It is closely connected with the word achrematistikos because a planet that falls amiss is unprofitable and slack in activity.
  53. figure: Another name for aspect, or depending upon the context, the birth chart itself.
  54. firdar: A general time lord system, probably Persian in origin and based upon sect similar to the decennia.
  55. fixed: The signs of the quadruplicity: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.
  56. fixing of the nativity: Common phrase seen in many of Project Hindsight's translations referring to the birth chart.
  57. fortune: Either a reference to the lot of fortune or to one of the benefic planets. See benefic.
  58. hayz: From the arabic hayiz; is a condition of a planet that is in sect, is above the horizon in its own light, and is in a sign of the same gender. No planet below the horizon can be in hayz. Considered to be a powerful dignity.
  59. heimarmene: One of the three fates referred to by the ancient greeks, also known as immutable fate. For instance: that you are human, and not an elephant, is heimarmene. Is said to be outside the sphere of astrological influence.
  60. Hermes: One of the greek gods, has references to the planet Mercury.
  61. hollow: Synonym for depression or fall. One of the debilities of the planets.
  62. horoskopos: The greek word for ascendant, meaning "hour marker". The greek term is more flexible and can mean any house that can serve as a 1st house for counting purposes.
  63. house: One of the 12 divisions of the great circle based upon ones own horizon and meridian. Used for measuring a planet's strength in a given location. Topical divisions were based upon whole signs in the early Hellenistic period. Can also refer to the planets dignity; i.e. "being in one's own house or domicile" (or sign).
  64. hurling rays: Refers to aspects cast backward in the order of the signs (dexter). May imply that the planet casting the ray is somehow hindering the receiving planet.
  65. hyleg: A special case of this is also known as the apheta, used in length of life calculations. The 5 hylegs used by Ptolemy were: Sun, Moon, Asc, MC and Part of Fortune. Some medieval era astrologers also used the prenatal lunation (either new or full) closest prior to birth.
  66. in its own light: A planet is said to be in its own light when it is in the corresponding hemisphere of the light of the time acording to its sect membership. To determine if a planet is in it's own light, first determine the sect of the chart. If diurnal then the daylight of the Sun is above the horizon and the Moon's light is below (even if the Moon is above the horizon out of sect). If it is a nocturnal chart then the Moons light is above the horizon and the Suns is below (even if the Moon is below the horizon in sect). If then any of the co-sectarians or the sect leaders are in the hemisphere corresponding the the light of the time, then it is in its own light. For example, in a diurnal chart, the Moon must be below the horizon because the Suns light is above the horizon. If the Moon, Venus or Mars are below the horizon in the daytime, they are in their own light. Conversely, if Jupiter or Saturn are above the horizon (or below) with the Sun they are in their own light as well. If the Moon is below the horizon with the Sun then the Moon is in the Sun's light, not her own. It is thought to be a contributing cause of the "joy" of the planets, and one of the considerations in determining if the planet is in hayz.
  67. infortune: Often a reference to one of the malefic planets. See malefic.
  68. ingress: A planets entrance into a sign, or the general area of another planet.
  69. katarche: Greek word for "ruling beginning". A chart based upon an inception of some event such as a question or an election.
  70. Kronos: One of the greek gods, has references to the planet Saturn.
  71. lights: Astrological reference to the Sun and the Moon.
  72. light of the time: Another way of expressing the sect of the chart at some katarchic event. In other words if born in the daytime the light of the time is the Sun, if at night, the Moon.
  73. like-engirding: Signs that have the same ruler. For instance; Libra and Taurus are like-engirding because Venus is lord of both.
  74. lord (or lady): Refers to the primary ruler of a sign, usually by domicile.
  75. lot: Also know as "greek lot" or "arabic part". See "arabic part".
  76. malefic: A planet, that requires great effort on an individuals part to make work in a productive manner in one's chart. A planet that tends to extremes.
  77. midheaven: The intersection of the meridian with the ecliptic, by modern standards. By Hellenistic standards this refers to the 10th sign from the horoskopos (the ascendant).
  78. monomoiria: This is the apportioning of individual degrees to each of the planets starting with either the sign ruler and continuing in descending Chaldean order, or the triplicity / trigon lord, and varying with sect.
  79. mutable: See "bi-corporeal".
  80. mutual reception: A special case of reception in which both planets are in eachother's dignities and in aspect. Modern astrologers tend to omit the aspect qualification. If the dignities involved are not matched it is said to be a mixed reception. See "reception".
  81. occidental: A planet of greater zodiacal longitude, that will be overtaken by the Sun and can be seen in the west after sunset. A planet so placed is accidentally weak in dignity.
  82. oikodektor: The greek word for domicile lord, literally meaning "house steward". The planet that takes care of the affairs of a given house or sign.
  83. opposition: An aspect based upon 2 planets being in opposite signs or 180 degrees apart.
  84. oriental: A planet of lesser zodiacal longitude, that was already overtaken by the Sun and can be seen in the east before sunrise. A planet so placed is accidentally strong in dignity.
  85. pivot: This is what the greek astrologers called an angular house.
  86. post-ascension: This is what the greek astrologers called a succedent house.
  87. primary direction: See "circumambulation" or "ascensional times".
  88. profection: This is the moving of some point or planet at the rate of one sign per year (in the case of the annual profection), 13 signs in 12 months in the case of the monthly profection, and either 1 sign per day or 1 sign per 2.5 days (depending upon the source). The greeks seemed to regard this as counting and didn't move the annual profection half way after 6 months. By the time of Lilly, the profection took on a the quality of a continuous rate of direction, or progression.
  89. progression: The term for moving a planet or point foreward in the zodiac by some incremential amount (usually about 1 degree for each year) depending upon the type of progression.
  90. promittor: A planet receiving the direction, progression or profection of another planet or point.
  91. pronoia: One of the three types of fate according to the greeks, associated with the Moon. Also associated with foresight.
  92. quadruplicity: The signs of the same quality of which there are three types: cardinal, fixed and mutable. Sometimes referred to as tropical, solid and bi-corporeal.
  93. quarter periods: One of the general time lord systems of the Hellenistic period, based upon quarter periods of the Moon.
  94. reception: A planet in one of the dignities of another receives one of the classical ptolemaic aspects from that other planet. For instance, Jupiter in Leo is received by The Sun in Libra, because the Sun sees Jupiter in its (the Suns) own house.
  95. regard: A term often used by ancient astrologers by planets that see one another by aspect. It seems, however, to be a more passive word than other aspect words like scrutinize or hurling of rays, and may have a relationship to planets that have sign relations like "commanding and obeying" or "seeing and hearing".
  96. rejoicing: A condition of a planet when it is in any of it's essential or accidental dignities.
  97. retrograde: A planet that moves against the order of the signs. Sometimes called "subtractive in numbers".
  98. ruler: Usually the domicile lord of a sign or other place.
  99. sect: Comes from the greek word hairesis, meaning division. In this case the division is into two: day and night. The planets of the daytime division (sect) are the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn, and the planets of the nocturnal sect are the Moon, Venus and Mars. Mercury is of neither sect and is a go between for both.
  100. sextile: An aspect ray cast either foreward or backward 60 degrees.
  101. significator: A planet that is an indicator for a given subject that is either directed, profected, circumambulated, etc... to another place or planet.
  102. sinister: An aspect ray cast foreward in the order of the signs (to the left).
  103. solid: The signs of the fixed quadruplicity. See "fixed".
  104. spear-bearing: A planet belonging to its sect (a co-sectarian) that protects the light of its sect by hurling rays to either side of that light (either the Sun or Moon).
  105. square: An aspect ray cast either foreward or backward 90 degrees.
  106. station: A planet that is betwixt direct and retrograde motion. Such a planet is more intense in effect, like the difference between quickly passing your hand over a flame (when a planet is moving) and just holding your hand over the flame (stationary).
  107. subterraneous: Usually refers to the 4th sign from the ascendant or other horoskopos, but can mean below the horizon generally.
  108. subtractive in numbers: See "retrograde".
  109. superior position: A planet that is in the 10th place from another planet or point as if culminating with respect to that object.
  110. term: See "bound".
  111. theme: A common term referring to a birth chart.
  112. time-lord: See "chronocrator".
  113. trigon: See "triplicity".
  114. trine: An aspect between 2 planets in signs of the same element, or 120 degrees apart.
  115. triplicity: This is one of the essential dignities based on sect and sign element, also known as trigon.
  116. topos: Greek word for "topic". It also means a "place". These are houses based on meaning of a particular location in the sky and not strength showing how many such occurences you will have of a given subject. Specifies that the type of house division being used is one based on whole signs, and not a strength division such as the Placidus, Koch, Campanus, or Porphry style of house division which should be used to guage how strong an indicator is. Strength divisions should not be used to delineate the meaning of a place, with the exception of the MC or IC. For instance, when the MC falls in the 11th whole sign then Valens says that this sign also has 10th house meanings.
  117. tuche: Greek word for "fortune". What happens to an individual in their day to day affairs, as with the lot or part of fortune.
  118. twelfth-parts: Depending upon the context, can refer to either the signs themselves or the dwadasamsa, or dodektamoria.
  119. under the beams: A planet that is obscured by the sun's rays such that it cannot seen but is not combust either. Technically, a planet between 8 and 17 degrees from the Sun. A form of debility.
  120. zamoktar: This is a Persian term for the current bound lord of the circumambulation of the ascendant.
  121. Zeus: One of the greek gods, has references to the planet Jupiter.
  122. zoidion: The transliteration of the greek word meaning sign, as in zodiac sign. Robert Schmidt has left it untranslated because the word sign does not quite capture it's full meaning properly. Sure to be on his tombstone.


© 1999 - 2002 Curtis Manwaring