Glossary of astrological terms






Accidental debility: Situation that occurs when a planet has few power of action, the main accidental debilities are combustion, opposition to the Sun, being under the rays of the Sun, station, siege by malefics and, for the Moon, the burning way and being void of course.

Accidental dignity: How much a planet can act, it is related mainly to the occupied house: the cadent ones are the weakest, the succedents are of average strength and the angular ones are the strongest, in particular the 1st ant the 10th; the houses 6th, 8th and 12th, due to their meanings, are regarded as particularly weak and negative so, for some respects, nearly as an accidental debility.

Accidental dignity can be related also to other factors, for example the planet’s speed, cazimi, joy, siege of benefics, hayz and halb, being oriental or occidental.

Affliction: Any condition that is harmful for a planet (for example combustion, an aspect by a malefic, being near a dangerous fixed stars etc.).

Air: Hot and wet element of the natural philosophy, linked to the gaseous state in general and associated to the intellectual and communicative dimension; the air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.

Angles: The cardinal directions of the astral chart, they are the most important points of the chart. At east we have the ascendant (AC), because here the celestial bodies “ascend” and become visible, in the west the descendant (DC); we have then the south, that coincides with the medium coeli (MC), the highest point of the chart, and the north that is called Imum coeli (IC); they represent the angular houses cusps.

Angular: Characteristic of the houses which cusps coincide with the angles, these are the houses 1, 4, 7 and 10; those that confers the greatest power to the planets inside them.

Antiscion: Zodiacal point posited at the same height of another coordinate of the zodiac occupied by a planet. In practice, considering the 0° Cancer/0° Capricorn axis, that passes through the extremes north and south of the zodiac dividing it vertically; given the position of a planet to the nearest axis’ extremity, the antiscion will be the point at a distance from the considered extreme equal to that of the planet of interest, but at the other zodiacal half (for example a planet at 26° Gemini, being four degrees apart from 0° Cancer, will have the antiscion at about 4° Cancer; a planet at 10° Pisces, being at 70 degrees apart from 0° Capricorn, will have the antiscion at 20° Libra). Any planet on the antiscion of another planet has a “hidden” bond with the planet of interest; obviously the antiscion is reciprocal.

Application: When two planets are approaching the distance needed to form an aspect.

Applying aspect: When two planets are approaching the distance formally associated to an aspect.

Arabian part: Points of the astral chart of particular relevance for an object or a matter, they are obtained thanks to simple mathematical calculations starting from the position of the planets and other elements (usually the ascendant).

Ascendant: Zodiacal degree rising in the east when we create an astral chart; often abbreviated in AC.

Aspect: Interaction among two celestial bodies that happens when two planets are at a certain distance in the zodiac, calculated in degrees; the kind of this interactions generated depends from the aspect that has been formed. The main aspects are: conjunction, sextile, square, trine and opposition, described in this glossary.



Barren signs: Signs associated to the idea of barrenness; they are Gemini, Leo and Virgo (for example they are useful in questions like: “Is the terrain I want to buy good to grow an orchard?)

Benefics: Planets whose influx is regarded as particularly benefic and positive, they are: Jupiter, the “greater benefic” and Venus, the “lesser benefic”; in truth even those planets can be rather harmful. According to the characteristics of the birth chart any planet can be a benefic.

Bestial signs: Signs associated to a bestial and instinctive behaviour; they are Aries, Taurus and Capricorn.

Bound: See "terms".

Burning way: The zone comprised between 15° Libra and 15° Scorpio is considered very upsetting for the Moon, associated to emotional instability and anguish; it is valid mainly for horary astrology.



Cadent: Attribute of the houses following the angles in a clockwise order, they are the houses 3, 6, 9, 12; they are the least powerful because (following the seeming daily zodiacal movement) the celestial bodies arrive inside them after having left the angles, that is the most important chart points.

Cardinal: Characteristic of the signs marking the beginning of the seasons (in tropical astrology). The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, related to a pioneering spirit activity and change.

Cazimi: A planet at only 17’ 30’’ from the Sun is considered in ”cazimi”, a very postive situation, equal to enjoy the “favour of the king”.

Choleric: Temperament corresponding to the prevalence of yellow bile and the fire element; it stimulates activity, will, energy, but also aggressivity and arrogance; often the coleric have charisma. They are more predisposed to inflammations, strong but quick fevers, problem to liver and kidneys.

Collection of light: Situation in which two planets aren’t doing an aspect among them, but both are aspecting a third planet, that so collects their “lights”, joining them.

Combustion: Situation of hard affliction that happens when a planet is less from 8° 30’ from the Sun. A planet in this situation is regarded as destroyed, unable to act and/or invisible.

Conjunction: Interaction between two planets that happens when they are at about 0° of zodiacal degrees; it signal that the energy of the two planets is joined.

Contrantiscia: The point opposed to an antiscia, if a celestial body is posited here the two bodies are interacting in a manner similar to the opposition but, as with the antiscia, the interaction is still “hidden”.

Cusp: The point marking the beginning of an astrological house; the term is used also to refer to the limit of a zodiacal sign.



Decanate: Section of 10° of a sun sign, there are so three decanates for each sign, each associated to any of the main celestial bodies. It represents the least essential dignity level for the planet in its proper decanate.

Decreasing of light: Situation of the Moon from the full to the new Moon; in this phase it has less strength.

Descendant: The angle of the astral chart opposed to the ascendant, it marks the 7th house cusp and physically represents the west, where the Sun sets, “descends” under the horizon. It is often abbreviated in DC.

Dexter aspect: A planet launches a dexter aspect when, to reach the planet that it is aspecting we have to follow the path opposed to the zodiacal sequence; mainly in the ancient times it was considered stronger than the sinister aspect.

Direct: The motion of a planet is direct when is following his normal way along the zodiac (that is counterclockwise).

Disposition: Any element of the chart in a sign follows the orders of the planet that has domicile in that sign and, even if on a lesser grade, of the planet exalted therein, if any. So, the planet that has domicile in the sign “disposes” (rules) the planet that is in the sign.

Dispositor: Planet ruling an element of the chart by “disposition”.

Diurnal: Celestial body associated to the day. They are the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn (in order to mitigate its excessive coldness); Mercury is diurnal if oriental.

Domicile: The greatest essential dignity level, that grants to the planet the possibility of giving full expression of its proper nature; a celestial body in domicile is in its home and has full rights on anything in the sign. Every planet has a domicile in a male sign and another in a feminine sign, the Sun has domicile only in Leo and the Moon only in Cancer,

Double signs: characteristic of some signs useful when we have to understand if we are working with numbers higher than one, or with something of a twofold nature or divided between two activities (for example two part-time jobs). They correspond to the mutable signs.

Dragon head: The north node, it has the effect of increasing that conjunct to him, be that good or bad (according to someone it would have a beneficial influence).

Dragon tail: The lunar south node, it has the effect of diminishing anything to which it is conjunct, positive or negative (according to someone it has a malefic effect Instead).



Earth: Element of the natural philosophy linked to the solid state and in the man, associated to realization and practical manifestation of will, intellect and feelings/desire, that is the condensation of the other elements. Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.

Elements: The four elements of natural philosophy, earth, water, air and fire. To any of them are given three signs (triplicity).

Ephemeris: List of the celestial bodies positions in the signs during the course of the time.

Essential debility: Situation that occurs when a planet can’t express its true nature, there are only two debilities, both rather serious: detriment and fall.

Essential dignity: How much a planet can express its proper nature according to the zodiacal position that it occupies in the zodiac. The level of essential dignity are, from the least to the greatest: decanate, term, triplicity, exaltation and domicile.

Exaltation: Situation of essential dignity immediately under the domicile, a bit like being an honoured guest.



Fast: A planet is regarded fast when he is moving at a speed much above average; this generally gives strength, except with Saturn because it is a planet associated to slowness.

Feminine: Polarity associated to receptivity, magnetism, introversion and to an indirect mode of action; the earth and water signs are feminine.

Feral signs: Signs linked to a behaviour similar to that of the wild beasts; they are Leo and Sagittarius (about Sagittarius someone considers feral only the second half).

Fertile signs: Signs associated to abundance and fertility; they are the water signs.

Fire: Hot and dry element of the natural philosophy related to energy and, in the man, associated to will and action; the fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.

First station: See “Station”.

Fixed: Attribute of the signs corresponding to the intermediate phase of the seasons (in tropical astrology), they are related to determination, constancy and concentration. Fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.

Fixed stars: The most important stars, taken among those of which can be calculated a corresponding position in the zodiac. They can have a relevant influx in the birth chart; every year they move slightly due to the precession of the equinoxes.

Frustration: Event that happens when a planet is going to aspect another, but this one makes an aspect to a third planet before the first aspect culminates.



Great cross: Configuration constituted by two oppositions that forms a cross and consequently four squares. Generally this brings to great contrasts and a difficult personality, but also energy and strength.

Great trine: Configuration made by three planets all in trine among them, so forming a great triangle. This suggest different energies working in harmony among them, for the well or for the bad.

Greater benefic: Jupiter.

Greater malefic: Saturn.



Halb: Slightly positive condition happening when a nocturnal planet is under the horizon during the day and over the horizon in the night and the other way round for the diurnal planets.

Half voiced signs: Signs associated to a medium voice level; they are Aries, Taurus, Leo and Sagittarius.

Hayz: Condition of a planet more important and positive of the halb. It happens when a planet is in halb and also in a sign corresponding to its sexual polarity (for example the Sun during the day above the horizon and in Libra, male sign, is in hayz). Hayz and halb show that a planet is in a situation where he is able to express itself more easily, these are anyway conditions of limited relevance.

House: Subdivision of the sky referred to the particular place of the examined event. The houses are 12 like the signs and signal the different topics of our life on which are acting the influences of the planets, signs or any other element took into consideration.

Human signs: Signs associated to beauty and to reasonable and civil manners; they are the air signs plus Virgo (somebody adds also the second half of Sagittarius).



Imum Coeli: The lowest angle of the chart, it corresponds to the cusp of the 4th house, it is one of the most important points of the chart and it represents the north. It is abbreviated as IC.

Increasing of light: Situation of the Moon between the new and the full Moon. It is a positive situation, mainly in proximity to the trine of the Sun (waxing gibbous); the full Moon is a situation of vulnerability instead for its opposition to the Sun.

Ingress: Moment when a celestial body enters in a sign.



Joy: Lightly positive situation of a planet that is in a house particularly congenial for him. The joys are: 1st house for Mercury; 3rd house for the Moon; 5th for Venus; 6th for Mars; 9th for the Sun; 11th for Jupiter and 12th for Saturn.



Lesser benefic: Venus.

Lesser malefic: Mars.

Loud voiced signs: Signs associated to a high voice volume; they are Gemini, Libra and Virgo.

Luminaries: The brightest element of the solar system (the Sun and the Moon).

Lunar mansions: Zodiacal subdivisions of 28 (sometimes 27) parts, inspiring to the travel of the Moon along the zodiac and of the days that she spend to complete the travel (corresponding to the lunar sidereal month: 27,32166 days). They are used mainly in vedic astrology.

Lunar phase: Brightness variation of the Moon tied to the course of its orbit, and so of the position in respect to the Sun, of which she will reflect more or less light. The most important phases are the new Moon (conjunction) and the full Moon (opposition). The other phases are: “waxing crescent” when, after the new Moon, she become visible, “first quarter” when we see only a quarter of the lunar surface (and the Moon is in square); “waxing gibbous” when the face is nearly completely illuminated (around the trine); “waning gibbous” around the second trine, when the Moon is not full anymore, but still more bright than the square; “last quarter” when the Moon is in square and decreasing in light; “waning crescent” when is going to disappear again.

Lunar return: Chart made for the precise moment when the Moon returns in the position occupied in the birth chart, it is used to forecast the situation of the month.



Male: Polarity associated to energy, charisma, extroversion and direct action; air and fire signs are male.

Regarding the planets Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are male; Mercury is regarded as male if in aspect to male planets.

Malefics: Planets whose influx is damaging. Generally they are Saturn, “the greater malefic” and Mars, “the lesser malefic”. In truth even these planets can have a positive influence; according to the situation of the chart any planet can be a malefic.

Medium Coeli: Abbreviated as MC; it is the superior angle of the astral chart, it corresponds to the south and it is the 10th house cusp. It is one of the most important chart elements.

Melancholic: Temperament associated to the black bile and the earth element. It stimulates methodicalness, steadfastness, concreteness, organization, but also asocial tendencies, isolation, greediness, and sometimes predisposition to fraud the others in order of heaping up resources. It is predisposed to paranoias, misanthropy, nightmares, hormonal disorders and problems regarding the digestive system.

Moon nodes: The two points in which the lunar orbit crosses the ecliptic. That where the Moon’s orbit rises north referring to the ecliptic is called north node (or dragon’s head); it increases anything conjunct to it, some astrologers regard it as a benefic. The point where the Moon’s orbit, in relation to the ecliptic, descends south is called south node (or dragon’s tail); it decreases anything conjunct to it; some astrologers regard it as malefic.

They are also used as important elements to investigate the karma of a subject.

Mutable: Characteristic of the zodiacal signs marking the end of the seasons (for tropical astrology). It is associated to adaptability, versatility, openness and propensity for change. The mutable signs are Gemini, Libra, Sagittarius and Pisces.

Mute signs: Signs associated to absence of voice; they are the water signs. Naturally having a planet related to the communication in a mute sign is not enough to be mute.

Mutual reception: Situation when two planets are both in the dignity of the other, in this case they help and sustain each other (the best situation of mutual reception is having Venus and Jupiter in Pisces, Jupiter’s domicile and Venus’ exaltation, so both in strong essential dignity).



Nadir: Watch Imum Coeli.

Natural significator: A planet can be a significator of something not necessarily for the situation of the birth chart, but also because it naturally corresponds to its particular nature, for example the cakes for Venus.

North node: The head of the dragon. It is the point where the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic and start rising north. It has the effect of increasing anything conjunct to it (some astrologers regard it as benefic).

Nocturnal: Celestial body associated to the night. The nocturnals are: the Moon, Venus, and Mars (to compensate its caustic heat); Mercury is nocturnal when western.



Occidental: Planet that set after the Sun; practically any planet that in the zodiac is nearer to the Sun following the counteclockwise path than with the clockwise one (starting from our star). An occidental planet is less outwardly evident in its action; someone affirms that Mercury and Venus are better when occidental.

Opposition: Aspect formed by two opposed planet; that is when they form an angle of about 180°. It shows a conflict, a union followed by separation, a matter where it is difficult reaching equilibrium.

Opposition to the Sun: Situation of any planet with a distance from the opposition to the Sun of about 8° 30’; it is a heavy affliction, bereft of the invisibility attribute of the combustion.

Oriental: Planet rising before the Sun, practically in the chart when it is nearer to the Sun travelling clockwise across the zodiac (starting from our star). It hints that its action is more manifest and evident; somebody considers Mars, Saturn and Jupiter better when oriental.



Part of Fortune: The most famous of the Arabian parts, obtained by the position of Sun, Moon and of the ascendant (Moon – Sun + Ascendant), associated to the soul, health, and, mainly by ancient astrologers, also to the economic and material fortune of the native.

Partile aspect: Situation that occurs when two planets are in aspect and both occupy the same degree (naturally of different signs, conjunction excepted, for example Mercury at 15° 27’ opposed to Mars in 15° 50’ Libra), this situation confers greater intensity to the aspect.

Peregrine: When a planet has is neither essentially dignified or debilitated, in this case it is considered neither good or bad, but usually is more prone to the less positive traits of its nature.

Perfect aspect: Situation in which two planets are right at the distance of a given aspect, without even 1’ of difference (ideally not even 1’’); for example the Sun at 5° 27’ Aries and Jupiter at 5° and 27’ Sagittarius are doing a perfect trine of exactly 120°. This rare situation grants the maximum possible intensity to the aspect.

Phlegmatic: Temperament tied to phlegm and the water element; it tends to indirect action, diplomacy, but also hedonism and laziness; it can stimulate artistic expressions. It is vulnerable to illnesses deriving from an excess of liquids and humours: colds, dropsy, excess of sebum, cysts etc.

Platick aspect: Any aspect that is not partile.

Primary directions: Forecasting system much diffused in the past, but now not much used due to the complexity of the required calculations and, mainly, to the great sensibility to the birth time errors (an error of 4 minutes equals to an error of about a year). It is based on the rotation of the Earth around its axis.

Progression: Chart created starting from the birth chart, with the objective of finding the future tendencies of the subject, usually the “one day for a year” system is used, for example the chart for the 29th day after your birth is about your 29th year of life.

Prohibition: Situation that occurs when two planets are going to make an aspect but, before this happens, a third planet has a contact with one of the two, preventing the aspect.



Ray: When a planet is doing an aspect is said to cast rays to the aspected chart element.

Reception: The friendly or hostile attitude of a planet toward another. The reception system I actually follow is that of John Frawley that, in fact, is a variant of the disposition; practically if a planet is in the dignity/debility of another, it will act friendly/unfriendly with that planet as much intensely according to the involved dignity (for example Venus in the triplicity of Mars is moderately friendly to him; Mars in Venus’ exile is rather hostile to her).

Rectification: Procedure taken to correct an imprecise hour of birth attempting to find the most important life events happened so far to see which hour allows a correct datation using predictive techniques.

Refrenatio: Situation when two planets are going to do an aspect but, at a certain moment, the applying planet becomes retrograde, avoiding the contact.

Retrograde: See from the Earth, the planets sometimes seem moving backward in respect to their ordinary motion; when this occurs they are called retrograde. It is a situation usually negative as it is associated to an “against nature” behaviour; sometimes it can be positive (a planet, becoming retrograde, avoid exiting its domicile, or with questions like “will the cat return home?”).



Sanguine: Temperament related to the prevalence of blood and of the air element. It brings to a prevalent use of the intellect (be it bad or good) and is characterized by sociability, cheerfulness and politeness: but in can also endow excitability, superficiality and unreliability. It predisposes to problem of the circulatory system, the respiratory system and the digestive one.

Second station: See “station”.

Separating aspect: When two planets in aspect are departing one from the other. The aspect is losing intensity.

Separation: Two planets that have just perfected an aspect ad now are departing each other.

Sextile: Aspect formed when two planets are at about 60° apart, it shows that the two influxes are merging themselves in a moderately harmonious way.

Sidereal astrology: Astrology that uses, as reference point of the zodiac, a star. The position of its signs consequently changes every year due to the precession of the equinoxes, a phenomenon giving the impression that the star has moved itself in respect to the Earth.

Siege: When a planet is between two other planets is considered under siege. It can be a positive siege (if done by benefic planets) or negative (if done by malefics); a possible aspect of other planets can improve or ruin the situation. If the besieging planets are not in the same sign of the besieged the siege’s relevance is negligible, unless they are both aspecting the besieged, this situation is called “siege by rays”.

Siege by rays: look above.

Significator: A planet representing a particular element of interest, for example in natal astrology the “significator of manners” is the planet to observe in order to know the native’s behaviour.

Sinister aspect: An aspect launches a sinister aspect when the planet receiving the aspect is reached following the zodiacal order; mainly in the past it was regarded as weaker than the dexter aspect.

Slow: A planet travelling at a speed much below average is regarded as slow, this makes its action less strong.

Solar return: Chart made for the precise moment when the Sun returns in the position occupied at the moment of birth, it is used to see the situation of the year.

South node: The point where the Moon’s orbit crosses the zodiac and start descending south. It has the effect of reducing everything it touches (some astrologers regard its effect as malefic).

Square: Aspect that happens when two planets are at about 90° apart. It shows that the two influences are not combining in a harmonious way, so suggesting contrasts, conflicts and communication difficulties.

Station: Situation of a planet that occurs when, observed from the Earth, is apparently still. It happens when it is switching from direct to retrograde motion to (first station) and from retrograde to direct motion (second station). Both the stations are a signal of vulnerability, mainly the first, as the second precedes the return to normality.

Succedent: The houses that, going clockwise, are immediately after the angles, are succedent. They are the 2, 5, 8 and 11. They confers average accidental dignity.



Temperament: Greek medicine saw the man composed by a mixture of four humour (yellow bile, blood, phlegm and black bile) associated to the four elements; our temperament corresponds to the proportions of the four humours inside us. The prevalent ones would influence our character and make us more prone to certain illnesses. The resulting picture can be greatly changed by the action of the planets in the birth chart.

To the prevalence of any humour is linked a temperament: choleric (yellow bile-fire), sanguine (blood-air), phlegmatic (phlegm-water) and melancholic (black bile-earth).

Terms: Signs’ subdivision associated to the main planets (not the luminaries). A planet in its term has a limited amount of essential dignity, only greater than decanate.

Transit: Passage of a planet in a zone of the zodiac that imply an aspect to a sensitive point of our birth chart, so exercising influences in our lives.

Translation of light: When a faster planet does an aspect to a slower one and, successively, to another planet, transmitting to this the “light” of the first one with which he had an aspect.

Trine: Aspect between two planets that are at about 120° of distance. It shows that the two influxes are merging together in a very harmonious way.

Triplicity: Subdivision of the signs based on the associated element. To every triplicity is given a diurnal ruler (that is valid for the chart having the Sun above the horizon, the ascendant/descendant axis) and a nocturnal ruler. Some astrologer add even a third planet participating to the triplicity both in day and night.

A planet in its triplicity has an intermediate level of essential dignity.

Tropical astrology: Astrology that has as a reference point the seeming position of the Sun in relation to the Earth and, particularly, to the equator. According to this system the Sun does its ingress in the cardinal signs during the solstices and the equinoxes, so at the beginning of the seasons. It is called this way because this correlation brought to name the tropics from the signs where the Sun is at the moment of its maximum north excursion (summer solstice – Cancer) and maximum south excursion (winter solstice – Capricorn).

Turning: Process according which the house representing a matter of interest is treated as it were the 1st house and the others are read in relation to this fictitious 1st house. For example, if I am examining my brother’s cake, I consider the 3rd house, representing my brother, as the first house, and the cake is represented by the 4th house as the second house from the 3rd.



Under the rays of the Sun: When a planet is out of combustion, but nearer to the Sun than 17° 30’, it is regarded as under the rays. This is an affliction or some relevance, but less hard than the combustion or the opposition to the Sun; it has not the invisibility attribute.



Water: Cold and wet element of natural philosophy linked to the liquid state in general and associated to the emotional dimension and that of desire; water signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.

Weak voiced signs: Signs associated to a low voice level; they are Capricorn and Aquarius.