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Glossary A - E 

Astro Communication Services. Founded by Neil F.Michelson. Known for their astrology software and Atlas publications. http://www.astrocom.com


American Federation of Astrologers. Publisher of the monthly magazine, Today's Astrologer. http://www.astrologers.com


An outdated term that describes either a difficult aspect (i.e. Squared or Opposition), or a placement of a planet or angle in a sign that does not suit it, (i.e. Mars in Pisces). Also describes a relation with a "malefic " such as Saturn.


Air Signs
Aquarius, Gemini, or Libra. These signs are the air signs. The air signs are usually connected with communication and the intellect. In a natural wheel they occupy the third, seventh and eleventh house.
Refers to the Major angles in a chart. Includes the Ascendant or Rising Sign, the Descendant, which is opposite the Ascendant, the Coeli or Midheaven and Imum Coeli, which is opposite the Coeli.
Angular Houses
The first, fourth, seventh, and tenth houses. These houses are generally connected with the Cardinal signs and Cardinal Qualities.Wheel Map
Arabic Parts
A series of sensitive points largely defined by and used by Arabic astrologers. Usually a calculation of adding the positions of two factors in the chart, for example: the moon and the ascendant, and subtracting a third factor, as an example the sun. Part of Fortune is an Arabic Part.
The point of the zodiac that falls on the eastern horizon at the time of the your birth. This is the same as the first house cusp and describes your personality and character and how you relate your world. Also known as the Rising Sign.This is the intersection of the horizon and the ecliptic in the East. For further information see this page.
An angular relationship between two planets, angles, etc. The angular distance between two factors in the horoscope, in celestial longitude. These relationships are based on harmonics and multiples. The major aspects are Conjunct, Trine, Sextile, Squared, and Opposition, though there are many intermediate minor aspects. These first three aspects are generally considered to be beneficial an the last two considered to be difficult, though the more difficult aspects can act as teachers and help you to learn and grow.


The Asteroids are a belt of orbiting debris of what has been speculated as a disintegrated planet between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Some astrologers believe that the belt is the remains of what use to be Pluto and that Pluto was "exiled" to the outer rim. The four major asteroids considered in today's astrology are Pallas Athene, Ceres, Juno, and Vesta. There are thousands of these boulders in orbit between the Red Planet and the Giant Planet.


Tool for recording astrological calculations.


A professional who studies the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence of the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs.
Planets and aspects that were thought to give positive influences. Traditionally, Jupiter and Venus are the two Major Benefics (or Greater)in that order, though Mercury and the Moon are also considered Benefic (or Lesser). Conjunct, Sextile and Trine aspects are also considered Benefic.


The third, sixth, ninth and twelfth houses. These are ruled by Mutable Signs and are generally associated with the Mutable qualities.Wheel Map


Thirteenth century mathematician and astrologer who devised the Campanus House System.


Cardinal Signs
The signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. These fall at the Cardinal Points of the Zodiac, with Aries beginning at the "Vernal Equinox" or first point of Spring, or the beginning of the Zodiac. These signs are generally associated with action and beginnings. They are also associated with initiatory and dynamic actions. See also Qualities


A small celestial body (planetoid) between Saturn and Uranus. Discovered by Charles Kowal in 1977 and named for the mythical centaur noted for healing and teaching.


Classical Horary Astrology
Practice of providing answers to current patterns or predictions (horary) by the system devised by William Lilly in the 17th century. This system only includes the planets discovered up to that date. Sun, Moon, Mercury,Venus,Mars,Jupiter and Saturn.


Combust or Combustion
When a planet is positioned in the same sign as the Sun and is less than 8 degrees away from the Sun, it is said to be combust. This is a consideration in Horary astrology. Combustion implies that the action of the planet is weakened.
An aspect formed when two angles or planets are at roughly the same angle (usually within an orb 8-10 degrees)


The groupings of fixed stars, (Orion, Big Dipper,Scorpio, etc.). Twelve of these groupings are named for the twelve sections that the Sun's path travels in one year as appeared from the Earth. It is these twelve sections that lend their name to the twelve signs of the Zodiac. In Astrology, it is not the constellations that are important it is the Sign of Zodiac.
An aspect in declination when two planets have (within a 1° orb) the same degree of declination, but one is North and the other is South. Read by most astrologers as similar to an opposition.
Critical degrees
13 and 26 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn (the Cardinal signs). 9 and 21 degrees in Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius (the Fixed signs). Also 4 and 17 degrees in Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces (the Mutable signs). The Critical Degrees concept comes from the Hindus. Thought to be a sensitive point that strengthens the power of the sign.
Current Patterns
ACS's preferred term for Predictive Astrology. They prefer it because they believe one can study various methods of moving the chart in time and prognosticate possibilities or even probabilities. The chart, then, shows us "patterns" which we may choose to follow or to alter. The term "predict" suggests fated outcomes that will happen. Thus the change to current patterns as it includes free will. The owners of IRAI agree and use this term throughout the web site.


1) A line dividing the houses. The beginning of an astrological wheel of house starts with the Ascendant and moves counterclockwise. Astrology in interpretation places great value of the beginning of the house, thus when dealing with signs that are close to the beginning of a house it can represents a gray area where the individual may be affected by both signs, the preceding house and the house of entrance. This line is measured in degrees 2) The degree of the zodiac (celestial longitude) where one astrological sign ends and the next begins.
Decan, Decanates
A division of the signs into 10 degrees each of which is subtly different from one another due to the different rulers involved.
A coordinate system measuring positions North or South of the celestial equator.
The angle that is exactly across from the Ascendant. It is the cusp of the seventh house. Your descendant relates to your marriage and partnership and interaction with others.


Planet in the opposite sign it rules. Indicates that it is not operating at the full power or influence that it could. More influence of the sign it is in rather than the qualities of the particular planet. Can indicate a need to adhere to rules and regulations. Example: Mars in Libra in the Natal chart would be considered detriment because Mars rules Aries and the opposite sign of Aries is Libra.


Dignified or Dignity
Planet that rules the sign it is in. Indicates a control of circumstances. Example: Mars in the astrological sign Aries in a Natal chart would be considered Dignified.


1) The North, South, East and West of the celestial and terrestrial maps. 2) A system of studying current patterns that moves all factors in a horoscope in an uniform amount symbolically forward or backward in time, according to a specified arc, such as the Solar Arc (Sun's progressed motion in one year). Another example is the Ascendant Arc, which uses the movement of the progressed Ascendant in a year. Generally the "directed planets" are interpreted by comparing them with the natal planets.
Dragon's Head
see Moon Nodes


Earth Signs
The signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. These signs represent 'Earthly' qualities such as stability, responsibility, and practicality. In the natural wheel they occupy the second, sixth and tenth house.
East Point
The angle which is rising over the eastern horizon at the earth's equator at any time. A sensitive point defined as 90° East of the intersection of the meridian with the ecliptic; used by some astrologers as the an auxiliary Ascendant. Should more correctly be called the Equatorial Ascendant, but the term East Point is the most common.


Easy Aspects or Soft Aspects
A harmonious and easily flowing aspect such as Conjunct, Trine or Sextile and Quintile. For in depth information on the aspects, please visit Lesson 4.


An eclipse is the partial or total obscuring of one of the luminaries by the shadow of the other. At the same time, either or both luminaries are within orb of an aspect to the Lunar Nodes. The Eclipse is considered a Solar Eclipse when the Sun and Moon are conjunct otherwise known as a New Moon. It is considered a Lunar Eclipse when the Sun and Moon are in opposition or a Full Moon.
The orbit of the Sun and all the planets around the Earth: the celestial circle that the Sun, as seen from the Earth, seems to follow within the span of a year.


Electional Astrology
Refers to the method of "electing" or choosing in advance, a time that is astrologically favorable. One erects a chart for a time in which the current patterns would be interpreted as indicating success in the anticipated activity (such as an opening of business, getting married, etc.) and then the individuals concerned strive to cause the event to happen at that exact time.


Air, Water, Earth and Fire.


Pronounced "eh-FEM-er-is". A book that supplies the positions of the Sun, Moon and Planets, usually daily. Positions are usually given in celestial longitude, latitude and declination. Noted are the eclipses and the ingresses of each planet, the Moon Nodes and Sidereal Time. Plural is referred to as ephemerides. They are usual for Noon or Midnight Greenwich Time. To view this month's midnight ephemeris of Central Daylight Savings time click here.


Equal House System
The system that takes the first house being the Ascendant and dividing the remaining 11 houses into equal 30 degrees slices. The Midheaven House system starts with the Coeli or Midheaven being the cusp of the 10th house and dividing the other 11 house as equal 30 degree slices.


Equatorial Ascendant (EQ)
See East Point
Planet energies that are expressed harmoniously with complementary forces and display increased virtues that are magnified. The Planet feels comfortable in this friend's home. Example: Mars is a guest in Capricorn in the Natal chart and excels while visiting.


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