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Glossary of Astrological Terms

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


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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.