Glossary of Astrology Terms

Air Signs: 
Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Signs belonging to this Element represent the intellectual and thought process.

Aspects: 
The angular distance, calculated in specific number of degrees of the chart wheel, between two celestial planets or points. It also provides the nature of the relationship between planets.

Cardinal Signs: 
Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. This Quality represents initiative.

Conjunction: 
Two or more planets sitting next to each other. A conjunction gives great strength to the energies of the interacting planets.

Direct: When a planet appears to change direction from retrograde (backward) to forward.  See “retrograde”.

Earth Signs: 
Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Signs belonging to this Element represent a practical nature.

Elements: 
A four-fold division of the zodiac that is comprised of Fire, Earth, Air and Water. Signs of the same Element share similar characteristics.

Equinox: 
Means a time of equal day and night. This occurs twice a year and marks the beginning of spring and autumn.

Fire Signs: 
Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Signs belonging to this Element represent a fiery nature.

Grand Cross: 
A configuration in which four planets form a cross, opposite and/or 90 degrees to each other. It creates much tension.

Grand Trine: 
When three planets form an equilateral triangle of 120 degrees. The energy of this configuration is harmonious.

Opposition: 
When planets are exactly opposite each other in the chart wheel; an arc of 180 degrees. Creates stress. Balance is needed in the presence of an opposition.

Orb: 
The space on the chart wheel measured in degrees, between planets and points, by which an aspect may vary from exactness and still remain effective.

Quincunx: 
An arc of 150 degrees. Also known as the inconjunct; this aspect creates a certain uneasiness and a feeling of discomfort, and it has karmic lessons to teach us. It is a minor aspect.

Retrograde: 
When a planet appears to be traveling backwards from our perspective on Earth. The energy of a retrograde planet is less assertive and more internalized.

Semi-Sextile: 
An arc of 30 degrees. This aspect creates unease; it is a minor aspect.

Semi-Square: 
An arc of 45 degrees, or “half a square”. A minor aspect indicating stress and tension, requiring action to release the tension.

Sesquiquadrate: 
An arc of 135 degrees, a “square-and-a-half”. A minor aspect indicating tension and challenge.

Sextile: An arc of 60 degrees; this is a favorable aspect. The planets involved are usually in compatible Elements. A sextile allows the influences of the planets to work in harmony; it brings forth opportunity.

Square: 
An arc of 90 degrees that is traditionally regarded as unfavorable. It represents the struggle of two forces at cross-purposes. A square brings stress and denotes obstacles that can inspire growth through concentrated effort.

T-square: 
The configuration formed when two planets in opposition both square the same third planet (and form a ‘T’ in the heavens). This is a challenging focal point for planetary energies.

Transit: 
The position and movement of a planet or point on any given day.

Trine: An arc of 120 degrees; the most harmonious aspect. In most cases, it joins planets in congenial signs of the same Element. These energies combine with ease. The drawback, however, is the lack of challenge — benefits are derived without effort.

Void-of-Course: 
A term describing a planet that does not make a major aspect before changing signs. It is used primarily with respect to the Moon.

Water Signs: 
Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Signs belonging to this Element represent an emotional, sensitive and intuitive nature.

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