A collection of Astrological terms that are frequently used on this site.
air signs - Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
aspects - The interaction between planets and luminaries based on angles across the zodiac. Aspects are the "geometry" of the zodiac. Aspects such as the conjunction (0 degrees) can be neutral, soft or hard, depending on the planets involved. Aspects such as opposition (180 degrees) or square (90 degrees) are typically hard, aka harsh, afflicted, unfavorable or challenging. Aspects such as sextile (60 degrees) and trine (120 degrees) are typically soft, aka positive, pleasant, productive, favorable, well aspected, or conducive. The New Moon is always a conjunction between the Sun and Moon. The Full Moon is always an opposition between the Sun and Moon.
barren signs - Aries, Gemini, Leo, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Aquarius.
cardinal signs - Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn which are correlated to the seasons, aka Solstice and Equinox - Summer, Winter, Vernal and Autumnal.
cusp - The point of a sign at 0 degrees. It can also represent the point in a horoscope indicating the beginning of a house.
direct motion - The implied motion of a planet during the standard forward motion through the signs of the zodiac. The Sun and the Moon are always moving "direct." See also, "retrograde motion."
dry signs - Aries, Gemini, Leo, Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Aquarius.
earth signs - Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.
elements - Signs divide into four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water.
ephemeris - The chart, table or almanac that lists out the daily positions of the Sun, Moon and planets for a specific point in time each day. (ephemerides, pl)
equinoxes - (Latin; Equal Night) The two points during the year when the Sun is crossing the equator when the amount of light and dark are nearly equal within 24 hours when the Sun enters the sign Aries or Libra. Depending on the hemisphere that a person lives in, it represents the seasonal change to Spring (Vernal) or Fall (Autumnal).
fire signs - Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
fixed signs - Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.
fruitful signs - Cancer, Libra, Scorpio, and Pisces.
hard aspects - Generally the conjunction, square and opposition. They tend to represent challenge, obstacles, and confusion. They provide the working phases in life. (See "aspects.")
ingress - The point of entrance (0 degrees) of the luminaries or planet into a sign of the zodiac.
luminaries - The Sun and the Moon.
lunation - The point of conjunction of the Sun and Moon, aka New Moon. It can also refer to the period of time between New Moons.
modern planets - The transpersonal planets discovered in recent history; Uranus in 1781, Neptune in 1846, and Pluto in 1930.
moist signs - Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Pisces.
mutable signs - Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces.
natal chart - The horoscope created from the planet placements at the point in time for a person's birth, aka a birth chart, the natal chart is a map of one's life.
outer planets - The slow moving planets. Depending on the interpretation, the outer planets could include Jupiter - Pluto, while others exclude Jupiter and Saturn, and only include Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Jupiter and Saturn are sometimes referred to as "intermediate planets."
personal planets - The planets closest to the Sun, and including the luminaries; Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars (aka inner planets). These "planets" move the most quickly through the zodiac, having a personal, direct affect on the individual's personality.
planetary rulers - Each sign is ruled by a planet. (See Ruling Planets below.)
productive signs - Taurus, Libra, and Capricorn.
retrograde motion - "Retrograde" is the term used when a planet appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. Both terms "retrograde" and "direct" are used in astrology to describe the motion of planets with relation to the Earth. Point being, that the planets do not actually move backwards in the sky. However, they appear (from our perspective on Earth) to back up for periods of time. The Sun and the Moon never retrograde. This period is considered to weaken the effects and energies of the planet.
soft aspects - Generally considered to be the sextile and trine aspects. They tend to be the easy, productive and flowing influences. They provide the relaxing phases in life. (See "aspects.")
solstices - (Latin; Sun Standing Still) Two points in the year when the Sun enters the signs of Cancer or Capricorn. Depending on the hemisphere that a person lives in, it represents the longest and the shortest days of the year and the seasonal change to Summer or Winter.
station - The stationary point of the planet's transition from direct to retrograde motion or from retrograde to direct motion. Sometimes referred to as station retrograde or station direct. (See "direct motion" and "retrograde motion.")
Sun Sign - The astrology term used for horoscopes based on analysis of only the Sun's transit through a sign in relation to the Sun's placement in the natal chart, aka Solar Sign.
void-of-course - A term generally referred to with the Moon, but can also be used when describing any planet over a period of time that does not experience any more major aspects until it changes into the next sign. The void-of-course Moon period is often considered to be an unfavorable time to initiate new projects, but is considered to be a good time to re-organize, reflect and review.
waning - The 3rd and 4th quarters of the Moon after the Full Moon until the New Moon.
water signs - Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.
waxing - The 1st and 2nd quarters of the Moon after the New Moon until the Full Moon.
zodiac - A circle (360 degrees), divided into 12 equal sectors of 30 degrees each represented by an astrology sign.
Mars = Aries
Venus = Taurus
Mercury = Gemini
Moon = Cancer
Sun = Leo
Mercury = Virgo
Venus = Libra
Mars/Pluto* = Scorpio
Jupiter = Sagittarius
Saturn = Capricorn
Saturn/Uranus* = Aquarius
Jupiter/Neptune* = Pisces
In a natal chart, the planet ruling the sign of the Ascendant (the Rising Sign) is believed to be the "Ruling Planet" of the chart or "Chart Ruler."
* The three signs that have two ruling planets as been a recent change from traditional astrology to add in the three newly found planets.
compiled by J McCaul (2010)