View Full Version : Astrology terminolgy is confusing.....
I really want to learn astrology, I really do. The only problem is, I get past the signs and houses and it all melds together into a quantum physics equation. Could someone define some of the terms just off the tops of their heads in your own words?
It would really help the populace of ATF and possible increase the contribution of threads that are started: "The trine of uranus conjuncts the quaternary of the 30 degree angle of pisces and causes mars to retrograde....how does everyone feel about this?....." Well I would love to answer but unfortunately, I had to lay down to put my migrane to rest. :D
Here are some examples (i know some seem ordinary but books sometimes don't explain it in a way that is useful):
Retrograde (yes it moves backwards, but what does that do in purpose?)
Big words aren't easily coming to mind.....just post anything you think of because I'm sure it will be useful.
Well, you have asked a big question. But I'll start on a portion of your question and address ASPECTS.
CONJUNCTION. When two planets or astrological bodies/points such as the Sun and the MC, or Mercury and Jupiter, appear to have the same zodiac position as measured by sign and degree, then those two components are said to be in conjunction. In some charts, such as a natal chart, this aspect is often considered to be valid when one planet approaches within 8 or 6 or 2 degrees (it all depends upon ones choice and method of interpretation). As a rule, the planet closer to the Sun mostly moves along the zodiac path faster than those further out. This isn't always true, but that can be addressed later.
The CONJUNCTION between two planets can also be seen as the start of an ever-continuing cycle. You can evaluate a planet relative to its cyclic position relative to the conjunction point -- or you can instead/also choose to evaluate a that planet relative to where it is cycle-wise in respect to the slower-moving planet. Cycles are another study area in themselves, but you have to remain aware that a conjunction can also be seen in other ways.
The meaning of a conjunction comes from a blending of each planet's symbology -- not a blending of half of this and half of that, but a additive sense of all of this plus all of that symbology. For example Mars conjunct Venus can symbolize a strong sense of poise, or intense sexuality awareness, or a delicate use of force, or an aggressive sense of creativeness, etc.
OPPOSITION. This aspect occurs when one planet is found against our zodiac measuring tool (sign and degree) to be 180 degrees ahead (or behind, which is the same thing -- a half circle away) of another planet. Here, one may use an "orb" or a range of degree measurement to suggest when the actual opposition is in force. But as a general rule, the orb or range of effect is often a little less than what is used for a conjunction aspect.
As part of a cyclic relationship, the opposition is a "half cycle" and would indicate that which has come into bloom in terms of fuller awareness or of tension that has to be dealt with.
The meaning of the OPPOSITION can be of a multiple nature: It can mean opposition and conflict, balance being required, awareness, partnering, friendship or a love-hate relationship, enemies. Instead of the energies of the planets being addative they may be weakened or conflicting so as to not well-express either energy type cleanly or well. The nature of the meaning will be suggested by how they have been experienced through the natal chart and life experience, or by the nature of the planets themselves. For example, Moon and Venus may work well, while Jupiter and Mars acts out as the "greedy-graber" syndrome.
I'll post some more aspects later. Dave.
Well i first want to thank you for your reply, it helped a lot.
Is there any way an opposition can occur against a sign? Such as, could there be any sign that I will have a difficulty getting along with? I know elemental differences, fire is sort of opposed to water, but is there any specifics regarding that?
Thank you again
The first thing to do is to chuck all of those idiot "this sign gets along with that sign" books. They make excellent tinder, but not much else.
Your sun, which is your driving goal in life, your life spark...yadda yadda, may or may not get along with people who have their sun's directly square to you. Not what the books say, I know. This is cause the sun is only ONE of your planets and not every driving force in your life.
Let's take my little example of two people with squared suns a little further. What does it really mean? Well, their driving goals may be quite different. One wants to make a zillion bucks in corporate life and the other prefers dreaming on the beach. Now, let's just suppose that their mercuries are sextile (means they basically get along), and toss in some good venus/jupiter energies (don't worry how, just take it for granted). I've set up a situation where they can have loving, supportive discussions and that can take them a long way to resolution of what could be a killer issue. There would be a requirement for compromise due to the square. The beach-sitter may have to go to corporate parties. The corporate wiz may need to get Mr. beach-sitter plenty of time to chat in Tarot groups and not require attendance at every corporate shin-dig. But the issues can be talked out. Give this couple squared Mercuries along with squared suns and there will probably be quarrels over the basic issues of life.
You have to learn the basics. What the planets mean (energy), what the signs mean (style) what the houses mean (areas of life) and learn them well. But don't try to put them together too quickly because you will probably need to take a bit of this from one book and a bit of that from another in order to avoid too much jargon.
I happen to like Robert Hand's books very much (ducking and weaving from the blasts from the pros). I know they are "cookbook" but they are solid in what they do and take only one or two issues at a time but go through them extremely thoroughly.
Thats also very helpful, I think i knew on some level that planets matching up was good, i just didnt know what the technical terms were. Isn't sextile a degree between planets? Somewhere around 30 degrees?
Before I continue, in another post, my comments on aspects I would like to talk briefly on signs, houses, planets --- and the relationships between them.
SIGNS: To be frank and brutal about it all, "signs" aren't all they are cracked up to be. They have several uses which have to be understood. First, they provide a reference or measurement tool for determining the relative position of the planets and angles/houses in a chart. Second, they are supposed to convey a style of expression that modifies the manner in which a planet shows or demonstrates its energy. Because of the ease by which people can relate their birthdate and sun position to a "sign" the magazines and printed media focus on them such that their importance and manner of influence is highly overblown.
Think of this before you or anyone takes strong objection to my view. Each sign is an arbitrary division of space as seen in the night sky above us. Most of the AT members who are into astrology use the Tropical zodiac. There are other zodiacs -- the Sidereal zodiac is the primary alternative. The tropical version is based on the Aries point, the start of spring, and this point is always shifting -- about one degree in 72 years. So, its sign boundries have no relationship to sky patterns of stars or constellations. It is a seasonal zodiac. The Sidereal zodiac is fixed such that specific stars and star patterns are always in the same sign or position of the signs. So, if you feel that the stars or constellations are influential, then you might want to use the sidereal version. Of course there are other reasons why you should choose one or the other, but that is beyond basic astrology.
So, you should question yourself about whether a moving, seasonal zodiac that is not tied to the stars can impose a significant and consistent meaning upon a planet.
HOUSES: Houses are much more personal. They are framed around your Ascendant and MC points (in almost all house systems), they are highly unique to you (only one person in 360 will have your ascendant point in common with you). The houses are related to whether a planet is angular (tends to have strong expressive energy). The meaning of a planet in a given house is quite easy to define and tends to show up in an interpretation quite clearly. Compared to a planet in a sign (which can be overshadowed easily in many cases by other chart factors), a planet in a house is clear to see. I would rate houses quite strongly compared to signs. As a matter of practice I tend to ignore signs completely in my work except for mundane, political, weather and a few natal charts.
PLANETS: The planets are "everything" in astrology. They are the expressive forces that relate to various aspects of our personality and character, they can signify the types of experiences we are having. Of course, they depend on modifying factors such as aspects and cyclic relationships. Each planets has a focused set of meanings that have been established over eons by observation and confirmation.
ASPECTS: Aspects are divisions of a circle. They are used to define relationships between "stuff" that can be relatively located on that circle. Signs can have relationships, as can houses -- and particularly planets. The circle itself, symbolically, represents wholeness and unity. Divide the circle in two and you symbolically have opposition, not-self, other-hood, reflection. Divide the circle by three and you have duality joined by a third factor -- accomodation, adaptability, flow and movement (such as in a three-phase electrical motor). Divide the circle by four and you have quadrants -- each of which on its own can have a conjunction, an opposition, and a square (a challenge from both sides, tension, push and pull, etc.). Divide a circle by five and you have a set of quintile (72 degree segments). At this point, you cannot relate signs or houses to this aspect, whereas you can apply aspects to signs and houses up to this point. The 72 degree segments relate to life style and personal expression. When we divide the circle by six, we can now relate the aspect segments again to signs and possibly houses (if we are broad in our views). Six is complex enough that it requires communication and clarification to determine the relationships -- hence the core meaning of the sextile aspect.
Now, we can say that signs have aspectual relationships. For example, I am a Virgo (Sun and Moon) and my wife is a Sag. This is a square aspect between Sun signs. It is neither good or bad, it is merely "challenging" in many ways just as a square aspect between two astrological bodies are. So, we can apply many aspects to signs, and some aspects to houses, but signs and houses are not necessarily defined by aspects so much as a symbolic meaning related to their sequence. THIS IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND. It is the cyclic philosophy of one house to the next, one sign to the next, that completes the wholeness of their collective meaning and which conveys the meaning of their seperate interpretations. This, like the planets, has been developed, used, compared and confirmed over many centuries and in many cultures. It is. It works.
ORBS: This is always confusing to beginners. It shouldn't be. If you divide a circle by two, you reduce the orb you apply to a conjunction. Lets say that you use an 8 degree orb for a conjunction. You might use 7 or 6 degrees for an opposition, 6 or 5 degrees for a trine, 5 or 4 degrees for a square, 3 or 2 degrees for a sextile, 2 or 1 degree for a 30 or a 150 degree aspect, etc. While these might be applicable to a natal chart, a secondary progression chart might better use single degree or half degree orbs for all planetary aspects. Then again, you might use larger orbs when working with the Sun and relatively small orbs with Pluto. Its all a matter of sensitivity to what might be appropriate.
Orbs can also be used to help us FOCUS on certain aspects of a chart. When there are many complex aspectual combinations, things can get quite confusing. By tightening up the orbs we use we can pick out the most focused aspects and start our chart interpretation with them. When there seems to be few good aspects in a chart, then we can loosen up our orbs to find aspects to use. One final note -- it is possible and easy to interprete a chart without using aspects and orbs at all, without using signs and houses. Just using the sequence of planets around the chart, it is possible to derive a solid and very good interpretation -- this has been done before on this forum.
FINAL COMMENT: Astrology is both very complex and very simple. The hardest part is determine when to be sophisticated and when to be casual. This is the artful side of astrology. This ease of use coupled with the ability to be fast, accurate and insightful is what we all spend a lifetime developing. Good luck on your journey. Dave.
Dad's explanation was very succinct and eloquent. And his advice right on.
He said that astrology is both complex and simple. Absolutely. I'd add that it is less intuitive than Tarot. So when beginning astrology it is important to get some good books with which to learn the basics. You can learn a lot about Tarot with the help of just your cards and this board. Not so with astrology because when studying its meanings you don't have something tactile to hold in your hand and look at.
The books recommended in this forum (see "resources for study" thread) are very good choices.
really loving that last posting there dadsnook
Since you have not gotten to retrogrades- I'll jump in with the technical physics stuff about retrogrades.
Retrograde as you say, 'goes backwards'. It is really not going backwards in space. All planets continue thier forward motion around the sun. The sun is the center of our system naturally. In astrology, earth is the center of the system. Where the sun is stationary, our planet moves. So the relation of earth to other planets is a wobbled pattern. The speed that a planet moves vs. the speed that earth moves around the sun causes us to view; from earth, a planet that seems to be moving backwards within that 'arbitrary division of space as seen in the night sky above us.'.
What does a retrograde do? in my opinion, they slow things down, repeated energies (kinda like that, 'it comes in threes' thing), it extends and suspends things.
Thanks a ton for this, Dadsnook!! (signs aren't as important as planets)
This is a concept I need to really get a grip on, because I find myself getting all hung up on the signs still...(like the idea that I should be looking at Aries as well as Pisces, due to my sun being at 00 degrees Pisces...part of my brain keeps wanting to know why should I look at Aries?! Why not Aquarius?
Clearly I am not getting it!)
I am putting this info into my trusty journal, and will re-read it often.
TRINES: A trine aspect occurs when two planets, as measured along the zodiac reference/measuring circle, are 120 degrees apart. The "trine" introduces differences that were not found in the Conjunction and Opposition aspects -- relative to one planet, there are two trine-points that one or more planets could be located at/near. So, using the slowest-moving planet as the anchor point or reference point, a second planet may be 120 degrees ahead on the zodiac circle or it may be 240 degrees ahead (which is the same as saying it is 120 degrees behind the anchor planet).
This concept of trines forces us to consider as to whether there is a difference between each of the trine points? Of course there is! Astrology isn't that simple. Both/any trine aspect has certain qualities that it tends to impose on the planets in that aspect. Trines denote ease of expression, flow but not adaptability, consistency of action but not change, workability and compatibility but not necessarily harmony. Think of the trine as having energy like a motor -- it runs and runs and runs. It doesn't like to change direction or speed. People express trines often in a "habitual" way. Whatever form of expression worked before will almost automatically be repeated. Mars trine Saturn will work together, however they may approach a combined expression by first doing Mars' thing and then doing Saturn's thing or taking two steps forward and one step backwards. Whatever the pattern of expression, the trine will stick with history.
Since the two trine points are different, we have to ask, "How?" The first or opening trine is one point along a circular or sine-wave cycle. This trine seeks the easiest way through any challenge or situation, seeking assistance if it is available, a slick idea if not. The second trine at 240 degrees seems to express itself in a more honest or appreciative way, finding assistance and appreciating its situation, expressing itself so as to complete or solidly address its combined form of expression in the most direct and effective way. Here, Mars and Saturn would proceed with caution, straegize as to how energy and force will be applied. Nothing would stop this approach.
CYCLES: So, the trine aspects (since there are two of them possible) bring us an awareness of cyclic activity. Cycles alternate in the "Yin-Yang" manner, no matter how the cycle is divided. When looking at a planet as it moves through a cycle and past the trine-points we see a planet trying to ease its way through challenges first, and then more directly facing problems through consistency and using any partnership resources that are at hand.
I'll leave this post at this point as it is possible that some may have to more carefully consider what different trines can mean. This will also hold true for squares and be even more true for sextiles and quintiles, etc. Dave.
Hey Astrid O, I think i'm guilty of confusing you on this issue and i'm hoping i don't make it worse trying to explain lol! This thread is about natal interpretation and i think what you mean is why did i tell you to pay attention to aries instead of your pisces sun, i was referring to current positons of the planets or current "transits" in your chart and your ascendant or rising sign is 22 pisces, so when astrologers write general monthly themes for each sign they use a chart using 00 degrees of the same sun sign for the rising sign, so your ascent is pisces but closest to the 00 degrees aries that they use to forecast where the planets are in a chart starting 00 aries. Somebody help me explain this better!
No worries scorpio!! If anything is confusing me, it's my own mind! One minute I think I get it, especially when looking at my chart...I can see where 00 degrees Pisces is, in relation to Aries...It's when I go and start thinking about "horoscopes" and where Aquarius is in relation to Pisces, date wise, then I get myself all confused.
I will just stop mixing it up with that horoscope stuff.
Again, that is all helpful (yet complicated), but after several times reading it, it is making a lot of sense. Maybe I should post my natal chart and see if I can name the technicalities right....hmmm.
Awaiting any and all thoughts.
Lets talk about squares and T-squares!
SQUARE ASPECTS: When two astrological bodies/points are 90 degrees apart on the zodiac measuring cycle they are in a square aspect. We see the square aspect demonstrated very visibly in the sky above us -- the Moon when it is half-full in the evening or still seen in the morning sky when it is also half-full (but with the other half of the Moon shining brightly) as the Sun rises. We call these moons "half moons" but they are really in a square aspect to the sun, reaching a "full moon" situation when opposite the sun and being half way through its monthly cycle.
The square aspect represents "challenge", strife, fights, difficulty, abrasive actions, struggle, etc. Some would say this occurs because the planets are in conflicting sign elements -- fire and water, earth and fire, air and earth, water and air. They are both in the same sign modes -- cardinal, fixed or mutable. Others would say that the two planets are temporarily in a cyclic relationship where the faster-moving planet has to both express itself as well as the anchor planet -- and it doesn't like to carry this burden. Others would look to numerology -- the meaning of dividing one by four for the meaning of the square aspect. That might be confusing because the two systems have their differences as well as their similarities. The number four stands for stability and physical manifestation, something which is different from the astrological meaning.
Before considering the differences between an opening square (at 90 degrees) and a closing square (at 270 degrees) lets take a moment to look at the T-SQUARE PATTERN.
T-SQUARE ASPECTS: Here we have one planet squaring a planet ahead of itself on the zodiac wheel while squaring another planet behind itself on that same zodiac wheel. Picture a planet at 0 Cancer squaring a planet at 0 Libra and another at 0 Aries. The middle planet has two simultaneous square aspects to cope with. AND -- the squared planets have their own problems since they are in opposition! What a revolting development!
So, how does the T-Square pattern work out in real life? Wonderful! If we could ask to create our own chart, then we all would want one T-Square pattern. These act as "drivers" in our lives. They force us to meet challenges (squares) by both struggling with them (opening square) and taking them on as a personal goal (closing square) by finding a way to compromise (opposition aspect) and partner with others, gathering and using resources.
A SIDE COMMENT: There are two forms of circular division found in astrology; the 12-fold division (signs and houses) and the 8-fold division which is seen in older horoscopes and ancient practices -- but which still is seen in the lunation cycle as postulated by Dane Rudhyar, the mid-point system promoted by R. Ebertin with its square and semi-square emphasis and the Siderealist's Solar and Lunar Return methodologies with their reliance on the four angles and non-use of signs and houses for the most part.
The Square aspect is the deepest division of one that is coincidental with both the 12 form division and the 8 form division of the zodiac circle. Along with the conjunction and opposition, the square aspect is an ancient aspect that has a lot of history, proof by application and confirmation of its meaning. The other aspects such as the trine and sextile are relatively recent and the aspects depending upon division by 5, 7, 9 or more have barely been studied by 99% of astrologers -- although there is an established body of knowledge to study once one has advanced a way along the path. Dave.
Rainwolf & Astrid,
If there was one piece of advice I would give to beginners, it would be to start practicing w/real charts once you get the hang of the basic planets,
signs and houses. I have long since had to jettison a lot of stuff I've read in the books b/c they simply didn't hold up in practice. Read as many charts as you can - and if you feel uncomfortable asking ppl you know IRL for their info (oh, how many hot dates have I driven away by revealing my love of astrology lol) then try working w/charts of famous ppl - you can find
lots of famous charts at astrodatabank.com.
When you feel comfortable enough, Aleister Crowley suggests a great little exercise to sharpen your skills: Have someone give you a mystery chart of
someone famous, w/nothing else to go on except say "inventor" "movie star" etc and try to guess who it is! Another exercise I enjoy is guess the birthtime. Don't get a birthtime of someone who knows theirs (accurately!!). Fiddle around w/different placements, changing ASC signs etc and see how accurate your guessed birthtime is. (btw, it's a great way to show
ppl that astrology isn't just bunk :D)
I look up mine and friends and explain theirs to the best of my ability, but I can't do that to the best of my ability, which is why i asked this question!
Dadsnook2000 its all still very interesting, go on however long you like, just don't feel pressured to do so. :D
Lets look at some "minor" aspects.
The SEXTILE: When we divide the zodiac circle by six, we end up with a sextile or 60 degree angle. Two planets located at this interval, or near it depending upon the orb we allow, share a inclination to work best together through the use of communication and understanding. Some picture this by relating the sextile aspect to the 1st to 3rd house relationship. Others see this aspect as relating to numerology and its assessment of the number six. In a previous post I had noted that the trine was like an electric motor which has three poles and rotates in one direction at one speed. The sextile, using that metaphor, would be like a six pole motor -- capable of multiple speeds and even reversals. The sextile is more flexible than the static, habitual-acting trine. The sextile can be found to be adjustable in terms of how it uses the energies of the planets involved.
The SEMI-SQUARE: When using a tight orb, the semi square aspects of 45 degrees and its cousin aspect having 135 degrees (three semi-squares) are very powerful -- something not recognized by many students of astrology. The aspects built upon one/more 45 degree angles are related to the square -- the square represents the process of meeting a challenge, while the semi-square deals with subsets of that challenge.
Consider this, each semi-square sequence is part of a cycle (I have made a great point out of equating aspects to cyclic meanings previously). The 8-fold cycle postualted by Rudyhar in his Lunation Cycle book identifies the individual points along a circle divided by eight.
** 0 to 45 degrees: the PERFORMER, a phase were identity is built through ones actions.
** 46 to 90 degrees: the WORKER, a phase where prior practices are dropped and new methods tried. (This helps define the semi-square in that it is a struggle, an attempt).
** 91 to 135 degrees: the ACTIVIST, a phase of confrontation and expression.
** 136 to 180 degrees: The ANALYST phase, wherein new methods are adopted and adjustments made.
** 181 to 225 degrees. the SEEKER phase, where one deals with a crises and looks for answers.
** 226 to 270 degrees. the BELIEVER phase where we teach others and practice deeply held concepts.
** 271 to 315 degrees. the CHANGER phase is where we make public commitments and seek to lead by example.
** 316 to 360 degrees. the PROPHET phase is where we start to move towards a new self or a new way of living.
The point of all of this is that as we divide the circle by bigger numbers and smaller aspect segments, we have to increasingly deal with these aspects as if they were discrete parts of a cycle. In other words, each aspect built upon a 45 degree segment takes on a different meaning. I tried to make that clear when I discussed the square (each possible square-point has a different meaning). Within the whole circle or cycle, we can see all aspects built upon the 45 degree angle as part of one cycle. The same is true of all aspects built upon 30 or 60 degree segments.
YOUR ASSIGNMENT is to start thinking about aspects differently. Each is part of a cycle, each is different from its cousins. You may not be able to do this right away, but don't lose sight of this truth -- each aspect is merely one part of an overall cycle and each part of the cycle is related but different from multiples of itself. You probably can't pass beyond the intermediate stage without coming to grips with this concept. Dave.
PS. If you ask about the 30 degree aspect and the 150 degree inconjunct aspect, then you might want to review this post and think about those points in the circle in terms of being part of a cycle. You may be able to find those answers yourself.