Glossary of Astrological Terms
Adjusted Calculated Date - This is the local date of birth adjusted to GMT. If a chart was cast for late in the evening in San Francisco, California it is possible for it to be the next day in Greenwich Time.

Ascendent -
That point in an Astrological chart where the ecliptic meets the eastern horizon.

Astrology -
The study of the universe in an attempt to interpret it's influence on our human lives. This entails the movement of the planets through the tropical zodiac and their relationship to where the planets were located at the time of the subject's birth.

Arabic Parts -
There are hundreds of Arabic Parts. The most popular one is the Part of Fortune.

The formula for calculating the Part of Fortune is: Ascendant+Moon-Sun. To perform this calculation manually, you must first convert the zodiac position of the the planet to 360 degree form. The zodiac sign Taurus begins at 30 degrees so therefore 10 degrees of Taurus equals 40 degrees. Similarly 10 degrees of Gemini = 70 degrees (60 degrees + 10) and 10 degrees of Cancer = 100 degrees (90+10). If the Ascendant is 5 degrees of Cancer, the Moon is 20 degrees of Gemini, and then Sun is 8 degrees of Leo then the position of the Part of Fortune is 95 (5 degrees of Cancer) + 80 (20 degrees of Gemini) - 128 (8 degrees of Leo) which equals 47 degrees, or in other words 17 degrees of Taurus.

Recent research into ancient astrological texts indicates that the formula used for the Part of Fortune depended on whether the Moon was above or below the horizon, but most astrologers use the formula as described in the previous paragraph for all charts.

The sign, house, and aspects to an Arabic Part are believed by many astrologers to be important.

Chart -
A map of the heavens with emphasis on the Solar System. The modern Astrological Chart shows the Eastern horizon as the ascendant and the location of all the planets in relation to where the subject was born.

Directions -
See Solar Arc Directions

Election -
A dicipline of Astrology devoted to electing a time to have something happen. Often used to elect a time to open a business, start a trip, perform a wedding and such.

Ephemeris -
A book containing tables listing the location of the planets on a given day at a certain time, usually noon GMT.

Forecast -
To attempt to predict the circumstances of our lives according to the movement of the planets through a future configuration in our natal chart.

Greenwich Mean Time

Holistic -
That which seeks to take the whole body, soul and mind into consideration in any prognosis or interpretation.

Local Mean Time

Natal -
Pertaining to the birth of the subject.

Planet -
For the purposes of Astrology the planets are considered to be the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Some Astrologers also include asteroids or the small planetoid Chiron which orbits between Saturn and Uranus. Some even include mythical planets such as Lilith, the dark moon.

Progression -
A secondary movement in Astrology measured as one day equaling a year.

Sidreal Time -
The amount of time required for a fixed star to revolve around the planet Earth and return to the exact same position in the sky. A sidereal day is equal to twenty three hours, fifty six minutes and four point zero nine seconds (23hr 56' 4.09").

Sign -
A constellation of the zodiac.

Solar Arc Directions -
A secondary movement in Astrology which takes the daily movement of the Sun and interprets that with a year of life.

Solar Return -
The solar return chart occurs once a year at about the time of one's birthday. In order for a solar return chart to be calculated precisely, it is necessary for the Sun to be calculated with extreme precision, to within 1 second of arc instead of the usual 1 minute of arc that is used in astrology. For example, if a person's Sun is known to be at 14 degrees 20 minutes of Cancer, this is not sufficient information to construct a solar return chart. The position needs to be known to the nearest second of arc, so that, for example, if the position is known to be 14 degrees 20 minutes 33 seconds of arc, then the solar return chart can be calculated (assuming that the Sun at the time of the return is also calculated to within 1 second of arc). The Kepler program does have this level of accuracy.

The solar return generally does not occur at the time of one's birth. If you were born at 8:10 AM, then it is unlikely that the solar return will also occur at 8:10 AM. It takes one year for the Sun to return to the its position at the time of birth and there are approximately 365 1/4 days in a year; the extra 1/4 day means that the solar return on the person's first birthday will occur about 6 hours later than the birth time. If the person's birth time is 8:10 AM, the solar return that occurs on the first birthday will be about 6 hours later, actually a little less than 6 hours later because the number of days in a year is a little less than 365 1/4 days. The solar return may also occur the day before or the day after the birthday.

Some astrologers prefer to calculate the solar return chart for the place of birth, but there are 2 other possibilities: the chart could be calculated for the place where the person is at the time of the return or it could be calculated for the place of residence. For example, suppose that Sally was born in Denver, Colorado, she lives in Orlando, Florida and at the time of her solar return on her birthday she is visiting her sister in Atlanta, Georgia. Many astrologers believe that the location where she is at the time of the return (in this case, Atlanta, Georgia) is the most important place for the chart to be calculated. Many others prefer that the return be calculated for birth place, and there are some astrologers who believe that the place of residence is very important. Note that if one uses the location of the person at the time of the return, it is difficult to calculate the solar return chart ahead of time because the precise location of the person at the time of the return may not be known ahead of time. This is also a problem with using the location of residence but people obviously do not relocate as often as they move around so the problem is not nearly as severe.

The solar return chart can be interpreted by analyzing it in similar fashion to analyzing a birth chart, or it can be compared to the birth chart. The solar return will affect a person from the time of one solar return to the time of the next one, so it lasts for one year, starting approximately on one's birthday and lasting until the next birthday.

Subject -
The person for whom the chart is drawn.

Synastry -
From the Greek, "syn" meaning "Together" as in symphony and "Astry" meaning "stars". So synastry means the bringing together of two charts. This can be to interpret the two charts from the point of view of a romantic, business or any other kind of human relationship.

Transit -
The movement of the planets through the sky in real time. The planets moving through the sky right now are called today's transits.

Zodiac -
That row of constellations upon which the plane of the ecliptic travels. According to classical Greek Astrology that would include the constellations Aires through Pisces.

Zulu Time -
GMT - Greenwich Mean Time. Also Universal Time or World Time.


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© Copyright 1996-2016 William Robert Helms, Jr. - All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in ant way.