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Glossary of Astrological Terms

eBooks including these and many other aspects of
Astrology are available in the Astrology Books Section.

Ascendant - The ascendant is the sun sign that is on the horizon at the moment that you are born.

Aspect - The angular relationship between two points on a chart. In other words, how the planets talk to each other.

Comparison Chart - This is actually a comparison of two charts. This shows how two people affect each other in a relationship, whether it be romantic or not.


Dr. Byers' Astrology Books


Descendant - The descendant is the sun sign that is on the cusp of the 7th house.

Elements - The elements are Fire, Earth, Air, and Water.

  • Fire signs are active and enthusiastic: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
  • Earth signs are practical and cautious: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
  • Air signs are intellectual and sociable: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
  • Water signs are emotional and sensitive: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Ephemeris - A book containing the placement of every planet for every day of the year.

Geocentric - Geocentric acts as though the planets revolve around the earth. Since we are on the earth, this seems like a reasonable way to figure out how the planets would affect us here. This is the form of astrology that we use.

GMT - Greenwich Mean Time. This is Universal Time, the time at the prime meridian.

Heliocentric - Heliocentric is just like the scientific way, the planets revolve around the sun.

House Cusp - A chart is like a pie that is divided into 12 pieces. Each piece of the pie is called a house. The dividing line between two pieces of pie is called a cusp. The ascendant is the cusp of the first house, and so on.

MidHeaven - The MidHeaven is the sun sign that is on the cusp of the 10th house.

Natal Chart - A natal chart is like a picture of where all the planets were at the moment you were born.

Retrograde - When the planets appear to be going backwards.

Sidereal Zodiac - Sidereal zodiac moves with the constellations. When the constellation of Aries moved, the constellation of Pisces moved into the position it vacated. Sidereal now calls the area of the chart traditionally ruled by Aries Pisces. The definition of the area is still the same, just the name was changed to show the movement of the constellations.

Solar Return - A Solar Return is a chart that is drawn at the exact moment that the sun returns to it's position on your natal chart. This occurs either on your birthday or a day before or after. This chart shows what your major focus for the year will be.

Tropical Zodiac - Tropical zodiac assumes that the constellation of Aries is still the same. It does not change the names of the areas of the chart to reflect the movements of the constellations. This is the form of astrology that we use.

StarWise Astrology Symbols - Use this guide to the astrological symbols used in all StarWise charts.

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