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Glossary of terms

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A planet is termed combust (burned) when it is in conjunction with the Sun and therefore hidden from sight by the light of the Sun. Traditionally this is a serious affliction and implies that the planet is weakened or restricted in power. It is often used to signify someone in fear or feeling overwhelmed, or to represent things that are kept hidden from sight. 

William Lilly stated that the combust planet should be within 8° 30' – beyond this distance, but within 17° of the Sun, the planet is said to be under the Sun’s beams. This condition is debilitating, but not as severe as combustion. 

More ancient authors generally used 15° to note the distance of being under the Sun's beams, and were less specific about the limits of combustion - generally, the expectation was that the closer the planets is to the Sun, the more intense and debilitating the effect is expected to be.

(See also: heliacal rising/setting)

Computer chart calculation

Free online calculation of horary charts is available at:

The free version of the app has limited options, (e.g., only calculates house cusps by Regiomontanus), but it includes all the main details required to read the chart, and produces a very nice looking graphic which can be saved as an image for incorporating into documents (example below).

Example chart


Culminating means to reach the highest or greatest point; in astrology this usually refers to the arrival of a planet at the midheaven, though the term was also used in ancient astrology to refer to planets reaching the IC, where they were described as “culminating beneath the earth”.

Culpeper, Nicholas - astrologer (1616 - 1654)

Younger associate of William Lilly, Culpeper became a legendary figure in the history of herbal medicine. A political radical, he ignored the monopoly held by the Royal College of Physicians and wrote his books in English, to make medical knowledge freely available to everyone. He is best known for his English Physician (1653), now known as Culpeper’s Herbal, which integrated theories of the doctrine of signatures and astrology into herbal medicine and became one of the most widely circulated texts in publishing history. His Astrological Judgement of Diseases from the Decumbiture of the Sick, published posthumously in 1655, gives a more detailed account of astrological techniques for treating illness.


The cusps are the dividing lines between one house (or sign) and the next. Planets close to house cusps are considered to have more powerful influences than those removed from the cusps.  


Dariot, Claude - astrologer (1533-1594)

French astrologer and physician who studied medicine at Montpellier but fled France after the St Bartholomew massacre and settled at Geneva where he worked as astrologer and physician at the town of Beaune.  He published Ad Astrorum Judicia Facilis Introductio ‘Brief Introduction to the Judgement of the Stars’ in Latin in 1577. This was translated into English by F. W. Gent in 1583 and again in 1598, with a further revised English edition appearing in 1653. Lilly listed Dariot first when he acknowledged the sources of his own work.


Also called decanates: Egyptian term for the faces, means ‘tenths’ because each decan covers 10°. See ‘faces’.


This is another term for setting, or falling away from the angles.


Name of the branch of astrology that examines a chart drawn for the time of someone falling sick or becoming aware of an illness. Study of that chart allows examination of the root causes of the illness, the best approach and times for treatment, and a prognostication of recovery or relapse. (From decumbere, ‘to lie down’).

Derived houses

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