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Glossary of terms

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A condition representing planetary contentment because the planet is suitably positioned according to sign and sect
The term is usually applied when the planetary nature agrees with its the hemisphere placement (by itself termed halb, 'half') and the gender of its sign. For example, when a masculine, diurnal planet is positioned in the same hemisphere as the Sun (above or under the Earth) and is also in a masculine sign. Likewise; or when a feminine, nocturnal planet is placed in the opposite hemisphere to that of the Sun and is in a feminine sign. 

The word has slightly variant definitions according to different traditional authors because it derives from an Arabic term which simply describes the placement of the planet as a suitable one. For example, the Arabic astrologer Al-Biruni* tells us that a masculine planet is more dignified in a masculine sign, so he says it is in its  hayyiz (or hayz); meaning its 'natural place' or 'preferred position'. The placement of a planet in an unsuitable place - such as a masculine planet in a feminine sign, is considered weakening and termed 'contrariety of hayz' or contention. 

In his Opusculum Astrologicum (1539) Johannes Schoener tells us that the condition is also known as 'similitude'. He says:

Hayz, or planetary similitude, is when a diurnal planet is above the earth in the day, under the earth at night, and a nocturnal planet is under the earth by day, and above the earth at night. 
Or, again, when a masculine planet is in a masculine sign and quarter and is oriental, but a feminine planet is in a feminine sign and quarter and is occidental.
This method sometimes comes to three times in which a planet can be in its own hayz; first, agreement to the quality of time [by being] above or under the earth; second, agreement with the masculinity or femininity of the sign; third, agreement with the masculine or feminine quadrants, which is called by others conformity by quadrant. 
Observe, however, that Mercury is sometimes diurnal, sometimes nocturnal, now masculine, then feminine, according to its configuration with planets, or according to the nature of the sign in which it is found, if it is not conjunct or configured by another [planet], which you should note well. (II,  XIX).

In his table of dignity scores, Schoener includes 3 extra points of fortitude for a planet in hayz, and deducts 2 points of strength for a planet in 'contraiety of hayz'.

 Lilly's definition (
CA, p.113) reads:

Hayz is when a masculine and diurnal Planet is in the day time above the earth and in a Masculine sign, and so when a feminine, nocturnal  planet in the night is in a feminine Sign and under the earth: in questions it usually shows the content of the querent at the time of the question, when his significator is so found.

*The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology, (written 1029, translated 1934 by R. Ramsay Wright) ch. 496 & 497, p.308. 

Heliacal rising / setting

Ancient astrologers gave particular emphasis to the heliacal rising and setting of stars since these could be used as reliable indicators to agricultural conditions. A heliacal setting occurs when a planet or star enters into conjunction with the Sun. The increasing proximity of the Sun towards the star each day eventually leads to a period of invisibility, during which it is masked by the Sun’s light (see combust). Its setting is the moment when it is visible for the last time immediately after sunset. It then rises and sets with the Sun, remaining hidden from sight both day and night. When the Sun has separated from the star by somewhere between 8-20 degrees of zodiacal longitude the star begins to emerge, briefly, immediately before sunrise – its first brief appearance being known as its heliacal rising.

Horary astrology

Branch of astrology that offers a detailed exploration of a particular query using a chart drawn for the time that the astrologer understands the full implications of the client’s concern. The verbalisation of the question is seen as a moment of physical manifestation of the problem, which can be used to explore its potential in the same way that a birth chart can explore the potential of a human life. (From the Latin horarius, ‘of the nature of the hour’).


When people speak about the horizon generally, they mean the small circle of the visible horizon where the earth joins the sky; but in astrological calculation we refer to the celestial (or rational) horizon – a great circle which cuts through the centre of the earth and is always perpendicular to the zenith and nadir. This divides the chart into the upper (diurnal) and lower (nocturnal) hemispheres.  


A term generally used to refer to the chart as a whole, but anciently used to mean the ascendant or first house. 

Hour circles

15° divisions of right ascension (measurement along the equator), the passage of which across any meridian equates to one hour of time (since the whole sphere rotates 360° in a day and 360/24 = 15).

House of joy

The house where each of the traditional planets is assumed especially strong: Moon - 3rd house;Mercury - 1st house; Venus - 5th house; Sun - 9th house;Mars - 6th house; Jupiter - 11th house;Saturn - 12th house.

House rulerships

It might be useful to have a copy of this House rulership index - extracted from Deborah Houlding’s book - The Houses: Temples of the Sky, Wessex, 1996. (Other extracts are available here).

Humane signs

Those are the signs represented by human figures: Gemini, Virgo, Libra and Aquarius (Libra is included on the assumption that the scales are held by a human hand). They are renowned for their social graces and intellectual skills. Also referred to as ‘manly’ or ‘courteous’ signs.


The four humours are Sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic and melancholic. Each is related to one of the four administering virtues of the body – blood, yellow bile, phlegm and black bile respectively – whose relative proportions were used in ancient and medieval physiology to determine a person’s natural disposition and general health. They are associated with the elements and seasonal influences – see individual terms: sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic and melancholic.