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Glossary of terms

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This is another term for 'debilitated', hindered, or damaged. A planet may be impedited if it has been afflicted by another or is in a general state of weakness due to its position or lack of dignity.

Imum caelum (IC)

The Latin term for ‘lowest heaven’; hence the abbreviation: IC. This is the degree of the ecliptic (zodiac) that reaches its lowest declination beneath the earth (due north in the northern hemisphere; due south in the southern hemisphere). In quadrant systems of house division it denotes the 4th house cusp. Not to be confused with the nadir.

Inconjunct aspect

Traditional term for the quincunx aspect (planets that are 150° apart). It conveys a sense of being disconnected – anciently planets separated by this degree were said to be unable to make a relationship because signs cannot behold (aspect) others that are five signs ahead or behind them.

Inferior/superior planets

The ‘superiors’ are the planets which were traditionally conceived to be placed above the sphere of the Sun: Mars, Jupiter and Saturn; the ‘inferiors’ those which fall beneath its sphere: Moon, Mercury and Venus. Modern definitions say inferiors are those whose orbits fall within that of the Earth, superiors those outside of it, which amounts to the same result but misses the point about the Sun being a central factor. The outer planets are included in modern definitions but fall outside the traditional notion of ‘superiority’ because of their limited signification. It is a principle of traditional astrology that the heavier, superior planets are less subject to the detrimental influences of the lighter, inferior planets, but the inferior planets are readily susceptible to the influences of the superiors.

Intercepted signs

The full enclosure of a sign within a house that has two other signs on cusps – for example,  if the 2nd house cusp is at 23° Aquarius, and the 3rd house cusp at 6° Aries, Pisces is intercepted within the 2nd house and any planets in Pisces may be described as being within an intercepted sign. Modern authors have suggested that planets in intercepted signs are weakened or in some way confined, though this view does not appear to be supported in traditional texts.