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Glossary of terms

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Otherwise known as ‘limits’ or ‘bounds’, terms are divisions within each sign that are ruled by the planets. Various lists existed in antiquity, most excluded the lights from participating in the rulership; that proposed by Ptolemy remains in popular use. When a planet is in its own terms it is dignified. Term rulers modify the effects of the planets within their territory and also offer descriptive influence – for example the term of the ascendant ruler is considered when judging physical descriptions.

Translation of light/transference of virtue

Occurs when an inferior planet, whilst still within orb of its last separating aspect, is already within orb of its next aspect. It is then able to convey the influence of the former to the latter and create a connection between them. The term most often applies to the Moon because of its swift movement between the other planets, and it is often used in practical interpretation to suggest the relaying of a message or the influence of a ‘go-between’.


The arrangement of signs into four groups that are united by the same qualities and the shape of the triangle; equivalent to the elements: fire, earth, air and water. Signs of the same triplicity are harmonious to each other. Early sources gave each triplicity three planetary rulers: one that took priority by day, another that governed by night, and a third that was common to both sects– these were also used to judge the beginning, middle and end of things. Over time the third ruler became dropped from common employment and most texts refer to them having one planetary ruler by day and another by night

Turning the chart

This is a technique largely employed in horary and known to have been used by Ptolemy. In this, closer examination of any area of the chart is undertaken by redefining all the houses from a specific house cusp. For example, if someone asks about the affairs of a brother, the 3rd house of their chart is used as the 1st house for the brother, so that the radical (i.e., original) 4th house is used as his 2nd house, the radical 5th is used as his 3rd, and so on. In this case, the 5th house becomes referred to as the ‘turned’ or ‘derived’ 3rd house of the brother.