A Glossary of Astrological Terms for the letter "C"
Use this glossary to look up the meanings of words you come across on this website, or in your astrological reading. Just select the first letter of the word you need and click on it in the table below to go straight to that sector.
Esoteric teachings that deal with mystical ideas of creation and concepts of a spiritual nature, based in the Hebrew/Gnostic scriptures. Cabala (Cabbala, Kabbalah, Qabbala, or other variant translation from the original Hebrew קבלה) features interpretations of the Tree of Life, the Zohar, numerical keys to the Bible etc.
One who practises Cabala.
Cacodæmon (Kakodæmon; Kakodemon)
"Falling away" (from the angles). Third, sixth, ninth and twelfth houses. Planets are generally weaker there, being less stable and more changeable in their effects, unless they are the natural rulers of the houses, as with Mercury in the third or sixth, Jupiter in the ninth or twelfth, Neptune in the twelfth. According to traditional astrology, planets in these houses only function at 25% of their power, compared with a position in one of the angles of the chart.
A system of organizing time for social, religious, agricultural, commercial or administrative purposes. Names are given to lengths of time: typically days, weeks, months and years. We currently use the Gregorian Calendar in the West, but there are several others in widespread use, such as the Indian Calendar, the Islamic Calendar, the Hebrew Calendar, the Baha'i Calendar, and more. Calendars are usually based either on the perceived movement of the Moon (Lunar Calendar) or the Sun (Solar Calendar), or on a combination of the two (Luni-Solar Calendar). A key value is to keep the calendar in tune with the seasons. Other modern calendars adopt purely mathematical bases, independent of Sun and Moon. Calendars tend to adopt significant, usually religious dates as their starting point, such as the supposed birth of Jesus Christ, which determines the commencement of the current Gregorian Calendar. Unfortunately this is a disputed date, but the habit has stuck.
A system of houses based on equal twelvefold division of the prime vertical, as opposed to the ecliptic. In the 13th century Campanus, a mathematician, popularised this system in the West, but it was used by Al-Biruni in the 11th century as 'the system of Hermes', suggesting a much earlier origin, perhaps dating back to Manilius.
The fourth sign of the zodiac. Cancer, the crab, is a cardinal, water sign. Ruled by the Moon, it is the exaltation of Jupiter. More about Cancer.
The tenth sign of the zodiac. Capricorn, the sea-goat, is a cardinal, earth sign. Ruled by Saturn, it is the exaltation of Mars. More about Capricorn.
The Gorgon's Head. A malefic fixed star, causing one to "lose one's head in the situation", located in Taurus 26°.
The Dragon's Head (Moon's North Node). More about the Moon's Nodes.
Occurs when planets form a Grand Cross in Cardinal Signs. Especially important when located in the early degrees of the signs. When the nodes, Jupiter, Saturn and the outer planets are involved, major social changes are indicated.
The first degree of each of the Cardinal Signs.
Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Also known as Moveable Signs, they stand for the seasonal changes, marking the four quarters of the year. Cardinal signs on the angles of a chart denote prominence in related fields.
Cardinal Points. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary says this is the plural form of Cardo, but I have seen Cardine used in the singular (in a translation of Dorotheus).
The Dragon's Tail (Moon's South Node).
The Dragon's Tail (Moon's South Node). More about the Moon's Nodes.
A planet within 17 minutes of arc of the Sun's ecliptic position, the "heart of the Sun", is strongly fortified by Cazimi, an Arabic term. The traditional beneficence of this point is disputed by some authorities, including Lilly. See Combust.
A heavenly body, such as a planet. Celestials are often considered to be beings rather than objects. This not merely naive, but recognising that the physical body exists in the material world of darkness, while the numinous spiritual body, or symbolic entity of mind and spirit, exists conceptually in the divine world of light. As above, so below.
The projection onto the Celestial Sphere of the plane of the Earth's equator; in other words, the projection of the Earth's equator onto the heavens. The Sun crosses the Celestial equator twice a year, creating the seasons as we know them.
Having located a body horizontally in Celestial Longitude along the ecliptic, we still need to describe its position vertically in order to pinpoint its precise location. In the Ecliptic System, this is done using Celestial Latitude. A body's position is expressed in degrees, minutes, and seconds of arc, with reference to its distance above or below the plane of the Ecliptic. A body above the Ecliptic is expressed as North Celestial Latitude, just as a position on Earth's surface above the Equator is said to be North latitude. Similarly, a body below the Ecliptic is expressed as South Celestial Latitude.
The position of a heavenly body is measured in the Ecliptic System using Celestial Longitude and Celestial Latitude. Celestial Longitude is measured horizontally starting at 0° of Aries. Position is measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds of arc in a counter-clockwise direction along the Ecliptic. For example, a planet located at 15° of Taurus could also be said to be located at 45° of Celestial Longitude (the 30° of Aries + the 15° into Taurus).
The Earth's orbit around the Sun takes approx. 365.25 days, and a 'day' is, of course, defined as the Earth spinning once on its axis. The Earth's axis of rotation, tilted at 23.5 degrees to the line of the poles of the ecliptic, gives us the directions to the north and south celestial poles. The bright star Polaris is currently showing us the direction of the north celestial pole. Like a spinning top this axis is precessing around the ecliptic pole, with a period of some 26,000 years
The imaginary sphere, with its centre being the centre of the Earth, onto which the zodiac, constellations and planets are projected.
In Plato's Geocentric Model of the Universe, the stars and planets were embedded in a concentric series of rotating, ætheric, crystalline spheres. The ineffable sound made by their movement was known as the Music of the Spheres. Versions of this model developed by Eudoxos, Aristotle, Ptolemy and others became the dominant cosmological theory until after the "Copernican Revolution" of the sixteenth Century AD, when the modern, heliocentric model began to be explored. Planets are not now imagined to be embedded in celestial spheres, as they are now thought to be large balls of matter orbiting the Sun, subject to the forces of gravity and inertia.
A recently-discovered class of icy, comet-like planetoids that orbit the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune. The most astrologically significant is Chiron, but others are considered by some modern astrologers to be important.
The Great Mother, mythological daughter of Saturn and Ops and sister of Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno and Vesta. An asteroid seen by modern astrologers as significant, now arousing considerable interest. Despite being lauded as the "Great Mother", Ceres appears generally to be a malefic, especially signifying grief and loss. Ceres was the first asteroid to be discovered (January 1, 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi, using Bode's Law). It was reclassified by astronomers in 2006 as a "dwarf planet". More about Ceres.
- Now obsolete name for the twelfth house, which was held to be the main base for evil in the chart (esp. the Solar Chart).
Sometimes depicted as a flaming serpent, the Cacodæmon was a malevolent shape-shifting demon, as opposed to the Agathodæmon, a loving spirit or guardian dragon, the divine logos. On the The Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden, the incantation includes "Agathodæmon, the almighty four-faced dæmon, the highest darkling and soul-bearing Phox". Also the evil dæmon, the expression of malevolence and unhappiness; as opposed to the eudæmon, the guardian spirit or genius that brings the happy state of flourishing, eudæmonia, recommended by Aristotle. The dæmons, good or bad, were held by the Greeks to be living beings of intermediate stature, occupying rungs between the divine gods and mortal men. See Dæmon.
- The constellation Perseus the Champion, with particular reference to Caput Algol, the demon's head, which he held, having severed it from the body of Medusa the Gorgon as a part of his rescue bid for the lovely Andromeda.
On another level, the personal Kakodæmon is born from the rejected potentials and energies of an individual's soul. This "Evil Dæmon" can be made an ally through increased consciousness and has energy that may be harnessed to work for one's higher purposes. It holds great power, which may be reclaimed, for by reclaiming the lost parts of our souls, we become more complete.
Damage to a chakra in the body's subtle energy system, creating emotional, physical or mental dysfunction. Caused by environmental stress of one kind or another, unsound relationships, overload, or other stress on the chakra concerned.
The order of visible planets as held to have been proposed by the ancient Chaldean astronomers: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. This reflects their position in the Celestial Planetary Spheres (Saturn in the outermost and Moon in the innermost). From a modern perspective, the order expresses the relative speed of the planets, from slowest to fastest.
Ancient astrologers, originally based in Babylon, a city in Mesopotamia (Iraq), the birthplace of Western Astrology. Subsequently a term for astrologers in general.
Vedic name for Moon.
Moon ascendant. The process of defining a chart with the Moon sign as the ascendant, a process used in Vedic (and Hellenistic) astrology in addition to the regular chart.
In ancient Hellenistic Astrology, a planet is held to be in its own chariot when in its own domicile, exaltation, or confines (terms).
An earth-centred astrological map of the heavens, used in the interpretation of cosmic factors with regard to their effects on people and events.
Subtle energy of the life force, the control of which is one of the goals of yoga, tantra, tai chi and similar disciplines. Also known as Qi, Ki and in Yoga, Prana.
The Wounded Healer. Discovered by Charles T. Kowal in 1977, this planetoid located between Saturn and Uranus has developed a considerable following among modern astrologers. More about Chiron.
Corresponding to the Fire Element and, according to Culpeper, ruling "the spume and froth of the blood". Fire in general symbolises energy, dynamism and expression, and is associated with the colour red, which correlates with the dynamic and expressive component of the blood. Ruled by Mars, it works through the Yellow Bile. See Humours. More about the Choleric Humour.
- A sanskrit term meaning wheel, or chart in Jyotish (Vedic) Astrology.
- Hidden energy centres in the human body are also called chakras ("wheels"). These are part of the subtle energy system of the human aura described by yoga, tantra and mystic discourses of all cultures. Chakras are dynamic consciousness-processing organs and can be activated through subtle techniques in tantra and the like. Each chakra has a particular vibration, mantra and associated gods or goddesses. Some astrologers assign planetary rulerships to them.
Greek for Saturn, father of Jupiter.
Circle of Perpetual Apparition
The boundary of the space around the elevated pole of any given place within which the stars never set. Its distance from the pole is equal to the latitude of that place.
Circle of Perpetual Occultation
At any given place, the boundary of the space around the depressed pole, within which the stars never rise.
In alchemy, the third stage of the Great Work; yellowing; spiritualising; enlightening; the Sun; male.
Major conjunctions in Sagittarius of Jupiter and Saturn, occurring every 800-960 years, marking significant developments in human destiny.
Every 7th and 9th year in the life of a person, enterprise, political entity, etc. The Moon squares her own place by transit every 7th day, and by direction every 7th year; and trines it every 9th day and year. Saturn too has his greatest power in these years. Thus the climacterical periods occur at the ages of 7, 9, 14, 18, 21, 27, 28, 35, 36, 42, 45, 49, 54, 56, and 63 years. The most portentous are those of the 49th and 63rd years, which are doubly climacterical, 7x7 and 9x7. When evil directions coincide, these are generally deemed to be fatal. The 63rd year is called the Grand Climacteric, and the general presumption is that more die in their 63rd year than in any other from 50 to 80. The 49th and 81st year are called by some the Grand Climacteric, being respectively 7x7 and 9x9. In ancient medical practice, climacterical periods are counted in the number of days from the decumbiture, or falling ill, being registered as Critical Days.
A technique for creating relationship charts, originated by Lawrence Grinnell in the 20th Century. Similar to composite charts but based on harmonics, a different harmonic being used for each planet. These charts are held to show unusual sensitivity to transits, hence useful for the development of relationships between two people, or for a person and an event.
The venerable rule of Colel in cabala and gematria holds that one digit can be added to or subtracted from the numerical content of a word without affecting its value. This is permitted because unity is divine and so able to come or go at will, without affecting the outcome. See Gematria.
Collection of Light
When a heavier planet receives aspect from two other lighter planets which are themselves not in aspect, this brings them effectively into aspect. In horary, it signifies the perfection of a matter. Thrasher in Jubar Astrologicum declares that the lighter planets must both also receive the heavier in "some of their Essential Dignities".
- Time Lords, or Markers of Time. Jupiter and Saturn are known as the Great Chronocrators, though other planets can be chronocrators. Conjunctions of Jupiter with Saturn in the heavens occur every twenty years or so (minims, or specialis), recurring every 200 years in a sign of the same element (media, or trigonalis). The conjunction in Sagittarius recurs every 800-960 years (climacteria, or maxima), marking supreme epochs in the history of mankind.
- Planetary rulers of the Seven Ages of Man.
A bright, icy celestial body pursuing an eccentric, often extremely lengthy orbit of the Sun. The luminous "tail" of the comet, comprising meteoric material and gases, streams into space due to the heat of the Sun. Traditionally, comets are considered to be ill-omens because they seem to break the natural order of the cosmos.
Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, the Northern Signs. According to Ptolemy:
A planet placed within 8 degrees 30 minutes (but not within 17 minutes) of the Sun is said to be combust. Meaning "burnt", this is not a favourable condition, especially for the Moon and inner planets when direct in motion and applying to the corporeal conjunction. Mars however can be fortified. Combustion can occur either in or out of sign, as it is the Sun's moiety that is the deciding factor. Astronomically, combust planets are invisible (hidden by the Sun), and so less fortunate. Regarded as particularly malefic in horary, where combustion completely negates the planet in question. See Cazimi, also Under Beams.
According to Bonatus, in Anima Astrologiæ:
This factor would presumably be reversed if viewed from the southern hemisphere.
Common (Mutable) Signs
Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces.
A chart made up of the midpoints between the planets from two people's birth charts, for the purpose of relationship analysis. This technique is a recent invention, not found in traditional astrology.
Concordant in Itinerary
Signs ruled by the same planetary ruler (such as Gemini and Virgo, both ruled by Mercury). See Like-engirdling.
Robert H. Schmidt's translation of the Hellenistic Greek word horia, conventionally translated (in accord with the Latin version: termini) as Terms. See Terms.
Two or more planets are conjunct when they are closely associated (within 8° of arc) in the same sign. If they are closely associated but in adjoining signs, the strength of the conjunction is diminished (see "out-of-sign").
Where the chart factors concerned are within 8° orb of arc, they are "conjunct" or in conjunction. A conjunction is usually a helpful energy which creates self-nurturing, inner strength and ambition. Depending on the planets involved, it also can create intensity, stress and confusion. See Combust.
Considerations (Before Judgement)
Defined groups of fixed stars are known as constellations. Ancient astrology had only 48 named constellations, although modern astronomers have named many more for convenience of location. Since 1930, the IAU has limited the number of constellations to 88, used to define locations on the celestial sphere (no star, known or unknown, is therefore not in a way part of a constellation). There are however, no actual fixed stars in the tropical zodiac of the signs, which is a symbolic, mathematical system based in the seasons; only planets inhabit the zodiac. Signs should not be confused with constellations, even though for historical reasons they may bear the same name. See also Lunar Mansions, which are based on Asterisms, or minor constellations.
The point in the opposite sign, degree and minute to a planet's antiscion, or the point lying equidistant from and at the opposite side of the equinoctial axis (0° Aries – 0° Libra) to a planet. This was formerly considered a powerful debility, equivalent to a square or opposition, but is rarely considered by modern astrologers. See Antiscion. See also Equipollent.
An unfortunate aspect by declination or latitude, similar in effect to Opposition. Opposition by declination is when one planet is north of the celestial equator and the other is south, within one degree of orb. See Parallel Aspect.
Contrary motion to the natural movement of the planets through the signs. Used in Directions.
Converse [Directions; Progressions; Transits]
Calculated by examining the ephemeris for the days previous to birth. Each day symbolises a year of life, so for example the planetary positions ten days before birth provide insight into the events of the tenth year of the native's life. These are used by some astrologers to give additional insights to those gained by the direct or forward day-for-year process of prediction.
Two or more numerical factors that define the position of a point on a chart, symbolising a point in space. Longitude and Latitude are examples of coordinates.
Heliocentric version of the Solar System, developed by Copernicus in the 16th Century AD, though anticipated by some ancient Greek thinkers, notably Aristarchos of Samos (3rd Century BC), but including Pythagoras (6th Century BC). Even earlier Indian Vedic texts, notably Yajnavalka's Satapatha Brahmana (8th Century BC) may have influenced him. Arabic and Persian mathematicians from around the 11th to the 14th Century AD, such as Albiruni, Avicenna and Bin Tusi most assuredly did influence him (as they too were attempting to improve on the Greeks). His system eventually replaced the geocentric system formalised by Ptolemy in the 2nd Century AD, even though it was less accurate, at least until advances in planetary motion discovered by Kepler in the 17th Century. The influence of Aristotle was so great that Copernicus felt compelled to retain the aristotelian idea of circular motion (as the most perfect form of motion) for the planets, which Kepler's discoveries disproved. Although Kepler was also a marvellous and dedicated astrologer, this marked the beginning of the current alienation of astrology from astronomy. Since astrology is primarily concerned with the effect the planetary forces have upon the beings that inhabit the Earth, most astrologers still favour the geocentric system, at least for astrological calculations.
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a Polish astronomer who developed the first modern theory of the heliocentric solar system.
The Lion's Heart. Regulus, the most royal of the four Royal Stars.
When two planets are conjunct in the same sign. Stronger than an "out-of-sign", or dissociate conjunction.
Correspondences (Law or Principle of)
The Law of Correspondences holds that our personal world corresponds to the external world in every way, with specific reference in astrology to the cosmic vibrations inherent in celestial influence corresponding to natural substances and the human body, as well as the general cosmic influences that are reflected in the events and destinies here on planet Earth—a profound correspondence between the laws and phenomena of the various planes of existence. "As above, so below; as below, so above". To paraphrase the words of the Kybalion, this Principle is the universal law of application and manifestation, on the various planes of the material, mental, and spiritual universe.
Corresponding in Course (Itinerary)
Signs of equal power, ie when in equal ascension, or the signs that reflect each other's declension, sharing the same number of hours of daylight and of night. Signs being the same distance on either side of the solstice.
Where more than one planet rules a sign, or other cosmic attribute, the planets concerned are known as co-rulers. Before the development of the telescope, the known visible planets were assigned rulership of signs. Each planet was considered to rule two signs (the Sun and Moon are usually only assigned one each, though recent scholarship suggests that they may have in ancient times been given co-rulership of each other's signs, Leo and Cancer). Many modern astrologers assign rulership of certain signs to the recently-discovered planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (even Chiron!), but others allow them co-rulership with the traditional rulers. Traditional astrologers however deny them any rulership, even if allowing them some influence, because to do so would break the symmetry and thus the symbolism of the zodiac, which is a spiritual, not a physical concept.
Particular conditions in a horary chart, especially those warning that the chart is not radical, meaning that the astrologer might be prone to error, or that the astrologer may be likely to give the client bad news should a prediction be undertaken. See Strictures Against Judgement
- General observations regarding a future circumstance, as opposed to a specific prediction.
Pertaining to the Cosmos; something vast, grand and in some sense harmonious, or at least ordered.
- Any planet or sign which is naturally associated with another in the rulership of a faculty or matter under consideration.
- In horary, the co-significator is a planet in aspect to the planet governing the matter, if a benefic, aiding, but if malefic, hindering the outcome.
Reinhold Ebertin's astrological system, ignoring houses but emphasising midpoints and the following "hard" aspects: semi-square, square, sesquiquadrate and opposition. Developed in Germany during the 20th Century.
Ebertin's name for a horoscope based on his system of Cosmobiology.
A scientific, religious, or mythological account of the origins of the universe, in particular our Solar System.
Philosophical and astrophysical study of the history, structure, and dynamics of the universe.
The opposite of Acronichal, this is one of the three Greek ideas of the rising and setting of stars: Acronichal, Cosmical and Heliacal, by which they measured the length of the year.
Cosmical – when a star or planet is conjunct the Sun
Cosmical Rising – a star or planet rising at sunrise
Cosmical Setting – a star or planet setting at sunset
Periodical crisis times in an illness or an event, when the Moon makes successive 45° transiting aspects to its original position in the decumbiture or event chart. Favourable crises occur when the Moon makes successive 60° aspects to its radical position.
Determined by the movement of the Moon across the cusps of the Lunar Mansions, a planet's strength in the chart is increased when placed in any of these degrees, or within an orb of 3 degrees of the critical degree. There are critical degrees in each of the Signs (see table).
Days on the Cross-quarter points marking the mid-points between the Equinoxes and the Solstices, holidays dating back to pre-Christian times. Still celebrated in many parts of the world esp. the UK and northern Europe, they are also important in Wicca and neo-Paganism as part of the eight-pointed Wheel of the Year. See Celtic Fire Festivals.
The fifteenth degree of each of the Fixed signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Also known as the Avatar Points, they signal the Cross-quarter days.
The universe conceived as an orderly, harmonious system. All that exists in time and space including spectra of light, forces of bodies, cycles of the elements — life, intelligence, memory, record and dimensions beyond physical perception — mathematically calculated as the evidence of things not seen as yet, but which do appear in the Spirit cosmos that coexists with and interpenetrates the Matter cosmos as a grid of light. Source: Glossary of Ascended Master Terms & Definitions
As outlined in Plato's Timæus, the Cosmos is the world of becoming, the material world, as opposed to the eternal world of ideas, or forms, upon which it is modelled. He notes that everything in this world "comes to be and passes away, but never really is". Able to be grasped by sense-perception and opinion, it is a created world, artfully crafted onto pre-existing, formless material (the elements, comprising atomic platonic solids in space) by the Demiurge, or creator. The Cosmos is a living being, subject to time and space, and of course, astrological considerations...
Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654), an influential English astrologer, physician, botanist and herbalist of the 17th Century. A friend and colleague of William Lilly, his understanding of herbs and their astrological correspondences is unsurpassed. His works, particularly The English Physitian (1652) and The Compleat Herbal (1653) remain in print and are widely read, although some modern editions leave out the astrological references.
The strongest point (usually the beginning) of a house or sign in the chart. The sign on the cusp of any house and its ruling planet are the designated rulers of that house. Planets near the cusp are more significant than otherwise, especially if in an angular house. Many astrologers, following Ptolemy, hold that planets up to 5 degrees before the cusp may be considered to be already in the house, especially if it is an angle.
Greek goddess Aphrodite (known to the Romans and so to us as Venus), believed to have been born from the foam of the waves near the island of Cythera (Kythira) south-east of the Pelopponese, north-west of Crete. Another name for Venus.
Pertaining to Venus. Now more or less literary if not obsolete. Considered more stylish than Venusian, Venerean, or (yikes!) Venereal.
The arrival of a planet at the degree of the MC.
- The culmination of an aspect is when it is completed (i.e. partile), regardless of the MC.