A Glossary of Astrological Terms for the letter "P"
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.
The warrior queen, the principle of creative intelligence and wisdom. An asteroid seen by modern astrologers as significant. More about Asteroids.
Phillipus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim (1493-1541). Renowned alchemist, philosopher and magus, he was a leading figure of the German mystical movement. A radical reformer teaching amidst the ferment of the Renaissance in vernacular German rather than scholarly Latin, he was condemned for refusing to affiliate himself with any religious sect, and for his frank criticism of the Roman Church. He sought to overturn the humoral system in favour of a kabbalistic, alchemical approach, and believed in empirically testing remedies. He took folk medicine seriously, and applied spiritual insights in order to heal and explain the processes of life on Earth. Reviling his contemporaries' unquestioning admiration for ancient authorities (particularly Galen and Avicenna) his adoption of the name Paracelsus meant that he had gone beyond the famous Roman physician, Celsus—not to mention all other ancient thinkers and physicians. Initiated into the secret doctinres of the East, his 106 books reveal his knowledge of the laws governing the evolution of the physical, astral, psychical and intellectual constituents of nature and of man. William Q Judge ranks him with Hermes Trismegistus, stating that Paracelsus was "one of the greatest Masters ever known upon the earth".
Parallel Aspect (Zodiacal)
Planets having equal distance in declination on the same side (either north or south) of the celestial equator. A similar effect to the conjunction. Contra-parallel is the equal distance in declination on opposite sides of the celestial equator (i.e. one planet north of the celestial equator and the other south) and is similar in effect to the opposition aspect.
The simultaneous rising, setting, or culminating of planets or stars, featuring an angular relationship between the planet and the fixed star in a chart. Parans can occur when any planet (esp. Sun or Moon) is angular and any star is also angular and they cross their respective angles at the same time. Parans may also simply feature planets. From the Greek paranatellonton.
Beyond the scope of normal experience as understood by contemporary science. A more modern way of saying "supernatural", it is designed to add the flavour of science to the realms of mysticism, religion and extrasensory talents, psychic abilities and experiences that lie beyond the pale of "rational" explanation. Yogic powers, such as levitation, ability to withstand extreme heat or cold, clairvoyance, astral projection, pranic healing etc are examples of paranormal abilities.
Scientific study of paranormal abilities and phenomena.
Part of Fortune.
Calculated point in the horoscope, a.k.a. Arabic Part, or Lot. The most widely used nowadays is the Pars Fortunæ, or Part of Fortune.
Part of Fortune
Pars Fortunæ. One of the most important of the Arabic Parts, or Lots. The point lies the same distance in longitude from the ascendant as the Moon lies from the Sun. Named for the Roman goddess of luck and wellbeing, Fortuna (Greek: Tyche). Its house reveals an area of life wherein one finds happiness, good fortune and natural tranquillity, with easy expression of innate abilities. More about the Arabic Parts.
The lighter, outer zone of the Moon's shadow visible during a solar eclipse. It surrounds the umbra, or dark central zone of the shadow.
When a planet is void of essential dignities. This is a debility, so serious in the mind of Lilly that he described it as "malicious beyond expression". Planets in mutual reception can abate the debility, strengthening it through the exchange of energies.
The place in a planet's orbit which is nearest to the Earth. See Apogee.
The place in a planet's orbit which is nearest to the Sun. See Aphelion.
A right angle (90°). Circles that meet at 90° angles.
A prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. Emerging each year in July and August, their radiant lies in the constellation Perseus.
Phases of the Moon
The stages in the monthly waxing and waning of the Moon. See Moon Phases.
Corresponding to the Water Element, according to Culpeper it rules the brain and "cools and moistens the heart, thereby sustaining it, and the whole body...". Ruled by Moon and Venus, it works through the Phlegm. See Humours. More about the Phlegmatic Humour.
Ghayat al-Hakim, the "Goal of the Wise". A proscribed mediæval Arabic compendium of magical rules and astrological talismanic formulæ, some from early classical sources, influencing mediæval and renaissance European thinkers including Pico della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino and Cornelius Agrippa. Known by Rabelais, it was a cause of the arrest by the Inquisition of Casanova. Hitherto available only in Latin, Arabic, Spanish and German, it was first translated from Arabic into English by Hashem Atallah. Books 1 & 2 may be obtained in a limited edition of 1000 published in 2002 by Ouroboros Press, Seattle WA. A second volume (Books 3 & 4) is in preparation of this rare and valuable treatise, a source of authentic, occult knowledge.
The twelfth sign of the zodiac. Mutable water. Ruled by Jupiter (or Neptune, according to modern astrologers, though some assign dual rulership with Jupiter, while traditional astrologers deny any pretensions of rulership to Neptune). Exaltation of Venus. Pisces' symbol comprises a brace of fishes. More about Pisces
Ancient term for angular house.
A planet being in an angular place (or house) in the whole-sign house system.
An aspect is described as partile when it is exact (ie within 60 minutes of arc and in the same degree). Traditionally, to be truly partile, the planets should also be in the same degree of latitude, as well as longitude. A planet within a degree of orb but in either the preceding or following degree is not partile, but platic.
- In ancient astrology, partile was measurement of the aspect by degree ("part" or point), whereas platic was measurement of the aspect by sign ("plate", or broad area).
Placidus House System
Commonly used system of house division, popularised by Italian Benedictine monk Placido de Titus (1603-1668). A time-delineated system based on division by planetary hours, there is evidence that Ptolemy used it. In the 19th century, tables of houses were first printed for this system, so most astrologers since have used it because readily available tables save arduous calculations. Nowadays, with the advance of the personal computer, any house system can be calculated easily, so the convenience argument is no longer important.
- Ancient term for Houses.
According to Ptolemy, places are the twelfth part of a sign, each being 2°30' of arc in the order of the signs (see dwadishamsha).
Planet of Oriental Appearance
Planet rising immediately before the Sun, indicating special skills and faculties in a natal chart.
The hours of the day are ruled by planets in their order from Saturn inward to the Moon. More on Planetary Hours.
In ancient Hellenistic theory, each of the planets was held to emit seven rays, three to the left and three to the right of the central diametric ray. See Rays.
During a retrograde cycle, the planet's energy is most powerful when the planet makes a station, appearing motionless in the sky. These stationary periods occur at the beginning of the cycle (when the planet first halts as it prepares to move backwards) and midway through the cycle when the retrograde planet slows to a stop before moving forward again. See Retrograde Planets.
The power of a planet in a horary chart due to the sum total of the planet's dignities or debilities, both essential and accidental. In some questions the relative strength and house position of the main rulers will determine the answer. For example, in court questions whichever ruler has the most dignity (strength) and most favourably aspects the 10th cusp ruler or planet (the judge) is likely to win the case. [source: Glossary of Horary Astrology]
Platic (Plactic; Platick)
Wider aspect (more than 1 degree), yet within orb. See Partile.
Perhaps the greatest thinker of the Classical Age of Greece, Plato (c427–347 BCE), an Athenian, was a disciple of Socrates and mentor of Aristotle. His extraordinary abilities as a philosopher were matched by the brilliance and readability of his style. Since Socrates left no written documents, Plato's dialogues are our window into Socratic thought, though Plato's own contributions are also unsurpassed. When Socrates was unjustly executed, Plato fled Athens and travelled widely in Italy, Sicily, Egypt and Libya. He returned to found one of the first known learning institutes in Europe, the Academy, which remained deeply influential until 529 CE, when the pagan universities were closed by the Christian Emperor Justinian—and indeed later, when knowledge that had been taken to the East by scholars fleeing persecution was rediscovered in the Renaissance. Plato (and his Academy) influenced the development of astrology through his exposition of the ensouled nature of the celestials, planetary spheres, the spindle of necessity, world ages, destiny and the concept of a rationally ordered cosmos. Western philosophy has been described (by leading 20th C. philosopher A.N.Whitehead) as a series of footnotes to Plato.
From an old word meaning "wanderer", the planets are those heavenly bodies that seem to move through the zodiac (science says planets are massive bodies in our solar system that revolve in orbits around the Sun, so giving this impression to us earthlings). Those that do not move perceptibly are known as the Fixed Stars (even though they do move imperceptibly over vast periods of time). In astrology, the planets include the Sun, the Moon and the Moon's Nodes (Dragon's Head and Tail). These are the main focal points for the cosmic energies that affect us. More on Planets.
- A committee of modern astronomers has recently redefined the term "planet" to mean "any body massive enough to be round that is not a star but is orbiting one". They demoted Pluto (and promoted Ceres) to the status of "dwarf planet" in 2006. Pluto has also since (2008) been redefined as a "plutoid", a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) or Kyber Belt Object (KBO). These new definitions are generally irrelevant to astrology.
The five geometric solids that can be made using a regular polygon, having the same number of these polygons meeting at each corner. They are Platonic Year
The so-called "Great Year" of the precession of the polar axis, whereby the polar axis precesses around the pole of the ecliptic with a period of 25,725 years. This is what determines the Astrological Ages.
The philosophic system derived from the thought of Plato.
A cluster of seven stars in the head of Taurus, of which Alcyone is the brightest, known as harbingers of bad weather, eye problems, sorrow and general trouble, especially with women. Some astrologers also claim them as a marker for homosexuality. In Jyotish, they are seen as the lunar asterism Krittika. In mythology, the Pleiades, seven daughters of Atlas, were half-sisters to the Hyades, another cluster of seven stars in the head of Taurus. Interestingly, in Japan the Pleiades are called Subaru, the name and logo of the Subaru car.
Leading philosopher of late antiquity (205–270 CE), born in Lycopolis, Egypt. A Platonist, he studied in Alexandria under Ammonius Saccas, spending time in Persia before settling in Rome, where he formulated the philosophy which came to be known as Neoplatonism. These influential teachings are set out in the Enneads, compiled and edited by his disciple Porphry (who developed a useful astrological house system). Following Plato, he holds that the phenomenal world is but a reflection of a real, noumenal world which exists in the mind of the world-soul, an emanation of the divine mind, the Nous, itself an emanation of the One, the Absolute. Individual souls are also emanations, whose ultimate destiny is to be reunited with the One. Stars and planets are not seen as causes, but rather ensouled emanations, reflecting the nature of things as signs and symbols. True human happiness is to be found through ecstatic union with the One, a type of enlightenment, of liberation, as seen in Yoga, Tantra, Vedanta and Buddhism. His philosophy has had an immense influence on Astrology and Christianity, along with other strands of belief, religion and philosophy up to the present day. See Neoplatonism.
One of the outer, trans-personal planets, until recently the furthest known planet from the Sun, Pluto was located by Clyde Tombaugh on February 18, 1930. Some modern astrologers hold that it rules Scorpio; others allow it co-rulership with Mars, though traditional astrologers deny that Pluto has any pretensions to sign-rulership. It has recently been demoted by astronomers to the status of "dwarf planet" and "plutoid", but this has no effect on its astrological importance. More about Pluto..
Transiting Pluto square natal Pluto. A difficult aspect, occurring in mid-life.
A body in the Solar System whose shape is controlled by its own gravity, located beyond Neptune, small enough that it has "not cleared the neighbourhood around its own orbit". Pluto and Eris are now classed as plutoids by the IAU.
A now-defunct astronomical class of planetary bodies orbiting the Sun on the far side of Neptune. Pluto was classed as a pluton by contemporary astronomers before they realized that this is a well-established geological term for an intrusive rock mass. It was in 2006 classed as a "dwarf planet", but from June 2008 has been declared a "plutoid". See Dwarf Planet.
At the equator, the Pole Star lies exactly on the horizon. As we travel northwards towards the Pole, the Pole Star rises accordingly. The height of the Pole Star measured in degrees and minutes gives the latitude of the place where the viewer stands. In general, it is the latitude for which a chart is cast.
- tetrahedron (regular solid pyramid with 4 triangular faces)
- cube (regular solid with 6 square faces)
- octahedron (regular solid with 8 triangular faces)
- dodecahedron (regular solid with 12 pentagonal faces)
- icosahedron (regular solid with 20 triangular faces)
Cosmic energies are defined in astrology and occult work in general as either masculine (positive; objective; active; conscious; outgoing; hot; dry; penetrative; creative; electric; bright; yang) or feminine (negative; subjective; passive; subconscious; inward-looking; cool; moist; receptive; nourishing; magnetic; dark; yin). Each sign has been assigned a polarity, starting from Aries (masc.) and alternating between masculine and feminine in zodiacal order. The interaction between the two polarities maintains and develops the harmony and wellbeing of the cosmos and its inhabitants. The polarity of any relationship is the balance between the masculine and feminine forces at work.
- Any diametric opposition is considered a polarity. For example, the opposite pole of Aries is Libra, even though both are masculine signs. In this way opposing signs are considered harmonious, as Aries (fire) is aided by Libra (air), Taurus (earth) by Scorpio (water) and so on. Hence the first and seventh houses are the individual personality and bodily image, versus the partnership relations, respectively.
- The point opposite to the Sun's placement in a natal chart is called its polarity. This is useful in relationship analysis.
- There is also the idea that the Sun (masculine) is one pole of the life-force and the Moon (feminine) is the other. According to Alan Leo, their relationships in the chart determine the harmony or otherwise of the native's life.
A star which is in line with the axis of the Earth's rotation. This changes over extremely long periods of time due to the precession of the equinoxes, but the current Pole Star (in the northern hemisphere) is Polaris, the North Star, a Behenian Star in the 29th degree of Gemini.
So called because their orbits lie beyond the Earth and thus take a long time to complete. See Superior Planets.
Influential 3rd century pythagorean mathematician and neoplatonist philosopher. Born in Syria, he studied in Athens under Longinus and in Rome under Plotinus. Unfortunately, his main work Introduction to Astronomy in Three Books is now lost. An opponent of Christianity, he wrote a synthesis of Aristotle and Plato, a work on vegetarianism, a biography of Pythagoras, a commentary of Euclid, an introduction to Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos and developed an astrological House System. His commentary on Aristotle's Categories led to the later development of the study of Logic. A believer in divine justice (what we might call karma and reincarnation), he held the stars to be signs rather than causes, being part of the rational order of the cosmos.
Porphyry House System
Porphyry developed a simple astrological house system, with ascendant and mid-heaven as angular house cusps, the others being obtained by trisecting the arcs between the angles.
A Portion, in ancient Hellenistic astrology, was more or less equivalent to a degree of the zodiac.
An eclipse, either solar or lunar, which occurs in the months immediately following the birth of the native.
Sanscrit term for the 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 Ki, Qi, or Ch'i.
Precession (of the Equinoxes)
Due to the pole of the equator revolving around the pole of the ecliptic, the equinoctial point (Vernal Point) moves backward with relation to the constellations at the rate of approximately 50" per year. It makes a complete revolution through the twelve constellations in the great cosmic year of 25,920 earthly years, or 2160 years to pass through one constellation, or to be more exact, sign of the sidereal zodiac. Thus the position of the first degree of Aries in the tropical or moveable zodiac moves slowly backwards through the sidereal, or fixed zodiac. The discovery of precession is attributed to the Hellenic scientist Hipparchus in 128 BCE, but it was evidently known to initiates very much earlier, as shown by the alignment of the pyramids and other ancient indicators. There is disagreement among authorities as to the exact position of the Vernal Point (0° Aries) at present, but all are agreed that it means we are approaching the end of the Age of Pisces and entering the Age of Aquarius.
Empowering spiritual teacher.
Precessed Solar Return
Solar Return Chart corrected for precession.
Astrological forecast regarding a specific event in the future.
Astrology which is primarily concerned with prediction of events (Electional Astrology; Horary Astrology; Medical Astrology; Meteorological Astrology; Mundane Astrology), rather than astrologically-based personality analysis (Psychological Astrology; Natal Astrology; Relationship Astrology; Esoteric Astrology). These disciplines take quite different approaches and use different astrological techniques. See Event-Oriented Astrology.
An eclipse, either solar or lunar, which occurs in the months preceding the birth of the native. Not usually considered more than 12 months prior to the birthdate.
The astrological moment of conception, approximately nine months before birth. The Moon's place on epoch day, or its opposite, becomes either the ascending or descending sign and degree at birth. But is this really accurate? My own prenatal epoch actually features the Moon on the degree of my Moon, rather than the rising degree and the same goes for my wife. Or maybe our mothers didn't have nine month gestatory cycles...?
Very powerful. When a planet is stronger than others under consideration.
Method of directing based on a degree for a year. The degree concerned is found via the movement in Right Ascension of the mid-heaven (MC), which advances by a degree every 4 minutes or so. This reveals the influences that will occur during the lifetime of the native. It is calculated via the "primary" axial rotation of the Earth every 24 hours (360 degrees), so that the movement of the MC progresses through the signs at the rate of about one sign (30 degrees) per two hours (i.e. 4 minutes per degree). The term is also used for the mundane aspects made in the course of the 24 hour period, though in fact the full number of mundane aspects that can be created during the average lifetime will be seen in the directions of the first 6 hours.
See Primary Directions.
The Great Circle inscribed on the celestial sphere that passes through the east point, zenith, west point and nadir of any place, ie, the vertical plane over an observer that passes directly east-west and straight overhead.
See Elevated Pole, Depressed Pole.
- A mathematical point on the surface of a sphere, located on the diameter set at ninety degrees to the plane of its equator. For instance, the Earth's North and South Poles lie at the opposite end from all points on the earth's equator of the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle with its right angle at the centre of the earth on the plane of the equator.
- The Celestial Poles are the two points of intersection of the Earth's axis and the celestial sphere.
- Pole of the horoscope (Pole of the Ascendant) is the latitude of the place on which it is cast, determined by the polar elevation.
Proclus of Athens (412–485 CE), an authoritative philosopher and teacher, played a crucial role in the transmission of Neoplatonism through the Christian destruction of the Pagan world in late antiquity. Head of the Academy in Athens for some 50 years, he composed commentaries on Aristotle, Euclid and Plato, writing on metaphysics, theology, physics, astronomy, mathematics, ethics and traditions of religious wisdom (Orphism and Chaldæan Oracles). Proclus had a lasting influence on the development of the late Neoplatonic schools in Athens and in Alexandria. In a culture dominated by Christianity, Neoplatonic philosophers defended the superiority of the Hellenic traditions of wisdom. Proclus taught the harmony of the ancient religious revelations (the mythologies of Homer and Hesiod, the Orphic theogonies and the Chaldaean Oracles) and sought to integrate them in the philosophical tradition of Pythagoras and Plato.
Profection is a time lord system, based on a progression in the order of the signs from a given starting point. There are annual, monthly and daily profections for each planet or lot (arabic part). A "profection" is simply a "jump" from one sign to the next. For instance, an annual profection jumps from one sign to the next on your birthdate every year. If Fortuna was in Gemini when you were born, then the annual profection for Fortuna on your next birthday would be Cancer and so on. Profections also include any arbitrary symbolic movements, such as a day for a year, known as symbolic directions. [see: Zodiac X Files]
Originally meaning fore-knowledge and synonymous with prediction, this has now come to mean an estimate of a likely outcome.
A chart calculated for as many days after birth as there are years in the life of the native. This method is also known as Secondary Progression.
Planet in a progressed horoscope. Angles and other chart factors also progress.
- The first mover, original cause, the creator god
- The first moved, the eighth and outermost sphere, the "circle of the same", according to Plato, which in its daily motion around the Earth carried the Fixed Stars and constellations. It is the first moved because it was the first material creation of the creator god, a material reflection of the soul of the universe. It is the circle of the same, as opposed to the circles of difference, the spheres of the planets
- Subsequently, the first moved, the tenth and outermost sphere (beyond which lay the Empyrean, the fiery abode of the gods), which contained the fixed points of existence, such as the equinox and the solstice. The constellations and fixed stars were then enclosed in another, inferior sphere
Movement of or aspect to planet or sensitive point in progressed horoscope. In order of the standard hierarchy:
In Horary, when two significators are applying to a major aspect, but a third planet perfects a major aspect to one of the two significators before the original aspect culminates. Suggests outside interference in the outcome of the question.
Significator of certain events. In a Horary question of marriage, for instance, the lord of the seventh is Promittor. In Directions, according to Sephariel, a Promittor is a planet other than Sun or Moon.
"When an individual planet keeps to the Sun or Moon the same aspect which its house has to their houses; as, for example, when Venus is in sextile to the luminaries, provided that she is occidental to the Sun and oriental to the Moon, in accordance with the original arrangement of their houses." (Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos I:23)
- Primary (1 degree of right ascension of the MC equals 1 year of life)
- Secondary (1 day equals 1 year of life)
- Tertiary (1 day equals 1 month of life)
- Minor (1 lunar month equals 1 year of life)
The Alpheta: planet which upholds life.
Soul, inner being. Individualised elements of the inner being, as opposed to the cosmic or spiritual elements.
Direct Motion through the zodiac in order of the signs. See Retrograde Motion.
- Astronomers also consider the so-called proper motion of the stars, because as a star changes its absolute position in space, it will slowly change the direction in which it appears to be from Earth (which also changes its position as the Solar System moves through space). This miniscule actual movement of what had previously been thought of as the Fixed Stars was discovered by Sir Edmond Halley in 1718. The movement is of course massive in terms of miles as the universe expands, but seems miniscule to us because of the cosmic distances involved.
Paranormal ability to move physical objects using mind power alone.
Modern Western astrology, based in therapeutic ideas of personal development and the unfoldment of the personality, as opposed to the older idea of a fixed character and an unalterable fate. Growing out of Marc Edmund Jones's reformulation of astrology in the early 20th Century and the subsequent development by Dane Rudhyar of "humanistic" astrology, it purports to be a way of reconciling modern ideas of individual freedom with the supposed determinism of planetary influence through the concept of personal growth. The main approach involves detailed analysis of the natal chart, seen as a map to potential. No distinction is made between the older classes of benefic and malefic indicators, as all events are seen as possibilities or "potentialities" on the path of spiritual evolution. The influence of theosophy, psychotherapy, Freud and particularly Jung is strong. Forecasting is generally frowned upon by its practitioners, especially in America, presumably because this is seen as limiting to an individual's potential.
Scientific study of mental processes and behaviour.
- Intuition developed to an uncanny degree, usually entailing the ability to foresee the future, or the exercise of other paranormal talents, such as ESP, clairvoyance, teleportation, psychokinesis, astral projection (remote viewing), visions of ghosts etc.
- Person who exhibits paranormal abilities, particularly clairvoyance.
Treatment of behavioural and emotional problems through one-to-one contact with the therapist. Usually done through talking and other forms of communication, such as self-expression through creative activities, and often through massage, group discussions and the like rather than by using drugs. Modern psychological astrology is based in therapeutic ideas of personal development and the unfoldment of the personality, as opposed to the older idea of a fixed character and an unalterable fate.
Sextile, square, trine, and opposition, defined by Ptolemy. He also allowed that planets could form the "corporeal conjunction", though this is technically not an aspect, but a conjunction.
Ancient geocentric cosmic schema, based in the common-sense belief that the planets, Sun, Moon and stars revolved around the earth. Formalised by Hellenic astrologer Ptolemy.
Leading astronomer, astrologer and geographer of the Hellenic world, Claudius Ptolemæus, Ptolemy, was a Greek scholar living in Alexandria between 87 and 150 AD. He formalised the Ptolemaic geocentric system that dominated the Western worldview until after the development of the Copernican heliocentric system in the sixteenth century. His Almagest gave a mathematical basis to astronomy and the Tetrabiblos set out the principles of astrology. His Geography was also a massively influential work which, translated into Latin in the early 1400's and showing that the world was round, eventually led to the discovery by Europeans of the Americas.
Greek philosopher (ca.570 – ca.480 BCE) who first formalised the study of Number in the West. His work as a mathematician and geometer is renowned, but he and his followers were primarily concerned with uncovering the inner, spiritual meaning of the underlying numerical structure of our lives. This has deeply influenced architecture through the ideals of sacred geometry, but has also had a profound effect on music, art, science and religion. It lies at the basis of astrology, underpinning our understanding of the relationships between the planets, the signs and the aspects.
- Paranormal technique to receive insights or impressions from a physical object through the sense of touch. Often used by psychic investigators to find missing people, or to solve crimes.
- Technique for discovering information, especially for diagnostic purposes, using a device or intermediary, such as a pendulum, or a muscle test.