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Astrology Glossary

Astrological Terms Library


Key Terms and Concepts

Astrology has its own unique language and terminology that can sometimes feel overwhelming to newcomers.

This glossary serves as a guide to the core astrological terms and concepts that are fundamental to understanding how astrology works. From the planets and zodiac signs to the houses and aspects, these are the building blocks that astrologers use to interpret natal charts and horoscopes.

With this resource, you can quickly look up any astrological words or phrases that you may encounter while learning more about this ancient practice on MatchMachine. Whether you are an absolute beginner or looking to deepen your astrological knowledge, this glossary will help illuminate the meanings of the astrological lexicon.

Refer to it anytime you need a quick reference for essential astrology vocabulary.


a graphic of a synastry chart


 Synastry is an astrological technique of comparing the natal charts of two people to assess their relationship dynamics and compatibility. It involves analyzing how the planets, signs, houses, and aspects between charts interact with each other.

Some key points about Synastry:

  • It provides insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a relationship by revealing the flow of energy between two people. Harmonious connections indicate compatibility while discordant ones point to challenges.
  • When interpreting synastry, astrologers look at aspects formed between planets in one chart to planets and points in the other chart. Conjunctions, trines and sextiles tend to be harmonizing while squares and oppositions suggest friction.
  • Particular emphasis is placed on how the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mars from one chart interact with the other person's chart. These planets reveal information about identity, emotions, love and sexuality in relationships.
  • Synastry can reveal areas of mutual understanding vs potential conflict, as well as the dynamic of power and who tends to be the leader or follower.
  • Having connections between inner planets and outer planets between charts generates strong attraction and a feeling of being "destined" to meet.
  • Synastry provides insight but a full analysis requires considering both people's natal charts and composite chart to get the whole picture.

In summary, Synastry in astrology is the technique of comparing two natal charts to gauge compatibility and understand relationship dynamics through the planetary connections formed between them.

an icon of two people finding love

Mutual Reception

Mutual reception occurs when two planets are in each other's ruling signs in an astrological chart.

For example, Venus is in Aries while Mars is in Taurus. Venus rules Taurus and Mars rules Aries, so the planets receive each other mutually.

This creates a powerful exchange of energies between the planets involved. It connects their significations and blending their planetary influences. The planets empower one another, acting as benefics.

Some key points about mutual reception:

  • It links the topics associated with each planet together in a complementary way. For the Venus/Mars example, it combines romance, beauty and harmony (Venus) with drive, passion and sexuality (Mars).
  • Planets in mutual reception can "trade places" in how they manifest in the chart. Venus in Aries may take on more Mars-like assertiveness while Mars in Taurus channels more Venusian creativity and charm.
  • The reception creates communication and ease between the planets. Their energies flow well together and reinforce each other.
  • Having mutual reception between chart rulers creates a profoundly close tie between the planets' energies in the native's personality and life.

Mutual Reception can also occur in a synastry context, where there can be mutual receptions between two people.  The more receptions there are, the more "at home" the pair feels about themselves.

In synastry, mutual reception occurs when person A's planet falls into the sign ruled by person B's planet, and vice versa. This indicates the planetary energies flow harmoniously between the two individuals.

For example:

  • Person A has Venus in Cancer, person B has the Moon in Taurus. The Moon rules Cancer, so it receives Venus. Venus rules Taurus, so it receives the Moon. This connects romance/affection and emotions/nurturing between the couple.
  • Person A has Mars in Pisces, person B has Neptune in Aries. Mars rules Aries, so it receives Neptune. Neptune rules Pisces, so it receives Mars. This blends passion/sexuality and spirituality/mysticism in the relationship.
  • Person A has Mercury in Scorpio, person B has Pluto in Virgo. Mercury rules Virgo, so it receives Pluto. Pluto co-rules Scorpio, so it receives Mercury. This links communication and transformation in the partnership.
  • Person A's Sun in Leo, person B's Sun in Aquarius. The Sun rules Leo, so it receives the other person's Sun. This solar exchange vitalizes identity and purpose.

Having the rulers of each person's chart (chart rulers) in mutual reception can be especially harmonizing and bonding.

Mutual reception allows the planets involved to operate more fluently together, facilitating compatibility. The areas of life associated with the planets are merging points where the synastry flows gracefully.


 an ancient book of astrology

Astrological Terms

Anaretic Degree: Positioned at the 29° in a sign, the anaretic or "fated" degree is often considered a critical point, carrying intense energy. Traditionally viewed as negative, it presents specific challenges related to the characteristics of the sign. It may symbolize lessons to be learned or hurdles to be overcome, signifying a transitional phase or crisis point.

Air Signs: The air signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are connected to the element of air, representing intellect, communication, and sociability. Gemini focuses on information and interaction, Libra emphasizes balance and relationships, while Aquarius stresses innovation and humanitarianism. These signs are often analytical, adaptable, and driven by mental pursuits.

Angle: The angles in an astrological chart include the ascendant (self, personality), descendant (relationships, partnerships), midheaven (career, public life), and nadir (home, family, roots). These cardinal points highlight key areas of an individual's life, reflecting fundamental human experiences and personal growth.

Arabic Parts: Arabic Parts are specific points calculated from the positions of planets and angles in an astrological chart. Each Part corresponds to unique themes or areas such as love, destiny, or fortune. By interpreting these, astrologers can gain nuanced insights into an individual's character and life path.

Aries: Aries, the first sign in the zodiac and ruled by Mars, embodies a cardinal fire sign's energy. Characterized by its independent, competitive, and pioneering spirit, Aries individuals are often driven by desire, assertiveness, and ambition. They're known for initiating action, leading with courage, and thriving in challenges.

Ascendant: Often referred to as the rising sign, the Ascendant signifies the zodiac sign emerging on the eastern horizon at the exact time of one's birth. It represents the outward expression, first impressions, and the general approach to life's circumstances. It's a key factor in defining personality and can modify Sun sign characteristics.

Aspects: In astrology, aspects are the angles formed between planets in a chart. Key aspects such as conjunction (0°), sextile (60°), square (90°), trine (120°), and opposition (180°) play a significant role in shaping the blend of planetary energies. They influence individual characteristics, relationships, and events by enhancing or challenging the natural flow of energies.

Aspect Pattern: Aspect patterns are specific shapes formed by interconnecting aspects between planets, such as the Grand Cross, T-Square, Stellium, and others. These complex configurations indicate particular energy dynamics, psychological themes, or tendencies in a person's chart. They provide a deeper understanding of character traits and potential life challenges.

Asteroid: Asteroids are minor celestial bodies primarily located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Some prominent named asteroids like Chiron, Ceres, and Pallas are used in astrology. They add nuances to a birth chart, highlighting specific themes or characteristics often overlooked by major planetary aspects.

Astrology: Astrology is a study and belief system that interprets the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies, such as planets and stars, to gain insights into terrestrial events, human nature, and destiny. Through complex systems and symbolic language, astrology explores personality, relationships, and life paths.

Birth Chart: A birth chart, also known as a natal chart, is a snapshot of the sky at the exact time, date, and location of a person's birth. It serves as the foundation for astrological analysis, depicting the positions of celestial bodies and how they interact, revealing innate characteristics, strengths, challenges, and life potential.

Cancer: Governed by the Moon, Cancer is the fourth sign in the zodiac and embodies cardinal water energy. Recognized for its emotional depth, nurturing tendencies, and strong need for security and connection, Cancer seeks to care for others and values family and home life.

Capricorn: The tenth zodiac sign, ruled by Saturn, Capricorn is a cardinal earth sign renowned for its ambition, discipline, responsibility, and adherence to traditional values. Often focused on career and long-term goals, Capricorn seeks structure, stability, and practical achievements.

Cardinal Signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn are cardinal signs, marking the commencement of the seasons in the tropical zodiac. Characterized by initiating energy, they drive new beginnings and are proactive, ambitious, and often seen as leaders in their fields.

Chart Ruler: The chart ruler is the planet that rules the sign of the Ascendant in a birth chart. It holds significant influence over the core personality attributes, life focus, and overall theme of the chart. Understanding the chart ruler provides insights into the individual's main drives and areas of growth.

Composite Chart: A composite chart represents the relationship dynamics between two individuals. Created using the midpoints of their natal planets, it symbolizes the "relationship as a separate entity" and can reveal compatibility, shared goals, challenges, and the overall purpose of the relationship.

Conjunction: An aspect known as a conjunction forms a 0-degree angle between two or more planets in a birth chart. This close proximity allows the planets to blend and amplify their energies, creating powerful synergies or conflicts, depending on the nature of the planets involved.

Critical Degrees : These are specific degrees of the zodiac that are considered potent or highlighted, such as 0, 13, and 26 degrees of cardinal signs. They can add intensity or special significance to a planet's placement in a birth chart, emphasizing certain qualities or themes in a person's life.

Descendant: Positioned directly opposite the Ascendant in an astrological chart, the Descendant provides insights into partnerships, relationships, and how an individual approaches and perceives others. It may reveal qualities sought in others and themes within personal and business relationships.

Dignities: In astrology, dignities refer to the strengths or weaknesses of planets based on their sign placement. A planet in its domicile, exaltation, triplicity, or term is considered strong or dignified, while a planet in its detriment or fall is considered weak or debilitated, influencing its effectiveness in the chart.

Earth Signs: Comprising Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, Earth signs derive qualities from the earth element. They are characterized by practicality, material focus, sensibility, and a grounded nature. These signs value stability, hard work, and tangible achievements, often displaying a meticulous and realistic approach to life.

Eclipse - An eclipse occurs when the Sun, Moon, and Earth perfectly align during a new or full moon. In astrology, an eclipse symbolizes major life events, transformations, or revelations, often ushering significant changes, endings, or new beginnings that align with an individual's growth and destiny.

Ecliptic: The ecliptic is the Sun's apparent yearly path across the celestial sphere, forming the basis of the zodiac's formation. It's the path along which the planets move, and the zodiac signs are divisions along this circle, central to astrological interpretations and calculations.

Equator: In geography, the equator is an imaginary line dividing Earth into Northern and Southern hemispheres. In astrology, its location has a bearing on the House system used in a chart, affecting the calculation and interpretation of the houses.

Fire Signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius belong to the fire element, known for their passionate, creative, adventurous, and energetic nature. These signs often seek inspiration, excitement, and self-expression, leading with enthusiasm, courage, and a zest for life.

Fixed Signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius are fixed signs, characterized by their determination, steadfastness, stubbornness, and resistance to change. They provide stability, persistence, and focus, often anchoring projects and seeing things through to completion.

Gemini: The third zodiac sign, Gemini is ruled by Mercury and is a mutable air sign. Known for its communicative, intellectual, and social traits, Gemini embraces variety, adaptability, and a constant quest for knowledge, often thriving in dynamic and stimulating environments.

Grand Trine: A Grand Trine is a harmonious aspect involving three planets positioned approximately 120 degrees apart, forming a triangle in the chart. Often considered beneficial, it symbolizes ease, talent, and flow in the areas represented by the involved planets and signs.

Great Conjunction: The Great Conjunction is an astronomical and astrological event where Jupiter and Saturn converge in the sky. Occurring roughly every 20 years, it symbolizes significant societal shifts, new cycles, and the blending of expansion (Jupiter) and structure (Saturn).

Houses: In astrology, the 12 houses divide the birth chart, corresponding to specific life areas such as self, money, communication, family, creativity, health, relationships, career, community, spirituality, and more. The planets within each house influence its significance and manifestation in a person's life.

Jupiter : Known as the planet of luck, expansion, and wisdom, Jupiter symbolizes growth, adventure, and optimism in astrology. It governs philosophical thinking, higher education, and spiritual insight, often revealing where one may find opportunities, success, and broad understanding.

Leo: The fifth zodiac sign, Leo is ruled by the Sun and is a fixed fire sign. Celebrated for its charismatic, confident, and regal nature, Leo embodies creativity, leadership, and a desire to shine, often seeking recognition, self-expression, and enjoyment in life.

Libra: As the seventh sign, governed by Venus, Libra is a cardinal air sign recognized for its quest for harmony, sociability, and aesthetic sensibilities. It seeks balance and fairness in relationships, valuing cooperation, diplomacy, and grace.

Lunar Nodes : Points where the Moon's orbit crosses the ecliptic, the North and South Nodes in astrology indicate personal growth, destiny, and life lessons. The North Node represents the future and where one is headed, while the South Node represents the past and innate tendencies.

Mars: The planet of energy, action, and desire, Mars symbolizes drive, aggression, and sexuality in astrology. It indicates how one asserts themselves, seeks goals, and approaches conflict, reflecting ambition, courage, and willpower.

Mercury: Known as the planet of communication and intellect, Mercury governs thinking styles, information exchange, learning, and decision-making in astrology. It represents how one perceives, processes, and shares ideas, often highlighting intellectual agility and curiosity.

Midheaven: The point at the top of the natal chart, known as the Medium Coeli (MC), the Midheaven indicates career goals, public image, reputation, and achievements. It reflects one's ambitions, social standing, and how others perceive them in the public sphere.

Modalities: These are the three qualities assigned to zodiac signs—cardinal (initiating), fixed (stabilizing), and mutable (adapting)—reflecting how they approach life and react to circumstances. Each modality brings unique characteristics and motivations.

Moon: In astrology, the Moon represents emotions, instincts, motherhood, and nurturance. It governs needs, feelings, unconscious patterns, and intuitive responses, often revealing the emotional undercurrents and inner needs that drive behavior.

Mutable Signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces are the mutable signs of the zodiac, known for their flexibility, adaptability, and ability to embrace change. They facilitate transitions and can be versatile, responsive, and open to different perspectives.

Nadir: Positioned opposite to the Midheaven, the Nadir (Imum Coeli) relates to one's roots, home, inner world, and personal life. It symbolizes the foundation, family history, private self, and emotional grounding.

Natal Chart: A natal chart is a personalized astrological diagram capturing the planetary positions at one's exact time, date, and place of birth. It serves as a cosmic map, offering insights into personality traits, potential, relationships, career, and life path.

Opposition: An opposition is an aspect formed when two planets are situated approximately 180 degrees apart in a chart. It often indicates tension, challenge, or polarity that requires integration, balance, and awareness to manifest constructively.

Pisces: The twelfth zodiac sign, Pisces is ruled by Neptune and is a mutable water sign. Compassionate, sensitive, and mystical, Pisces embodies empathy, intuition, and spiritual awareness. It seeks connection, understanding, and often expresses itself through art, healing, and self-sacrifice.

Planet: In astrology, the term "planet" includes the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Each of these celestial bodies symbolizes specific psychological functions and themes in an individual's birth chart.

Pluto: Known as the planet of transformation and power, Pluto governs destruction, rebirth, obsession, and control in astrology. It reveals where deep-seated changes and empowerment can occur, often exposing hidden truths, fears, and profound growth.

Progressed Chart: A progressed chart is derived from one's natal chart, advancing a day for each year of life. It reflects internal evolution, development, and the unfolding of personal potentials over time. It's a dynamic tool to explore ongoing trends and phases in one's life.

Quincunx: An aspect formed when two planets are approximately 150 degrees apart, the quincunx signals a need for adjustment, adaptation, or resolution of conflicting energies. It can bring discomfort, ambiguity, and requires careful navigation to integrate.

Rectification: A specialized process in astrology used to determine a person's accurate birth time when it's unknown or uncertain. By analyzing significant events and life milestones, the astrologer works backward to fine-tune the birth time, ensuring a precise natal chart.

Retrograde: This is the apparent backward motion of a planet as viewed from Earth, an illusion caused by differences in orbital speeds. In astrology, retrograde periods often signify internal reflection, review, and reevaluation of the themes related to the retrograde planet.

Rising Sign: Also referred to as the Ascendant, the rising sign is the zodiac sign appearing on the eastern horizon at the time of birth. It indicates one's outward behavior, first impressions, and approach to life, shaping the lens through which the world is perceived.

Sagittarius: The ninth zodiac sign, ruled by Jupiter, Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign. Philosophical, adventurous, and outspoken, Sagittarius seeks truth, wisdom, and expansion, often driven by curiosity, optimism, and a love for freedom and exploration.

Saturn: The planet of structure, discipline, and challenge, Saturn governs limitations, responsibilities, and order in astrology. It reflects where hard work, patience, and perseverance are required, often teaching valuable lessons through trials and maturation.

Saturn Return: A significant astrological event, the Saturn Return marks Saturn's return to its natal position, occurring around ages 27-30, 58-60, and 88-90. It often signifies a period of self-discovery, restructuring, and major life shifts, as one steps into a new phase of maturity and responsibility.

Scorpio: The eighth zodiac sign, Scorpio is co-ruled by Pluto and Mars and is a fixed water sign. Known for its intensity, secretiveness, and power, Scorpio is probing, transformative, and seeks to understand life's mysteries, often displaying resilience, determination, and passion.

Sextile: A 60-degree aspect between two planets, the sextile represents an easy flow and compatible use of planetary energies. It promotes collaboration, opportunity, and often brings talents and skills into a harmonious working relationship.

Sign: One of the 12 zodiac signs, each corresponding to a constellation. These signs provide core personality traits, inclinations, and behaviors, forming the fundamental archetypes in astrology.

Square: A 90-degree aspect between planets, the square creates friction, tension, and challenges between the energies involved. It drives growth through conflict and resolution, demanding effort, and adaptability to overcome obstacles.

Stellium: A grouping of three or more planets in a sign or house, a stellium brings intense focus and concentration to the attributes and themes of that specific area, often dominating the birth chart's expression.

Sun Sign: The zodiac sign the Sun occupied at your birth, determined by the month and day. The Sun sign represents the ego, core identity, and central self-expression, often what people identify with most readily.

Synastry: The comparison and interaction of two natal charts to analyze relationship compatibility. Synastry reveals the dynamics, strengths, challenges, and potentials within a relationship, whether romantic, familial, or professional.

Taurus: The second zodiac sign, ruled by Venus, Taurus is a fixed earth sign. Embodying reliability, loyalty, and sensuality, Taurus seeks stability, comfort, and delights in the pleasures of the senses, often displaying patience and a love for nature.

Transit: Refers to the current position of a planet as it moves through the zodiac. Transits interact with the natal chart, activating different life areas and providing opportunities, challenges, or shifts in various aspects of life.

Trine: A harmonious 120-degree aspect between planets, the trine supports the easy and compatible blending of energies. It enhances natural talents, facilitates growth, and often signifies areas of ease and flow in life.

Triplicities: Groupings of fire, earth, air, and water signs based on the elemental affinity. These categories reflect a shared nature and approach to life, infusing the signs with common traits and expressions.

Uranus: The planet of change, rebellion, and innovation, Uranus governs revolution, eccentricity, and technology in astrology. It catalyzes breakthroughs, surprises, and sudden shifts, often urging freedom from conventional norms.

Venus: The planet of love, beauty, and aesthetics, Venus governs romance, art, luxuries, values, and pleasure in astrology. It reflects how individuals relate, appreciate, and find harmony, often highlighting their social graces, artistic talents, and attractions.

Virgo : The sixth zodiac sign, Virgo is ruled by Mercury and is a mutable earth sign. Known for its analytical nature, attention to detail, and health consciousness, Virgo seeks order, efficiency, and purity, often in service to others.

Void of Course: A period when a planet makes no major aspects before changing signs, often considered a time of pause, reflection, or unpredictability in astrological interpretation.

Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are the water signs, guided by emotions and intuition. They embody empathy, sensitivity, depth, and often seek emotional connection, understanding, and healing.

Yod: A rare aspect pattern formed by two quincunxes and a sextile, known as the "Finger of God." The Yod indicates a pivotal life event or profound transformation, often requiring intense focus, alignment, and fulfillment of a unique destiny.

Zodiac: A belt of celestial space containing the Sun's apparent path, divided into 12 equal parts, each named after the constellation that originally appeared in its sector. It's the foundational framework of astrology, reflecting the cosmic rhythm and archetypal principles.


Ben Baker, CEO

About the Author

Ben has practiced Astrology for over 35 years and is a certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT) Practitioner.  Ben holds 11 patents for the core functions that all dating sites now use today.  See Ben's Bio for more info.