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Glossary of Astrology & other terms   



The cold season comprising the two lunar months of Magha and Phalguna which approximately correspond to 20th January to 20th March. Saturn rules this season.


The heavenly porpoise. The planetary sphere, which, as described, in the Vishnu Purana, has the shape of a porpoise, Vishnu being seated in its heart, and Dhruva (q.v.), the pole star, in its tail. As Dhruva revolves, it causes Sun, Moon, and other planets to go round, and the asterisms follow in its circular path, for all the celestial luminaries are, in fact, bound to the pole star by an aerial cord. The Vishnu Purana further states that the person who sees the constellation redeems his sins for a very long time.


[Shiva = auspicious, propitious]. The third person of Hindu Trinity known as Shiva, the destroyer, while the other two are Brahma, the creator, and Vishnu, the preserver. Shiva is also known as Shankar (meaning he who confers happiness and prosperity), Mahadeva (the great, lord), Bholenath (the lord of primeval innocence), Trilochan (the person with three eyes) and Rudra (the fierce). He is considered as Yogishwar, the ultimate objective of all yogis.
The Puranic stories describe Mars as arising from the sweat of Shiva when he was extremely desolate in the absence of his consort, Parvati. Kartikeya (q.v.) was born of his virility to destroy the demon Taraka. Shukra, Venus, rose from his sexual impulse aroused by the seductive appearance of Vishnu, a form in which he (Vishnu) had beguiled and destroyed Bhasmasura, a demon, who had become almost invincible due to Shiva's boon.


The planetary combination formed by the placement of the lord of the 5th house in the 9th house, the lord of the 9th house in the 10th house, and the lord of the 10th house in the 5th house. The combination makes the individual born under it an invincible conqueror, an eminent scholar and a religious person.


See Sobhakrita.


The 37th year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.). It is ruled by Vishnu. Persons born during this year are balanced, quiet, courageous and charitable in disposition.


One-sixteenth (1/16) part of a zodiacal sign, each part being equal to 10 52' 30". The planetary ruler ship over these parts begins with cardinal signs: the first Shodasamsa in cardinal signs is ruled by Mars, the ruler of Aries; in fixed signs. Sun, the ruler of Leo, becomes the first ruler; and for common signs, the ruler ship begins with Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius. The deities presiding over them follow the cyclic order of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Surya consecutively. The second and subsequent ruler ships are assigned to the lords of the next signs. For example, in the series with Jupiter as the initial ruler, the subsequent parts are ruled by Saturn (the lord of Capricorn), Saturn (the lord of Aquarius), Jupiter (the lord of Pisces) and Mars (the lord of Aries) and so on.


The Data system (q.v.) applicable to an individual born under Chandra Hora, (q.v.) the darker half of a lunar month, but under the Sun Hora if born during the brighter half of the lunar month.

Direction (q.v.) under this system is worked out as follows. Birth asterism is counted from Pushya and is divided by 8; the remainder gives the planetary ruler ship at birth. If the remainder is 1, it indicates the ruler ship of Sun. The sequence and the period of ruler ship of different planets are as follows:

1=Sun, 11 years; 2=Mars, 12 years; 3=Jupiter, 13 years; 4=Saturn, 14 years; 5=Ketu, 15 years; 6=Moon, 16 years; 7=Mercury, 17 years; and 8=Venus, 18 years. Rahu does not have ruler ship under this system.


The 22nd asterism extending from 2800 00' to 2930 20' of the zodiac. It is ruled by Moon; its presiding deity is Vishnu. Its basic attribute is Sattwa, harmony. Its primary motivation comes from Artha, the goal-directed activity. It is symbolized by an ear; sometimes an arrow is inscribed for it.

It is an outcaste by class, a monkey by species, a man by temperament, and a quadruped by animal type. It is related with north direction. It leads the individual to an inner understanding of spiritual life, conformity with traditional values and makes him a sustaining force for the society.


The planetary combination constituted by the lords of the 2nd and 9th houses together in a cardinal house along with its lords while Jupiter is expecting this house. The combination enables the individual to attain an eminent position in the society and honor by the state. The combination begins giving results after the age of 22 years.


A planetary combination formed by the lords of the 9th and 10th houses in a cardinal position from each other, while the ascendant is expected by Jupiter. An individual born under this combination is proficient in his profession, charitable in disposition and is respected by the society.


The 7th year in the cycle of 60 Sanivatsaras (q.v.). It is ruled by Brahma. Persons born during this year are rich, religious, arrogant, and traders of metals.


A planetary combination formed by the placement of the lord of the 7th house in the 10th house, and the lord of the 9th house placed with the lord of the 10th house. If the lord of the 7th house or the lord of the 10th house is exalted, the combination becomes very powerful. It makes the individual born under it equivalent to Indra (q.v.), the god of gods: he enjoys much power, status and wealth. He lives a very long life.


A planetary combination formed by the placement of all planets in the ascendant, 5th and 9th houses. It makes the concluding part of one's life happy and contented.


Auspicious. Benefices, viz., Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and a strong Moon


The lord of the Navamsa sign of the lord of the 9th house in exaltation while the lord of the 2nd house occupies the 9th house-this combination constitutes Shubha Yoga. An individual born under it is learned, well behaved, polite and devoted to religion. He lives a long life.


The 36th year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.). It is ruled by Vishnu. Persons born during this year are dutiful, graceful, wise, religious, austere, and protective of their subordinates.


An auspicious combination formed by the flanking of a planet or a house by two benefices in strength. It leads to unexpected support in life in relation with the planet/house concerned.


White. It is also the name of the 3rd year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.). It is ruled by Brahma. Persons born during this year are pure at heart, quiet, gentle, fond of women, philanthropists, but (personally) poor.


Brighter half of a lunar month.


The planet Venus and its regent. The Puranic stories relate his birth with the downward movement of Shiva's creative fluid aroused by the ' seductive form of Vishnu, which he had assumed to beguile Bhasmasura, a demon, to his destruction. Shiva wanted to see that form at the instance of Parvati.

Shukracharya is said to be the priest of Bali and other Daityas which made him Daityaguru, the preceptor of demons. He is one-eyed, the other one having been destroyed when Bali was preparing to offer his entire kingdom to Vamanavatar (q.v.) in fulfillment of his vow of gift which Shukra wanted to stop as he did not approve of the gift.

He is also said to possess the ambrosial drink, Mritasanjivani, which could bring the dead to life. He is also identified with Usana, who authored Dharma Shastra, the code of righteous living. Shukra is also known by his patronymic Bhargava, as well as by Bhrigu and Kavi. Venus, the planet, is presided over by Kamadeva, the Indian Cupid.

Shukra represents semen virile and is the signification of wife, marital felicity, conveyance, perfumes and ornaments. Venus is watery as element, phlegmatic in body humors and white in color, Brahmin by caste, young in appearance and is related with the south-eastern direction. It is Raja sic by temperament, strong in the afternoon, aquatic and biped by species, and has a strong affinity to diamond. It is auspicious in its effect.

Venus owns Taurus and Libra. It is exalted in Pisces and is debilitated in Virgo.


See Sankhya Yoga. It is one of the Sankhya Yogas. Individuals born under it are short-tempered, fond of material attainments but very poor. The physical body bears marks of physical injuries.


White. The planet Venus. One of the minor dwipas (islands) in Puranic stories which in occult literature is described as the "White Island". Sometimes it is considered as another name for Shambala (q.v.).


Accomplished. Semi-divine beings of great purity and holiness. They are so characterised by possession of eight Siddhis (q.v.).


[Siddhanta = established doctrines]. An aspect of astrological science which lays down rules for the determination of planetary positions. Surya Siddhanta deals with Sun, taking into account the part of ecliptic, the tilting of Earth's axis, solar transits in zodiacal signs, solar ingress and such other details


One who is born to accomplish his desire. A name given to Gautam Buddha at his birth. It is also the name of the 53rd year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.), ruled by Shiva. Persons born during this year are learned, well-versed in Vedic scriptures, quiet, philanthropists, tender at heart and are respected by the state.


Accomplishments. Superhuman or supernatural powers achieved by yogic practices. Attributes of perfection. The eight Siddhis for men are (i) Anima, the power to become as small as an atom; (ii) Laghima, the power to assume excessive lightness at will; (iii) Prapti, the power to obtain anything which is desired; (iv) Mahima or Garima, the power to increase one's size at will; (v) Ishitwam, the assumption of superiority or greatness; (vi) Prakamyam, acquisition of irresistible will; (vii) Vashitwam, the power to hold others in subjugation to one's will; and (viii) Kamawasayitha, the power to control one's passions and desires. Patanjah, in his Yoga Sutras, has listed 29 Siddhis which inter alia include Prajna, the attainment of the light of higher consciousness; and Atitanagat Jnanam, the knowledge of the past and future; the power to make an object invisible; the power to make any sound inaudible; and the knowledge of the time of one's death.


The interval between two successive passages of the vernal equinoxes (q.v.) over the meridian, being about 4 minutes shorter than a mean solar day. Sidereal hour is 1/24th part of the sidereal day.


Light pertaining to the stars. A term used in spiritual literature where it refers to influences- emanating from stellar regions. It is generally associated with Paracelsus. It is a concept analogues to the later concept of the Astral Light (q.v.). Sidereal light, astral light and Akasha are identical concepts referring to the "mysterious all-pervading cause": they are the mysterious living as well as the indwelling fire in every form of manifestation, which expresses itself through phenomenalisation of primeval subjectivity, Neumann. The planets, through their radiance, externalize this inherent subjective core of the primordial essence.

Time measured by, apparent diurnal motion of stars. At any moment of time it is defined as the "west hour angle of the first point of Aries (vernal equinoctial point) from the upper meridian of the place," hour angle being the angular distance on the celestial sphere measured west-ward, along the celestial equator from the meridian to the hour circle that passes through a celestial object, while hour circle is a great circle on the celestial sphere that passes through the celestial poles and a perpendicular to the celestial equator.

Sidereal time means time deter-mined by or from the stars. It is time determined in relation with the passage of Sun across the meridian: at mean noon, 12 o'clock local mean time (LMT) on any day, sidereal time is the Right Ascension (q.v.) of the fictitious mean Sun which is defined as the tropical mean longitude of Sun at the moment, as affected by mean aberration. Sidereal time system is derived from Earth's rotation with respect to the stars. The duration of sidereal day in mean solar time is 23 hrs 56 min. 4.091 sec.


The duration of time equal to the interval representing the time required by Earth to complete one revolution around Sun, measured with relation to the fixed stars.


Karaka (q.v.). Planet's basic opera-tional base, agency or the impulse, e.g., Sun is the significator of father; Moon, of mother, Mercury, of intelli-gence; and so on.


The Virgin Ascetics. The Kumars (q.v.) are said to be the Silent Watchers, who, from the fourth cosmic plane, known as Janahloka (q.v.) in Puranic literature, are said to be watching the operation of the evolutionary impulses and are supposed to intervene only in the improbable event of any catastrophic deviation from the destined course.

The Puranic legends also speak of these Virgin Ascetics as being manifested (or born) of Brahma for the purpose of starting generative creation, but they abstained them-selves from it considered it to be an impure act, and stayed only at the higher planes.


The 5th zodiacal sign. See Leo.


A planetary combination formed by the planets occupying the 6th, 8th and 2nd houses from the ascendant. The combination places the individual at the centre of authority and power.


See Pristodaya.


[Sita = A furrow]. In the Vedas, Sita is the furrow, or husbandry personified and worshiped as a deity presiding over agriculture and fruits. In the Ramayana, Sita is described as the daughter of Janaka, the king of Videha, and the wife of Rama (q.v.). The Vedic idea still adhered to her, for she is said to have sprung from the furrow: she arose from the earth when Janaka was plugging his fields. She is said to have lived in Satya Yuga as Vedavati. She and Goddess Lakshmi are supposed to be the same person.


See Kartikeya.


Entry of Sun in a sign. It refers to Sun's transit at its longitude as in the natal chart. The planetary positions at this epoch 'indicate the events likely to occur during the year.


Either of the two points in Sun's path at which it is farthest north or south from the equator.


The juice of a climbing plant (Asclepiasacida), which when extracted and fermented, forms a beverage, offered in libations, to the deities, and is drunk by the Brahmins. In the Rig Veda, it was elevated to the position of a deity, and represented to be primeval, all powerful, healing all diseases, bestowed of riches, lord of other gods, and even identified with the Supreme Being.

Soma is also the presiding deity of Moon and is said to have abducted and seduced the wife of Brihaspati (Jupiter), which resulted in the war between gods and demons as well as in the birth of Buddha, the planet Mercury. (See Moon)


Details of the longitude of a planet; extension of a house division (Bhava) and of its cusp.


[Sphuta = opening, blossoming]. Calculations relating to the possibility of having an offspring. Three important sphutas are considered in this regard: (i) Beeja (seed) sphuta, (ii) Kshetra (field) sphuta, and (iii) Putra tithi (opportune date for impregnation) sphuta. Beeja sphuta is obtained by adding the longitude of Sun, Venus and Jupiter in the husband's chart. The sum indicates a sign and its Navamsa. If both of these are in odd signs, virility is present and the chances of an offspring are good. If both are in even signs, virility and the chance of progeny are both absent. If one is odd and the other is even, the progeny may be delayed.
Kshetra sphuta is worked out by adding the longitudes of Jupiter, Moon and Mars in the wife's natal chart. If the sign and Navamsa thus obtained are both in even signs, fertility and chances of progeny are assured. In case both are in odd signs, the progeny will be delayed or even denied. If one is odd and the other is even, there may be a delay but the progeny can be expected. Putra tithe sphuta is decisive in progeny prediction. It is determined as follows: Multiply the longitudes of natal Moon and Sun separately by 5, subtract the result obtained from Sun from that of Moon, and convert the result into degrees, minutes, etc. Divide it by 12. The quotient plus 1 gives the tithe required. If this is less than 15, it is deemed to be in the dark half, and if the remainder is less than 6, the tithe is in the first half. If it is more than 6, it would be in the second half. Impregnation during this period has greater chance of fertilization.


Stillness of a planet when it changes its course either due to retrogression or of direct motion


Asterisms (q.v.), also known as Lunar Mansions and Nakshatras. Groups of stars which always maintain a fixed relative position among themselves.


Astrology based on stars. Hindu astrology is stellar as it is based on a fixed constellational or stellar zodiac. Under this system, Data system (q.v.) is stellar, interpretation is stellar and the casting of horoscope is stellar.


Fixed signs of the zodiac, viz., Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.


Signification of wife. Venus is the signification planet for wife.


The 17th year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.). It is ruled by Brahma. Persons born during this year are engaged in meritorious deeds; are recipients of unexpected support from others, but sometimes meet severe misfortunes. They are renowned for their collection of precious objects of art.


The 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th houses in a natal chart. These are also known as Panaphar houses.


A class of people whose main task in ancient society was to assist and help others for meeting the needs of their everyday life. They are supposed to have arisen from the feet of Brahma. Many of the planets and asterisms have been classed as Sudras to indicate some of the traits of their basic impulses.


The 4th house in a natal chart. It represents the nadir and signifies mother, fixed assets, residence, conveyance, emotion and intellect.


[Sukshma = minute, subtle]. In Directional (q.v.) calculation, the 3rd degree relationship of a planet, after Mahadasa and Dasa of a planet. Sukshma Dasa is the sub-sub-period of a planet.


One of the planetary combinations formed by a non-luminary occupying the 2nd or the 12th house from Moon sign. If both the sides are thus occupied, Duridhara yoga is formed; if only the 2nd house is occupied, the combination is known as Sunapha yoga; and when only the 12th house is occupied, the combination is called Anapha yoga.

All these are auspicious combinations leading to affluence, high social status, pleasing personality and agreeable disposition of the person- concerned. Under Anapha yoga, the individual acquires his wealth and power by his own efforts. Under Anapha yoga, the emphasis is on exceptional and meritorious deeds and social interactions, which enable the individual to have sensual gratification as well. Under Duridhara yoga, one becomes learned, charitable, extrovert and commands a large retinue. He easily overcomes his opponents and adversaries.


The solar ray which is said to concretize itself as Saturn.


Sun or the deity presiding over the planet. One of the three chief deities, along with Indra and Agni (fire), in the Vedas. The Puranic stories make him the son of Kashyapa and Aditi (q.v.). In the Ramayana, he is referred to as a son of Brahma. Sun is repre-sented as moving in a chariot drawn by seven horses with Aruna (q.v.) as his charioteer. He is the supreme deity presiding over the entire manifestation. Yama, the god of death, and Yamuna, the celestial river, the two Ashwinis (q.v.) are said to be his offspring. Surya is also the father of Manu (q.v.). The number 12 is related with the Adityas in the different forms of the Sun.

The disposition of Sun in any horoscope indicates the central spiritual impulse in the individual, the quest of his soul and the eminence he' can attain. Sun is the signification of Atma, father, health, intuition, official status, understanding of the mysteries of life and inner government of the world. He is said to be the king of the planetary hierarchy.

Sun controls the bones in the human body. Astrologically he is fiery in element, bilious by body humor, warrior by class, old in age (for experience and wisdom), male by sex, and related with the eastern direction. Sun represents Sattwic attribute. He represents gold, is powerful during midday, and is fierce in temperament. Sun has special affinity for forests, temples and summer season, which indicate its sway over occult initiations in occult wisdom.

Sun rules over Leo, is exalted in Aries and is debilitated in Libra. It has strong harmonious relationship with Mars and Jupiter, and is inimical with Saturn, though the latter is said to be his offspring.


A celebrated work on astronomy supposed to be revealed by Sun.


One of the principal rays of Sun; it is said to be the ray which gives radiance to Moon. Sushumna Nadi also refers to a particular artery of the human body around the spinal cord, in between Ida and Pingala (q.v.),


Profound sleep. One of the four stages of consciousness, viz., legato (waking state), Swapna (dream state), Sushupti (profound sleep), and Turiya (Samadhi state).


[Sutra = thread; Atma = Self]. Thread--Self, so called because the permanent atoms of various bodies (cf. Sheaths) are strung on a Buddhic-web. It is also known as the thread of spirit, the immortal ego, the individuality, which incarnates one life after the other and upon which are strung like beads on a string, his countless personalities. The universal life-supporting air, Samashti Prana, the universal energy.


Heaven, paradise; the abode of Indra (q.v.) and of the gods. Also called Svarga loka (q.v.), one of the 14 lokas.


That which exists in its own nature. World substance and stuff, rather that which is behind it, the spirit and essence of the substance. The term comes from Subhava (Primeval nature) or Swabhava (inherent or basic nature). The word is composed of three words, viz., Su, good, perfect, fair; Sva, self, its own, basic, inherent, and Bhava, being or the state of existence. Swabhavat refers to that from which all nature proceeds and returns into it at the end of the life cycle. It is also said to be the "plastic essence of matter."


[Swaha = offering]. Daughter of Daksha and Prasuti. She was the wife of Vahni or Fire, or of Abhimani, one of the Agnis.


A mystic religious mark placed upon persons or things. It denotes good fortune and stands for cosmic unity. The hands of Swastika are reversed in Janis. In Masonic teachings, it stands for "the most ancient Order of the Brotherhood of the Mystic Cross." In esoteric philosophy, it is considered the most mystic and ancient diagrams. 'It is said to be the originator of the '49 Fires' by friction. The symbol is supposed to be enshrined on Lord Buddha's heart, and therefore called 'the Heart's Seal! According to Blavatsky, it was laid on 'the breast of departed initiates after their death.' As a mystic symbol, it is used in some form or the other in many world religious esoteric philosophies and literature. It represents manifestation at all levels in essence.


[Swati = sword]. The 15th asterism extending from 1860 40' to 2000 00' of the zodiac, under whose impact rain-drops falling within oyster shells are believed to produce fine quality pearls. The asterism is ruled by Rahu, and its presiding deity is Vayu (q.v.). Its primary motivation comes from Artha (q.v.), its basic attribute is Tamas, inertia. It is classified as butcher by class, buffalo by species, godly by temperament and human by animal type. It is related with the northern direction. The asterism is symbolized by coral and sometimes by sapphire.

Swati is characterized male by sex. It provides fiery passion and arouses the urge for pleasure seeking activities. The asterism leads to self--centeredness, but esoterically it leads to psychological transformation leading to expansion of spiritual consciousness.


Also known as Chatwarimshamsa (1/40th part of a zodiacal sign). Each part of it comprises 45 minutes. Plan-eatery ruler ship over each of these parts is decided according to their being in odd or in even signs. The planetary ownership in odd signs begins with the lord of Aries at its first part and every successive part is ruled by the lord of the following sign. Similarly, the lordship for even signs, the ruler ship of its first part begins with that of the lord of Libra, and each successive part is ruled by the lord of the following sign in their circular order.


The self-existent. A name of Brahma, the creator.

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