Learn the meanings of popular astrology terms.
Nadir: Also known as the IC (Imum Coeli). The sign on the cusp of the fourth house. Signs and planets here sketch a portrait of your childhood home and your clan. Influence from the parent who nurtured you is described here.
Natal chart: Also called your horoscope or birth chart. A type of map symbolizing your place in the solar system. An astrologer can analyze your chart for your skills, potentials and challenges.
Neptune: Eighth planet from the Sun. Rules (see Rulership) Pisces. Neptune is associated with idealism, mysticism, dreams and illusion.
North Node: A point relating to the Moon's orbit, opposite the south node (see definition). The sign and house of your north node, located in your birth chart, indicate events throughout your life that push you to grow in positive ways.
Opposition: An aspect (see definition) of 180 degrees. One example of an opposition occurs each full Moon, when the Moon is opposite the Sun. An opposition can feel like you're being pulled in two directions, forced to face something or someone in your life and come to terms with the differences. You may have oppositions in your birth chart and by transit.
Pisces: Mutable water sign, ruled by Neptune. Pisces are impressionable and compassionate. Imagination, empathy and working in the service of others are Piscean themes.
Planets: The planets represent basic drives or forces. For example, Mars is the force of desire, Venus is the force of attraction, and the Moon is the drive for security. By observing where the planets are located in your birth chart and by transit, an astrologer can describe the sorts of events affecting your life.
Pluto: Pluto is one of two planets that rules (see Rulership) Scorpio. Pluto is associated with sex, death and regeneration. Its placement in your birth chart indicates the area in life where you feel intense pressure to transform or change, and its sign describes the style in which you'll go about doing so.
Qualities: The twelve signs of the zodiac are divided into three qualities or modes. There are three qualities per season: cardinal, fixed and mutable. (See prior definitions for all three.) Each represents a type of activity related to its place in the seasons. Cardinal signs are the first of each season, fixed signs are the second, and mutable signs are the third.
Retrograde: When a planet appears to move backward in its orbit for a period of time. During that period, you might want to redo or review circumstances associated with the traits of the planet that is retrograde. For example, Mercury is the planet of communication and travel, so be careful when making agreements or travel plans while the planet is retrograde.
Rising sign: See Ascendant.
Rulership: Planets are each said to rule a sign. Planets and signs are associated with characteristic traits. Rulerships indicate shared traits. For example, the Sun rules (see Rulership) Leo, so the Sun and Leo share similar characteristics, such as brilliance and generosity.