Astrology Glossary

Ascendant: The point in the zodiac which rises at the time of birth in the east.

Ashtakavarga: A system of determining the effects of planets in transit, and the strength of houses in the birth chart.

Atmakaraka: Soul indicator in a Vedic astrology chart. Reveals strongly ingrained tendencies and affinities, providing the greatest opportunities for soul progress. There are two, the Sun, the natural atmakaraka and the temporal (charaatmakaraka), which is determined by placement of the planets in the signs, also defined as that planet with the highest degree of longitude.

Benefics: Jupiter (the greater fortune) and Venus (the lesser fortune). These planets are considered to benefit the native, unless afflicted. Anonymous of 379 states that Mercury is a benefic (perhaps as a healer, being the Lord of Virgo) and Ptolemy states that "the ancients" also included the Moon as a benefic, chiefly because of its softening and humidifying power.

Note that benefics do not always bring out what may be termed "beneficial" outcomes, especially when poorly placed in the chart. Modern psychological astrologers deny that any planet may be deemed "benefic" (or indeed "malefic"), on the grounds that natural forces should not be value-laden and that all experiences are ultimately beneficial as part of a growth process.

Bhukti: Planetary sub-period within a major period (dasa) in Vedic astrology.

Combust (Combustion): A planet placed within 8 degrees 30 minutes (but not within 17 minutes) of the Sun is said to be combust.

Dasa (Dasha): A major planetary period delineated in Vedic astrology.

Descendant: The seventh house (or its cusp), governing marriage, partnership and open confrontation.

Divisional Chart: A vital part of the Vedic system, where additional charts (the 16 varga charts) are erected by dividing main chart into various degrees.

Kal Sarpa Yoga: A negative yoga caused when all the planets are one side of other side of Rahu and Ketu( Not a Valid Yoga).

Malefic Planet: Sun, Mercury, Mars,Saturn, Rahu, Ketu.

Mundane Astrology: Branch of Vedic Astrology that deals with the planetary influences through signs and planetary periods in the charts of nations, cities, organizations, corporations, business organizations.

Navamsa: 1/9th divisional chart.

Sade Sati: The transit of Saturn (Shani) over one's natal Moon.

Retrograde: Apparent backward motion of a planet

Abhijit: 28th Nakshatra

Amatyakaraka: The planet with the second highest degree in the birth chart.

Ayanamsa: The difference between the Tropical and sidereal zodiac in degrees.

Binnashtakavarga: The individual bindus (points) that a planet gains in the 12 signs.

Chara dasha: A sign based dasha system where the length of each dasha period is variable, dependant on the particular location of the planets in one’s chart.

Dusthana houses: The 6th, 8th and 12th houses.

Ghatis: A unit of time 1 Ghati=24 minutes

Muhurta kundali: A chart used to find an auspicious timing of an event

Shad Bala: Shad means 6, and Bala means strength. Shad Bala is a 6 fold strength that indicates how powerful or influencial a planet is.

Yogini Dasha: A nakshatra based dasha system

Barren Signs: Gemini, Leo and Virgo. Aries is also considered rather barren.

Equinox: The Vernal Equinox is the time when the Sun reaches the balancing point in its path through the tropical zodiac, when the length of the day is equal to the length of the night. It marks the beginning of the new astrological year, as the Sun enters the first degree of Aries.

Grahavastha: Grahavastha providing planets exact positions and influences

Houses: 12 segments of astrological chart

Kuja dosha: Mangal dosha or kuja dosha or chovva dosham is the combination in the birth chart or horoscope where Mars (also known as Mangal or Kuja) is placed in the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th or 12th house in the Ascendant. A person with mangal dosh in his natal chart is called Manglik.

Lagna: Lagna, is the degree of the rasi(or sign) and nakshatra (or constellation) specifically the nakshatra pada (also known as the division of a constellation into 4 different parts) which is rising on the eastern horizon at the time of one's birth.

Lords of shodasavarga: planet ruling the 1st house of divisional chart

Malefic planet: Malefic planet is a planet which bring bad luck and misfortune to those born within its radius. Mars and Saturn are considered as the malefic planets, with Mars being lesser malefic and Saturn the greater.

Moveable signs: The movable signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn.

Fixed signs: The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.

Mutable signs: The mutable or dual signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces.

Natal chart: Astrology Birth chart or the Natal Chart is a astrological chart which shows the position of the sun, the moon and other planets at the exact time of a person's birth at a particular place on earth. To draw an accurate birth chart of rasi chart, one has to know his date of birth, exact time of birth and also the place of birth.

Negative signs: The negative signs associated with the zodiac are Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces.

Positive signs: The positive signs associated with the zodiac are Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius.

Panchanga: A panchangam is a Hindu calendar and almanac, which follows traditional units of Hindu timekeeping, and presents important dates and their calculations in a tabulated form.

Quadrants: The natal chart can be divided into quadrants. When majority of the planets are in one quadrant, then the person attitude and behavior will be reflective of the quadrant energy.

Ruling planet: A planet which is held to have a particular influence over a specific sign of the zodiac, house, aspect of life, etc.

Sidereal day: The time between two consecutive transits of the First Point of Aries. It represents the time taken by the earth to rotate on its axis relative to the stars, and is almost four minutes shorter than the solar day because of the earth's orbital motion.

Sidereal time: Time reckoned from the motion of the earth (or a planet) relative to the distant stars (rather than with respect to the sun).

Tajika system: Tajika system of astrology is one of the three systems of Indian astrology applied to individual charts(horoscope). Tajika system predict in detail the likely happenings in one year of an individual's life.

Trines: An aspect of 120° between two planets

Vimshottari dasa periods: Division of our life time according to the rulership of planets

Yogas: Yogas are certain specific planetary combinations in a chart. It is observed that these yogas affect the life of an individual by giving some sort of results, positive or negative

Zodiac signs: The order of astrological signs

Janma Nakshatram: Birth star. The 360 degrees of the zodiac is divided into 27 equal parts starting from the first point of Aries.

Spudam: Denotes the astrological position of a celestial body.

Nirayana Spudam: The longitude of planets considered in the Indian Astrology. The longitude of planets calculated by subtracting the Ayanamsa value from the Sayana (Western System) longitudes.

Rasi: Sign of the zodiac. The 360 degrees of the zodiac is divided into 12 signs or Rasis starting from Mesha to Meena. The equivalent names are given in another section.

Pada: There are four padas for a nakshatra (First quarter to 4th quarter). Pada means the quarter within a star. It depends on the longitude of the planet.
Nakshatra lord: The planet which is ruling the particular star.

Yoga: Stands for 'Nithya Yoga'. One 'Nithya Yoga' is attached to each star. The name of 27 Nithya Yogas are,
  1. Vishkumbha
  2. Priti
  3. Ayushman
  4. Saubhagya
  5. Shobhana
  6. Atiganda
  7. Sukarma
  8. Dhriti
  9. Shoola
  10. Ganda
  11. Vriddhi
  12. Dhruva
  13. Vyaghata
  14. Harshana
  15. Vajra
  16. Siddha
  17. Vyatipata
  18. Variyan
  19. Parigha
  20. Shiva
  21. Siddha
  22. Sadhya
  23. Shubha
  24. Shukla
  25. Vrahma
  26. Indra
  27. Vaidhriti
Thithi: The lunar cycle is divided into Suklapaksha (meaning white half), the half in which Moon is growing in size and Krishnapaksha (meaning dark half), in which the Moon wanes. Each paksha is divided into 15 Thithis.
The fifteen Thithis are given names from Prathama to Pournami.
  1. Prathama
  2. Dwitheeya
  3. Thritheeya
  4. Chathurthi
  5. Panchami
  6. Shashti
  7. Sapthami
  8. Ashtami
  9. Navami
  10. Dasami
  11. Ekadasi
  12. Dwadasi
  13. Thrayodasi
  14. Chathurdasi
  15. Pournami/amavasi
The full moon is called Pournami and New Moon is called Amavasi.
Vimshottari Dasa: In Indian Astrology, human life span is taken as 120 years which is divided into periods ruled by various planets. These periods are called Dasa Periods. There are two major Dasa systems namely Vimshottari and Ashtothari. Vimshottari system is more popular.
Dasa period for each planet is given below.
  1. Ketu - 7 years
  2. Venus - 20
  3. Sun - 6
  4. Moon - 10
  5. Mars - 7
  6. Rahu - 18
  7. Jupiter - 16
  8. Saturn - 19
  9. Mercury - 17
Dasa balance at birth: A birth takes place within the rulership of a particular planet. The balance period under the rulership of the planet at birth is called 'Dasa Balance'.

Sarvashtakavarga: As the result of the progression of the seven planets from their respective radical places and from the ascendant, a collective factor sets in, going under the name 'Ashtakavarga'. Sarvashtakavarga means complete or all Ashtakavarga. It is likely that a planet, say for instance the SUN, as a result of its horoscopic position in a particular sign, is capable of throwing out beams of influence on certain places declared as favourable both from its position and the position of other planets, so that such beams may act as a catalytic agent.

Shodasavarga: A sign which extents to 30 degrees is subdivided into various fractions. For example a sign of 30 is divided into 2 Horas of 15, 3 Drekanas of 10 each etc. There is a method of assigning a ruler for each division also. Each type of division and its ruler signifies some aspects of the personality or the effects for brother, mother, father etc. Division upto 1/60 of a sign is used.
But astrologers generally use Sapta Varga meaning 7 sets of divisions , Dasa Varga ie. 10 sets of divisions,hodasa varga ie 16 sets of divisions.
Divisions in Shodasavarga are
  1. Rasi : division by 1
  2. Hora : division by 2
  3. Drekkana : division by 3
  4. Chathurthamsa :division by 4
  5. Saptamsa : division by 7
  6. Navamsa : division by 9
  7. Dasamsa : division by 10
  8. Dwadasamsa : division by 12
  9. Shodasamsa : division by 16
  10. Vimsamsa : division by 20
  11. Chathurvimsamsa : division by 24
  12. Bhamsa : division by 27
  13. Trimsamsa:diviision by 30
  14. Khavedamsa :division by 40
  15. Akshavedamsa : division by 45
  16. Shashtiamsa:division by 60

In simple terms, when a planet transits through a house with high Ashtakavarga value in the chart, it will be normally powerful. Also the house with the maximum total value in the chart can be considered as a powerful house.

Bhava: When the ascendant longitude is centralised in its sign and the extend of each sign is accurately calculated and the Rasi chart redrawn, what we have is the Bhava chart.

Bhukti(Apahara): A Dasa period ruled by a planet is further subdivided between sub rulers. For example within Dasa (also called Mahadasa) period of Mars, Mars itself will be the subruler during the first bhukti followed by Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun and Moon.

Shadbhala: Planets depending on their position will acquire certain strength. In order to estimate the exact strength of a planet , it would be necessary to scrutinise its position in the zodiac from various points of view. These various sources of strength are called the Balas of planets. There are six kind of sources of strengths ( namely ShadBala).
They are
  1. Sthanabala or Positional Strength
  2. Dikbala or Directional Strength
  3. Kalabala or Temporal Strength
  4. Chestabala or Motional Strength
  5. Naisargikabala or Permanent Strength
  6. Drikbala or Aspect Strength

Ishta and kashta bhala: Good influence of a planet is known as Ishta Phalam and Bad influence of planet is known as Kashta phalam. A planet with more Ishta phalam is supposed to do good its dasa or bhukti than a planet with more Kashta phalam

Bhavabala: Bhavabala is the strength of house or bhava.
The strength of a bhava is composed of three factors namely
  1. Bhavadipathi Bala (Strength of the lord of the bhava)
  2. Bhava Digbala (Strength acquired by bhavas when they fall in Nara, Jalachara , Chathuspada or Keeta Rasis)
  3. Bhava Drishti Bala (Strength acquired by the aspect of planets)

Dasa Phalam: Phalam means result or effect. Dasa phalam means the results you can expect during a particular Dasha.

Ashtaka Varga Phalam: Ashtaka Varga Phalam includes predictions based on the Ashtaka Varga points obtained for each planet in their own house and SarvashtaVarga points obtained for each Bhava.

Ezhara Sani (7 1/2 Sani, Sade Sathi): Sani (Saturn) takes about 2 1/2 years to transit though a sign. When it transits through the birth Rasi or through adjacent houses, a person is likely to experience difficulties. The period it takes to move through these signs is termed as 7 1/2 Sani.

Kantaka sani: Similar to 7 1/2 Sani there are certain other transitory positions called Kandaka Sani.
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