Astrology Dictionary - Si to Sz

Astrology Dictionary - Si to Sz


NOTE: Words that are highlighted are listed elsewhere in the Glossary.

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Age of Aquarius • Air • Angles • Aquarius • Archetype • Aries • Arrowhead • Ascendant • Aspect • Aspect Configuration

Birth Chart • Boomerang

Cancer • Capricorn • Cardinal • Cazimi • Centaurs • Chart • Chiron • Collection of Light • Collective • Collective Unconscious • Combust • Conjunction, Conjuct, Conjoin • Contra-Parallel • Cradle configuration • Cusp

Declination • Descendant • Direct • Dispositor • Dissociate Aspect

Earth (element) • Earth (planet) • Eclipse • Ecliptic • Element • Equinox

Final Dispositor • Fire • Fixed • Full Moon

Gemini • God's Fist • Grand Cross • Grand Sextile • Grand Square • Grand Trine

Hard Wedge • Houses • Houses (meanings)

IC, Imum Coeli • Inconjunct • Intercepted Planet • Intercepted Sign


Kite • Grand Trine Kite • Yod Kite

Leo • Libra • Lights, Luminaries • Lunar Eclipse • Lunar Nodes

Major Aspects • Mars • MC, Medium Coeli • Mercury • Mercury Retrograde • Midheaven • Modalities • Moon • Moon's Nodes • Multiple Conjunction • Mutable • Mutual Reception • Mystic Rectangle

Nadir • Natal Chart • Neptune • New Moon • North Node

Octile • Opposition • Orb • Out of Bounds • Out of Sign Aspect

Parallel • Part of Fortune, Pars Fortuna • Pisces • Planet • Pluto • Points • Precessed Solar Return • Precession of the Equinoxes • Progressions • Ptolemaic Aspects

Quadriform • Quincunx

Retrograde • Rising Sign • Rolling Conjunction • Rosetta • Ruler • Rulerships

Sabian Symbols • Sagittarius • Saturn • Scorpio • Semi-Sextile • Semi-Square • Sesqui-Quadrate • Sesqui-Square • Sextile • Shadow (planetary) • Shadow (psychological)
• Sidereal Zodiac • Sign • Solar Eclipse • Solar Return • Solstice • South Node • Square • Station(ary) • Stellium • Sun

Taurus • Thor's Hammer • Traditional Rulerships • Transits • Transpersonal Planets • Trapeze • Trine • Tri-Octile • Tropical Zodiac • T-Square, T-Cross


Venus • Virgo

Water • Waxing, Waning • Wedge


Zenith • Zodiac


Sidereal Zodiac

The 12 zodiac signs, measured more by the fixed stars and the constellations, not the seasons. The zodiac signs are still measured as 30 degrees of arc in length, and the "beginning point" is somewhat arbitrary (for example, not based on a particular fixed star). Pronounced: Sid-DEER-ee-al or Sye-DEER-ee-al. Top of Page  


A 30 degree section of the zodiac associated with one of the 12 constellations that intersect the ecliptic (the Sunís path through the stars). Each sign is associated with certain qualities, characteristics, experiences and events. Each sign is a unique combination of Element and Modality.

See also: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces elsewhere in the Glossary for more information about each sign. See also Rulerships. Top of Page


Solar Eclipse

This is a New Moon that is so precisely aligned that the Earth passes through the Moon's shadow cast by the Sun's light. Seen in the daytime from the Earth, the Sun and daylight grow dim, and the Moon passes directly in front of the disc of the Sun, temporarily blocking its light. You must NEVER look directly at a Solar Eclipse, or you risk damaging your eyesight. A solar eclipse typically happens twice a year, about 5-6 months apart. Solar eclipses are very powerful energy, similar to a New Moon but more intense. They often initiate new processes of growth into your life. This new growth may or may not be easy. See also: Lunar Eclipse, New Moon There is also more information about eclipses here. Top of Page

Diagram of solar eclipse


Solar Return

Happy Solar Return!! This is an astrologer's way of wishing you a Happy Birthday! Around your birthday (plus or minus a day or so), the Sun returns to the precise place it was when you were born. Hence, it is called a Solar Return (return of the Sun).

When you know the accurate time of your birth, an astrologer can calculate a chart for the precise moment that the Sun returns to its natal (birth) position. It is important to have an accurate birth time, since the margin of error in the Solar Return chart is very sensitive to the birth time accuracy. As a general rule, the Solar Return chart can shed light on what kinds of events and themes are likely during the coming 12 months.

There are actually two different ways to calculate a Solar Return. The most common one is to calculate when the Sun returns to the same Zodiac position that it has in your Natal chart; in other words, to the same degree and sign it was in when you were born.

The other way is to calculate the precise spatial position relative to the fixed stars. This takes into account the Precession of the Equinoxes. This is called the Precessed Return.

The difference between the Zodiac position and the spatial position is very small, but is considered significant by many astrologers. This is because it can dramatically change the Ascendant and house placements in the Solar Return chart. Also, the Moon is often in a different sign and makes very different aspects in the chart.

The date when your Precessed Solar Return takes place is is a bit later than your regular Solar Return. The older you get, the longer you'll have to wait after your birth date to reach your Precessed Solar Return. For example, on your 20th birthday, the Precessed Return takes place about 6.5 hours after the regular Return. On your 40th, there's a difference of about 13.5 hours. When you turn 60, it will be about 20 hours. And when you turn 80, you'll have to wait about 26.5 hours to reach your Precessed Return.

In my experience, the difference between the regular and the Precessed Solar Return charts is one of perspective. The regular chart tends to show what you hope will happen, what you're aiming for and what your subjective experience of the coming year will be. The Precessed chart tends to show the objective reality, the external conditions and circumstances you are likely to encounter in the coming year.

(Note: A Solar Return has nothing to do with retrogrades, since the Sun never goes retrograde.)

See also: Sun, Natal Chart, Precession of the Equinoxes Top of Page



Summer Solstice

Northern Solstice

Winter Solstice

Southern Solstice

The point at which there is the greatest difference between day and night on the Earth. This happens twice per year Ė in June and December.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice is the start of Summer and the December solstice is the start of Winter. In the Southern Hemisphere, these are switched: the June solstice begins the Winter and December begins the Summer.

Northern Solstice
Northern Solstice: Sun shines directly on the Tropic of Cancer.
Summer in the northern hemisphere, winter in the south.

Astronomically, the solstices occur when the Sun's direct rays reach the northern-most or southern-most point on Earth. Therefore these are sometimes also known as the Northern Solstice (June) and the Southern Solstice (December). After reaching each solstice, the Sun begins to head back in the other direction toward the equator.

In the Tropical Zodiac, the June solstice always marks the Sunís entry into Cancer and the December solstice marks the Sunís entry into Capricorn (for both hemispheres).

Southern Solstice
Southern Solstice: Sun shines directly on the Tropic of Capricorn.
Summer in the southern hemisphere, winter in the north.

The traditional names for the Solstices are the Summer Solstice (June) and the Winter Solstice (December). However, these correspond to the seasons of the northern hemisphere. In our ever-encompassing global world, there are new attempts to name these events in a way that is more universal and not dependent on which hemisphere or culture you're in, nor which type of calendar you use. None of the alternative names are accepted universally as yet.

In an attempt to be inclusive and bridge at least some of these differences, this website typically uses the terms "June Solstice" or "Northern Solstice" and "December Solstice" or "Southern Solstice."

Pronounced: SOLE-stiss Compare: Equinox. See also: Declination, Out of Bounds. Top of Page


South Node

One of the two Lunar Nodes, which mark the intersection of the Sun's and Moon's path through the sky (from Earth's perspective). The South Node is the point where the Moon starts to travel "south" of the Sun's path. The South Node's meaning is about letting go, what is past and behind you, what you are moving away from. It is sometimes associated with past lives. See also: Lunar Nodes, North Node. Top of Page South Lunar Node symbol

South Node Symbol


An aspect between two planets, which are 90 degrees apart (give or take a few degrees; see Orb). Planets in Square are usually three signs apart. A stressful, conflict-oriented energy. Can also motivate and necessitate problem-solving. Top of Page Square aspect - 90 degrees

Square Aspect Symbol

Station or Stationary

This term refers to the point where a planet changes direction to go from direct to retrograde, or from retrograde to direct. Similar to the way a pendulum swings one way, then slows down and pauses (becomes stationary or still briefly) before it changes direction, a planetary station is when a planet has slowed down and seems to become still, before it resumes its motion in the opposite direction. When a planet pauses and changes direction like this, it is called a Planetary Station. See also: Direct, Retrograde, Shadow (planetary). See also the article series on Retrograde Planets, including an article specifically on the Stations. Top of Page  


An aspect configuration in which a minimum of 3 planets are all in the same sign. They may or may not be in a conjunction aspect with each other, but all are in the same sign together.

This creates a great weight of energy with that sign in the chart, and tips the balance of the chart toward that sign's qualities.

Some astrologers feel that a stellium should be defined as no less than 4 or even 5 planets in a sign. Some astrologers also feel that since Mercury and Venus are very often in the same sign as the Sun, they should not be counted when deciding if there is a stellium that includes the Sun.

Pronounced: STELL-lee-yum. See also: Aspect configuration.

Stellium Aspect Configuration


The Sun symbolises our central sense of purpose, identity, vitality and identity; also consciousness and male energy, especially the father. Planetary ruler of Leo. Fast moving Ė takes one year to go around the zodiac, about 30 days per sign. Although not technically a planet, the Sun is often referred to as a planet in the chart, for convenience. See also: Solar Return. See also the article on The Lights (the Sun and Moon). Top of Page Sun symbol

Sun Symbol

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