Astrology Dictionary - P and Q

Astrology Dictionary - P Q


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

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

Birth Chart • Boomerang

Cancer • Capricorn • Cardinal • Cazimi • Celestial Equator • 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 • Eclipse times • 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 • Mean Lunar Node • 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 • Separating • 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 • True Lunar Node • True vs Mean Nodes • T-Square, T-Cross


Venus • Virgo

Water • Waxing, Waning • Wedge


Zenith • Zodiac



Planets are parallel when they are have the same Declination. In other words, they are the same distance north or south of the Earth's equator. Where the planets are in the Zodiac ("left to right") doesn't matter. Parallel refers only to planets that have the same Declination, with both north or both south of Earth's equator.

When planets are parallel, the effect is a bit similar to when they are conjunct (around the same degree of the Zodiac). Their energies are connected and they interact; there is a combined effect.

In the diagram below, the Moon and Venus are parallel, even though they're in totally different positions in the zodiac, because they are the same distance from the Equator and on the same side of the Equator.

Mars is contra-parallel to both the Moon and Venus, even though it's in a different place in the zodiac from both of them, because Mars is the same distance from the Equator but on the other side of the Equator.

Diagram of Parallels

Compare: Contra-parallel. See also: Declination.


Part of Fortune


Pars Fortuna

One of many derived points used in Arabic astrology (called Arabic Parts), which are calculated using the positions of certain planets and points (e.g., angles). The Part of Fortune is derived from the Sun, Moon and Ascendant positions, and represents an especially beneficial point in the chart. Sometimes written as: Pars Fortunae or Pars Fortuna.

Ancient and traditional astrology calculate the Part of Fortune differently, depending on whether you were born during daylight or night time (whether the Sun was above or below the horizon).

The formula for calculating the day time Part of Fortune is (using the 360 degree positions for each point):

PF = Ascendant + Moon - Sun

The formula for the night time Part of Fortune is:

PF = Ascendant + Sun - Moon

Modern Western astrology has typically used only the day time formula for many years. The existence of different calculation methods was mostly lost to Western astrologers, until the ancient texts began to be retranslated by Project Hindsight in the 1990s.

Since then, many Western astrologers have begun using the two calculation methods, although some prefer to use only the day time for convenience. However, each calculation method will result in completely different zodiac positions for the Part of Fortune. Top of Page



Traits for the sign of Pisces are: creative, artistic, dreamy, non-rational, intuitive, changeable, feeling, private, compassionate, sensitive. Planetary rulers: Neptune (modern) and Jupiter (traditional). Associated with 12th House. Mutable Water. Pronounced: PIE-seez. See also zodiac article on Pisces. Top of Page Pisces symbol

Pisces Symbol


This term refers to the major planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). Sometimes astrologers also refer to the Sun and Moon as planets, for the sake of convenience, even though of course they are not planets in the usual sense of the word. Sometimes astrologers will also include minor celestial bodies under the general term of "planets" — like asteroids or the Centaurs (e.g., Chiron). You can find separate entries for each of the planets in the Glossary. Top of Page  

Planetary Nodes

You've probably heard of the Lunar Nodes, which mark where the path of the Moon around the Earth intersects with the ecliptic (that is, the apparent path of the Sun from our viewpoint on Earth). These points indicate a conduit of the energy, where we encounter and embrace it into our lives (the North Node) or where we need to let it go (South Node).

In the same way, we can track where the orbits of the planets intersect with the ecliptic. And in the same way, the planet's North Node is where its energy can come into our lives, while its South Node show where we are releasing it or moving past it.

We can track where these nodes are from a geocentric perspective (viewed from Earth) or a heliocentric perspective (viewed from the Sun).

The nodes of the fast-moving planets (Mercury to Mars) change considerably over time from a geocentric viewpoint, while the heliocentric nodes of all planets change very little over time. The geocentric nodes of the outer planets (Jupiter through Pluto and beyond) vary little from their heliocentric positions.

For this reason, heliocentric nodes are often used rather than geocentric nodes, because of their relative stability.

See also: Lunar Nodes, Ecliptic.



The planet Pluto symbolises power, lust, obsession, tenacity, concentration, death, rebirth, transformation, secrets, the Great Mysteries, the occult, and the Shadow (what we don't want to face in ourselves). Discovered in 1930. Planetary ruler of Scorpio (modern). Very slow moving — takes from 13-32 years to go through a sign, and about 248 years to go through all 12 signs.Top of Page Pluto symbols

Pluto Symbols (2 symbols; either may be used)


This is a term used to refer to non-planetary parts of the chart, including the angles (Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven and IC), the Lunar Nodes, the Part of Fortune, and other derived points (calculated, rather than based on an actual physical body). Top of Page  

Solar Return

A method of calculating when the Sun returns to its natal position relative to your birth chart. See: Solar Return. Top of Page  

Precession of the Equinoxes

This term refers to way the equinoxes move backwards very slowly through the zodiac, due to a wobble in the Earth's rotation. The Sun's position can be measured against the fixed stars, and the equinoxes provide a handy time to take that measurement (since this is when day and night are equal).

However, the Sun's measured position creeps slowly backwards (precessing) through the zodiac, which is called the Precession of the Equinoxes. It takes about 23,000 years to go full circle around the zodiac, and roughly 2,000 years to precess through one sign.

The April equinox point, which marks the change of seasons and the Sun's entrance into the sign of Aries, has physically traveled backwards through the constellation of Pisces (the sign before Aries). It is now almost all the way through Pisces and is very close to Aquarius (the sign before Pisces).

When exactly does the Age of Aquarius begin? No one can say for sure because there are no distinct lines to show us where one star constellation ends and the next one begins. There are many different ways we could measure it. However, since we're talking about 2,000 years per "Age," the end of one and start of the next is likely to be a gradual transition in any case. Suffice to say: We're in it!

See also: Age of Aquarius; Tropical Zodiac; Sidereal Zodiac. (Note: Precession of the equinoxes has nothing to do with retrograde motion, which only applies to planets, not the whole zodiac.) Top of Page



Progressions are one of the predictive techniques used by astrologers, applied to an individual's natal (birth) chart. There are several different types of progression techniques used, but the most common one is called Secondary Progressions.

Essentially, it uses every 24-hour period after the person's moment of birth to represent a year in their life. Whatever astrological events were happening in that 24-hour period reflect events in the person's life during the year that corresponds to that day. As an example, if the Sun changes signs 25 days after the person's birthdate, this indicates a significant shift in the way the person experiences and focuses their identity, vitality and life purpose at around age 25.

Secondary progressions are a much slower cycle than transits (where the planets are in real time). Often they have more of a background effect than transits which tend to produce more specific events (although every astrologer has their own perspective on this!)

It is considered very significant when a planet changes signs or enters a different house in the natal chart, which can show a significant shift in the way that person uses that planet's energy for many years to come. When a progressed planet forms a major aspect to a natal planet, it activates that natal planet in the person's life. And when a planet turns retrograde or direct by progression, this indicates a major change in how they experience and express that planet's energy.

Compare: Transits. Top of Page


Ptolemaic Aspects

Claudius Ptolemy was a great ancient astrologer (among other things) who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. He wrote a four-volume treatise about astrology and its techniques, called the Tetrabiblos, which is still one of the most fundamental texts on which modern astrology is based.

Ptolemy advocated using a limited group of aspects (geometric relationships between the planets), consisting of the conjunction (0°), sextile (60°), square (90°), trine (120°) and opposition (180°).

These are known as the Ptolemaic aspects, or major aspects, and are based on the elemental and modal relationships between signs. For example, planets close to the same degree in different signs of the same element are in a trine aspect (120°). So if the Moon is around 10° Taurus and the Sun is around 10° Capricorn, they are in a trine aspect.

In the same way, signs with the same element (Fire, Earth, Air, Water) are in trine. Signs with different but compatible elements (Fire and Air, Earth and Water) are in sextile. Signs that have the same modality (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable) are in square or opposition to each other.

See also: Aspects, Dissociate Aspects, Conjunction, Sextile, Square, Trine, Opposition, Elements, Modalities.


This is an aspect configuration is known by several different names: Quadriform, Arrowhead, Thor's Hammer or God's Fist.

It consists of two planets in square aspect (90 degrees) and both in an octile or sesqui-quadrate aspect (135 degrees) to a third planet. The energy of this aspect pattern is a little like a T-square, since it has stressful, dynamic energy. However, the octile aspects (based on dividing the circle into 8 pieces) tend to be a little more complex than the square or opposition (based on dividing the circle into 4 pieces).

Some astrologers see the energy originating in the tension of the two square planets, which finds an outlet through the third (apex) planet. This means the apex planet must find a creative way to resolve the conflict of the square, or else it could vent that tension destructively. This perspective reflects the image of an Arrowhead.

Other astrologers see the energy flow originating in the apex planet, which then must find a way to wield the power and dynamic stress of the square planets. It's a little like holding a live grenade - what do you do with it?? You need to find a way to use it constructively and creatively, or the energy can become destructive. This image is like a Hammerhead or God's Fist.

By cultivating support for the energy of the apex planet, it is possible to give it strength to work constructively and creatively with the square planets.

Pronounced: QUAD-rih-form. See also: Aspect configuration, T-square, aspect, square, octile. Top of Page

Aspect configuration - Quadriform, Thor's Hammer, God's Fist, Arrowhead

Quadriform Aspect Configuration


An aspect between two planets, which are 150 degrees apart (give or take a few degrees; see Orb). Planets in Quincunx to each other are usually five signs apart. An irritating, frustrating energy that can increase awareness and appreciation of life's complexities and subtleties. Pronounced: KWIN-kunks. Top of Page Quincunx aspect - 150 degrees

Quincunx Aspect Symbol and Diagram

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