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Advanced Astrological Topics

There is a lot more to horoscopes than meets the eye. Here is a glimpse into more advanced topics:

Arabic Parts

The name is a little misleading as this term refers to a horoscope process that has been in existence since the earliest days of Babylonian astrology. Originally there were six of these parts, but recent astrologers have added a further three. An Arabic Part, such as the Part of the Fortune is a specific location on a horoscope chart that relates to a particular aspect of life, such as good luck or marriage. The location is determined by intricate calculation and the planets and sign in that area are then used to create an analysis of the Part in question.

Ascendant (or Rising Sign)

This is the sign that is on the Cusp (that is; right on the edge) of the First House. Your First House might be Aquarius, but the Cusp could feasibly be Capricorn, in which case the Capricorn Cusp would impact slightly on your First House.

Descendant Sign

This is the sign on the Cusp (edge) of the Seventh House and impacts on your Seventh House.


Tri equals three. This term simply denotes the different groups of signs according to the elements:

Aries; Leo; Sagittarius constitutes the Fire Triplicity; (or alternatively, Houses 1, 5, 9) denoting: self; action; and achievement.
Fire equates with activity.

Taurus; Virgo; Capricorn constitutes the Earth Triplicity; (or alternatively Houses 2, 6, 10) denoting money; health/routine; career.
Earth equates with the material plane.

Gemini; Libra; Aquarius constitutes the Air Triplicity; (or alternatively Houses 3, 7, 11) denoting communications and relationships.
Air equates with the intellect.

Cancer; Scorpio; Pisces constitutes the Water Triplicity; (or alternatively Houses 4, 8, 12) denoting family; support; endings and closure.
Water equates with the emotions.


When a planet is in its ‘home’ sign or in one of its Triplicity signs (see above), it is also said to be well dignified.
Mars in Aries is well dignified.

(If Mars is in one of its Triplicity signs (ie a fellow Fire Sign) of Leo or Sagittarius, it is also said to be well dignified.)

When a planet is dignified, it and the positive aspects related to it become stronger and the negative aspects related to it become less effective or damaging.


This is the terminological opposite to the term Dignity.

If Mars is Dignified by being in its ‘home’ sign of Aries, then it is in Detriment when it is in the opposite sign – Libra.

This weakens the positive aspects related to the planet in Detriment and strengthens the negative ones.


A Decanate is the term given to the subdivision of the astrological sign or House.

There are twelve signs or Houses to the Astrological Chart.

Each sign/house equals 30 degrees.

Each House or sign is subdivided into three lots of ten degrees, called a decan.

Each decan within the sign has a slightly different emphasis. Whether a planet is in the first, second or third decan can actually tilt the emphasis of the reading, especially for a personalized Birth Chart, although daily or weekly Horoscopes can also pick up any significant or exciting trends too.


Every planet has a North and South node, but in astrology we tend to focus on the nodes of the Moon. Technically speaking the nodes are the points at which the Moon moves from South to North in the horoscope chart and North to South. The North node represents our spiritual aspirations, while the South node is concerned more with our material position and ambitions.

Navamsa Charts

A Navamsa chart is a fundamental part of Vedic astrology. Vedic astrology differs from Western astrology in various ways (eg different house system, approach to planetary position calculations and chart design), but the Navamasa chart is perhaps the most striking difference. In Vedic astrology the individual has essentially two horoscope charts. The first is their birth chart and the second or Navamsa chart refers to their marriage potential and the likely success of their marriage. Vedic astrology uses a number of so called divisional charts which supplement birth horoscope but the importance of marital questions in the culture means that the Navamsa chart is the most important.

Planets; Asteroids; Fixed Stars, and Chiron

The dictionary definitions best differentiate these heavenly bodies.

A Planet: is “an astronomical object that orbits a star and does not shine with its own light, especially one of those orbiting the Sun in the solar system.”

We are familiar with the major planets (Mercury; Venus; Mars…) and their importance in astrological interpretations, but asteroids and fixed stars, although not so well known, can impact on a general reading or even a daily Horoscope.

Pluto, for instance, has recently been downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet, and while some astrologers prefer not to use Pluto in their readings, other astrologers maintain that Pluto is still the co-ruler of Scorpio and still as important, whatever its current label.

An Asteroid: is “an irregularly shaped rock that orbits the Sun, mostly occurring in a band asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.”

Examples of Asteroids include: Ceres.

(In ancient mythology, Ceres tended the earth and ensured that it was spring all year round. However, when she lost her marriageable daughter to the dark Lord of the Underworld, Pluto, she, grief-stricken, neglected the earth and failed to prevent the onset of winter. An accidental pact saw Ceres’ daughter, Proserpine, being returned to Ceres, but only for six months of each year; hence the creation of spring/summer and winter/fall.)

In astrological terms this asteroid equates with separation; unhappiness; loneliness.

Other Asteroids include Juno (named after the goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter) and Vesta

A Fixed Star: “any of the stars in the Ptolemaic system… with an apparent lack of movement.”

(The Ptolemaic system refers to an ancient theory of planetary movement. It is interesting to note that fixed stars, despite their name, do actually move, but very, very slowly.)

Certain fixed stars will have quite an influence when aspected strongly to any of the major planets.

There’s quite a list of fixed stars and according to some astrologers, certain fixed stars have magical properties too.

Chiron: is “a minor planet… revolving around the sun between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus.”

Chiron is perhaps the best well-known asteroid. This represents healing wounds and through healing, closing those wounds completely. In almost every House in the astrological chart this asteroid touches on the karmic consequences of past and present actions.

Relocation Charts

Relocation charts are a controversial addition to the range of astrological analyses that are available to people wishing to consult a horoscope. The Relocation chart is essentially a second birth chart, calculated for the same date and time of birth but as though the birth took place in a different location. This can be very useful when deciding whether to move to a new area. However, some astrologers would argue that as the place of birth itself cannot be changed our best hope of understanding ourselves and our response to a new location would lie in a deep study of our original birth horoscope.


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