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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Degree types:
Masculine/feminine; luminous (light/lucid/bright) or dark; smokey or void; pitted or deep, deficient or lame (azimene), or 'increasing fortune'.

- On page 116 of his Christian Astrology, William Lilly gives 'Two necessary TABLES of the Signs, fit to be understood by every ASTROLOGER or Practitioner'. One of these contains traditional associations of the degrees of the zodiac, in terms of being light, smokey, increasing in fortune or causing lameness, etc. These almost certainly derive from older fixed star associations.

With some variations, similar associations are found in older works such as Al Biruni's Elements (v. 458) and Johannes Schoener's Opusculum Astrologicum (canon XXXVII). Lilly's and Schoener's tables are shown below and the text that follows beneath the graphics gives some details on their astrological meanings and use.

From William Lilly's Christian astrology, (1647) p.116:

William Lilly's table of degree associations

From Schoener's Opusculum Astrologicum, (1539) canon XXXVII:

degrees2 (167K)
[click to enlarge]

N.B.: Remember that:
'dg. 1' refers to the first degree which incorporates 0°00' - 0°59; 'dg. 2' thus equates to 1°00' - 1°59;
and so on, ending with 'dg. 30' which equates to 29°00 - 29°59

Masculine and feminine degrees
Consideration of whether the Moon and principle significator falls in a masculine or feminine degree is used in horary matters relating to the sex of a thief or unborn chld. Lilly writes of this:

Many times it happens, that it is of great concernment to the Querent to know whether a woman be with child of a male or female; or whether the thief be man or woman, &c. When it shall so chance that neither the angles, or the sex of the planet, or the signs do discover it, but that the testimonies are equal; then if you consider the degrees of the sign wherein the Moon is, and wherein the planet significator of the thing or party quesited is, and the degree of the cusp of the house signifying the person quesited after; and see whether they be in masculine or feminine degrees, you may pose your judgement, by concluding a masculine party, if they be posited in masculine degrees; or feminine, if they be in feminine degrees. (CA., p.117)

The scheme is also presented in Al Biruni's Elements (v.457) with the following variances:

In Aries, the 8th degree is marked as female, not male.

In Aquarius, the 13th, 14th, 15th, 28th, 29th and 30th degrees are classified as male not female. The 19th, 20th, 21st, 26th and 27th degrees are classified as female not male.

In Pisces, the 13th, 14th, 15th, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th degrees are denoted male not female.

Al Biruni makes it clear he is presenting the method, not approving of its use.

Luminous (light/lucid/bright) or dark; smokey or void
A similar table, with some variations, is also found in Al Biruni's Elements (v. 458). These are considered for the ascendant and Moon in horary and natal judgements in determining physical structure and capability. Lilly writes:

Light or dark
Let a sign ascend in a Nativity or Question, if the Ascendant be in those degrees you see are called light, the child or querent shall be more fair; if the degree ascending be of those we call dark, his complexion shall be nothing so fair, but more obscure and dark; and if he be born deformed, the deformity shall be more and greater; but if he be deformed when the light degrees of a sign ascend, the imperfection shall be more tolerable. (CA., p.117)

And if the Moon or the degree ascending be in those degrees we call void, be the Native or Querent fair or foul, his understanding will be small, and his judgement less than the world supposes, and the more thou conferest with him, the greater defect shall be found in him. (CA., p.117)

If the Ascendant, the Moon or either of them be in those degrees we call smoky, the person inquiring or Native, shall neither be very fair nor very foul, but of a mixed complexion, stature or condition, between fair and foul, between tall and of little Stature, and so in condition neither very judicious or a very ass. (CA., pp.117-118)

Pitted or deep, deficient or lame (azimene), or 'increasing fortune' - Lilly defines these as follows:

Pitted or deep
Degrees deep or pitted have this signification, that if either the Moon or the degree ascending or lord of the Ascendant be in any of them, it shows the man at a stand in the question he asks, not knowing which way to turn himself and that he had need of help to bring him into a better condition; for as a man cast into a ditch doth not easily get out without help, so no more can this querent in the case he is without assistance. (CA., p.118)

Lame or Deficient (azimene)
Called by some azimene degrees, the meaning whereof is thus, if in any question you find him that demands the question, or in a nativity, if you find the native defective in any member, or infected with an inseparable disease, halting, blindness, deafness, &c., you may then suppose the native hath either one of these azimene degr. ascending at his birth, or the lord of the Ascendant, or the Moon in one of them. In a question or nativity, if you see the querent lame naturally, crooked, or vitiated in some member, and on the sudden you can in the figure give no present satisfaction to your self, do you then consider the degree ascending, or degree wherein the Moon is in, or the lord of the Ascendant, or principal lord of the nativity or question, and there is no doubt that you shall find one or more of them in azimene degrees. (CA., p.118)

Increasing fortune
These degrees tend to this understanding, that if the cusp of the second house, or if the lord of the second house, or Jupiter, or the Part of Fortune be in any of those degrees, it's an argument of much wealth, and that the native or querent will be rich. (CA., p.118)

For more information on these and other traditional degree associations, including fixed star conjunctions, see the Skyscript page on: Traditional degree influences

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© Deborah Houlding, 2012

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