Glossary to Macro-Astrology
©Copyright Terry MacKinnell 2001, 2002 All Rights Reserved

Branches of Astrology: There are many branches in astrology. Other branches include genethlialogical (natal astrology), mundane, Vedic, Chinese, and horary to name a few. The most common branch in astrology is genethlialogical astrology. This includes all the techniques of determining a person's nature and potential through examination of their horoscope at birth.

Decanates (Decans): The decans comprise ten degrees of the zodiac each within signs of thirty degrees. Of the three decans of any sign, the first decan is the same as the sign in question, the second decan is ruled by the next sign of the same element, and the third decan is the following sign of the same element. Therefore the three decans of Pisces are, in order: Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio.

Dwadasamsa (Duads): The traditional method of utilising duads in western astrology is similar to decans. The first duad of any sign is the same as the sign, followed by all the other signs in order. Therefore the twelve duads of Pisces are Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini and so on until the final duad - Aquarius. Both decans and duads are tried and tested systems in astrology, but for some reason these have been ignored to date.

Mundane Astrology: Mundane astrology also examines the big. Mundane astrology uses the position of the planets in signs, and their various combinations to predict events that have world-wide consequences. The horoscopes of countries are also used to determine the effects of planetary transits etc on the affairs of specific countries.

Precessional Ages: The astrological ages theoretically exist because of a phenomena known as precession of the equinoxes. Without delving into extensive astronomical detail, the world spins like a top, with the axis of revolution wobbling about once about every 26,000 years. As a direct consequence, the alignment of the Earth in space varies with time. The position of the stars and constellations, often referred to as the celestial sphere, minutely changes each year in relation to the Earth.

By convention, the technique used to note this change is to take the position of the sun as it crosses the equator from south to north each year on the first day of spring - the spring equinox for the Northern Hemisphere. This point, called the vernal point, also defines the beginning of the tropical zodiac at zero degrees Aries. Zero degrees tropical Aries always occurs on the first day of spring, and indicates the start of a new yearly solar cycle. The celestial sphere however is running to a different timetable.

Earth's great wobble means that its axis is continually and slightly shifting. Because the vernal point does not quite make it back to the same position on the celestial sphere (the sidereal year is slightly longer than the tropical year), it appears to be slowly slipping back through the zodiacal constellations. This phenomenon is called the precession of the equinoxes. It could equally be called the precession of the solstices. As a consequence, the astrological ages are sometimes called precessional ages.

The period of a complete cycle of the vernal point around the celestial sphere is approximately 25,800 years. In other words, after 25,800 years, the vernal point is back at the starting point or fiduciary vernal point (zero degrees sidereal Aries). For the same reason that astrologers have allowed for twelve signs as the sun passes through its annual orbit, this 25,800 years cycle is also divided into twelve signs, with each of these twelve signs averaging some 2,150 years each.

The modern discovery of the precession of the equinoxes is credited to the Greek astronomer and astrologer, Hipparchus. Around 150 BC Hipparchus noted that the vernal point was no longer in the Constellation of Aries. The vernal point had moved into the Constellation of Pisces. When the vernal point moved into the Constellation of Pisces, leaving the Constellation of Aries behind, the Age of Pisces was supposedly born.

Progressions: There is more then one technique of progressions used in the contemporary practice of astrology. The most popular technique is the day-for-a-year system. This system substitutes a day for each year of life. Therefore, to determine what astrological influences will exist in someone's 40th year, the 40th day after birth is examined. Though this may appear esoteric, it works extremely well.

However this process `slows down' the activity of the astrological factors at work. For example, normally the sun moves through 30 degrees of the zodiac (one sign) in approximately a month, and approximately one degree per day. A month of say 30 days indicates 30 years of life. Thirty years is a long time, and due to this the application of duads to signs becomes very relevant. A duad, representing a period 1/12th the size of a sign (i.e. 2 ½ degrees) will have an effect of approximately 2 ½ years. These 2 ½ years' periods are easily observable to the trained astrologer.

Rectification: Rectification involves a number of techniques, but all techniques have one point in common. If an accurate horoscope can determine a person's nature and key events in life, then the reverse is also true. A person's nature and key events in their life can be `reversed engineered' to determine their horoscope and thus time of birth. Even a few minutes error in a horoscope can change the expected occurrence of certain events by around a year.

Rectification usually involves a degree of trial and error. Based one or more events, a hypothetical horoscope and thus time of birth is determined. This is then tested against other known events in the person's life to determine if the hypothetical horoscope is synchronised to the other events. Many points of reference require synchronisation to confirm the hypothetical horoscope and thus time of birth.