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A Glossary of Astrological Terms for the letter "B"

Use this glossary to look up the meanings of words you come across on this website, or in your astrological reading. Just select the first letter of the word you need and click on it in the table below to go straight to that sector.
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Go to Top Ba Zi
Shi Chen Ba Zi, the Four Pillars of Destiny in Chinese Astrology. The Four Pillars (Ba Zi) are Year, Months, Days, Hours. More on Chinese Astrology.
Go to Top Balsamic Moon
The final phase of the Moon between the last quarter and the darkness of the New Moon. See Moon Phases.
Go to Top Barren Planets
Sun, Saturn and Mars. Traditionally, these planets (along with the Dragon's Tail, or Moon's South Node) tend to prevent the birth, or cause early death, of children when located in either of the parents' fifth or eleventh houses, especially if poorly aspected. Many modern astrologers also consider Uranus barren.
Go to Top Barren Signs
Gemini, Leo and Virgo. Aries is also considered rather barren. If on fifth or eleventh house cusps they tend to reduce the number of offspring. Good for tilling, bad for planting.
Go to Top Behenian Fixed Stars
Fifteen stars considered especially useful for magical applications in the mediæval astrology of Europe and the Arab world. The name derives from Arabic bahman, "root," as each was considered a source of astrological power for one or more planets. Each is also connected with a gemstone and plant used in rituals intended to draw the star's influence (e.g., into a talisman). When a planet was within six degrees of an associated star, this influence was thought to be particularly strong. For Agrippa's table, see the Behenian Fixed Stars. For a different viewpoint, see the Table of Hermes.
Go to Top Behold
  1. A slower planet is said to behold a faster planet which is applying to an aspect with it.
  2. Also, when two planets are within orb of an aspect, they are said to behold one another.
  3. Or, when one planet is in aspect to another, each in Beholding Signs, they behold each other.
Go to Top Beholding Signs
Signs which have the same declination, or are at equal distances from the tropics, ie, Aries/Virgo; Taurus/Leo; Gemini/Cancer; Libra/Pisces; Scorpio/Aquarius; Sagittarius/Capricorn. This relation of course only holds when planets are appropriately configured in them. See Equal Power.
Go to Top Beibenia
Mediæval term for the brightest of the fixed stars. Jerome Vitali in his Lexicon Mathematicum (1668), says that beibenia are the main stars of the starry images, in particular their hearts and the stars of the first magnitude.
Go to Top Beltane (Beltaine; Bealtaine)
One of the Cross-quarter days; an ancient fertility festival, now generally celebrated as May Day. More about Beltane.
Go to Top Benefic
Beneficial, good, favourable.
Go to Top Benefic Aspects
Major Benefic aspects are
  1. sextile (60°)
  2. trine (120°)
Conjunction (0°) can be benefic if planets are themselves benefic or if otherwise well aspected.
Minor aspects usually considered benefic are
  1. semi-sextile (30°)
  2. quintile (72°)
  3. bi-quintile (144°).
There are other benefic aspects, but these are the most widely used and understood. See Malefic Aspects.
Go to Top Benefic Planets
see Benefics.
Go to Top Benefics
Jupiter (the greater fortune) and Venus (the lesser fortune). These planets are considered to benefit the native, unless afflicted. Anonymous of 379 states that Mercury is a benefic (perhaps as a healer, being the Lord of Virgo) and Ptolemy states that "the ancients" also included the Moon as a benefic, chiefly because of its softening and humidifying power. Note that benefics do not always bring out what may be termed "beneficial" outcomes, especially when poorly placed in the chart. Modern psychological astrologers, following Marc Edmund Jones deny that any planet may be deemed "benefic" (or indeed "malefic"), on the grounds that natural forces should not be value-laden and that all experiences are ultimately beneficial as part of a growth process. Compare Malefics.
Go to Top Besieged
A planet is besieged when it lies between two malefics, or when, having separated from a malefic, the next aspect it makes is with a malefic. Traditionally, a planet is besieged if it lies between Mars and Saturn and in the same sign with them, for example, Mars at 22 Pisces, Sun at 24 Pisces and Saturn at 27 Pisces, seen in my son's chart. [Note: Horary astrologer Gorizza Sv declares that this is not really beseigement, due to Mars and Saturn being combust, though of course it would be a different story were the Sun to be replaced by the Moon in a chart]. The word "besieged" means surrounded or crowded in by hostile forces, these being in this case Mars (enemies; conflict; passion) and Saturn (restriction; sorrows; karma), who are surrounding, crowding and assailing the Sun (inner self; individuality). Besiegement in a birth chart is usually overcome by progression, but still remains a basic vibration.
Go to Top Bestial Signs
Aries (Ram), Taurus (Bull), Leo (Lion), last half of Sagittarius (Centaur/Archer), front half of Capricorn (Sea-goat). Each of these signs is thus symbolised by an animal.
Go to Top Bhava
Astrological House in Vedic astrology.
Go to Top Bhukti
Planetary sub-period within a major period (dasa) in Vedic astrology.
Go to Top Bicorporeal (Double-bodied) Signs
Gemini (twins), Sagittarius (part man, part beast) and Pisces (two fishes). They denote dual experiences, twins etc., when on the cusp of fifth or eleventh houses and especially on the ascendant or when populated by many planets. Ptolemy includes Virgo. His twist is that these four signs are called bicorporeal because they "follow the solid [Fixed] signs, and are so called because they are between the solid and the solsticial and equinoctial signs and share, as it were, at end and beginning, the natural properties of the two states of weather."
Go to Top Biothanatus
Violent death.
Go to Top Birth Chart
A natal chart (nativity), or horoscope. It is a map of how the planets were aligned when a person (the native) was born. The birth chart presents an astrological blueprint for a person's life. More about the Birth Chart.
Go to Top Birth Place
Place where the native's first breath was drawn. Longitude and latitude of the birthplace are required to construct an accurate nativity.
Go to Top Birth Time
Moment of first breath; important in erecting an accurate nativity.
Go to Top Bi-quintile
A minor aspect of 144 degrees, derived from Kepler.
Go to Top Black Hole
An extremely dense object in space, with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing, not even light can escape it. Astronomers believe that the imploded remnant of a massive star may become a Black Hole, though there are other proposed causes. Some modern astrologers take some of them into consideration, especially the Galactic Centre, a vastly powerful supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. Read Wikipedia on Black Holes.
Go to Top Black Moon
Also known as Dark Moon, or Lilith, a sensitive point that can be calculated from the Moon's orbit around the Earth. The Moon's orbit is not circular, but slightly elliptical – and an ellipse has two foci. The Earth travels in one focus; the other is empty, but has been designated as the Black Moon. Used by some modern astrologers. There is also an asteroid called Lilith.
Go to Top Blavatsky
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), co-founder and prime mover of the Theosophical Society (TS). A naturally gifted psychic (and talented pianist, artist and writer), HPB was born at Ekaterinoslav in what is now Ukraine into a prominent Russian aristocratic family. She was married at 17 to General N. V. Blavatsky, from whom she quickly separated. She travelled widely in Europe, Asia and the Americas and is best known as author of the profoundly influential esoteric works, Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. Literary giants such as William Butler Yeats and James Joyce acknowledged her influence, along with occult leaders such as Aleister Crowley, A. E. Waite, S.L. Macgregor Mathers, etc., and psychologists including Carl Jung and Rudolph Steiner. Mahatma Gandhi himself was set on his path by meeting her in London in 1890 and studying her Key to Theosophy. The leading astrologers of the later 19th and early 20th Centuries were deeply affected by her work. Esoteric Astrology and modern psychological astrology have grown out of Theosophical teachings. Having set a massive wave in motion that is reverberating still, she died in London in 1891. More on HPB (offsite).
Go to Top Blue Moon
When a Full Moon occurs twice in the same sign in any given year, the second of the two Full Moons is called a Blue Moon. [Recently this phenomenon has been misunderstood to mean a second Full Moon in a calendar month. Calendar months cross over the cusps of the signs, hence this so-called "Blue Moon" is not a significant astrological phenomenon.] More on the Blue Moon.
Go to Top Bode's Law
Hypothesis originated by German astronomers Titius and Bode in 1766-68 that bodies in orbital systems orbit at semi-major axes in an exponential function of planetary sequence. This formula fits the spacing of the then-known visible planets and led to the discovery of Uranus (1781) and Ceres (1801), but did not fit for Neptune (although it predicts that Neptune should be where Pluto is found in the sequence). Scientists now hold that Bode's Law is not a law, but simply a rule that generally works. It has no overt astrological significance, but fits the mystical formulæ expressed in the sacred geometry which had been a key to the Mysteries for long centuries before Johann Elert Bode. Bode did however predict (and eventually name) Uranus.
Go to Top Bounds
  1. One of the dignities (also known as "terms", from the latin terminus), thought of as delimiting a certain circumstance within a certain confine of life. Often used in life expectancy calculations.
  2. The maximum declination of the Sun, either north or south of the equator. A planet whose declination exceeds 2326'22" (N or S) is said to be Out of Bounds.
Go to Top Brihaspati
A Vedic name for Jupiter.
Go to Top Budha
A Vedic name for Mercury. Not to be confused with Buddha, the central figure of Buddhism, though both mean "awakened". Budha refers to "awakened intellect", as Mercury stands for the intellect (Buddhi), as opposed to the innocent, receptive mind represented by the Moon.
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This page was last modified on Monday, 3 April 2017