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A Glossary of Astrological Terms for the letter "M"

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 Magnetic Currents
Swirling energies in the Earth's magnetic field form currents that flow in patterns between particular focal points on the planet's surface, rather reminiscent of a circuit board, or power grid. These currents are affected by planetary aspects, cosmic radiation, solar wind, and similar forces such as solar flares, but can be harnessed and controlled through an understanding of their nature. Ancient, prehistoric civilisations were adept at this, as shown through the remnants of their massive geomantic constructions. It can be still observed in the remnant occult architecture of the landscape in China and Britain, among others, for it appears to have been employed on a planetary scale. One still vibrant form of this elder science remains operant today in the practice of Feng Shui. Magnetic currents on Earth are stilled by eclipses, which is one of the reasons so many ancient stone circles and temple buildings were designed in order to calculate them in advance. See Grid.
Go to Top Magnum Opus
In alchemy, the Great Work, the manufacturing of the Philosopher's Stone.
Go to Top Maimed Signs
Aries; Taurus; Leo; Pisces
Go to Top Major Aspects
Aspects dividing the 360 degrees of the circle of the zodiac by 2 (opposition: 180°); 3 (trine: 120°); 4 (square: 90°); 6 (sextile: 60°). These were defined by Ptolemy, based on Pythagorean numerological and musical theory and are the focal paths of the planetary rays. See Ptolemaic Aspects. See also Minor Aspects and Conjunction.
Go to Top Mala Fortuna
Bad fortune. Hellenistic term for the sixth house.
Go to Top Malefic
Evil, difficult, stress-inducing.
Go to Top Malefic Aspects
Major malefic aspects are
  1. square (90°)
  2. opposition (180°)
Conjunction (0°) can be malefic if planets are themselves malefic or if otherwise badly aspected.
Minor aspects considered malefic are
  1. semi-square (45°)
  2. sesqui-square (135°)
  3. quincunx a.k.a. inconjunct (150°).
There are other problematic aspects, but these are the most widely used and understood. See also Benefic Aspects.
Go to Top Malefic Planets
see Malefics.
Go to Top Malefics
Planets generating difficult circumstances: traditionally Mars and Saturn; nowadays Uranus. The Sun is classed as a malefic in Indian (Vedic) astrology and also in Western Astrology when in conjunction (due to phenomenon of combustion — except when cazimi, i.e. in the heart of the Sun). The Dragon's Tail (Moon's south node) is malefic, though a "shadow planet" rather than a real rock. In Indian astrology both the Dragon's Head (Rahu) and Tail (Ketu) are considered serious malefics, as indeed is the Moon itself when weak. The jury is still out on Pluto, but he is most likely malefic. Ceres it seems to me is generally malefic, especially in terms of natural disasters. Modern psychological astrologers, following 20th C "New Age" astrologer Marc Edmund Jones, deny that any planet be deemed "malefic" (or indeed "benefic"), 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 Benefics.
Go to Top Malevolents
Go to Top Malus Dæmon
Evil spirit. Hellenistic name for the twelfth house. See also Cacodæmon.
Go to Top Mandala
Mystical wheel or diagram. Symbolic patterns are illustrated according to ritualistical formulæ enabling the transmission of spiritual power for healing, attainment of riches, love, divine inspiration, occult knowledge, etc. The zodiac wheel is a mandala.
Go to Top Mangal (sanskrit: "auspicious")
In Vedic astrology, a name for Mars.
Go to Top Mangaldosha
Mars affliction, affecting married life. Also Kujadosha
Go to Top Mangalik (Manglik)
A person whose chart exhibits Mangalik Dosha is commonly known as Mangalik, or Manglik.
Go to Top Mangalik Dosha
Same as Mangaldosha. Click for more on Mangalik Dosha, offsite at TruthStar, our Indian sister-site.
Go to Top Mansions
See Lunar Mansions.
Go to Top Mantra
Chant or magical incantation of specific Sanskrit sounds or phrases deriving from the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures. This is used in astrology as a remedy either to counteract or to assist planetary influences.
Go to Top Maraka
In Vedic astrology, a death-dealing planet. Ruler of 2nd or 7th house.
Go to Top Mars
The planet of action! This masculine planet rules Aries and Scorpio and is exalted in Capricorn. Mars the Warrior is a traditional malefic, tending to create havoc, anger and conflict, particularly with males. However he also stimulates growth and the will to succeed. In Medical Astrology, Mars represents acute conditions. More about Mars.
Go to Top Masculine & Feminine Planets
Pluto, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Sun are masculine. Neptune, Venus and Moon are feminine. Mercury is convertible; masculine when with masculine planets and feminine when with feminine. When unaspected its gender is determined by its sign, or whether rising before (masc.) or after (fem.) the Sun. These terms in astrology do not simply relate to the male/female gender of sexuality, for masculine and feminine also express these other polarities:
  • active/passive
  • positive/negative
  • dry/moist
  • hot/cold
  • light/dark
  • yang/yin
The idea of masculinity is traditionally related to dryness and femininity to moisture. According to Ptolemy, Mercury is common rather than convertible, as he produces "the dry and the moist alike". The outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) have no traditional gender, so modern astrologers have assigned it. Gender has also been assigned to the major asteroids, Ceres, Vesta, Juno & Pallas Athene (all feminine) mainly on mythological grounds, but also in a questionable effort to right the so-called gender imbalance of traditional astrology. Chiron, however, is considered masculine.
Go to Top Masculine & Feminine Quarters
Masculine Quarters extend anticlockwise from the cusp of the 10th house to the cusp of the Ascendant and clockwise from the cusp of the 7th to that of the 4th. Feminine Quarters are counted anticlockwise from the cusp of the Ascendant to that of the 4th and clockwise from the cusp of the 10th to that of the 7th.
Go to Top Masculine & Feminine Signs
Masculine Signs
  • Aries
  • Leo
  • Sagittarius   
  • Gemini
  • Libra
  • Aquarius
Feminine Signs
  • Taurus
  • Virgo
  • Capricorn   
  • Cancer
  • Scorpio
  • Pisces
The ancients considered that masculinity and femininity also alternated according to the sign's position vis-à-vis the ascendant, which is considered masculine.
Go to Top Matutine
Stars or planets rising before the Sun in the morning. See Vespertine.
Go to Top MC
Medium Coeli, Latin for mid-heaven.
Go to Top Mean or Average Daily Motion of Planets
The normal rate of travel of a planet through the zodiac.
Go to Top Mean Node
See Nodes.
Go to Top Mean Time
True Local Time.
Go to Top Medium Coeli (MC)
Mid-heaven, or meridien. The Southern point of the chart.
Go to Top Melothesia
A discipline in Hellenistic Astrology that investigates links between astral phenomena at birth and physical characteristics in the human body.
Go to Top Melancholic Humour
Corresponding to the Earth Element and according to Culpeper, ruling "the sediment of blood". Ruled by Saturn, it works through the Black Bile. See Humours. More about the Melancholic Humour.
Go to Top Mercury
A fast moving planet never more than 28° from the Sun, which governs communication and intellectual interaction, healing, transmission of spiritual knowledge, travel, sales, teaching, consultants and the like. Neither masculine nor feminine but convertible, Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo and is exalted in Virgo. More about Mercury.
Go to Top Mercury (Philosophical)
Alchemists, philosophers and physicians referred to the vital force as the philosophical Mercury, because Mercury (the liquid metal) is a flowing analogy of the life force. Mercury is known as the god of medicine and healing because he rules the vital force. More about the Vital Force.
Go to Top Mercury Retrograde
A brief but generally stressful period during which Mercury's motion through the zodiac appears to be reversed. More about Mercury Retrograde.
Go to Top Meridien
A great circle projected onto the celestial sphere, which encompasses the north and south points on the horizon and the zenith, which is directly above the observer.
Go to Top Meridien Distance
Measurement along the celestial equator between any point and the upper or lower meridien. A portion of the semi-arc, usually expressed in degrees of time.
Go to Top Messier Objects
Not an untidy lot, but a set of astronomical objects catalogued by French astronomer Charles Messier in his Catalogue of NebulŠ and Star Clusters, originally published 1771. Because he was only interested in comets, he created a list of non-comet objects that frustrated his hunt for them. Known as the Messier catalogue, this list is one of the most famous lists of astronomical objects. Many Messier objects are still referenced by their Messier number, for example: M31, the Andromeda Galaxy (NGC 224), known to Ptolemy as the Fixed Star Vertex. Since Messier lived and worked in Paris, his objects only include those visible in the Northern Hemisphere.
Go to Top Metatron
The archangel Metatron, the Prince of the Countenance, was (and still is) a potent and powerful symbol used in moving above or beyond (gk. Meta-) this earthly instrument, or matrix (gk. tron). Especially used in Hebrew and Greek kabbala, and in occult devotions, this power is identified with Kether, the Crown, in the Tree of Life, but also with the Egyptian Thoth Hermes and Ptah, the Opener. Sacred geometry and the mystical power of the cube are associated with Metatron.
Go to Top Meteor
Shooting star or falling star; the blazing path of a small speeding space-rock (meteoroid) as it burns up in a collision with Earth's atmosphere. Meteors that hit the Earth's surface are called meteorites. Meteors are common and have been known since ancient times, when they were thought to be purely atmospheric phenomena (the heavenly realms were believed to be perfect and unchangeable), but they are now considered the visible traces of tiny space-rocks as they flash through the atmosphere. The word "meteor" (gk. meteôros) means "high in the air".
Go to Top Meteor Shower
Celestial event in which a number of meteors appear to radiate from one point (the radiant) in the night sky. Intense meteor showers are called meteor storms, which may produce more than 1,000 meteors an hour. The Perseids are a typical example, dating from antiquity.
Go to Top Meteorological Astrology
Weather prediction using astrology, usually as set out in ancient texts, but used by Kepler in predictions. See Astrometeorology.
Go to Top Meteorology
Modern method of weather prediction.
Go to Top Metonic Cycle
The 19 year cycle wherein the conjunctions of the Sun and Moon begin to appear progressively in the zodiac in the same places as in the previous cycle. This is the cycle whereby the solar and lunar calendars can be approximately synchronised. Named for Meton of Athens (5th Century BCE), though Homer used it centuries earlier in the Odyssey.
Go to Top Mid-heaven
Meridien, or MC (Medium Coeli). The point of the chart at which the meridien intercepts the ecliptic. In many house systems (but not all) the MC is also the cusp of the tenth house. More on mid-heaven.
Go to Top Midnight Mark
Mean local time at birthplace when it is midnight at Greenwich, England.
Go to Top Midpoint
The exact midpoint between two planets as measured in degrees and minutes of arc around the chart. These are considered to have considerable significance, especially the midpoints between planets in the charts of the parties in a relationship analysis, known as the Composite Chart.
Go to Top Minor Aspects
Aspects other than the Major Aspects defined by Ptolemy. These were largely defined by Kepler and Lilly, based on harmonic (Kepler) and discordant (Lilly) musical intervals dividing the circle of the zodiac. The main Minor Aspects are semi-sextile (30°); semi-square or octile (45°); quintile (72°); sesqui-square (135°); inconjunct or quincunx (150°) though there are quite a few others used by some astrologers, including bi-quintile (144°); septile (approx 51°26'); nonile (40°); decile (36°) and their subdivisions. See also Major Aspects.
Go to Top Minor Progression
Method of forecasting in which each Lunar Return after birth equals a year of life.
Go to Top Minor Year
Time Lord system in which each planet is given a period of years:
  1. Sun – 19 years
  2. Moon – 25 years
  3. Mercury – 20 years
  4. Venus – 8 years
  5. Mars – 15 years
  6. Jupiter – 12 years
  7. Saturn – 30 years
Go to Top Modality
Quality, or Quadruplicity. Each sign is characterised by the combination of its Quadruplicity or Quality (Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable) and its Triplicity, or Element (Fire, Earth, Air, or Water).
Go to Top Moiety
Traditional astrology holds that the orb of a planet is the diameter of an imaginary sphere of light surrounding it. The radius of that sphere is the moiety. The sum of the moieties of any two planets gives the maximum distance that their bodies can be from exact aspect for the aspect to be effective.

PlanetTrad. OrbMoiety
SunOrb: 15°Moiety: 7½°
MoonOrb: 12°Moiety: 6°
MercuryOrb: 7°Moiety: 3½°
VenusOrb: 7° Moiety: 3½°
MarsOrb: 8°Moiety: 4°
JupiterOrb: 9°Moiety: 4½°
SaturnOrb: 9°Moiety: 4½°
Outer PlanetsOrb: 5°Moiety: 2½°

Used mainly in Horary, this is not to be confused with the "orb of aspect" used in Natal Astrology. See Orb.
Go to Top Moksha
Liberation, or the state of salvation. According to Hindu teaching, this is the ultimate goal of human life. In Vedic astrology there are a number of chart factors that point to the attainment of moksha.
Go to Top Mokshakaraka
Ketu, the Dragon's Tail, or south lunar node. In Vedic astrology, Ketu is mokshakaraka ("liberation indicator"). Also the Twelfth House, which brings spiritual perfection through seclusion and introspection.
Go to Top Monomoiria (Monomoiriai)
  1. Hellenistic name for the zodiacal degrees, each of which has been given a specific meaning.
  2. Planetary Lords of Degrees in Hellenistic Astrology. Each degree has its own ruler, constructed from the domicile ruler of the sign in descending Chaldean order of the planets.
  3. Trigonal monomoiria, where the order is based on the trigon (triplicity) rulerships via the sect ruler, with the first degree of a given sign being ruled by the sect ruler (diurnal or nocturnal) according to its sect, the next degree by the opposite sect ruler and so on. This is a significant Time Lord system, but there are several versions and the scholarship is by no means settled.
Go to Top Month
The time taken for the Moon to complete one full orbit of the Earth, some 29 and a half days (see Lunation). However, the motion of the Moon in its orbit is very complicated and its period is not constant. There are a number of different kinds of month used in astronomy, astrology and calendrics:
  1. Sidereal Month: the time it takes the Moon to return to the same position on the celestial sphere among the fixed stars (Latin: sidus): 27.321661 days (27 d 7 h 43 min 11.5 s) or 27 1/3 days. This type appeared among cultures in the Middle East, India, and China as they divided the sky in 27 or 28 lunar mansions, characterized by asterisms, one for each day the Moon follows its track among the stars.
  2. Tropical Month: the time taken with regard to the vernal point, or "lunar equinox". Because of precession, this point moves back slowly along the ecliptic. It takes the Moon less time to return to an ecliptic longitude of zero than to the same point amidst the fixed stars: 27.321582 days (27 d 7 h 43 min 4.7 s). This slightly shorter period is known as the tropical month.
  3. Anomalistic Month: the Moon's orbit is an ellipse rather than a circle, but its orientation and shape are not fixed. In particular, the position of the extreme points (the line of the apsides: perigee and apogee), makes a full circle (lunar precession) in about nine years. It takes the Moon longer to return to the same apsis because it moved ahead during one revolution. This longer period is called the anomalistic month, and has an average length of 27.554551 days (27 d 13 h 18 min 33.2 s), or about 27½ days.
  4. Draconic Month: the plane of the Moon's orbit is tilted by approx 5° with respect to the plane of the ecliptic. The line of intersection of these planes defines the ascending and descending nodes. The plane of the Moon's orbit precesses over a full circle in about 18.6 years, so the nodes move backwards over the ecliptic with the same period. Hence the time it takes the Moon to return to the same node is again shorter than a sidereal month: this is called the draconic, nodical, or draconitic month. It lasts 27.212220 days (27 d 5 h 5 min 35.8 s), or about 27 1/5 days. It is important for predicting eclipses: these take place when the Sun, Earth and Moon are on a line (i.e., in syzygy). The three bodies are only on a line when the Moon is on the ecliptic, i.e. when it is at one of the nodes. The "draconic" month refers to the mythological dragon that lives in the nodes and regularly eats the Sun or Moon during an eclipse.
  5. Synodic Month: Moon phases occur because we see the part of the Moon that is illuminated by the Sun from different angles as the Moon traverses its orbit. Because the Earth orbits the Sun, it takes the Moon extra time (after completing a sidereal month, i.e. a full circle) to catch up and return to the same position with respect to the Sun. This longer period is called the synodic month. Because of the perturbations of the orbits of the Earth and Moon, the actual time between lunations may range from about 29.27 to about 29.83 days. The long-term average duration is 29.530588 days (29 d 12 h 44 min 2.8 s), or about 29½ days.
  6. Calendar Month: Divisions of the solar year (approx 365.25 days) of either of 30 or 31 days in the Western Gregorian Calendar, excepting February which is normally 28 days, with an extra day added every leap year (to balance the account for the extra four quarters of a day).
Go to Top Moon
The Earth's sole natural satellite. The Moon is classed as a planet ("wanderer") in astrology and represents matters to do with women, the mother, the public, the emotions, habit patterns and so on. A feminine planet, she rules Cancer and is exalted in Taurus. Several other planets have recently been determined by astronomers to have moons, but these are not generally considered in astrology. More about the Moon.
Go to Top Moon Phases
  1. New Moon: dark phase at the beginning of the lunar month, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction. A time for formulation and planning. The arc of aspect from Moon to Sun is between 0° and 45°
  2. Crescent Moon: waxing between new and first quarter. A time for setting things in motion. The arc of aspect is between 45° and 90°
  3. First Quarter: when the Moon is half light and half dark. A time for focused, forceful activity. The arc of aspect is between 90° and 135°
  4. Gibbous Moon: when the Moon is waxing towards the Full, with more than half of its surface visible. A time for overcoming obstacles. The arc of aspect is between 135° and 180°
  5. Full Moon: bright phase when the Moon is has all or nearly all of its surface visible. A time for fulfilment, when plans succeed or fail. The arc of aspect is between 180° and 225°
  6. Disseminating Moon: when the Moon is waning but still has more than half of its surface visible. Also known as a Waning Gibbous, it is a time of bearing fruit and participating with others, or dropping failed plans and making a new start at the coming New Moon. The arc of aspect is between 225° and 270°
  7. Third Quarter: when the Moon is rapidly waning towards the New. A time to move beyond the past and start working in earnest towards the activation of the New Moon. The arc of aspect is between 270° and 315°
  8. Balsamic Moon: when the Moon diminishes from a sliver to the darkness of the New Moon. A time of completion, inward-looking, yet of planning for the next phase. The arc of aspect is between 315° and 360°
More on Moon Phases.
Go to Top Moon Ruler
Planetary ruler of the Moon Sign.
Go to Top Moon Sign
The Moon Sign is the sign through which the Moon is passing at a given moment, such as the moment of birth. It is particularly significant in Jyotish, or Indian (Vedic) Astrology.
Go to Top Moon's Nodes
Shadow planets. See Nodes
Go to Top Moon Wobble
Regular periods of stress, confusion, extreme weather and loss of life, discovered by astrologer/mathematician Carl Payne Tobey in the mid-20th Century. Occurs every 86.5 days on average, with an orb of approx. 5 degrees (days) on either side of the precise date, when the Sun forms either the T-square with the Lunar Nodes, or the conjunction with the North or South Nodes. Eclipses therefore also mark Moon Wobbles. More about Moon Wobble.
Go to Top Mother Significator
According to Lilly, the Mothers Significators are:
  • First, the 10th house.
  • Secondly, the Lord thereof.
  • Thirdly, Venus in a diurnall Nativity, Moon in a nocturnall.
  • Fourthly, a Planet or Planets in the 10th house.
See also Father Significators.
Go to Top Moveable Signs
Cardinal Signs, Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn. Called moveable because they mark the changes of the seasons and the weather. See Cardinal Signs
Go to Top Mundane Aspect
Aspect calculated via the rotation of the Earth, rather than position in the zodiac, "reckoned along the Equator and measured in subdivisions of the nocturnal or diurnal semi-arc. For example: Any two planets that have a separation of two houses are in mundane Sextile; of four houses, in mundane Trine. Thus it is possible for two planets to be simultaneously in the mutual relationship of a mundane Trine and a zodiacal Square. Mundane aspects can be computed only on a map erected for a birth moment." [source: Nicholas DeVore, Encyclopedia of Astrology].
Go to Top Mundane Astrology
From Latin Mundus, the world. Deals with Ingresses, Lunations, Eclipses, Great Conjunctions or Comets as indicators of conditions affecting nations, states, or communities. Probably the most ancient form of astrology, it also associates natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions etc with astrological phenomena. See also Meteorological Astrology.
Go to Top Mundane Parallel
Equal distance of two planets from any angle.
Go to Top Munifices
Third of a decan, a.k.a. Liturgi. There are consequently nine munifices in a sign.
Go to Top Music of the Spheres
Ancient astronomers held that the Earth was the centre of the universe and that the planets and stars occupied positions in a series of concentric, crystal spheres surrounding the Earth. Each sphere corresponded to a note in the musical scale. The spheres rotated and the subtle sound generated was called the Music of the Spheres, a subtle, cosmic sound current that permeates existence. By attuning to the music of the spheres one could place oneself into harmony with the cosmos. The music of the spheres is more than a beautiful poetic intuition. The dynamics of the solar system, first laid bare by Kepler's mathematical genius, are directly analogous to the laws of musical harmony. Interestingly, modern scientists have determined that planets broadcast unique radio signal patterns, which when translated into audible frequencies, make good listening. Thus planets could be said to "sing". Click to listen to the "Sounds of Saturn".
Go to Top Mutable Signs
Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces.
Go to Top Mute Signs
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces. According to Lilly, these are "Mute Signs or of slow Voice, the more if Mercury be in any of them, in Conjunction, Square, or Opposition of Saturn".
Go to Top Mutual Disposition
See Dispositor.
Go to Top Mutual Reception
See Reception.
Go to Top Myriogenesis
Forecasting using individual degrees and minutes.
Go to Top Mystic Rectangle
A configuration formed by at least four planets, comprising two trines and two sextile aspects with oppositions forming from all four corners of the configuration.
Go to Top Myth
A traditional, legendary narrative handed down from ancient times, usually in oral form (until written down quite late in the piece), telling of the exploits of gods and heroes, often designed to explain natural phenomena in rich, poetic and symbolic language. A myth also focuses an aspect of a society's culture, presenting it in a multi-layered, right-brain style, unlike a modern scientific explanation, which is generally anti-poetic, determinedly left-brained, and analytic. Modern astro-physics, quantum mechanics, and advanced mathematics seem to have come to the end of analysis and are now taking what seem to be quite poetic leaps of fancy into new mythological realms of dark matter, multi-dimensional realities, antimatter, wormholes and the like.
Go to Top Mythical
Existing in myth. Modern usage often conflates "mythical" with "false", or imaginary, but this is due to literalism: failing to understand the multi-layered, symbolic language of myth. Astrological narrative is laced with mythical language; for example, the Labours of Hercules seen as a symbolic illustration of the soul's evolutionary journey through the Signs of the Zodiac.
Go to Top Mythology
  1. The collective body of myths associated with a society or culture
  2. The study of myth and the comparison of cultures through the content of their myths
Go to Top Mythological
Referring to characters and themes of mythology. Astrological descriptions of the constellations, stars, signs and planets are largely mythological in origin.
Go to Top
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This page was last modified on Monday, 8 June 2020