Astrological Dictionary
Letter: F


Dictionary of Astrological Definitions and Terms.
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Face
Decanates - each sign divided into 10-degree division and assigned a ruler.Thus, Aries and Mars are assigned to the first third of Aries, Leo and the Sun to the second third, Sagittarius and Jupiter to the final third. A sign's primary ruler is always the decan ruler of the first ten-degrees. So Venus rules the first third of Taurus, Mercury the second third (Virgo), and Saturn the final third (Capricorn). A second system is also one of decanate rulership, but in this case, while the first third of Aries is ruled by Mars and the second third by the Sun, the remaining 34 thirds of the zodiac are ruled thereafter according to the Chaldean order of the planets; the last third of Aries is ruled by Venus; the first third of Taurus by Mercury, the second by the Moon, and the third by Saturn; the first third of Gemini by Jupiter, and then the order starts over again, repeating with Mars at the second third of Gemini. There are, however, two kinds of rulership by triplicity. The one just mentioned is a simple grouping of signs by element. Ptolemy proposes another, which is not a system of faces, best known today through his Table of Essential Dignities and Debilities, a system of sign classification for purposes of determining planetary strength. Ptolemy's triplicities provide each sign with two planetary rulers, one by day and one by night. The Sun rules all the fire signs by day, and Jupiter by night. Venus rules all the earth signs by day, and the Moon by night. Saturn rules all the air signs by day and Mercury by night. Finally, Mars rules all the water signs both by day and by night. Ptolemy's faces (ideoprosotoi) are something different. A planet is said to be in its own face when located in a house that is distant from the Moon or the Sun by the same number of houses as the sign it rules is distant from the sign ruled by the Moon or Sun respectively. To explain: Ptolemy uses a system of diurnal and nocturnal signs, assigning the Sun and the Moon to "natural" positions closest to the zenith, the Sun because of all the planets it produces the most heat,the Moon next to the Sun because it is the second most important body. Based on an Aries fiducial, this puts the Sun in Leo, generally the hottest (sunniest) time of year in the northern hemisphere. Cancer is the "house of the Moon," the second most powerful body, being adjacent to Leo at the zenith. Leo through Pisces are the diurnal signs. Capricorn to Aquarius (passing through Aries) are the noctural signs. So Virgo is adjacent to Leo and Gemini is adjacent to Cancer; both of these signs are the "houses" of Mercury, the next closest planet to the earth after the Sun and Moon. Then next to Virgo is Libra and next to Gemini is Taurus; both of these signs are the "houses" of Venus, the next planet out. It continues, Mars ascribed to nocturnally to Aries and diurnally to Scorpio, Jupiter ascribed to Pisces and Sagittarius, and finally Saturn ascribed to the last two signs, adjacent to each other and opposite the Cancer/Leo pair, Aquarius and Capricorn. Thus Mercury is in its face when it is semisextile to either the Sun or Moon in the chart at hand. Venus is in its face when it is sextile to either luminary, Mars when it is square, Jupiter when it is trine, and Saturn when it is inconjunct or quincunx. Ptolemy, discussd "the quality of the soul" in Tetrabiblos III.13. Al-Biruni accepts the faces "according to the agreement of the Persians and Greeks." His system is that of decanate rulerships using the Chaldean order. William Lilly, who used the term decanate synonymously with face, considered face the weakest form of essential dignity. The system he uses employs the Chaldean order of the planets, as described above. Alan Leo used face as a synonym for pentade. Simmonite used the term facet, but meant a five-degree section of the zodiac.
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Fall
An unfavorable planetary placement by sign. A planet in its Fall is in the opposite sign of its Exaltation.
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Feminine Signs
Negative signs. Ptolemy sights two categorizationsin Tetrabiblos, serving here as historian. 1) The even numbered signs: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces (the other signs being masculine). 2) The sign rising is deemed masculine and the signs thereafter are categorized in one of two ways: a) the signs simply alternate in zodiacal order, house by house; or b) the signs on the cusps of houses 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12 are masculine (opposite quadrants, SE and NW), and the signs one the cusps of the other houses are feminine (the remaining quadrants). It is thought that Ptolemy used Equal Houses or a similar system, so presumably interception of signs would not have been an issue.
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Feral
As applied to planets: 1)According to Albiruni, a planet is feral in its course in an even more restricted sense "when it is in a sign and no other planet has been in aspect with it from the time of its entry to that of its exit". Clearly, this is an unusual occurrence, nearly impossible with the outer planets and most common with the moon. 2) Our modern notion of void of course relaxes this condition to define the period after the body has made its last aspect in a sign. The moon is sometimes said to be feral when it is void of course. As applied to signs: 1) A condition applied to those who have either Leo or the latter half of Sagittarius on the ascendent. 2) Also applied to those who have Sun or Moon in one of these zodiacal positions and malefics on the angles. 3) The bestial signs are occasionally referred to as feral.
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Fire
One of the four elements. It represents an overt, enthusiastic, and active nature. The Triplicity of Fire signs: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.
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Fixed Stars
Stars are different bodies than planets as they are self-luminous not depending on the Sun for light. They are outside the Solar system and the great distance from Earth makes them appear not to move. Because of precession the "fixed stars" appear to move forward in the tropical zodiac at about 50.23 seconds of arc per year, eight minutes per 10 years, or one degree every 72 years.
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Fixed
One of the three qualities. The signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. These correspond with the four beasts of Revelation: the bull, the lion, the eagle, and man.
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Fortunes
Benefic planets, especially Venus and Jupiter. Also the Sun and Moon when free of affliction. The Moon's North Node and Pars Fortuna are fortunate points. Spica and Regulus are benefic fixed stars.
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Fruitful Signs
The water signs, Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces. In Horary Questions the Ascendant, Moon, or Lord of the Ascendant, if strongly placed in any one of these Signs, become symbols of children. Some deem this equally applicable to the Natal Figure, and that the 5th or its Lord in a fruitful Sign is a symbol of children.
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Frutration
When a fast planet is applying to a conjunction with a slower planet and another planet is also applying to the conjunction first, it frustrates the conjunction of the planet. Abscission and Frustration are synonymous.
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