A Saturn return is a period of time that occurs when the planet Saturn returns to the place in the sky that it was in when a person was born.
It takes Saturn approximately 29.5 years to complete one revolution around the Sun, and thus Saturn returns occur in 29 year intervals.
Modern astrologers tend to ascribe a lot of significance to the period of time surrounding a person’s first Saturn return, which is said to be a major developmental stage, marking the final passage into adulthood. Within this context, the Saturn return is usually associated with the period of time from the age of 27 to 30. This is partially due to the fact that the events or processes surrounding the Saturn return are usually seen as beginning a while before the Saturn return is exact or partile, and it continues for a while after that point in time as well. Some astrologers ascribe this to the orb associated with the Saturn return, while others say that it is because the return is associated with Saturn’s return back to the entire natal sign of the zodiac that Saturn was in at birth, and not just the degree.
The Saturn return is often experienced differently for different people, depending on the way that Saturn is situated in the natal chart. For some it is an important period of accomplishment, while for others it is a more difficult period that is associated with obstacles and setbacks.
Although the first Saturn return is usually seen as the most important, since Saturn is on a 29 year cycle a person can also experience a second or even a third Saturn return, which occur around the ages of 57-59 and 86-88, respectively. So, broadly speaking, a Saturn return occurs anytime Saturn returns back to the same position it held in the natal chart. However, in practice, when most astrologers mention the Saturn return, they are usually referring to the first Saturn return.
Sect is a technical term that is used in astrology in order to refer to a distinction between day and night.
In practice it is used to associate different planets or different parts of an astrological chart with either the day or the night.
Division of the Planets According to Sect
The word sect is a literal translation of the original Greek term for the concept, hairesis (αἵρεσις), which was used to refer to a philosophical “school” or a religious “sect”. It implies the notion of a group or faction of people who adhere to a specific doctrine.
Within the context of astrology, the doctrine of sect is used in order to divide the planets into two “teams” or “sects”. There is the daytime or diurnal sect which is led by the Sun, and then a nighttime or nocturnal team which is led by the Moon. The other traditional planets are then divided between the day and night sects, with Jupiter and Saturn joining the Sun as daytime planets, and the Venus and Mars joining the Moon as nighttime planets. Mercury is said to be neutral, and capable of joining either sect depending on certain conditions.
Other Sect-Related Divisions
The concept of sect can also be applied to other parts of the chart in order to assign different sections to the day or night. One example of this is to the signs of the zodiac. In some authors the masculine signs are conceptualized as being diurnal, while the feminine signs are conceptualized as being nocturnal.
Sect can also be applied to the houses, so that one side of the horizon is conceptualized as diurnal, while the other is conceptualized as nocturnal.
The Use of Sect in Astrology
Sect is primarily used in order to make qualitative distinctions between chart placements, by altering the benefic or malefic quality of a planet based on its sect-status in a given chart.
According to this doctrine, planets are capable of acting in a more positive or constructive fashion when they are in a chart that matches their preferred sect. Conversely, planets are thought to act in a more negative or destructive fashion when they are in a chart that does not match their preferred sect.
Usage in the Astrological Tradition
The concept of sect appears to have originated in the Hellenistic astrological tradition around the 1st century BCE. The concept remained very popular throughout the Hellenistic tradition, and well into the Medieval period. It seems to have suffered a decline in usage after the Medieval period, and then it was completely forgotten about by the 20th century. In the late 20th century it began to be revived as a result of a renewed interest amongst some practitioners in traditional astrology.
Chris Brennan, The Astrology of Sect, The Horoscopic Astrology Blog, November 25, 2008.
The phrase sect light is used in astrology to refer to the luminary which is of the sect in favor in a particular chart, which would be the Sun in a day chart, or the Moon in a night chart.
Since the Sun is the “light” or “luminary” that is associated with the day or diurnal sect, it is the “sect light” by day. Conversely, since the Moon is the “light” or “luminary” that is associated with the night or nocturnal sect, it is the “sect light” by night.
Essentially the term is just used as a quick way to reference the luminary that is of the sect in favor in the particular chart that is being examined, as opposed to the luminary that is contrary to the sect in favor in the same chart.
The term was often used by Greco-Roman astrologers during the Hellenistic tradition. In some texts the sect light is referred to as the “light of sect”.
In astrology a shadow period is defined as a specific period of time that occurs both before and after the retrograde period of a planet, starting when the planet first passes the degree of the zodiac that it will eventually retrograde back to, and ending once it eventually passes the degree that it originally stationed retrograde at.
Shadow periods are sometimes referred to as retrograde shadows, or shadow points. The concept was first defined by astrologer Roxana Muise in the 1980′s, and since then it has gained a moderate to wide degree of acceptance and usage in the astrological community.
From an interpretive standpoint shadow periods are important because they are essentially seen as extending the operational duration of the retrograde period of the planet.
Instead of the retrograde period beginning on the day that the planet stations retrograde, the events and circumstances associated with the retrograde are seen as beginning to develop as soon as the planet passes the pre-retrograde shadow point, which is the degree that the planet will eventually retrograde back to.
Similarly, instead of the retrograde period ending on the day that the planet stations direct, in this context the circumstances surrounding the retrograde are seen as continuing until the planet passes the post-retrograde shadow point, which is the degree that it originally stationed retrograde at.
Here is a diagram to illustrate the concept:
Identifying Shadow Periods in the Ephemeris
Shadow periods can be identified most easily by using an ephemeris. We will use excerpts from the Swiss Ephemeris below in order to demonstrate what shadow periods look like in that context (click the image to view a clearer version).
This ephemeris shows planetary positions for each day from June through August of 2012. Around the middle of that period Mercury went retrograde for three weeks.
The degrees in which Mercury first stationed retrograde and then later stationed direct are highlighted in yellow.
The date in which the pre-retrograde shadow period began is highlighted in blue, and the period in which the post-retrograde shadow period ended is also highlighted in blue.
Notice that the pre-retrograde shadow period begins around June 27 at the degree of Leo that Mercury would later station direct at around August 8, and the post-retrograde shadow period ends around August 22 at the degree of Leo that Mercury originally stationed retrograde at around July 15.
Note that the pre-retrograde shadow period last from about June 27, when Mercury passes the first shadow point, until July 15 when the retrograde actually begins. On the other hand, the post-retrograde shadow period starts around August 8, as soon as the retrograde period ends, and it lasts until about August 22, which is when Mercury passes the second shadow point.
The important point is that during this entire period Mercury is passing over and staying within the same segment of the zodiac, and this is why these periods are seen as being connected. In this way the retrograde period is recognized as extending beyond just the three weeks of the actual retrograde, and instead it is made to include two additional periods before and after the retrograde itself.
A pattern of planets arranged in two groups opposite each other in the zodiac. These opposing planets draw your attention in conflicting directions, making it hard to focus on particular issues in life or make decisions when faced with choices.
Solar Eclipse :
When the Sun is covered up by the Moon. An omen of deep transformation, often lasting 6 to 12 months. See also eclipse.
Solar Return :
When the sun returns to the same zodiac position as it was in your birth chart (around the time of your birthday); also the entire chart set up for this time. A solar return chart describes the circumstances in your life for the coming year.
South Node :
The lunar node where the moon’s orbit passes from north of the ecliptic to south. Also known as “Caudus Draconis” (Latin for “tail of the dragon”). Indicates your karmic talents, habits and blockages from previous lives.
The points in a planet’s retrograde cycle where it is standing still and hence concentrating its energies heavily on a single zodiacal position. Comes in 2 flavors, the retrograde station and the direct station. See also Retrograde Zone Info.
A stellium is defined as a group of several planets in a single sign of the zodiac or a single house.
In the example to the right the native has a stellium of four planets in Leo, consisting of Jupiter, the Sun, Mercury and Saturn.
This cluster of planets leads to an emphasis on that particular sign in the chart.
It is possible for there to be more than one stellium in a chart. Technically the plural of stellium is “stellia”, although astrologers have a tendency to say “stelliums” in practice.
Some older texts use the term satellitium instead of stellium, although the concept appears to be the same.
The Exact Definition of Stellium
Contemporary authorities are somewhat divided over the minimum number of planets required to form a stellium.
In some sources a stellium is defined as four or more planets in a single sign/house, but in other sources it is defined as three or more planets in a sign/house.
For example, Alan Oken says that a stellium “should involve no less than four planets” (Oken, pg. 435), whereas Julia and Derek Parker define stellium as “a group of planets — three or more — in one sign or house…” (Parker, pg. 57).
Other sources prefer to remain more ambiguous about the exact number of planets involved. For example, Celeste Teal simply defines it as “a grouping of several planets in one sign or house” (Teal, pg. 267).
The Significance of a Stellium in a Chart
Stelliums are thought to denote a heightened level of focus on the sign or house that they fall in in a birth chart. This leads to the qualities associated with the sign or the topics associated with the house being much more prominent in the native’s life, often to the extent that they become dominant factors in the chart as a whole.
Oken, Alan. Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology. Bantam Books, New York, NY. 1980 (rev. ed. 1988).
Parker, Julia and Derek. Parker’s Astrology. Dorling Kindersley, New York, NY. 1991.
Teal, Celeste. Predicting Events With Astrology. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN. 1999.
In astrology a Sun-sign is generally the sign of the zodiac that the Sun was in when a person was born.
Although it is often stated in newspapers and magazines that the Sun-sign is the sign of the zodiac that the Sun was in on the day of a person’s birth, technically the Sun-sign is more accurately defined as the sign of the zodiac that the Sun was in at the exact moment of birth. This is because the Sun can move from one sign to another during certain days, when the Sun is close to the cusp of one of the signs, and so in these instances the exact time of birth can make a difference.
Sun-signs are used the most widely within the context of horoscope columns which utilize Sun-sign astrology. In Sun-sign astrology only the position of the Sun at the birth of the individual is known, and the rest of the birth chart is not taken into account. Despite this, because of their focus on the moment of birth, Sun-signs fall under the branch of natal astrology.