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Encyclopedia of Astrology (Nicholas deVore)

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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Magic. In occult terminology, a mastery of occult forces and the hidden mysteries of nature. White Magic is that exercised for a beneficent, helpful purpose; Black Magic, the abuse of super-normal powers when applied to a selfish end. Cornell associates magical powers with Uranus and Scorpio and the 8th and 12th Houses.

Magnetism. In occult terminology, a form of elemental electricity which confers the power of attraction and creates polarity. Almost every person and object has magnetic attraction. Physical magnetism is deemed to be allied to electricity, hence associated with Uranus and Scorpio.

Magnitude. An adopted arbitrary geometric scale whereby to indicate the brightness of a celestial object; according to which an increase of 5 magnitudes corresponds to 100-fold decrease in brightness. Apparent Magnitude As it actually appears - ranging from -26.7 for our Sun to + 20 for the faintest stars which can be photographed by the largest telescope. Absolute Magnitude. As it would be perceived if removed to a point from which its parallax would be 0.1" of arc - ranging from -5 for the brightest of stars to +15 for the faintest, with our Sun about +5. The faintest star visible to the unaided eye is of the sixth magnitude. Since greenish yellow registers best on the eye and blue-violet registers best on the photo-plate, magnitudes vary somewhat according to the method of observation employed.

Major Planets. v. Planets.

Malefic. (n.) Applied to certain planets deemed to exert a harmful influence; chiefly Mars and Saturn. v. Planets. 2. (a) As usually employed, it is loosely applied to an inharmonious aspect with any planet, and to a conjunction with any malefic planet. (v. Planets.)

Afflicted by; in affliction with. Applied to certain aspects deemed to be inharmonious.

Mansions of the Moon. A series of 28 divisions of the Moon's travel through one complete circuit of 360 degrees, each Mansion representing one day's average travel of the Moon (12° 51' 25.2", or roughly 13 degrees), beginning apparently at the point of the Spring Equinox, or 0° Aries. In the Hindu system they are called Asterisms, and are measured from the beginning of the Hindu Zodiac. The result is this series of cusps:

Cardinal Signs: 0° 0' 0" The nearest even degree:

...............12 51 25 ........... 13

...............25 42 50 ........... 26

Fixed Signs:... 8 34 15 ............ 9

...............21 25 40 ........... 21

Mutable Signs:. 4 17  5 .............4

...............17  8 30 ............17

Fragmentary interpretations of the Lunar Mansions have come down to us from Arabia, India and China. The precise manner in which they were employed has been lost, but it is known that great importance was attached to them. Sepharial considers that the entrance of the progressed Moon into a Mansion presaged important changes involving affairs pertaining to that Mansion; but it is probable that they had more to do with the transits of the planets, and with the Mansion in which fell the current Lunation and Full Moon. Particular attention was paid to the Mansion in which fell the Lunar Day - the day of the Full Moon

In a later period the cusps were known as Crucial or Critical Degrees, with particular reference to the prognosis of a crisis in the progress of an acute disease; also the days on which the Moon forms inharmonious aspects - the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th days - are said to be Critical Days. These coincide with the cusps of the First, Eighth, Fifteenth and Twenty-second Mansions.

Except in Horary questions the Hindu system uses only 27 of these asterisms - omitting the 22nd. Each of these groups of 9 representing the following period in years, are ruled in this sequence:

..South Node...Venus...Sun...Moon...Mars...North Node...Jupiter...Saturn...Mercury


The periods total 120y, the Hindu idea of normal life span. 120/9 gives 13 1/3 years, or the same number of degrees, showing the 1° per year unit of progression, and the probability that the Mansions were largely a device for use in computing progressed influences. Nevertheless the Hindu would state your birth date in terms of the asterism much as we give it in terms of your Sun Sign.

Another Series of Mansions from an Ancient Chinese source indicates that it was chiefly to determine the requests which one propitiates the gods to grant.

Map. v. Figure.

Marduk, or Asaru. The Chaldean equivalent to Jupiter: said to "restore man to happiness." In the Babylonian religion, the god of magicians.

Mark, Noon or Midnight. A term used by Llewellyn George for the equivalent of noon or midnight at Greenwich in the local mean time of the place for which a Figure is cast. By this means the ephemeral places of the planets are corrected by the amount of time the birth moment precedes or follows the noon or midnight Mark - depending on whether the Ephemeris is for noon or midnight.

Martian. One under the influence of, or ruled by, a strongly placed Mars.

Masculine Degrees. According to H. L. Cornell, M.D., these are:

Aries: 8-15-30

Leo: 5-15-30

Sagittarius: 2-12-30

Taurus: 11-21-30

Virgo: 12-30

Capricorn: 11-30

Gemini: 16-26

Libra: 5-20-30

Aquarius: 5-21-27

Cancer: 2-10-23-30

Scorpio: 4-17-30

Pisces: 10-23-30

Should the Ascendant be in one of these degrees the native, even if a woman, will be of masculine appearance in some respects.

Masculine planets. v. Planets.

Masculine Signs. v. Signs, Masculine and Feminine.

Maternal Signs. v. Signs.

Matutine, Matutinal. Said of Moon, Mercury and Venus when they appear in the morning. When a star or planet rises before the Sun in the morning, it is called matutine until it reaches its first station (q.v.), where it becomes Retrograde (q.v.). The Moon is matutine until it passes its first Dichotome. v. Orientality.

Maya. Illusion. An oriental concept that nothing is what it appears to be: that a man, for example, who exhibits an unruly disposition is only suffering the penalty for deeds committed in a previous incarnation, because of which his spirit is destined in this incarnation to life in a body which fights against itself: hence is entitled to sympathy rather than censure. It is the oriental approach to what to the Occidental is philosophy. The astrological concept is not so much a matter of Karma as of the Omar picture of the vase marred because the potter's hand slipped: the accident of an unfavorable birth moment that subjects the native to a conflict of forces, and entitles him to forbearance in case he is unable to summon to his aid spiritual strength sufficient to resolve the conflict.

Mean Motion. The average motion of any body within a given period. The mean motion of a planet is based on the presumption that it moves in a circle at a uniform rate about the Sun. Actually the planets move in elliptical orbits, in portions of which this motion is accelerated and retarded in ratio to their distance from the gravitational center. The mean daily motions of the planets are:

...Pluto........0° 0' 14"........Jupiter........0°  4'59"

...Neptune......0° 0' 24"........Mars...........0° 31' 0"

...Uranus.......0° 0' 42"........Venus..........1° 36' 0"

...Saturn.......0° 2'  1"........Mercury........4°  6' 0"

...The Moon..(around the Earth)................13° 10'35"

...The Earth.(around the Sun)...................0° 59' 8"

The Heliocentric mean motions of the planets differ from their geocentric motions.

Mean Time. A consequence of the ellipticity of the Earth's track is that its orbital motion is faster near perihelion than near aphelion. This has the effect of making the day longer in Winter than in Summer: not the day from sunrise to sunset, but from one noon to the next. We keep our clocks from going haywire by the employment of the device known as mean time, thereby measuring time not by the true Sun, as does the sundial, but by a fictitious mean Sun which moves uniformly along the celestial equator, not along the ecliptic.

Measure of Time. Said of the method of calculating the time of an event from an Arc of Direction. The Ptolemy unit is 1° of R.A. for each year of life. Later authorities divided the arc by the diurnal increment of R.A. made by the Sun on the day of birth. Others employ a mean arc of 1° of RA., as the equivalent of the mean motion of the Sun, thus adjusting the circle of 360 degrees to a year of 365¼ days. A method employed by Worsdale, Simmonite, Morrison and others, consists of adding the Arc of Direction to the Sun's R.A. at birth, taking as years the number of days after birth at which the Sun reaches this Advanced R.A. The method employed by Naibod (q.v.) is to determine the arc in R.A., and consider each degree equal to 1 year, 5 days, 8 hours - a minute equal to 6 days, 4 hours. v. Directions.

Medical Astrology. That branch of Astrology which has to do with the planetary causes of disease.

Medium Coeli. v. Mid-Heaven.

Mediumship. The psychic, intuitive or telepathic faculty. Presumably attributed to the positions and aspects of Neptune at birth.

Medusa's Head. Medusa, the mental and beautiful one of the three Gorgon sisters, who in one of Minerva's temples became the mother by Neptune of Chrysador and Pegasus; therefore Minerva changed her hair into hissing serpents, whereby everyone who looked at her was changed into stone. She was later decapitated by Perseus. It is represented by Algol, in the constellation Persus. Its diameter is 1,060,000 miles, of the density of cork. To the Hebrews it was Lilith, a nocturnal vampire - the serpent or "other woman" in the Garden of Eden.

Meridian. A circle of longitude passing from the South point of the horizon, through the zenith to the North point of the horizon. It coincides with geographical longitude - a great circle crossing the equator and passing through the poles. Every point on the Earth's surface has its own meridian or circle of longitude, which passes through its zenith. The point on the heavens where the projection of this circle intersects the ecliptic, marks the midheaven (MC) or the cusp of the Tenth House. The Sun's place at noon is on this meridian, and the distance from this point to the horizon in either direction constitutes the Sun's semi-diurnal arc. The same is true of any celestial body. (v. Semi-arc.) The term is loosely and incorrectly applied to the midheaven, to the degree of the zodiac thereon, and even to the whole of the X' house. On an astrological map, it is approximated in the vertical line passing from the cusp of the Tenth House, at the top of the map, to the cusp of the Fourth House, at the bottom.

Meridian Distance. The distance between a given point along the celestial equator and the Midheaven or Imum Coeli; usually expressed in hours and minutes.

Meridional. Southerly.

Mesmerism. A word derived from Mesmer, the eighteenth-century physician who applied animal magnetism or psychic influences in the treatment of disease. It has largely been superseded by Hypnotism, with which it is approximately identical.

Metonic Cycle. The discovery about 432 B.C. by Meton, an Athenian astronomer, of the Moon's period of 19 years, at the end of which the New Moon occurs on the same day of the year. Upon this he based certain corrections of the lunar calendar. He figured the 19-year cyclic of 235 lunations to consist of 6,939d, 16.5h. This he divided into 125 full months of 30 days each, and 110 deficient months of 29 days each. (v. Lunar Month.) the 235 full months, of 30 days each, totalled 7,050 days; hence it became necessary to suppress 110 days or 1 in 64. Therefore the month which contained the 64th day became a deficient month. As the true Lunation period is 6,939d, 14.5h, his calculations showed a deviation of only two hours. The average date on which a Lunation will occur can be determined from the following table correlating Sun positions with the calendar:


Golden Capric Aqua Pisc Aries Taur Gemin Canc Leo .Virgo Libra Scor Sagit Capric

Number 11-30............................................................1-11




















To ascertain the Golden number (q.v.) of any year, add 1 and divide by 19: the remainder is the Golden number. If there is no remainder, the number is 19.

Metonic Return. Said of the recurrence of an eclipse on a given degree on the same date some 19 years later. This should not be confused with the Saros Cycle (q.v.).

Micron. A millionth part of a metre. Employed in measuring the wave length of light. Millimicron. A thousandth part of a micron.

Midheaven. Variously called Medium Coeli (M.C.), Southern angle, South point, and cusp of the Tenth House. Also improperly called the Zenith. (v. Celestial Sphere.) More precisely, it is applicable to the South point of the Map, and what it indicates is dependent on the manner of interpretation employed. Sometimes loosely applied to the whole of the Tenth House.

Midpoint. An unoccupied aspected degree between and equidistant from two other planets, resulting in a symmetrical grouping, sometimes called a planetary picture. Such configurations are deemed important by some authorities, although there is some difference of opinion as to the width of orbs across which there can result a "transference of light" through the planet which aspects the Midpoint.

Milky Way. The galaxy of stars of which the Sun is a member, and which pursue an orbit around a Galactic Center located in the direction of 0° Capricorn. The stars of this Galaxy occupy a band that extends in width from 21° Germini to 5° Leo, and that stretches across the sky to from 7° Sagittarius to 16° Capricorn. According to recent astronomical opinion the Milky Way Galaxy resembles a huge wheel with a large hub, 99 per cent of its stars contained within a diameter of 100,000 light-years and a thickness of 10,000 light-years - with the Earth about 30,000 light-years distant from the center.

Minute. The sixtieth part of an hour in time, marked 1m; or the sixtieth part of a degree in arc, marked 1'.

Moderators. A term applied by Placidus and Ptolemy to the Significators: Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Mid-heaven and Fortuna. It implied that aspects from the Significators moderate or condition the influences of the planets, producing a different "mode of motion" in the rays reflected. The term has largely passed into disuse.

Modus Rationalis. A term applied by Regiomontanus to his method of locating the cusps of the intermediate Houses - those which lie between the angular Houses of a Figure - by dividing the Ecliptic by the Equator instead of the semi-arc. Its division into twelve equal parts was accomplished by circles, the cusps located where the circles cut the plane of the Ecliptic. The method has been superceded by one employing Oblique Ascension under the Poles of the Houses for all but the 4th and 10th cusps. v. House Division.

Moisture. Said to increase when planets are matutine, when the Moon is in her First Quarter, during the winter, and by night.

Monad. In occult terminology, it signifies Nature's pattern for each species, with special reference to differences between contrasting characteristics. In Greek philosophy, a unit; individual; atom. According to Giordano Bruno, a miscroscopic embodiment of the Divine essence which pervades and constitutes the universe.

Month. One of the twelve major subdivisions of the year. The names of the months are of great antiquity, and although they have in more than one sense lost their original significance, they continue to survive as a part of our common language. Originally they were intended to represent the twelve arcs of the Earth's annual revolution in orbit about the Sun, and thus were comparable to the arcs we now know as the Astrological or Astronomical Signs of the Zodiac. The original significance of the months is as follows:

January. A month of 31 days, the first in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It was named after Janus, the ancient Roman deity who presided over gates and doors, hence all beginnings. He was represented with two faces, turned in opposite directions, to indicate how every ending is also a beginning. He was propitiated at the beginning of every important undertaking. Both A. B. Cook and J. G. Frazer identify Janus as Jupiter, and indicate that he looked both ways to give better protection to the house over which he stood guard. January 1st was made the beginning of the year in England with the statutory adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752, before which date the year began on March 25. Nevertheless, it was in the Temple of Janus that Saturn sought refuge in times of peace.

February. A month of 28 days, except when increased by one intercalary day on bissextile or leap years; the second month of the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It was not contained in the Romulian calendar, and was said to have been introduced in to the Roman calendar by Numa in 713 B.C., as the eleventh month. January and February were transposed by the decemvirs in 452 B.C., making it the twelfth month. The name was derived from Februare, to purify, from which came Februa, the festival of expiation, celebrated at the end of the month, during which the women were "purified" by the priests. By the Anglo-Saxons it was caged Sprout - Kale, as the cabbage-sprouting season. The two martyred Saints Valentine who died on the same day in the reign of Claudius, determined February 14th as St. Valentine's day, but the modern celebration of it as a lover's festival appears to be purely accidental.

March. A month of 31 days, the third in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the first in the Roman calendar. It was named in honor of Mars, god of war, the reputed father of Romulus, who was traditionally believed to have compiled the first calendar. However, Ovid says the month existed before the time of Romulus. It was the beginning of the legal year in France until 1564, when by decree Charles IX made the year begin in January. Scotland followed this example in 1599, but in England it continued to begin in March until the 18th century. At that time the first three days, the "blind" or "borrowed" days, were deemed so unlucky that no English or Scottish farmer would sow seed on these days.

April. A month of 30 days, the fourth month of the Julian and Gregorian calendars; the second in the Roman calendar. Its etymology is commonly traced to the Latin aperire, "to open," as the season when the blossoms open their petals. The Roman months, however, were named after divinities, and as April was sacred to Venus and the Festum Veneris et Fortunae Virilis was celebrated on the first day, it is possible the month was originally Aphrilis, from Aphrodite - the Greek name for Venus. To the Anglo-Saxon it was the month of Easter, the pagan Saxon goddess of Spring, from which name is derived the modern Easter. April Fools' day as we know it seems to have originated at the time of the adoption of the Gregorian calendar. Prior thereto the celebration of the New Year began on March 25th, and ended April 1st with the general distribution of gifts. With the change of the New Year to January 1st, those who objected thereto made ostentatious presentations of mock gifts to those who under the influence of the church had advocated the adoption of the Gregorian reform.

May. A month of 31 days, the fifth of the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the third of the Roman calendar. It is said to have been named in honor of the goddess Maia, daughter of Atlas and mother of Mercury and Jupiter, to whom sacrifices were offered on the first day of this month. Probably, however, it was named in honor of the majors of the government - the senators; June honoring the juniors, or members of the lower house. The month was regarded a unlucky for marriages, owing to the celebration of the Lemuria, the festival of the unhappy dead, held on the 9th, 11th, and 13th. This is reflected in a proverb of unidentified origin - "Marry in May, you'll rue the day." May day, a people's holiday on which to go "a-Maying" in the woods, goes back to medieval and Tudor England. A huge maypole of cedar erected under the supervision of James II was taken down in 1717, and used by Sir Isaac Newton, as part of the support of a large telescope presented to the Royal Society by a French astronomer.

June. A month of 30 days, the sixth in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the fourth in the Roman calendar. Ovid makes Juno state that the month was named in her honor, but elsewhere he contradicts this origin. Probably June was named after the junior assemblage of the government, and May after the senior assemblage of the Senate. Prior to the Julian reform of the calendar it had 29 days. To the Anglo-Saxons it was the "dry" month.

July. A month of 31 days, the seventh in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the fifth in the Roman calendar. Originally called Quintilius, it was renamed by Mark Antony in honor of Julius Caesar, who was born in that month. Among the Anglo-Saxons it was known as "hay month," as the meadows were then in bloom. Dog days begin on July 30th, and St. Swithin's Day falls on July 15th.

August. A month of 31 days, the eighth in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the sixth in the Roman calendar. Originally known as Sextilis, it was renamed by direction of Augustus Caesar, who refusing to be honored by a month of smaller size than that which in honor of Julius Caesar had been named July, ordered it increased to 31 days, taking the extra day from February. In Gallia and remote parts of the Empire it was known as Aust, meaning harvest.

September. A month of 30 days, the ninth in the Julian and Gregorian calendars; the seventh in the Roman calendar. The Ludi Magni, in honor of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, was celebrated by the Romans on September 4th. In Charlemagne's calendar it was called the "harvest month," corresponding partly to the Fructidor and partly to the Vendemiaire of the First French Republic. The Anglo-Saxons called it the gerstmonath, or barley month, as the crop was usually harvested in this month. In Switzerland it is still known as the Herbstmonat.

October. A month of 31 days, the tenth in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the eighth in the Roman calendar. The Equiria, when the Equus October was sacrificed to Mars in the Campus Martius, was celebrated on October 15th. Successive attempts were made to rename it Germanicus, Antoninus, Tacitus and Herculeus, but all failed, as did the effort of the Roman Senate to christen it Faustinus in honor of Faustina, wife of Antoninus. The Slavs called it "yellow month" from the fading leaves. To the Anglo-Saxons it was known as the Winter-fylleth (moon), since Winter was supposed to begin with the October Full Moon.

November. A month of 30 days, the eleventh in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the ninth in the Roman calendar. The Roman winter began on November 11th, and was celebrated on the 13th by a sacred banquet in honor of Jupiter, the Epulum Jovis. The proposal of the Senate to name it Tiberius, was vetoed by the Emperor, with a question as to what they would propose when it came to the thirteenth Caesar. All Saints Day is the 1st, AH Souls Day, the 2nd, and St. Andrew's Day, the 30th.

December. (L. Decem, ten). A month of 31 days, the twelfth in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the tenth in the Roman calendar. The Saturnalia, or feast of Saturn, was celebrated in this month. During the reign of Commodus it was temporarily styled Amazonius, in honor of his mistress whose portrait he had had painted as an Amazon. The Saxons called it the Winter month; also the Holy month, from the fact that Christmas fell within it.

MONTH. Sidereal, 27.3217 d.; Synodical, 29.5306 d.

Motion. According to Newton's law of motion, all bodies traveling in elliptical orbits move faster at certain portions of their orbits, and slower in others. It is therefore important to observe whether the travel between two successive days is greater or less than their mean motion. In erecting a Figure for a specified hour it is necessary to reduce this to hourly motion, to determine the exact position occupied by the faster-moving bodies.

To Reduce Daily Motion to Hourly Motion Since 1° or 60 m., divided by 24 h. equals 2½; therefore: degrees per day X 2½ = minutes per hour; and minutes per day X 2½ = seconds per hour. Thus: Moon's travel of 14° p. d. X 2½ = 35' p. h.; and 24' less p. d. = 1' less p. h., or 34' p. h.; Mercury's travel of 2° 7' p. d. (computed as 2° X 2.5 = 5'; and 7' X 2.5 = 17.5") gives a rate of 5' 17.5" p. h.

Movable Signs. Leading or Cardinal Signs. v. Signs. 

Mundane Aspects. Those formed by planets occupying cusps, whereby it can be said that from the 10th to the 12th cusps is a Mundane sextile, though it may be as little as 50° or as much as 80°. v. Aspects.

Mundane Astrology. Mundane Interpretations. An interpretation of Astrology in terms of world trends, the destinies of nations and of large groups of individuals, based on an analysis of the effects of Equinoxes, Solstices, New Moons, Eclipses, planetary conjunctions, and similar celestial phenomena; as distinguished from Natal Astrology, specifically applicable to an individual birth horoscope.

Mundane Directions, or Directions in Mundo. These are based solely upon the axial rotation of the Earth in relation to the circle of observation whereby planets arc carried clockwise through the Houses of the Figure, from east to west, forming aspects to the Ascendant, Midheaven, Sun and Moon. Aspects formed by the opposite or Converse Motion are also employed. The use of spherical trigonometry and of logarithms is necessary to reliable use of this so-called Primary System of Directing. Knowledge of the exact place, hour and minute is also essential.

Mundane Parallel, or Parallel in Mundo. A progressed position in which a Significator and a Promittor occupy points on opposite sides and equidistant to any of the four Angles of the geocentric Figure: Ascendant, Midheaven, Descendant, or Imum Coeli. v. Parallel.

Music of the Spheres. A phrase utilized by Pythagoras, an early Greek mathematician and astronomer who was the first to discover a mathematical relationship in the frequencies of the various tones of the musical scale. In postulating the planets' orbits as bearing a similar relationship based upon the distance from the center, he characterized their interrelated orbits as "the harmony of the spheres."

Mutable Signs. The Common Signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. v. Signs.

Mute Signs. Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces; so named by the Arabians because symbolized by dumb creatures that emit no sounds. Arabian astrologers deemed that Mercury afflicted in these signs was liable to indicate dumbness, especially when afflicted by Saturn. v. Signs.

Mutilated Degrees. Certain degrees are said by some authorities to indicate lameness if rising at birth, or if the Moon or the Ruler of the Ascendant is posited therein. These are:

6°-10°........................... Taurus

9°-15°........................... Cancer

18°-25°.......................... Leo

18°-19°.......................... Scorpio

1°,7°, 8°,18°,19°................ Sagittarius

26°-29°.......................... Capricorn

18°-19°.......................... Aquarius

Other authorities deem that if their influences exist it must be due to the presence of fixed stars in these arcs, in which event the position must be advanced by 1° every 70 years.

Mutual Application. This results when the applying body is in direct motion, and the body to which it applies is in retrograde motion. In other words, each is in motion towards the other.

Mutual Reception. Said of two planets mutually posited in each other's essential dignities. For example, with Jupiter in Aries, the Sun's place of exaltation; and the Sun in Cancer, Jupiter's place of exaltation: Sun and Jupiter are said to be in mutual reception. This is accounted a configuration of singular amity and agreement. By some authorities, the term is confined to the placement of the two planets, each in a house or sign ruled by the other.

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