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earth: one of the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) by which the signs and the houses are categorized. The element earth represents matter, material affairs, and all things practical. For its application in signs and houses see the next two definitions. In a physical solid (counterpart of the astrological element earth) the bonding energy holding the constituent atoms together is stronger than the atom’s vibrational energy. This is what makes a solid a solid and gives it a fixed geometry. See plasma for an explanation of temperature, absolute zero and the four states of matter.

earth house: the second, sixth and tenth houses; those houses having the same ordinal numbers as the three earth signs (following).

earth sign: The practical, material, physical and solid element in the signs Capricorn, Virgo and Taurus.

easy opposition: an opposition with a third planet in trine and sextile to the two opposed planets and thus mitigating or releasing their polar tension.

ecliptic (plane): the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun and thus the apparent path of the Sun around the Earth. Every planets’ orbital plane is inclined less than 3.4° to the ecliptic plane except Mercury (7°) and Pluto (17°). The ecliptic differs from the zodiac in that the former is a plane that has no width (or celestial latitude measured along great circles running perpendicular to the ecliptic through the ecliptic pole), whereas the zodiac is a band of 12 constellations centered on the ecliptic and extending north and south of it by 10–15°. The Earth’s polar axis is inclined 23.5° to the ecliptic (pages 43-44), which gives rise to the seasons.

element: earth, air, fire and water: four groups of three signs apiece (see page 52) with the property that planets in any group relate with relative harmony or ease; e.g., planets in different fire signs relate harmoniously to each other; also called triplicities.

Eleusinian Mysteries, The: annual secret initiation ceremonies central to Demeter and Persephone based in Eleusis, begun c. 1700 B.C. and lasting about 2000 years. They involve the abduction myth of Kore, Maiden of Spring, by her uncle and god of the Underworld Hades, and her subsequent return as Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. They symbolize the finding of one’s shadow and independence, and the mature balance that provides. See pages 146-147 for the complete story.

elongation: the angle between a planet and the Sun as seen from Earth: a planet’s aspect to the Sun.

equant: A point opposite the Earth from the deferent invented by Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD to account for observed planetary motion (page 31).

equinoxes (see precession): Twice a year a line drawn from the Sun to the Earth falls on the Earth’s equator. Experienced on Earth as the moment the Sun crosses the equator, on that day all over the Earth day and night are of equal length; hence the Latin equinox (equal night). In spring this moment, around March 21st, is called the vernal equinox . It defines 0° of the sign Aries and marks the beginning of the astrological year and the annual cycle of light and dark. From its low at the winter solstice š, the light force waxes through the vernal equinox to its maximum at the summer solstice ". Thence it wanes through its balance point at the autumnal equinox back to its nadir at the winter solstice š. The "signs" are 12 equal divisions of the interval between successive vernal equinoxes that slowly move* relative to the fixed stars. "Tropical" astrologers believe that the 12 signs are interpretively significant. "Sidereal" astrologers believe that the fixed groups of stars (constellations) from which the signs originally took their names are interpretively significant.

*Since the Earth is not a perfect sphere (see "oblateness"), the Sun and Moon pull on it unevenly. This non-uniform pull or force causes the Earth’s spin axis to wobble or "precess" in space, the way a top’s axis pulled on by gravity circles the vertical as it slows down. Thus the Earth’s equator and its line of intersection with the ecliptic precess as well. Since this line of intersection is the line of the equinoxes, we get the "precession of the equinoxes." This wobble takes 25,788 years to complete one cycle, or 2150 (25,788÷12) years/sign. A "great age" takes its name from the group of stars (constellation) through which the vernal equinox is currently precessing. Thus the Age of Pisces lasted from about the birth of Christ to the mid-20th century, and the Age of Aquarius will last from the mid-20th century until about 4100 A.D.

epicycle (Greek, "on the circle"): a Geometric model proposed by Apollonius of Perga and formalized by Ptolemy to explain the apparent retrograde motion of the planets and changes in their apparent distances from Earth (see pages 30 and 31).

Erinyes: the three Furies of Greek mythology, goddesses of vengeance birthed out of anger (see picture on page 201). When Ouranos imprisoned his and Gaia’s children the Hecatonchires, Gaia appealed to the Titans for help, and Kronos alone responded. He ambushed his father and badly wounded him; and from Ouranos’ blood falling on the Earth, the Furies and the Giants were born.

The Furies were attendants to Pluto and Persephone serving Nemesis, the jailer of Tartarus. By name they were Tisiphone, the avenger of murder, Megaera the jealous, and Alecto of constant anger. Called the daughters of the Night, they punished those guilty of a crime on Earth who had come to Hades and not obtained atonement from the gods. Woman-like creatures with snakes for hair and blood dripping from their eyes, they held a torch in one hand and a whip of live scorpions in the other. Known as the whips of Conscience, they used them to scourge the living and the dead.

Eris: In Jan. 2005, 2003 UB313 , a KBO 1490 miles in diameter (Pluto is 1433 miles wide) was discovered. Originally called Xena, Eris appeared to be the tenth planet of our solar system. It has a moon, Dysnomia, as do 10–20% of all KBOs. Its 557-year orbit ranges from 38–97 times the Earth-Sun distance (1 AU), whereas Pluto’s 248-year orbit varies from 30–49 AU. On Aug. 24, 2006, the IAU redefined Eris, Pluto and Ceres as dwarf planets.

exact: said of an aspect whose orb is 0°. For example, a trine of 123° has an orb of 3°, whereas a trine of 120° is exact. Aspects are rarely exact, but rather approach being exact as their limiting, strongest, or most compelling condition.

exalted: said of a planet in its strongest, most creative sign placement: the sign of its Exaltation. Here it can express its energy in its highest, most positive form. The Sun is exalted in Aries, the Moon in Taurus, Mercury in Aquarius, Venus in Pisces, Mars in Capricorn, Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Libra, Uranus in Scorpio, Neptune in Cancer, and Pluto in Pisces.

exeligmos (Greek "turn of the wheel"): A period of 54 years and 34 days (19,755.96 days) after which a solar or lunar eclipse will occur very near the same time and place as the eclipse one exeligmos before. Known to the Greeks as early as 100 BC (see Antikythera mechanism) as Triple Saros, it has the length of three saros cycles (see pgs. 21-24).




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