Sabian Symbols

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Depiction of a Sibyl[1]


The Sabian symbols are 360 short pithy descriptions which are associated with the 360 degrees of the zodiac, so that each degree had its own symbolic meaning. The symbols were developed by the astrologer Marc Edmund Jones (1888-1980). Jones himself wrote that he discovered them in 1925 "with the help of clairvoyant powers"[2]. Dane Rudhyar played a major role in introducing the symbols to a wider public.

The following small selection of Sabian symbols gives an impression of the style in which they were written:

1 degree Taurus: A clear mountain stream flows through a rocky defile
13 degrees Virgo: A powerful statesman wins to his cause a hysterical mob
20 degrees Libra: Old Rabbi sits contentedly in room crowded with books
8 degrees Scorpio: A high mountain lake is bathed in the full moonlight
2 degrees Aquarius: Unexpected thunderstorm brings relief to parched fields
18 degrees Pisces: In a huge tent a famous revivalist conducts his meeting

The Sabian symbol is attributed to the next full degree after a particular horoscope factor. For example, the appropriate symbol for a planet at 16 degrees and 1 minute of Aries is 17 degrees Aries.

The Sabian symbols are useful in an intuitive approach to interpretation. Both Jones and Rudhyar offered esoteric meanings for each symbol, although they differ in their details. For example, the revival meeting of 18 degrees Pisces indicates "the completeness with which man is able to see his experience both steadily and whole..." (Jones) or a "reinforcement of faith which can open up a new environment" (Rudhyar).

See also



  • Marc Edmund Jones, 1953 (reprinted 1993,) The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, Sabian Publishing Company
  • Diana E. Roche: The Sabian Symbols. A Screen of Prophecy, Trafford Publishing, Victoria (Canada) 1998. ISBN 978-1933303345
  • Dane Rudhyar, 1936 (reprinted 1991,) The Astrology of Personality, Aurora Press

Notes and References

  1. In ancient Greece sibyls were prophetesses who uttered divine revelations in a frenzied state. By Domenichino
  2. His medium was Elsie Wheeler