Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December Gift Guide 2015 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.

The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

Interpreting Images of the Zodiac

This article was written by Blain Bovee
posted under Astrology

Everyone has had dreams of this sort: wandering through a familiar house, when a doorway, previously unnoticed, appears at the end of a hall or in the corner of a room. The door leads to a larger room, both strangely familiar and unknown. One becomes aware of the presence of a large gathering of ancient souls who seem to be waiting patiently. It is tacitly clear that one is in that room to commune with a collective and profound source of wisdom.

When I was urged to write a new book of interpretations for the Sabian symbols, I was excited at the prospect of getting into the symbols in a much deeper, more personal way. In 1925, Marc Edmund Jones, a wordsmith and noted astrologer, and Elsie Wheeler, a woman with extraordinary psychic capacities, sat together in Balboa Park, San Diego, divining the 360 symbols for each degree of the Zodiac. Known as the Sabian symbols, these word images have become extremely popular in astrological analysis and divinatory practice. Jones and Wheeler were communing with a collective wisdom thought to emanate from the archaic roots of Mesopotamia, associated with the dignified peoples of that time known as the “Star Gazers”—the Sabians.

The analogy of a secret room revealed is a fitting one for the Sabian symbols and astrological analysis. Planetary archetypes have styles of manifestation. Mars in Capricorn, for example, suggests a need to manifest with control, to administrate progress with decisive, yet cautious aplomb. When Mars is in the 24th degree of Capricorn, its manifestation is conditioned by the Sabian Symbol, “A woman entering a convent.” Consequently, the Mars energy may well be colored with choices about withdrawing from the fray in the way one might withdraw from the busy world by entering a convent or a retreat, as opposed to entering the fray in a typical Martian manner. The opposing symbol is 24 Cancer, “A woman and two men on a bit of sunlit land facing south.” This suggests a possible need to work through relationship threesomes, or the need to clearly contemplate one’s role in triangulated relationship dynamics. In this example, the usual dependable interpretation of a Mars placement is embellished with a crucial clue: assertive Mars may well choose to withdraw rather than fight.

The Sabian Symbols & Astrological Analysis turns on two fundamental points of creative integrity. First, I have adhered to the original words, as set down by Jones on the blank note cards in Balboa Park. Second, I have returned to the interplay between opposing degree symbols, as originally conceived by him.

Most published works on the Sabian symbols have taken liberties with how the originals read, changing words with alarming bravado. Long practitioners of the Sabian Symbols often work with completely different versions of any given symbol. However, sometimes the interpretations do not reflect the original symbolism.

Making use of the opposing degree symbols as a means to amplify the sense of the Sabian symbols is something I explore, but was not originally taken into account by Marc Edmund Jones. I invite the reader to explore the symbol oppositions by weaving them into a single entry. Much bewilderment is dispelled in this manner, for often a particular symbol does not seem to resonate until the opposing degree is considered.

My wish is that readers appreciate the tremendous poetic resource the Sabian symbols offer. Each image complex describes a scene calling images and suggestive word connections to mind. In this sense, the Sabian symbols go far beyond astrological application. Like the ancient Chinese classic of time and change, the I Ching, the Sabian symbols offer a poetic touchstone of archaic wisdom. There are discernible structures within the 360-degree images suggesting, once again like the I Ching, an inexhaustible source of wisdom, research, and exploration.

As a resource book, the tendency will be to flip to specific symbols of personal interest. But I have arranged the Sabian symbols in an ordered, sequential manner. I hope readers will take the time to read a series of symbols together and marvel at the motifs woven throughout.

The beauty and wisdom of the Sabian symbols is available to all. A simple attitude of openness and sincerity is all that is required. Then, like the dream analogy, the Sabian symbols are like rich, vast rooms that open up beyond the standard planetary and point placements. For those familiar with the Sabian symbols, this book will open some new insights and discoveries in a manner consistent with Marc Edmund Jones’ original insights. For those new to the Sabian symbols, enjoy the fascinating journey into this most amazing gift to the modern world.


Understanding the Birth Chart
Kevin Burk
$21.99 US,  $25.50 CAN | Add to Cart
Astrology for Beginners
Astrology for Beginners
A Simple Way to Read Your Chart
Joann Hampar
$14.95 US,  $16.95 CAN | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

A few years ago, my youngest son was arguing with his friend about the age of Honey, our wild golden retriever. His friend insisted that Honey was five, because the dog had been alive that many years. Said Gabe, "Sometimes Honey is really one, like when he chews our shoes; sometimes he's 89, like when he pretends he's too old to listen when you... read this article
How to Successfully Navigate a Mercury Retrograde
Psychic Vision: 3 Easy Ways
An Accessible Guide to the Thoth Tarot
How Strengthening My Spirituality Helped Me With My Cancer Diagnosis
5 Ways to Embrace Your Home as an Archetype of the Divine Feminine

Most recent posts:
Wishing On a Falling Star: My Favorite Chakra
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Cyndi Dale, author of a number of books, including The Complete Book of Chakra Healing and the new...

Thank you, Carl
Let’s start by saying I can’t believe I’m writing another remembrance on this blog. I’ve lost too many authors in the 10 years I’ve worked for...

Time for Reflection
This time of year, from Samhain to Yule, it is natural to turn inward. In quiet darkness there is enough space and solitude for reflection…at least...

Love in the Stars Love in the Stars
Find Your Perfect Match With Astrology

By: Brad Kronen
Price: $21.99 US,  $25.50 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
$9.59 US,  $11.99 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
$11.19 US,  $13.59 CAN On Sale!
Journey of Souls Journey of Souls
Case Studies of Life Between Lives

By: Michael Newton
Price: $16.95 US,  $20.95 CAN
Wicca Wicca
A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

By: Scott Cunningham
Price: $14.95 US,  $16.95 CAN