The Sabian Symbols I

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month I’m presenting you with the first part of a two-part examination of the Sabian symbols. This first part presents the symbols and discusses their background, next month we will dive into their application in astrology and magic.

BACKGROUND

The Sabian symbols (named after a mysterious hermetic culture mentioned three times in the Quran) are 360 symbols, one for each degree of the zodiac, symbolically depicting the essential meaning and energy of that degree. In essence these 360 symbols express the consciousness that is immanent within that degree, the intelligence that is present within it. In this way they are similar to the signs to which they belong, but with a magnification effect that focuses on only 1° rather than 30°.

While named after an ancient and mysterious culture the symbols we have today are a modern arrival delivered by two people in Balboa Park, San Diego sometime in 1925 – the date was not recorded. These two people were Marc Edmund Jones, an astrologer, and Elsie Wheeler, a clairvoyant medium. Marc devised an interesting method for midwifing the symbols that was a mix of randomness and order – he brought with him 360 white cards with a tiny almost illegible notation in one corner denoting which degree of the zodiac it belonged to, and he presented these cards to Elsie in a random order without either of them knowing which degree it was for. Since Elsie was in a wheelchair they had to do this inside the car and they finished all 360° in a single day over two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Mathematically this means that if the total time involved was 8 hours Elsie was delivering an average of one symbol every 90 seconds. Since then Marc, Dane Rudhyar and many other astrologers have written interpretations of the symbols and there are many books and web resources available on the topic.

What Elsie did was deliver from the intelligences of the zodiac a modern form, one that is accessible to and expressive of modern American culture. The zodiac is a living entity imbued with a holistic consciousness, as I wrote in The 26 Keys:

“The seven traditional, visible planets of astrology – the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – express the Electric and Magnetic Fluids as Elemental planetary intelligences which organize themselves into a single entity, the zodiac. To put this another way, it is a magical universe wherein everything is alive and this includes the planets and the signs of the zodiac, which are Elemental beings generated by the Electric and Magnetic expressions of the 7 traditional planets. The origin of the form and the essential meaning given to these intelligences is stellar i.e. drawn from constellations of stars, but their substance and quality arises from the Fluids expressing through the Lights and visible planets. These beings are given a shape and a form by human consciousness and have become the 12 signs of the tropical zodiac.

So the signs are living beings or rather an assembly of them. Their essential meaning was evoked from constellations of stars – those which are close to the ecliptic through which the solar family were seen to move – and was then given a symbolic form through our tales, myths and cultures. This meaning then attached itself to the essential meaning of the visible planets and was reflected back to us – as we observed the patterns of the sky a bond of significance was created, layer upon layer…the essential meaning provided by the stars and planets was adorned with human significance, giving us the symbolic essential meaning of earthly consciousness encoded in the zodiac.

In essence the zodiac is a living astra-mental prism through which the Light of essential meaning (consciousness) shines upon the Earth through the loci of the planets. It is a self aware multidimensional lattice of symbolic essential meaning specific to the Earth and the present habitation of the Earth by human beings, because it is a co-creation of human and astra-mental beings. The Elemental beings of Fire, Air, Water and Earth have created it between us and the visible planets as a means of communication, the communication of the complex pattern we call astrology.”

The zodiac is thus a continuum of earthly consciousness expressed symbolically, and it can be seen as being composed of a spectrum of 12 parts (signs), with each of the 12 parts having certain sections (the 3 decanates and 5 terms), and each of the 30° degrees representing a different combination of Fluids, Elements, and planetary consciousness. The Sabian images incorporate all of these factors into a single symbolic form. For example, the 1st and 2nd degree of any sign is always positively Electric in nature, while the boundaries between the decanates (the 9th, 10th, 19th, 20th, 29th and 30th degree) are always powerfully Magnetic. The 1st degree of Fire sign Aries (a Mars ruled sign) is in a decan of Mars and the terms of Jupiter (in the Egyptian system). The symbol for Aries 1° is therefore a blend of the qualities of the Electric Fluid, the Fire Element, Aries, Mars and Jupiter, along with its overall position as the first degree of 360: “A woman has risen out of the ocean; a seal embraces her.” The seal embracing the fertile consciousness newly emerging from the ocean of being represents the ties this degree has with its neighbour, the last degree of Pisces, communicating the fact that the zodiac is a continuum. Because the seal is a creature that made an evolutionary move to the land but returned to the sea the symbol speaks about emergence and retreat embracing one another. We are being told of a cyclical process in which consciousness emerges from and returns to the ocean. Most of the Sabian symbols, like this one, can be arcane and require inner reflection and meditation to see through, but doing so reveals many interior petals like a secret flower. This is especially true with the symbols that appear to be negative, like that for Cancer 05. However, they also have a literal power that can at times be very striking.

One important point is that in the list for the symbols the 1st symbol is actually the degree from 0° to 1°, and the 30th degree is therefore the zodiac from 29° of a sign to the beginning of the next sign. Thus, if your Sun sign is located at 11° of Leo, the symbol for it is Leo 12, not Leo 11. However, because the zodiac is a continuum the symbol before and the symbol after any one symbol are connected and the symbolism for neighboring degrees can therefore also be significant. The sequence as a whole shows a journey that consciousness makes, and a journey is about where you have come and where you are headed as much as where you are now. Another important point is that there is a relationship between these symbols and the spirits of the Earth Zone described by Franz Bardon in the Practice of Magical Evocation, and that each sign can be split into two halves or spans which inform the overall arc of that phase. .

Below you will find a full list of the symbols with the decanates for each sign in brackets, the span, and the Intelligence from PME in brackets after the symbol. I have not included the Egyptian (Al-Biruni) terms for each degree, but you can see them from the table below:

copied from Astrowiki by Astrodienst

Aries Sabian Symbols: (Mars Sun Venus)
Realisation
1 A woman has risen out of the ocean; a seal embraces her. (Fire Magic, electricity, invention)
2 A comedian entertaining a group of friends. (Fire magic, alchemical dry process)
3 A man’s profile suggests the outlines of his country. (Magic of love, charging of magic mirrors, evocation)
4 Two lovers strolling through a secluded park lane.(Magic of love and protection)
5 A white triangle with golden wings on its upper sides. (Luck in games, dexterity)
​6 A black square brightly illumined in red on one side. (Writing, literature)
7 A man expressing himself in two realms at once. (Mental magic of the Moon sphere)
8 A womans hat with streamers blown by the east wind. (Ritual and magical formalae)
9 A seer gazes with concentration into a crystal sphere. (Electromagnetic Fluid, volts)
10 A scholar creates new forms for old symbols. (Secrets of the Water Element)
11 The ruler of a country is being officially introduced. (Power over people/animals, dynamic magical formulae)
12 A flock of white geese flies overhead across clear skies. (Medical authority, transformation of base metals into pure metals, magic of the Sun sphere)
13 A bomb which failed to explode is now safely concealed. (Physical sciences and knowledges)
14 A serpent encircles a man and woman in close embrace. (Eloquence, sharp wit, physical assistance)
Examination
15 An Indian weaving a basket in the golden light of sunset. (Science, philosophy)
16 Brightly clad brownies dancing in a warm dying light. (Love and friendship)
17 Two prim spinsters are sitting together in silence. (Magic of sympathy and love, music)
18 An empty hammock is hanging between two lovely trees. (Languages, Magnetic power)
19 A magic carpet hovering over an ugly industrial suburb. (Water magic, Magnetic Fluid, Undines)
20 A young girl feeding swans in a park on a wintry day. (Water magic, liquid Fluid condensers, Undines)
21 A pugilist, flushed with strength, enters the ring. (Laws and powers of the zone girdling the Earth)
22 Gateway opening to the garden of all desired things. (Knowledge and wisdom of the zone girdling the Earth, justice and harmony, Electrical and Elemental effects within the Fire region of the Earth Zone)
23 A woman in summer dress carries a precious veiled burden. (Wisdom, sagacity, laws of the Earth Zone)
24 A window curtain blows inward, shaped as a cornucopia. (Medical Magnetism, curing of disease, Gnomes)
25 A double promise reveals its inner and outer meanings. (Plant alchemy, Gnomes)
26 A man bursting with the wealth of what he has to give. (Mental and astral magic of extra planetary powers)
27 A lost opportunity is regained through imagination. (Synthetic astrology)
28 A crowd applauds a man who shattered a dear illusion. (Talismanology, magical symbolism)
29 A celestial choir has arisen to sing cosmic harmonies. (Magnetic Fluid, scent and aromas, plant medicine)
30 Young ducklings desport themselves merrily upon a pond. (Treatment of disease through Water magic, hydrotherapy, naturopathy).

Taurus Sabian Symbols: (Mercury Moon Saturn)
Experience
1 A clear mountain stream flows through a rocky defile. (Magic of sympathy realised by the Element of Fire)
2 An electrical storm brilliantly illumines the skies. (Mysteries of sexual life, magic of the Electric Fluid and Fire)
3 Natural terraces lead up to a lawn of clover in bloom. (Magical knowledge of plants)
4 The rainbow’s pot of gold glows amidst the sparkling rain. (Wealth, plant medicine)
5 A young woman, transfigured by grief, kneels at a grave. (Income, pleasure, earthly happiness)
6 A cantilever bridge in construction across a deep canyon. (Mathematics, numbers, astro-quabbalah)
7 A woman of Samaria comes to draw water from the well. (Writing, fantasy inspiration)
8 A sleigh speeds over ground as yet uncovered by snow. (Occult writing)
9 A Christmas tree loaded with gifts and lighted candles. (Occult aids, rites, gestures, formulae)
10 A pretty Red Cross nurse hurries on an errand of mercy. (Moon magic, lunar mansions)
11 A woman watering rows of flowers in full bloom. (occultism, hypnotism, medical Magnetism)
12 Young couple walks down main street, window shopping. (Aura magic)
13 A porter is cheerfully balancing a mountain of baggage. (Magic of nature)
14 Children splash in receding tide amid groping shellfish. (Professional assistance, politeness, Gnomes)
15 Man with rakish silk hat, muffled, braves the storm. (Money gained through speculation, wins, hidden treasures or betting)
Enjoyment
16 An old man tries hard to impart hidden truths to a crowd. (Awakening of talent)
17 A symbolical battle between ‘swords’ and ‘torches’. (Amulets of love or friendship, charging up or igniting through love).
18 A woman is airing a linen bag through a sunny window. (Air and Water magic)
19 A newly formed continent, fresh and green, rises out of the ocean. (Agriculture, farming)
20 Wisps of clouds, like wings, are streaming across the sky. (Agricultural and forestry technology)
21 Moving finger points to significant passages in a book. (Polarisation and the Electric Fluid, rapid acceleration of plant growth)
22 A white homing pigeon flies straight over stormy waters. (Clarity of mind, judgment, cleverness through intuition and inspiration)
23 A jewellery shop filled with the most magnificent jewels. (Food and the harmony of the body)
24 Indian, human scalps hanging at his belt, rides proudly. (Magic of minerals and metals, solid Fluid condensers)
25 Vast public park displays glorious and inspiring vistas. (Mines, Gnomes, ores, volcanoes)
26 A Spanish serenader at the window grille of his beloved. (Cosmic language, magical utterance)
27 A withered old squaw, smiling brightly, sells trinkets. (Philosophy, discerning the universal laws in any religious system)
28 Mature woman reawakened to romance admires herself. (Cosmic physics, cosmic powers, metaphysical secrets)
29 Two garrulous old cobblers work seated on an old bench. (Grafting of plants, aquatic life and the sea, Undines)
30 Peacock displays his plumage on lawn of old estate. (Magic of Water, sea salt in alchemy and magic)

Gemini Sabian Symbols: (Jupiter Mars Sun)
Zeal
1 A glass-bottomed boat drifts over undersea wonders. (Electric Fluid, electricity, inventions connected to electricity)
2 Santa Claus is furtively filling Christmas stockings. (Technical invention, future technology)
3 Louis XIV’s court in the gardens of the Tuileries. (Physical sciences and their relation to metaphysics, alternative healing methods)
4 Holly and mistletoe bring Christmas spirit to a home. (Painters and painting)
5 A radical magazine displays a sensational front page. (Knowledge of birth and death, mysteries of sex, conception and the womb)
6 Night workmen drill for oil amidst noise and confusion. (Animals and mental transference into the animal realm)
7 An old well, filled with pure water, shaded by trees. (Symbolism, analogy)
8 Around a closed down factory strikers mill defiantly. (Occult philosophy, intellectual expression of metaphysics, memory)
9 A medieval archer, with bow and arrows, ready to fight. (Laws of harmony and equilibrium)
10 Aeroplane, after a nosedive, rights itself gracefully. (Laws of analogy, classification and identification of any being)
11 Newly opened lands of virgin realms of experience. (Magic of the brain and intellect)
12 A black slave girl demands her rights of her mistress. (Telepathy, astral character magic)
13 World-famous pianist begins to play to a huge audience. (Diplomacy)
14 Two people, living far apart, in telepathic communication. (Philosophical literature, books)
15 Two Dutch children are studying their lessons together. (Poetry and writing)
Restlessness
16 Woman agitator makes an impassioned plea to a crowd. (Beauty and harmony)
17 Head of a youth changes into that of a mature thinker. (Charisma, gaining the favour of important people)
18 Two Chinese men talking Chinese in an occidental crowd. (Secrets of love)
19 Large archaic volume on display in the museum’s archives. (Gesticulation, ritual)
20 A self-service restaurant displays an abundance of food. (Dancing magic)
21 A labour demonstration throngs a large city square. (The law and legal matters)
22 Dancing couples crowd the barn in a harvest festival. (Prophecy, prediction)
23 Three fledglings look out proudly from their high nest. (Professional artists)
24 Carefree children skate over a smoothly frozen pond. (Causes and causation, fate)
25 A gardener trims beautiful palm trees with utmost care. (History of religion)
26 Frost covered trees, lace like, against winter skies. (Magic and mystical associations and groups)
27 Young gypsy emerging from the woods gazes at far cities. (Teaching and instruction through both books and masters)
28 Bankruptcy granted to him, a man leaves the court. (Laws of analogy)
29 The first mockingbird of spring sings from the treetop. (Connection and analogy)
30 A parade of bathing beauties before large beach crowds. (Watersports)

Cancer Sabian Symbols: (Venus Mercury Moon)
Expansion
1 Sailor ready to hoist a new flag to replace old one. (Alchemy of the Fire Element)
2 A man on a magic carpet observes vast vistas below him. (Volcanoes and earthquakes, telluric energy, pyrotechnics)
3 An Arctic explorer leads a reindeer through icy canyons. (Erotic secrets)
4 A hungry cat argues with a mouse before eating her. (Sympathetic mummial magic)
5 Automobilist, racing madly with a fast train, is killed. (Health and constitution, youthfulness, magical plant elixirs)
6 Innumerable birds are busy feathering their nests. (Distant communication through the Air Element)
7 In a moonlit fairy glade two little elves are dancing. (Ancient religion, levitation)
8 Rabbits in faultless human attire parade with dignity. (Rhythm and vibration)
9 Naked little miss leans over a pond to catch a goldfish. (Clairvoyance, clairaudience, clair-feeling, psychometry, magic mirrors)
10 A wonderful diamond is being cut to a perfect shape. (Weather and the magic of Water)
11 A clown caricatures merrily all kinds of human traits. (Mysteries of wisdom, magical enlightenment)
12 A Chinese woman nursing a baby haloed by divine light. (Transmutation, alchemy)
13 A hand with prominent thumb is held up receptively. (Spirit communication, language)
14 An old man, alone, faces the darkness in the north-east. (Magical sciences, invisibility)
15 Merry and sluggish people resting after a huge feast. (De-materialization, materialization, apportation)
Ingenuousness
16 A man holds a scroll, before him a square is outlined. (Cosmic law and Divine virtues)
17 The archetypal soul becomes filled with life contents. (Divine love and mercy)
18 In a crowded barnyard a hen clucks among her chickens. (Evolution, Divine creation)
19 An aristocratic and frail girl weds a proletarian youth. (Magic formalae)
20 A group of serenader’s make merry in a Venetian gondola. (Evocation within the zone girdling the Earth)
21 An operatic primadonna sings to a glittering audience. (The wisdom, cause, purpose and effect of universal laws)
22 A young woman dreamily awaits a sailboat approaching. (Divine Emanation in the Earth Zone)
23 A group of intellectual individuals meet for discussion. (Magic of space and time)
24 Woman and two men castaways on a South Sea island. (Emanation of the Divine virtues)
25 Leader of men wrapped in an invisible mantle of power. (Correlation between the Akasha and the Divine Light)
26 Guests are reading in the library of a luxurious home. (Cosmic alliances with interplanetary spheres)
27 A furious storm rages through a residential canyon. (Sphere magic)
28 Indian girl introduces college boyfriend to her tribe. (Theurgy and Divine Emanation, quabbalah)
29 A Greek muse weighs in golden scales just born twins. (Wisdom and the various systems that lead to it)
30 A lady of aristocratic descent proudly addresses a club. (Akasha principle, karma)

Leo Sabian Symbols: (Saturn Jupiter Mars)
Assurance
1 Under emotional stress blood rushes to a man’s head. (Fire magic in the Earth Zone)
2 The school closed by an epidemic, children play together. (Magic of the Sun)
3 Mature woman, her hair just bobbed, looks into mirror. (Passions and the astral body)
4 Elderly man gazes at moosehead on clubrooms wall. (Magic of the Elements and nature)
5 Suggesting figures, granite masses overhang a canyon. (Magic of the four Elements in nature)
​6 Old-fashioned belle and flapper admire each other. (Propagation, creation of life and growth by the Fluids)
7 The constellations glow in the darkness of desert skies. (Air Element and its role as a mediator)
8 Proletarian, burning with social passion, stirs up a crowd. (Secrets of Air magic, breathing techniques)
9 Glass blowers shape with their breath glowing forms. (Mysticism, love, holiness)
10 Early morning dew sparkles as the Sun floods the fields. (Resistance against Fire)
​11 Children at play beneath huge oak, shelter from the Sun. (Ecstasy, trance, consciousness)
12 A garden party is in full swing under Japanese lanterns. (Spiritual maturity through application of Divine virtues)
13 Old sea captain rests in neat little cottage by the sea. (The way to perfection in accordance with the laws of creation)
14 Cherub-like, a human soul whispers, seeking to manifest. (Synthesis of all religious systems and philosophies)
15 The Mardi Gras carnival crowds New Orleans streets. (Connection between the mental, astral and physical worlds)
Interpretation
​16 Refreshed by a storm, fields and gardens bask in the Sun. (Omniscience and Divine intuition, enlightenment of the intellect)
17 Volunteer church choir make social event of rehearsal. (Cosmic love)
18 Chemist conducts an experiment for his students. (Occult anatomy, magical medical treatments)
19 A barge made into a clubhouse is crowded with revelers. (Talismanic magic)
20 American Indians perform a majestic ritual to the Sun. (Metallurgy and the alchemy of metals)
​21 Intoxicated domestic birds fly around in dizzy attempts. (Prophecy)
22 A carrier pigeon alights at dawn before his owners. (Gaining of esteem, power and wealth in the physical world)
23 The bareback rider in a circus thrills excited crowds. (Yoga, tantra, religious systems)
24 A yogi with transcendent powers, yet untidy, unkempt. (Magic of the Akasha and the causal principle)
25 A man, alone, daringly crosses the desert on camelback. (Refinement of the consciousness through contact with the spheres without separation of the mental body)
​26 Light breaks through clouds, a perfect rainbow forms. (Mediumship, de-materialization and re-materialization)
27 In the East, light slowly increases, wiping out the stars. (Wish magic)
28 Myriads of birds, perched upon a big tree, chirp happily. (Water and Air Element magic)
29 Mermaid awaits prince who will make her immortal. (Water Element magic)
30 An unsealed letter full of vital and confidential news. (Protection from thunderstorms, rough seas, heavy rains etc.)

Virgo Sabian Symbols: (Sun Venus Mercury)
Idealization
1 In a portrait the best of a man’s traits are idealized. (Politics and political events)
2 Large white cross stands alone on top of a high hill. (Inventions in the Akasha principle)
3 Two angels bring protection to a family in the wilderness. (Art and artistry)
4 Negro child plays with white boys unaware of race line. (Flowers and their magic)
5 Irishman dreams of “little people” beneath a tree. (Protection of love, harmony and beauty)
6 Excited children ride on a blatant, gaudy merry-go-round. (Teaching)
7 In a palatial harem bright-eyed women laugh happily. (Speech and writing)
8 Aristocratic five-year-old girl takes first dancing lesson. (Protection of the poor and suppressed)
9 A modern expressionistic artist paints a strange canvas. (Alchemical magic, magic of the mental matrix and astral matrix)
10 A man with two heads is seen looking out to the beyond. (Alchemical secrets)
11 A typical boy, yet moulded by his mother’s aspirations. (Skill in trade or profession, honour and riches in business, trade involving metals)
12 A bride, laughing, scolds the groom who lifted her veil. (Relics, holy places, temples, spiritual icons)
13 A powerful statesman wins to his cause an hysterical mob. (Spiritual rites, rituals and ceremonies)
14 Splendid family tree engraved on a sheet of parchment. (Medical doctors, chemical and pharmacy production)
15 Old lace handkerchief; some rare perfume; a mirror. (Business matters, papers and textiles, furs and skins)
Experimentation
16 Children crowd around the orangutan cage in the zoo. (Forests, vegetation and plant consciousness)
17 A volcanic eruption releases powerful telluric energies. (Fantasy and visionary imagination)
18 Two excited young girls experiment with a Ouija board. (Architecture and structural engineering)
19 Swimming race nears completion before a large crowd. (Magic of scents, aromatherapy, incense)
20 A group of settlers start on their journey in old cars. (Water and its relation to humanity, ships and submarines, diving)
21 Two teams of girls engaged in a contest of basketball. (Fortune, luck in speculation)
22 A jewel set royal coat of arms is displayed in a museum (Material law and justice)
23 A lion tamer rushes fearlessly into the circus arena. (Fortune telling and divination)
24 A book for children pictures little Mary and her lamb. (Property, protection against theft, recovery of lost goods)
25 A flag at half mast in front of large public building. (Vehicles and transportation over dry ground)
26 Rapt eyed, a boy serves in a mass read by automatons. (Human consciousness, psychological health)
27 Elderly ladies drinking afternoon tea in a wealthy home. (Animals of the air)
28 Bald-headed man dominates gathering of national figures. (Aeronautics, secrets of gravity and space travel)
29 Archaic manuscript discloses to scholar the old mysteries. (Intellect and knowledge of human beings)
30 An emergency call frees householder from routine duty. (Custodian and gatekeeper of mysteries and wisdom)

Libra Sabian Symbols: (Moon Saturn Jupiter)
Expectation
1 Pierced by a dart of light a butterfly is “made perfect”. (Sexuality and sex, prenatal magic)
2 A symphony is played dramatizing man’s heroic ascent. (Working with metals)
3 A new day dawns, revealing a world utterly transformed. (Cooking of meat)
4 Pilgrims gather round campfire in silent communion. (Fertility, sexual potency, sexual propagation)
5 Inspired disciples listen to the words of their teacher. (Feeding habits, diet)
6 In a trance, a pilgrim beholds his ideals made concrete. (Laughter and comedy)
7 A witch feeds chickens frightened by a hawk she had tamed. (Wood and its working)
8 Fireplace blazes mysteriously in a deserted farmhouse. (Musical instrumentation and composition)
9 Three “old masters” hang alone in an art gallery. (Clothing and headgear, fashions)
10 A canoe leaving narrow rapids reaches calm waters. (Hair)
11 Kindly old professor is teaching a class of youngsters. (Charisma, gaining favour)
12 Miners are emerging from a deep well into the sunlight. (High magic of love and mercy)
13 Children are blowing soap bubbles at youngsters party. (Flirting and wooing, seduction)
14 Rich landowner takes a siesta in his tropical gardens. (Singing)
15 A stack of machinery parts; all are new and all circular. (Arts, decoration, embellishment and ornamentation)
Revelation
16 A happy crew is restoring beach piers wrecked by storms. (Health and duration of life of all animals, instinct, Zoology, vets, wild animal tamers)
17 Retired sea captain in uniform watches ships sail away. (Intoxicating drinks)
18 Two men placed under arrest are being brought to court. (Secrets of human and animal blood)
19 Robbers are hiding, ready to attack heavily armed caravan. (Women during pregnancy and the delivery of babies, midwifery, gynaecology)
20 Old rabbi sits contentedly in room crowded with books. (Electrochemistry, galvanic electricity, batteries)
21 Hot Sunday crowds delight in the cool sea breeze. (Mathematics)
22 Child laughs as birds perch on an old fountain and drink. (Physiology)
23 Chanticleer salutes the rising sun with exuberant tones. (Physics)
24 A butterfly spreads its wings, showing an extra left one. (Loyalty)
25 Falling golden leaf teachers life to a rebellious schoolboy. (Sexual transmutation, hormones)
26 An eagle and a white dove swiftly turning one into the other. (Jewellery and jewel work)
27 A spot of light in clear skies, and aeroplane sails calmly. (Milk)
28 A man in deep gloom, unnoticed, angels come to his help. (Aquatic animals, fishermen and fishing)
29 Vast masses of men push forward reaching for knowledge. (Orderliness and cleanness, hygiene)
30 A phrenologist discovers mounds of knowledge on a head (Medicinal springs and waters, hydrotherapy)

Scorpio Sabian Symbols: (Mars Sun Venus)
Retention
1 Sightseers in a bus strain to see crowds and buildings. (Fire magic and inventions connected with fire)
2 From a broken bottle traces of perfume still emanate. (Electricity and electrical inventions)
3 Happy house raising party among western pioneers. (Self-preservation and the desire to live, animal instinct)
4 Youth carries a lit candle in his first church service. (Love within a family)
5 A massive rocky shore unchanged by centuries of storms. (Mammals and milk)
6 Californian hills: the “gold rush” shatters their peace. (Human ideals and their realisation)
7 Divers of the deep sea are being lowered into the waters. (Intellect of humanity, knowledge, memory)
8 A high mountain lake is bathed in the full moonlight. (Protection against infectious disease)
9 A dentist is repairing teeth ruined by civilized habits. (Communication with the unseen, protection of those seeking spiritual knowledge)
10 A fellowship supper reawakens unforgettable inner ties. (Protector of those working in magical medicine)
11 A drowning man is rescued, brought back to the crowd. (Preparation of the philosopher’s stone, transmutation of metals using dry procedure)
12 High officials are gathered at an important embassy ball. (Magical initiation)
13 In an improvised laboratory an inventor is near success. (Technical inventions related to the Sun)
14 Workers push a telephone line across forbidding ranges. (Imitation)
15 Laughing children play upon five mounds of white sand. (Games of entertainment, toys)
Appreciation
​16 A girl with aristocratic features smiles entrancingly. (Bees and honey, sugar, sweetener)
17 Woman, fecundated by her spirit, is “great with child”. (Processing of fruit, cooking and baking)
18 A winding road leads through glorious autumnal woods. (Erotic love, sympathetic feeling, peace)
19 A wise old parrot repeats the conversation he overheard. (Metallurgic chemistry)
20 Woman flings open dark curtains closing sacred pathway. (Medicine of metals and minerals)
​21 Soldier ready to face charges of desertion for love’s sake. (Betterment of living standards, contentment)
22 Hunters shooting wild ducks walk through marsh. (Remedies for difficult life situations)
23 Placid white rabbit metamorphoses into a dancing elf. (Power of faith and conviction)
24 Crowds, stirred by a great message, return home. (Diagnosis, causes of disease and treatment)
25 Thanks to a fine x-ray diagnosis, a man’s life is saved. (Natural medicine, care of the body)
​26 Swiftly, Indians erect their teepees – camp is being made. (Healing of severe disease)
27 A military band, flashy and noisy, marches on pompously. (Astronomy, orientation, constellations)
28 The king of fairyland is solemnly welcomed to his realm. (Hydrotherapy, magic of Water)
29 Princess pleads before Inca king for her captured sons. (Artificial regulation of water)
30 Halloween gives social release to youthful impishness. (Aquatic life, fishing)

Sagittarius Sabian Symbols: (Mercury Moon Saturn)
Receptiveness
1 Retired army veterans gathered to reawaken old memories. (Working of metals with fire and water)
2 White capped waves dance rhythmically under the winds. (Steam, vaporisation of liquid)
3 Two sedate men, smoking pipes in comfort, play chess. (Fruits)
4 Watched by happy parents, a child takes his first steps. (Earthly peace)
5 High on an old tree, a solitary owl is gravely perched. (Good fortune)
​6 A cricket game is being watched by a colourful crowd. (Morality, secrets of the magical equilibrium, introspection)
7 Cupid knocks smilingly at the door of the human heart. (Picture making, whether through drawing, photography, sewing, film, television, etc.)
8 In the cauldron of the universe the metals are forming. (Magic of the 28 lunar mansions, rhythm and periodicity)
9 A mother is leading her children up a broad stairway. (Protection of those with mental or nervous illness)
10 A stage symbolization of the “goddess of opportunity”. (Protection while travelling)
11 An ever burning lamp throws light upon an archaic idol. (Evocation)
12 A flag becomes an eagle; the eagle a proud chanticleer. (High magic and high wisdom of the spheres)
13 A young widow surprised into a new birth of love. (Realisation of ideals)
14 Sphinx and pyramids stand, remains of a glorious past. (Trade and monetary matters, coins)
15 Groundhog, out of its winter sleep, looks for its shadow. (Education and the upbringing of children)
Detachment
​16 A calm ocean; a motionless ship; lazily soaring seagulls. (Customs and rites)
17 People gather before dawn for an outdoor Easter service. (Protection of orphans and the abandoned)
18 On the hot beach children play, protected by sunbonnets. (Hunting and hunters)
19 Pelicans, disturbed by men, move to places unknown. (Astronomy, astrology and the starry sky)
20 Men cutting the ice of a frozen pond for summer use. (Assistance for incurable disease or mysterious ailments)
​21 Child and dog play gravely, with eyeglasses on their noses. (Bliss, peace, pleasure and delight)
22 The shop closed, Chinese laundry men revert to race type. (Justice in judicial matters)
23 In New York, Ellis Island welcomes the immigrants. (Colour, painting, inks)
24 The symbolical “blue bird” alights upon a little cottage. (Mysteries of the magical equilibrium, introspection)
25 Rich little boy rides upon his bright coloured horse. (Magic of silence)
26 Flag bearer distinguishes himself in hand-to-hand battle. (Arousal of human conscience)
27 The sculptor’s vision is taking form under his hands. (Magical apparati, invention of technologies that imitate occult phenomena)
28 Ancient bridge witnesses to the skill of forgotten men. (Fate in human beings)
29 Perspiring fat boy, eager to reduce, is mowing a lawn. (Charging through accumulation)
30 The Pope is holding audience in a hall of the Vatican. (Water situated beneath the surface of the Earth)

Capricorn Sabian Symbols: (Jupiter Mars Sun)
Illusiveness
1 Indian chief claims power from the assembled tribe. (Magic of the Akasha)
2 Rose windows in a Gothic cathedral; one, damaged by war. (Elevation of personality)
3 The soul, as a hovering spirit eager to gain experience. (Sympathy and its magic)
4 Merrymakers embark on a big canoe on lantern lit lake. (Fortitude and the ability to weather the blows of fate and disappointments)
5 An American Indian camp; a fierce war dance begins. (Reincarnation, pre-birth existence in the Earth Zone)
6 Ten logs lie under archway leading to darker woods. (Transposition of the Mercury sphere to the physical world)
7 A heavily veiled hierophant leads a ritual of power. (Theatrical arts, drama)
8 In a big living room flooded with sunlight canaries sing. (Earthly radiation, geomancy, ley lines)
9 An angel carrying a harp comes through a heavenly lane. (Astral anatomy)
10 On a sailboat the seamen are feeding a tame albatross. (Cognition and learning)
11 Peasants display their brilliant colours on a vast lawn. (Incarnation)
12 Natural wonders are depicted in a lecture on science. (High astral magic)
13 Beneath snowclad peaks a fire worshipper is meditating. (Television, clairvoyance and the ability to see regardless of time and space)
14 In dense jungle, a perfectly preserved Mayan bas-relief. (Physics and chemistry, production of gases)
15 In a hospital, a children’s ward filled with playthings. (Earth energies, divining rods)
Dependence
16 School grounds filled with youths in gymnasium suits. (Frugality, rationing and economical planning)
17 Repressed woman finds a psychological release in nudism. (Botany)
18 The Union Jack flag flies from a new British destroyer. (Crystallisation on and under the Earth, Gnomes)
19 Five-year-old girl proudly does her mother’s shopping. (Ores and coal mines)
20 Through the empty church, the choir is heard rehearsing. (Herbalism)
21 A relay race. Each runner springs eagerly into place. (Sports)
22 Defeated general yields up his sword with noble dignity. (Divine Justice and harmony, control over negative powers)
23 A soldier receives decorously two awards for bravery. (Prevention of suicide, holiness of life)
24 A woman walking to the sure haven of a convent. (Physical atmosphere of the planet)
25 Little boys frolic upon soft rugs in an oriental store. (Chemical and physical secrets of matter)
26 Radiant sprite dances upon the mist of a waterfall. (Guardianship of magical keys and secrets)
27 Men climb a sacred peak; below, the world – above, peace. (Relief from distress and danger)
28 The aviary of a rural mansion, filled with singing birds. (Acoustics and sound)
29 Gypsy reads fortunes in the teacups of society ladies. (Shaping of Earth into clay)
30 The directors of a large firm meet in secret conference. (Control of the fish trade)

Aquarius Sabian Symbols: (Venus Mercury Moon)
Defensiveness
1 An old adobe mission nestles in California’s brown hills. (Sharpening of objects)
2 Unexpected thunderstorm brings relief to parched fields. (War strategy, peacemaking)
3 A deserter suddenly realizes the fallacy of his conduct. (Creative imagination)
4 Hindu pundit reveals himself suddenly a great healer. (Poetry and verse)
5 A world leader is seen being guided by his ancestor spirits. (Divine Mercy)
6 In an allegorical mystery ritual a man officiates alone. (Cosmic philosophy)
7 Out of the cosmic egg, life is born fresh and virginal. (Mummification, arrested decay)
8 Wax figures display beautiful gowns in store windows. (Manual skill)
9 In meditation, a flag is seen, which turns into an eagle. (Seeking of truth, finding of true teachers)
10 Unspoiled by popularity now waning a man plans anew. (Spiritual development)
11 Artist, away from the world, receives a new inspiration. (Radiation and emanation)
12 Life’s broad stairway: each landing, a new grade of life. (Quabbalistic magic)
13 A barometer hangs under the porch of a quiet rural inn. (Exploration of nature, natural sciences)
14 On a steep climb, a tunnel offers shortcut to a train. (Expression of occult, mystical or spiritual science in writing, poetry, plays)
15 Two lovebirds on a fence sing out their pure happiness. (Astrophysics and astronomy, inhabitants of other planets)
Perspective
16 Business manager at his desk studies a complex project. (Wealth, riches and reputation, treasures under the Earth and precious stones)
17 Watchdog on guard, a gold-miner sleeps near his strike. (Quabbalistic mysticism)
18 A masquerade, the last man unmasks, urged by the girls. (Fluid condensers and magical alchemy)
19 A forest fire subdued, the weary fighters feel jubilant. (Alchemy and electrophysics)
20 White dove circles overhead; descends, bearing a message. (Treatment of incurable disease)
21 A woman is disappointed as a man leaves her boudoir. (Protection from negative influences)
22 Children revel upon a soft new carpet in the nursery. (Justice and consolation of the persecuted and innocently imprisoned)
23 A big trained bear performs, sitting on a huge chair. (Mysteries of Creation and the Akasha principle)
24 Now freed from passion, a man teaches deep wisdom. (Music of the spheres, musical expression)
25 A butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, right-wing first. (Oaths)
26 A garage man is seen ready to test the battery of a car. (Ritual magic)
27 Amid rare books, an old pottery bowl holds fresh violets. (Astral and mental wandering)
28 Huge pile of sawed up wood ensures heat for the winter. (Magic of the spheres)
29 Metamorphosis completed, a butterfly spreads its wings. (Laws of analogy)
30 Moonlit fields, once Babylon, blooming white. (High mysteries of alchemy)

Pisces Sabian Symbols: (Saturn Jupiter Mars)
Innocence
​1 Late Saturday afternoon: crowds fill the public market. (Creative magical powers)
2 Squirrel, showing human acumen, hides from hunter. (Assistance in mundane tasks)
3 A petrified forest: permanent record of ancient lives. (Agricultural technology)
4 Cars crowd a narrow isthmus between two resorts. (Karma-Yoga, the doings of human beings on Earth)
5 A warmhearted crowd gathers at a church bazaar. (Arts, entertainments and light-hearted pleasures)
6 A parade of west point cadets is held as the Sun sets. (Professional success, arts and crafts)
7 Fog hides the shore; but on a clear rock a cross rests. (Good luck in science, success in intellectual work by private study)
8 Girl Scout, in camp, blows her bugle triumphantly. (Gaining of knowledge by schooling)
9 The race begins: a jockey spurs his horse to great speed. (Traveling)
10 The aviator sails across the sky, master of high realms. (Happiness, wealth, honour and respect without incurring negative Karma)
11 Seekers for illumination are guided into the sanctuary. (Subtle mysteries of light and consciousness)
12 Candidates are being examined by the lodge of initiates. (Mental wandering in the spheres)
13 Old weapons in a museum; in a glass case, a sacred sword. (Occult philosophy and acquisition of occult truth)
14 A young lady, wrapped in furs, displays supreme elegance. (Art and artists)
15 An officer in unkempt campaign uniform drills his men. (Sign language, Braille and other forms of special language and communication)
Protection
16 In a quiet museum, an art student drinks in inspiration. (Peace)
17 Easter: rich and poor alike display the best they own. (Fertility and sexual potency)
18 In a huge tent a famous revivalist conducts his meeting. (Amulets and talismans of love, marriage and friendship)
19 Master and pupil commune in strength on a long walk. (Chemical and pharmaceutical invention, dental medicine)
20 In the quiet of evening a farmers supper awaits him. (Intellectual development, memory, wit)
21 Child watched by Chinese servant caresses a white lamb. (Fortune and happiness)
22 Down a symbolic mountain of industry comes a new Moses. (Enlightenment transposed to uninitiated people)
23 A “materialising medium” summons weird ghostly shapes. (Laws of nature)
24 In a tiny lost island men build happily their own world. (Meditation)
25 After drastic reforms a purified clergy officiates anew. (Karma)
​26 Two rapt lovers and a philosopher watch the New Moon. (Evocation)
27 The harvest Moon rises in translucent autumnal skies. (Mysteries of the macrocosm and microcosm, Divine cognition)
28 Under the Full Moon the fields seems strangely alive. (Mysticism and spiritual development, magical expression of Divine consciousness)
29 Scientist is making tests by means of spectrum analysis. (Divine love)
30 A seers dream now lives: a face carved into huge rocks. (Correlative effects of Elements and Fluids throughout the entire microcosm and macrocosm)

———————–

Spend some time studying this, meditating upon the symbols that are expressed in your natal astrology. You may be surprised by the striking form of some of these symbols in connection with your personal experience. They also have an oracular power and can reveal many things. Don’t get hung up on the connections these degrees have to the spirits listed in PME, they are only the major magical faculties in the consciousness of that degree and do not cover its astrological meaning although in some cases there is a direct line of connection to the magical consciousness of the degree. I will share some further thoughts on all of this next month along with some examples of the symbols in use and some practical advice on how to integrate this into both your astrological and magical understanding and practice.

5 comments on “The Sabian Symbols I

      • Is this is a new edition? If so what are the differences between the first and second editions? (I have the first edition)

        Respectfully,
        KD

        • You won’t need a new one, the new edition has a corrected text for grammar and spelling, updated links that include this site (at last) and some minr changes. There are new books in the works though, and a school still in development.

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