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Sabian Symbols & Degree Books, page 1

Just like me to surprise you. There is not one set of degree symbols - the famous Sabians - there are many, some of them quite ancient. These can be divided into various types. Here's what we have so far, collect them all!

On Page 1: The Sabians. The principle books are, of course, by Jones, who invented them, Rudhyar, who organized them for Jones, and Roche, who is a retired administrator of Jones's Sabian Assembly. The others are independent commentaries & analysis of the Symbols. There will be more in the future. Enjoy!

Page 2: Other degree symbol sets

Indicates a book on our Top Ten list. If you would like to find more books like it, click on the star.

First published in 1953 & for a time out of print, this classic book is a ground-breaking commentary on each of the 360 degrees of the zodiac: The symbolic picture, psychological significance, key-word abbreviations, positive/negative influences and relationships between symbols. Also included are detailed explanations of the origin of the symbols & their use in natal, horary, mundane and rectified charts. Illustrated with over 1000 horoscopes of famous people. An essential book for every student of astrology. 437 pages including indices for Sabian symbols, keywords, and general references. Aurora Press, paper.

THE ASTROLOGY OF PERSONALITY: A Re-formulation of Astrological Concepts & Ideals, in Terms of Contemporary Psychology & Philosophy - Dane Rudhyar, $21.95
In this famous guidebook for the advanced humanist astrologer, Rudhyar speaks of a crisis in astrology caused by the vast growth of interest in this ancient science. Astrology is not about predicting events, but to bring order out of chaos. As a bonus, those looking for his Astrological Mandala will find an abbreviated version of his take on the Sabian Symbols in chapter 10. 431 pages including author profile. Aurora Press, paper.




1. The origin & history of the Sabian Symbols:
The early influence of Charubel; The Mesopotamian connection; The plan; The event; Early work on the Sabian Symbols; The Sabian Symbols in Astrology; Today

2. Methods & Techniques:
Determining which degree to use; Transiting planets; Chart angles; New & full moons; The Sabian Symbol at sunrise; The Sabian Symbol at moonrise; Chart rectification; Horary charts; The astrological formula: Polarity, Quadrature, Triplicity, First & second halves of signs, Five degree units of each half sign; The hidden genius of the formula: Fivefold dimension of self-expression; Divinatory Techniques: Framing the question, Calculator method, Mental focus, Drawing slips, Using a clock, Using dice, Using playing cards, Journals & scrapbooks, Using your imagination

3. The Sabian Symbols in practical & everyday use: Cycles; Signatures; Literal interpretation; Astrological charts; Subtlety; Divination

4. Negative or reversed symbols

5. The Sabian Symbols: Aries to Pisces

Chapter notes
Index to Sabian Symbols
Index to keywords
General index.

Comment: A new look at the Sabians by the retired head of the Sabian Assembly. Illustrated with Marc Edmund Jones's original hand-pencilled Sabian notes, from that long ago day in 1925 in San Diego. For the first time you can see the words as Jones actually wrote them, the strike-outs, the pencilled additions, etc. Those of you who study handwriting analysis, and know the subsequent history of the words themselves, will find this to be uniquely fascinating.

This is the most comprehensive book on the Sabian Symbols to date. Includes: In depth, user-friendly text, daily guide for each symbol, reproductions of original index cards of Dr. Jones, thousands of additional keywords, new divinitory methods & techniques, helpful themewords & phrases, indexes for images, keywords & themes. The clearest exposition, the easiest of the three books to use.

This book was originally self-published, with the printing done by a print-on-demand shop in Vancouver, BC. This particular company required Ms Roche to supply a stock of covers. In late 2009, when those covers were exhausted, she asked if I would reprint. I was happy to do so.

So, quite to my surprise, I found myself going over the Sabians in some detail. I learned something interesting. You can treat Sabians the same way you treat tarot cards. What do the Sabians mean? Well, they mean what Jones and Rudhyar and Roche say they mean, but you must also bring yourself, your ideas, your thoughts, your experience to the symbols. The Sabians, like Tarot, are dual. Them and you. You and them. Here are two examples:

My natal Venus is at 17 degrees 14 minutes of Capricorn. By the rules, that's Capricorn 18. Which is The Union Jack. But I don't like that nearly as much as the symbol for 17, which is, A girl surreptitiously bathing in the nude. I like this because it, after all, represents my Venus, which likes the idea of naked girls, and, in Capricorn, is just a bit hung up anyway. So let's look at Roche, Rudhyar & Jones:

Rudhyar rewrites the image completely: A repressed woman finds a psychological release in nudism. No, Mr. Rudhyar, that's not what it says. A casual bath is not the same as stripping onstage at the Follies Burlesque. Not even close. The Great Dane goes on to moralize.

Jones gives us the straight text, and then goes on to give the traditional occult interpretation, that now we're getting down to business, the human body as the temple of the spirit, self-sacrifice, psychological renunciation, etc.

Roche picks up on Jones, and adds, modesty, shyness and inhibition. Try to overcome that, she says.

I read something else. I read, surreptitiously as the key word in the symbol. It's not that the girl is naked, and it's not that she's wet. If she wants a bath, she can draw the curtains, close the door, and hop in the tub. She can keep her shyness, her modesty, her privacy, all to herself. Surreptitiously implies an element of risk. What is she risking? Not her life. Since there is no risk without an expected gain, what does she hope to gain? Well, being naked is not going to save anyone's life. She's not risking her life, she's not going to save anyone's life.

It's more subtle than that. She is not in need of cleansing, nudity is not forced on her. She is out of doors - by definition - in a place where she reasonably believes she probably won't be disturbed. As she thinks about bathing, and as she removes her clothes, and as she bathes in the lake or stream, she wonders, what if someone saw her there? What if someone was spying on her? The thought gives her a thrill, nothing more. While she may be secretly hoping for the Handsome Stranger to ride to her rescue, if any person actually stepped forward, her reverie would be rudely interrupted, she would be shocked, she would flee.

And there's another, unstated part: She might not be alone. She might have come with a trusted friend, to stand guard. I once had a girlfriend, who had a girlfriend, who one day decided to go to the beach without me. While there, my girlfriend decided to go topless. The beach was deserted, and her friend kept her top on. My girlfriend was surreptitious in the full sense of the word. Afterword she boasted of her bravery, even though no one, save her friend, had seen her. Taking her top off gave her courage to try other things she had not before considered herself brave enough to attempt. Capricorn 17 is therefore, Mustering up the courage to try something new. The woman in question is therefore advised to take Goethe's maxim: Be Bold! Boldness has its own reward. Advice the timid, lovelorn Venus in Capricorn could well use, I think. Since there is a resonable expectation of privacy, the moral stigma would apply to the peeping Tom, not to her.

The other example is Pisces 30: The Great Stone Face. This one is an embarrassment. Given that the year is 1925, the place is San Diego, the psychic in question has no abstract mind (i.e., is a common sort), given that her questioner is a former screenwriter (Jones), and that Buster Keaton is one of the biggest stars in the country, the Great Stone Face is therefore his - and Jones knew it.

But as luck would have it, over in New Hampshire there was a rock formation known, more or less officially, as the Old Man of the Mountain, sometimes referred to as the Great Stone Face. It was discovered in 1805 & came to prominence in 1945 (20 years after the Sabians) when it became New Hampshire's state emblem. Jones decided that Pisces 30 was that specific rock. Rudhyar makes 30 Pisces to be not only this same rock, but by extension, God Itself. And rather like God, it collapsed - all such rock formations eventually collapse - on May 3, 2003, despite decades of attempts at preservation. Personally, rocks are rocks, but a man's face is a lot more interesting.

Such is how you can work with the Sabians. Here are a few pages as a teaser. Feast your eyes on Jones' handwriting. Note the strike-out on page 37. It isn't the only one.

March, 2012: A few copies of the first edition of this book have arrived, I am pleased to offer them at half price, $19.95. The best of all books on the Sabians for a bargain, but only while supplies last.

Astrology Classics, 430 pages.

Astrology a language of life, vol. 2: SABIAN ASPECT ORBS - Robert P. Blaschke, $25.95
Contents: Acknowledgements; Foreword; Introduction; 1. The conjunction; 2. The opposition; 3. The trine; 4. The square; 5. The quintile family; 6. The sextile; 7. The septile family; 8. The octile family; 9. The novile family; 10. The decile family; 11. The undecile family; 12. The inconjuncts; 13. The obscure harmonics & other applications. Appendices: 1. Table of 360 Sabian Symbols to aspect orb correspondences; 2. Lecture, class & workshop tapes by the author; 3. Astrology software programs; 4. Computer chart services; 5. Contacting the author. Bibiography; Index.

Comment: Here's how to put Sabian symbols in your aspects: Find the number of degrees between two planets in a chart. Convert that number to one of the Sabian Symbols of Marc Edmund Jones, where 1 Aries is the beginning, 30 Pisces (360) is the end. Use the overview format given by Rudhyar in An Astrological Mandala. (See Sabian Symbols.) Presto: A Sabian symbol for the aspect & new insight into the two planets. Example: Sun at 14 Aries, Moon at 29 Scorpio. Degrees of separation: 225. The 225th Sabian: Children Playing Around Five Mounds of Sand. Thatís the Sabian aspect orb for the two planets. Not only does every aspect tell a story, but also, every degree of separation is its own unique aspect. This book covers dozens of aspects, both waxing & waning, all from a Sabian point of view. A unique book.

Earthwalk School of Astrology, 243 pages.

Forword, by Noel Tyl; Introduction; 1. Aries - Libra; 2. Taurus - Scorpio; 3. Gemini - Sagittarius; 4. Cancer - Capricorn; 5. Leo - Aquarius; 6. Virgo - Pisces. Appendices 1 & 2; Bibliography.

Comment: The layout in this book is similar to that by M.E. Jones: Symbols are arranged in pairs of opposing degrees, eg, 1 Aries with 1 Libra, 23 Cancer with 23 Capricorn, etc. This book makes use of the original words on the original cards (as found in Diana Roche's book, above). The text accompanying each pair then liberally deconstructs every word in the phrases, comparing & contrasting via the "five degree cycle", etc.

Llewellyn, 300 pages.

THE ZODIAC BY DEGREES, 360 New Symbols - Martin Goldsmith, $29.95
Forword by Steven Forrest; Acknowledgments; Introduction; Aries; Taurus; Gemini; Cancer; Leo; Virgo; Libra; Scorpio; Sagittarius; Capricorn; Aquarius; Pisces; Afterword; Notes; Sources.

Comment: The author is a friend of mine, I met him while living in Santa Fe. His real name is Steven E...... He used to play my piano for hours on end (wish I could play half as well). He brings to the Sabians a serious & scholarly outlook (see his notes), but to what end is unclear. As with other writers (post Jones), he claims his understanding of them is objective, but feels free to change things when when the original symbol does not fit his objectivity (6 Scorpio among them). Unlike Bovee & Rudhyar, he does not group degrees by any means at all, unlike Roche & Rudhyar he does not break individual symbols down into sub-categories, nor does he offer keywords. For Goldsmith, the degree is the degree. One degree to a page, for each he gives descriptive phrases & a long list of example charts.

Weiser, 369 pages.

Page 2: Other degree symbol sets

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Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

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