Astrology 101: Glyphs

Astrology is a bit like music, in that each of these fields combines elements of both logical, scientific left-brain thinking with artistic, intuitive right-brain functions: they're like forms of what we might call "ArtScience"...and wow, are they both crammed full of unique symbols!
Astrology is a bit like music, in that each of these fields combines elements of both logical, scientific left-brain thinking with artistic, intuitive right-brain functions: they’re like forms of what we might call “ArtScience”…and wow, are they both crammed with their own unique symbols!

Astrology is a fascinating field. A sort of alchemy all its own, Astrology is like a fusion of art and science…a melding of language and math…

When you first arrive through its front doorway, agog with wonder, and eager to learn, it’s very easy to be knocked immediately back out over the same threshold that you’d just crossed, after you first catch a glimpse of the apparent complexity that’s at work there. And Astrology is complex, no question about it…but it’s not as horrifyingly brain-fracturing as it might appear at initial glance…

Part of the early issue lies with all the symbols. Astrology loves its symbols, or “glyphs,” as they’re commonly called – so much so, in fact, that it can feel like you’re being asked to learn several new alphabets in several new tongues the second you arrive in the entryway. It’s therefore absolutely essential to have some familiarity with these glyphs before you can have any realistic hope of understanding the underlying concepts that they represent. Astrological charts are downright riddled with these glyphs, so if you want to learn Astrology, but you don’t want to end up a gibbering puddle on the floor while strange, arcane runes and sigils swim through your field of vision, you’ll need to take a deep breath, accept that you’re in for a bout of study, and then start memorizing the basic glyphs.

The following tables capture the first wave of the most important of these astrological symbols. These particular glyphs correspond to the Planets that are primarily used in modern Astrology, as well as to the 12 Signs (and please note that both Pluto and Capricorn have alternate glyphs that are fairly common, as well):

Planet

Glyph

Sun

Moon

Mercury

Venus

Mars

Jupiter

Saturn

Uranus

Neptune

Pluto

In Astrology, the Planets each symbolize a set of drives that we all possess...and each Planet is represented in text and graphics by its own unique symbol.  If you want to learn Astrology, start committing these symbols to memory sooner rather than later!
In Astrology, the Planets each symbolize a set of drives that we all possess…and each Planet is represented in text and graphics by its own unique symbol. If you want to learn Astrology, start committing these symbols to memory sooner rather than later!

The Planets represent drives that occur inside each of us. Everyone who ever lived came equipped with some version of the urges symbolized by, say, Venus, or Mars, or Neptune. These drives express themselves differently from one individual to the next, of course, and part of those differences flow from the fact that Planets are placed within Signs. Here are the glyphs that stand for each of the 12 Signs of the Zodiac:

Sign

Glyph

Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sagittarius

Capricorn

Aquarius

Pisces

Let's say that this Rabbit's urge to hop -- i.e., to travel locally -- is governed by the Planet Mercury...  It's the Sign that Mercury occupies in the Rabbit's birth-chart that will then determine how the Rabbit tends to hop in general, be that quickly, slowly, or otherwise.  And just like the Planets, the 12 Signs also each have their own specific glyphs that you'll need to learn if you want to get all astrological...
Let’s say that this Rabbit’s urge to hop — i.e., to travel locally — is governed by the Planet Mercury… It’s the Sign that Mercury occupies in the Rabbit’s birth-chart that will then determine how the Rabbit tends to hop in general, be that quickly, slowly, or otherwise. And just like the Planets, the 12 Signs also each have their own specific glyphs that you’ll need to learn if you want to get all astrological…

This analogy may risk oversimplification, but you can arguably think of the Planets as verbs, and the Signs as adverbs that modify them. Everyone can presumably think, or love, or dream, right? But do you think angrily? Do you think peacefully? Do you think rapidly? Do you think simply? The way you think – in the conscious, rational, everyday sense – is a function largely represented in Astrology by the Planet Mercury…and the way in which you characteristically think will depend in great part upon which Sign Mercury occupies in your own personal birth-chart.

Astrology’s great complexities then set in when you realize that you have 7 to 11 major Planets to keep track of in any given chart (depending on which Planets you personally feel are of critical importance), and this involves being able to interpret their placements in any of the 12 Signs and in any of the 12 Houses…plus, you’ll need to grasp what it means when two or more Planets land in such a way as to form certain mathematical/geometric relationships with each other in a chart (these relationships are called Aspects)…

But that can all come later. At the very start of your journey into this conceptual space that we call Astrology…allow yourself to just be responsible for getting familiar with the glyphs. Everything else will begin to emerge from out of that basic grounding in the unique language of the field. Live for a while with those tables up above. Keep them at hand while looking at some birth-charts – look up the charts of a few of your favorite artists or writers or great thinkers from history. Better yet, look at your own chart. Start to get familiar with the symbols…and true understanding can then follow…

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