Sabian Symbols: An Introduction for the Inquisitive.


Hi and Welcome to an intro to the Sabian Symbols! :)
This intro hopefully, will give you an overview of the Symbols in one go!
There is so much information available it would be a very long thread to put it all in, but there are plenty of threads at ATF and on the web if you would like to know more.

I hope the Symbols become a wonderful learning journey for you, as they have been for me!

If there are any mistakes or if you would like to add to the thread, please post below. Your knowledge and wisdom is very welcome.
Ask Questions too!! :D

Many Blessings
Elven x

The Sabian Symbols.
What are the SABIAN SYMBOLS?
The Sabian Symbols are a group of 360 Meanings which are used to interpret Astrological Charts and can be used as an Oracle.

What does a SABIAN SYMBOL consist of?
Each Sabian Symbol (SS) consists of 5 parts.
1) An Astrological sign.
2) An astrological Degree.
3) A Statement.
4) A short divinatory meaning explaining the meaning of the statement.
5) A ‘Key’ Word.

For example:
1) Astrological sign: ARIES
2) Astrological degree: ONE
4) Divinatory Meaning: New Understandings and awareness are coming to light. Something new is emerging and it needs to be welcomed and nurtured. This is the beginning of a whole new impulse, creative and responsive. Emergence of a whole new potentiality.
5) Key Word. Beginings

Why are there no pictures or Symbol to look at?
No there are no pictures or Symbol to look at. The Sabian Symbols are written Symbols – they give you an impression. They allow you the freedom to visualize or ‘see’ the Symbol yourself.
People have drawn Pictures to correspond to the Symbols but this is their own interpretation on the Sabian Symbol.
The Original Sabian Symbols are WORDS – not pictures or glyphs.

How do you interpret a Sabian Symbol?
1) Read the Heading – what are the impressions to you get from these words – Note this.
2) Read the ‘Meaning’ which goes with the Symbol – what stands out in the text – what can you dismiss? Note these as well.
3) Read the Keyword – use this as a base for the reading.
4) Gather your impressions from the text and insights and combine them to come to a conclusion about WHAT THE SYMBOL MEANS.
5) You can add or subtract from the meaning. Try to find the ‘essence’ of the meaning of the Symbol.
6) Use your intuition – your ‘gut’ feeling.
7) Apply it to your question or add it to other information.

How many SABIAN SYMBOLS are there?
There are 360 Sabian Symbols.

Why are there 360 Symbols?
Each Sabian Symbol corresponds to one of the 12 Astrological Signs and to ONE degree of the Zodiac Wheel. The Wheel is 360 degrees, thus there are 360 Sabian Symbols.

How many Sabian Symbols are there in each Astrological Sign?
Each Astrological Sign is assigned 30-degree increments.
12 Astrological Signs x 30 degrees (remember a Sabian Symbol for each degree - 30 Symbols) = 360
For example:

ARIES degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
TAURUS degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
GEMINI degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
CANCER degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
LEO degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
VIRGO degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
LIBRA degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
SCORPIO degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
SAGITTARIUS degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
CAPRICORN degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
AQUARIUS degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)
PISCES degree 1 – 30 (Thirty Sabian Symbols)

Who invented the Sabian Symbols?
The Sabian Symbols came about with the help of three people.

Marc Edmund Jones – Astrologer – Occultist - A student of the Sabian Assembly.
Elsie Wheeler – An Astrologer and ‘extraordinary’ Clairvoyant.
Dane Rudhyar – Astrologer

When were they invented?
The Sabian Symbols were ‘invented’ in 1925 in Balboa Park, SanDiego. Unfortunately the date on which they were ‘invented’ was never recorded. They were ‘invented’ in one day.

How were the Sabian Symbols ‘invented’?
Marc Edmund Jones – the Astrologer, took Elsie Wheeler – the Clairvoyant, to Balboa Park in San Diego.
Jones brought with him 360 pieces of card. On one side of each card was an Astrological Sign and a Degree.
Elsie Wheeler sat and dictated to Jones a ‘Descriptive Sentence’ from her ‘psychic impression’. Jones wrote each sentence onto the back of a card. The cards were chosen randomly – by shuffling - the Astrological sign and degree for each card was not known to either Wheeler or Jones.
This was done over and over again in four sessions on the same day until Jones has 360 cards with a sentence on them.
This was the birth of the Sabian Symbols.

How were they ‘developed’ further?

This extract is taken from Lynda Hills book: The Sabian Symbol as an Oracle. Hill & Hill P/L Special edition 2002. – ISBN0-9580890-0-0
‘In the 1930’s, Jones students of the Sabian Assembly started using the Symbols and found amazing results from placing them in Natal Charts. Dane Rudhyar – Astrologer – heard about their extraordinary ability to describe a persons life and destiny and applied for and received permission to use the Symbols in his book ‘The Astrology of Personality’ (first published in 1936).
In this book Rudhyard did a concise 3 line interpretation.
In 1953, Jones wrote his book the Sabian Symbols in Astrology, describing them in terms of sign polarity and giving them both a positive and negative interpretation and illustrated the application of the Symbols by relating them to the horoscopes of 1000 well known people.

How were they ‘developed’ further?

Twenty years later after a lot of research and investigation into the complete structure of the 360 degrees series, Rudhyard wrote ‘An Astrological Mandella’. This gave the Symbols an incredible new layer of meaning. Rudhyar employing a more holistic and humanistic approach, promoted the idea of using the Sabian Symbols as an Oracle.

Are the words – Symbols- that Elsie described to Marc Edmund Jones in their original state?
The Original Sabian Symbol headings as told by Elsie Wheeler are unchanged.
Due to some indecipherable hand writing and spelling mistakes – some symbols were hard to make out. Some have had their spelling or wording changed due to ‘the times’.

Here is some information on some of the changes and the development of the Sabian Symbols:

From the website:

In 'The Sabian Symbols in Astrology' Marc Edmund Jones gives comment on every change he made in the handwritten text on the cards (p.136). He had written the words of Elsie Wheeler down very quickly, so here and there they were hard to read. And he made some changes, but small ones. I am very grateful he gives such a detailed account of every change. I have changed everything back, because I think one cannot change anything in a symbol.

Sometimes errors also have a meaning, and a way of saying something can give another color, even if it is not correct English. I even made airplane to aeroplane again, which is not important, but after all in 1925 it was written that way.

Minor matters of punctuation and some corrections in spelling need no comment. Abbreviations have been spelled out, as in the case of gymnasium for gym and auto-mobile for auto.

Airplane is used for aeroplane (Gemini10, Libra 27). In a few cases the pencil is impossible to decipher with certainty, so that Capricorn 6 could be two instead of ten logs.

Gem was read for germ (Cancer 17) and parts for paths (Libra 15) in preparing the 1931 interpretations. A serpent is coiling, not circling (Aries 14). Side comments have been ignored. Thus the Tuileries card had Paris on the margin (Gemini 3). Taurus 19 was marked tangible, and this idea has been incorporated in the description.

In Sagittarius 17 the word sunrise is inserted, since a notation that it was early a.m. had been jotted down at the edge. In Cancer 10 the diamond is said to be not quite cut instead of not quite carved, as was written on the card. In Leo 6 the word flapper is re-placed with the phrase up-to-date girl, and in Gemini 16 the suffragist is said to be haranguing rather than orating, as the pencil notes have it.

Chocolate is changed to colored in Virgo 4. There is a great mystery, which may be part of what occultists know as the necessary twist in any series of relations of spiritual import, since the cards for Libra 18 and 19 were first in reverse of their present order, and then the descriptions were scratched and repenciled as they are found in all the various versions of the Sabian degrees, and as indeed they seem correctly placed.

There is neither record nor recollection of what happened in this connection, whether originally in San Diego’s Balboa Park or when the first typescripts were made (in 1925, by Elsie Wheeler and written down by Marc Edmund Jones).

Is there a list of the Original Symbol Headings?
Yes. Here at ATF. These do not have the corresponding ‘meanings’ just the Headings.

Another site:

What about other Symbol Headings? Some are different?
Yes. The Sabian Symbols are an evolving tool:

In 1953, Marc Edmund Jones published The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, and wrote that this book "probably marks the fruition, for the present life-time of the author, of a project in astrological research which has occupied...more than three decades..." (p. viii) He also suggested that further refinements would be the work of "fresh minds in another generation."

The Sabian Symbols are continually being studied and refined. Many authors have written their insights into the Sabian Symbols and have expanded their use and knowledge. This (IMHO) adds to the dimension of the Symbols and their application to a wide variety of subjects and uses.

An easy approach is to have the Original Headings by Elsie Wheeler available and then compare them to the Sabian Symbols you choose to use. The Symbols become a personal divinitation tool – your own interpretation will differ as well.

What are Sabian Symbols used for?
Sabian Symbols are used for:
1) Added interpretation to an Astrology Chart.
2) Oracle Readings

What do you use them for with an ASTROLOGY CHART?
You can use them for adding meaning to your:
BIRTH CHART (Natal Chart)

HOW would I do this for my NATAL ASTROLOGY CHART?
For an example:
Acquire your NATAL chart – A free on is available here press FREE CHART on the left hand column once your in.

Print out your chart.
At the bottom of the chart is the information you need to CALCULATE your corresponding Sabian Symbol to your Degrees and Houses.

For example:
When reading the Symbols, one reads the degree plus one for the actual degree as the zodiac starts at 0 and the Symbols at 1. This means that a planet or point at 0 Scorpio is Scorpio 1 -
e.g. Mercury at 15.27 Scorpio is read Scorpio 16... in fact, even 15.00 Scorpio is read as 16.

Hence, one would read 15.27 Scorpio as
SABIAN Symbol: Scorpio 16

An example of the Sabian Symbols and my Birth Chart?

Let’s do JRR Tolkiens (author of The Lord Of The Rings) Chart aspects as an example:
Note the true degree and the Sabian Symbol degree is the next degree: 12 is actually 13.

Sun: Capricorn 12 degrees - Sabian Symbol Capricorn degree 13. House 03
Sabian Symbol: A Fire Worshipper.

Moon: Aquarius degree 18 - Sabian Symbol Aquarius degree 19. House 05
Sabian Symbol: A Forest Fire Quenched.

Mercury: Capricorn degree 0 - Sabian Symbol Capricorn degree 1. House 03
An Indian Chief Claims Power From The Assembled Tribe.

Venus: Aquarius degree 8 - Sabian Symbol Aquarius degree 9. House 04
Sabian Symbol: A Flag Turned Into An Eagle.

Mars: Scorpio degree 16 - Sabian Symbol Scorpio degree 17. House 01
A Woman The Father Of Her Own Child.

Jupiter: Pisces degree 13 - Sabian Symbol Pisces degree 14. House 05
A Lady In Fox Fur.

Saturn: Libra degree 0 - Sabian Symbol Libra degree 1. House 12
A Butterfly Made Perfect By A Dart Through It.

Uranus: Scorpio degree 5 - Sabian Symbol Scorpio degree 6. House 01
Sabian Symbol: A Gold Rush.

Neptune: Gemini degree 6 - Sabian Symbol Gemini degree 7. House 08
Sabian Symbol: An Old Fashioned Well.

Pluto: Gemini degree 7 - Sabian Symbol Gemini degree 8. House 08
Sabian Symbol: A Closed Down Factory Strikers Mill Defiantly.

True Node: Taurus degree 25 - Sabian Symbol Taurus degree 26. House 07
Sabian Symbol: A Spaniard Serenading His Senorita.

Is that all you add to the Horoscope reading?
No. You can also take into consideration the Sabian Symbol DEGREE BEFORE and the DEGREE AFTER the ACTUAL DEGREE.

How should these BEFORE and AFTER degrees (Symbols) be interpreted into the Chart reading then?

The BEFORE Degree (Symbol)
Looking at JRR Tolkiens Chart again:

Sun: Capricorn 12 degrees - Sabian Symbol Capricorn degree 13. House 03

Sun: Capricorn 12 degree – Sabian Symbol: A STUDENT OF NATURE LECTURING.

The Degree BEFORE means:
By Lynda Hill.
Fascinating insights can be seen by reading the degree before (every degree holds the 'impulse' of the degree before). This I see as being the 'karmic condition' of the planet or point (of any zodiac point for any reason). It describes the things (talents, abilities, ideas perfected, habits, life situations, etc, that feel very 'present' as well as 'past'). These are brought over from past lives in every sense of the expression.

The actual degree describes the personality, the outward expression, what we do with our lives. We have that talent, obsession, compulsion, habit) behind us; we have transits of planets, etc, over the degree before every time we move into an exact aspect.

The AFTER degree (Symbol)

Lets add the AFTER degree to Tolkiens Chart now:

Sun: Capricorn 12 degrees - Sabian Symbol Capricorn degree 13. House 03

Sun: Capricorn 12 degree – Sabian Symbol: A STUDENT OF NATURE LECTURING.

Sun: Capricorn 14 degree – Sabian Symbol: AN ANCIENT BAS-RELIEF CARVED IN GRANITE.

The Degree AFTER means:

By Linda Hill
The degree after the degree is what was laid down in our personalities in the first year after birth. These things are showing us ways to our future. Reading the degree after often shows what needs to be embraced in order to move on in our lives.
This sounds like a lot of work when one looks up their Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, etc, etc! But after a while it all starts to make sense. It's very illuminating, to say the least. Having said that, it can best be experienced as an unfolding, taking time to integrate the meanings into your life. The zodiac acts as a giant hologram around the earth; acting as the earth's aura. The Symbols hold a 'charge' in the degrees through their symbolisms.

Every single factor in a chart may be read with great insight, whether it's a planet, asteroid, ascendant, midheaven, Arabic part. My take on it is that where one seeks significance (for whatever reason), one will find significance.

What else can I use it for with Astrology?
There are threads available on ATF that can help you.
Here are some:

Sabian Symbols: Birth Charts

Sabian Symbols: The Five Pointed Star

Sabian Symbols: Astrology – this thread talk about how the moon and the Sabian Symbols correspond.

Sabian Symbols: Correspondences: Decanates and Tarot

How are they used as an Oracle?
Without any Astrological knowledge, you can use the Symbols by choosing:

An Astrological Sign and a Degree.
Choose a number between 1 – 360.

How do you CHOOSE the SYMBOL?

Ask a question of the Symbols: Keeping the question precise and definite.
Sabian Symbols can be chosen by:
1) Cards:
You can make these, or some Sabian Symbol publications come with cards. Lynda Hills publication 360 Degrees of Wisdom – have the cards in the back of the book.

This is a set of 42 cards. 12 of the cards have the astrological names on them. One for each house of the Zodiac. The other 30 cards are numbered 1 through to 30. One number for each card. Choose an Astrological card and then a numbered card. Put them together to get your Zodiac sign and degree – then look the meaning up in the book.

2) Choose a number between 1 and 360.
To find out which Symbol your number is you can look them up here:
You can look up the meaning in the book.

3) Open the book at a random page and read the Symbol that stands out most to you!

What if you don’t have a book?
You can also choose a Sabian Symbol from Lynda Hills website, as well as find the meanings for each Symbol.

Are there other types of divination methods that you can use the Symbols for?
The Sabian Symbols can be used by themselves or with other divination tools.
Other Oracles
Dream Interpretation
Feng Shui
Creative Writing / Art

These are just some examples of working with the Sabian Symbols.

Please add to this thread with any info you think would be helpful to others understanding the Sabian Symbols.

Many Blessings
Elven x :)


Brownies Dancing!

You are truly 'elven' in so many of the wonderful ways that term implies! I often speak of Aries 16 - the Brownies Dancing in the Light of the Setting Sun - as a degree of help and assistance in 'getting the job done' and I have many long and rather amazing personal stories about that degree (I wrote a chapter about that degree in the book - as you'll know :) ).

You are most definitely an amazing advocate and fabulous friend on this fascinating journey.

(Gosh my wrists would ache with all the typing you do!!)

Love from Avalon


Sabian symbols what a revealation

Elven thanks for such a fascinating explanation ! Its mind bogling all this new learning with such excellent teachers like you...there is much reading and catching up to do.... so little time....


Your very welcome *blush*, I enjoy learning too! :) I havent really had to type too much - theres alot of info in the threads its just bringing it all together! We are very lucky to have Lynda Hill on this site too, who brings her immense knowledge of the Symbols here to us directly. I am very grateful for this!
When I started using the Symbols I didnt know where to start either. The little book I had contained the three line interpretations, but when I read these with my Tarot readings - people understood exactly what the Symbol was saying to them - even if I didn't. They would nod and agree with the words I'd read to them. That was enough for me. There was something about them that 'talked' to others, and helped me understand their simplicity and complexities.
Over the years the Symbols have expanded many fold, and this year they have just blossomed for me. They are consistant.
And its really cool that Elsie Wheeler 'saw' these Symbols. She was indeed extraordinary!

Happy Symboling

Many Blessings
Elven x


Thank you, Elven.
That was very informative.
I am going to have to take some time looking through all the links you have given.

There was some really interesting stuff there. stuff that is already going through my little brain.
I have done a few birth charts in my time, but looking through the symbols I never thought about the sign beginning with 0 and the symbols with 1!

The fact that the symbols are still evolving is good, and puts my mind at rest about wether the book I have got is 'right' or not.
It's not Lynda's book. (sorry Lynda)
It was a book I was given because He thought I'd be interested in it. So, not only do I not want to fork out for another book (had some extraordinary expences recently!) but also He wouldn't be happy. (He can be funny like that sometimes!)

The last few days I have been looking through the book a lot. There are some well strange things there.
That Elsie must have had some weird stuff running through her head.

Thank you Elven. You have given me so much food for thought there.


Hi Lillie
You have me wondering what book you have on the Symbols.. what is the name of the book?

Best wishes from DownUnder



Thank you Elven, this is great, amazing, useful and appreciated information - what a SUMMARY!

I think you have taken care of the introduction... and much much more.

I LOVE the Sabian Symbols, I first used them in Astrology charts and wow, just saw so many symbols in different people, then found Lynda Hills site bought her book and started using the oracle.. and all I can say in my experience - IT SIMPLY WORKS!




Hi Lynda.

It's called 'The Astrological Oracle' by Lyn Birkbeck.

There is a very tiny bit about the creation of the symbols, but mostly it is full of the symbols themselves and interpretation stuff.
Like I said, it was a gift. And it remained a total mystery to me until I found these threads!

I've been looking up my horoscope, with the new knowledge I gained yesterday.
I am 2 men playing chess! (sun position)
I'm obviously in two minds about that! :D

Can't find a moon one, no birth time.



Well with the moon, if you try to find a free astrology site, you may find that the day you were born the moon stayed the same sabian symbol - or indeed if it changed it may FEEL pretty obvious which one is you.. mine is deep sea divers.. looking lookin looking!

Marina - (Oh another OBVIOUS reference to my MOON symbol)


The moon generally covers about 13 degrees a day.

In my case it started the day at 10 picese, and ended it at 23 picese! So at least I know my moon sign.

Yes, I could just guess. But it's not the same as knowing.