Sabian Symbol Degree Interpretation: techniques

topic posted Thu, February 11, 2010 - 7:45 AM by  Partha
There are many windows on which the energy of Sabian Symbols cast
their reflection. As the zodiac is a multi-dimensional wheel, the degrees
not only express fixed spatial qualities, but can be projected on inter-
preting aspects and even provide keys to thematic disposition.
The revolution, sparked off by Marc Edmund Jones and Elsie Wheeler's
work continues to this day. Dane Rudhyar, took it a step further by adding
an evolutionary layer to the wheel and unearthed a deeper level of
meaning through analysis of it's internal structure. More can be read here:
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  • Degree Interpretation:

    Thu, February 11, 2010 - 8:18 AM
    First and foremost, Sabian symbols are used to relay more depth to the planetary points and
    angles of a chart.The interaction between Sun, Moon, Ascendant and MC are most widely used.
    Some astrologers though, emphasize the importance of considering the opposite degree and
    even the degree peripendicular (square) to these points. As Dane Rudhyar showed in 1973:
    interpreting planets in reference to shared themes on the cross formed by each degree, offers
    a wealth of information:

    So, if for instance you have a 5 degree Leo Sun, you also take in account 5 degrees Aquarius
    and try envisioning both acting in synergy. Taking it a step further, consider the axis squaring
    that pair of sabian symbols: 5 degrees Taurus and 5 degree Scorpio in understanding the full
    expression of the Sun's potential. This mode of interpretation respectively reveals information
    about integration of the personality (opposition) and about synthesis beyond time (cross).
    Some have proposed the original degree associated with that position shows our potential, the
    opposite our old age, the integration of both the completion of our personality. In considering
    the cross we find keys to go beyond conditioning. Blain Bovee, does a good job in finding the
    common ground of opposing degrees:

    Then there is the interpretation of house cusps, which offers information about the state of
    awareness of the karma represented by that house. Living up to the ideal expression of the
    symbol on the cusp is again accomplished by reflecting the axis and cross of the other house
    cusps. The opposition expressing an objectification through interaction with another sphere of
    experience (3th-9th house cusp) and the cross expressing a realization of transcending condi-
    tioning of the interdomicily theme (3th-9th versus 6th-12th).

    Then there is transposing the position of a planet in a house to the position of the sign ruling
    that house naturally, giving more depth of vision on the role or job of this particular planet in this
    particular house. If for instance your Mercury is at 22 degrees in the seventh house, you look at
    22 degrees Libra to understand Mercuries inner motivation for expressing seventh house themes.
    This technique has been proposed by Martin Goldsmith:

    Incorporating inflowing or out flowing energies from respectively transiting or progressing planets,
    becomes easier when considering their sabian degrees and positions within that house using
    Goldsmith's technique. Especially with regard to oppositions and squares to the natal position,
    symbolizing critical phases in integrating the personality and Soul. The same applies to Composite
    degrees or any variety of stand alone chart.
  • Aspect Orb interpretation:

    Mon, February 15, 2010 - 8:34 AM
    Aspect Orb Superimposition:

    Each sign and house represent a specific mode of energy. As Aries expresses the fundamental vibration
    of the number One, it is analogous to the conjunction. The same affinity applies to subsequent signs and
    houses, they all resonate to a number and to an aspect. As there are twelve houses, there are twelve
    harmonics. Each family of aspect harmonics 'rules' a certain part of the Zodiac. The Cardinal points
    respectively: Aries-Conjunction, Libra-Opposition, Cancer and Capricorn waxing and waning squares.
    When this basic notion is expanded to each and every degree of the Zodiac and we superimpose the
    sphere of orbs of each aspect family, the zodiac reveals a layer of deep affinity between sabian degrees
    and aspect orbs.

    After years of studying charts and sabian symbols along these lines astrologer Robert Blaschke
    concluded that specific parts of the zodiac and their degree symbols reflect the evolutionary unfolding
    of interplay between planets. This is based on a spatiotemporal affinity that is symbolized by the sabian
    stories, expressed by waxing, waning, applying and separating orbs and further conditioned by qualities
    provided by decanates and dwads.

    This link is to a PDF file in which Robert Blaschke's explains in layered detail this aspect delineation technique:

    The following link gives a full wheel with their aspect associative spheres: just scroll down:


    Sabian symbols are very helpful in ascertaining the exact degree of the Ascendant and further fine-tuning the houses of the chart, by modifying the data by minutes and not seldomly seconds to 'let all the pieces fall into the right place'. This is a great technique to achieve chart rectification. Transposing the orbs of aspects on the degree symbols, even expands this further, by looking at aspects between AC and planets and MC and planets.

    Thematic interfacing:

    As our chart is rectified to a degree mirrored by an pattern resonating to our intuition, we can start interfacing planetary positions, with house positions and sabian aspect orbs. This method provides a further epansion of the balancing opposing and perpendicular sabian positions with similar degrees on house cusps showing a thematic link, giving more depth to how our psyche reflects in our daily reality and where we can harmonize them.

    The degrees ruling certain aspects seem to 'disposit' house themes reflecting the same, opposing or squared sabian degrees, symbolizing respectively natural expression and reinforcement, challenging objective awareness and transcending crisis. Using the same technique to uncover thematic resonance between aspects and planets, shows how these planets can be helpful in integrating the aspect. Planetary themes resonating to House themes show where the themes of houses can be resolved consciously through that planet's position and aspect, exposing a multi-dependent, yet non-local metaphorical structure.

    Basically, these methods reveal a more subtle and intricate 'thematic interplay' that is less logical, but more intuitive, than just working with planets in signs. It gives lots of background information and guides our mind to unexpected places, it would have never considered without these symbols = revealing a new layer of interpretation, rooted in geometrical relationship, yet branching out in a new dimension of resonating narratives, unearthing unexpected threads in the weave of destiny.
  • Degree Interpretation: Origin of degree Symbolism

    Mon, September 20, 2010 - 8:19 AM
    Degree symbolism has always been firmly rooted in astrological tradition, from the Egyptians to the Hellenistic world and of course in the guise of harmonic charts: subdividing the birth chart in a certain amount of degrees, an essential part of Vedic Astrology or Jyotish.

    Astrologer David Cochrane has made significant contributions to the research into the origin of Degree Symbolism. In the following link he introduces an innovative technique of using the degrees as inner charts and then translating them in a variety of degree symbols.

    This might seem farfetched to some, but in depth contemplation reveals a real parallel between degree symbolism and the 30th Harmonic chart, which divides a sign in thirty equal parts. After all, in astrology, energy expresses itself simultaneously as geometric proportion and symbol - requiring both mathematical as intuitive skills to interpret.

    Explanation of the technique:

    Description of each degree according to this technique:

    Underneath this list futher explanations of the formulas assigned to each degree, strangely enough he uses the same sequence of Dwads with each sign (starting at Aries), as opposed to starting with the same dwad as the sign.
  • Aspect Phase Calculation

    Sat, October 30, 2010 - 10:21 AM
    The work of astrologer Robert. M. Blaschke in his seminal work 'Sabian Aspect Orbs' has given an incredible intuitive tool in studying planetary aspects. Not only does this technique offer a way of understanding aspect through symbolic imagery, it also gives significant information about the evolutionary interplay between planet and points.

    Dane Rudhyar pioneered this method by taking the lunation cycle as a model for planetary aspects. Since then, many astrologers look beyond the strength of an aspect to whether it is waxing (involution-acquisition) or waning (evolution-sharing), intensifying (striving) or separating (teaching) aspects.

    In order to superimpose the Sabian Wheel on the aspect phase Wheel to translate aspect orbs into the analogous Sabian Symbols, we have to find the exact orb and phase between two planet/points.

    Calculating aspect orbs/phases can be a daunting task, some programs offer aspect orbs, but ignore the minor (8th/12th harmonic) and esoteric aspects (5th/7th/9th/10th/11th harmonic) aspects.

    This is a link to an ASPECT PHASE CALCULATION program:

    It calculates EVERY POSSIBLE ASPECT and its lunar phase, but beware it doesn't follow the follow the complete Chaldean Order, so aspects of the Luminaries have to be checked and corrected, which is fairly simple - just change waxing into waning and vice versa.

    The importance of the Chaldean order is important, because this ancient Babylonian mnemonic model, determines the relative strength of each planet. Simply stated the slower (far away) the planet, the more sway it holds. This is important in calculating the evolutionary phase of planets, because according to it, the Slower planet is placed on the imaginary Ascedant point, the quicker planet will either be above or below the horizon, making it resp. waxing or waning.

    This is the Chaldean Order:


    When calculating Vulcan and Earth, you can just fill in their degrees at Mercury and Venus in the list on the website. You can print a pdf of the page or copy and paste the data (which I do), you have to do a little tabbing afterwards. I paste it lying down, so the analogous Sabian Degree fits underneath each aspect. As you look at the last column which says separation, you'll find the aspect phase, round it off and look up the Sabian degree phase (all degrees have their phase at the beginning) on this site: