HERE WE explore the origin and meaning of astrological symbols. Visit our online Astrology Symbols Guide to find the meaning of specific symbols.

astrological symbols

Astrological symbols have been around for a very long time. When we first think of astrological symbols, most of us probably think of the signs of the zodiac, but before we get into understanding their meaning it might be worth taking a moment to review the history of astrology, as a foundation.

The specific origin of astrology is unknown, having been lost in the sands of time, and yet it may still be highly significant to our understanding of astrological symbols. There is archaeological evidence (in the form of inscriptions) that the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and Sumerians were using astrology (and presumably using symbols in astrology) around 7,000 years ago. The oldest surviving Zodiac,  the Denderah Zodiac, used astrological symbols that resemble those we use today. Originally created for the the temple at Denderah, Egypt, it has been dated at around 2,065 years old and it now on display in the Musée du Louvre, in Paris.

Interestingly there is an oral shamanic tradition in Tibet, the Bon tradition, which also uses astrology and that is said to be over 17,000 years old! It seems that every society develops it’s own astrology, and each astrological system has it’s own unique symbolism with specific meaning. This is why it is not a good idea to ‘mix and match’ astrological systems, because this can confuse the meaning. For example the meaning of the lunar nodes is very different in Western Astrology than it is in Vedic Astrology.

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Understanding Astrological Symbols

There is more to astrological symbols than their literal representation. Any ancient symbol has the power to awaken something in our subconscious that lies beyond the reach of our logical, literal mind.

In math we can apply an arbitrary value to a symbol. So for example, we might say if x=4 and y=2 then by applying logic we can say that x + y = 6.  But we could just as easily have said that x=10 or that a=4. Outside of the context of our example, the symbolic values of x, y, or a, have no particular meaning.

In contrast, languages work differently. Languages use symbols to convey meaning on a collective level, and the key to any language is it’s alphabet. The meaning of the alphabet is governed by pre-existing convention within each society, and we normally learn the language of the society we are born into, as our first language.

Phonetic languages (like English) use letters to convey sounds… and then the letters are assembled to form the words of the spoken language. In pictorial languages like Japanese, the alphabet consists of symbols that represent ideas (not sounds).

Astrological symbols are a kind of pictorial alphabet, and astrology is like a language. The symbology is not arbitrary. It’s not as though someone sat down and decided x=4 and Mercury = C

In ancient times it was known that sacred symbols (including astrological symbols) were imbued with power and meaning from a higher consciousness. They therefore contain and can emit the energetic essence of whatever they represent. The meaning is transmitted energetically to the receiver and sensitive astrologers receive the meaning intuitively.

Each astrological symbol has the potential to convey a unique deeper esoteric meaning to us that is beyond literal interpretation, if we remain open and use our intuition to sense it! Visit our Astrology Symbols Guide, to read more about astrological symbols and their meanings.