The Twelve signs of the zodiac are said to constitute the blueprint of the universe, containing the essence of all possible experience. We are familiar enough with these symbols and how they reveal mankind’s nature, throughout all its shades and hues. For each sign represents a part of man’s psyche and depicts his evolution through the twelve different stages. The word ‘signs’ refers to the division of space on the zodiac belt into 12 sections to create a frame of reference by which the positions of celestial bodies can be found. Each of the twelve divisions of 30 degrees is called a sign and given a name: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. We usually begin with Aries ruling the head and new life, and end with Pisces ruling the feet and signifying dissolution. The astrological glyphs for the signs have transformed over time, some drastically and others retaining some of their original essences.
The Aries glyph suggests a fountain gushing upwards from a hidden spring, (as indeed the entry of the Sun into Aries the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere when the world of nature bursts into life). It leads the astrological year, at the time of the equinox, when the year is renewed. The symbol has also been viewed as a violent force of water representing the identity and consciousness bursting through with a surge of youthful energy washing over the individual in an upward and outward direction. Alternatively named The Fountain of Life it rises out of the collective unconscious waters of Pisces. Other interpretations say it is the shooting forth of plant life and appearance of all new forms on every level, all in response to some hidden creative force. The sign is closely associated with the awakening of energy that follows hibernation. The Aries glyph has also been described as the eyebrows and nose of a human being. Being ruled by the Ram it also looks like its curved horns, symbolising the assertive and thrusting nature of the sign and the ability to meet challenges head on. On the esoteric level, the symbol stands for upward flow of spirit, and it can also be said to represent the sprouting of a seed, signifying potentiality. Aries is compared to the caveman or Man in his most masculine, potent and passionate form, depending upon his instincts for survival. Aries is the first sign on the zodiacal wheel and emerges from the stars bringing us closer to the divine creative energy.
The Glyph for Taurus represents unlimited potential as symbolised by the circle, and the feminine principle in the universe shown by the crescent Moon. This symbol is similar to the bull’s head, or the ring of the bull’s nose, and this animal can plough the earth, or can be provoked into dangerous behaviour. The horns signify the strength, stability and determination of this sign. Any individual born under the sign of Taurus is often bull-headed, stubborn and immovable. At its core, it represents the power of natural resources. The Taurean glyph is thought to be composed of the Full Moon and this body is most comfortable when placed in this position. The Ancients saw the bull as a highly erotic and sensual creature, and it rules over our earthly desires. Like a bull, the Taurus’ personality will almost never stray off track and will stay level no matter what tornadoes surround him. Taurus knows his own strength but usually manages situations with dignity and self-control. Push him too far, though, and the Taurus individual can suddenly turn into a raging bull, and once this happens, he will be difficult to calm.
The glyph for Gemini represents the duality of existence, and the dual aspect of man’s mental make-up, two-ness and multiplicity, along with all of the various choices available. It can signify a union between matter and spirit, and examining all sides of a situation. The androgynous nature of this sign is thought to mean it has the capacity for divine wholeness. According to myth and legend it represents the twins Castor and Pollux, made into this constellation. It also looks like two vertical bars, or can be similar to two temple columns, a path between two poles.This sign is represented by two human beings, and it also looks like the Roman number for two. According to the Compendium of Astrology Gemini is restless in both body and mind, and if routine grows monotonous are apt to grow fidgety, pencil twirling, toe tapping, finger drumming, or excessive chattering are attempts at alleviating boredom. A Geminian is the curious, questioning seekers of knowledge on all levels. Such a personality is not satisfied to acquire something intellectually, they must express what they have learned, verbally to others and often at an unceasing pace.
The glyph for Cancer shows the emotional life of man, and it has been described as two curving crab claws. Similar to a self-closing Cancerian in personality. The other image is that of two female breasts as sources of nurturance, the mother and protector The sign has also been represented by the scarab and beetle – symbols of regeneration and eternal life. Cancer is Latin for crab, a creature which scuttles sideways, with a strong need for self-protection and possessing an outer shell and a soft underbelly. Some astrologers point out its symbol is like infinity, and also imbued with the intertwining power of Yin and Yang. In a psychological reading of the sign, when Cancer grasps an object with its claw, one has to cut it off to free themselves, and this “difficulty in letting go” is a typical quality we associate with Cancer. The symbol has also been compared to the sperm and female ovum (Leo looks like the male sperm). Crabs are also emotional to profound degrees, with a psychic link to the cycles of the Moon, their ruling planet. A Cancerian’s occultist and intuitive nature links them to others and makes them both figures of strength and vulnerable souls.
The glyph for Leo is thought to represent the lion’s tail, or its flowing mane, and is powerfully connected to creativity. Leo symbolises the heat of the Sun bearing down upon us. Many natives long to achieve fame and admiration, and seek to be admired as a star. In esoteric astrology, the symbol represents the life-force, and those born under the sign of Leo seem to emit an aura of personal authority, vitality and power. Their sign, the lion, certainly represents the strength and magnitude that Leo projects to those who know them. Their ruling planet, the Sun, represents the inner warmth and energy of fire that makes for the passionate, theatrical and dramatics of Leo activity. Leo also rules the heart in our body, and all born under this sign respond in turn to warm-heartedness and love with a deep, and overwhelming liveliness that can be hard to withstand. They also seldom show how highly sensitive they are to personal slights, their pridefulness being such that they would rather not show anything but self-esteem, dignity, and respect .
The glyph for Virgo, according to some astrologers, have gone as far as to claim it is the initials of the Virgin Mary (VM). It is also based on the Hebrew letter ‘Mem’ signifying the female principle with an added hook apparently based on the symbol for the fish. The Virgoan is associated with being ‘pure’ and unspoiled. Some say it’s similar to the Scorpio glyph, but that sexual energy is blocked. More heavenly interpretations describe this pictorial image as representing the wings of an angel. The glyph turned inwards representing inward development, and coils of energy latent in the Virgoan. The Virgo character contains something of a locked door quality to their essential being, for much of the maiden is hidden away. The labours of work and service are the foundation of their existence. Their fidelity to skillfulness and efficiency for a job allotted to them becomes an aspect of fulfilling of purpose. Virgos have the capacity to direct their aid to others in amazing detail. In fact, A Virgo will create order out of chaos, clean and organise if needed, evaluate and measure, and change an existing condition to fit their thoughts of a more workable way of doing things. Their care for detail in personal and professional matters makes them appropriate for intricate, precise work requiring accuracy and faithfulness. Virgos are often found in life working as scientists, dressmakers, critics or administrators. They have the capacity to sacrifice themselves for a worthwhile purpose, believing that service to humanity is the highest gift they can offer.
The glyph for Libra represents the setting Sun, showing the sense of the self expressed into the world as the ‘not-self’. The Sun is about to sink below the horizon, and when day and night reach perfect equilibrium. In addition, it represents the scales, and every aspect needs to be measured and weighed before the passing of judgement. Libras brings a blending of intellect, beauty and harmony to our world. They are generally fortunate with social skills and will always search for the right balance in their life. Libras seek equality in their endeavours, essentially thinking that cooperation is a reciprocal and rewarding project. A Libran will often establish themselves as mediators and possess great talents in bringing cohesion and unity. Libras are considered indecisive in their relationships because of the need to find inner harmony and balance, and may dither at the door of any decision. A Libra will carefully examine and weigh all options, and consider the fairness of all. They can also hide their own needs to avoid confrontation in order to keep a peaceful relationship, but when a Libra can no longer keep feelings from rising, they express with full force, and it can startle loved ones and even themselves.
The Glyph for Scorpio is very similar to that of Virgo, being based on the same Hebrew letter. The ‘M’ has an added barb, reminding us of the sting in Scorpio’s tail. It resembles the Scorpion – a hidden creature that defends its self with a hidden thorn, inflicting death on its chosen victim. Scorpio will do damage first before suffering the humiliation of attack and defeat. It contains far too much Luciferian pride and it has been observed to sting itself to death than be subject to annihilation from an outside force. A Scorpio soul guards their privacy, rejecting encroachment of the world outside. Scorpio searches through the unexplored depths, and is fascinated by mystery, and veiled in secret itself. Scorpio, more than any other sign of the zodiac, possesses the greatest potential for powerful transformation of the psyche. It has the powerful influence of Mars and Pluto, indicating both competition, bravery and emotional conviction. Scorpio emphasises long-term change and re-birth, as well as instinctive, explosive energy. Scorpio natives have the willpower and desire to see to the very end the ambitions they seek, with a lastingness that is extraordinary.
The Glyph for Sagittarius is an arrow propelled from a centaur, half-man, half horse, and adds something of a mythical meaning. It is the symbol of the intuitive mind aimed heavenwards, towards its aspirations, and leading man to the highest peak of experience. Also symbolising the sign’s desire for freedom, and with one single movement the arrow can fly off into any land, sky or space representing all intellectual, physical and spiritual journeys of expansion. The flight into an experience that enlarges our world, and as the intellect soars it concerns itself with philosophy, religion and godly matters. It is difficult to put a limit on their desires for they always want MORE. Sagittarius brings to the zodiac and the universe the love of truth, higher values, the knowledge and teaching of wisdom, and the capacity to spread ideas to enlarge our minds and enlighten the soul. Sagittarius brings emphasis to philosophy, education as a higher institute of learning, law and the judicial system, and church-like beliefs. They are by nature great disputants, challenging viewpoints and ideas, and are naturally attuned to important mental concepts for the spiritual evolution of man. They are optimistic individuals, with insight and intuitive awareness. With unchecked optimism and a sometimes less than practical expression, there is an overzealous adherence to philosophic ideals.
The glyph for Capricorn is the most difficult to draw and is compared to the goat’s head with curling horns, and this reflects a nature which is also turned inwards, laying down plans for the coming spring. Moreover, it is the symbol of the mountain goat with a fish tail. In Ancient days the goat was revered for being sacred, and has always been viewed as special. According to Liz Greene in Saturn: A New Look at at an Old Devil says that there is no sign other than Capricorn which is represented by two distinct glyphs, drawn in totally different ways, underpinning its deceptive nature for disguise, something we normally associate with the mutable signs, especially Gemini and Pisces. Persistence and the long-term approach to work, achieving results with ambitious activity mark the Capricorn individual. The need for careful, organised ambition makes them seem coldly unrelenting in their movement towards a career or goal. They really are much more aware of creating and establishing their boundaries and achievement as a base of security in planning for their future. Capricorns are the natural administrators, business planners and directors of organisations. They are perpetually seeking to rise up beyond their present social role. They almost seem to be born “old before their time,” and often reach out for practical ways of making money and achieving prestige.
The glyph for Aquarius represents the vibrant power of knowledge, all waveforms, movements, and electrical energy. It is wisdom from the kingdom of knowledge to be poured down upon mankind. This ancient water carrying symbol, represents the intuitive inspiration, cold reasoning and logic. A revolutionary spirit, with big ideals for human utopia. Much of Aquarius waves are powerful yet invisible. Aquarians are the innovative, free-spirited and forward-thinking souls. The symbol for Aquarius is a man pouring a pitcher of water onto the earth: the representation is the water of knowledge that Aquarians pour to share with all mankind.Thus, Aquarius is not a water sign, but an air element. Humanitarian endeavours naturally draw an Aquarian.They see no boundaries and embrace the brotherhood of the world, being friendship-minded and group-oriented, they find new associations, organisations, and ideas to share within those groups.
The glyph for Pisces shows two semi-circles connected by a crossbar and is symbolic of the two halves of experience, heaven and earth, reality and unreality, the great sea of life, and the contradictions of the victim saviour archetypes. The two fishes have also been thought to represent the psychic state and the cord is their second sight. The sign of Pisces is two fish, swimming in opposite directions. The daydreamer side is one fish, creative, mystical, universal energy. Pisceans are able to create great works of art or poetry, and their innate desire is to express their other- worldly self.