The Astrological Alphabet

The Astrological Alphabet is a system developed by Zip Dobyns, who is the author of several astrology books. The main premise of the astrological alphabet was to develop a way for astrology students to understand repeated themes in the chart. The numerical division is quite simple. The first sign/house of the zodiac all relate to the letter 1. The 5th house, Leo, and the Sun are all connected to the letter 5. The author specifically states in her work that sign, house, and planet are not the “same” and this is only a method used to understand the twelve basic drives in the personality.

This simple guide, however, has been highly criticized by the traditional branch of astrology. One critic of the Zip Alphabet made the claim that it has caused great harm to astrology. In his view, houses do not equal signs, signs do not equal planets. If the critic read Zip’s work – it states they are not the same. Nonetheless, he went on to praise the late Charles Carter in every single review. I own a few books from this author, and his observations on sign and house are almost identical to Dobyn’s. Here’s an extract by Carter regarding this debate:

I shall deal chiefly with Leo rising and Sun in Leo, but I mention that some of the most Leo people I know have heavy stresses on the 5th house and next to nothing in the sign. It used to be said that sign was character and the house the field in which it is expressed, but frankly this is wrong. It is, in my view, a major mistake. The lady who interviewed me on television recently struck me as one of the most Leo persons imaginable. But her natus showed nothing but Neptune in that sign: however, she had Sun, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury in the 5th, with Mars close to the cusp. You may imagine that Mercury conjunction Jupiter, with Capricorn rising, and with this satellitium in the 5th, made her one of the most self-confident persons imaginable. She insisted on announcing me as “President Emeritus of the Astrological Lodge of the Theosophical Society” although she didn’t know what “Emeritus” means and also asked me what “theosophical” signified. She said the title sounded so fine! If that isn’t Leo, I don’t know what is!

In a seminar by Liz Greene, a student questioned the author on her use of sign equaling house in the highly acclaimed work: Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil. In this case, it was greatly emphasized that the house placement of Saturn has the greatest impact, but that their energies -sign and house –  are similar in nature.

Astrologer Karen Hamaker notes that we shouldn’t dismiss the houses as only representative of external events, for they seem to have a strong relationship to the individual’s psychological makeup. So while signs and houses are not the same, the houses do have a strong bearing on the personality of the individual overall.

It is one of the pecularities of our Western culture and of accidental way of thinking that we locate everything outside ourselves, and treat events as independent on or ‘occasionally dependent on’ what is going on in psyches…This thinking has found expression in astrology in the dogma that the houses represent circumstances and events and that the only use of the houses is to help us discover what external factors will confront us…Here is where the astrological houses gain new significance. It is no longer the interpretation of circumstances that is important but the understanding of the relationship between these circumstances and the underlying psychological factors …In the astrological concept of house lie both the ‘idea’ as a psychological factor, and the external imposition of form and circumstances, and it should be noted that it is psychic material which gives shape to the physical material, and therefore has priority. The houses are traditionally taken to represent the circumstances and situations which will enter into the life of the individual. Modern psychological opinion has advanced the viewpoint that there is a significant relationship between events outside the individual and his psychological makeup. Now, the houses as indicators of circumstances are also the representitives of areas in the human psyche. Psychological Astrology: A Synthesis of Jungian Psychology and Astrology