Each of the 365 degrees of the Zodiac are assigned a symbolic meaning. If you were born on February 8th, for example, the Sabian Symbol for your Sun is “A luminous dove circles and descends, bearing a message.” The symbol penetrates the soul describing the personal mythology of someone born on that day to be a deliverer of important messages of peace. The closer the activities of your life approximates that symbol, the more aligned you seem to be with your spiritual essence.
Symbols allow the astrologer to transcend the complicated mechanics of chart interpretation that is devoid of real energy. Symbols engage intuitive faculties and allow work to be done on a higher plane. I use them in my work always. If you’ve read the moon letters, I count on them to extract the spiritual meaning of the moon’s influence. The rational mind can take you only so far in that direction.
Astrological symbol systems date back to 1300 BC (as far as we know). The tomb of the memorial temple of Egyptian Pharaoh Remesses II included a circular ring of stone on the roof measuring 365 cubits in circumference. On it a different symbols wre carved for each day of the year. The symbols were further developed through the ages.
In 1925 while in San Diego’s Balboa Park, Marc Edmund Jones notated psychic Elsie Wheeler channeled 365 symbols. These were the Sabian symbols and had little in common with other symbol systems. They were updated and included references to telephones and airplanes – updated, less fatalistic, and uncannily accurate. Occasionally I use one of the few symbol systems further developed after the Jones/Wheeler system by Martin Goldsmith. Goldsmith, a concert pianist and astrologer was immediately impressed with the symbol for his Sun “a concert pianist.” After studying the symbols for 20 years he revised some of them using intuitive insight as well as a data bank of thousands of charts to verify what he felt. I also use Diana E. Roche’s The Sabian Symbols – A screen of prophecy.