Aries 1-10 Sabian Symbols Interpretations
by Marc Edmund Jones and Dane Rudhyar
 

Aries 1

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

Aries 1° A woman rises out of water, a seal rises and embraces her. This is a symbol of completely unconditioned potentiality, as this may be grasped on the practical side of life. Here are elements of soul emerging from primordial nonexistence, and of an essentially feminine receptivity calling up a more masculine or personal and self-seeking initiative. There is an implicit emphasis on the mutual interdependence of the emotional and purposeful aspects of self. The keyword is REALIZATION. When positive, the degree is an illimitability of experience of which anyone can take advantage under any or all circumstances, and when negative, a failure to find a place in life because the self cannot separate itself from its own private obsessions.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 1° A woman just risen from the sea. A seal is embracing her.

 

Keynote: Emergence of new forms and of the potentiality of consciousness.

 

This is the first of the 360 phases of a universal and multi-level cyclic process which aims at the actualization of a particular set of potentialities. These potentialities, in the Sabian symbols, refer to the development of man's individualized consciousness--the consciousness of being an individual person with a place and function (a "destiny") in the planetary organism of Earth, and in a particular type of human society and culture.

 

To be individually conscious means to emerge out of the sea of generic and collective consciousness--which to the emerged mind appears to be unconsciousness. Such an emergence is the primary event. It is the result of some basic action: a leaving behind, an emerging from a womb or matrix, here symbolized by the sea.

 

Such an action is not to be considered a powerful, positive statement of individual being. In the beginning is the Act; but it is often an imperceptible, insecure act. The small tender gem out of the seed doesn’t not loudly proclaim its existence. It has to pierce through the crust of the soil still covered with the remains of the past. It is all potentiality and a minimum of actual presence.

 

In the symbol, therefore, the emergent entity is a Woman, symbolically speaking, a form of existence still close to the unconscious depths of generic biological nature, filled with the desire to be rather than self-assertion. The woman is seen embraced by a seal because the seal is a mammal which once had experienced a biological, evolutionary but relatively unconscious emergence, yet which retraced its steps and "returned to the womb" of the sea. The seal, therefore, represents a regressive step. It embraces the Woman who has emerged, because every emergent process at first is susceptible to failure. This process is indeed surrounded by the memory, the ghosts of past failures during previous cycles. The impulse upward is help back by regressive fear or insecurity; the issue of the conflict depends on the relative strength of the future-ward and the past-ward forces.

 

The possibility of success and that of failure is implied throughout the entire process of actualization. Every release of potentiality contains this two-fold possibility. It inevitably opens up two paths: one leads to "perfection" in consciousness, the other to "disintegration"--the return to the undifferentiated state (the state of humus, manure, cosmic dust--i.e. to the symbolic "great Waters of space," to chaos).

 

This symbol characterizes the first of five stages which are repeated at three levels. This stage represents the initial statement, or theme, of the five-fold series which refers to the first level: IMPULSE TO BE.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

 

Aries 1 A woman rises out of water, a seal rises and embraces her. KEYWORD: Realization

 

THEME: The Way to Begin is to Begin. This symbol speaks to birth, emergence and taking the first, faltering and naïve steps on any journey. It also speaks to the stirring from within that signals the realization of potential and the possibilities of growth. The image, a woman rises out of water, a seal rises and embraces her, depicts the feminine, emotional and receptive or passive side of man embraced by the masculine, purposeful and initiating or active side of himself. This image also symbolizes the human spirit embraced by desire. The emphasis here is on the achievement of self-integration or that mystical union of all the elements of self. On a practical level, this image represents the first dedgree of the zodiac and thus spring, the beginning of a new cycle and freedom of choice. It also marks the starting point of the journey of self-discovery. Positive: At its highest, this symbol represents independence, initiative and openness to new experience. Negative: Willfulness or lack of discrimination.

 

TODAY: The accent is on change and new beginnings. You may be feeling bored, restless or lonely, or that something is missing in your life. Adventure beckons like the sweet scent of lilacs on a gentle spring wind. The novel and different have a special allure.

 

Opportunity: Your greatest advantage lies in being sensitive to what it is that you really need. Take a broader look at the options available to you, window shop and pay close attention to timing.

 

Risk: Guard against rashness and hasty decisions or making irrevocable commitments. Avoid jumping from the frying pan into the fire or being headstrong and stubborn in relationships with others.

 

STEPPING STONES: Birth, new beginnings, growth, self-integration, new cycles of experience, freedom of choice, receptivity.

 

Diana E. Roche, The Sabian Symbols: A Screen of Prophecy (1998). Diana has preserved photographs of the original Sabian symbol cards upon which Marc Edmund Jones, wrote as Elsie Wheeler, reported on her visions that spring day of 1925 in San Diego's Balboa Park. The card for Aries 1 is at the top of this page.

 

Aries 2

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

Aries 2° A comedian entertaining a group This is a symbol of the mirror which life holds up to itself recurrently, and so facilitates an everyday understanding of itself. The identity of each individual is projected back into the wholly naïve potential of his experience, thereby providing a fresh and transcendent self-perspective. Here is man's heightened individuality as he discovers he may play whatever role he finds useful in each momentary contact with others, together with the continual self-reassurance he gains in self-rehearsal. The keyword is RELEASE. When positive, the degree is the power of personality through a full and completely uninhibited self-expression, and when negative, a neglect of common responsibility through idle diversions of interest.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 2° A comedian reveals human nature.

 

Keynote: The capacity to look objectively at oneself and at others.

 

While the first phase of the process of emergence is essentially in terms of subjective impulse and the desire to act, the second phase represents the attempt to evolve an objective awareness of existence. Through a sense of contrast, consciousness is gradually being built. It is what Teilhard de Chardin calls "reflective consciousness": the ability to see oneself reflected as in a mirror, and eventually to laugh at the inadequacy of the form one sees; thus "humor," the triumph of objective consciousness over subjective feeling or moods, or involvement in self.

 

This symbol characterizes the second stage in the first five-fold sequence of phases: the stage of OBJECTIVATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS. This second phase complements and polarizes the first, which stresses the subjective desire to become individually conscious.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

Aries 3

 

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

Aries 3° A cameo profile of a man in the outline of his country This is a symbol of a real breadth of participation in everyday affairs, and of the extent to which every individual tends to epitomize the tradition and culture from which he has emerged. There is here the suggestion of both an impersonal self-dedication to broader community interests and a highly personal dramatization of the self as a focus for group actuality.

The keyword is EXPLOITATION. When positive, the degree is man's capacity for giving full play to every ramification of the reality he has created for himself, and when negative, an unimaginative conventionality which leaves him in bondage to every current stereotype of human relations.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 3° The cameo profile of a man, suggesting the shape of his country.

 

Keynote: The sustaining power of the Whole, as the individual identifies himself with Its life.

 

Having become objectively aware of his nature and his basic humanity, the individualizing person finds power and inner security in realizing his essential identity with the section of the universe in which he operates. He and it seem to his consciousness united in a cosmic-planetary process--in a "participation mystique." Metaphysically expressed, this is the concept of the identity of Atman and Brahman. In another sense, through his ability to identify himself with the complex of life activities surrounding him, the individual person can become truly, not only an image and representation of the Whole of his natal environment (local, planetary and perhaps eventually cosmic), but an agent through whom the Whole may express itself in an act of creative resonance and outpouring. This is the avatar ideal--the ideal of a "transpersonal" life and consciousness totally consecrated to and directed by a divine Power. This Power can also be conceived as the archetypal Self, the Christ-principle as it operates in and through an individual person and destiny who have become its outward manifestation in order to meet a collective human need.

 

The concept of the formal-structural identity of the universal macrocosm and the human microcosm is a very important one, as it manifest itself at many levels. It provided an inner sense of security and harmonic strength to archaic man. To the modern individual assailed by surface evidence of meaninglessness and futility it gives a feeling of participation in the vast tide of evolution. It is the answer to the tragic sense of alienation so prevalent today.

 

This symbol characterizes the third stage of the first five-fold sequence of phases: the stage of PARTICIPATION IN A GREATER LIFE.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

Aries 4

 

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

Aries 4° Two lovers strolling through a secluded walk This is a symbol of the first innocent rounding out of conscious experience, and of an unspoiled assurance of personal potentialities for which no immediate sense of responsibility is necessary. Implicit here is the fact that reality is ever without meaning or power except as it stimulates the self to move in its own interest persistently and continuously whenever the least opportunity offers. The keyword is ENJOYMENT. When positive, the degree is an utterly naïve assimilation of self into its world and a complete flow of all effort towards some proper end, and when negative, the indiscriminate loss of the self's real assets in pure self-indulgence.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 4° Two lovers strolling on a secluded walk.

 

Keynote: The progressive polarization of energies needed for fulfilling one's life function.

 

In order to respond fully to the potentialities released by a sense of identification with a greater Whole, the human being should be himself whole. An interplay of bipolar energies is needed to provide a sustained and dynamic "resonance" to any superior and encompassing form of life. This may imply a temporary withdrawal from routine activity, i.e. a "secluded" process. It is not, however, a closed process. The positive and negative polarities do not meet in a closed circuit, reconstituting a neutral state of potentiality. They operate in dynamic, open, unresolved togetherness in contact with the surrounding energies of nature.

This symbol characterizes the fourth stage of the first five-fold sequence of phases: the stage of dynamic and unresolved POLARIZATION. It introduces the basic means--one might say, the technique--to establish consciousness in the world of duality.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

Aries 5

 

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

Aries 5° A triangle with wings This is a symbol of the inviolability of man's essential nature throughout every ramification of his experience, as long as he holds to the purity of his original impulses. There is here a very practical balance in his self-fulfillment, thanks to his threefold individuality in terms of skills, loyalties and values. Light rather than darkness remains the goal of his life, and his personal capacities become a continual refinement of every baser metal in selfhood. The keyword is ZEAL. When positive, the degree is the creative transformation of everything into an expression of enduring idea and a reflection of the real vision ahead, and when negative, blissful obliviousness to all normal or everyday considerations.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 5° A triangle with wings.

 

Keynote: The capacity for self-transcending.

 

This is the symbol of the desire to reach a higher level of existence, of pure aspiration or devotion, of bhakti. What has emerged in the first phase of the process of differentiation is becoming aware of the possibility of further up-reachings. The principle of "levitation" is seen as one of the two essential factors in evolution. The emergent being glorifies and deifies it, but it is still only an ideal. At this stage, nevertheless, the whole being experiences a childlike longing for its eventual realization.

 

At this point the last and synthesizing stage of the first five-fold unit in the cyclic process is reached. A NEW DIMENSION of being is envisioned mobilizing creative endeavors.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

 

Aries 6

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

Aries 6° A square brightly lighted on one side This is a symbol of experience as the over-all sustainment of any personal or conscious being. A materialistic reality is found to be sheer illusion when taken of itself or given any power on its own account, but it also is discovered to be the servant of every human impulse whenever life becomes red-blooded or achieves a motivation and an effective appreciation of its own nature. Implicit here is the realization that things are given their fundamental ordering as they are accepted in consciousness. The keyword is SET. When positive, the degree is the absolute unimpeachability of a genuine self-direction, and when negative, complete loss of self-efficacy in a surrender to frustrations.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 6° A square, with one of its sides brightly illumined.

 

Keynote: The emotional desire for concrete and stabilized existence as a person.

 

This desire for individualization operates at first as a one-pointed or one-sided drive focusing itself upon an exclusive goal. All emotions are at first possessive, and all cultural manifestations operate on the principle of exclusion. All that does not belong to the tribal sphere (one blood, one land, one folk) is the potential enemy. This is a necessary phase, for--as in the case of "the woman emerging from the sea"--the first attempt at building an inner realization of integral being may be defeated at any time by the regressive pull toward undifferentiation and the prenatal state of nonindividualization within the vast womb of nature or within unformed cosmic space.

 

This first stage of the second five-fold sequence of symbols presents the theme which will be dialectically developed--a five-phase dialectical process: A ONE-SIDED URGE FOR INNER STABILITY.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

Aries 7

 

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

Aries 7° A man successfully expressing himself in two realms at once This is a symbol of a creative division of labor within the self, such as distinguishes human kind from the lower orders of life and enables any individual to participate in the experience of many interpenetrating realms of reality. There is capacity here for a complete control of events by shifting from one to another focus of emphasis whenever it proves convenient or expedient. The keyword is PROFICIENCY. When positive, the degree is unlimited versatility and a special gift for divorcing the things of issue from whatever lacks immediate pertinence, and when negative, a tendency to defeat all self-competence in an unintelligent scattering of interest.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 7° A man succeeds in expressing himself simultaneously in two realms.

 

Keynote: The first realization of the dual nature of man and of the possibilities it implies.

 

This symbol represents the antithesis of the thesis pictured in Phase 6, yet in such a five-fold sequence what we see is contrast rather than opposition. The primordial one-sidedness of emotional and cultural manifestation actually calls for the compensatory ability to operate at two levels. Thus the primary dualism of Sky and Earth, of the divine and the human, of spirit and matter. The vision and the emotions are focused within sharply defined boundaries, but within these boundaries they express themselves at two levels. This is the foundation of religion as well as of magic. A situation which has become characterized by this symbol can be successfully faced if its spiritual and material implications are understood and actualized.

 

At this second stage of the second five-fold sequence of symbols we see at work man's capacity for LIVING TWO SEPARATE LIVES--and finding fulfillment and happiness in both. On this capacity are founded many of the complexities of human nature.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

Aries 8

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

 

Aries 8° A large hat with streamers flying, facing east This is a symbol of naïve creativity, or the fundamentally phallic stirrings of man as these keep him forever responsive for better or worse to the general potentialities of an everyday being, and as they also enable him to realize and utilize the ever-emerging novelties and variations of human relationships. Implicit here is an unconditioned and complete co-operation with every immediate trend of events, whether consciously or otherwise. The keyword is EXCITATION. When positive, the degree is continual self-orientation to the nascent potentialities of all life and experience, and when negative, a tendency to idle posing or an empty pretense of good will and interest.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 8° A large woman's hat with streamers blown by an east wind.

 

Keynote: Protection and spiritual guidance in the development of consciousness.

 

This somewhat strange image can be understood if every stated feature in it is clearly analyzed without preconceptions. Here again we see a woman; but now her head is covered with a large hat--a protection against the forces of nature, i.e. cold and/or the penetrating rays of the sun. At this emotional-cultural level (Phases 6 through 10) the mental processes are still largely undeveloped; thus they need protection from the elemental forces of life. A too great openness to the Sky-energies and the "spiritual" level could lead to obsessions of one kind or another.

 

The symbolic image implies a rather strong wind, thus the activity of some more-than-material, and especially psychic, forces. These originated in the East, traditionally the seat of spiritualizing and creative-transforming influences. The woman's hat has streamers, which enable it not only to respond to the wind but to indicate its source. In other words, the image symbolizes a stage of development of consciousness in which the nascent powers of the mind are both protected and influenced by energies of a spiritual origin. This suggests a probationary stage in the process of individualization. Under protective guidance a still most receptive person (a woman) is being influenced by spiritual forces.

 

This is a third stage symbol in which we see the first and second stages of this second five-fold sequence producing results which require PROTECTIVE FORMS (which is what a culture and precepts provide) and SENSITIVITY to spiritual energies.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

Aries 9

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

 

Aries 9° A crystal gazer This is a symbol of man's capacity for bringing an entire universe within the purview of his mind. There are higher faculties of human understanding, but as no more than the illimitable possibilities of personal experience in the realms of potentiality. Implicit is the concept of the world and the individual as irrevocably in partnership, each reflecting the other and thereby providing a foreview of every possible mood or situation. The keyword is ACUTENESS. When positive, the degree is consummate insight in planning the course of events or organizing them in the light of immediate convenience, and when negative, an idle curiosity and a surrender of all reality to the vagaries of the moment.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 9° A crystal gazer.

 

Keynote: The development of an inner realization of organic wholeness.

 

The crystal sphere symbolizes wholeness. Within the sphere images take form. These images may reveal future events, but more significantly they picture "the situation as a whole"--the situation which the clairvoyant is meant to interpret. The nascent mental faculties operating through still dominant emotions (or collective cultural incentives) act as a centralizing and whole-making power. What the intelligence perceives in its concentration is the function of every inner impulse and outer events in the open field of a "personality" still unclouded by egoism.

 

At this fourth stage of the five-fold sequence the new technique required for the development of individualized consciousness is revealed. CONCENTRATED ATTENTION.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

Aries 10

The Original Sabian symbol card (1925)

 

Aries 10° A man teaching new forms for old symbols This is a symbol of the continuous and necessary rectification of understanding through direct and everyday experience, such as brings every factor of inner realization into immediate and personal significance. Here the wisdom of the race is revivified and made available for all through its recurrent and continual validation in human affairs. There is a serving of the many by the one who provides a momentary dramatization for each special phase of a total reality. The keyword is

INTERPRETATION. When positive, the degree is an exceptional capacity for putting every part of an individual's heritage to work, and when negative, witless distortion of values and twisted perspective in general events.

 

Marc Edmund Jones, The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, (First Edition 1953)

 

Aries 10° A teacher gives new symbolic forms to traditional images.

 

Keynote: Revision of attitude at the beginning of a new cycle of experience.

 

This phase is the fifth of the second five-fold sequence, and in it we find expressed the capacity to restate the problem inherent in the first phase, i.e. the problem of focusing one's energies upon emotional drives and cultural values which exclude far more than they include. The subsequent stages of development taken together have added considerably to this attitude; as a result, there arises in the consciousness a desire to reformulate at a new level much that had been taken for granted because it indeed originally had been an evolutionary necessity. The very concrete emotion-arousing images of the past can now be reinterpreted as "symbols" with a wider scope of meaning.

 

At this fifth stage a new dimension of consciousness is discovered, revealing higher possibilities or experience and mental development. This is a phase of ABSTRACTION and of emotional allegiance.

 

Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases (1973)

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