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4. Sabian Symbols & Precession:
Discussion One
Question: There was some talk years ago that the Sabian symbols might actually be affected by the precession of the equinoxes. Since they were received back around 1930, the seventy years since would create an appreciable differential which might suggest reading an adjacent degree. Do you make anything of that? Do you think, in a parallel query, that there is reason to be a little lenient on degree readings in general and to consider also the adjacent degree in a reading? Do you have a preferred symbol system that you use? Do you like Sandbach's work?
Timothy: Yes, I think that the precession does effect the symbols - ultimately each tropical degree will have a chance to contemplate each sidereal degree, so that each degree carries all 360 within itself. Presumably this has already happened many, many times - our own limitations inhibit our ability to penetrate within degrees very far - so we're aware of each degree's most recent history at best. I think that this movement is recorded by the emergence of new sets of symbols.
So next we've got to do some math: The precession is 50.290966" per year. There are 60" in a minute and 60' in a degree, making 3600" per degree. 3600" divided by 50.+" = 71.58 years. So, by golly, you're right! By now everything's slid back one degree from where it was when Jones took a look. On the other hand, we need to look at the degree position in the year of birth - so for us, 19 years after the vision, that's 15'54" of shift, meaning (if I got it right) a planet at say 11D 15' of Aries would now be at 10D 59' of Aries, and therefore refer to the 11th Sabian Symbol rather than the 12th. Certainly this is true for references to fixed stars.
The question is, is it true for the degrees? Are the Sabian symbols, the tropical degrees mere place-holders for sidereal realities, or are they meaningful in their own right, or both? If the first is true, then the precession should always work, if the second is true, then the precessed degrees should never work; if the third is true, then sometimes it'll work one way, and sometimes another, depending on – the soul of the native? of the astrologer?
So now I'll tell you what I do. First, I use Charubel and Sepharial as the underside of Jones Long form, as meanings that are the karmic source of the process/lesson represented in Jones. Second, I tend to use about a degree and a half orb for a planet (which means that sometimes I look a degree earlier, and sometimes a degree later than the natal degree). I may therefore settle on a degree that's not the "official" Sabian symbol for a given planet, but use the adjacent degree instead. (Of course this throws rectification by degree symbol right out the window.) I find that when a person is very alive, very conscious, that each of their planets/cusps will be lucidly represented by one and only one degree. Conversely, if a person is very unconscious, out of focus, they'll respond to practically any symbol in the relevant sign. It is this last tendency which makes me delay the introduction of the symbols until I feel that the client is capable of developing and maintaining an internal definition - otherwise, as I'm sure you've seen - the person replaces their own individuality with the mythology of their interpretation of a Sabian symbol. Currently I do not use Sandbach, nor Kozminsky most of the time. Mainly because they don't 'speak' to me.
Since Elsie Wheeler generated the Sabian Symbols the same week that the so-called Waite Tarot deck was designed (by another woman, whom Waite "accidentally" forgot to credit); I regard those two sets of images as siblings, and as very inspired for Americans. I find that people who are strongly European will generally be better represented by Sepharial or Charubel. There are other sets around, a French one I've looked at, and even a Cuniform one, as well as a Hindu one for every second (but that's just a lengthy list of God-names which have no additional characteristics - like God of Gods; Big God, etc.). So, year in, year out, I keep finding my way back to Jones, and to the Brits (big surprise).
Finally, now that you've pointed out the shift from Jones to Now, I'll be looking more closely at the corresponding adjustment in Sabian symbols for young folks.
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