Thursday, February 21, 2013


When I began to study astrology in earnest one of my first tasks was to commit to memory the glyphs used to represent the signs and planets. To understand a natal chart the first essential is to recognise the glyphs. Sign glyphs are better known than planet glyphs, they often appear in newspaper and magazine Sun sign columns, because of their relative familiarity they were easy to memorise. Planet glyphs are less familiar, but there are only seven major ones to remember, and Sun and Moon are easy-peasy. I used to draw the shapes continually until I had them locked in. It helps in memorising the planet glyphs to have some idea of why they are as they are. They're not simply shapes dreamed up at random. Each part of the odd looking symbols has significance. Astrologer Alan Oken explained this in his book Complete Astrology, from which I started to dutifully copy before discovering that the work has already been done by astrologer Carole Somerville - SEE HERE.

I've wondered about the origin of planet glyphs. There's not a lot of information available. The glyphs are said to date back to at least mediaeval times. has a piece by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D on alchemy symbols. It would seem that the link between astrology and alchemy can still be identified from the planet symbols we use. It's interesting to look through the collection of alchemical glyphs, some are strangely beautiful.
See also Wikipedia's page on alchemy.

When considering these things some years ago an old blog friend of mine, Anthony North, commented:

AN: I've often thought that astrology and alchemy are related, in that they came from a similar pre-science that was shared - a kind of instinctual knowing, I suppose. Now if we could track this beginning from the snippets that are left behind - including Hermetica, for instance - then we'd really begin to grasp ancient understanding of the universe.

I replied...
Yes, though I'm not sure whether they are actually related disciplines or whether it was just that the same people who practiced one also practiced the other, and borrowed appropriate symbols. Wikipedia states (tentatively) that alchemy's roots go back to Egypt - 5,000 BCE. There's a wide flung net of mystery that'll never really be solved. A lot of valuable information was lost when the Library of Alexandria was destroyed
It remain intriguing.


♥ Sonny ♥ said...

thanks Annie.

I'm going to screen print the sample you posted and take it to my graphics program and make it into art that I can print out - frame and sit where I can see it at my desk..
maybe my subconcious ? bad speller:)
can absorb it or if not I'll have it to refer to..

please post more about alchemy. I have been intrigued by that subject since I was a teen..
thanks for another great read.,

wishing you joy and peace

mike said...

The ancient human comprehension of the world and universe is quite abstract from our modern day indifference to the natural creation surrounding us. We moderns seem intent on creating an artificial edifice to supplant the natural.

Interesting that Isaac Newton, the founder of mechanical physics and modern calculus, was a devotee of alchemy. PBS' NOVA did a program about his obsession:

"Newton was fascinated by Starkey's encoded laboratory processes, extracting and interpreting them many times throughout his manuscripts. Like Starkey, Newton believed that ancient Greek and Roman mythology contained hidden alchemical secrets. For example, the story (found in Ovid's Metamorphoses) that the gods Venus and Mars, locked in an illicit embrace, were trapped in a bronze net by Venus's husband Vulcan was interpreted as an allegory for making an alloy of copper and star-regulus that Starkey called "the Net." Alchemists traditionally used planetary names for the metals, naming lead Saturn, iron Mars, tin Jupiter, gold Sol, copper Venus, quicksilver Mercury, and silver Luna, so it is easy to see how a fable concerning Venus and Mars could be seen as a chemical recipe."

Twilight said...

Sonny ~~ That sounds like a splendid plan!

I'll read up more on alchemy and see what I can come up with that doesn't sound too "off the wall". ;-)

Thanks for your good wishes, warmly returned.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Yes, many of the great thinkers of the past had a soft spot for alchemy, along with the other ancient mysteries it seems. Alchemy both as a physical possibility (transmutation of metals), philosopher's stone; a way of ensuring longevity, or just in an allegorical/spiritual context.

It's all very interesting - I shall dig around, try to absorb and do a bit of bloggish-alchemy myself: see if I can condense some of the info available into an blog-digesitble format. ;-)

mike (again) said...

Well, Twilight, I see that Oklahoma just passed a creationism bill. Maybe you can suggest to the board of education that astrology, alchemy, and Hermetica are given fair play, as well.

Twilight said...

mike ~~~ GROAN!!!! Talk about lunatics being in charge of the asylum!

They'd have me on the ducking stool on the banks of the Red River before my feet touched the ground. Luckily, however, there's not enough water in the Red River at present to do much harm......droughts, climate change an' all that stuff they don't believe in have done their bit.