The Zodiac Glyphs or Symbols
The Zodiac is therefore divided motivationally by the elements. The fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius constitute the impulse of duty. The earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn represent the wealth impulse. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius indicate the pleasure principle and Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, the occult and spiritual pathway.
The process of re-incarnation and karma may be evaluated by scrutinizing the geniture (horoscope) of an individual. The predominance of planets in, for example, Kama signs would indicate a current incarnation tending towards desire and fulfillment of a passionate nature. Depending on the strength and other dignities of the planets in question, the use of these energies, and whether or not spiritual growth would result, is then ascertained.
The categorization of human beings is not exactly a cut and dry process, as is generally being presented. Each zodiac sign in unique and the myriad of combinations need to be carefully balanced to assess the karmic grade of the present life. Of course, current high grades may not necessarily ensure high grades in future births. The resultant karma and their exhaustion need to be analyzed to see what benefits or lapses will accrue at the end of this incarnation. As we successively evolve through series of lives, we associate with the star signs under which we are born. In fact we express those very qualities inherent in the cosmic patterns.
Each of the signs of the zodiac is represented by a symbol or glyph, depicting the evolution of the soul through twelve different stages. The glyphs express the deeper more esoteric aspects of astrology and reveal inner evolutionary trends, as individuals and as parts of a vaster network of universal energies.
The glyph represents the horns of the Ram and is an Egyptian symbol. On a more esoteric level, the symbol stands for the upward flow of spirit - as in a fountain, the Universal consciousness in its creative aspect. It can also be said to represent the sprouting of a seed, from which germination results in the tree and fruit. In its seed form it represents potentiality.
As the symbol appears to move upward, outward, then downward it signifies the ultimate sacrifice of spirit in its descent into the realms of matter.
The Taurean glyph on the purely material level of representation, appears to look like the head of a bull, for which Taurus stands. The esoteric view however, is that the circle represents the divine spirit, and the crescent above the flowering, or blossoming of spirit in that materialization process. Taurus is earthy, fixed and stubborn like the bull. Its action in the world is decisive and energy isn't frivolously diffused without purpose.
At this stage of manifestation the spirit enters the phase of duality. As thought reflects the subject - object expression of spirit, the twins become an apt symbol for the "division" of spirit, representing polarity. Within the material world or manifested state, all things oscillate between positive - negative, up - down, right - wrong, in - out etc. Gemini therefore symbolizes this polarity.
The two vertical lines represent male and female - as division. In a sense, the act of reproduction is governed first by Gemini.
The glyph of Cancer represents the breasts of a woman. The symbolism depicts the nurturing caring qualities of motherhood. In the same way, spiritually, all the creative and loving qualities are inculcated by the symbol - which signifies the womb of time, in which all manifestation takes place.
Leo, the 5th sign, represents creativity and childbirth too. The glyph looks somewhat like a sperm cell - the beginning of life. Within the seed is the creative power of life. The early writings depicted the glyph as representing the tail of a lion, which is the emblem of the constellation.
The Virgin represents Virgo. Its glyph is comprised of three vertical lines and another crossing and joining the uppermost portions. In early mythology the goddess of grain and food, Nidaba (Egypt) was represented by Virgo, but the spiritual symbolism is much deeper. These three lines represent the powers of nature acting within the media of time and space - they are action, inertia and harmony. The additional line crossing and joining creates tension - which is the struggle of the spirit in its natural evolution. Virgo is one of the most sensitive and delicate of the Signs.
At the point of Libra, Spirit is established in its material expression and ready to ascend back to its original pristine state. The symbol of Libra is balance, indicative of the equation of matter versus spirit. It is the junction point of the world and that which is beyond.
Though similar in shape to Virgo, the icon for Scorpio differs in that it has an arrow as an extension which points upwards. This upward energy describes the upward movement of the soul in its journey homeward, after the tremendous struggle in Libra. The sign of Scorpio is misunderstood if it is only regarded as death - for Scorpio signifies more the rebirth or regeneration of the being after the death of the ego. Scorpio is therefore the sign of spiritual initiate.
The arrow at the end of Scorpio's glyph is now airborne and flying towards its destination is Sagittarius. The arrow points upwards, towards spiritual horizons. This ties in well with the meaning of Jupiter who is the ruler of this sign. All the spiritual and higher faculties of man become fully activated at this stage of evolution. The movement of an arrow is direct and Sagittarius too is a powerfully vital and spiritually directed energy.
The glyph of Capricorn is a complicated one and reveals the complexity of those born under its influence. Though Capricorn is a material sign, the emblem represents the influx of spiritual energy directed to material pursuits.
The "V" shape is the inversion of spiritual force and the downward and inward tucking of the arc reveals the introverted nature of that power. It is through self sacrifice, especially in work and money that the Capricorn native excel. This can be transformed into spiritual benefits too.
Though being an air sign - Aquarius has as its glyph the waters of life. The fluid design reveals the spiritual nature of Aquarius. It is often shown as a person pouring water from a pot. This indicates the brotherly, humane manifestation of spirit at this point. Water is cleansing and purifying and at the Aquarian stage, represents the larger human family and a desire for group awareness and healing.
The two semi circles are joined in the center together and represent the incoming and outgoing stages of evolution. Both are actually one and the same - being found to be the case only in the center - the Self. Pisces is the final stage of Spirit's evolution and requires complete self abnegation if the two seemingly unrelated facets of creation are to be unified.
In Sanskrit, the word Jyotish is a combination of the words Jyoti, meaning light and ishta, meaning deity. It is therefore loosely interpreted as the study of the Sovereignty of "Light". The Power or God's Energy and Will is reflected in the configurations of the heavenly bodies. Just as storm clouds symbolize impending rain, so too are the patterns of planets and stars a glimpse of things ordained for humanity, both individually and collectively.
A deeper implication of the word Jyotish though, is the light of intuition. Without this blazing flash of insight astrology remains largely a technical maze. An astrologer or Jyotishi should also possess an inner light or intuition for correct analysis and prediction. This is why most Jyotishis utilize a personal deity or subtle guide in perfecting their inner psychic abilities. This light is the substratum of the Universe and all life and is the underlying power behind all celestial movement.
Sidereal and Topical Astrology
East and West
The spiritual texts of ancient India, the Tantras and Vedas, reveal the most sophisticated esoteric and secular information. Such recent discoveries as the sub atomic nature of matter, the speed of light and other highly advanced concepts in mathematics and planetary mechanics were all dealt with thousands of years ago by intuitive Vedic seers. These progressive insights are truly astounding and humbling. Jyotish is a Vedanga or one of those Vedic "limbs". It was also thoroughly advanced in its development alongside other Vedic Sciences.
As the New Age is dawning a fresh model of astrology is required. Human consciousness is evolving beyond the Solar to the Galactic level. Sidereal astrology is now re-emerging as a means of reflecting this process and reasserting its glorious heritage.
Western astrologers have developed a useful psychological and humanistic system, possibly based to a large extent on the early Sidereal Vedic model (Tajika system) which greatly influenced the early Greek and Middle Eastern fathers of astrology. The Vedic or Sidereal horoscope also offers unique interpretations of character but is extremely detailed and exact in prognosticating trends and events too. Just as east is meeting west in scientific and spiritual areas, so too is astrology moving in the direction of amalgamating its eastern and western counterparts to usher in a replicable system of human "time tabling".
Western astrology differs in its perspective to that of the Hindu Zodiac. Our western system is seasonal and Sun based. Most astrologers know that the Sun's position in a Zodiac sign doesn't actually mean the Sun is physically located "there" in the sector of those constellational stars. It is based on the moving Vernal Equinox and so the signs of the zodiac are shifting. This can be confusing and challenging to some who find their horoscopes radically altered with the adjustment.
For those who wish to compare the Western and Vedic personality traits, the Sun sign Zodiac positions and dates for 1998 according to Vedic principles are as follows:
Aries Apr 14th to May 14th
Taurus May 15th to Jun 14th
Gemini Jun 15th to Jul 16th
Cancer Jul 17th to Aug 16th
Leo Aug 17th to Sep 16th
Virgo Sep 17th to Oct 16th
Libra Oct 17th to Nov 16th
Scorpio Nov 17th to Dec 16th
Sagittarius Dec 17th to Jan 13th
Capricorn Jan 14th to Feb 12th
Aquarius Feb 13th to Mar 14th
Pisces Mar 15th to Apr 13th
** Please note that the dates for entry of the Sun into signs varies year by year due to precessional values**
It should be noted that Vedic astrologers primarily emphasis the Moon's rather than the Sun's position. The Moon is the principle of innate desire giving rise to action, and therefore karma. Even connoisseurs of astrology in the west accept the astronomical basis for precession of the equinoxes and the moving Sidereal Zodiac in respect of World Ages. As the Age of Aquarius is fast approaching they too are now starting to apply these same astronomical principles to birth horoscopes as well.