Symbols and Glyphs of Astrology

I am a huge fan of the glyphs developed in the West to represent the signs and planets. The essential meaning of every planet and sign is encoded into these fascinating symbols.

Glyphs for the Planets

Each planet’s glyph is made of the same primary symbols: a circle and a cross.

The circle is symbolic of life. The top of the circle is your original self, the bottom of the circle is your material identity. Life is a cyclic process of the original self transforming into a material being and then returning to a truer understanding of itself.

The cross is the symbol of effort. “We all have our crosses to bear.” The specific location of the cross on the circle reveals a lot about the meaning of a planets glyph.

There are two secondary symbols used in the glyphs: the half-circle and the arrow.

The half-circle is symbolic of evolution and development. The exact type of half-circle used in a specific glyph reveals a lot about it’s exact symbolism for that planet.

The arrow is simply a blurred cross, distorted due to the energy of the arrow’s movement. Only Mars has the energy to transform the cross of effort  into the arrow of ambition.

The Sun’s glyph is a circle with a dot in the middle. The circle is life. The dot in the middle of the circle is symbolic of the fact that the Sun is the center of all things in life. The center of life is your identity – the core of your conscious awareness.

The Moon’s glyph looks a lot like the moon, which is handy. It is the only glyph without a complete circle in it. Instead the left side of the circle has folded over or reflected to the right so that there are two half circles linked together on the right, making the characteristic crescent moon shape. Why? The Moon is your emotional self, a tricky reflection that creates and satisfies feelings of incompleteness which arise from our interest in a world of dualities.

The half-circle represents evolution. The Moon (emotions) allows evolution in both directions – towards the true self and away from it.

Mercury’s glyph is a circle with a cross at the bottom and a half circle at the top. The cross at the bottom shows that Mercury facilitates the effort for the true self to become a real manifestation in the material world. The half circle at the top is unique to Mercury. It shows that he alone can truly facilitate the evolution towards the higher self. This glyph encapsulates in a single symbol the fact that Mercury is your intelligence, which creates the ability to communicate as well as understand.

Venus’ glyph is like Mercury’s, without the half circle at the top. She gives you a physical body replete with fascinating senses through which you can truly experience the wonderful manifest world in your life.

Mars’ glyph is a circle with an arrow (a distorted cross) at an odd angle towards the top of the circle. This symbolizes that Mars is your energy. He is the passion and ambition which prods you to going off in your own unique direction with your own angle on life.

Jupiter’s glyph is a cross supporting the right side of a half circle. The right side of the circle represents evolution towards a deeper understanding of life. Jupiter is supportive of this effort. He encourages it and rewards it and provides the systems of religion, philosophy, and law which do the same.

Saturn’s glyph is a cross to which the right side of the circle is affixed and bound. The evolution towards a deeper understanding of life is nailed to the inescapable realities which Saturn generates: death, old age, decay and misery. We evolve by coming to grips with these realities.

Rahu’s glyph has no cross. In fact only the five real planets have crosses and represent effort. The Sun, Moon and the two nodes Rahu and Ketu are not literally planets. Their glyphs contain no crosses. They manifest their nature without any effort or evolution required.

Rahu and Ketu are the only planets to contain two complete circles. Their glyphs consist of these two circles joined by the arc of a half circle. The two circles represent two different lives, two different worlds. Rahu’s arc connects the two – bridging the present to the future, creating the ability and need to move upward and outward, and causing the possibility of nearly instantaneous change and movement.

Ketu’s glyph is identical to Rahu’s except that Ketu connects the two circles with a downward arc, while Rahu does so with an upward arc. This glyph symbolizes Ketu’s essential nature as a like between the present and the past, the ability and need to move inward and downward with the possibility of nearly instantaneous change and movement in those directions.

Sign Glyphs

Aries is the beginning of the zodiac – where the one (at the bottom) splits and becomes many (at the top). This symbolizes the tremendous energy and ambition of life itself.

In Taurus the energy forms a stable unit (a circle) which is like a womb for the new energy of life. The circular womb will cause things to grow and develop upwards (the half circle at the top).

Gemini is the sign in which the incubated energy of creation is born and becomes a distinctly separate being. The many created at the beginning by Aries have developed by the support of taurus, and now become a second being, a truly individual self capable of its own experiences and ideas.

In Cancer there are two circles attempting to connect. The new being of Gemini finds that she wishes to integrate her new self with her former self. Therefore Cancer is a place where energy directs inwards and emotions are examined rather privately.

Leo begins a new cycle of evolution – the evolution to understand our own powers. A newly integrated single circle moves sets out with a new identity.

Virgo‘s glyph like taurus, creates circles. The three lines of the “m” represent the three layers of the world. The last line of the “m” weaves around itself, creating circular environments. In Virgo the newfound personal power of Leo enters these circles and attempts to more deeply and practically understand and express itself.

Libra‘s glyph evokes both a balance and an equal sign. It shows a balance of desire to work equally with the world as well as on it. In Libra we attempt to achieve the delicate balance between our own personal strength and the personal strengths possessed by the other people in the world, to whom we relate.

In Scorpio we complete the mastery of our own powers. Thus an arrow develops at the end of the three lines – the three layers of the world. This shows that we and now ready to move to a new stage and apply our newly understood personal power on a higher level.

Sagittarius’ glyph shows the arrow which appeared in Scorpio moving beyond the line of the “new level” of operation. Thus, in this sign we begin to truly explore the various ways in which we can develop ourselves on higher levels.

Capricorn’s glyph, like Taurus and Virgo before it, possesses circles. The straight lines from Sagittarius resolve into curves which create circles. This glyph shows that the new levels we discovered in Sagittarius can now enter a safe “womb” and incubate here to become more deeply and stably realized.

The glyph of Aquarius, like Gemini and Libra before it, is dominated by two lines. These lines are wavy, showing that Capricorn’s effort to evolve a deeper understanding of life are now vibrant with power and potential.

Pisces‘ glyph is two half circles bound together by a line. In Pisces we reach the end of one cycle of evolution. The new levels we discovered in Sagittarius, developed in Capricorn and expressed in Aquarius are now ready in Pisces to bear their final, deepest fruit: the ability to transfer us to an entirely new cycle of evolution. One of the half circles is the end of the old cycle. The line is Pisces effort to transport us to the other half circle, the beginning of a new cycle of evolution.

– Vic DiCara
© 2010 Vic DiCara, All Rights Reserved


  1. charmvirgo says:

    I would say that the arrow represents a sudden thrust of energy, like Mars, and looks similar to the image of a serpent with forked tongue.
    Virgo’s glyph represents the ‘virgin’, meaning locked power of the earth element, and shows the coiled up physical energy of the three earth signs.
    Scorpio’s three coils and arrow signify the release of the potential of the power of three in the water signs, in a sudden thrust of energy. That potential being the force of reproduction and its fluids.
    The Libra glyph illustrates aerodynamics, and the shape of the air flow over a wing required to maintain sustained balance in the air without any movement. (A lost meaning of this sign.)



    1. vicdicara says:

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with your idea about mars. In the “thrust” of movement the characteristic cross distorts into an arrow.

      I like your virgo interpretation too! And scorpio as well.

      Your comment on Libras glyph is interesting. Thank you!


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