Glyphs

Astrological glyphs are symbols that represent celestial bodies, signs, or other components of a horoscope. Glyphs constitute a kind of shorthand that allows astrologers to concentrate a large amount of information in a small space. To many new students of astrology, these symbols seem to constitute an unnecessary and difficult hurdle: Why not just write the names of the planets into the chart? But, once memorized, they are easy to use and are far preferable to drawing in other kinds of abbreviations. The increasing use of asteroids by astrologers has led to the proliferation of new, not particularly memorable, glyphs, as well as questions about who should have the final say on adopting new symbols. One proposal is that an interorganizational glyph committee, parallel to the International Astronomical Union nomenclature committee, be created to standardize new glyphs.

A Babylonian relief of God pursuing the demon Gilgamesh. Reproduced by permission of Fortean Picture Library.

Sources:

Brau, Jean-Louis, Helen Weaver, and Allan Edmands. Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology. New

York: New American Library, 1980. Foreman, Patricia. Computers and Astrology: A Universal User's Guide and Reference. Burlington, VT: Good Earth Publications, 1992.

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