The Chandra Symbols

by John Sandbach

Excerpt from “Degree Analyses Part II: Chandra Symbols in the Horoscope

The Chandra Symbols are 360 images, one for each degree of the zodiac. They were channelled by John Sandbach on April 11, 1983. They are named after a spirit guide who works with John Sandbach. The name Chandra is the Sanskrit word for “moon.” The spirit guide Chandra has knowledge of East Indian Astrology. She says that these 360 symbols are from a Lunar Tradition of East Indian astrology. As a whole they are more dream-like, other worldly and supernatural than the Sabian Symbols.

   Chandra gave the symbols to John Sandbach within the space of four hours in one afternoon. The symbols were received mentally, and at the time of their reception John was not aware of which symbols were in which signs. 360 pieces of paper, each with a different astrological sign and degree number were held one at a time, the image for that degree recorded, and then the next day the images were put in astrological order. As a prelude to the reception of these symbols I had been collecting books on degree symbols, and at the time of doing this I had no idea why I was doing so-it was just an inexplicable compulsion. I now feel that the reason I was doing so was so that I could see how negative most of these degree books are. For years I had used the Sabian Symbols-a set which I think are very beautiful and which have helped me greatly in my astrological practice. Aside from the Sabian Symbols, there is only one other set – the one by Isidore Kozminsky – that I feel carries high vibrations. Most other books of degree symbols work on the idea that some degrees are positive and some negative – an idea which I cannot accept. Even the interpretations of symbols in Kozminsky’s book frequently veer toward the negative. I believe that each degree of the zodiac represents a different energy that can be used positively or negatively depending on the person using it.

   For several years before the receiving of these symbols I knew, in the back of my mind that they would come to me. I think that it was my own rational mind that prevented them coming sooner. For one thing, I thought, “why allow another set of symbols to come through when the Sabian Symbols are so workable.” The spirit guide Chandra conveyed to me that the understanding of symbolic degrees needs to be constantly renewed, and that each set of symbolic degrees aims at a different level of understanding. She said that the purpose of these Chandra Degrees is not to supersede the Sabian Symbols or any other set of symbolic degrees, but to enrich knowledge of degree meanings. The energy of the degrees is a constant, but the manifestation of their energy is constantly changing. After having received these symbolic degrees, I thought that I would write a book on them, but then later decided not to, at least for the time being. It is very important that when astrologers use these symbolic degrees or any other set of degree symbols that they don’t over-intellectualize the symbol, but rather attempt to tune into the mood of the symbol—to get into its aura. Hence, I have written short notes on each symbol rather than whole paragraphs. I would prefer that my analyses of these symbols facilitate the astrologers’ awareness rather than having interpretations so long as to overdefine and over-rationalize the meaning of the symbol. For astrologers like myself, who stress rationality and objectivity, these symbols can be a wonderful asset, for they help one in approaching a chart more intuitively, and hence balance out the tendency that many have toward being too abstract in their thinking.

    It is quite interesting to compare these symbols to the dwadashamsas. There tends to be a strong correlation between the Chandra symbols and the dwadashamsas. Note that in the dwadashamsas, certain degrees are split. For instance, in each sign the dwad rulership changes at the 2 l/2 degree mark, so that the first half of every third degree of a sign is in- one dwadashamsas and the second half of every third degree is in another. Because of this, the third degree of each sign in the Chandra symbols is a kind of transition between one dwad and the next. This is also true of the 8th, 13th, 18th, 23rd, and 28th degrees of each sign. Here is an example of how this works: O-2 l/2 Aquarius is sub-ruled by Capricorn in the dwadashamsas, and 2 1/2-5 degrees Aquarius is sub-ruled by Aquarius itself. The Chandra symbol for 3 degrees Aquarius (which is where 2l/2 degrees falls, since in using the Chandra symbols one always rounds the degree off upward as one does with the Sabian symbols) is “A vast ornate Hindu temple depicting hundreds of Gods.” In this symbol we see the collective group spirit of Aquarius. The fact that it is a temple-a place of social worship – alludes to the first half of the degree being subruled by Capricorn in the dwadashamsas, and the fact that this is a collective of Gods alludes to a collective of all different types of humankind, which seems to refer to the second half of the degree being sub-ruled by Aquarius. So in this symbol we have a shift from Capricorn to Aquarius, in terms of sub-rulership.

    At first it was amazing to me that so many of these symbolic degrees correspond so closely to the imagery of the sign in which they are found. For instance: “An old witch on a windy promontory. She is calling to the sea.” is 10 Pisces, Pisces being a water sign. 6 Gemini is “A claw foot holding a ball,” Gemini being the ruler of the hands and also having affinity for birds since it is an air sign. I now feel that these highly frequent correspondences between images and signs shows the authenticity of the channelling that was taking place at the time of receiving these degrees.

   Shortly after these degree symbols were received, a few of them were modified, and words were added to some. For instance, I was distinctly aware that the Volcano erupting I saw for 1 degree Virgo was erupting at night, but in originally recording the symbol the night setting had been left out. I had the distinct impression that the imagery was vague or fuzzy on certain degrees, and when I asked Chandra later about this I received a very clear symbol in place of the more vague one.

  I wish to thank my friend Lisa Leopold who worked with me on this project. She was the one who recorded what I said as I received the symbols. That afternoon she asked me several times if I wanted to rest. No rest period was over five minutes, and each time I tried to take a break the imagery would abruptly start to flow again after a few minutes. It took about a week to recuperate from the experience of receiving these symbols. During the week following their reception I didn’t feel bad or even tired, but I did feel rather dislocated from the physical world. Now that these symbols are here, I hope that you enjoy using them and find them as much a source of knowledge and inspiration as I have.

Using the Chandra Symbols for Divination

  You don’t even have to be an astrologer to use the Chandra Symbols! These symbols can be used to answer questions and to gain insight into your experiences. First, determine the question you want to ask. Try to stay away from yes/no questions, and questions where the answer would be a percentage, such as “what are the chances of . . .?” It may help to write the question down so that it is more definitely formulated. Next, pick a number between 1 and 1000. If the number is over 360, subtract 360 from the number you chose at random. If the number is over 720, subtract 720 from your random number. After you do this subtraction, you will have a number that is below 360. Look in the Chandra symbols and find the degree corresponding to the number you obtained. The symbol corresponding to your number will give you insight into the question you asked. This is not a new method of divination. It has been practised for literally thousands of years and is known as Bibliomancy. Some psychics, in fact, use systems like this to give psychic readings. If you have trouble relating the symbol to your question, this shows that you need to take some time to think about and meditate upon the symbol. Sometimes the symbol takes some time to sink into one’s consciousness. You might try sleeping on the symbol and maybe asking your subconscious to reveal more about the symbol in a dream.

 Here is an example. I asked the question, “how can I best use these symbols in my own astrology work?” I obtained the number 201 whose symbol is “A Magician wearing a live snake for a belt.” The symbol, as explained in this book means: understanding the connection between obviousness and subtlety. This implies that I personally need to interpret the symbols in the light of the obvious meaning that I perceive in them, but should always look deeper to understand their less obvious implications. When you use this book, try not to rely solely on the interpretation I have given for the symbols.

 I was recently talking to the well-known astrologer Kathryn DeJersey and she told me that she made extensive use of symbolic degrees such as the Chandra Symbols. She said, “many astrologers don’t get anything from symbolic degrees because they don’t use their imagination. You have to use your imagination.” How right she is. Let your imagination flow. Let the symbol speak to you. As for the answer to my own question. The magician of the symbol is working with forces that are beyond our everyday experience. To be a magician, you have to use your intuition. The symbols themselves are like a snake swallowing its own tail, because they are of the zodiac, which is both a circle and a cycle. If I am the magician, then the snake has to become my belt, which means putting myself in the middle – getting into the symbols so to speak, and making them a part of me-wearing them, and allow them to come alive in my consciousness-this is not a belt in the form of a snake, it is a living snake in the form of a belt!

Lastly, and most importantly, always remember the metaphysical principle that when you get good advice, to keep that advice flowing all you have to do is keep taking and using what you have already been given.


My natal MC is in the 29th degree of Taurus.

Taurus 29 (Chandra) A MAN AMUSES HIMSELF BY DRAWING STRANGE SHAPES. The pleasure of inventing. Ability to train the self. Aimless, undisciplined creativity.

This certainly seems to reinforce my career as an astrologer, especially since my emphasis was strongly on mandalas and visual perception. Every chart and person has there own story.

I do take great pleasure in inventing. I have designed my own chart forms and graphs for astrology and for my family tree. I have invented, designed and built a musical instrument to play a person’s horoscope and invented a special kind of chess board that four people can play on at the same time.

“Ability to train the self.” In many ways I am self trained and even over-trained. I have spent years meditating, learning astrology, I Ching, computers, music, ….

“Aimless, undisciplined creativity.” It may seem like this at times but to me it is quite pointed. I build things because the idea is there. Creativity is the essence of life. …….ra

My natal Moon is in the 20th degree of Cancer.

Cancer 20 (Chandra) MANY BRIGHTLY-COLOURED TROPICAL FISH. Multifaceted understanding. Scattering of attention. Shifting, fleeting intuition.

I love tropical fish. I have many images of fish around my home. With regards to multifaceted understanding: I do feel that I comprehend things from a depth that explains many different circumstances.

My attention can get scattered but this is usually when too many suckers and flounders surround me. I feel that I have a diversity of intuitions and insights but hardly fleeting ones. I do have a fleeting identification to the implications suggested………ra

My natal Jupiter is in … 27th degree of Sagittarius.

Leo 27 (Chandra) A BEADED CURTAIN. A love of show. Partially exposing oneself as a means of enticement. Enjoyment of decoration.

Jupiter is in my 4th house so I guess this is appropriate. I must say, however, that I am not really fond of ‘exposing’ myself……….km

My natal Ascendant is in the 5th degree of Virgo.

Virgo 05 (Chandra) A SKULL ON A POLE AT THE ENTRANCE TO A DARK WOOD. Interpretation of warnings. Ability to read omens and portents. The need to heed one’s inner voice.

I try to understand and use my head to develop the experience and knowledge of silence. To me this represents the death of my thoughts through meditation. My own silence lies deep within the dark woods. Forests of material thought forms….

one can lose one’s head in mediation. “To think that one knows is sickness. Only when one becomes sick of this sickness can one be free of it.” This is on of my main ideas in life.

I am usually alert to negative warnings. To me shedding light on the darkness and ignorance of life, is the healing nature of astrology. Reading omens and portents indeed! Not a bad rising degree for an astrologer.

I consider the need to heed my inner voice a very special and valued challenge……ra

My natal Venus is in the 1st degree of Sagittarius.

Sagittarius 01 (Chandra) A WOMAN MANACLED IN SOLID GOLD CHAINS. Being aware of that which limits one. Recognizing the purpose of one’s hardships.

Here I see some association to my three wives and three gold rings and buying commitment – being married – togetherness. Woman manacled is wife married to me. Woman chained to desires and things implies not living up to trust in relationship.

Bob Dylan’s refrain “Are birds free from the chains of the sky?” is one of my early poetic associations. I still like the idea. It has depth.

“Being aware of that which limits one.” To work within one’s limitations is the key to success. This is my philosophy. The corollary to it is: How does one know what a limit is until one reaches it?

Re: Venus… How much do I want and how much can I take? Is there such a thing as too much satisfaction?

“Recognizing the purpose of one’s hardships.” This is something I strive for. Blessings on my enemies for I grow through their adversity. I do appreciate adversity……..ra

My natal Mars is in the 21th degree of Sagittarius.

Sagittarius 21 (Chandra) TOADS SINGING AT NIGHT. Delight in the secrets and mysteries of nature. To give free reign to one’s feelings.

I certainly liked and related to this symbol. I am notoriously impulsive and with Mars in the 7th, this lack of restraint usually includes someone else………km

My natal Mercury is in … 30th degree of Capricorn.

Capricorn 30 (Chandra) BLUE MORNING GLORIES GROWING UP A TALL TRELLIS. Reaching toward the spiritual without cutting off contact with the physical.

I find this degree very interesting as Mercury is my chart ruler in Capricorn. I have always tried to somehow manifest what I believe in. ie: Make theories concrete realities……

My natal Sun is in the 17th degree of Aquarius.

Aquarius 17 (Chandra) AN OLD WOMAN DRYING HERBS. Preparing for a future need. Taking care of the treasures of nature.Cosmic ecology.

I’m not an old woman yet, but two years ago when I was unemployed in the midst of mid-life crisis, I began gardening for the first time in my life. I was successful only with marigolds and nasturtiums, but I got quite excited by the nasturtiums and began adding the leaves to my meals. I’ve grown them every year since and this year I bought a small basil plant which is growing well. I haven’t yet tried drying herbs.

‘Preparing for the future’ is something I’m notorious for. I keep my kitchen stocked with staples. I read books on demography and future trends, and of course, I study astrology.

‘Taking care of the treasures of nature’ I work part time as a professional pet-sitter. I’m a vegetarian for humane reasons & don’t use leather products.

‘Cosmic Ecology’ Gardening has enhanced my understanding of astrology. I am amazed at the changes that happen when I move plants from shade indoors to sunlight. Most of them need the sunlight to thrive and it makes me wonder how sunlight affects human health. I am also amazed at how nasturtium seeds from the same package grow differently in different soil. The plant that grew the fastest grew in a mix of very sand soil from beneath a tree and composted vegetables. This constantly reminds me of the Plutonian process of transformation and rebirth. Watching the annual plants grow from tiny seeds to several inches in height and width, blossom and then die in the autumn frost, reminds me that all living creatures go through that same life cycle that astrology describes as the circle of the Zodiac from Aries through Pisces.  ……..DN

My natal Sun is in the 24th degree of Aquarius.

Aquarius 24 (Chandra) A LARGE BROWN BEAR PICKING AND EATING APPLES. The replenishing of one’s power. Intuitive taking in of knowledge.

The bear symbolism means nothing to me, but I have to agree that I do tend to learn intuitively rather than ‘rationally’…….km

My natal Desc. is in the 5th degree of Pisces.

Pisces 05 (Chandra) THOUSANDS OF GOLD NUGGETS GLISTENING AT THE BOTTOM OF A CLEAR STREAM. Ability to effortlessly obtain what one needs. Unused wealth.

Everyone that I meet has spirit within. There is the potential of gold within every relationship, and so many chances of relationship, and so much potential. I usually see the glittering gold potential, but I don’t watch out for the mud on the banks. Three marriages and three gold rings also seems to echo this image.

With regard to the “ability to obtain effortlessly what one needs”, I believe that we do not have to control life. If we live right everything that we need will come. Needed things do tend to appear on my doorstep.

With regard to “unused wealth”, I certainly don’t think that this refers as much to money as to personal resources and talents. I struggle to make the most of my potentials. Wasted potential is wasted wealth……ra

My natal Moon is in the 15th degree of Pisces.

Pisces 15 (Chandra) MANY KINDS OF FRUITS ARRAYED ON A SILVER TRAY. Offering a genuine sympathy concerning a wide variety of things as a form of nurturing.

I completely identify with this. I am very particular about how the food I eat looks. I am constantly trying to feed people and I find it easy to reproduce the tastes of foods that are naturally alien to me……km