Tainted Sabian Degrees

by Robin Armstrong

One of the wonderful things about astrology is that it is true for every individual regardless of race, religion, or sex. When properly used Astrology confirms our individuality and reinforces the purpose of our lives and our relationship to the universe around us. Unfortunately the Sabian Symbols are filled with, let us say politically incorrect material, bordering on outright prejudice.


                These are not the most noble of associations. Anyone from one of our First Nations would be offended and would not likely find inspiration in these images. Of course no one assumed that any aboriginal peoples might read this material.

AR 15°(jo) An Indian weaving a blanket.

TA 24°(jo) A mounted Indian with scalp locks

TA 27°(jo) A squaw selling beads

CA 28° (jo) A modern Pocahontas

LE 20° (Jo) The Zuni sun worshipers

SC 26° (jo) Indians making camp

SC 29° (jo) An Indian squaw pleading to the chief for the lives of her                                       children

CP 01° (jo) An Indian chief demanding recognition

CP 05° (jo) Indians rowing a canoe and dancing a war dance


                Black role models and images are also less than reinforcing, and far from inspiring. In fact they are insulting. One could of course see past this, but why should one have to? The reference to root races is a very questionable area of religious dogma. It certainly looks down upon anyone that is not white. It is on such material that organisations like the Klan thrives.

GE 12° (jo) A Topsy saucily asserting herself

VI 04° (jo) A colored child playing with white children

LI 02° (jo) The light of the sixth race transmuted to the seventh


                This is another set of winners. The feminine role models are something else! It would be difficult to use them in a lecture today without drawing flack. This is not a linguistic problem about male and female word associations, but it is about distinctly diminishing and unreal female role models. We do have to remember that these symbols were obtained in the 1920s when feminine rights were not strongly supported. These symbols give a good argument in favour of feminist education and equal rights.

VI 24° (jo) Mary and her white lamb

VI 27° (jo) Grande dames at tea

TA 07°(jo) A woman of Samaria

SA 10° (jo) A golden-haired goddess of opportunity

CP 17° (jo) A girl surreptitiously bathing in the nude.

GE 30° (jo) Bathing beauties

CA 09° (jo)A tiny nude miss reaching in the water for a shell.

CP 29° (jo) A woman reading tea leaves

GE 16° (jo) A woman sufragist haranguing

CA 30° (jo) A Daughter of the American Revolution

LE 03° (Jo) A woman having her hair bobbed

LE 06° (Jo) An old-fashioned woman and an up-to-date girl.

PI 08° (jo) A girl blowing a bugle

PI 14° (jo) A lady in fox fur


Let’s just say that anyone who is not white, anglo-saxon, protestant (WASP) is more or less relagated to subservient roles and blatant stereotypes.

VI 07° (jo) A harem

TA 26°(jo) A Spaniard serenading his senorita

GE 15° (jo) Two Dutch children talking

GE 18° (jo) Two Chinese men talking Chinese

CA 12° (jo) A Chinese woman nursing a baby with a message.

SA 22° (jo) A Chinese laundry

PI 21° (jo) A little white lamb, a child and a Chinese servant.

SA 23° (jo) Immigrants entering

LE 08° (Jo) A Bolshevik propagandist


Women seem to go to convents, while the men teach. Associating certain degrees to certain religions is a fascinating process, but questionable at best, since the stars shine on all beings.

LE 17° (Jo) A nonvested church choir

PI 05° (jo) A church bazaar

SA 17° (jo) An Easter sunrise service

LI 20° (jo) A Jewish rabbi

SA 30° (jo) The Pope

AQ 04° (jo) A Hindu healer

CA 19° (jo) A priest performing a marriage ceremony

CP 24° (jo) A woman entering a convent

AQ 24° (jo) A man turning his back on his passions & teaching from his experience

PI 11° (jo) Men seeking illumination

PI 19° (jo) A master instructing his pupil

PI 22° (jo) A man bringing down the new law from Sinai.

PI 25° (jo) The purging of the priesthood


The reference to these Sagittarian degrees is obvious, but it could be done in a kinder, more compassionate manner. The FAT label seems more relevent than the prescence of a boy playing or working.

SA 25° (jo) A chubby boy on a hobbyhorse

SA 29° (jo) A fat boy mowing the lawn

I have used these Sabian degree symbols for more than twenty years drawing very valuable personal insights. However, I am white with anglo saxon Christian roots.

Fortunately I grew up and became a child of the universe, with love and respect for all life, regardless of race, religion, or sex. In the process of working with astrology, I quickly learned that these Sabian symbols cannot be used in many situations.