A Cosmic Set of Degree Symbols

By Omra Oramaat (Pseudonym for Robin Armstrong) Toronto, Ontario.

The I Ching, or Book of Changes, is known both as an oracle and as a book of wisdom. This is not a paradox. Divination is simply one effective way to become oriented into the wisdom and symbolism of the I Ching. Two major world religions have evolved from the study of the changes. They are Confucianism and Taoism. Both of which are exceedingly subtle and profound. The one general theme of the I Ching is that the only thing that we can be sure of is change. Everything changes. Life is a constant state of change. Nothing remains the same.

The I Ching is the measure of change. The 64 hexagrams are the 64 phases of change. What is the experience of life, if not the experience of change? Are not the nature of change and the nature of life the same? There is one thing that we can be sure of about change, and that is that change is cyclic. Is not astrology also the study of cycles? Time is cyclic is it not? The time of our life is our time of change.

How can we adjust to Life’s ever changing demands? How can we see order in chaos? How can we understand what is happening to us? How do we get the right perspective on life? It is in answer to this need that people turn to divination of one form or another. Divination is a way of tapping the ageless wisdoms in such a way as to make it significant in one’s own life.

There is one major problem with the divinatory arts. Let us take the I Ching as an example. It gives the most remarkable results when consulted. The words are round-about but they hit the mark. This is wonderful for solving problems or making decisions and it also teaches us more and more about the wisdom of the changes. However there is a tendency simply to accept what comes; to use the I Ching instead of thinking.

Many people have been throwing the I Ching for years and have not yet encountered all the hexagrams. Divination is an orientation into the I Ching but it becomes a limitation (at another level) when one wants to understand the changes. The problem is that we never run across all the hexagrams often enough. If all 64 hexagram’s were contained in the Zodiac or vice versa, then we could study the system with a much more wholesome familiarity. Instead of divining hexagrams, each of us would have all 64 hexagrams in our natal charts, and certain hexagrams would be accented more than others when planets were in them. Certain signs would contain certain hexagrams. We would have different hexagrams in each house of our natal chart.

We know that both Astrology and the I Ching measure cycles. The Zodiac measures, in 12 phases, the changing ratio of day to night throughout the year. The I Ching measures the same ratio in 64 phases. However when we try to correlate the two systems, we run into a problem. There are 384 lines in the I Ching and 360 degrees in the Zodiac. If we could fit them together we would have the most amazingly profound set of symbols for the degrees of the Zodiac. The wisdom of the ancients stored in the language of the I Ching, could then be studied from an astrological viewpoint. The beauty of using the I Ching hexagrams as astrological degree symbols is that there is a profound and logical basis for understanding its meaning.

A hexagram is a symbol composed of six lines in a totem formation. Each line is either solid or broken, and no two hexagrams are the same. There are a total of 64 different hexagrams. A hexagram can be divided into two sections of three lines (2 trigrams). There are only 8 possible trigrams

Each trigram has three basic symbols attributed to it; a member of the family, a nature image, and a manner of expression (quality).

is the father, the heavens in nature, and expresses the quality of strength and creativity (the individual).

is the mother, the Earth in Nature, and expresses the quality of sensitiveness, receptivity and devotion (the group).

is the first son, is thunder in nature, and expresses the quality of shock, the arousing force, (stimulation).

is the second son, in nature is the abyss and dangerous water, and the quality expressed is danger (the psychological abyss).

is the third son, the mountain in nature, and expresses the quality of keeping still (resting or meditating.)

is the first daughter, wood and the wind in nature, and the quality expressed is gentle penetration.

is the second daughter, fire in nature, and expresses the quality of both clinging and giving light (clarity).

is the third daughter, the lake in nature, and expresses the quality of joy and pleasure.

Every hexagram is a relationship between two family members, with 8 hexagrams being the relation of each member to himself or herself. Each hexagram is also a different nature image or weather forecast, as well as a particular type of experience (quality comparison) or mode of action. By memorizing 8 symbols, we can figure out the meaning of any hexagram. By remembering the sequence of the hexagrams through the Zodiac a remarkably simple yet profound set of Zodiacal symbols becomes accessible. For example, the hexagram,

stands for the relationship of the second son to his older brother, the nature of which is like a thunder storm. Its type of action is “arousing out of the abyss”. The name of the hexagram is ‘Deliverance’ . It is the first hexagram in Virgo, the sign of work (abysmal labour) and self criticism. “Arousing out of the danger of Leonine delusions of grandeur, by becoming an abysmal self critic. The danger is too much criticism or discipline. The deliverance comes from starting to work.” These symbols express significant depth. Based on the balance between the light and the dark throughout the year, they are in fact a more complex and accurate Zodiac than the division of 12 signs. Every hexagram covers 6 degrees of the Zodiac except for 8 which only cover 3 degrees. Each line of a hexagram relates to one degree of the Zodiac. The meaning of any specific line is very complex as it always maintains the theme of the hexagram it is in. However for detailed work each line (or degree) also has a hexagram symbol for it. The exact correspondences, you will find in volume one of my 4 book series entitled, “Astro-logic, Part One, The Degrees”. An explanation of the synthesis of I Ching and Astrology will be presented in detail in volume two, entitled, “Astro-logic, Part Two, The Synthesis”. Astrological interpretations of the hexagrams will be in “Astro-logic, Part Three, The Text”. “Astro-logic, Part Four, The Application”, will apply the system to many example horoscopes.


There are already many sets of degree symbols in astrology, all of which have been to some extent, obtained clairvoyantly. The difficulty with this procedure is that it is impossible to get symbols that are not coloured by the values of the seer. The most respected and well used degree symbols are the Sabian Symbols explained by Marc Edmund Jones and also by Dane Rudhyar. These symbols have a great amount of depth and are exceptionally valid for North American White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, but cannot be taken in the same light by humans of different racial-cultural upbringing. Quotations such as: “A Chinoao laundry”, “Bathing beauties”, and “A Bolshevik propagandist” are certainly coloured by the upbringing that one has. They would mean totally different things to different individuals. These symbols represent an antiquated value structure. The racist and sexist connotations would certainly be unacceptable to the majority of the world population.

When we look into the I Ching symbols we find a neutral profundity valid to all life. The six solid lines represent the greatest brightness of a cycle, which in a year, would be the longest day at the summer solstice. It also signifies the greatest individuality of the cycle, a time when the group emphasis is at its minimum. The six broken lines, in contrast would represent the greatest darkness, the longest night, the winter solstice, and the extreme of collective living when the emphasis on the individual is at its minimum. The remaining 62 hexagrams represent the various phases between these two extremes. These symbols, like the Zodiac, present a common denominator to the various divisions of Humanity. They are truths that all men and all women, of all nations, and all religions, can and do experience. The I Ching and astrology are cosmic languages which contain the Wisdom of Ages. They are true for all humans and therefore they further the true Aquarian spirit of peace and good will on Earth.

The secret of relating the 384 lines of the I Ching to the 360 degrees of the Zodiac, is that 24 lines are neutral! This leaves a direct correspondence between each line of a hexagram and each degree of the Zodiac. The planets move through the degrees of the Zodiac and therefore simultaneously through the lines of the I Ching hexagrams.

Consequently we can use our astrological birth chart as our individual life orientation into the mysteries of change. The hexagrams that are most significantly accented in a birth chart are the hexagrams of the 4 angles ( Ascendant, Descendant, M.C., & I.C.), the Sun, the Moon, and any multiple conjunction of planets and angles. When reading a significant hexagram, we can interpret it according to the nature of the planet (s), or angles in it. Furthermore we should consider the hexagram line that a planet is in as a changing line which will produce a second hexagram (after-thought hexagram). A changing line is a line that changes into its opposite – from a solid into a broken line, or from a broken into a solid line. All the other lines stay the same, and an after-thought hexagram is formed. This after-thought hexagram reveals a certain potential that has a tendency to evolve from the main hexagram. For greater depth and subtlety, we can study the single-line-hexagram for the planetary degree. This however, is beyond the scope of the article.

Here is a suggested approach. We can focus upon the meaning of a planet (Sun, Moon, or Ascendant to start with) then look at the sign that it is in, then look at the house that it is in. Once this information is assimilated, we can interpret all of the aspects this planet makes to other planets. One at a time we can assimilate the meaning of each aspect relationship. Once this is absorbed, we ponder again on the planetary focus and its attitude (sign) and circumstance (house). Then we look up the related hexagram and read it along with only the line or lines that the planet or planets are in.

You will find that the theme of the hexagram will have been predominant in your life with varying intensities at different times. Nonetheless the theme will be there. Especially when one looks up one’s Ascendant. The new hexagram formed by the changing line will add an after-thought. Many times, I have spent four or five consecutive hours on one degree line in my chart, simply exploring it.

This is an extremely personal subjective process and one gets as much as one puts into it. One can go as deep as one is able, but no further.

It is probably best to work on one’s own chart. However, Noel Tyl, has kindly given me permission to use his chart as an example.

The chart form that I use incorporates the symbols of the I Ching. The hexagrams are placed within their specific signs and in their correct sequence. There are five hexagrams in each of the Cardinal and Mutable signs and six in each of the Fixed signs. The symbols used for the signs of the Zodiac may at first seem strange to you. They have been developed to clarify the distinction between the Sidereal Zodiac (constellations) and the Tropical Zodiac (signs). I use the traditional Zodiacal symbols when referring to the constellations. I use the new symbols for the Tropical Zodiac which refers to the seasons of the year. The two sets of symbols are not entirely unlike each other. The new symbols all incorporate a type of spiral or wave motion, and Libra is as the atomic balance. The traditional symbols are like letters, they are similar to the constellation in that they appear to be fixed. In my more advanced astronomical work it became increasingly important to make some distinction between the two systems. In this chart form the names of the signs accompany the symbols. The Zodiac is kept in fixed position on the page and the houses take their appropriate place. The Ascendant is only on the extreme left if it is in Aries.

Noel has his Sun conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn in the Seventh House. His life’s purpose will shine through successful administration of marriage, partnerships and public relationships. Furthermore, the conjunction is in the hexagram called “Providing Nourishment”

and when the lines are changed, the after-thought hexagram is “Contemplation, View”

Noel is a management consultant and practicing astrologer. This allows him to provide nourishing suggestions to others in need of advice about their relationships. His astrological and psychological understandings are the tower from which he can view the problems of others. His professional advice will bring him the public appreciation he needs.

Noel’s Moon is in Leo in the Third House. He needs to communicate and he will express himself dramatically. The books he writes will have to be the best. The hexagram holding his Moon is called “Before Completion”

The symbolism is “fire over water” and “light giving clarity over the dangerous psychological abyss.” .Noel is an astrologer who has graduated in psychology from Harvard University. The light he is shedding in these deep areas certainly commands a royal respect. When we change the degree-line the after-thought hexagram becomes “The Cauldron”

“Before Completion” and “The Cauldron” brings to the surface one particularly significant question. “What’s cooking Chief ?” And with his Sun-Jupiter conjunction in “Providing Nouriahment” you can be sure that his 12 astrological volumes will be a most wonderful feast, prepared to fill the many hungry astrological stomachs. Food for thought to say the least!

Noel’s Ascendant is just in the first degree of Cancer in the hexagram of “Coming to Meet”

This is the summer solstice point of greatest individuality (the longest day).Noel’s strong individuality takes on a penetrating gentleness which directs his outlook on life towards meeting with others. The after-thought hexagram is the six solid lines called “The Creative, The Individual

As Noel has often said, the first part of his Ascendant is in Cancer and the tail end is in Gemini. This is more correct than at first seems. Although his ascendant is just into the first degree of Cancer, when that degree-line changes, the afterthought hexagram formed is “The Creative, The Individual” which is the last hexagram in Gemini.

Noel is a strong individual with what he self humourously calls a “King Complex”, who cooks a nourishing feast and then goes out to meet the people who need it. He gets the appreciation and respect he needs because he administrates so successfully and he makes sure that everyone is provided for.

The remainder of Noel ‘a chart hexagrams that hold planets are as follows. Mars is in “Development, Gradual Progress”

with an after-thought of “Retreat”

Mercury is in the hexagram of  “The Arousing, Shock, Thunder”

) which reveals a stimulating mind. The after-thought hexagram is “Biting Through”

Venus is in the hexagram of “Grace”

which leaves an after-thought hexagram of “Keeping Still, Meditation”

Saturn is in the hexagram of  “The Clinging, Fire”

whose main theme is clarity. The after thought hexagram that develops from “Clarity” is “The Wanderer”

Noel ‘s burning ambition has significantly landed him in three major career positions simultaneously. He is a management consultant, an-astrologer, and an opera singer. These three position have caused Noel to travel considerably. Uranus is in the hexagram of “Opposition”

with an after-thought of “The Marrying Maiden”

Neptune is in the hexagram of “Youthful Folly”

which leaves an after-thought of “The Army”

Pluto is in the hexagram of “Gentle Penetration”

with an after-thought hexagram of “Work On What Has Been Spoiled”

It is next to impossible to do justice to the depth and profundity of this system in such a short article. Only Noel, if he reads any of his hexagrams, will be able to verify the true depth that is inherent in this system of change. Only Noel will know if the Arcane symbolism of his chart is valid. And to be sure of it he will have to explore, and this-is the lure and reward of Astro-logic to any individual.