Leo: The Lion

Sidney Hall’s (1831) astronomical chart illustration of the Leo Major and the Leo Minor.

Endowed with the heat of the summer Sun, the fixed fire sign of Leo shines through leadership and unique self-expression, although the regal Lion may succumb to vanity and dogma.

Cancer: The Crab

Sidney Hall’s (1831) astronomical chart illustration of the zodiac Cancer.

A hard shell, grasping claws and cautious approach protect the gentle, receptive interior of Cancer, the cardinal water sign. But it is the Moon-ruled sign’s symbolic relationship to the Sun and the nourishing role of emotional care that reveal its essential nature.

Gemini: The Twins

Sidney Hall’s (1831) astronomical chart illustration of the zodiac Gemini.

Mentally agile and curious, the mutable, Mercury-ruled air sign of Gemini gathers information, synthesizes, and reports. But at its mythological roots, this sign’s capacity to be two things at once reveals the unifying power of companionship.

In the Footsteps of Angels: Medieval Arabic Astrology

Illustration of different phases of the moon, from manuscript of the Kitab al-Tafhim by Al-Biruni (973-1048).

As the newly formed Muslim caliphate extended beyond the Arabian Peninsula, it encountered Persian, Hellenistic, and Indian forms of astrology, integrating them into a refined science that would reach its medieval peak in Baghdad, a city whose fortune and fate would be foretold by the stars.

Taurus: The Bull

Sidney Hall’s astronomical chart illustration of the Taurus.

The fixed earth sign of Taurus represents the forward momentum of spring, with its placid nature and capacity for creation. But while the Bull’s impulse is toward taking root and building, if its Venusian peace is disturbed it can become a destructive force not to be trifled with.

Aries: The Ram

Sidney Hall’s astronomical chart illustration of Aries and Musca Borealis. A ram and a fly forming the constellations.

Filled with the vitality of spring, Aries is the sign of new beginnings. While the Ram rushes forward to meet any challenge head-on, the flame of this cardinal fire sign peters out just as quickly as it is lit.

Vettius Valens: Soldier of Fate

Alexandria in the late 18th century, painting by Luigi Mayer

Know to the Arabs as “Al-Rumi”, Vettius Valens gained near-mythical status in the East while his fame was largely eclipsed by Ptolemy in the West but his Anthologies remains the most important source contemporary readers have for the foundations and techniques of Hellenistic astrology.

Claudius Ptolemy: A Sage Head in the Clouds

A depiction of the Ptolemaic Universe as described in the Planetary Hypotheses by Bartolomeu Velho (1568)

The works of Hellenistic polymath Ptolemy of Alexandria outlined the Western view of the cosmos that would survive until the Copernican revolution and defined the rational-causal view of astrology still largely ascribed to today.

Pisces: The Fish

Pisces - Two fish tethered with a ribbon forming the constellations. Sidney Hall.

Sensitive and spiritually magnanimous, watery Pisces is represented by two fish bound by a cord, representing the duality implicit in this mutable sign.

Hellenistic Astrology: Rationalizing Fate

Artistic Rendering of the Library of Alexandria, based on some archaeological evidence.

Merging Babylonian star worship with indigenous Egyptian astronomy and Greek mathematics and philosophy, Hellenistic astrologers crafted the fourfold technical structure of astrology that weathered two millennia to survive as the foundational elements of modern astrology today.