Watching the Sun: Learning the Degrees of the Zodiac

If you have seen and studied some of the degrees of the zodiac, perhaps you've wondered how one could possibly learn them all? One method would be to see them all in a kind of vision. For those of us who have no such vision available, this article offers a more human method and a short rationale.

Soon after I began reading charts I came to the degrees of the Zodiac. I was sometimes able to learn a great deal about a person's life by studying the degrees in the natal chart. Occasionally I could learn something from the degree of a progressed planet. I either understood a degree or I didn't. I had no root, no structure to fall back upon.

For the rest of the chart, there is an organized body of geometric and astronomical data to fall back on. There are many ways of deriving new interpretive angles by looking anew at this data. The degrees hang in midair with no implied structure.

My usual experience in doing astrology is that I know what I'm going to say. Maybe I know how I got there from the chart. Maybe I don't. If I don't know what to say I fall back on the technique. In some sense that's no different from what a plumber or auto mechanic does. My complaint about the degrees was that there was no technique, no fallback.

I got a clue for a direction of study from Marc Edmund Jones. On page 100 of The Sabian Symbols in Astrology he writes:


"The astrological day begins with sunrise, and its most general or over-all character is shown by the degree in which the sun arrives above the horizon at any particular place on the earth's surface."


From this came the idea of studying each day the degree in which the sun rises that day.

I began to look each day at the sun's degree at sunrise. Each evening before bed I wrote down the long form of the Jones degree and the Kozminsky degree. I brought the two together in my mind in a single feeling-picture and wrote a few lines to describe what I felt. I tried to keep away any associations of when I'd seen that degree in someone's chart, staying as much as possible with the feelings and images that came to me just then. After a few weeks this became a nightly routine I looked forward to. I did this, sometimes with more success than other times, for more than four years before I was able to put the degrees down. I still have the notes from those exercises, but I almost never look at them. What I have that is much more precious - a feeling of understanding the 360°s.

At that time there were Marc Edmund Jones' version, Charubel's degrees, Kozminsky's degrees. More recently there are the Chandra symbols, with the gloss of Ellias Lonsdale.

Lonsdale's entry has changed the whole scene. Now I need to do the whole exercise again with all five degree entries.

Written by:  Lenny Silver