Traditional Western Astrology Symbols
The traditional western symbols show the images of the "name" for the sign. For instance, Scorpio is the scorpion and Leo is the lion.
From left to right:
- Row 1 - Centaur/Archer (Sagittarius), Scorpion (Scorpio), Bull (Taurus), and Virgin (Virgo)
- Row 2 - Lion (Leo), Scales (Libra), Twins (Gemini), and Fish (Pisces)
- Row 3 - Ram (Aries), Crab (Cancer), Sea Goat (Capricorn), and Water Bearer (Aquarius)
Sometimes miniature symbols of the zodiac constellations themselves are used to represent each western astrological sign. These miniature star maps are not commonly used, but you will find them.
Chinese Zodiac Animals
Chinese astrology uses its own set of animal symbols to represent each astrological year in the 12-year cycle. So when you hear, "It's the year of the rat," the speaker is referring to the Chinese astrological symbol for the current year.
Chinese Kanji Symbols
Kanji symbols are also used to represent Chinese stars much like glyphs are used for Western signs. Kanji is a form of Japanese writing using characters. Here are the first six symbols.
- Row 1 - Rat, Ox and Tiger
- Row 2 - Rabbit, Dragon and Snake
More Chinese Star Sign Symbols
Here are the six remaining Chinese star sign symbols in Kanji.
- Row 1 - Horse, Sheep, and Monkey
- Row 2 - Rooster, Dog, and Pig
Star Sign Glyphs
Simple glyphs are also used to represent the western star signs in zodiac natal charts. These glyphs are discussed in detail in the images that follow.
Aries, the Ram, is represented by a symbol or glyph that looks like a pair of ram's horns. On astrology charts, this is the glyph that appears when Aries appears in one of the houses and planets.
While Cancer's glyph looks like a sideways 69, there are actually two theories about why the symbol looks like this. The first is that it represents the Crab's claws. The second is it resembles breasts, a symbol of motherhood and nurturing.
The Leo Glyph
The simple, curved design of Leo's glyph that shows up on astrological natal charts doesn't necessarily look like the lion it is supposed to represent. However, it's believed that the Leo glyph represents a lion's spine from main to curling tail.
It may look like with an "M" with a fish attached to one side, but that's not what the Virgo glyph represents. Instead, it represents a maiden, modesty, or virginity since Virgo is "the Maiden."
Libra, an air sign, is represented by the Scales of Justice, but it's hard to get that from its glyph. Instead, it looks like the Greek letter Omega with a line underneath it. The glyph represents the setting sun.
Scorpio's glyph looks similar to Virgo's, but instead of a looped M, it has an M with a tail. Since Scorpio is the sign of the Scorpion, it's easy to recognize that the tail of the M looks a lot like Scorpio's stinger. The origins of why the tail is on an M are unclear, but some suspect it may symbolize metaphysics or alchemy, which are important aspects of the Scorpio personality.
Sagittarius's, the Archer's, glyph is one that is easily relatable to the Zodiac sign. It's clear that the glyph represents the arrow of the archer, pointing upward. Since Sagittarius often shoots for the stars, this is an appropriate symbol.
While many people see the symbol of Capricorn as an "N" with a loop at the end, it has a specific meaning. The glyph represents a goat's hoof and a fish's tail, representing the Sea Goat, which is Capricorn's symbol.
Symbol for Aquarius
A series of two, stacked, squiggly lines comprise the glyph for Aquarius. The glyph represents exactly what it looks like - waves of water. This may be confusing to some because Aquarius is an air sign, but the Aquarius symbol is the Water Bearer, and the waves represent the water in his vessel.
The glyph for Pisces looks like a curvy "H". It's a representation of two fish with a connection between them swimming away from one another. It represents Pisces often oppositional dreamy and practical natures as well as Pisces' symbol, the Fish.
Many Astrological Symbols
There are many ways to represent astrological symbols. From the glyphs you find on a natal chart, to the constellations, to the images, symbols, and characters that represent the various types of astrology, each has its own unique meaning that related to the sign as a whole.