This article is written by James Burgess, a writer and teacher of astrology. You can read more on Sabian Symbols and his approach to astrology on his website, Sabian Mysteries.
There are several names for this seven-pointed glyph: septagram, heptagram, and Faery Star being used as well as the Elven Star title that suggests a connection with elves.
This star is occasionally used in pagan practices of ritual magick, yet in this article, we look at how to employ Sabian Symbols, and the technique of using the number 7, for developing greater self-awareness.
Your astrology chart is a perfect circle of 360 degrees and the planets are positioned in this perfect circle in relation to where they are in the cosmic skies at your time of birth.
Astrologers give emphasis to particular angles when looking at your chart. For example, if two planets on that chart are 90 degrees apart this is called a square. It indicates, as do all ‘aspects’ (as they are called), that each of the aspected planets has an influence upon the other, and that they usually operate together.
The most common aspects are found by dividing 360 degrees by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 to give conjunctions, oppositions, trines, squares, quintiles and sextiles.
There are qualities associated with the various types of aspect; for example it is taught that trines are easy and flowing, squares are challenging and frictional, quintiles add the sense of power and creativity, and sextiles offer easy choices.
But there is another aspect known as a septile, which we can use to create the seven-pointed Elven Star.
Dividing a circle into 7, we get 51.26 degrees, and when two planets are separated by this angle, they are said to be in septile. If we mark the degree of any planet and each of the 6 other points that are 51:26 apart, we get the 7 points that together create the Elven Star.
Although we could look at any planet, in this exercise we are studying the septiles from the Sun’s position because we are concerned with the essence of consciousness.
The quality connected with the septile aspect is rather mystical, magical, inspired, Neptunian, ill-defined, and impossible to grasp in hard terms; it is the spirit of inspiration, the Muse. It’s known to us as the feeling associated with rainbows, unicorns and the luckiness of the number 7.
Traditionally, very few astrologers have studied septiles, partly because before computers it was a very awkward calculation, and because there is so much more attention paid to worldly matters like career and relationship and how to cope with the hardness of life.
Then, of course, the question becomes: how to interpret the information?
To interpret the subtle mystery of the Elven Star requires active imagination, the willingness and ability to trust our intuition and to allow the ‘peripheral vision’ of the mind to guide us – a sideways glance rather than a focused and penetrating attitude of attention.
It is not necessarily something that comes immediately upon first inquiry – we will need to study and take some time to allow the wisdom to unfold within us.
The calculation gives us 7 Sabian Symbols to study, each one having its own rather mysterious meaning.
One or two themes are likely to present themselves – perhaps teaching is mentioned more than once, or service, or devotion or another spiritual quality – or perhaps one of the Symbols contains a reference to something of special importance to us individually, a memory or event, an aspiration or skill-set. This gives a clue, and yet our task is to pull all of them together into one composite message, and this requires the deepening of intuition.
As we try to make sense of the 7 mysteries as a whole, and what possible relevance they might have on a personal level, we notice that we find ourselves projecting a possible idea onto them to see if it might be a good fit, and provide a realistic, workable explanation.
Employing the entirely valid technique of trial-and-error we may look at several strands of our life-trajectory until we feel satisfied that something has clicked into place – that we have discovered, within our set of 7 Sabian Symbols, an overarching theme to life that connects us to the more subtle realms of our being.
However, it would be a pity to stop there because much will be revealed by closer examination.
Each of the 7 mysteries has a specific resonance with an aspect of soul – and in particular with the journey of the soul though this incarnation.
Whereas we mostly focus upon our worldly path through life, it is important from time to time, to remember that we are in fact essentially spirit – a soul that employs a physical body and personality as a vehicle for its purpose of evolution. The Elven Star can help us become clear about what that purpose is.
To help us better to understand how each of the 7 Sabian Symbols is guiding us, it is useful to refer to the 7 Words System. This assigns each of our 7 points to one of the 7 primary words: No. Hello, Thanks, Goodbye, Please, Sorry and Yes, and allocates keywords to unlock intuitively the more subtle meanings offered to us.
For example, No relates to identity itself, who are we? And Hello relates to the process we go through in trying to find that out, and so on.
We cannot think of this process as a quick, easy exercise. It is better to visit and revisit the ideas and information over months, and even years, looking repeatedly at each part of the picture and allowing the whole to reveal its deepest secrets in its own way in its own time.
The final part of the process is quite surprising. Eventually, when we have opened ourselves up fully to receive the revealed wisdom, we become able to reverse the polarity and change our position in relation to the knowledge.
Then, rather than being the passive receivers, as mystics, we can become the creators of the message, as magicians. We can then begin to learn how to use Eleven Star as a tool of creative magick. Perhaps that is the subject of another article.