THE PORTMANTEAU SYMBOLS
Marc Edmund Jones Ph. D.
Human character, as the astrologer encounters it, is infinite in its potentials. Astrology, seeking to avoid any loss of perspective in an illimitable reality, has long since reduced its major zodiacal lore to a series of concrete or portmanteau symbols. The initial and more important implications of these have now been presented in a way designed to reveal both their origin in general experience and their measure of the individual in his assimilation of his fellows to himself. As the symbolization is condensed into its traditional form, it emphasizes the various types of personality in (1) a very objective differentiation and (2) a highly organic characterization. These descriptive approaches to man provide the two amplified or functional alphabets of the zodiac.
The Macrocosmic Alphabet
So likewise all this life of mortal man, what is it but a kind of stage play, where men come forth, disguised one in one array, and another in another, each playing his part?
ERASMUS, Praise of Folly
When the original attempt was made to aid a visual identification of the zodiacal signs by arranging the stars behind them in fanciful figures, there was also an obvious effort to assist any recognition of the astrological types among men by likening the twelve psychological tribes to certain real or mythological animals. The purpose of each symbol, presumably, was to provide the best possible portrait of whatever generalized individuality would have a correspondence with the given heavenly mansion. The living person, however, is far more the picture of his fellows than any ram or bull, crab or scorpion ever could be. Hence astrologers always build up a rather private conception of each sign in entirely human habiliments, equipping themselves with an instrument of analysis which they can adjust for any particular context of race and national distinctiveness. This is primarily a cataloguing of astrological appearance, or of the more superficial reflection of any person's nature in his physical form and habits.
Taken understandingly, the zodiacal descriptions are of great usefulness, and they have a high degree of reliability. However, it must be remembered that the outer mark of horoscopic factors on the physical body is infinitely more slight than elements of (1) genetic background, (2) environmental modification, and especially (3) accident. Attention has already been drawn to the fact that the sun sign may not be predominantly suggested, as far as typical characteristics are concerned, by a given native. People who live in closest accord with group or racial expectation will usually show the greatest fidelity to these solar indications, and in general all men will reveal the skeletal structure suggested by the sun's position. The ascendant or rising sign is normally most important in charting the individual's appearance. Tendencies shown at the eastern angle are strengthened in the case of anyone who lives in close conformity to the superficial conditions of his existence, or who is dependent on a continual stimulation from exterior events and relationships. In the exceptional instance where the zodiacal signature provided by the moon or other planets is most evident, the life is abnormally individualistic, exaggerating the particular indications. The ascendant describes the characteristic set of muscle and flesh in the case of all people, and the moon's position delineates the typical nervous tension as a final or over-all factor in human appearance.
ARIES is the sign of the ram, or the butting male animal which symbolizes the pioneer temperament. The general essence of this is expressed in the emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best as HOPE. Aries is generalized by a slender or exceptionally well-knit figure, the body inclined to be rangy or lean with a long or scrawny neck, a broad forehead and a narrow chin. The nose is apt to be prominent, or its length an outstanding feature. The eyes are often piercing, and sometimes are given a sharp appearance by bony sockets, or by overhanging and bushy brows. The hair may be wiry and curly with a tendency to sandy red or black. The complexion can be swarthy, and it inclines to be ruddy if the skin is light. The height ranges from medium to tall.
TAURUS the sign of the bull, symbolizing a parade of male strength, or a desire to share vitality. A bovine placidity may characterize the native outwardly, and his genius may express itself in moral sensitiveness. The emotional keyword, giving the self- idealization of this type at its best, is PEACE. Taurus is generalized by a full neck, emphasized shoulders and a rather well filled-out body. The face is apt to be round, the mouth full, cheeks or chin dimpled, and the hair in a widow's peak at the forehead or neck. The stature ranges from short to medium. If racial background permits, the complexion runs to the olive, and in most cases there is a suggestion of the old-fashioned doll, with features all in one plane. Hands and feet may be large. The eyes and coloring may be light, but the normal type is rather dark, with a tendency to abundant and sometimes curly hair.
GEMINI is the sign of the twins, symbolizing the very persistent, annoying and practical duality of human restlessness. Because this native is always able to find a happy and fellow-element in experience, the emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best, is JOY. Gemini is generalized by a tall and well-proportioned body, with long limbs, slender hands and long lines in the features. Usually the eyes will be quite round, the nose lengthy, and the mouth wide. The complexion may be sanguine, or somewhat lusterless and spotted, with the hair brown or dark and straight. The eyes tend to be gray or hazel, and to possess the sharpness of Aries, if not a characteristic alertness or wide gaze of their own. The hands and feet are sometimes exceptionally short and perhaps fleshy, even though the body ranges to length.
CANCER is the sign of the crab, or the grim-holding claw-replacing crustacean which symbolizes the marked self-containment here. The emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best, is PATIENCE. Cancer is generalized by short and stout individuals, often showing marked protuberances and angles in form or feature. The chest is usually broad, occasionally high. The body is often fleshy, with small hands and feet. Occasionally a very round moon face characterizes the native. His nose may be quite prominent at the tip. His coloring is usually fair, but his complexion pale. In extreme cases the upper part of the body is exceptionally large, in proportion to the rest of it, and with heavy breasts in even little women. The hair inclines to brown. The eyes are commonly gray, frequently small or unusually deep-set, and there is often a very characteristic infant's forehead.
LEO is the sign of the lion, king of the beasts, as a symbol of pride and self-respect. Because of the native's great capacity for holding exalted ideals, the emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best, is GLORY. Leo is generalized by relatively short and slender but round persons, and there is normally a characteristic sleekness in flat frontal surfaces of the hips and thighs. The head is more than often full and curved, even wholly dome-shaped. Sometimes the figure becomes larger and bony, giving an impression of height. The face may be quite oval, the complexion ruddy or sanguine. The hair ranges from yellow to dark, with a tendency to curls. The general coloring is brown. Sometimes large goggle eyes are found under this sign, and occasionally a Leo individual may be miniature in dimension, but always with ideal proportions in such a case.
VIRGO is the sign of the virgin, or the dramatization of human perfection as an extreme of self-reservation, so that the emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best, is PURITY. Virgo is generalized by lean individuals of quite variable stature, sometimes prone to stoutness, or to a raw-boned condition in later life. The body is usually better formed than average before filling out, with a roundish face and strongly marked but not large features. Coloring ranges from light brown to dark. The forehead is apt to be wide, the brows square and sometimes bushy, the upper lip often very long, the nose tending to length. The mouth is normally quite straight, sometimes extraordinarily thin-lipped. The back may be characteristically flat and beautifully modeled, but a bony protuberance at the base of the neck, front and back, is hardly less typical.
LIBRA is the sign of the scales. Because this native seeks to balance everything, or achieve symmetry, the emotional key-word, giving the self-idealization of the type at its best, is BEAUTY. Libra is generalized by the figure apt to be the most sheerly elegant of all, often of the statuesque order in small dimensions, generally with an oval face and well-proportioned features. The coloring is as light as heredity permits, and a characteristic of the sign is a well-defined spinal dip, aiding the distinctive carriage. The features are inclined to be regular even if out of pattern, the hair line is somewhat low and peaked, and the brows symmetrical. The native always tends to beauty in youth, commonly developing bad complexion or color in later years. The bone structure is always evident, as in high cheek bones. Teeth and nails are apt to be exceptionally fine.
SCORPIO is the sign of the scorpion, or the insect which stings its prey into a state of helplessness. The emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best, is JUSTICE. Scorpio is generalized, for the major part, by short and thick-set individuals of sturdy appearance. If blood permits, the complexion is swarthy. The hair is apt to be curly or waved, its line at the forehead very low, the brows bushy. The eyes may be almost glittering in their brightness, and there is nearly always the Egyptian eyelid, i.e., an exaggerated droop at the extreme outer corners. The nose may be aquiline to a pronounced extent, heavy or rounded at the nostrils. The face is inclined to squareness and breadth, and the lips to unusual fullness. The body is often hirsute. Occasionally the native becomes bowlegged, or warped in some definite skeletal distortion.
SAGITTARIUS is the sign of the archer, or the bowman centaur who as half-man and half-horse must share both human and animal nature. This symbolizes breadth of perspective in experience, and establishes the emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best, as SAGACITY. Sagittarius is generalized by tall, large and often stout individuals who are especially prone to long legs and arms, with a typically protuberant abdomen or very large thighs. The native is apt to be very handsome, with oval face and round, clear and calm eyes, and sometimes satanic eyebrows. He presents an exceptionally free and frank appearance, but he also has a marked tendency to baldness, his hair nearly always well off the temples. In all cases the forehead is high or back-sloping, the features somewhat elongated. The body may be undersized, but it remains proportionately rangy. The coloring usually runs from blond to browns.
CAPRICORN is the sign of the he-goat, most indefatigable of common male animals. Because of his normally cheerful acceptance of things as they exist, the emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best, is REVERENCE. Capricorn is generalized usually by well-knit and slender people, showing a narrow jaw which suggests the goat's head. When rounded out, the face is apt to become circular, due to the high cheekbones. Diminutive individuals, fairly common, are inclined to be wizened. Other members of this group are prone to be bandy-legged, with knotted knees and joints, and tending to thinness, particularly at the chest. The hair is often scanty. A false impression of frailty may be given. The eyes are usually small, sometimes piercing, frequently suspicious. Coloring ranges to dark, and turns gray early.
AQUARIUS is the sign of the water-carrier, or the individual who feels it his special privilege to serve others. The emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best, is TRUTH. Aquarius is generalized normally by well-set, filled-out and strong people. The face is long and square, frequently marked by a very delicate countenance. Most characteristic is an unusually clear complexion, and an exceptional regularity of features which, occasionally, may seem too small. The hair of the face and head may be quite bushy, giving an appearance of distinction. The stature is generally above medium, with a tendency to flesh. The eyes are apt to be light, even in very dark types, and to look out on the world in a curious, candid fashion. Bad teeth were a most serviceable mark of this sign before widespread dentistry. The lips often present a distinct cupid's bow.
The Self-Idealizations of the Zodiac
ARIES - Hope LIBRA - Beauty
TAURUS - Peace SCORPIO - Justice
GEMINI - Joy SAGITTARIUS - Sagacity
CANCER - Patience CAPRICORN - Reverence
LEO - Glory AQUARIUS - Truth
VIRGO - Purity PISCES - Love
PISCES is the sign of the two opposite-facing fishes, suggesting a persistently outreaching but confused desire to experience everything in the ocean of life. The emotional keyword, giving the self-idealization of this type at its best, is LOVE. Pisces is generalized commonly by people of medium stature. Their shoulder line often has a pronounced slope, and their posture is nearly always bad. Because they handle their figure poorly, they give every impression either of slovenliness or else of a distinct other-worldliness. The eyes are apt to be very full or prominent, the mouth big and the features otherwise rather round, at times altogether too large for the head. The coloring tends to brown or dark, but the skin is usually bloodless no matter how dusky the color. The eyes are sometimes characteristically watery, or actually weak, and unless particularly animated the native may appear definitely lack-lustrous.
The Microcosmic Universe
A grain of sand includes the universe.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, Additional Table Talk
The astrological rulership of bodily parts and organic functions has long been familiar, even to the general public. The one modern innovation is the additional set of keywords. These are designed to aid a realization which might parallel, on the subjective side, that offered objectively through the more familiar symbols embodied in the ancient star-patterns. The application of the sign rulerships in the body is fundamentally psychological and here, in contrast with the macrocosmic alphabet, all twelve must be taken into consideration in every horoscope.
ARIES rules the head and brain, and therefore shows the manifestation of simple identity as the native himself is heady or impulsive in any given complex of being, or as he is inclined to be brainy and to act on his own intellectual judgment. The keyword is TORCH, which expresses his sense of complete resource and power in self-existence.
TAURUS rules the neck and throat, and therefore shows the manifestation of self-completion as the native attempts to swallow or consume the substance of experience, and to articulate or resound the organic satisfaction he seeks from every complex of being. The keyword is PILLAR, which expresses his practical stability and his sense of strength in all experience.
GEMINI rules the shoulders, arms and lungs, and therefore shows the manifestation of self-confirmation as the native seeks to grasp or clasp real personal relationships throughout life, and demands inspiration or the chance to inspire others in every complex of being. The keyword is PENCIL, which expresses his penchant for putting his mark on every phase of experience.
CANCER rules the chest, breasts and stomach, and therefore shows the manifestation of wholeness as the native establishes his central source of supply in a complete giving or gaining of nutriment through every complex of being. The keyword is VALVE, which expresses his desire to control and experience every phase of receiving and supplying things.
LEO rules the upper back, spine and heart, and therefore shows the manifestation of simple identity as the native lends himself to establishing or maintaining a structure for the vital stabilizing of himself in every given complex of being. The keyword is DYNAMO, which expresses his capacity for centralizing the actual distribution of experience.
VIRGO rules the abdomen and intestines, and therefore shows the manifestation of self-completion as the native is most personally or organically conscientious in his own functioning within any given complex of being. The keyword is HOPPER, or the chute or box which expresses his gift for sifting, teasing or compacting experience into its most useful niche.
LIBRA rules the lower back and kidneys, and therefore shows the manifestation of self-confirmation as the native continually seeks to distill some vital essence out of his relationships in every given complex of being. The keyword is LINK, or the coupling which expresses the utter directness of his attempt to put experience through his own alembic.
SCORPIO rules the pelvis and lower ducts, and therefore shows the manifestation of wholeness as the native continually projects himself, often privately and even secretly, through every given complex of being. The keyword is FURNACE, which expresses the highly individual way in which he reworks the materials of his own experience.
SAGITTARIUS rules the thighs and flesh, and therefore shows the manifestation of simple identity as the native most definitely orients or sensitizes himself in his own outer personality, seeking to embody himself quite literally in every given complex of being. The keyword is LAMP, which expresses his naive illumination of all potentials in experience.
CAPRICORN rules the knees and skin, and therefore shows the manifestation of self-completion as the native strives for an ultimate power of containment, together with a real flexibility in self-realization, throughout every given complex of being. The keyword is BOOK, which expresses his critical gifts for embracing and sharpening experience.
AQUARIUS rules the calves, ankles and blood, and therefore shows the manifestation of self-confirmation as the native learns to personify every inner and outer value of his own social achievement in some given complex of being. The keyword is CAMERA, which expresses the fidelity of his continual reconstructions of reality in everyday experience.
PISCES rules the feet, liver and lymphatics, and therefore shows the manifestation of wholeness as the native seeks to reconstitute reality in general, and as he wanders about receptively in every given complex of being. The keyword is POOL, which expresses the pure self-restoring potentiality on which he draws in his capacity for limitless appreciation. These are the various manifestations which constitute character in its subjective make-up, and provide the foundation for any understanding of potentialities as such.
The Subjective Implications of the Zodiac
Sign Physiological rulerships Keyword
ARIES Head Brain Torch
TAURUS Neck Throat Pillar
GEMINI Shoulders/Arms Lungs Pencil
CANCER Chest Breasts/Stomach Valve
LEO Upper Back Spine/Back Dynamo
VIRGO Abdomen Intestines Hopper
LIBRA Lower Back Kidneys Link
SCORPIO Pelvis Lower ducts Furnace
SAGITTARIUS Thighs Flesh Lamp
CAPRICORN Knees Skin Book
AQUARIUS Calves/ankles Blood Camera
PISCES Feet Liver/lymphatics Pool
Astrology, How and Why it Works