Re: Some Missing Astrological Symbols

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Mon Nov 14 2005 - 15:28:53 CST

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    David Faulks wrote:

    > There are quite a number of symbols used in Western
    > Astrology which are not in Unicode, and for which I
    > have not seen any proposal. There was a post last year
    > to this list (from Ernest Cline) mentioning most of
    > the less obscure ones, but as far as I know, no
    > progress has been made on them.

    Progress on encoding any particular collection of symbols
    depends on a champion who wishes to push them through the
    two-year process of getting something into the standard.

    Looks like you're it. :-)

    > Currently, I'm looking at around 11 symbols: An
    > alternate Uranus symbol used (rarely) by astronomers,

    This was actually printed in Unicode 1.0 as an alternative
    glyph for U+2645 URANUS. Since Unicode 2.0, for production
    reasons, the code charts have no longer been printed with
    alternative glyphs -- but this raises the obvious
    question which will need to be answered in a proposal:
    Are the two glyphs alternative glyphs for the *same*
    abstract symbol, or should they be treated as distinct
    abstract symbols, each with a single glyph. That question
    will be raised by the UTC in considering such an encoding
    proposal, and should be addressed ahead of time.

    The way to make progress on the question is to amass some
    evidence that there are distinct patterns of use for the
    two glyphs: for example, if one were favored by astrologers,
    but the astronomers tended to use the other glyph and
    rejected the first as inappropriate. Something like that
    would favor encoding a distinct symbol, although it
    wouldn't clinch the case.

    > 3 alternate Pluto symbols used by astrologers,

    Same problem to address as for URANUS.

    > 4 symbols for the main belt asteroids Ceres, Pallas,
    > Juno, and Vesta, a symbol for the Centaur minor planet
    > Chiron, one for the virtual point Black Moon Lilith,

    These six can be found on the cover of the book,
    The Asteroid Ephemeris 1900 to 2050. See:

    So there's one obvious citation for you. There are
    many other books on the asteroids, Chiron, and Lilith
    there, so I suspect amongst them you could find a host
    of text citations.

    > and a symbol for the Sesqiquadrate aspect.

    For those who want to see pictures, try:

    > There are
    > many other symbols, but the ones above seem to be the
    > most basic.

    Any proposal suggesting the encoding of sesquiquadrate
    aspect ought to consider the semi-sextile and quincunx
    aspects, as well. It is debatable whether those should
    be unified with any existing encoded symbol.

    U+22BB XOR and U+22BC NAND bear a superficial resemblance,
    but are pretty clearly not the same symbols. U+2305 PROJECTIVE
    also comes close in shape, but is from another symbolic
    realm altogether.

    And I would also call into question the identification
    of the dingbat star, U+2736 SIX POINTED BLACK STAR with
    sextile as an astrological aspect symbol, as well.
    So it would make more sense to me to propose the lot:


    as a group, since those could then be used unambiguously.

    > However, I am a bit too stubborn to simply let the
    > matter drop.

    This is where your stubborn and strong willed nature is
    stimulated and the symbol of the Bull emerges. ;-)

    > So, I cannot help but wonder if anyone
    > here (someone connected with Unicode rather than
    > Astrology), might have the resources, time, and
    > interest to look into this. I personally think that
    > these symbols are fairly obvious additions, but I now
    > feel a bit doubtful that I can do anything myself.

    Forge ahead.


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