Thoughts on Centaur Symbols

As astrologers, we use a symbolic alphabet to represent the different parts of our art. We have a different symbol for each sign, and each planet as well. Symbols are able to stimulate so much in our psyche ... they make it a lot easier to tune in to the essence of what is being symbolized.

They also make it easier to share knowledge from one astrologer to another. If I show you you will know I mean Jupiter in Gemini, and will understand volumes of meaning right from the start.

Thus, the symbols are an almost universal language. I said "almost", because sometimes there is more than one symbol being used for a planet. Take the case of Pluto:

Some people prefer the one on the left, some the one on the right. Sometimes it is because the preferred symbol was the one used by their teacher; sometimes it is because one symbol 'speaks' to them more; sometimes it is simply that one is more aesthetically pleasing than the other.

And yet, users of one Pluto symbol have no trouble communicating with those who use the other. Why? Because both are widely known, and therefore both astrologers usually know about both symbols, even though they've chosen to use only one of them.

For myself, I tend to use the first symbol I learned for a body. So in the above example, I use the Pluto on the right, because it was the first one I ever saw as a novice astrologer. But I have no trouble with someone else using a different symbol, as long as we both know that both symbols exist.

And so it is with the Centaurs themselves.

The spinning symbol at the top of this page, as you probably know, is the most widely accepted symbol for Chiron. It was the first one I ever saw, and it is also the one that most astrologers use. But there are at least two other Chiron symbols existant. I've seen them, but don't have a copy to show you here.

With the other Centaurs, we are again seeing more than one symbol being used. And as I said, that is OK, as long as we all know that each symbol exists.

I have a particular affinity for the symbol I use for Pholus:

With this one, it was not only the first one I ever saw, but it came to me with my eyes closed! I was meditating on Pholus, and the symbol came to me, so I wrote it down. This was in 1994, and it thus became the first ever symbol used for this new Centaur. (See my Pholus page for a picture of the first publication of that symbol.)

After I had been using it for some time, I met Robert von Heeren via e-mail. He felt moved to design his own Pholus symbol:


While I still feel very connected to my symbol, if you identify more with his, by all means use it.

The first symbol I ever saw for Nessus was one devised by Melanie Reinhart:

I had been studying Nessus in charts for awhile, but did not as yet have a symbol, so quickly adopted hers.

Robert, again, has devised his own Nessus symbol: /user/Nessus_R.gif

I'm still using Melanie's, because it is the first one I saw.

For Asbolus, I'm using Robert's symbol, again because it is the first one I have seen: /user/asb.gif

As far as I know, it is the only symbol currently in use.

For Chariklo, I'm using a symbol devised by astrologer Piotr Piotrowski: /user/char.gif

Again, I do not know of any other symbols being used.

As of this date (December 24, 1999), I do not know of any symbols being used for the other Centaurs. This is, at least in part, because none of the others have been officially named.

But I work much better when I can plug a symbol into a chart, than when I have to write something like "1999 XX143" or even just "XX". Because of that, I have devised temporary symbols for all of the unnamed Centaurs, which you are welcome to use if it pleases you. To check them out, go to my Provisional Symbols page.

And, should you feel inspired to devise a symbol for one of the Centaurs, please let me know. Perhaps I will soon be using your symbol instead of my provisional one.

Christof has spent hours creating a marvelous font that includes symbols for Chiron, Pholus, Nessus and other Centaurs, as well as many other useful astrological symbols. He includes BOTH symbols listed above for Pholus, and for Nessus. Unfortunately, his site, , seems to have gone down so you may not be able to locate his font anymore.

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