Right, so as many men and their dogs may recall from the initial Horus Heresy trilogy, in addition to the subsequent "Each Primarch represents a facet/aspect of The Emperor" line, there's *also* a statement by Horus that they all apparently embody one of the twenty Zodiac symbols. [Horus, for those unaware, being Sagitarius - here, reconstrued somewhat, albeit in rather understandable fashion, to be a horse-archer ... archetypal emblem of #GangSTEPPE, and not at all coincidentally, with a subtle hinted linkage to one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse]
This has been subject to much analysis over the past decade and a half, and some pretty insightful conclusions and suppositionals have been rendered in the course of things. However, I'm not aware of the idea having been picked up *too* terribly much by subsequent authors.
Until, possibly, now.
A comrade recently started reading French's "The Solar War", and sent me a few excerpts detailing some rather curious symbolism that appears like it *might* be a continuation of this rather nifty imagery-approach - and which may offer further clarification as to ... well, a few things, including *just which Zodiacal system has twenty symbols in it*.
I don't *think* there's anything particularly spoilery here from what I'm about to quote , especially decontextualized .. but your mileage may vary.
First up, there's these two lines. They're from a few paragraphs apart, but I am of the opinion that they are deliberately, as it were, "echoey":
"Symbols crawl over the crystal: a half-man half-equine, water falling from a cup, a figure with the head of a bull. [...]
‘The others know,’ says Malcador at last. ‘The Khan, the Angel, the commanders… Rogal, in particular."
Now, there's three points of interest here.
The first is, presuming that they're deliberately 1:1 coterminous, this gives us a further astrological association - Rogal Dorn as Taurus. Which, given the emblematic qualities of a Taurus, seems pretty logical indeed.
The second is the bit about water falling from a cup, potentially linked to Sanguinius [i.e. "The Angel"]. Now while I initially thought "Aquarius", subsequent consideration suggests something *else* may perhaps be going on here - namely, that this is *actually* referring to the constellation of Crater. A quick check of the mythology and symbolism around Crater will show some potential relevancies and resonances with that of Sanguinius, although this could still go 'either way'. I mainly mention it because if it is in fact correct, it would strongly support the utilization of the 21-sign 'ecliptic zodiac' [at least, I think that's what it's called?] which somebody suggested many, many years ago as a potential resolution to the "where are the other eight signs coming from" problem.
The third, however, is the "half-man half-equine" figure bit. Which is either Jaghatai Khan, for reasons which should be obvious .. or it's Horus again. If the former, this either means there are some 'double-ups' on astrological signs as Primarchs, in which case the 21 sign thing is redundant and we *can* get by on a standard 12/13 ... or it's a case of similar 're-interpretations' to how we got "armoured figure with big sword" out of "scorpio" , meaning that one of them 20/21 constellations has come to be a half-man, half-horse figure *in addition* to Sagitarius.
Anyway, it goes further.
"Golden rings gleam on his fingers: a ram’s head, a rayed sun, a grey opal. "
These're the rings The Emperor is wearing. There are a few possibilities as to what's going on here - including that each ring represents a Primarch [perhaps the opal as Vulkan due to fire effect?], or that each ring represents a part of the Imperium [perhaps the ram's head stands for Mars? Or the Imperial Army?], or that each ring represents ... well, something else [e.g. the opal perhaps representing the moon, therefore giving us a sun and moon - both important elements in astrological practice, when they wind up 'in' signs].
However, as applies the 'ram's head', I suspect that what's actually going on here, is The Emperor is wearing an Aries ring. Why is The Emperor wearing an Aries ring? Well, it's the First of the Zodiac, a leader, especially in the field of war, impetuous and imperious, and so on and so forth. If the 21 sign ecliptic zodiac *is* the one being used , and there are 20 Primarchs, that therefore logically entails that the 1 'remainder'/unassigned sign must go somewhere else ... and where better than Their Father.
Now, I have a few other thoughts as to 'logical' placements for the other Primarchs based around this 21 sign Zodiac sequence (and more especially, the surrounding/underlying mythology, symbology, and some linguistics of several of these), but I might comment on those later - some of it's relatively obvious re-hashery of stuff that's been said in years past; others, rather less commonly held opinions [for example, I'm not huge on Gemini being Alpharius/Omegon - and instead believe that *Pisces* is probably the better ensign for Them].
But as a further note ... this line also stuck out to me. I have no especial facility with Tarot, although others [particularly this guy] have made some rather nifty insights in the previously. It is presented here for completeness, and in case it ties back into the astrological symbolism.
"The man in gold begins to lay cards down on the stone bench between the bowls. The cards are old and the images on them faded: a figure in a dark cloak, its face turned away, climbing towards a high tower; a wolf-headed man with a bundle of swords hidden beneath a cloak; a wheel of stars turning around a darkening moon"
And I'd be interested if anybody has any further instances of Zodiac etc. symbolism turning up in the HH novels for further cross-comparative analysis.