Categories
Book Reviews

Decanates & Duads

The Zodiac Within Each Sign

Frances Sakoian & Louis Acker

LEVEL

Intermediate to professional

ASTRO STYLE

Egyptian astrological concepts written in Modern Humanistic style

Frances Sakoian & Louis Acker wrote so many seminal astrology texts in the latter half of the 20th century. If you learned astrology back then, you no doubt had a copy of one of their books in your library, and it was probably ‘The Astrologer’s Handbook‘. They also wrote on relationships, predictive techniques, aspects, transits…I could go on, they were prolific and you should absolutely check them out if you haven’t already. But it is this little gem of a book that is the most well-thumbed of my Sakoian-Acker books – ‘Decanates and Duads’.

What on Earth?

If you’ve ever wondered what those lines are for around the edge of astrology chart wheels, this is the book for you. ‘Decanates and Duads‘ explains very simply how to get even more context out of an astrology chart. These ancient Egyptian time markers can provide terrific insight into why, say, twins born a minute or two apart can be totally different in so many ways, even though their natal charts seem identical on first glance.

But what. On. Earth.

A brief pictorial – decanates and duads (also spelt dwads) are the tiny little lines or semi-segments around the outer wheel of the chart. Decanates are each 30º sign cut into 3 segments of 10º. Duads are slicing the 12 signs into 2.5º segments.

My first astrology teacher LOVED decanates. In hindsight we spent quite a bit of time learning them, and the Sabian Symbols too, so I automatically calculate them in my head when looking at a chart. Decans are quite straightforward, viewed through triplicity rulers, that is fire – Aries, Leo, Sagittarius; earth – Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn; air – Gemini, Libra, Aquarius and water – Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces. So 8º Aries is in the Aries decan, 13º Aries is through the Leo decan and 26º Aries is through the Sagittarius decan. Simple enough, yes?

Du-whats?

The duads get the brain working a little harder. They move consecutively through the signs, not via triplicity. It’s actually not hard to get your head around this, it’s the math that gets me every time. Two and a half degrees. 2.5º! Seems simple enough…perhaps it’s just me. Anyway, using the above examples again to show how it’s done- 8º Aries is viewed through the Cancer duad, so add a little emotional intensity. 13º Aries is in the Virgo duad, giving a little more thought to the usual Arian ‘do first, think later’ life motto. 26º Aries is flavoured with Aquarian duad sauce, colouring Aries reckless abandon with determined individuality. See, a little more thinking but plenty of insight for the effort.

We look to planetary rulerships for more information- Taurus is ruled by Venus, Gemini is ruled by Mercury etc. The first decan and first duad are always the most potent, they are a triple threat – 2 degrees Virgo is in the decan of Virgo, and the duad of Virgo, thus Mercury ruled and then some. Don’t overthink it! Unless you have a triple Mercury ruled sign – decan – duad. If so, don’t let the rest of this book review stand in your way. Go for it! Though you are probably ordering the book right now whilst simultaneously googling for more info and messaging your astro group chat to see if anyone else uses decanates and duads.

And the book?

Yes, the book. It is concise, running to 116 pages. There is a brief interpretation of the relevant zodiac sign at the beginning of each chapter and then we get straight into the decanates and what they indicate. Understanding rulerships is integral to getting the most out of the concepts presented in this book. Both modern and traditional rulerships are used throughout the book, for example Jupiter rules both Sagittarius and Pisces. I like this. I lean to traditional rulerships but it is always interesting to read or hear about modern rulership interpretations because it’s good to know that Uranus is considered exalted in Scorpio. I need to now investigate why this is so, but it’s food for thought. No judgement.

While ‘Decanates and Duads’ it may seem a little like chart overkill or adding complications at first, it is actually a terrific way to narrow in on the character of a client. It would definitely be useful when rectifying a chart, though I haven’t tried this technique. I do find it of particular use when working with annual profection time lords and the progressed moon. This book is useful, the whole concept of decanates and duads is pretty basic, despite my complaints about math, and doesn’t require complicated programs to work out what is where and when. All the information you need is already there, in the chart. I mean, if you’re going to add asteroids and fixed stars, you may as well start with what is right there in the chart first, no?

This book was published in 2009, quite a few years after Frances Sakoian passed. You can check out Louis Acker’s astrological work here and according to his website, he is still taking bookings for chart readings –

https://louisacker.com

Must. Own. Decanates and Duads.

Decanates and Duads: the Zodiac Within Each Sign is available at the usuals – Book Depository and Amazon in hard copy only.

WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

Other than the Foreword & Introduction this book goes through each of the signs of the zodiac, from Aries through to Pisces, and breaks them down into roughly 5 pages each sign. In 116 pages, you get a triple layer of insight into each sign, point and planet of a chart.

WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK

No index. Sigh. Luckily it’s not a lengthy book.

PUBLISHING INFO

American Federation of Astrologers, Inc.

Tempe, Arizona

2009

Categories
Book Reviews

The Astrologer’s Node Book

Donna Van Toen

LEVEL

All. It’s great for beginners and students, but also a good reference for professionals, especially when assisting clients to work with and remediate their Nodes, tricky beasts they can be

ASTRO STYLE

All, if you are Node curious, you need to read this little gem

When I first started studying astrology the Nodes were really A node – the North Node. A mysterious imaginary point in the sky that showed what we were supposed to achieve before we died or we’d have to live this life again because we didn’t try hard enough. The South Node was mentioned, of course, but merely as an understudy that wanted the star of the show to come down with an illness so they could step into the limelight, because they knew better than the North Node and made watching the show much more comfortable for us. Well, the South Node has a point, just saying’…

This was the first book I read on the Nodes. Actually read, not skipping through to the relevant bits and popping it back on the shelf read. I pull it out for reference more often than any other book on the Nodes in my astro-library. Donna Van Toen (DVT) has a really nice way of telling us we have issues. Big ones too, probably. Then she shows us how to maybe solve them if we work with the Nodes. There is a strong no bullcrap attitude to her writing style, but it is in no way harsh or uncaring. This book was written after researching the effect of the Nodes in her client’s and student’s charts over many years and she states many times throughout that she hopes other astrologers will take her work and build on it. Great pains are taken to reiterate this throughout the book.

Why buy?

So, what truly grabbed me by the short and curlies in ‘The Astrologer’s Node Book’ ? Well, she had me at “Yeah-buts”. Truly. This is how the late, great DVT described the South Node, as opposed to the North Node. As in, ‘I really want to be a parent….yeah but I can’t actually be expected to take time off from my career’. From there we go through problem areas, possible reasons, possible solutions and observations. Some are brutal, some are bleeding obvious to every but ourselves. Basically we all need to balance our Nodes and there is a tendency to overcompensate one way or another. I did a quick mind trawl of charts I know by heart of family and friends and yes, I am inclined to agree. I could only think of one beloved who I felt had balanced their Nodes. I also know how tragic and complicated their life had been previous to achieving that balance. I guess aspiration is a good trait in humans after all.

DVT holds short shrift for the “you chose this life you have here to balance your karma” mindset, quite contentious for a book written in the midst of the modern psychological astrological focus in the second half of the 20th century. The claim that a crappy life or a life full of blessings is the result of karmic actions or negative outlook has always triggered an alarm in my brain and gut. DVT was way ahead of her time here. We now have a name for this way of thinking – privilege. But back in 1981, in first world, white majority countries where astrology was enjoying a heyday, claims like this were accepted as a just appraisal of a human life and accomplishments, or lack of. Thank heavens times are changing.

What we get most from this work is the concept that both Nodes are important. We see potential problems and raise them with potential solutions, which is really what your clients, friends, family and random strangers on the bus are asking you for when they get you to look at their charts. The way DVT covers the signs, houses and aspects of the Nodes, but not presenting it like your regular astro cookbook, is quite a feat. The house positions, counselling approaches and dream interpretations alone are well worth the price of the book. Then we get a lovely surprise at the end which will keep traditional astrologers content – the antidotes and suggested colours to assist with balance. AKA these days as planetary remediation. Taadaa! DVT, ahead of her time yet again.

Small issue

A quibble, and if you’ve read my previous astrology book reviews, you know how difficult this is for me. The sections are set out quite umm, uniquely. I want to take a red pencil and edit the hell out of it. It’s too easy to read into the next interpretation as there isn’t really a separateness to each sign/house/blurb. Some bits run into each other. There are underlines, italics and bold, often within 3 or 4 lines. Yes, it is still a brilliant read, albeit difficult to follow sometimes, or to know when a section has moved to the next interpretation. Small issue, you should definitely read this book, minor quibbles aside.

If you, like me, are engaged in an immense inner battle over which house system you prefer (I’m Placidus vs Whole Sign for the last 3 years, except for Horary, where I like to hang with Regiomontanus. The struggle is real folks), the transiting Nodes are one of the ways I track what’s happening in what house. Picking a house system is messy work, the only way through is to study your chart and compare. Transits are often felt in the next house before the planet actually knocks on the door, especially if you are an early or late degree rising, and born in the upper or lower latitudes. Tracking the transits of the Nodes is a rather pronounced vibe, thus a great place to start your quest to be befuddled investigate house systems further. When the Nodes shift signs, you are gonna notice a change in that house, especially if the eclipses are hitting your chart.

This really is a long read review for such a concise book, coming in at 95 pages. Donna Van Toen sure packs a lot of information between the covers. It is a nifty little book that will grab your attention and have you flicking pages every time you pick it up.

Sad news

Donna Van Toen passed away in 2018, a huge loss for our community that can never be filled.

The Astrologer’s Node Book is getting hard to find. Your best bet is Abe Books. Amazon has a copy for $AUD98. Better grab it while you can!

WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

The why, the what, the how if it’s where.

Contents

Why This Book Was Written

What Are the Moon’s Nodes

Some Theories on Nodal Meanings

Nodal Signs and the Yeah-But Dialogues

House Positions: Conflict of Interest

The Nodes as Symbols of Dream & Self-perceived Reality

Aspects to the Nodes: Choosing How to Grow

Antidotes for Nodal Imbalance

Additional Sources of Information

WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK

Chiron, understandable given the year of publication but hang in there little Ocean Queen, you will be seen!

An index. Luckily it’s not a lengthy work but please, authors and publishers, index the crap out of your works! These are textbooks people!

PUBLISHING INFO

SAMUEL WEISER, INC

YORK BEACH, MAINE

1981

Categories
Book Reviews

Rulers of the Horoscope

Alan Oken

LEVEL

Intermediate to Advanced

ASTRO STYLE

Modern, Esoteric Astrology with a few twists

HOUSE SYSTEM/S USED

Placidus, Koch

Not a Bedtime Read

Rulers of the Horoscope is the kind of book that would have made me feel rather overwhelmed back when I was an astrology student. It’s a deep dive into the dispositors of the chart aka a very cool, slightly convoluted way of determining planetary strength. I’d advise keeping a pen and paper handy or your notes app on your device open while reading this. It is definitely not a bedtime book!

In our little planet-gazing niche of the world, Alan Oken is a renowned author of esoteric topics, including numerology and tarot, but astrology is where he has been most prolific. ‘Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology‘ was the first encyclopaedic astro text I purchased in my student years and I’ve only recently passed it on. It is an epic tome and well worth reading if you are interested in Modern Psychological style astro, and  it was an essential text for my astrology exams! In Rulers of the Horoscope the author narrows his gaze to a steely glare on delineating the dispositors of the chart. Not all planets and points are equal, and this book sets out to show how and why.

Between the Covers

If you lack planets in rulership and are a tad sensitive to the concept and use of of Essential Dignities in judging a planet’s strength or lack of, this may not be the book for you. However if you are a fan of Modern Psychological or Esoteric astrology, or prefer using the natural chart, once very popular with the Pluto in Leo (Baby Boomer) generation of contemporary astrologers, then maybe give it a go. The natural chart, aka the 12 letter alphabet, aka Aries = 1st house = Mars, is a point of contention in astro circles, or maybe just astro-Twitter, particularly with the revival of traditional astrology in the last couple of decades and the resurgence of interest in astrology by the Pluto in Scorpio & Sagittarius crew aka Millenials and Zoomers.

Oken uses both traditional and modern dignities throughout the book, and considers Pluto to be a co-ruler of Aries. Interesting concept, and not one that sits comfortably with many, but astrology is an ever evolving education, no matter how experienced you are. Rule #1 of astrology could perhaps be never say never. Sometimes all it takes is one good argument or concept making complete sense to you and completely changing the way you look at a chart. Tread your own path and do your own research would then be Rule #2.

As with most astrology books published in the mid to late 20th century (this copy was published in 2000), Rulers of the Horoscope contains the standard cookbook style of chart interpretation throughout, but it is juicy and well-considered. The example charts are outstanding and diverse, I had sticky notes all over the place so I could flick back and forward, which was not really necessary as Oken considerately reminds the reader of which page you will find the chart he is discussing.

Overall Rulers of the Horoscope is an interesting, well written astrology textbook. Oken doesn’t dumb it down, nor does he lecture you on why his style is the one true and correct way to do astrology. If you want an in-depth look at the Ascendant ruler in the houses, the traditional and modern planets in the houses and how to weight the chart in a Modern Astrological style, this book is a must buy.

Alan Oken has an excellent, easy to navigate website (no pop ups!!) here if you would like to check out his extensive collection of resources –

https://www.alanoken.com/

Must. Own. Rulers of the Horoscope

Rulers of the Horoscope is currently still in print and available at Book Depository, and Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions, very reasonably priced too! I borrowed my copy of this book from my local astrology association pre-Covid and it was a timely loan. There will be a copy of this book available at the Astro*Ed Lending Library, coming soon for Aussie astrologers.

Happy astro reading!
WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

Planets, Signs, Houses, Aspects, Qualities, Elements, Gender, Planetary Strengths & Weaknesses

Planetary Dispositorship, Mutual Reception. Final Dispositor in Natal Charts

House Dispositorship & Planetary Rulers

The Ruler of the Horoscope & Its Dispositor, Sign on the Ascendant & Delineation, Ascendant Intent & Theme,  Essential Meaning of the Ruling Planet

The Ruler of the Horoscope & Its Aspects

Summary of Rulership & Planetary Compatibilities

Placement of the Rulers in the Houses

Excellent index

Excellent references and end notes for each chapter

WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK

This is not a gentle intro into a modern style of delineating astrology charts. If you are not astro-fluent, give it a miss until you are. I’d also suggest if you are on a journey of self-discovery, or still using your own chart as a reference point in your astro education, you will fall into a hole here, so should perhaps wait until you are ready to research the techniques offered before diving in.

EXAMPLE CHARTS IN BOOK
  • Angela Davis
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Benito Mussolini
  • Marc Edmund Jones
  • Barbara Walters
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Anne Frank
  • Princess Diana
  • Tsar Nicholas II
  • Chris Sizemore
  • Farrah Fawcett
  • Bill Clinton
  • Dylan Klybold
  • Eric Harris
  • Christina Onassis
  • Alice A. Bailey
  • Julia Child
  • H.P. Blavatsky
  • Robyn Smith
  • Prince Charles of England
  • Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
  • Mahatma Handhi
  • Gloria Swanson
  • Madalyn Murray O’Hair
  • Margaret Mead
PUBLISHING INFO

The Crossing Press

Freedom, California

2000

I’m not clever enough to sort how to get money or perks from any endorsements I make on this blog. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

This book review was originally posted on the stellarleeastrology blog

Categories
Book Reviews

The American Ephemeris

Neil F. Michelsen (Programming) & Rique Pottenger (Revisions)

LEVEL

Essential for Students to Professionals

ASTRO STYLE

Data! Numbers! Glyphs!

Let’s begin by taking a moment to contemplate and appreciate the magnitude of effort and tech wizardry Neil Michelsen must have put into compiling the very first edition of this book of planetary phenomena in the late 70’s. Readers, this man is a genuine godsend to the astrological community, founding Astro Computing Services (ACS) in 1972 to provide astrologers access to accurate and affordable astrology charts. Imagine not being able to type your birth info into a computer or device and immediately have a detailed chart in your hands in less than a blink? Well this was once a thing, and not so long ago. Neil Michelsen was not a practicing astrologer, but was an astro enthusiast who had a brilliant way with computers and astronomical data. He also put all profits made from ACS back into the astrological community. Who even does that these days? What a guy, what an amazing human. 

So what on Earth is an ephemeris I hear you ask, besides a phenomenal book full of phenomena? Hey Google!

Ephemerisnoun – a table or data file giving the calculated positions of a celestial object at regular intervals throughout a period

Oxford Dictionary Online

Coolios, sounds bland, no? Dictionaries tend to do that. But it’s what lies inside The American Ephemeris that will blow your mind. Phenomena! Data! Data about phenomena! As in- accurate daily calculations of the movement of the planets through the signs – Sun, Moon at midnight and midday, True Nodes, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Accurate information on planetary ingresses, void of course and stations, declination (for you Out of Bounds enthusiasts), Lunar Phases & Eclipses, Julian days, Delta T, SVP, Obliquity, the position of planetoid Chiron, the Mean Lunar Node. So many mysterious things. Want to know what they all mean? Get yourself an American Ephemeris. It is truly phenomenal. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Now for a little astro tea…

…in April 2019 an article was published online about the rise in popularity of astrology amongst Gen Z. Many highly esteemed, well-regarded astrologers with extensive years of study and practice under their belt were interviewed and it was pretty terrific. No dissing astrology, no skeptic weigh-ins, just a fun, well-researched and well-written article. The first astrologer mentioned was so successful she had recently resigned as an editorial assistant at a high end magazine to do astrology readings full-time, pulling in over $4k a month through a large and loyal fanbase on social media. Kudos and bravos all round!

But wait. There’s more. As with all hot topic articles, the Uranian kick in the ass moment lay in wait at the end. Our super successful astrologer, the one making the big bucks…was getting all of her astro information online. Information available to anyone with a smart device and an internet connection. She did not actually own an ephemeris, let alone know how to use one. Oof. And WTF? There goes every astrologer’s hard won credibility. WTAF.

An understandable chorus of disbelief and dismay erupted in the international astro community. There were heated debates on social media over whether an astrologer even needed to know how to use an ephemeris in this digital world (Yes. Yes you do). Astrologers who have studied extensively, and often at great cost, were feeling all the Mars feels. Rightfully so imo.

Here’s why. Learning to use an ephemeris is first year astro class stuff. You take the class. A little while in, you buy the book. You open it up. There are soooo many number and columns and the paper is so thin and the book is so thick. You freak out. This, this! is the moment where your interest and curiousity in astrology diverges into “Uh, lol, no thanks” or “This is my chosen path and I will conquer it and become an Astrologer”, with a capital ‘A’, and some superhero music to accompany the revelation. It’s a great moment if you choose to accept it. You will get to know every single part of this book, eventually. Neil Michelsen would be proud.

Allow me a moment on my soapbox.

If you do not own and use an ephemeris for your astrological work, you are not an Astrologer with a capital ‘A’, and you should not be charging people for information you’ve gleaned off the web. You’ve gotta start at the beginning and learn the basics first (and sucking at high school maths is no excuse) if astrology is your chosen career. The astrological community struggles hard enough to gain credibility for our years of study and work as it is, without being undermined from within. This is a hill I will die on and happily. NFG. Check out the article here if you are keen – https://www.topic.com/the-fault-in-their-stars

Rant over. This is just my opinion ofc. But do you really want to be held in the same regard as people who don’t really understand much more than how to market their Google searches? Think of Neil Michelsen working away on bulky computers accumulating all this data for us. Now imagine telling him people raking in the big money from astrology don’t actually use this information. Sigh. And wearily stepping off my soapbox now.

Ah yes, book reviews. The reason we are here. The 21st Century edition has been revised and updated. There’s an adjustment from Universal Time to using Ephemeris Time, the Delta T values have been removed, but the position of the Galactic Centre has been added. It makes sense to incorporate data for the many different streams of astrology now in use, and the reasoning behind these changes is explained clearly in the first few pages. Seriously, there is a wealth of astro information between the covers of these books. Best of all, and I guarantee this, you will feel ten times smarter after reading just the inside cover. Phenomenal, huh!?!

There are a range of versions currently available at the usuals – Book Depository and Amazon, though I notice the 20th Century 1900 – 2000 versions are getting exxy. Due to the sheer amount of data in these books, none of them are available on Kindle. If you are ever in desperate need of an online ephemeris check out Astro.com Swiss Ephemeris – 

https://www.astro.com/swisseph/swepha_e.htm

Happy astro reading!

WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

Phenomena, data, real juicy know your stuff astrologer data

WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK
PUBLISHING INFO

ACS Publications

San Diego, California

1980 – still in print with multiple versions

Reviewed copies 

  • 20th Century (Red Cover) – 1995
  • 21st Century (Blue Cover) – 2002

Biographical info from-

https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/michelsen-neil-franklin-1931-1990
https://www.uraniatrust.org/celebrated-astrologers/neil-michelsen
https://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Michelsen,_Neil
Categories
Book Reviews

Key Words for Astrology

Hajo Banzhaf & Anna Haebler

LEVEL

All, but terrific for beginners

ASTRO STYLE

Traditional, Modern Contemporary, Evolutionary, basically all

Your go-to astro guide soon too

This is my absolute go-to astrology book when I am writing and suffering from the dreaded “ugh, how on earth can I clearly describe Mars conjunct Neptune??”. First published in 1996, Key Words for Astrology is a practical, easy to read astrology text, covering the meanings of the signs, planets, houses and aspects. Delightfully ahead of its time, it begins with a small disclaimer on assigning gender in astrology and the impracticalities of using masculine or feminine principles. Nice touch from the authors, but totally expected from authors with Sag and Aquarius ascendants!

Between The Covers

Each section is succinct and to the point, allowing us to interpret chart points and placements in the astro-style we prefer. The authors provide the keywords, as the title suggests, and a short blurb, the rest is up to us. Each section is easy to navigate and there is a cool ‘Illustrated Key to the Horoscope’ bit at the back of the book showing how to put it all together (though it is not actually illustrated, bummer), but it is still brilliant, especially for beginners.

‘Key Words’ covers both traditional and modern rulerships. The out of vogue 12 letter alphabet favoured in contemporary 20th century astrology books (Aries = 1st house etc) is touched on throughout the book, but not overly so. And as with most books of that time, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are not covered in great detail, which is really the only let down in this otherwise excellent book.

Guided by words to make you remember other words

One of the reasons I return to this book frequently after nearly two decades of astrology study is because it merely gives you a guide, you still have to use your noggin to work out what you want to say. The aspects between planets and points are presented as as either ‘harmonious’ or ‘discordant’, while planets in houses are given a ‘central theme’, ‘strength’ and ‘problem area’. The Signs chapter is the most detailed, listing Essential Dignities, archetypes, temperaments, physical correlations, guiding principles, actions, thoughts, feelings and occupational areas to name a few. Solid info!

While the authors cheekily mention ‘malicious tongues grumbling that this book is a cookbook’ in the introduction, and it does incline to that style, it’s not annoyingly overdone. It really is exactly what it says, a book of ‘Key Words for Astrology’. Snippets of concise information to stir up the brain and let you think for itself.

Must. Own. Key Words for Astrology

If you’re looking for an overall astrological quick reference text, this book should be at the top of your list. Key Words for Astrology still in print and available at Book Depository, and Amazon has both Kindle and paperback versions.

If I had time I would sort it, but for now I do not receive money or perks from any endorsements made on this blog. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

Happy astro reading!
WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

The Luminaries, the Planets, and the Moon’s Node

The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, or the Sun in the Signs

The Moon and the Planets in the Signs

Cardinal Axis (aka Ascendant – Decsendant – Midheaven (MC) – Immum Coeli (IC))

The Sun, Moon, and the Planets in the Houses

The Aspects

An Illustrated Key to the Horoscope

The Astrological Picture of the World

WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK

Chiron

Not a lot of info on the Nodes, if they are your cuppa tea

PUBLISHING INFO

Samuel Weiser, Inc.

York Beach, Maine

1996

This post was first published on the stellarleeastrology blog

Categories
Book Reviews

The Houses

Temples of the Sky

Deborah Houlding

LEVEL

Intermediate* – Advanced

ASTRO STYLE

Traditional, Horary, Mundane, Medical, Technical, History

Serious fan get it

You know those astro books that you read and have so many aha! moments you want everyone else to read it too? ASAP! You just know that even if it isn’t their cup of tea/usual astro style, they’ll find it interesting and informative? Then you start daydreaming about gifting it to every astro friend, or starting an astrology book club so you can all sit around Zoom and discuss it for hours….no? Just me? Ok, fine, whatever, but The Houses: Temples of the Sky is that book. For such a slim astrology text (coming in at 168 pages, you can read it in a weekend!) Deborah Houlding sure manages to pack a whole lotta high grade learning between the covers. Best of all, you feel smarter before you even get to the first chapter. Brilliant!

Drama Central

For those of you who are wise enough to avoid the hot mess that is Twitter, you’ll be blissfully unaware of the “One True And Correct House System” cycle. Cliffsnotes – a few times a year someone (usually a student or an astro-twitter newbie) will post an innocent question/comment/complaint about house systems. One of the larger accounts will comment, often linking a ‘and here’s one I prepared earlier’ article or vid on their favoured house system. A fan of a different house system will wordily disagree. Subtweets abound. An amusing meme or two bring the lols. And the comments, aaah so many comments. It’s the only reason I’m there tbh, munching away at my popcorn….Well, if I was a more extroverted human, this is the book suggestion I would drop in the comments whenever the crap hits the Midheaven (whichever damn house it’s in ;)) in the never-ending Great House Debate. 

Between the Covers

This book provides you with more than just a solid historical foundation so you can pick your home team in Twitter battles; Temples of the Sky gives an in-depth synopsis into the meaning of each of the twelve houses and how they have evolved over time, from Manilius to Modern. Part 1 should be required reading for every first year astrology student imo, thus the asterisk up the there when considering what learning level this book suits best. I want you to know there will be no judgement if you peruse Part 2 and decide to pop the book on the shelf for a while so you can delve deeper into the very important things you took up studying astrology for. Like, say, learning if your relationship is doomed because your Sun signs are incompatible (shakes fist at Linda Goodman, still together 20+ years later) and why my your house was always messy if I’m you’re a Virgo rising (that’d be late Leo tyvm Ma, shakes fist at mum’s dodgy calculations using Linda’s books)!

Part Two

It’s juicy, with a thoroughly researched breakdown of the technical basis of the house systems, covering the where, when, who, why and how of the houses. Placidus, Morinus, Campanus, Regiomontanus, Alcabitius, Koch, Equal, Whole Sign and Porphyry house systems are all discussed, without judgement, which is refreshing, and allows the reader to select their preferred house system with confidence. I highly recommend wasting a few hours in the near future looking at your chart in all of the above styles, if you haven’t already. It’s an interesting experiment, and you’ll learn a thing or two, which is pretty much my favourite thing to do, and if you’re into astrology, I’m sure it is up there on your list too. 

But wait, there’s more

The appendices are a trove of excellent astrological information. The glossary of terms is in-depth enough to justify purchase on that alone. There’s an interesting reproduction of Al Biruni’s ‘Advice on Finding the Hour of Birth‘ which is further proof to me that day births have it easy from day dot (don’t fight me until you read it. Then fight me.) But my favourite bit is the brief but thorough look at the planetary hours, including instructions on how to calculate them, which you should totally have at least one go at, dear reader, you’ll feel like a total astro-boss if you do. It was a bit of fun to dust the cobwebs outta my brain and flood it with memories of learning how to do calculations – by hand! – and feeling like Einstein every time my math resistant brain got ‘it’ and could move onto the next bit to stumble over. Aah, the good old days, thank heavens for technology….I love you Solar Fire!

The bibliography is extensive, and if you are an astrology history buff, there’s plenty of highly regarded and meaty works here to tempt you. The general index and house rulership index are ah-MAZ-ing to this horary lovin’ library technician’s eyes, thorough, detailed…if you are familiar with it, you could pretty much answer a horary question using this index alone. Though I suggest checking out the STA link below if you really want to know horary.

Deborah Houlding is an absolute legend in the astrology community, and not just for this book. She is the creator of the Skyscript site, which is an absolute treasure trove of credible astrological articles, interviews and forums, the founder of the School of Traditional Astrology, an award winning astrologer, and, I found out today, an artist, and a bloody good one too! Check out Deborah’s sites below-

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/

https://sta.co

Must. Own. The Houses: Temples of the Sky

The Houses: Temples of the Sky is available at the usuals – paperback version from Book Depository and Amazon, digital at Amazon, and tbh, it’s a bargain. This is a Must Own for any astrology library.

I really wish I did at this point. But no, I do not receive money or perks from any endorsements I make on this blog. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

Happy astro reading!
WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

Foreword by Robert Hand

Introduction: (Wheels and Signs – Theories on House Division)

Preliminary Guide to Divisions of the Celestial Sphere

Part I

1. Introducing the Houses: An Historical Overview

2. The Angles: Significance of Egyptian Solar Philosophy

3. Aspects & Gates: The 2nd/8th House Axis

4. Planetary Joys: 5th/11th House Axis

6. Cadency & Decline: The 6th/12th House Axis

7. House Rulerships in Practice

Part II

8. Technical Basis & the Inherent Difficulties of House Division

9. Ptolemy’s Powerful Places

Appendix A – Glossary of Traditional and Technical Terms

Appendix B – The Planetary Hours

Appendix C – Al Biruni’s Advice on Finding the Hour of Birth

Works Cited

General Index

House Rulership Index

WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK

It is all about the houses. Just like the title says…

PUBLISHING INFO

The Wessex Astrologer

Bournemouth, England

1998; Reprinted 2006

This book review was originally published on the stellarleeastrology blog.

Categories
Book Reviews

Asteroid Goddesses

The Mythology, Psychology & Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine

Demetra George & Douglas Bloch

LEVEL

Intermediate – Advanced

ASTRO STYLE

Contemporary/Modern Psychological; Mythological

Rabbit Hole Ready?

Whether you are currently using asteroids in your chart interpretations or not, Asteroid Goddesses is guaranteed to make you pop them into your astro software, just for a peek at where they are in your chart, the charts of your beloveds, the charts of your most fave or loathed celebs, your cats…..they are that interesting. The depth and length of the rabbit hole you wander through from there is entirely up to you, though I highly recommend playing with the extensive list of asteroids on Astro.com, if only to see whether the asteroid Beer is actually conjunct your beer loving aunt or uncle’s angles. You’ve been warned. And you’re welcome.

Demetra and Douglas’s seminal work on the Big 4 asteroids – Ceres, Pallas Athene, Vesta and Juno, was originally published by ACS in 1986, was reprinted 15 times and finally updated and republished through Ibis Press in 2003. I currently own both versions and, utilising the one true litmus test of just how informative an astrology text is, have read them both, cover to cover. Whether this is because of my childhood-to-current-era love of Greek and Roman myths, the exact conjunction of Ceres to my Sun, or because it is just a mighty good read, I will never know. But you, dear reader, are sure to find some fascinating tidbits within the covers to get you thinking, and perhaps researching, these astrological power points.

Between The Covers

As the title says, Asteroid Goddesses is packed full of mythology, psychology and astrology. There are chart examples aplenty for house placement, sign and aspects (rabbit hole alert!), and a short interpretation for each. Considered, well-researched suggestions are presented for potential rulerships – Ceres as a ruler of Cancer and Virgo! Vesta as ruler of Scorpio and Virgo! – giving us plenty of food for thought but just enough to leave us wanting more. Never fear, there is also a ‘Further Reading’ bibliography at the end of the relevant chapters. True to Demetra’s interpretations, my Vesta placement would happily devote herself to a monastic life of reading and conveying information on astrological texts, if only Ceres wasn’t so prominent…who wants a fresh baked cookie?

Chapters

There is a brief but very interesting (another rabbit hole alert!) overview chapter of the minor asteroids; Psyche, Eros, Lilith, Toro, Sappho, Amor, Pandora, Icarus, Diana, Hidalgo, Urania and Chiron, who is absolutely not merely a minor asteroid imo! Though fellow planetoid Pluto may be inclined to scrawl such mean things in blood on bathroom walls in fits of pique, Chiron is a sturdy addition to the planetary pantheon and deserves his own book. Luckily others agree and have remedied this (see upcoming reviews ;)).

Asteroid Goddesses was conceived and birthed during the latter days of the second wave of feminism, amidst the fight for gender equality based on the male/female principle, and in part, sought to redress the imbalance of male to female astrological points in a chart. The assignment of gender to the planets, particularly the more recently ‘discovered’ outers – Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – is a topic too lengthy and serious for this short read, hopefully entertaining and informative book review blog, but it would be remiss of me to not acknowledge readers who identify as non-binary; do not let the subtitle turn you off this book! We have a long way to go before there will be any accord regarding how best to refer to archetypal energies in non-gendered ways, but starting the discussion is always the best place to begin. Demetria and Douglas are gentle authors, and as inclusive as could be at the time of writing. I will leave you with this, as noted by Demetra (p.211)-

“The illusion of duality spawns an artificial separation between object/subject, me/you, male/female, us/them. responding to the possibilities inherent in the asteroid symbolism can lead individuals to a more inclusive and holistic awareness of all sentient beings”

Must. Own. Asteroid Goddesses

This book is a worthy inclusion into any astro library. The current edition of Asteroid Goddesses is available in paperback at Book Depository, and Amazon has both hardcopy and digital formats.

I do not receive a single razoo or perk from any endorsements I make on this blog. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

You can check out Demetra’s abundance of excellence here – https://demetra-george.com

Happy astro reading!
WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

Chapter One – The Asteroids – Agents of Transformation

Chapter Two – The Asteroids – Harbingers of a New Mythology

Chapter Three – The Mandala of the Asteroid Goddesses

Chapter Four – Ceres: The Great Mother

Chapter Five – Ceres in the Horoscope

Chapter Six – Pallas Athene: The Warrior Queen

Chapter Seven – Pallas Athene in the Horoscope

Chapter Eight – Vesta: The Eternal Flame

Chapter Nine – Vesta in the Horoscope

Chapter Ten – Juno: The Divine Consort

Chapter Eleven – Juno in the Horoscope

Chapter Twelve – The Minor Asteroids: An Overview

Chapter Thirteen – An Astronomical Portrait of the Asteroids

Chapter Fourteen – Epilogue

Appendix: Ephemerides of 16 Asteroids 1931 – 2050

Bibliography

WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK

I’m still miffed that Chiron is in the book because planetoid, but other than that, the authors have got it all covered.

PUBLISHING INFO

Ibis Press

Lake Worth, Florida

2003

This book review was originally published on the stellarleeastrology blog.

Categories
Astrology Book Review Book Reviews

The Rulership Book

Rex E. Bills

LEVEL

All, but essential for Horary, Mundane and Medical/Health Astrologers

ASTRO STYLE

All. It’s terrifically helpful

This book is another fave of mine

And imo, an essential reference textbook for any Astrologer. I purchased my copy in 2010 and every time I open it I am blown away by just how much information it contains. So you wanna know what rules the deliciously bitey sloe gin you’re cradling while writing your monthly horoscopes (no? Just me?), Rex knows – that’s Sun, Leo, Neptune for gin and Saturn for sloe. As I pondered this info and enjoyed the warm sunny glow on my insides after that first sip of gin, the bitter, slightly fruity undertones of sloe berry making me purse my lips like a cat’s bum for a second….yep, definitely Sun/Saturn. Cheers!

First published in 1971, and still in print today, Rex has collated an extensive and comprehensive list of primary and secondary rulerships of just about everything, including the kitchen sink (Moon, Cancer, Neptune, Pisces, in case you were wondering). The bibliography is very much of its time, listing works by famous astrological authors including Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson, Alan Leo, Marc Edmund Jones, Dane Rudhyar and many many more, but is extensive and reads like the astrology library we all dream of owning one day….

Chapters

The Rulership Book is broken into easy to navigate sections; alphabetical, planets, signs, and houses. Rulerships that were mentioned by only a few astrologers (at the time of writing, remember it was published in the early 70’s) are given secondary rulership and are listed in parentheses. In the introduction Rex reminds the reader that rulerships can change, that greater research is required (I see Dr Lee Lehman has done just that but I don’t have her book  yet to compare, though it is on my wishlist!) and that there is disagreement amongst Astrologers on many rulerships. Imagine that, Astrologers quibbling  over details….it’s almost like we are ruled by Mercury, not Uranus as Rex says…

The Appendices are brilliantly comprehensive to my eye, but I am not a medical Astrologer by any measure. There are tables covering all parts of the body from bones to veins and they are just damn interesting! Prepare to read and reread them while looking at the astrological timing of every injury or medical issue you and your loved ones have ever had, especially if your partner is as accident-prone as mine. There is a table of house rulerships for organisations, very handy for Mundane research, and tables for flavours (Sunny Saturnine sloe gin anyone?). There is even a table for forms, as in circles, lines and angles, particularly in reference to handwriting, and perfect for any graphology fans out there or if you want to know why you can never understand your doctor’s scribble – Rex says Mercury btw but I reckon Saturn for sure. Read the book and let me know what you think.

The Rulership Book is a a great addition to any astro library, but an absolute must if you are interested in Horary astrology. Rex provides us with the rulerships for hundreds of countries, U.S states, U.K counties and popular regions of Europe. There are rulerships for many common anglicised first names, sadly not mine, but the name ‘Rex’ is ruled by the Sun. Makes sense, since he really is the star here. There are rulerships for Saints, musical scales, periods of life, gemstones, colours…I’m telling you, it was exhaustively researched and is mighty extensive!

Must. Own. The Rulership Book

For what is basically a two columns per page, 440 page long compilation of astrological correspondences, I reckon you will actually enjoy reading this text. It is available at all good bookstores, Book Depository and in both digital and paperback formats from Amazon.

Nope, I don’t receive money or perks from any endorsements I make on this blog. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

Happy astro reading!
WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

Part One, An Alphabetical Listing

Part Two, A Listing by Planets

Part Three, A Listing by Signs

Part Four, A Listing by Houses

Appendices, Special Listings

Principle Bones of the Body

Vertebrae

Principle Muscles of the Body

Principle Arteries of the Body

Principle Veins of the Body

Chart of an Organization

Flavors

Forms

Bibliography

WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK

Any info about the author! I like to ‘meet’ them and trawled many many pages on Google looking for even a smidgeon of information about Rex. I have Mercury in Scorpio – I. Must. Know. More. Please, please, let me know if you know any of Rex’s bio, surely there must be a published article or two in pre-digital astrology journals somewhere in the world?

PUBLISHING INFO

American Federation of Astrologers, Inc

Tempe, Arizona

1971, my copy – 2007

This book review was originally published at the stellarleeastrology blog.

Categories
Astrology Book Review Book Reviews

The Inner Sky

Steven Forrest

LEVEL

Beginners, Intermediate, Students

ASTRO STYLE

Evolutionary, Modern Psychological, Contemporary

What is a Sting?

Let’s start with the face palm bit – my copy of this absolute gem of a book has a blurb from Sting on the front cover. Do not be put off! For those who don’t know him, he’s an elder rock legend mind-altering substance tantric sex loving yoga fan. And a bit of a fox, still, imo, though I only appreciate his music many many years later, indie music snob that I am.

Now, back to business, The Inner Sky. This book is the book to gift your pals when they say they wanna know more about astrology. Steven Forrest is one of the kindest, most generous astrologers around and we will all be utterly devastated when his time to evolve to the great beyond comes. Steven cares! His writing style is what tender loving care looks like in print. I suggest you have a quick squizz at some of Steven’s content on his website or YouTube to hear his lovely voice so you can imagine he is narrating the book to you while you read. Go on, you will love it.

Chapters

This book really does cover all astrological basics, and though the chapters are short, you get a lot out of each one. In Part One Steven shares a birthchart of a famous person, ‘the Englishman’ and his chart is used as an example all the way through the book. Do yourself a favour and DO NOT PEEK OR GOOGLE the data, if my Scorpio Mercury can resist, so can you. Also, it is a delightful way to learn how to piece all the different bits of information together when reading a chart, and quite rare for an Astrologer to use only one chart example throughout a whole book. There are eight sample charts of famous humans in the appendix to play with once you’ve finished the book, but by focussing on just one you don’t get overwhelmed flicking back and forth between pages to see what the author is referring to. An under appreciated gift, truly.

Astro Style

Steven is an Evolutionary Astrologer (EA) and I highly recommend checking out his website for more information on this particular style of astrology at www.forrestastrology.com. He works with the Natural Houses style, that is; 8th House corresponds to Scorpio corresponds to sexuality etc. I have dabbled in EA, as all astrologers of my vintage would’ve, as this was in line with the Modern Psychological style I was taught by my teacher. I am a great believer in looking at all the different astro styles as you learn the discipline, I am not a fan of the staunch ‘One True Astrology’ brouhaha that crops up with cyclic regularity on the socials. Lifelong research is integral to your astrological knowledge. Fads come and go, in astrology as in the world, but any investigation into different astrological styles add a little to your own, whether you are a professional or just astro-curious.

I love this book. I have scribbled throughout it, notes and glyphs and !!! and 0_0…. all through it, as well as sticky tabs and post it notes and I just discovered when I pulled it off my shelf, 3 bookmarks?!? As a former library tech, I generally consider writing in books sacrilege. As an astrologer, I consider this my astro love language, it says “I will never ever get rid of this book”. There are very few in my collection who are desecrated in this way. The Inner Sky deserves nothing but.

Must. Own. The Inner Sky

The Inner Sky is available at Book Depository, in Kindle and paperback from Amazon.

Nah, I don’t receive money or perks from any endorsements I make on this blog for you to buy this book. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

Check out Steven’s website here – https://www.forrestastrology.com

Happy astro reading!
WHAT’S IN THE BOOK

Part One – The Territory

Chapter 1

Why Bother?; What About Metaphysics?; The Seven Principles

Chapter 2

Symbolic Language; Symbolic Reading

Chapter 3

What Exactly is a Birthchart?; Why is East on the Left?; Planetary Motions

Part Two – Words

Chapter 4

The Prime Symbol; The Circle of the Year; Seasons. Not Stars; The Dance of the Elements; The Modes; The Twelve Signs;

Chapter 5

Signs

Chapter 6

Planets; Two Solar Systems; Retrogradation; Introducing the Players; Significance of Retrogradation; The Invisible Planets; Beyond Pluto

Chapter 7

Houses; The Daily Cycle; Horizon; Meridian; The Great Cross; Houses and Signs

Part Three – Sentences

Chapter 8

Interpretation I:

Planets in Signs and Houses; Planets in Signs; What about Houses?; Tactics; Five Steps

Chapter 9

Interpretation II:

Aspects, Rulerships and the Nodes; Aspects; Minor Aspects; Orbs; How to Recognise Aspects; Planetary Rulerships; The Moon’s Nodes

Chapter 10

Interpretation III:

Putting It All Together; A Helpful Trick; The Ruler of the Ascendant; Planets in their Rulerships; Planets Conjunct the Sun; The Stellium; Angular Planets; Singletons; Stationary Planets; Strong Aspects; Keeping Perspective on Focalizers; The Moon’s Nodes

Chapter 11

The Englishman

Chapter 12

Dreaming the Universe

Appendixes

The Englishman’s Birthchart

Astrological Software

Sample Birthcharts – Muhammad Ali; Neil Armstrong; Phil Donahue; Billy Graham; Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; Bruce Springsteen; Gloria Steinem; Lily Tomlin

Suggestions for Further reading

Glossary

Index

WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK

Chiron, the asteroids, but that is about it. Seriously, this book is a must have.

PUBLISHING INFO

Seven Paws Press

Borrego Springs, California

First published in 1984, still going strong. I tell ya, it’s a classic!

This book review was originally published on the stellarleeastrology blog.