There is a fated feel to January. Too much shifting energy too fast tends to unsettle us humans, unless we have instigated it of course.
We may have set events in motion months ago without having an actual clear view of where we would end up. So here we are. 2020 is over. Except it isn’t. We still have loose ends to tie up & coal to sift through to find the diamonds formed from all the pressure we have been under.
There is a lot going on astrologically atm, you may have noticed…
The tension between Mars in Taurus & Saturn in Aquarius shows our actions have consequences. Full stop.
Mercury & the Sun activate Pluto in the first half of the month stirring up deep hidden issues around our communications & our ego. Venus gets a brief turn at the end of the month & our values make the call.
Jupiter & Chiron show us wanting to find a way to heal but resistance comes from Mars in the hot spot all month. Things look explosive. I sincerely hope not literally.
The Capricorn New Moon is on ‘sort this shit out starting from the top’ Pluto. The Leo Full Moon is amplified by Jupiter & feeling the tension & unpredictability of Uranus & Mars.
As we shift our focus to the future, there will be no forgetting 2020.
There will be no ‘return to normal’.
We expected to be all the best things, all the time & love all of it. Most of us could not & did not. It is not natural to our rhythms as human beings. The health, beauty & leisure industries has become billion-dollar Big Business. Yet we feel less healthful, less beautiful & have less leisure time.
So We Ask Ourselves
The world is damaged, it has changed, we have changed – how can we keep the change going, & grow with it?
Are we representing ourselves & our ego, or our future?
Are we prepared to acknowledge our mistakes & make reparations?
Are we ready to accept that we have fucked up by politicizing issues that should be wrapped in integrity?
Will we continue to place celebrity, wealth & beauty on a pedestal, but not our healthcare workers?
Nothing like a pandemic warped by politics to make us seek answers.
Also a great starter if you are Astro-Magic curious or a Magician who wants to know more about using Astrology in your practice.
Olde School Astrological Magic
“Astrological magic uses electional astrology to choose auspicious times for ritual and making talismans and goes one step further, actively engaging with the spirits and powers of the stars and planets to cause spiritual and material effects”
Christopher Warnock; Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic; p.11
You Can Do Magic ?
It was my passion for electional astrology that led me to the interesting and rather niche world of astrological magic. And I’ve gotta say, I love it here. I love poring over my ephemeris to find suitable astrological elections. I love the excitement of planning rituals. I love the ceremony, the preparation, the craftiness. The whole kit and caboodle. So. Much. Love. And it works. Astrological magic really works!
The resurgence in traditional astrology techniques has brought with it a cauldron full of rules, regulations and argument (ofc!) regarding the correct interpretation and usage of the Fixed Stars in astrological practice. I kinda like rules and regulations, and reading the snarky forums on Reddit is genuinely excellent for procrastination, which I am also prone to fond of. So I dug around the forums for recommended books and promptly popped the much adored Picatrix on my Book Depository wish list. I then read a few pages of it, and a few other ancient writings on Google Books. I’m not gonna lie, it was a slog. I found most of them hard work, too convoluted for me to wrap my head around, especially when there are so many other books I want to read. But I kept hearing about this one book that was supposedly superb- Christopher Warnock’s ‘Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic’. I bit the bullet and purchased it a few months ago and I am IMPRESSED!
Warnock’s extensive research and years of practice in both astrology and astrological magic are evident throughout the book and while it is focused on the basic principles astrological magic, it provides plenty of rabbit holes for those wishing to dig deeper. It is written in an unpretentious style and the concepts within are easy to digest, and better still, accessible. The illustrations by Nigel Jackson and Robert M. Place are wonderful, and there are many more images throughout the book from the original Renaissance and medieval sources. I had my tracing paper and fancy coloured pencils out by chapter 5.
‘Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic’ is not a hefty book, which is terrific for both beginners and people like me who still cart books around in their handbag. Warnock manages to cover a lot of essential information in 135 pages. There are examples of how to elect good charts for creating talismans with only rudimentary astrological knowledge, and Warnock breaks down complicated techniques into simple, easy to follow rules. A breath of fresh air in the generally very complicated world of astro-magic.
I felt confident and inspired enough to make a talisman after one reading of ‘Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic’. Warnock provides information on the source and magical interpretation of each Fixed Star, sign and constellation, as well as recommended glyphs, sigils, candle colours, incense (or not. Yes, looking at you, black hellebore) and invocations to use in each ritual. I was particularly fascinated to learn which Angels correspond to each sign, as I have a gorgeous Angel Tarot deck from Travis McHenry that is now getting much more use. There are easy to follow examples of the elections used to create talismans and Warnock provides both preferred full chart elections for experienced astrologers, and alternate non-full chart methods for the less experienced throughout the book.
I first heard Christopher Warnock when he guested on an early episode of the Astrology Podcast and while curious to know more about his work, I was studying zodiacal releasing at the time and that was taking up all available astro brain space. It was when I discovered the Magical Elections podcast by Nina Gryphon that my interest in using the Fixed Stars in astrological magic really piqued. I purchased a Magical Elections download from Nina and trialled a Spica talisman, one for me and a few for some of my magic-inclined beloveds, to get an idea of what other people’s experiences were compared to mine. Readers, these talismans really work. A word to the wise though, when experienced practitioners such as Warnock and Gryphon advise against particular elections or talismans, as Warnock does for the Wing of Corvus, erring on the side of caution seems kinda, you know, wise. Though I’m sure there’s someone on Reddit who disagrees… ?
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic’, and it still hasn’t actually made it to the bookshelf. I keep re-reading it and skimming through my ephemeris looking for dates to do more talisman experiments. A worthy investment and that’s what I like in a book, learning new things that I can use over and over again. ‘Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic’ provides the perfect amount of information to either guide you through your intended rituals, or set you on the road to full blown research into the slightly kooky but oh so interesting world of astrological magic. And that is just Magic!
Must. Own. Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic
You can purchase ‘Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic‘ directly from the author’s website, as well as a trove of other interesting works on astrological magic. I highly recommend checking out Warnock’s Renaissance Astrology site, it’s a little clunky but apparently it is one of the oldest astrological magic websites around, and as such, there is a huge amount of information and resources on there for astrologers and magicians to trawl through at your leisure.
‘Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Magic’ is also available at the usuals- paperback at Book Depository, and Amazon has both Kindle and paperback versions. I’d recommend purchasing a physical copy as the illustrations are amazing and you will want to copy them if you decide to give some of the talismans a try. And you absolutely will.
BTW – If you do live in the US or somewhere nearby aka postage costs aren’t a killer, please consider purchasing from the author directly. Ya know, support astrologer and local business and all that sensible stuff.
WHAT’S IN THE BOOK
The Fixed Stars and the Zodiac
Fixed Star & Constellation Elections
Creating and Consecrating Fixed Star, Sign & Constellation Talismans
The 15 Fixed Stars
Creating Sign Talismans
There are also 14 appendices with recommendations from Christopher Warnock on sign colours and incense, plus excerpts from the works of Gower, Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, Ramesey and from the Picatrix. Which is great for me, every time I try and read any of these works my head starts to hurt. However if you are an utter nutter for olde timey astrology books and manuscripts, there are plenty of footnotes citing sources so you can do research to your heart’s content.
WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK
No index. But in a book this concise it’s not really necessary, so I will forgive and move on.
Join the ever so clever Kim Fairminer and yours truly as we dive right into the next eclipse & offer some horoscope advice on where the splash will land in your life.
The first eclipse of this season sees us into the silly season on November 30, 2020, at 7.29pm AEST here in Australia. This will be a penumbral, or partial, lunar eclipse in Gemini at around 9 degrees. For more info on visibility in your part of the world, check it out here at https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2020-november-30
Lunar eclipses occur with Full Moons, so do not expect this to be a calm or rational lunation.
Not a great time for harnessing the energy for manifestation.
But a great time for releasing, cleansing and letting go of crap you no longer need.
Bring on the pre-Xmas clean out!
Hazy, dazey Neptune has reappeared from the zodiacal background to take a starring role in this eclipse, so be prepared to feel even more lethargic than the usual full moon sleepiness. Neptune is inclined to swing both ways, bringing both inspiration and delusion. Truth & clarity will be elusive, in spite of the Mercurial energy of the Gemini Moon and the deep investigative skills of ol’ Merc currently hanging out in Scorpio.
Best advice, no bullcrapping- to yourself, or to others.
The Solar eclipse will be hot on the trail in two weeks time, shining a bright solar light on everything hidden now.
If you land on this page, you are probably well versed in the latest astro drama brewing in the skies. This month, and for the rest of 2020, it’s all about Life with Mars. First we see it screaming through its home town of Aries, happy as a pig in poo*. By mid September that smell isn’t coming from the pig, it’s the smell of brakes as Mars screeches to a halt and begrudgingly goes back over the same roads its just travelled aka goes retrograde.
And it is a very pissed planet, having to look at the same old stuff again instead of charging ahead into new territory as it is wont to do. Just wait until it realises it’s a three times trip across the same landscape. Each time Mars squares off with Saturn, it is frustrating for Mars and antagonising for Saturn. The first hit is at the end of August, next hit is the end of September and first few days of October and then one final time in the middle of January, albeit with a sign change for both Big Baddies with Mars into Taurus and Saturn into Aquarius. Mars loses strength in Taurus, thank all deities for that small blessing. I think I speak for us all when I sigh a heartfelt “oof”.
So we have Mars in Aries going against its direct, assertive and impatient nature. And it is stepping into the ring with Saturn, the elder statesperson of Get Your Shit Together-ness, who is also retrograde rn but seems to be making the most of it, as Saturn in Capricorn does. Mars is bored, frustrated and not really paying attention coz, like, been here before so nothing interesting to see. Saturn is checking its foundations are solid and stable, because it ain’t gonna be here again for quite a while so may as well make the most of it and get to work from the inside out.
It’s been a tough year for the planets too
From September 10th/11th depending on where you reside on Earth, you, me and the whole damn world are going to be spectators of the planetary square off of 2020. We are so close to the finish line. Some of us will be covered in crap and blood and pig poo. Some of us are flinging the crap, blood and pig poo. These last few months are going to be the make or break of 2020 us. Mars is in Aries, Saturn is in Capricorn. These are both cardinal signs, and cardinal signs love to start things. Seeing it to the end is not their job, they are already off to start something new before the last job is even half way completed. There is no shying away from this three round fight. If it isn’t happening to you directly, you will most certainly be watching, living with or attempting to avoid the flying poo. No escape. So, basically 2020, but in a short Netflix must-see series. Remember the olden days of 2020 when y’all went nuts for Tiger King? You can’t believe you did that, right? Well here we are again, but in our own lives not Netflix. Yay.
When good Mars goes bad
Mars in Aries gives us action, drive, energy. We feel direct, assertive, courageous, or reckless depending on how you feel about the definition of courage. We seek the heat, we get impatient with the heat and we fire up quickly from the heat. Then it’s gone, all burned up and all good now. Mars in Aries cuts and burns and really doesn’t mean to, it’s just how it is, no time for apologies.
Retrograde Mars in Aries is frustrated, reactive, impotent. We feel passive aggressive, full of suppressed rage and bile. It has to come out. Burn up. Cut off the painful bits. It will hurt, but not for long. And why does everything take s o m u c h e f f o r t ?
We see, hear, or experience accidents, injuries, headaches, inflammation and rashes. We crave hot and spicy and then complain when it burns. We are reckless with sharp things, both physical and verbal. Bugs bite, road rage abounds, reckless behaviour begets regret, but only long after the event.
But it’s not all bad. Right?
No. Not everything is smelling like the pig’s delight. But there will certainly be an uncomfortable vibe in a particular area of life rn. Whether this square off between Mars and Saturn hits you hard and knocks you out, or merely pulls you up enough to pause and have a long ponder on the discomfort and how to remove it, well that depends on a few things. Your natal chart, transits, progressions, projections, returns…you will only know, when you feel it. And you are probably feeling it, or not, right about now. Which is exactly why everyone needs their own personal astrologer, just sayin’.
Band-aids suitable for cuts and burns
Ok, so how do we navigate and perhaps even remediate this hot cold, fast slow mess, or at least try to minimise the drama? Can we? Dare we? Of course we do, it’s the Life with Mars show!
Mars is energy, Saturn is time. We take the time to burn the energy so we don’t get burned up or out. Retrogrades are do-over time. If you find yourself frustrated at being back on familiar ground, try looking at it from a different perspective. Handstands are effective, though perhaps just stopping and laying down on the ground to stare at the clouds would be sufficient too.
But just in case, and with tongue firmly in cheek, here are your sassy and definitely NSFW Mars in Aries Rx square Saturn in Capricorn Rx horoscopes/survival tips/band-aids for getting through the next two months with a smile on your dial and your life relatively intact by the end of it.
If your Sun or Ascendant is in –
Aries – Burn yourself out with exercise. Get sweaty. Love yourself sick because you are so damn hot. Now take a cold shower, have a tantrum because cold showers suck and your usual assertive ways aren’t being appreciated enough for the effort you put in to getting shit done. Rinse. Repeat.
Taurus – 2020 so far may have you deeply pondering the Meaning Of It All. Or deeply frustrated with everyone else failing to see The Point Of It All and just have faith. Humans, huh?! Take a long nap, you deserve it
Gemini – Your debts to society are really cranking you up. Staying in and sorting out your taxes may not sound like the most fun you’ve had this year, or maybe it is, ’cause 2020. But it sure beats going out with the gang and ending up further in debt for something you didn’t even enjoy. Drop your phone in the loo and stay home instead
Cancer – You don’t have to stay where you are Cancer. You are a successful person. You eat the competition for breakfast. You don’t have to put up with this crap. Just remember what they say about keeping your enemies closer. Try separate beds for a while yeah?
Leo – Oh Leo, I hear you. What is the point of the daily grind if you’ve had your wings clipped and can’t fly away to distant exotic beaches during your hols to be admired and adored? Well, your health is one reason. And your socials for two. Post and poo regularly
Virgo – Birth, death and taxes. Insurance. Loans. A stroll in the park for you usually Virgo. Usually. ATM it’s all feeling like you’ve killed your creativity to feed the banks and taxes. You’ll be right. Lube up buttercup and take a break, enjoy some hot (kinky?) fun. With protection. Kids tend to wreck both the bottomline on spreadsheets and all your kinks
Libra – So how awesome is it to spend So Much Time with your beloved/partner? All of your dreams have come true. So why do you feel you are being hugged by a boa constrictor. Practice fake snoring and politely offer to sleep in the spare bedroom for a while ‘so your partner gets a good rest’
Scorpio – You know you need to watch your health. The ads on TV know your weaknesses. It’s all too depressing. Do yourself a favour and delete Uber Eats. Only eat fast food if you are prepared to walk there and back to get it. You hate me now but to future you, you’re welcome
Sagittarius – There are only so many ways to have a good time on your own. You need money, other people need you. Get creative. Start an Only Fans. If you are lucky enough to be free to hook up, use protection. It’s not just your imagination that is fertile
Capricorn – You need a bigger office. With a big lock on the door. Paint a feature wall for all of your awards and honours. Get another lock installed. Sign up to the next season of Survivor. It will be a cakewalk after the last few years you’ve lived. Congrats in advance #winner
Aquarius – It is all a conspiracy. But no one will listen. Take the high road. Write angry letters to the local online newspaper or HOA. Anonymously ofc and using your neighbour’s VPN
Pisces – Show me the money!! Those outstanding payments for your hard work are burning you, hard. It is coming. In the meantime light a bonfire (outside!) and burn all your old financial records. Marshmallows are a tax deduction, right?
* “Happy as a pig in shit” is a common Aussie expression. We are professionals here so for the purposes of this article we have amended this saying to “happy as a pig in poo”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 –
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.
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 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
Marc Edmund Jones
Queen Elizabeth II
Tsar Nicholas II
Alice A. Bailey
Prince Charles of England
Madalyn Murray O’Hair
The Crossing Press
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
Modern Psychological/ Contemporary but absolutely something here for every astrologer.
Sue Tompkins’ classic book ‘Aspects in Astrology‘ is so well written and easy to read it’s like chatting with an astro friend who knows everything there is to know about aspects that. And then some. I recently read an interview with Sue Tompkins in the August/September 2020 issue of The Mountain Astrologer (TMA) journal and she comes across exactly as I would imagine from her writing- down to earth, amiable and bursting with astrological insight and knowledge. OK, maybe not bursting but definitely a fount of knowledge that runs deep and flows steady. I’d love to sit and listen to her talk one day, if opportunity arises. Check out the article at the link below. If you aren’t already subscribed to TMA and you are serious about astrology, you really need to get this sorted asap!
Between the covers
‘Aspects in Astrology‘ concisely covers everything you need to know about aspects, just like the title says. From interpreting the aspects, weighting the chart, aspect orbs (a guaranteed conversation starter at your next astrology conference or meeting, preferably after everyone has has a tipple for maximum impact), applying and separating aspects and a super brief but informative paragraph on declination which explains just enough to inspire you to find out more. If you are so inclined check out the brilliant astrology resource that is Astro-Seek at the link below –
There is a brief but detailed chapter on the planets, you could write a basic but believable newspaper horoscope from the information contained in this chapter. Not recommended, but you could if required. The chapter on calculating the aspects is aimed at beginner astrologers, but I’ve given this a second year student up rating because you really want to have the basics down before jumping in here. New astrology students are going to have questions. So. Many. Questions. In my mind (and experience) the first year of astrology studies is for the basics – signs, planets, houses, hours spent chatting about your chart, your family charts, your friend’s charts, your love life, your work life, your new classmates charts, your chart because you just discovered another new Very Important Astrology Concept! Finally, after exhausting yourself, and your teacher, you deep dive into the aspects.
The chapter on Qualities, Elements and Signs is brilliantly detailed, and perfect for getting a handle on configurations. It will also probably motivate you to have another look at your beloved’s and your own chart to look for ‘hereditary’ patterns. And this is what you want out of a ‘classic’ astrology text, inspiration and ‘oooh let me have a look’ moments. The meaning of the aspects covers exactly that, from the standards – conjunction, opposition, trine, square, sextile, quincunx – to what I like to think of as the awkwards – semi-square, semi-sextile, sesquiquadrate and quintile. You know what they say – awkward by nature, awkward by number. Or something like that.
So, to the selling point – aspect interpretations. This section is titled ” A Planetary Cookbook” but it really isn’t compared to many other popular astrology books written in the latter half of last century. In many cases the cookbook style of astro writing is so black and white it can be frustrating and the interps are often so damn final you’re left feeling doomed for life, especially if your chart is rife with hard aspects. With the ‘Aspects in Astrology‘ cookbook you can go easy on the salty. Sue Tompkins writing style is open, for want of a better word. She pulls no punches but also no alarms and no surprises. Each planetary aspect is discussed in a conversational overview with example charts and keywords. You truly get the whole vibe of that particular aspect between those particular planets. It’s terrific. Whether you are inclined to traditional, contemporary, sidereal or any other astrological bent, here you will get the gist of the aspect. No judgement, no excuses. Wonderful.
Must. Own. Aspects in Astrology
‘Aspects in Astrology‘ is available at the usuals – paperback version from Book Depository and Amazon, digital at Amazon, and lo and behold – it may also be available at your local bookstore, it is that popular. This is definitely and definitively another Must Own for any astrology library.
Happy astro reading!
Find out more about Sue Tompkins work in Astrology & Homeopathy here-
Check out the TMA interview with Sue Tompkins mentioned above, and while you are there get a subscription! It is an immense and credible resource for all astrologers and astrology enthusiasts. And cheap as chips for the digital version, even if you live on the other side of the world and you haven’t had a great currency exchange rate since last century…
WHAT’S IN THE BOOK
Part One: The Principles of Aspect Interpretation
Dividing the Circle & Calculating Aspects
The Meaning of Aspects
Interpreting Aspects in Practice
Qualities, Elements & Signs in Aspect
Part Two: A Planetary Cookbook
Aspects between the Outer Planets
Part Three: The Angles
The Ascendant – Midheaven Complex
Planets & Angles
WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK
CHARTS INCLUDED IN TEXT
Hans Christian Andersen
Coronation Street (TV Show)
Mohanda (Mahatma) Gandhi
June & Jennifer Gibbons
Herald of Free Enterprise (Ship)
Leonardo da Vinci
Duchess of York
1989, 2001, 2002
*Nope, there are no kickbacks to me for my purchase recommendations on these sites.
Neil F. Michelsen (Programming) & Rique Pottenger (Revisions)
Essential for Students to Professionals
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!
Ephemeris; noun – 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 –
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
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!
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)!
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-
The Mythology, Psychology & Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine
Demetra George & Douglas Bloch
Intermediate – Advanced
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?
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!
All, but essential for Horary, Mundane and Medical/Health Astrologers
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….
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
Principle Muscles of the Body
Principle Arteries of the Body
Principle Veins of the Body
Chart of an Organization
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?
American Federation of Astrologers, Inc
1971, my copy – 2007
This book review was originally published at the stellarleeastrology blog.
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.
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.
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
Why Bother?; What About Metaphysics?; The Seven Principles
Symbolic Language; Symbolic Reading
What Exactly is a Birthchart?; Why is East on the Left?; Planetary Motions
Part Two – Words
The Prime Symbol; The Circle of the Year; Seasons. Not Stars; The Dance of the Elements; The Modes; The Twelve Signs;
Planets; Two Solar Systems; Retrogradation; Introducing the Players; Significance of Retrogradation; The Invisible Planets; Beyond Pluto
Houses; The Daily Cycle; Horizon; Meridian; The Great Cross; Houses and Signs
Part Three – Sentences
Planets in Signs and Houses; Planets in Signs; What about Houses?; Tactics; Five Steps
Aspects, Rulerships and the Nodes; Aspects; Minor Aspects; Orbs; How to Recognise Aspects; Planetary Rulerships; The Moon’s Nodes
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
Dreaming the Universe
The Englishman’s Birthchart
Sample Birthcharts – Muhammad Ali; Neil Armstrong; Phil Donahue; Billy Graham; Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; Bruce Springsteen; Gloria Steinem; Lily Tomlin
Suggestions for Further reading
WHAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK
Chiron, the asteroids, but that is about it. Seriously, this book is a must have.
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.