Book Reviews

Key Words for Astrology

Hajo Banzhaf & Anna Haebler


All, but terrific for beginners


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!

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



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


Samuel Weiser, Inc.

York Beach, Maine


This post was first published on the stellarleeastrology blog