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Book Reviews




The Astrology Sourcebook

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

The Astrology Sourcebook

The Astrology Sourcebook

Your Guide to Understanding the Symbolic Language of the Stars

Shirley Soffer
(Revised and updated 2010 edition)

ISBN: 978-0-615-32336-7

Self published by the author and available via www.amazon.com or through contacting the author at ShirleySoffer@aol.com.
$20 (+ $3 postage through the author)

 

It is my great pleasure to review the revised and updated edition of Shirley Soffer’s Astrology Sourcebook, which was first published in 1998. Based in New York, where she has a busy astrological practice, Shirley has been an active member of the NY NCGR branch, richly contributing to their courses and participating on their board of examiners.

This truly is one of the most outstanding books I have come across for anyone embarking on astrological studies. It is also a wonderful refresher book for astrologers at all levels.

The author’s passion for astrology as a tool for self awareness and soul growth is evident throughout.  Weaving her depth knowledge of Jungian psychology throughout the text, Shirley guides us clearly and easily through the core building blocks of astrological knowledge. Starting with the ‘ancient beginnings’ including the rich impact of ancient civilizations on modern astrology, Shirley takes us through an overview of the basic components of the horoscope. We are then introduced to the signs, the elements and the planets which are all richly illustrated by their mythologies. The overview of different branches of astrology, offers readers fertile ground for their own explorations.

There are numerous things that make this book stand out from other introductory texts. One is the author’s skillful ability to present depthful and soulful content in an easily readable style. Information seems to flow at all times in a manner that is easily digestible and appealing on a mind and heart level. This truly is the imparting of astrology at its most expansive, offering information as a creative suggestion, thereby encouraging the reader to explore their own chart and psyche. Fulfilling the purpose of teaching at its best, this is an ideal book to recommend to clients who are seeking greater insight into their own chart as well as to astrology students. 

Astrolocality Astrology

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

Astrolocality Astrology

Astrolocality Astrology

A guide to what it is and how to use it

Martin Davis

ISBN: 9781902405056
The Wessex Astrologer Ltd
PO Box 2751
Bournemouth
England
BH6 3ZJ
Published in 1999
15.99 Sterling

 

This classic text which won the SPICA award winner in 2000, remains one of the most insightful and comprehensive texts on the practical synthesis of Local Space and Astro*Carto*Graphy (ACG) techniques, into Astrolocality astrology. The core purpose of the latter being to ground astrology in space, thereby explaining the unfolding and meaning of events in our life ‘against a backdrop of a where (in space or place), rather than merely a when (time).

The first chapter introduces the basics with the second chapter offering a wealth of more advanced information on ACG and Local Space. Ample clear diagrams and examples from the authors own travels and experiences bring the material to life.

In the 4th chapter Martin presents the usefulness of the Local Space chart in ‘the home, community and beyond’ offering it as a more personalized refinement of the tool of Feng Shui. Illustrating a step by step approach, to overlaying our living or office space with our Local Space chart, the author invites us to explore the effect of the planets on different areas of our life within a specific geographical space. Martin also explores the work of 4 experienced astrologers who have incorporated Local Space techniques into their Feng Shui consultations.

Chapter 5 explores the Geodetic world map and the Resonant chart where earth locations are associated with the qualities of the signs of the zodiac. This technique is believed to be particularly useful for the purpose of offering information in the arena of mundane events such as extreme weather conditions and political upheavals. Chart examples of extreme events in the world richly illustrate the theory.

The appendices alone offer a wealth of rich information including ACG interpretations by Jeff Jawer, the co-founder and CEO of StarIQ.com, an outline of the significance of planetary lines through the houses by Angel Thompson and articles by Michael Erelewine, Sean Lovatt and Martin Davis.

This is a highly informative book which is ideally suited to anyone with a good basic knowledge of astrology, who is interested in exploring the influence of the space we inhabit on all aspects of our life. As well as being packed with useful information, the author is particularly skilled at addressing questions which are likely to arise for readers as they explore the material. With many of us choosing a somewhat nomadic lifestyle in this current lifetime, this book is a classic to have on our shelves as an aid to understanding our own journey and that of our clients.

Journey through Astrology

Reviewed by: Rick Levine

Journey through Astrology

Charting the Astrological Voyage of Discovery

Edited by Laura Andrikopoulos, Cat Cox and Carole Taylor

Faculty of Astrological Studies, 2015

http://www.astrology.org.uk/faculty-press/journey-through-astrology/

ISBN: 978-0-9932-7670-5

£14.99 + £2.80 s&p.

 

In over six decades The Faculty of Astrological Studies in London has taught astrological principles to over ten thousand students. Many of the leading astrologers in the world hold diplomas from the Faculty. Journey through Astrology is a collaborative effort of ten Faculty diplomats. This book offers a mosaic of astrological perspective that is different than any other text I have read. Paradoxically, it is less a book about astrology than it is a book about being an astrologer. Yet it’s not a how-to book. There’s no instruction on techniques, on how to read charts or how to be an astrologer. Instead, this book describes the impact that astrology has on its practitioners. Eight contributors each offer a chapter that explores a particular aspect of their journeys through the rich tapestry of astrology. Two of the world’s most respected astrologers, Darby Costello and Melanie Reinhart, offer reflections of their lives in astrology in the final two chapters.

Cat Cox addresses how participation in the symbolic realm of astrology requires us to step beyond the rational and objective dimensions of our current worldview. Carole Taylor addresses the complexity of interpretation and the role that imagination plays when we meet the planet-gods and the myths come to life. Polly Wallace looks at the process of becoming our own astrologers in a life-long journey of becoming. Ethics are addressed by Deborah Morgan as she looks at specific instances that force an astrologer to set boundaries. Lindsay Radermacher’s chapter addresses the asymmetric client-astrologer relationship, and how the astrologer’s role as magician makes the astrological consultation substantially different than traditional psychotherapy. Diane Conway looks at astrology as a means of navigation and a spiritual practice. She discusses the need for intellectual cross-pollination. Laura Andrikopoulos describes the attraction of astrology in the modern world and the dilemma of embracing a paradigm that is “so painfully out of sync with the times.” She explores a developing astrology that is acceptable to modernity.

Although the personalized perspectives throughout the book add to its charm, the last two chapters are decidedly more retrospective than the others. Darby Costello’s “My Life in Astrology” takes us from her Roman Catholic boarding schools days in the 60s, to studying astrology in Boston with Isabel Hickey, to learning from South African sangomas in the 70s, to her arrival in London in the 80s, and the beginning of her teaching career at the Faculty in the 90s. Melanie Reinhart’s “A Life Astrological” begins at a public library, as a 10-year old in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) reading about astrology. At the University of Cape Town in the late 60s, Melanie fell deeper down the rabbit hole when she ready Dane Rudhyar’s The Pulse of Life. She describes going professional as a “calling,” rather than a career choice. Melanie Reinhart closes her chapter (and the book) with these fitting words, “May we, and all those touched by our work, be given guidance, illumination, integrity and compassion as we continue in dedication to our chosen field.”

Journey through Astrology is a rich read. Often we astrologers think about the impact we have on our clients, students and readers. Rarely do we stop to think about the impact that astrology has on us. This book turns the tables and gives us much to think about. I highly recommend it as a worthy addition to the library of any astrology practitioner or student.

Shakespeare and the Stars

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Shakespeare and the Stars

Shakespeare and the Stars

by Priscilla Costello

Ibis Press, 2016.  www.ibispress.net

Paper --- 527 pp. --- $29.95

 

This book comes out just in time to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Its subtitle is “The Hidden Astrological Keys to Understanding the World's Greatest Playwright.” And Costello will show you that many of Shakespeare's plays are keyed to specific signs and planets.

Even if you've forgotten everything you ever knew about Macbeth, King Lear, or Shakespeare in general --- or even if you avoided Shakespeare entirely as many people I know tried hard to do --- this book will provide you with enough background to understand the plays, should you ever want to go back to them. In the first half of the book, she describes and synthesizes the major classical and Christian ideas of the time as well as relating those ideas to the modern psychological perspective on archetypes and symbols. She also thoroughly discusses the use of the Sun and the Moon as poetic metaphors, the other known planets, the elements, and the humors, showing how these fit in to why the characters are the way they are.

Next comes a look at six of Shakespeare's best-known plays, including Macbeth, The Tempest, King Lear, and more. In each case, Costello clearly illustrates how one sign/planet plays a significant role in the plot, the characterization, and more. In some cases, she even shows synchronicities between the plays and events surrounding various performances. For example, prior to one production of Macbeth, the young actor playing Lady Macbeth became ill suddenly and actually died backstage. Before another, two actors suffered heart attacks and died, while the Third Witch collapsed on stage as she was dancing around her cauldron. Scorpio? Absolutely. And Mars, says Costello. I might have added Pluto here, even though Pluto was not discovered and is not a planet. The manipulative Lady Macbeth to me is far more Plutonian than Martian, even given the fact that Mars is in Scorpio. In contrast, for The Tempest, she does mention both Jupiter and Neptune, the traditional and modern rulers of Pisces.

This is a dense, meaty book with a substantial number of endnotes as well as a very thorough bibliography. It's not a light book in either weight or content. And it's probably not for everyone. If you have no desire to revisit Shakespeare, the brief synopses of each play may be enough for you if you choose to pick up this book at all. On the other hand, if you're merely apathetic rather than averse to Shakespeare, this is precisely the sort of book that just might make you go back and have another look. Maybe the reason Shakespeare didn't come alive when you studied it before is because you didn't have someone like Costello as a guide to breathe life into it.

The Soul Speaks: The Therapeutic Potential of Astrology

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

The Soul Speaks: The Therapeutic Potential of Astrology

The Soul Speaks: The Therapeutic Potential of Astrology

by Mark Jones

Raven Dreams Press, www.ravendreamspdx.com, 2015.

Paper ---239 pp.--- $24.95

 

The author is a licensed psychosynthesis therapist as well as an astrologer who is not only a certified evolutionary astrologer but also a graduate of Noel Tyl's Masters astrology program. His book is based on over 10,000 hour of client work in the field of astrology. So, if you're looking for insights into counseling on pretty much any level from the esoteric to the psychological, you've come to the right place.

Jones begins with an introduction in which he credits astrologer Christina Rose for stressing the need to move away from the cookbooks and taking in the client's point of view and then moves on to a thorough definition and discussion of therapeutic astrology. This leads into a chapter on counseling skills, which is geared to astrologers specifically and again with an eye to taking the client's point of view. Importance psychological concepts such as projection, transference in its many forms, congruence, and more are discussed clearly and without a lot of psycho-babble.

Now so far, there has been next to no astrology. That changes, with a chapter on the signs as steps to healing, a chapter on Saturn as the guardian of our true potential, and an excellent chapter on the outer planets. Here, Jones discusses something I haven't seen covered in years --- the outer planets as higher octaves of inner planets.  And for once, it is a discussion that makes some sense. This is one of those old concepts I threw away years ago because I never really saw any use in it. It was just waffley astro-babble. Well, Jones has changed that and caused me to revisit this concept --- and the planets --- in a new way. I appreciate that.

There's also a decent chapter on the Saturn and Uranus cycles and another one on soul psychology. This last one is redolent of Assagioli, who was the founder of psychosynthesis. In my opinion, this is wonderful, because psychosynthesis largely vanished from the astrological scene with the death of Alex Ruperti.          

There are good endnotes. There is also a decent bibliography, which is geared to counseling rather than astrology. There is no index. There are a few charts --- house system not noted, and not all of which are timed.           

All in all, this is a valuable addition to the literature on counseling and very definitely a good investment that will serve most consulting astrologers well.

Under a Sacred Sky

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Under a Sacred Sky

Under a Sacred Sky

Essays on the Practice and Philosophy of Astrology

by Ray Grasse

The Wessex Astrologer, www.wessexastrologer.com, 2015.

Paper --- 200 pp. --- 14.00 British Sterling

 

This book consists of sixteen essays, plus two interviews --- one with Richard Tarnas and one with Laurance Hillman. All of these have been published previously in The Mountain Astrologer. All are worth a first or second read. All offer thought-provoking material that can enhance your consultation style and skills. What sort of material? Oh, my...where do I begin? For starters, there's What Goes Around Comes Around. No, it's not about karma, specifically; it's about learning from past transits in order to understand future trends. It's about asking about past transits in order to better assess your clients' present and future trends. And to a small extent it's about the value of keeping some sort of diary or daily journal for yourself --- because we don't necessarily remember everything about our lives, let alone what might be important. There's a fascinating chapter on astrology and the chakras complete with case studies and chakra charts. And there's a fantastic chapter on station points, which Grasse calls tectonic triggers. Not only does he give a brief discussion of how these might manifest in the charts of individuals (along with lists of individuals who have these) he discusses their role in a wide array of mundane events --- battles, disasters, archeological finds, and various media firsts, among other things.

...And speaking of media, there are two whole chapters devoted to the cinema --- Astrology Goes to the Movies and Cinema and the Birth of the Age of Aquarius.

The interviews with Tarnas and Hillman are interesting and insightful. I had somehow missed the Hillman interview in its earlier incarnation. I found Hillman a most interesting person and the interview overall very worthwhile. 

OK, so yes, you may have read some of these before. I had. And I will tell you that I enjoyed most of them just as much the second time around. I would also mention that a number of them have been slightly updated. If for some reason, you didn't run across these in their original form, then you're really in for a treat --- and I bet you'll be reading some of these again at a later date. Grasse writes well. He is insightful. He touches on numerous topics upon which little has been written. In short, this book is a gem --- and a keeper!

William Lilly's History of his Life and Times 1602-1681

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

William Lilly's History of his Life and Times 1602-1681

William Lilly's History of his Life and Times 1602-1681

Introduction and critical annotations by Wade Caves,

Rubedo Press, 2015 www.rubedo.press

Paper - 195 pp.

Price not marked.

 

This is another anniversary edition, celebrating the 300th anniversary of Lilly's birth. The original was inspired and written in part at the request of Elias Ashmole, Lilly's patron. And Lilly, of course, was the much-celebrated astrologer and author of Christian Astrology. And Christian Astrology was really the first comprehensive textbook on the theory and practice of astrology in English. So of course Lilly is indeed an astrologer to be celebrated. But do we really need yet another version of his biography? That was what I was asking myself when this book arrived, because another very good annotated autobiography came out in the last year or so --- one which, in fact, I very much enjoyed.

Well, sometimes we don't know we need something until we see it. For me, that was the case with this book. It is both entertaining and informative. Caves has taken pains to not only replicate the original with accuracy, but also to provide background on the socio-political tone of the times and a great many little details that make the text more understandable for those of us who are not history majors and maybe not even traditional astrologers. There are close to 300 annotations here that both clarify and inform. There is also particular attention to the included charts, which is certainly very useful for students of both traditional and modern astrology. So rather than feeling I was once again going over familiar ground --- and sighing ---I felt I was discovering fresh new nooks and crannies of a territory previously explored. This book complements previous editions and adds new information. A bonus I particularly appreciated was the foreword by Philip Graves, which gives you a thorough overview, not only of the literature of Renaissance astrology but also an overview of some of the prime proponents in its twentieth-century revival. Should you be left wanting still more, Caves has included a concise bibliography.

...Oh, and apropos of nothing, I love the smaller format of this very well produced book. It's small enough and sturdy enough to travel with, though if you're looking for a quick, easy read, this may not be the best book for bus travel. Why not? Because you may very well get annoyed with having to put it down after 15 minutes because you've gotten to your destination.

Scholarly, but by no means dry, this edition is perfect for anyone who has been meaning to read this book for years. And if haven't been meaning to read it, maybe you should bite the bullet and read it anyway. Lilly is really what I call a cornerstone astrologer. His work laid the foundation upon which we are building. Yes, even those of us who are psychological or evolutionary or otherwise non-traditional and non-horary. And this book will give you most, if not all, of what you need to know.                                                                                             

The Wisdom of Astronumerology

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

The Wisdom of Astronumerology

The Wisdom of Astronumerology

Volume 1

by Samantha I. Samuels

Malavya Books,

http://www.astronumerologywisdom.com, 2015.

Paper:341 pp.

Price: $29.95

 

Astronumerology is a combination of astrology and numerology. The author suggests that it can be used in personality analysis and to better define life purpose. She uses a number of case studies --- Bruce Lee, Amma, Caitlyn Jenner, and others to show you how this works. Not all case studies come with charts; the ones that do are Tropical Placidus.

The book is divided into two parts: Part 1 introduces you to key concepts and theory in astronumerology, while Part 2 gives you an overview of the 108 astronumerology combinations.

Samuels begins at the beginning with what amounts to a crash course in astrology symbols and concepts, followed by a crash course in numerological concepts and basic keywords for the numbers 1-9 plus 11 and 22. She then shows you how to calculate your life path number, birthday number, soul urge number, and more. She has covered all the bases here, which suggest to me that her target markets are both astrologers who wanted to learn some numerology and numerologists who wanted to learn some astrology. She then goes on to discuss astronumerology as a tool for living life consciously along with discussing karma, fate and free will. Transits and pinnacle numbers are also covered.

Unfortunately, things bog down in Chapter 5, which is about stepping into your personal power. The author accounts a personal experience of discrimination that is definitely both sad and awful. I suspect it was also very raw, as the terrible tale goes on far too long (18 pages) and the resolution remained unclear, at least to me. Additionally, the author, a Gemini, wanders around mixing Western and Vedic astrology with the numerology. She does this with other case studies as well. Given that this system is based on Western Sun Signs as far as I can see, the Vedic is both superfluous and potentially confusing. And while it's lovely that her court case was settled in a Venus-Jupiter dasa on a 9 day, if this system is geared to Western astrology, the Western significators needed to be given more emphasis. Moreover, all though it is clear she won her case, it remained unclear to me whether or not she had actually managed to pursue and obtain her graduate degree. Good editing could have made a world of difference to this chapter.

If you manage to wade through that chapter, however, you will definitely be rewarded. Part 2 contains the 108 Sun Sign/birthday number blends --- and yes, they are geared to Western astrology. The material here includes character traits, possible career aptitudes and interests, a little romantic profile and more. Mine fit well, as did most of the dozen or so people I guinea-pigged. In the couple of cases where it didn't fit, the chart would have been a tip-off that a bit of this needed to be fine-tuned. And this IS supposed to be a synthesis. She said that you could additionally try reading your Moon Sign and birthday number and/or your Sun Sign and life path number. In my case, these have some relevance, but less than the birthday number.

As this is Volume 1, we can suspect a Volume 2 to be forthcoming. I would certainly welcome that, though I would strongly encourage Ms. Samuels to get an editor. While Volume 1 is a decent book with something to offer, good editing would have probably moved it from the realm of “decent book” into the category of “excellent” or maybe even “superb” book. More charts and index would have been nice as well --- but I suspect an editor would have told her that.

Despite my complaints, I would say this book is worth looking at. Much of it is worthwhile.   

Astrology Realized

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Astrology Realized

Astrology Realized

by Nadiya Shah

Syncronicity Press, www.NadiyaShah.com, 2013.

Paper --- 249 pp. --- Price not marked.

           

The author is a syndicated Sun Sign columnist as producer and host of her own show on YouTube. She caters to newbies and novice astrologers, though I know many more advanced folks who watch her show as well. However, this bit of background will give you an idea of the thrust of this book. In it, Shah introduces you to the basics of astrology, beginning with a very solid historical view and a discussion of philosophy and critical thought regarding astrology. This section is both very readable and well researched and I wouldn't be surprised if even those beyond the beginning stages learned something from it.

Next, Shah introduces you to the various factors that make up your birth chart. If you don't have a birth chart, she lists three online chart services where you can punch in your birth data and get yourself a free chart. Next comes the usual discussion of planets, signs, and houses. Shah has chosen not to do this cookbook style, so if you're wondering what the difference is between, say, Mars in Pisces and Mars in Gemini, you won't get an answer here. You'll simply have to think about it. This approach, plus the questions for consideration at the end of each chapter, makes this book an ideal text for teachers of beginning classes or students studying with a teacher. The material on planets, signs, individual houses, and aspects is well written, insightful, and clear. She also explains day and night rulers very clearly and succinctly.

I do, have some minor quibbles, however. First of all, I would have preferred to leave the seasonal emphasis of signs out of things, though she does mention that these apply to the signs as observed in the Northern Hemisphere. Fair enough --- and yes, that simply reflects my preferences. The bigger problem for me is the use of the term “intercepted houses.” There is no such animal. I mean, have you ever seen a chart where there were only 10 houses because two got intercepted? C'mon --- it's the signs that get intercepted --- not the houses. I know people use this terminology; I hear it all the time. But it's just plain wrong. And in using it, Shah is encouraging a whole new generation to misuse it as well, and in doing so, garbling the distinction between signs and houses.

There is a good chapter on how transits work. There is also brief discussion of a number of topics well beyond introductory astrology including a very well-done explanation of progressions, a brief discussion of relationship astrology, and even a discussion of astrological magic --- though I'm not really sure I'd link the Sabian symbols to astrological magic myself.

Consider this book a supplement to a basic astrology class. Use those questions at the end of each chapter to get students thinking about their charts. But for heaven's sakes, make it clear that there are no intercepted houses.

One Body, Many Illnesses

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

One Body, Many Illnesses

One Body, Many Illnesses
by Alan R. Wheatcroft
AFA, Inc., 6535 S. Rural Road,
Tempe, AZ, 85283, 2015.
Paper: 157 pp.
Price: $19.95.
 
Books on medical astrology are fairly rare. Good ones are rarer still. This is a good one, but you may as well be forewarned right at the beginning: It’s not recommended for beginners, and Wheatcroft’s system is incredibly complex. If you’re not prepared to do a little work, chances are good that you won’t find anything here for you. The author is well versed in both traditional and modern astrology as well as evolutionary astrology, and he manages to synthesize the three fairly well, though some prior knowledge of each would be helpful if you’re to make the most of the material presented.
 
The first portion of this book is on biorhythms and chakras. All of this material is new, and I must admit that it took me several tries to understand some of what he was saying once I got past the very thorough section on Astrological Influences and Effects, which for the most part was fairly familiar to me. The section on the body’s hypersphere was pretty much beyond me. There is information there, but I was unable to use it. To do so, the author asserts, we need to use our third eye chakra and look deep within ourselves for answers, using guided meditation and color therapy. Since I have only a rudimentary knowledge of color therapy and not a lot of experience with guided meditation of this sort, I have left that for another time when I have more time to study and meditate. The list of the hyperspheric colors will no doubt come in handy at that point. I found the chapter on chakras easier to understand - and the fact that he offered Patrick Swayze’s chart for analysis was very helpful. I will again note, however, that this chapter is not devoid of new material. The author feels that at this time, chakras are in the process of changing colors. Additionally, he feels that 5 new chakras are being integrated into the psyche at this time. This material, and his explanation of the chakras in regard to health was very interesting, especially alongside the Swayze chart. 
 
In contrast, the material on biorhythms was easier to use, though I did have to read it several times. This, by the way, could be a good system for timing and possibly identifying sources of illness. And I did find a couple of incidences where it was spot on with my own past history.
 
On the whole, I would like to have seen these sections expanded into one book with more detail. I get the feeling that Wheatcroft could merely touch on the surface of these fascinating subjects here. And I would have liked more.
 
The three chapters on the Moon’s Nodes are apt to be more accessible for most of you. There was plenty of excellent material here, including material on North Node and South Node transiting conjunctions. There is also a tie-in with traditional numerology in this section and a display of how the rulers of the Nodes can be strongly tied to various parts of your life path. This chapter alone is worth the price of the book.
 
The book ends up with case studies - cardiovascular and lung disease, bursitis, breast cancer, and even narcissistic personality disorder. These are not case studies of wellknown figures, but they are very thorough and helpful.
 
Again, this is not the book for you if you’re looking for a quick guide to medical astrology. Nor is it the book for you if you’re closed to metaphysical principles. Otherwise, it’s worth looking at.

Planetary Hours

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Planetary Hours

Planetary Hours

by Bob Makransky
The Wessex Astrologer, www.wessexastrologer.com, 2015.
Paper - 61 plus tables for calculating planetary hours - 11 pounds British Sterling
 
The Planetary Hours are an ancient astrological system for choosing favorable times to act. This book explains how to use them. Note that this is an astrology of luck, not a psychological astrology. Each hour of each day is governed by one of the 7 traditional planets. Additionally, each day of the week has an affinity with a particular planet. By using this information, you can increase your chances of getting what you want. There is even a chapter on how to cast spells that really work. This again involves finding the appropriate hour, but additionally it often requires an appropriate attitude. For example, a Scat spell for banishing someone should not be done with a sense of gloating or visualizing something bad happening to the person. The attitude should simply be one of happiness, and rather one of happiness and lightness and wishing the person or thing the best of luck on its future journey. Sometimes this is easier said than done, so even if you master this system, you could have a few challenges getting it to work.
 
The Planetary Hours can also be used with the natal chart. In this case, the day ruler is analogous to your rising sign and your planetary hour ruler is analogous to your Sun Sign -- except that it will show you how you behave when you are free of all doubt, hesitation, and ulterior motive – well worth a look.
 
If this isn’t enough, there is also a chapter on the use of Firdaria (using Theodore Roosevelt’s chart as an example). Additionally, there is a very interesting-looking generalized planetary hours chart, but I must admit that the math was beyond me. This, by the way, projects your entire chart over the 24-hour period. It looks very interesting, and I may eventually figure out how to use the AstroApp.com website (mentioned in the book) to calculate one and see whether or not there is a charge to use this service. I could only find the natal chart calculator on it, I fear.
 
However, the actual Planetary Hours can be easily calculated using the handy tables in the back of the book. 
 
Worth looking at!

Opening Your Cosmic Toolbox

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Opening Your Cosmic Toolbox

by Judy Conkel
Paper - 217 pp
Price: $16.95 US, (Kindle - $2.95)
 
If you want something fun for a friend or yourself, this is worth looking at. Don’t be looking for a lot of depth here, however. The material on numerology and how it relates to astrology is particularly good. Though I should warn you - the author doesn’t agree with the numbers traditionally assigned to the planets. I found her analysis of the numbers to make sense, but you may not. For one thing, she adds Chiron into the mix. And again, I found that ok, but you may not.
The astrology section is pretty basic. The author tries to lighten it up with some clever descriptions; for example, the signs as pizza toppings. Clever, but I had some resistance to some of it: Pisces as mushrooms, for example, which to me are very earthy - and Cancer as green pepper; Capricorn as bacon, despite her use of analogy “because Capricorn likes to bring home the bacon.” So overall, I’m not too sure if this clever little story would be a help or a hindrance to new astrologers. The “one in a hole” story that follows is much better in terms of conveying how astrology works.
But it’s really the numerology that shines in this book - and the correlations between the numbers and the planets. Conkel does an amazing job with these, and if you don’t look at them currently, you might after reading this.
There is also a good section on Chinese astrology.
There are a lot of fun ideas to play with here, like finding your predominant chakra by looking at the letters in your name and looking at the numbers in your address. So expect to have fun with this book, above all else.
As for the astrology, I think she might have done a better job had she not been so determined to be cute, but despite that, there’s probably enough here for a beginner to get his or her feet wet.

LifeCycles Astrology

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

LifeCycles Astrology

LifeCycles Astrology

by Jef Bartow
New Paradigm Publishing
Paper - 480 pp. 
Price not marked
 
OK, my mind is truly boggled by this one. I have read it twice and am starting on the third read. And I’m STILL getting more information out of it. I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered a book with as much food for thought in it.
 
LifeCycles Astrology is based on the process-oriented approach to astrology first described by Dane Rudhyar and Leyla Rael-Rudhyar in The Astrological Aspects and later expanded on by Alexander Ruperti. He describes a 72-year cycle for the Saturn (or personality) cycle and an 84-year cycle for the Uranus (or soul) cycle. These cycles intertwine. Additionally, there are sub-phases to consider. These phases are shown by both the houses and the aspects, which are expressed through harmonics. The signs, of course, are not left out. These are seen as personality conditioning mechanisms. And the planets? Well, they are seen as either personality functions or spiritual functions. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, plus Chiron, Vulcan, the Moon’s Nodes, the Parts of Fortune and Spirit, and most importantly, the Ascendant, are seen as planets or points of our spiritual nature. Oh, and as an aside, Bartow also looks at Sabian symbols, midpoints, and other factors.
 
You need to also be aware that while we are referring to the Saturn cycle, the cycle is seen as starting, not from where the planet is, but rather, from your Ascendant. If you’re like me, this short list probably already bristles with things you don’t use or things you find odd. Trust me, though -- Bartow’s system, while complicated, is worth the effort. It works amazingly well in terms of pinpointing key ages and experiences in your life. And he’s given you a number of charts to try this on, ranging from Alice Bailey to Jimmy Carter to Jung to Voltaire. After practicing on a few of these, you’ll no doubt be ready to try this on your own chart.
 
This is not a quick system to learn or to work with, and while Bartow is mostly easy to follow, there is so much information here that it’s easy to become overwhelmed. It’s definitely not something you’ll incorporate into every chart you do. But for people of interest to you -- and most importantly for your own chart -- using this system will yield amazing fruit.

Life Choices: Using Astrology in the 21st Century

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Life Choices: Using Astrology in the 21st Century

Life Choices: Using Astrology in the 21st Century

by Nancy L. Bahlman
Professional Women Publishing
Paper - 113 pp.
Price: $15.00
 
This is a very nice little book that seems to be designed to explain some of the vagaries of astrology to newcomers, regardless of whether they are merely curious or desiring to study. It would be a good adjunct to a beginner’s course; it might also be something you would want to put in a waiting room. Chapters are short; subject matter covered is varied. There IS a bit of jargon, but not a lot and only as necessary.
 
The first 15 pages or so cover ways in which a consultations can help you, how to get the most from a reading, the differences between astrology, tarot cards, psychic readings, and reading modalities, and even a bit of advice on how to find a good consultant and avoid a bad one.
 
The remainder of the book discusses things that would probably be of interest to someone new to astrology. Sun Signs are just one example. And rather than belittling these, Bahlman notes that an understanding of Sun Signs can be very helpful in getting a deeper understanding of people’s personalities so long as you remember there’s more than the Sun Sign.
 
Numerous chapters show you exactly what “more” there is. There’s a chapter on choosing the right time for various things, a chapter on family dynamics, and a chapter on Nancy’s specialty -- travel and relocation. There’s also information on how an astrologer looks at your health, your finances, and other things. These are all short, but they would give an interested client or student enough background information to understand what the astrologer is looking at. And for those who want more, there’s a short recommended reading list.
 
While professionals probably aren’t going to find a lot of new insights here, this book could be invaluable to those just starting out -- or even to those trying to decide whether to start out or not. It is very clear. It tells you what you can -- and can’t -- expect to find out with astrology, and would be of great value even to those considering consulting an astrologer. So this might be a book you want to keep in your office or where you can show it to clients and students. If I were rich, I’d by half a dozen and give them out as needed. Why not pick one up for that curious friend who is always asking your questions? I’m sure they would appreciate it -- and it might help them understand what’s involved in looking at a chart.

Mutual Reception

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Mutual Reception

Mutual Reception

by Alan Annand 

Sextile.com, 2016.

Paper - 339 pp.

Price not marked.

Mutual reception has been around for 2000 years or so, and yet very little has been written about it. Sure, you’ll see mention of the fact that 2 planets in mutual reception will “help one another out,” but that’s about the extent of what most books tell you. So this book is a welcome addition to our literature. However, before you dash out to buy it, you might want to know how Annand works with them. Specifically, you need to know that he does not include the outer planets. He also uses the sidereal zodiac and a whole sign house system. Aspects are not taken into account in mutual reception. All you need to see is what signs and houses the planets occupy.

Now, you can try this in the tropical zodiac, but Annand cautions you that his experience leads him to believe the information here works better when you’re using the sidereal zodiac. I tried the interpretations in both systems and also with traditional and modern rulers. I had hit-andmiss success with the modern rulers and with the tropical zodiac. I had good results using Annand’s system, though I have to say that in many respects I have trouble relating to my sidereal chart as a whole. Whether this is simply my conditioning (I am a tropical astrologer though I have studied sidereal) or because my tropical chart fits better is a moot point and not necessarily relevant to this review. Suffice to say, I got results in both systems, possibly a bit more with the sidereal, though. And I would note that you get different results - and different receptions - in both systems.

And what is this information I was playing with? Pages and pages of interpretations for each mutual reception by house, along with a case study for each position. Oh, and an opening interpretation from Parashara, just to put things in perspective (Annand is a Vedic astrologer.) And from what I can see, these are very good interpretations, no matter which way you use them.

There is also a glossary. Numerous useful tables are scattered throughout. I found these particularly helpful in regard to the Jyotish material Annand includes at the end. This, by the way, lists some other types of receptions that are relevant in Jyotish astrology.

No charts are included but all data is listed - and the data is from good sources.

Regardless of what flavor of astrology you practice, this book could be a very good addition to your library. And if, like me, you’re a Western, tropical astrologer, there’s a good chance you’ll pick up some new knowledge even if you aren’t ready to fully embrace sidereal or give up the outer planets as sign rulers just yet.

Western Sidereal Astrology for Beginners

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Western Sidereal Astrology for Beginners

Western Sidereal Astrology for Beginners

by John Savarese
selfpublished, primaries8@gmail.com, 2015. 
Paper - 78 pp.
Price: $12.95 US.
 
This is an introduction to Western Sidereal astrology. It is clear and easy to understand. It explains precession, right ascension, declination, in mundo aspects, and how to read a speculum among other things. He also shows you how to calculate primary directions using a Casio fx-260 Solar Calculator. I am a Luddite so I must admit that I didn’t try the latter at home. However, the instructions appeared to be quite easy to follow. 
 
There are charts. These appear to be from the author’s files. No names. There is a very short bibliography and a very short resource list. However, there are new interpretations of signs, houses, aspects, or anything else. One book is listed in the bibliography that gives that kind of information.
 
If you want to learn calculation and understand the rationale behind Western Sidereal as opposed to Western Tropical, or if you are a teacher of Western Sidereal, this book is a good resource. If you want the nuts and bolts of what the signs and aspects mean, well, you will need more than this little book. Still, it’s a good starting point and worth looking at if Sidereal interests you.

 

Essential Astrology

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Essential Astrology

Essential Astrology

by Amy Herring
Paper - 382 pp. 
Price: $24.99 US/$28.95 CDN.
 
Good astrology books for beginners have gotten to be hard to find. And just when you think you’ve found one that will work for your students, it invariably goes out of print indefinitely and the search begins again. So, I was delighted to find this new offering from Amy Herring. The author is a seasoned astrologer who approaches astrology from a psychological perspective that emphasizes the potential for evolution inherent in the chart. She has definitely been influenced by the tenets of evolutionary astrology, but at the same time, she is not pushing any one system of astrology. She sees the chart as a tool you can use to help you build the life you want. She also sees astrology as a symbolic language and shows you how to make sense of those symbols --- without resorting to cookbook interpretations, I might add. Why? Because she feels they are limiting.
The writing style is clear and simple, though the content is pretty profound. The book begins and the beginning and progresses in orderly fashion. The book opens with a short history of astrology, the astronomy behind the astrology, and a guided tour of the major components of the chart. Section Two discusses what planets, signs, and houses mean. One major goal in this section seems to be moving beyond those aforementioned cookbook stereotypes. So, for the planets for example, she includes a thorough discussion of each, including both common themes and what happens when they are misdirected. She also clarifies commonly used keywords and differentiates between the nuances in interpretation of keywords that are used for more than one planet --- for example individuality as it applies to the Sun and individuality as it applies to Uranus. There are a couple of specific examples of how each placement operates --- for example, the Moon in Libra in the fourth house contrasted with the Moon in Aries in the third house. I see some beginners being frustrated when their placement isn’t covered, but the point of these exercises is to make you think. Last but not least, there are questions to ask yourself in regard to each placement. So for Mercury, you are asked what topics draw your attention most easily, what style of learning works best for you, how you express your ideas, and so on. And as you journey through the chart, you learn...
There’s a section on the basics of chart interpretation with a decent chapter on aspects and a lot of tips and tricks for synthesizing--- including some tips on resolving contradictions. One in-depth case study --- Steve Martin’s chart --- is used. It is presented in tropical Porphyry.
The book is rounded out with an excellent glossary and a good list of recommended reading and resources, including web resources.
As a book for the solitary student studying alone, this may not be the best --- especially if the student is brand new. For new students at the beginner or advanced beginner level studying with a teacher, this is an excellent textbook or supplement that I suspect both teachers and students will enjoy using and gain from. Give it a look!

Ensoulment

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Ensoulment

Ensoulment

by Porphyry of Tyre
Rendered by Andrea L. Gehrz
Paper - 106 pp.
Price: $24.95.
 
Porphyry of Tyre was an intuental neo-Platonic Greek philosopher who lived from approximately 234-305 C.E. He wrote on various topics, from music theory to vegetarianism to astrology, and, in fact, wrote An Introducton to the Tetrabiblost of Claudius Ptolemy. He is also responsible for the Porphyry system of houses. And this book --- Ensoulment --- may to some extent give you a clue as to why this house system is used so extensively by metaphysical and evolutonary astrologers --- because in this book he delves into the intuence of the heavens on the soul and the ‘hows’ and ‘whens’ of the soul ataching to the physical body. He touches on questons such as “Does the heavenly tow intuence the life pursuit?”, “What if a soul is inexperienced at animatng itself?”, “What if father or mother does not furnish a soul?”, “What if a baby is born under peevish weather conditons (transits)?”
 
Now remember, this is philosophy. It alludes to astrology, but it isn’t a textbook and it certainly isn’t a cookbook. Also note that Porphyry is talking about incarnaton rather than reincarnaton. As he notes at one point, “Let us note that souls from outside have not been known to pounce on prospectve parents.” We’re in the realm of “those who will understand will understand” here. And no, all of your questons won’t be answered. But you’ll get plenty of food for thought.
 
At $24.95 for this slim volume, I suspect some will give it a pass as being too price-y and not worth it. However, for those spiritual seekers among you with a philosophical bent, this beautfully produced volume, complete with glossary, is a gem to be treasured. It is well rendered, worth looking at, and well worth reading. I enjoyed it immensely and will no doubt read it again.

The Book of Neptune

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

The Book of Neptune

The Book of Neptune

by Steven Forrest

www.sevenpaws.com, 2016.

Paper - 377 pp.

Price: $24.95.

“Neptune is the window through which consciousness peers at cosmos --- and through which the light of the cosmos pours into us.” It marks the border between the conventional planets and deep space. It is huge, yet it cannot be seen with the naked eye. It has keywords like “confusion” and “disappointment” and ”deception” but at the same time it is often associated with creativity and spirituality and psychic phenomena. And, of course, traditional astrologers pay little if any attention to it. Many people have tried to explain and define Neptune. Most have, at best, managed to define a little bit of the elephant that is Neptune. Until now. This is a powerful, clarifying, non-fluffy look at Neptune. And one of the most important points he makes in Part One: The Big Picture is that the one-interpretation-fits all approach doesn’t work with Neptune. “Should” and “supposed to” are not tools for handling Neptune. Your chart is your key to handling Neptune, and the best way to handle it is the way that is in harmony with your chart.

With that in mind, Forrest bravely goes on to interpret Neptune. He does this by putting first things first --- first the aspects, then the house position, and last but not least the signs. While there are some broad general themes in terms of interpreting the aspects, most of these themes are illustrated and elaborated on via stories and anecdotes rather than the usual “this means that” stuff that you find in most astrological cookbooks. There are some general caveats; for example, if you have a Sun-Neptune aspect, you are “majoring” in Neptune. It will therefore push you or hit some buttons in your psyche. What about orb? Forrest passes on hard and fast rules on that one too. So what’s this? Can anything mean anything? Well, when we’re talking about Neptune aspects, the answer might be yes.

The material on house positions is more concrete. There are keywords for both the manifestation of healthy Neptune energy and for the manifestation of leaking or undirected energy. For example, with Neptune in the first house, enlightened selfishness serves your soul, where when the energy is leaking, you may very well feel trapped in a role and that doesn’t really reflect who you are. There’s lots of food for thought here as well as a lot of good analogies.

The material on sign placements is short, sweet, and excellent. For each sign position, Forrest lists an archetype, a shadow side, some synchronistic correlations and more.

Then comes a crash course in navigating Neptunian times. This chapter includes synchronistic correlations for transiting aspects from Neptune to natal planets (and of course the Moon’s Nodes), and Neptune transiting a natal house or moving in by solar arc. These are again, short, sweet, and very useful. Forrest is wonderful at creating evocative phrases.

While there are numerous examples of famous people with natal Neptune in each of the houses, there are no charts and there is no data. I found that off-putting. If I am reading I am reading. I don’t want to go dashing to my computer to pull up charts because, for the most part, I don’t read at my computer. Otherwise, I loved this book and would highly recommend it.

Soma County

Reviewed by: Donna Van Toen

Soma County

Soma County

by Alan Annand

www.sextile.com, 2015

Paper - 333 pp. 

Price not marked

If the title looks like it belongs on a novel, well, that’s because Soma County is a novel. Specifically, it’s a crime novel. If you’re now wondering why a crime novel is being reviewed here, well, possibly you’ve never encountered Alan Annand before. Annand is an accomplished writer of suspense novels; he is also an accomplished Vedic astrologer with a solid grasp of Eastern and Western astrology, palmistry, and more. He has imbued his protagonist, Axel Crowe, with this knowledge and set him loose in what he calls his New Age Noir series. This is the third book in that series, but you don’t need to have read the other two to understand Crowe (though, as with an old friend, his character has deepened and become more clear with each novel). And Crowe for the most part is a likeable guy --- as is his former guru who is an invisible but very definite presence in this book.

The plot? A beautiful woman dies at a wine tasting at a California vineyard owned by the woman’s close friend and the friend’s husband. The police assume it was a tainted batch of wine. When Crowe is called in by the friend, he suspect’s otherwise. Who would want to put the vineyard in jeopardy? Hmm...there are several possibilities --- a developer, assorted workers (one of whom turns up missing), and perhaps other vintners hoping to capitalize on this vineyard’s ruined reputation. But this is no simple whodunit. The action takes you from the Napa Valley to India and back again. And along the way, a black market in body parts adds to the intrigue. Am I going to tell you more? Only that the characters are well developed, the plot is rich and fast-paced, and Crowe is very generous in relaying snippets of astrology, numerology, and Vedic lore. Consider this a painless introduction to some very basic astrological principles as well as a thriller you won’t want to put down.

Non-astrological readers tend to appreciate Annand’s books every bit as much as we do, so if you want to sneakily pique somebody’s interest in astrology, do leave this book lying about. And if you haven’t read the first two in the series, consider getting them as well if you like this one. Scorpio Rising and Felonious Monk are equally good. 

All The Sun Goes Round

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

All The Sun Goes Round

All The Sun Goes Round

All The Sun Goes Round

Tales from the Zodiac

Reina James

ISBN: 9781902405490

The Wessex Astrologer Ltd

PO Box 2751

Bournemouth

BH5 2AZ

England

www.wessexastrologer.com

Price: £9.99

 

The well-known writer and astrologer Reina James, has produced a little gem of a book, reminding us in a humorous and incisive manner, of the most salient characteristics of each sign of the zodiac. Written in the form of short fables, each tale addresses the core issues we  encounter, wherever the sign lies in our chart. With wonderful titles like “Flame Davey” for Aries and “Jack Fortune” for Sagittarius, each story can be re-read several times over, offering a new layer of meaning at each reading.

Reina’s experience as an astrologer of over 20 years is evident throughout the stories, as is her ability to write about our human foibles in an enjoyable and easily readable style. This book is easily readable and likely to be very enjoyable for both astrologers and non-astrologers of all ages making a perfect gift for all.

My thanks to all of you for sending me your wonderful books to review. I am currently based in Hawaii. Please email me for my latest address, as I am prone to moving home quite often! 

The Houses

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

The Houses

The Houses

The Houses 

Temples of the Sky

Deborah Houlding

(Revised and expanded edition)

ISBN 190240520X

The Wessex Astrologer Ltd

PO Box 2751

Bournemouth

BH5 2AZ

England

www.wessexastrologer.com

Price: £14.50

 

In the words of Rob Hand, this revised and expanded edition by traditional astrologer Deborah Houlding seeks to offer a “discussion of the issues of house interpretation along with a good summary of the evolution of their significance through time”.

Starting with a the proposal that “none of the current theories on signs and psychological wheels can be regarded as historically correct ---or as offering a full and reliable insight into the fundamentals of house meanings” Deborah takes us back through the traditional history of astrology which she weaves through the house interpretations. Each chapter summarizes the core meanings of individual Houses in a clear box outlining the significant meanings through history including those of Manilius, others (classical), Firmicus, Al-Biruni, Lilly and the Modern interpretation.

Having gone through all the houses in detail, Deborah brings our focus to “House rulerships in practice”  in areas including Horary, Medical and Mundane as well as colors, lawsuits and commerce. Part II of the book focuses on the inherent difficulties of house divisions including the difficulties of ecliptic-based space division . This section offers a helpful and thorough insight into the history of the various house systems as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

Deborah completes this excellent book with a chapter on Ptolemy’s Powerful Places, concluding that our problem with houses exists “ because there are so many valid frames of reference and it is impossible to fully recognize the symbolic potential of them all, within one technique”. Hence Deborah, who is the owner of the School of Traditional Astrology, returns to the importance of remembering that our work as astrologers “extends from, astronomical principles, rather than resting on them entirely”.

This book is very interesting for experienced and new astrologers alike and does not require a knowledge of traditional astrology. In fact, it offers all astrologers the basics of traditional astrology in a simple and concise manner as well as a depthful journey through the numerous meanings of each of the houses. It is very likely to remain a classic reference book on our bookshelves together with “The Twelve Houses” by Howard Sasportas.

Chiron and The Healing Journey

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

Chiron and The Healing Journey

Chiron and The Healing Journey

Chiron and The Healing Journey

Melanie Reinhart

(New Edition)

ISBN 978-0-9558231-0-7

Starwalker Press

BCM Starwalker

London WC1N 3XX

starwalkerpress@tiscali.co.uk

www.starwalkerpress.com

Price: $37.0

 

Some books are primarily informative and some are predominantly works of art through the style and the images they convey. This book manages to do both, far outstripping even its first 1989 edition, which in itself was excellent. 

Taking an expansive depthful leap on all levels, Melanie offers a new section on the astronomy of Chiron as well as information on the Kuiper belt and on Pholus and Nessus, together with new chart examples, a discussion of current times and the inclusion throughout the book of new concepts and ideas.

Part I helpfully outlines the astronomy of Chiron and the Centaurs as we are also introduced to Pholus and Nessus with the interesting reminder that the International Astronomical Union named several Centaurs on the basis of suggestions from astrologers. These included Zane Stein, Robert Von Heeren, Dieter Koch, Juan Revilla, Philip Sedwick and many others, as well as the author.

Part II, which is concerned with Mythic Images of Chiron represented within Shamanism and Classical Greek Mythology, reminds us of Chiron’s role in “the transition and initiation --- of our personal and collective awakening,” highlighting the particular importance of his archetypal role at this powerful time in history.

Part III focuses on Chiron in the Horoscope, addressing Chironian themes and the issue of rulership, as well as offering a section on Chiron by Sign and House and its effect when in aspect to our other planets, as well as by transit. Melanie expands on her description of the three figures who are present where Chiron is in in our chart: “the Healer, the Wounded One and the One Who Wounds” reminding us that healing is “to make whole” and hence the “destination of our journey is ---the deepening connection with our true nature ---our inner teacher”.

The section on Chiron transits, including the threshold crossing of the Chiron return, is particularly helpful, linking them to spiritual awakenings and a strong activation of our individuation process where “that which was previously repressed turns into awareness”.

Although there are ample chart examples throughout this very comprehensive book, the final chapter in this section offers three interesting longer case studies, including the abduction and release of Natasha Kampusch.

Part IV addresses ‘The Spirit of the Age’, including a final section on the issue of terrorism and some thoughts on the emerging findings of the human cost of war on all levels. An Epilogue is helpfully followed by very useful astronomical information and a comprehensive bibliography as well as a Resource list for ongoing self-healing .

This book is likely to hold a light on our journey back to our soul self for astrologers and non- astrologers at all stages of learning. Its core Chironian theme of taking responsibility for our own soul journey, through taking compassionate care of our wellbeing, cannot but resonate deeply with each of us on the planet, at this extraordinary time in history. With so many apparent distractions easily taking our focus from the core purpose of our journey, Melanie’s exploration of Chiron reminds us that as physical, soulful, mindful and emotional beings, what we are truly seeking is to maintain our connection with our heart, as it is through our heart that healing, can truly take place. This book offers us a giant compassionate step in that direction. 

The Book of the Moon

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

The Book of the Moon

The Book of the Moon

The Book of the Moon

Discovering Astrology’s Lost Dimension

Steven Forrest

ISBN 978-0-9790677-4-7

Seven Paws Press

P.O. Box 82

Borrego Springs, CA 92004-0082

www.sevenpawspress.com

info@sevenpawspress.com

Price: $24.95

 

From the first page of his new book, Steven Forrest invites us on a spiritual, mental, emotional and psychological journey into familiar yet previously “uncharted territory”. The world renowned author and teacher of Evolutionary Astrology, introduces the concept of 8 lunar phases ‘rooted in pre-Christianity, pre-Aristotelian Europe’. Stephen’s conclusions are presented in his usual clear and easy to read style, incorporating an exploration in Chapter 5, of previous systems of lunar phases. These include the 28 phase divisions used by W B Yeats, the  24 phases of Busteed, Tiffany and Wergin, the 28 phases described by Goldsmith and the 8 lunar phases envisioned by Rudhyar. Merging the latter’s work with Celtic and Nordic mythology, as well as his own extensive research, Stephen introduces us to his concept of 8 lunar phases.

In setting the context in Part One, Steven gently expands the boundaries of the more familiar astrological descriptions of the Moon, acknowledging as always, in his usual generous style, the work of other astrologers and authors. The author ends this section with a practical and very helpful table, describing the Moon by sign and house, including its: Evolutionary Goal, Mood, Reigning Need, Secret of Happiness as well as Healing and Shadow. Steven then proceeds to explore the astrology and astronomy of the moon in a very clear and reader friendly manner. Explaining in simple terms the Parallax moon, as well as the fast/ slow moon and the out of bounds moon, Stephen skillfully illuminates the value of these often forgotten tools.

In Part two, Steven introduces his theory of eight lunar phases, explaining how he came to this conclusion and outlining in detail each phase, with the final part of the book presenting the ‘bigger picture’. This includes integrating the Moon’s phase, progressed lunation cycle, planetary phase angles and the nodal phase. Stephen offers us a very comprehensive list of famous people born at each phase, using Bruce Springsteen as a case study, to integrate our learning.

One of the many great gifts of this book is the simple and practical explanation of useful skills and techniques related to the Moon, which can be applied immediately to our astrological work, such as the charting of the Out of Bounds Moon.T he immense value of working with the latter  was first brought home to me by declination expert Leigh Westin at a conference in Boston and I found Stephen’s interpretation of individuals who are born with the Out of Bounds Moon, very useful. Stephen’s interest and exploration of Celtic and Nordic mythology also offers readers an interesting variation from Greek and Roman mythology and of course appealed greatly to my Irish self!

This is an excellent book for astrologers at all levels, as its easy, yet depthful style, engages the reader in what feels like a creative conversation with Stephen and beyond, on a mind, heart and soul level. 

Understanding Karmic Complexes

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

Understanding Karmic Complexes

Understanding Karmic Complexes

Understanding Karmic Complexes

Evolutionary Astrology and Regression Therapy

Patricia L. Walsh

ISBN 9781902405438

The Wessex Astrologer Ltd

4A Woodside Road

Bournemouth

BH5 2AZ

England

www.wessexastrologer.com

Price 24.00 Sterling

 

Patricia Walsh’s first book is a thoroughly researched, deeply insightful exploration of the potential effect of unresolved past life issues, on our current lifetime, from an evolutionary and regression therapy perspective. The author’s interest in past lives began in 1995. Whilst working with hands-on energy healing techniques, Patricia became increasingly aware of images from other times and places, that appeared in her mind during the healing. She began to notice recurring themes, which were mirrored in the client’s current life and started to explore them through the individual’s natal chart. Patricia continued her astrological research over seven years and following training with Jeffrey Wolf Green she completed training and an apprenticeship with Roger Woolger Ph.D, in Deep Memory Process. Patricia is now the chief US trainer for the Woolger school of Deep Memory Process.

Patricia accurately describes her book as “a journey through the archetypes, from the depths to the heights of each” with the purpose of understanding unresolved past life, mental, physical and emotional patterns, that potentially inhibit or block our soul journey in this lifetime. The purpose is to heal them and find new creative ways of living them out. In Patricia’s words: “through the transformation of the negative, we reach new frontiers, of the individual expression of free will”.

The Introduction to the book gives an excellent, clearly outlined overview, of Patricia’s astrological premises, based on the Jeffrey Wolf Green school of evolutionary astrology which she very effectively integrated into four main stages, in her approach to past life regression therapy. The first stage involves inducing the past life memory that is relevant. The second involves reliving the past life, which Patricia believes is necessary in order to “unfreeze” segments of that life that may be “stuck or split off from the whole psyche”. The third stage involves exploring death and the afterlife and the fourth enables an overview, integration and review to take place.

The remainder of the book, offers an in-depth detailed exploration of the archetypes of the Planets, signs and houses from Mars/Aries and the First House to Neptune/Pisces and the Twelfth house. The final two chapters give a very helpful overview entitled: the left brain approach to reading past lives in the chart and the right brain approach to reading past lives in the chart, with helpful practical suggestions for both.

Each chapter contains a vast, rich and expansive wealth of information, including keywords, descriptions of the archetypes in their natural state and useful practical examples of the planet/sign/house archetype as part of the karmic axis in the charts of clients, including an exploration of common themes which arise with these archetypes, which are usefully summarized in the Appendix at the back of the book.

This book is an absolute work of art, as well as of the mind, offering readers at all levels rich food for the soul, regardless of astrological training or spiritual beliefs. Patricia’s description of the planets/signs and houses at the archetypal level is one of the most comprehensive I have ever read and will illuminate our paths for many years to come. 

Planetary Patterns and High Focus Planets

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

Planetary Patterns and High Focus Planets

Planetary Patterns and High Focus Planets

In Spherical Astrology

Lance Carter

ISBN: 13978-1-935057-05-5

ISBN: 1-935057-05-7

LightCorps

Lance Carter

Saratoga, California 95070

www.lancecarter.com

Price: $19.50

 

The second book I reviewed for this edition of the Journal is by Lance Carter, who was first introduced to astrology as a child and later became an astrologer on radio, newspapers and the internet. Lance previously published ‘Lightbody activation and Psychic Surgery’.

The focus of this book is a detailed exploration of the meaning of the seven main planetary patterns in charts, originally outlined by Dr Marc Edmund Jones in 1941. In fact, the author corresponded and conversed with Dr. Jones, whilst doing his own astrological research. Section One, of this interesting book introduces the reader to Spherical Astrology and offers an overview of the main planetary patterns: the Splash, Bundle, Seesaw, Bowl, Bucket, Locomotive, Splay and Fan patterns. Lance also highlights the importance of  ‘the cutting planet’ and ‘the trailing planet’ as well as the ‘high focus planets’.  The remainder of this section outlines each pattern in detail, describing behavioral and emotional tendencies for individuals with each pattern.

In Section two, the author’s focus moves onto ways of recognizing the ‘High Focus Planet’ in the chart, with interpretations for each of the planets when they are in this placement. Section three offers 100 example charts, outlining their planetary patterns with the final section of the book focusing in some detail on the nature of astrological aspects.

This is a thorough book, which clearly explains each pattern in detail, as well as offering the reader simple, well designed diagrams to aid our understanding. It is likely to be of interest to all astrologers, although less experienced astrologers, are more likely to find the section on planets and aspects particularly helpful. In particular, this book reminds us of a very helpful visual way, a chart can be engaged with, at first glance. 

Tracking the Soul

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

Tracking the Soul

Tracking the Soul

Tracking the Soul

With an Astrology of Consciousness

The Astropoetic Series, Volume One

Joe Landwehr

ISBN-13: 978-0-9747626-16

ISBN-10:0-9747626-1-X

Ancient Tower Press

230 West First Street #119

Mountain View,

Missouri 65548

www.ancient-tower-press.com

Price: $24.95

 

Joe Landwehr has a rich background in Astrology, Kundalini and Siddha yoga as well as Marriage, Family and child Counseling. He has had numerous articles published and this book is a sequel to his first book entitled ‘The Seven Gates of Soul: Reclaiming the Poetry of Everyday Life’. 

In his preface, Joe informs the reader about the meaning of ‘astropoetics’ as “a modified form of astrology which can potentially serve as the basis” of a language of soul which is less based on the rational mind and more on “a subjective fusion of sensory input, feelings and imagery unique to the individual”. The author’s overall purpose, is to “outline a system for approaching the birthchart, as a multidimensional template for tracking consciousness through life experience”.

In blending astrology with his spiritual learning and experience, Joe combines an understanding of the Chakras with the Hindu Koshas, described as the “levels of penetration of spirit into matter”.  Chapter 1 – 8 focuses in some detail on the individual Chakras and Koshas, particularly on their spiritual, physical and emotional function. From Chapter 9, Joe begins to integrate an astrological understanding of the Chakras and Koshas, including many helpful case studies.

Without a doubt this is a very creative piece of work, which has been prepared with immense dedication and passion for the subject of our evolving consciousness as souls. This is an intense book, which would benefit from being read as a sequel to the first book. It is likely to appeal to more experienced astrologers and also to non-astrologers, who are interested in spiritual approaches to Yoga and healing. 

The Progressed Moon Around the Zodiac

Reviewed by: Margaret Gray

The Progressed Moon Around the Zodiac

The Progressed Moon Around the Zodiac

The Progressed Moon Around the Zodiac
Charting Personal Development with Astrology

Gisele Terry, M.A.

ISBN-10: 0-86690-617-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-86690-617-3

American Federation of Astrologers, Inc
6535 S. Rural Road
Tempe, AZ 85283

www.astrologers.com

 

In this beautifully crafted book, the author Gisele Terry offers us a unique innovative interdisciplinary approach to understanding our individual growth and development, arising from her skilled synthesis of developmental psychology and the astrology of the progressed moon. Named by the author as ‘the lunar model of development’ this is a superb blending of Gisele’s extensive experience as a psychotherapist with her finely honed, deeply perceptive astrological skills.

Divided into three clear sections, this rich insightful book, initially analyses the link between developmental concepts in astrology and psychological theories of development leading to the ‘lunar model of development’. Skillfully drawing on systems theory, bio-morphic field theory neuroscience and chaos theory as well as Dr. Glen Perry’s lifespan theory, the author presents a new model to assist us in understanding and healing unresolved developmental issues throughout our lifetime. 

The key factors to this very useful and depthful model include the following hypothesis:  if the signs of the zodiac correspond to developmental stages in psychology, (as outlined by Dr. Perry) and the moon conveys how the sequence and meaning of developmental stages unfold through the signs of the zodiac, it follows that the repetitive cycles of the progressed moon through the zodiac, offer the potential for resolution to unfinished developmental issues presented in earlier cycles. The practical use of this excellent dynamic model is expanded in the second and third section of the book, through a wide variety of examples from the author’s own astrological and therapeutic practice. This clearly illustrates how the progressed moon’s cyclical revisiting each sign of the zodiac, offers the opportunity to heal anything unresolved from the previous cycle with the added bonus of life experience.

This soulful book is immensely accessible to both astrologers and therapists alike, as well as to anyone who is interested in inner self development. The very helpful tables offer a useful summary of the following at a glance: the developmental stages associated with each sign of the zodiac as outlined by Dr.Perry, the Moon by sign as ‘representing the effect of the primary relationship on the expression of emotional needs or conditions for love’, the importance of the opposite sign to the moon and the meanings of the progressed Moon in each sign and its association with developmental themes.

There is no doubt in my mind that as suggested by the author, this book can indeed offer ‘a universal template for human development’ reminding us at our core that our development on all levels, is at all times, co-created through our relationships. As we prepare ourselves as a collective to embrace Neptune’s movement into Pisces, this book reminds us of the importance of understanding and healing our past relationships, so that we can choose to inter-relate in a conscious manner as we move forward holding hands with each other.

Pillars of Destiny, The Fixed Stars in Astrology

Reviewed by: OPA Review by Kathryn Andren

Pillars of Destiny, The Fixed Stars in Astrology

Pillars of Destiny, The Fixed Stars in Astrology

Aleksandar Imsiragic

Hardcover: 670 pages

Price: $50.00 + shipping

Order: info@keplerunited.org

OPA review by Kathryn Andren

 

Pillars of Destiny, The Fixed Stars in Astrology is an amazing resource for the serious student of astrology and for those who have a deep appreciation for mythology. Night sky lovers who enjoy looking at the stars can use this book as a reference to identify major constellations and learn about star legends and lore.

Aleksandar Imsiragic, describes 291 fixed stars with mythological codes for the corresponding constellations. He intelligently designs his book in very specific sections, with important illustrations including how the stars align with each degree of the Zodiac, and many detailed reference tables throughout.

In the first extensive section, the author outlines where the fixed stars are located through the 12 Zodiac signs by each degree. The next section lists the fixed stars as they appear in the Zodiac constellations. The continuing chapters expand the descriptions of constellations beyond the ecliptic, with a special emphasis on the "Royal Family of Constellations". The author summaries in detail the mythological origins and astrological influences behind these constellations. He adds richness by listing the seven visible planets and the meaning associated with these planets align with specific stars.

In the final chapters of the book, the author includes a very rich section called "The Anatomy of Constellations". He describes and lists the stars by body area and states, "the fixed stars indicate the unconscious part of existence, so that the stars and constellations, primarily describe physical reality". For example, stars in the head of a constellation are symbolic of taking the lead, arms are associated with practical detail, while stars in the legs represent social connections. Here, the author asserts "by understanding the anatomy of a constellation, we can see how the meaning of a star will literally manifest in the body". 

Aleksandar Imsiragic concludes his epic reference book over 600 pages with a surprising and touching chapter called "The Son of Orion and The Virgin". Here, he includes research indicating planet patterns for the birth of Christ and the Star of Bethlehem. 

Seasoned astrologers may easily use this book as a great reference for personal or professional practice. New astrologers may be intrigued and inspired by the rich depth of mythology and wisdom encoded in the meaning for each star. The author is doing a great service to the filed of astrology by compiling such an extensive resource. Going beyond the Zodiac and planets, Pillars of Destiny, The Fixed Stars in Astrology reminds both astrologers and seekers of the awesome wonder encoded throughout the entire sky.