Book Reviews

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Reference Books

Hellenistic Astrology

HELLENISTIC ASTROLOGY - The Study of Fate and Fortune
Chris Brennan

OPA Review by Arlan Wise

This introduction to Hellenistic astrology is a valuable gift to astrologers who do not have the language skills to read the manuscripts in the original Greek. Chris Brennan does have those skills and has given us the foundation of the astrology we use daily and an explanation for the basis of the knowledge that we take for granted. The book encompasses a thorough history of astrology, a discussion of the philosophy that was in the minds of the early astrologers, and an introduction to the techniques they used.

Chris says in his introduction:

My goal is to present, to the best of my understanding, both, (1.) A narrative that describes what Hellenistic astrology was, where it came from, and how it was practiced, and (2.) A demonstration of how it can be used again today.


Hellenistic astrology is defined as a tradition of Greco-Roman horoscopic astrology that was practiced in the Mediterranean region from approximately the first century BCE until the seventh century CE.

His challenge came in reconstructing the surviving texts, many of which are in fragments. Another challenge was in finding modern words for the technical terms in Greek which don’t have equivalents in today’s language.  He also had to reconcile the deterministic Stoic philosophy underlying the techniques with the concept of free will. He finds that the Time Lord system can outline the narrative of a person’s life in great detail and with stunning accuracy and ponders the ethics of revealing this information to a client.  

He begins the book with the history that starts in the 7th century BCE in Mesopotamia where astrology was seen as one of the languages the Gods used to communicate their intentions to humans. He then moves on to describe the Egyptian astrological influences on Hellenistic authors. He mentions each author in order of when they lived and describes their work. He includes some literal translations which are fascinating to read.

In the second part of the book Chris describes the basics of astrology, i.e., planets, signs, houses, from the Hellenistic perspective and also describes techniques, some of which are in use today and those which did not survive, such as sect. As you read on you learn concepts that can become useful additions to your astrological repertoire, such as overcoming and lots. He promotes the use of the whole sign system, saying:
 Part of the purpose of this book, then, is to demonstrate the efficacy of the whole sign house system and to teach the reader how to use that approach in practice.

Hellenistic astrology is rich in language. The Domicile Lord of the Hour Marker sounds more expressive than saying the planet that rules the rising sign. The Master of the Nativity rather than the overall ruler of the chart. There are conditions of bonification and maltreatment and Time Lord techniques. Through the translations, Chris gives us a vivid picture of how the ancient Greek astrologers thought and how they talked.

This book equals any college textbook. Chris’s writing is clear, full of details but no excess. He documents his work with footnotes on every page.  Chris is a good teacher and this shows in the book when you read “…the important part here is…” or “In summary….”. Chris never assumes that the reader knows any of this information and takes the time to explain every term, clearly and precisely. He illustrates the techniques with many charts so that the reader can get a visual understanding of the text.

This is a serious book. It is a scholarly work with a sophisticated vocabulary. It is a big book, 600 pages, and well worth the effort to read since by the end of the book you will understand Hellenistic astrology and be able to try out some of the concepts. It is rich in information and written from a place of true love for the topic. It’s thrilling to hear that he’s not finished, that there will be more books on Hellenistic astrology to look forward to and more techniques to learn.  As Chris says “I believe that by looking back into the past we can and will create a better astrology for the future.”

Read this book. You’ll be glad you did. It deserves five plus plus stars!


Astrology Considered

Astrology Considered: A Thinking Person's Guide
The Astrology News Service

OPA Review by Arlan Wise

This book was compiled and published by the Astrology News Service and is geared towards the layperson. This is the book to give to your friends and relatives and other people in your life who wonder about astrology. It is the book for those who have tried to read a basic astrology book but just couldn't get through it. I wish I could have given it to my plumber the day we were waiting for the new hot water heater to be delivered and he got up the nerve to ask me "Arlan, What is it exactly that you do?" 

The book is a collection of short essays. You can read it from beginning to end, or can pick and choose like you do with a gift box of fine chocolates. The pieces are divided into three sections: 1. Astrology Considered, which are the in depth discussions of the philosophical issues; 2. The Evidence…  essays on statistical studies that support astrology; 3. News and Views, these are on varied and interesting topics.  Each section covers a wide variety of topics and authors. Not all of the essays are great, some are dry, some statistical, and some a bit confusing, but most are brilliant. On the whole, these short essays are clear and easy to read. There is a logical sequence to their placement. It is up to date, with many writers mentioning the transits of 2014.

Ed Snow, the leading force of ANS, wrote the majority of the articles. He is a former news reporter and publicist and has done a good job in reviewing books and studies and interviewing astrologers.  His editing keeps repetition to a minimum. There is much explanation of "as above, so below" and other key concepts but each is described in a different way.

Although the book is written for those who don't know and will probably never study astrology, I, as a long-term professional astrologer, found that I learned quite a lot. I got advice on the stock markets cycles, learned that Christine Arens has a birth date and time for Jesus' birth (She makes a case for him being a Gemini), and that Joyce Mason has written an astro-detective book call The Crystal Ball.

Stephen Forrest starts the collection of writings with What Astrology Can do for You and ends with Why Astrology's Image Needs a Makeover. The filling of this sandwich is rich and yummy with juicy tidbits for every interest, from the zodiacs found in the architecture of Washington, DC to Shakespeare's use of astrology to Regis Philbin getting his mind blown by Sidney Omarr. There is even a study on dung beetles.

You can buy the book from the ANS website – www.astrolgynewsservice.com or download it onto your Kindle from Amazon. 
I give Astrology Considered five stars.


OPA Book

The Professional Astrologer

Review by Victor Olliver

Now here’s a book the world of astrology will welcome. Compiled by no less an august body than the Organization for Professional Astrology in the US, it fizzes with the kind of go-getting positivity not always overly abundant in Britannia. Yes, you too have the capability to succeed as a business class astro pro – and how can you doubt this message given the tribe of stellar contributors on show? Among them are Ray Merriman, Melanie Reinhart, Frank C. Clifford, Maurice Fernandez (OPA President), Donna Young,Wendy Stacey, Hakan Kirkoglu, Chris McRae, Chris Brennan, Arlan Wise, and so many, many more, each focusing on an area of expertise.

Topics (in Part 2) include marketing strategies, writing and publishing, business plans and payment practices, compartmentalisation of income streams (‘active’ and ‘passive’), counselling, ethical considerations, networking, professional bodies, etc. Fernandez foresees that “Astrology is destined to become an essential resource and a prominent profession in modern society”, provided that competent practice is maintained and encouraged. But if the prognosis is all bright Jupiter, there’s a 2015 OPA astrologers’ survey first to digest in Saturn-like Part 1. It tends to confirm what could have been guessed. The majority of astrologers are aged “57 or wiser” and a great many rely on an additional source of income, though I was favourably surprised that nearly one-third already live on astrology alone. Few began their careers as astrologers, veering towards the horoscope as a hobby or part of a ‘retirement’ plan in later life.

A lack of professional status may explain why astro males are thin on the ground. In other words, astrology has a lot of ground to cover before it’s likely to feature as a career option in our schools. So what? Cultural attitudes and practices alter with rapidity, a point made in Wendy Stacey’s piece, ‘The Times are a-Changin’’. She observes that an astrologer’s constituency used to be local. Now it is potentially global, thanks to the internet. Electronic payments are made in seconds and ‘virtual consultations’ bring immediacy. The Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in Air in 2020, and Pluto’s entry of Aquarius in 2024, will, she thinks, help to open minds to much broader concerns beyond the mundane, in relation to the self; and to astrology’s advantage.

In Part 3 notable professional astrologers share what they have learnt “from life experience”. Financial astrologer Ray Merriman, for instance, began studying astrology at 20 and was practising by 22. For his living he relies “100%” on astrology.
The Professional Astrologer is the next best thing to a good friend who has made it big in our field. Its upbeat message is inspiring while its readable and priceless insights offer credible routes to astro success." 


Astrological Prediction

Astrological Prediction: A Handbook of Techniques
Öner Döşer

OPA Review by Arlan Wise

Oner Doser is a leading Turkish astrologer. He has a school in Istanbul, Astroart, and runs Astrology School Publishing which has released 14 books. He blends traditional and modern techniques while combining modern psychological and spiritual interests with realistic attitudes about fate and determinism. This book focuses on predictions and gives a thorough explanation of the many techniques, both old and newer, that can predict events in a person's life. His main theory is that it is important to use predictive techniques to gain knowledge of what will happen so that one may be best prepared to handle the events.

He organizes the book from big to small. He starts with the seven ages of man and follows with a chapter on triplicities. The ancient astrologers considered a normal human life to be 75 years and this made for easy math when divided by three, the basis of the triplicites. Firdaria is a technique similar to the Vedic Dasha system where a planet takes prominence over a portion of the life. Here he teaches the importance of diurnal versus nocturnal charts, as the starting point of the Firdaria is the Sun or Moon depending on the type of chart. Profections move the Sun along by a sign each year, while transits show the planets real time effects on us. There are chapters on secondary progressions, directing by bounds, primary directions, eclipses, solar and lunar returns, and the book ends with a chapter on rectification. This is a lot of information and each chapter is a complete explanation of the technique, with references to a source if you want even more detail. His chapter on transits, a familiar technique to most astrologers, is excellent and a great tool for reference.

Oner is a natural teacher with his Jupiter in Gemini in the 9th house. Oner uses his chart as the example for the various techniques he teaches. As you read the book you get to know this intelligent and likable colleague. This is a book that fills in gaps in one's education. It is a book that can replace the many books you bought but couldn't understand. This is the textbook you want if you want to learn a new predictive technique. Each chapter is complete on its own so you can pick the things you want to learn. I finally understand Triplicities but know that the math in primary directions is something that I may not want to tackle. You will be happy that you own this book.


Volume I

Astrology and the Evolution of Consciousness - Volume I: Astrology Fundamentals
Maurice Fernandez

Mountain Astrologer Review by Mary Plumb

Maurice Fernandez’s new book (2009), Astrology and the Evolution of Consciousness, is a beginning text on astrology, which is also integrated to a particular spiritual path. In this case, as Robert Blaschke writes in his Foreword, the knowledge herein was “originally passed down to us from Swami Sri Yukteswar in his book, The Holy Science, and from his direct disciple, Paramahansa Yogananda, in his book, Autobiography of a Yogi.” Yogananda’s book has been pivotal in introducing countless spiritual seekers to a lineage of sacred knowledge.

This book from Fernandez is a contribution to what is sometimes known as Evolutionary Astrology, basically an astrology that assumes the notion of reincarnation and considers the spiritual growth of the individual. Fernandez writes about the value of a spiritual approach to astrology: “No configuration represents a fixed and finite potential; there is always room for more growth and depth as a person becomes more evolutionarily conscious.” Although these ideas can be difficult to communicate, the author is a very good teacher. He establishes his foundational points thoroughly and then builds from there, repeating as necessary and thus making the work accessible to beginners.

I was captivated at the very beginning by his understanding of the elements as indicators of a way of experiencing life. In Chapter 2, “The Language of Astrology,” he discusses the elements and their combinations, the modes, hemispheres, and quadrants, with insights that are both fresh and wise. He describes “The Twelve Archetypes” of the signs; introduces the “Signs, Planets, and Houses”; and then, in greater detail, writes about “The Moon in Signs and Houses” and “The Sun in Signs and Houses.” The author delineates each luminary in the sign, in the sign’s associated house, and in aspect to the sign’s ruling planet as one motif (e.g., “The Sun in Aries, in the 1st House, or in Aspect to Mars,” or “The Moon in Scorpio, in the 8th House, or in Aspect to Pluto”). Although this approach may sound oversimplified to more advanced students, Fernandez offers a description of the essence of each archetype that is deeper, and yet easier to grasp, than similar delineations in many other books.

Chapter 7, “The Moon and the Sun in Synthesis” (i.e., the Moon in each sign, combined with the Sun in each sign), has succinct paragraphs noting the Orientation and Outcome for each combination and a Famous figure representing each. Although this is a fine, all-around book for those who are drawn to this kind of spiritual approach, the author is particularly insightful about the Moon. He describes the Moon, in part, as where and how we take in new experiences, and he sees it as a key to evolutionary growth. A disarmingly simple idea that Fernandez explores and develops from different angles is: “Change and evolution cannot be rushed; growth occurs when it is emotionally integrated.”

“The Evolutionary Levels of Consciousness” is a chapter with an extensive treatment of the three levels as defined herein: Consensus, Individuated, and Spiritual Consciousness. Fernandez then describes the three stages within each level and gives examples of each, making this part of the book an in-depth exploration of how evolution occurs and how it can be understood through the astrological archetypes. Although the author is keen on the idea that “the person’s evolutionary level of consciousness greatly influences how the chart’s energy is used,” he also emphasizes that “the evolutionary level of consciousness is not described in a person’s chart in any way: it can only be assessed when making contact with the individual.” He elaborates on the individual’s value system as the reference for the level of consciousness. Maurice Fernandez writes with a sense of familiarity and yet humility about this tricky business of consciousness levels. There are other models for measuring levels of consciousness out there (Gurdjieff and Dr. David Hawkins come immediately to mind), so although Fernandez explains his approach in detail, I don’t think it’s essential to follow these specifics to be able to apply his ideas and get a lot of value from this book.

Astrology and the Evolution of Consciousness obviously covers expansive themes, and the layout and design of the book serve it well. There are attractive chart wheels and bold and bulleted points


Books on Planets, Points

A Cosmic Dialogue

A COSMIC DIALOGUE – Reassessing Methods for Understanding New Planets
Patricia Garner

OPA Review by Arlan Wise

Why are the planets named as they are? Who decides the name for a planet, especially for the newly discovered objects? What has been the result of astronomers deciding that Pluto is no longer to be designated as a planet? These are the questions that form the basis of this book.

Ancient astrology was based on observation of the night sky We no longer do this. Astronomers discover a new object in the sky, name it, and then we astrologers accept the name, the myth, and the archetype of that name without the years of observation that the “older’ planets have. The new names have not yet stood the test of time. There is also the fact that astronomers are discovering belts and zones of planet-like objects.

“Today we distinguish “celestial objects” from planetary bodies – not to mention the differences between asteroids in general and Trans-Neptunians, Kuiper Belt Objects or even Centaurs “

The book ponders how we, as astrologers, deal with these new discoveries. Patricia Garner suggests that “we need to call a moratorium on populating astrological charts with every latest celestial body”. Her message, and the theme of this book, is “we need to look before we name”. There is a chapter on the importance of naming, stating that names create reality and that once perceptions are set it is hard to change them. She describes in detail the interesting processes of how Uranus and Neptune received their names.

Pluto has his own chapter and in it she suggests that the reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet is indicative of an astrological paradigm shift. She analyses the chart of the official announcement of Pluto’s demotion. She introduces the idea of “post-Pluto” and how it affects us as astrologers.  Pluto has now been reclassified to his status as a planet. This does not change the purpose of this book. It holds its value as the history of the event and will be of use to astrologers in the future who wonder how such a thing happened and why Pluto was seen as a dwarf planet between 2006 and 2017.

This book makes us think about the astrology that we take for granted and opens questions as to how to use the new discoveries. It is well documented with footnotes. My only suggestion is that I would have preferred to have the many charts she discusses printed. so that we could see the chart as we read her delineations.

Patricia gives us a good summery of the work done by some master astrologers such as Rob Hand, Nicolas Campion, and Bernadette Brady. We are introduced to their work so that we become familiar with it even if we have never read it. She quotes and credits many other astrologers. It is a great read for the thinking person who loves new ideas to chew on. This is a good book.


Pillars of Destiny

Pillars of Destiny, The Fixed Stars in Astrology
Aleksandar Imsiragic

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.


The Book of Neptune

The Book of Neptune
Steven Forrest

Review by Arlan Wise

He's done it again. Steven Forrest has written another great book. For those of you old enough to remember the joy of hearing that the Beatles had put out a new album, or that Tom Robbins hasd written a new novel, or that apple had released a new Iphone, there is the same happiness that there is a new book by this favorite author and teacher. Steven has aced it with The Book of Neptune. He gives us the planet through the eyes of an evolutionary astrologer. Reading this book is a process, more of a transformative experience than a cognitive event.

Steven starts the book teaching us astronomy. This section sets up the main metaphor of the book - Neptune is the window to the transNeptunian planets, which symbolize the world of consciousness, what lies beyond and within.

Neptune is the window through which consciousness peers at the cosmos-and through which the light of the cosmos pours into us.


With Neptune you have no control over what come in through the window.

A window is both inside and outside of the house. In a similar fashion, Neptune belong both to the known planets and the unknown, newly discovered, and yet to be discovered planets in the Kuiper belt. Once he establishes this image, he tells us in the rest of the book, how to polish this mirror. He states: taking care of our souls boils down to window washing.

He teaches meanings of Neptune in aspect with the planets, Neptune in the houses, and finally Neptune in the signs. Steven uses both popular music and religion to describe how Neptune affects the culture as he moves through the signs. He has a chapter on Neptune in Pisces and speculates on what that may bring.

There is a section on experiencing Neptune by transit and Solar Arcs.

Periods of Neptunian stimulus correspond to periods in which one's consciousness might be becoming more spacious. Most of what is truly important in such a time happens invisibly. It is more centered in the category of "realization" and less focused on actual existential events.

He makes the point that Neptune does not evolve you, that he does correspond with a time of evolutionary opportunity, but the work is up to you. Steven gives good suggestions as to how to make the best of such times in your life.

This book is a great help to the counseling astrologer. There is good advice on how to work with clients and Neptune. He is thorough and explains how to impart these ideas about Neptune to those who come for a reading.

Steven Forrest is a great writer and a great teacher. This material is taken from workshops from his Apprenticeship Program. He writes in a dynamic way and it feels as if we are sitting in a class- room with him. From the beginning of his publishing career, his books have been filled with clear meanings for the astrological symbols. As he grows older and ripens, his books reflect the evolution of his consciousness. He is thus able to tell us how to do so ourselves.

In The Book of Neptune, Steven gives us the 21st century evolutionary description of Neptune. He makes our understanding of Neptune come alive. It is more than the Mercurial meanings found in other books, because he frees us from words and takes our understanding to a new realm. Steven tells us that Neptune coincides with synchronicity, not coincidence, and my Neptunian self resonated with this book as I read it a few weeks before the Lunar eclipse which fell by degree on my natal Neptune. From now on I will look at Neptune in a client's chart with new depth of understanding. Thank you, Steven, for writing this book.

If you want to enhance your dreams, find your path to higher consciousness, and honor your spiritual life, buy this book.

I give it 5 ++++ stars.


The Light of Venus

The Light of Venus
Adam Gainsburg

Review by Arlan Wise

There is something new in this book that comes from something very old. Adam Gainsburg has added information to our astrological knowledge by using the ancient method of observation. He looked at the night sky for nine years and while doing so he received understanding from Venus about her phases as she moves through both the night and morning skies.

Adam defines phases as the dynamic sub-section of a planet's complete cycle with another body that conveys a broader meaning than the planet itself. He uses the astrophysical conditions such as speed, brightness, latitude and sky appearance to enhance a planet's meanings.

In this book Adam uses the archetypal meaning of feminine when he speaks of Venus. He describes it as the yin half of the duality of masculine and feminine and emphasizes that it is not to be seen in terms of gender. He then goes on to differentiate between the personal feminine and the dharmic feminine, which is ones spiritual responsibility to the collective and thus objective and beyond self, the place where one moves from me to we.

Venus has thirteen phases in her relationship to the Sun. Each phase has a specific meaning that Adam delineates.  The meat of the book is these detailed descriptions of each phase. Adam gives factual data, the personal and dharmic (soul growth) meanings of each phase, and a meditation image. It is all good advice that helps you obtain a deeper look at who you are. He has excellent graphics and diagrams that add a visual dimension towards understanding what he is saying. You can see the phases as Venus moves from morning star to evening star and back again. There is a table that spans the time period from 1900-2100, which enables you to find the Venus phase at birth for you, your parents, your children, and grandchildren, and all your friends. This makes it easy to study Venus phases by using the information in reference to those you know.

The book contains thirteen appendices. One of these is on Venus-Moon aspects, adding another dimension. There is a table that makes it easy for you to find your Venus-Moon conjunction with information on the sign it is in and what it means for you.

This is an easy book to read but is not a book for beginners since you need to know your basics to understand it. It is a book that will make you think. The Light of Venus gives your understanding of astrology a new and added dimension. After reading this book you will want to go out at night and look up at the sky like the earliest astrologers did.  This is a book you want to have on your bookshelf.  


The Midheaven

The Midheaven: Spotlight on Success
Frank Clifford

Review by Arlan Wise

Frank Clifford packs a lot of information into these 53 pages. In true Aries fashion, Frank cuts right to the heart of the matter and gives the reader an excellent education on the Midheaven while using no extra words. There is no padding in this book, no useless adverbs or adjectives, every word counts in this short "to-the–point" booklet. It's great to read.

Frank starts with the obvious question, What is the Midheaven? (or MC.) He begins with an explanation of the astronomy of the MC. He also clarifies the difference between the 10th house cusp and the MC. He then moves on to show us what it means after a thorough discussion on the angles. He explains how Gaugelin's studies fit in. Frank teaches the reader how to delineate the MC in an organized, step by step fashion.  There are lengthy descriptions of how to read the signs on the MC, fine tuning it down by the possible signs on the ascendant. This is followed by a section on the planets, Chiron, and the Nodes, in aspect to the MC. The information is accompanied by charts to make the explanations clear. Of course, Tina Turner has Uranus on her Midheaven! Oscar Wilde had Saturn on his MC.
Frank is a good writer. You saw that in his chapter on writing in OPA's book, The Professional Astrologer. In his chapter, he discusses writing small booklets like this one. He states " I find them easier to write, edit and lay out, and they are designed to give readers instant access to an area of astrology."

He is economical in his energy by quoting from his other books where it is appropriate. He uses information from other astrologers and includes a list of references for further study.

This is a very good book. It is like a well, small in area but deep in content. His information is spot on. I showed the book to a couple of students and watched their reaction and awe as they read about themselves and family members and heard them say "right, right, wow…"
Read it and you'll feel the same way. It's a five-star book.


The Tenth Planet

The Tenth Planet - Revelations From the Astrological Eris
Henry Seltzer

Review by Arlan Wise

Eris was discovered in 2006. She is named after the Greek goddess of Chaos and Discord and is a sister of Aries. Her archetype is of the female warrior, who sometimes uses violence achieve her goals. Henry Seltzer has put much time and effort into forming a relationship with her so that she would reveal her secrets to him. This book is the first step in his ongoing research on her and what she means when placed in people's charts.

Henry and his son, Asa, invented a glyph for her. It is a small circle with a downward arrow, a combination of Mars, Pluto, and Venus. Eris uses Martian energy in a feminine Venusian way to achieve Plutonian transformation. Henry feels she has a potential for violent action and will use it to stand up for herself and the causes she champions. He says, "She indicates a desire to defend the underdog, and to fight for justice over and above self-interest, that is truly representative of the Eris archetype".  He finds this to be seen in the many charts he analyzes in the book. Henry shows how Eris acts in the charts of feminists, makers of violent films with strong female characters, and influential writers.

There is a section with in depth analysis of Eris in the charts of three literary exemplars: Herman Melville, D H Lawrence, and William Blake. Henry also shows how Eris is connected to depth psychology "with soul intention that has been set aside, and which might exhibit dark tendencies, at least until more consciously acknowledged". Jung has a prominent Eris.

Henry includes a wide range of topics and uses many charts to show how Eris is influential in their lives of the people he examines. He has a section of Eris in the natal houses and in aspect with natal planets. He delineates charts of feminists and paradigm shifters. He ends the book with a historical survey that shows what happened when Eris was in aspect to the outer planets.

The book lacks an ephemeris of Eris. Even though Eris is on a 556-year orbit and moves slowly, it would be good to know where she is at any given time. Without knowing her rate of motion and the degree she is in a specific year, it is hard to picture her in charts. Hopefully Henry will include an Eris ephemeris in the next edition and also give more technical information.

After reading this book I find that I am including Eris in the conversations I have with clients. There is much more to learn about Eris as we start to bring her into our consultations and I'm sure Henry will continue to be in the forefront of discovering the many facets of our newest planet – Eris.


Psychological & Spiritual Astrology


Soul Path Way

Soul Path Way: The Dance of Astrology, Intuition, & Spiritual Awakening
By Kay Taylor

Review by Arlan Wise

This is not your average astrology book. It has astrology in it, and it is very good astrology, but there is much more. This is a guide, a manual, on how to live a soul centered life. Kay has studied evolutionary astrology and that is what she teaches us. She shows us how to explore one's karmic story through the Nodes of the Moon, Pluto, and Saturn. She provides tables at the end of the book for those who don't know the placements of these planets and Nodes. Kay also lists prominent evolutionary astrologers for those who want a reading and want to further their studies. Only one of the five sections in the book is devoted to astrology. The other sections of the book cover methods of healing, tips on manifestation and the laws of attraction, and instructions on how to create a soul centered life. Kay gives exercises and meditations after each chapter which gives this book a hands on quality.

She helps you keep a journal of your progress on your path. You actually work through the material and participate rather than just absorb the teachings. Kay has set up a website where one can download mp3 files for the guided meditation exercises. She says: I'm hoping this additional resource allows people who are motivated to do the processwork offered in the book to have an organized website to follow along with.  https://app.ruzuku.com/ courses/16197/about Kay writes with kindness for her readers. She says: If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed or haven't had time to do every single reflection or meditation of the previous weeks, that's okay. Take your time and complete what you feel called to do. She shows that she cares for the readers' well being and she supports rather than pressures. It feels like she is giving personal attention as she speaks to you and your issues. Not just your mind but also your body and psyche become engaged as you read.

It is timely that the book is published under the Pisces/Virgo nodes as this is a Pisces-Virgo book. There is a connection between the practical doing of exercises, journaling, thinking of goals, and the end result of living a spiritually oriented life There is something for everyone in this book. It has clear, well written explorations of spiritual and psychic matters that other books gloss over. An added virtue of the book is its use as a reference for clients. When you have a client who is having a transit of transformation and is unsure about finding his or her way, this book teaches how to listen to oneself to find the next steps along one's path. It is a book for astrologers and also for those who wish to use.


Growing Pains

Growing Pains
Alex Trenoweth

OPA Review by Kathryn Andren

This book is dedicated to the astrology of adolescence. It answers questions for educators and parents how to best support children during school years. Growing Pains addresses issues of learning style, communication and discipline through the lens of the social planets, Jupiter and Saturn.  

The author asserts throughout the book how valuable understanding astrology can be for supporting a child's growth and development.  What drives these children? How do pupils learn when they have specific planet patterns?  There is a focus on transits, viewing Jupiter cycles as opportunity for growth with reminders how Saturn then supports discipline and refinement.

Growing Pains is neatly structured so the reader knows what to expect. Each chapter begins by examining in depth Jupiter or Saturn through one sign. Then this signature is further refined by exploring the ruling planet through each of the twelve Zodiac signs.  Finally, at the end of each chapter, the author uses celebrity charts as case studies to illuminate how social planet transits correlate to transitions points over a lifetime for well known people.

The author is clearly passionate about supporting children make the most of their lives. Readers receive suggestions how to be a better parent or teacher based on the aspects in their own chart. Growing Pains gives readers empowering suggestions to consciously encourage the growth and development of the adolescents in their lives. 


Separating Aspects

Separating Aspects: The Astrology of Breakups, Divorce, and Other Partings
Armand Diaz , Ph.D.

OPA Review by Kathryn Andren

Separating Aspects, The Astrology of Breakups, Divorce and Other Partings offers dynamic insight to identify astrological relationship signatures and specific qualities of transition timings. Armand Diaz makes clear that his book is not about predicting relationship breakups, but illuminates how different people may react or respond to relationship changes based on their natal personal aspect patterns and transit experiences. 

The first 4 chapters are dedicated to the personal planets. He explores Moon by house and sign then Sun, Venus and Mars with potential aspect patterns.  Following chapters dedicated to Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto have a powerful client examples and with a concise summary with specific strategies to offer clients: " Five things to do during this breakup".  Other chapters highlight general tendencies how modes and generational markers of the outer planets create specific imprints which may impact a persons response to relationship change.

Armand Diaz offers a clear and holistic perspective on the topic of relationships and partings. As many astrologers support clients during times of transition, both the advanced and beginning astrologers can find support in this book to further empower clients with context and compassion in times of change.


Under a Sacred Sky

Under a Sacred Sky, Essays on the Practice and Philosophy of Astrology
Ray Grasse

OPA Review by Kathryn Andren

Ray Grasse's new book Under a Sacred Sky, Essays on the Practice and Philosophy of Astrology is a delight and inspiration. Both the seasoned astrologer or astrologically curious will find treasures of insight in the author's thoughtful essays. The book is a complication of essays on various topics; including astrological connections in cinema, arts and culture, current events, diving deep in the metaphysical and more!

The author illustrates practical examples of how astrology works in the world across time. This is one of the greatest gifts of reading Under a Scared Sky, thecontent is both timely and timeless. Ray Grasse sites many historical references and some chapters link research to birth charts of popular individuals in politics, arts and sports. For the astrology enthusiast or astrologically curious, the dynamic variety of essays has something for everyone.

I dare say that this book is a must read for any astrologer in professional practice. There are several chapters where the author clearly and compassionately defines how to be a better astrologer. He offers supportive suggestions that are touching and heartfelt from decades of experience. Chapters on astrology counseling include: "The Seven Most Common Mistakes Made by Astrologers" & "The Perils of Telling People What to Do."

Ray Grasse writes from decades of experience as a seasoned astrologer with a rich variety of interests.  His is the author of 2 other books and has been a contributor to The Mountain Astrologer for many years.  "He received a degree in filmmaking from the Art Institute of Chicago . . . He has studied with various teachers in both the Kriya Yoga and Zen traditions . . . He's lectured extensively on the topics of astrology, synchronicity, and mythology, and maintains an active astrological practice with clients around the United States and abroad".  Learn more about Ray Grasse on his website http://www.raygrasse.com

Ray's book deeply inspired me. A most happy surprise was an essay called "Astrology and the Chakras: Toward a Sacred Psychology of the Horoscope" originally published in the TMA in 1996. This chapter includes revealing information integrating planets with the chakras. Personally, as an astrologer and massage therapist in professional practice of energy healing bodywork for years, I was both humbly reminded as well as excited, that no matter how much I think I have learned, there is always more to know! 

Concluding chapters include inspiring interviews called "Conversations in Astrology" with Richard Tarnas and Laurence Hillman. Readers, be sure do not skip the notes! Final remarks at the end of this author's chapters hold a wealth of information.

Ray Grasse's depth of knowledge and material inspires me to check out his other books: The Waking Dream, and Signs of the Times. In deep gratitude for this authors contribution and years of content to the field of astrology!

Order information for Ray Grasse's books is found here

Find a sneak peak of Ray's writing available on his web site here


The Soul Speaks

The Soul Speaks – The Therapeutic Potential Of Astrology
Mark Jones

Review by Arlan Wise

It you are a consulting astrologer you want to read this book. If you are thinking about doing consulting, you want to read this book. Mark Jones presents a holistic approach that blends the solar cognitive way of looking at the psyche with the lunar approach of astrology. He does it well. He is writing from a perception that an astrology reading is a de facto counseling dynamic. Stating " one of the core aims of this book is to raise awareness about the client's point of view in an astrological reading…to make the case for the conscious application of therapeutic awareness within the natal reading in order to enrich the experience for both the client and the astrologer, enhancing our perception of the soulful encounter, and acknowledging the process with the respect and awe it deserves. " He confirms the fact that it is not just an astrologer and a client in the session, but that the unconscious of both the astrologer and client come into play in the session. " Any inherent insecurity within the profession of astrology create the potential for collusion between the complex core anxiety and potential insecurity of the client, and it's resulting compensatory drives within the astrologer." Mark gives good advice on how to stay grounded in the work and maintain one's authenticity. He speaks to the astrologer who is giving a one-time session and to those who do ongoing work with clients.

Mark starts with an in depth explanations of psychotherapeutic concepts and moves to the spiritual dimension of the work. He shows how to use these concepts as we do our readings. He gives good precise definitions of complex concepts, such as the defense systems one may encounter in a client. And he confirms what one may already intuitively know, like " Sometimes silence is the most powerful healing space…Short silences to digest powerful insights or to allow powerful waves of emotion are therapeutically valid, even essential at times." He stresses the importance of continuously working on oneself.

The book then moves to a discussion of astrological archetypes as seen from the viewpoint of counseling and what happens in the counseling room. There is a chapter on the Saturn and Uranus cycles and how important they are in one's life and how to work with clients at these major turning points.

Mark Jones is a student of the psychologist Assagioli and tells us his personal story of how he went to see Assagioli's workroom and found files full of charts. He talks about how both Jung and Assagioli worked as astrologers as he explains Assagioli's theory of psychosynthesis, which is the system he is trained in and uses.

 The whole book is full of good advice for the astrologer who sees clients or who wants to. It is deep and meaty, with no fluff or extra meaningless words. It is well written, with clear explanations of key psychological concepts. Mark gives good references by naming books and authors to further flesh out the concepts he mentions. It is like being in a session and receiving referrals. He gives a great book list at the end. This is one of those books where you feel yourself growing and changing as you read it. The Soul Speaks fills a gap in the astrological literature. I give it 5 stars.


Astrology and Spiritual Awakening

Astrology and Spiritual Awakening
Greg Bogart

Arlan Wise

Greg Bogart writes really good books. In Astrology and Spiritual Awakening, Greg has taken one of these good books and made it better. It's like when a person gains weight and the new pounds go to all the right places. The original version of Astrology and Spiritual Awakening, which was published in 1994, stands on its own as a great book. Now, twenty years later, Greg adds the wisdom and insights he's learned as time went by. He has updated the life stories, noticeably in the section on Ram Dass, who had his life-changing stroke after the book was in print.

This is a spiritual self-help book. It instructs astrologers and those who love astrology how to see their charts as a map for their spiritual path. It is also a good book for learning more astrology and to see the many meanings of the planets, signs, houses, and aspects through a spiritual lens. Greg changes the dial on the astrological kaleidoscope and gives us interpretations of the basics of astrology from a spiritual perspective. He uses the charts of spiritual leaders (e.g., Pema Chodron, Raman Maharshi, Ammachi) and also spiritual musicians (Ravi Shankar, Hazrat Inayat Khan, John Coltrane),  thus highlighting the connection between spirit and music. (Greg is an accomplished musician so he knows this.)

Each section of the book is a gem. You will learn how to find the type of yoga to practice that fits you best. (Yoga here is used in its ancient sense with the popular physical hatha yoga being just one of the types.) He shows how to "discern the form of spiritual practice that's most appropriate to your natal chart, and to the transit and progression operative during a particular period."

Greg explains Dane Rudhyar's ideas throughout the text. One can feel Rudhyar sitting on his shoulder like an aged Jiminy Cricket telling him what to say. It is valuable and precious information that Greg preserves by translating Dane Rudhyar, who he knew personally. Greg teaches us Rudhyar's concept of the 6 Shaktis and expands it by explaining its roots in Kashmir Shaivism which Greg learned from Swami Muktananda.

There are complete and complex astrological biographies of seven spiritual teachers. The chart delineations are brilliant. This section, which is at the end of the book, gives good examples of how to use all that you have read. He closes the book with a chapter that urges you to write your own astrobiography.

In Greg's words which start this book:

"Astrology is the yoga of time. It is a form of sacred knowledge that teaches us to live consciously as embodied beings in a temporal world…This book describes how astrology can be utilized to understand the stages and facets of the spiritual path, the process of awakening to a more encompassing reality or consciousness – God, Atman, Buddha, the Pure Light.
Even if you own the original edition of Astrology and Spiritual Awakening, you want to have this newer version in your library. 


Planets in Therapy

Planets in Therapy: Predictive Techniques and the Art of Counseling
Greg Bogart

Review by Arlan Wise

This is a good book. This is actually a very good book. It is one of those books that change how you think and by the time you have finished it you will look at a chart in a different and more productive way. You'll find that this book is useful for your own self-growth as well as in working with clients. You will feel educated, and relieved that this is not just another astrology book, one that maybe you could have written. The book is enjoyable to read and hard to put down. It is one you will keep on your desk for future reference.

Those reading this who are acquainted with Greg Bogart know that he is a kind man, gentle but strong, quiet but forceful, soft and solid. Humor glints from his eyes and he says so much to you with those eyes. His aura of spirituality encompasses him and you feel that this is a man you can trust. His years of experience and hard work have brought him to this point of writing this excellent book. Greg says in his introduction:

"I'll consider this book a success if it activates you, brings your path into clearer focus, and helps you become committed to your own potentials"

Greg puts himself into the book. He shares his life experiences as examples of what he is writing giving an honest and humble disclosure of his life. As we read the details, we get to like him more and more. His core of spirituality colors his words and his thinking. We see how he lives a spiritual life and how he is an example of one's level of consciousness influencing one's work as an astrologer. In his words:

 "The biggest lesson: that the power of astrology doesn't come from techniques, but from the clear consciousness, wisdom, and articulate words of the astrologer"

Greg shares his dreams with us and in doing so really walks his walks as a therapist.

Although the title has the word "predictive" in it, this is not a book about predicting. Greg makes a clear distinction between predicting what a transit may bring and being proactive on how to best use the energy of that transit. He urges his reader to look for meaning in a possible event and to anticipate trends, then to prepare instead of acting and reacting. He teaches the active approach, not the passive view that things happen to us. He wants us to store water, buy extra food, and secure all outdoor furniture instead of sitting by and letting the big storm come and cause problems. Greg turns the lens so that we see prediction from a different perspective, one of process.

"Predictive methods enable astrologers to anticipate trends and prepare in advance to meet life's challenges. But it's not just about predicting, but also about acting, and responding to the planets."

Greg gives techniques from his book Astrology and Meditation to help the reader walk through this process.

And, he has a whole chapter on Dane Rudhyar! Greg knew Rudhyar and corresponded with him and he shares Rudhyar's words and thoughts with us. Rudhyar is hard to read. Greg translates Rudhyar's teaching so that one who has never heard Rudhyar speak or who is not familiar with his writings can understand them. Dane Rudhyar's work is valuable and Greg has given us a gift in making an excellent summary of the themes and making the concepts easy to understand.

There is so much more in this book. Greg teaches us about astrology and mental health, he gives us tips on astrology and psychotherapy and the pros and cons of using therapeutic astrology. There are chapters on crisis counseling, couples counseling, and how to use transits and progressions with his personal descriptions of the planets in action. He cites the books of other astrologers as references, generously mentioning their titles and telling the reader to read them to learn more on a topic he is discussing.
As Rudhyar said:
"Astrology does not predict "events", but only phases in a person's development…. Astrology can define the limits, but it can only suggest the freedom."

Greg gives us much information to use in finding the freedom in the chart.

I give this book a five star recommendation and do so with pride and honor. As an "elder" astrologer who has been reading astrology books for many decades, it's hard to find a book that blows me away and makes me want to keep it by my side. I go back to it again and again since I was so sorry when I finished it. I wanted to keep reading Greg's words. I have told many colleagues to read it. I urge you to read it, trust me, you'll be glad you did.


The 8th Seal

The 8th Seal - Its Time Is Now!
Don Cerow

OPA Review by Kathryn Andren

Perhaps the “end of time” referenced in the Book of Revelation is not so scary after all. Humanity has entered a new age. Don Cerow’s passionate research on the age of Aquarius is revealed in his recent book, The 8th Seal, Its Time Is Now! Cracking the Code that Solves the Mystery of The Book of Revelation.

The Book of Revelation is full of rich and complex symbolism. The author decodes many of the Bible’s cryptic text with full detail.  He slowly and clearly builds a case that indicators for the turning of the ages are presented symbolically in this book of prophecy. 

His book appeals to astrologers with a specific interest in the the procession of the equinox as well as for intellectuals who appreciate the rich language of ancient symbolism. The authors frequent bible references are necessary to connect the dots between the symbolic language in Revelation and specific star systems with astronomical planetary alignments at the end of the age of Pisces. The author sites multiple examples from Revelation for the turning of the ages from Pisces to Aquarius.

Early chapters are devoted to creating insightful astrological associations between the seven visible planets and the early Christian churches.  The seven churches are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.  These cities are compared to qualities and intentions of the seven visible planets in their exalted zodiac signs.  The seven seals, bowls, trumpets and thunderclaps from Revelation are further discussed in detail.

By the end of the book, the author illuminates how the procession of the vernal equinox over time correlates specifically to symbolic language throughout the book of Revelation. He decodes messages associated to certain stars through the constellations Aries, Pisces, and Aquarius. Cerow’s calculations specifically assert; “the shift of the Great Ages will be in full force when the Vernal Point reaches Omega Piscium on February 11, 2013, some 8 weeks after the Winter Solstice of 2012”.

The authors’s passionate and dedicated research supports an uplifting view on the “end of time”. He offers unique in-depth coverage on a very expansive topic. This book serves as a reminder that during this magical time, “Life begins again. A new civilization, a New Jerusalem born. Not an urban, terrestrial city, but a whole planet ready to acknowledge all life as living under one heavenly Tent.”  The author reminder readers that humanity’s evolution is being supported on a new level. After many trials, the human race has the opportunity to be married now to the Divine in this Age of Aquarius. 

Published in 2017 by Ibis Press. 376 pages


Solar Lunar

Solar-Lunar, Keys to Gold Prices, Secrets of A Gold Trader
Ray Merriman

OPA Review by Kathryn Andren

Ray Merriman's recent book is a rich wealth of information for day traders and financial astrologers.  His book is based on the premise that there is a correlation between the price movements in the financial markets and the relationship of the Sun and the Moon by sign. Solar-Lunar, Keys to Gold Prices, Secrets of A Gold Trader is a comprehensive book filled with research from over forty years of data. Merriman specifically chose the Gold market to test his thesis and examined the highs and lows of gold trading activity between December 31, 1974 and April 16, 2015. The primary value the book is to meet the needs of shorter-term traders. The author does this by focusing mostly upon Moon signs – and in particular, Moon signs within each Sun sign.

The bottom line for success in any trade is to buy low and sell high.  Can astrology aspects show a trader when to buy or when to sell?  Merriman describes his method and finds interesting correlations from his study reviewing the market over 10,114 dates. He seeks to gives traders "that extra edge" by providing Solar and Lunar correlations revealing when the market expects to make highs and lows then reverse. Merriman states "Identifying reversals in financial markets is essential to successful trading."

In the first few chapters he describes his method. He clearly identifies and addresses some of the concerns of the study.  For day trading, planetary aspects are set for high noon eastern time, then weekends and holidays are taken into consideration when the market is closed. The phase of the Moon also plays a role. Chapter 4 includes a look at how Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn aspects affect the market.  He mentions "In Financial Astrology, Uranus is considered the planet of volatility. Larger than normal price swings occur very close in time to the times when different planets are in aspect to Uranus." While most of Merriman's data reviews solar-lunar aspects, he does later conclude that larger planet pattern aspects also play a part in market analysis.

There are 12 chapters dedicated each sign, with comprehensive tables showing the high and low combinations of the solar-lunar aspects through the Zodiac signs. The closing chapter highlights reminders of the "qualities" and the "elements" of the signs.  For example, Cardinal signs initiate a new market trends, Fixed signs show where prices are in the middle of a trend, where the Mutable signs show change, volatility or reversal in trends.

Merriman asserts,  "If one knows when a market is not likely to reverse, then one can either stay with a profitable position already held, or not initiate a new position". Reversal change is important for traders and a 3-4% shift may occur over 2 days or 5 weeks. The data supports his second hypothesis: a correlation between certain solar-lunar sign combinations with "Big Range Days" in the Gold market.  The author's intention for the book is specifically to offer traders "an edge over other traders who are not aware of these simple, but powerful, correlations to potentially profitable price swings".  The research in his book offers a great value for traders to seek maximum profit with minimum exposure. His book format serves as a reference for the reader, to use as an efficient market-timing tool for successful trading.


The Astrology Code

The Astrology Code - Statistical Evidence of Universal Design
Michael Bergen

Review by Arlan Wise

Michael Bergen has written a readable statistical analysis of astrology. He is well suited to do this having a BA in Applied math and a MA in Math education. It took him six years of research to produce this book. His love of astrology motivated him to put in the time and effort necessary for a work of this stature.

Michael used 15,000 birth charts that he purchased from Lois Rodden, the queen of accurate data. He chose to use 80 study groups (i.e., military, writers, criminal careers, inheritance, astrologers, etc.). He used two types of statistical analysis. One compares actual results to expected values to find dominant signs and planets in each study group. The other method calculates the odds of all numerical probabilities and came up with 70 findings that have odds about 1 in 1,000. One does not have to know math to appreciate this book. The findings are color-coded and easy to read.

The book starts with a section on the basics of astrology and a summary of what Michael found. His descriptions are clear and precise. The bulk of the book is the outcomes seen in studying the various study groups. You can pick and choose which ones to read and spend endless hours pondering over these results. To give you an idea of some of the 80 groups, there are studies on adopted children; corporate tycoons, lifespans – short and long; obesity; sex workers, writers. The results are not always what you would expect.

Some of Michael's findings are surprising. To name a few:  

Libra and Aquarius should have their meanings reversed.
Virgo is strongly associated with sexuality and difficult life circumstances. Venus expresses its positive attributes best when retrograde and it's negative attributes most when direct.
Neptune is much more connected with personal endeavors than with spirituality.

He corroborates Gauquelin's Doctrine of Angularity in finding that planets have a strong influence when on the four axis points. This book rivals the study Gauquelin did in 1955. Michael matches it in thoroughness and importance as a study of astrology.

The wow! factor for me was in investigating Michael's insistence on the importance of the Navamsha  - the 9th harmonic chart. I was familiar with this from studying Vedic astrology but had never applied it to the western chart. Michael feels that the Namvamsha represents the inner self, that it is in equal value to the natal chart and he uses both charts in his study. I calculated my western Navamsha and was impressed by what I saw. Try it and you'll see that you have another chart that is equally descriptive as your natal chart.

The Astrology Code is a book that every professional astrologer wants to have on his or her bookshelf. It is also fun and gives you hour upon hour of astrological pleasure as it stimulates your thinking. You don't have to agree with all the findings, but it opens your mind to read them.

Michael is still not done with his studies, having already revised the book since its publication in 2014. He continues to expand the scope of his work, continually check the accuracy of the book, and he plans to do more comprehensive work on predictive and mundane techniques.

Thank you, Michael, for doing the work and writing this book. I give it 5 stars and urge you to buy it.