Stephen Arroyo – a modern master of astrology

Stephen Arroyo - Astrodienst Astrowiki

It is fairly safe to say that Stephen Arroyo would be included in any list of the most influential and popular western astrologers over the last fifty years. Arroyo’s books have been translated into over 25 languages and continue to make their mark on the world. Several of them are still astrological bestsellers. 

Beginning with the groundbreaking 1975 debut of Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements, Arroyo’s work has masterfully integrated astrology, psychology and related fields such as counselling and spirituality. Various astrological organizations, including the Astrological Association, have awarded him prizes through the years. Arroyo’s books are characterized by an intelligent and accessible approach using clear, precise language. 

A quick look at Stephen Arroyo’s chart (born at 5.35 pm in Kansas City, Missouri on 6th October, 1946) shows an Air emphasis, with Sun in Libra and Moon in Aquarius. The best of both show up in his writings – an often beautiful presentation of original ideas, with a charming and quirky sense of humour never far away. Close aspects between the inner and outer planets, including Sun sextile Pluto and Moon trine Uranus, show a cosmic kind of guy! A more challenging close square between ruling planet Mars in Scorpio and Saturn in Leo has no doubt been a motivating creative force.  

The new book

Experiments and Experience with Astrology: Reflections on Methods and Meaning (2019)

The new collection of Stephen Arroyo writings was released at the end of 2019, a small volume and an ideal companion to his previous books. Those familiar with Arroyo’s work will recognize familiar themes but there are various snippets of new information and fresh perspectives too. 

The first chapter is a detailed interview with Arroyo, previously published in both a Serbian astrological magazine and The Mountain Astrologer. Arroyo answers a range of questions and describes how he initially came across astrology through studying psychologist Carl Jung, then going on on to study and build on the work of astrologers such as Dane Rudhyar and Charles Carter. Elsewhere in the book, Arroyo explores familiar themes of clarity, simplicity and viewing the chart from a holistic perspective. “Polish that lens… because astrology is a way of seeing… that’s why it depends so much on the individual practitioner and his or her personality and level of consciousness.” (p. 46) 

Going against current trends for cramming the birth chart full of “extras”, the author cautions against using too many factors in chart interpretation. Do astrologers want to help people understand their lives and themselves more clearly, or do they want to confuse the client by adding more and more detail, so that eventually just about anything can be rationalized. Arroyo keeps a focus on the fundamentals of the birth chart, including an interpretive technique using Subtones.

Whilst fully embracing astrology’s healing power and the huge potential for contributing to and interacting with both psychology and science, Stephen Arroyo also stresses the need for humility on the part of astrologers and astrology. As usual, he is pointing the way forward.

Previous books

Astrology, Karma and Transformation: Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart (1978)

Still a modern classic and great for beginners or advancedastrologers. This has been something of an “astrological bible” to many. The depth of Arroyo’s writing here is extraordinary and the author has said that Saturn and Pluto transits were involved when he wrote it. Perhaps the only criticism is that so much is packed into one single book, sometimes in the form of very long sentences. But this is hardly a complaint.

The outer planets are covered extensively with many examples of aspects and transits to the birth charts of people with relatively ordinary lives. This makes a refreshing change from astrological literature that deals only with famous people, or people with severe problems of one kind or another. The chapter on Saturn is excellent, particularly the journey of Saturn through the twelve houses. 

This book is not only full of essential contemporary astrology. Arroyo also draws on his considerable experience of other tools for spiritual and psychological growth. He has a background in marriage and family counselling (see chapter on Karma and relationships), and his many references to various spiritual teachers, Eastern religions, Western psychology and the Edgar Cayce psychic readings add to the spiritual power of Arroyo’s writing.

Chart Interpretation Handbook: Guidelines for Understanding the Essentials of the Birth Chart (1989)

Some astrologers consider this the best basic astrological chart interpretation book on planet Earth! For anyone interested in understanding the essentials of astrological birth chart interpretation, this is an excellent starting point.

Arroyo builds on his other internationally best-selling astrology books here. In fact some of the content is directly lifted from previous work (e.g. Astrology, Karma and Transformation) but the book is no less value for money as a result. Step by step, Arroyo uses clear, modern language to reveal the essential meanings of any birth chart. Wisdom and clear intelligent insights spring from every page and even an experienced astrologer can benefit from Arroyo’s imaginative and precise use of language.

Unlike some of Arroyo’s early work, the Chart Interpretation Handbook is nicely laid out, due no doubt to the editing skills of Jerilynn Marshall who Arroyo enthusiastically acknowledges. It’s all here: the four elements and the twelve signs, key concepts for the planets, the planets in the signs, the ascendant and midheaven, the houses and planetary aspects. And, true to Arroyo’s sense of humour (always bubbling away beneath the profound depth of his writing), there’s even a couple of cartoons.

Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements: An Energy Approach to Astrology and its Use in the Counselling Arts (1975)

Astrology, Psychology & the Four Elements by Stephen Arroyo · OverDrive:  ebooks, audiobooks, and videos for libraries and schools

Another classic and a genuinely pioneering book that still reads well today. Arroyo presents a language of energy that helped establish a new field of astrological psychology, ushering in at least some degree of acceptance of depth astrology, both in the helping professions and by the general public.

Arroyo transcends the boundaries of astrology and psychology, developing key words and concepts for the astrological elements and houses. Depending on where you are with your astrological studies, this book could be read as more of an intermediate level text. It is not an introductory cookbook describing planets and signs of the zodiac.

Arroyo aims at a deep and sophisticated understanding of the fundamental energies involved in astrology and does a great job.

Person-to-Person Astrology: Energy Factors in Love, Sex and Compatibility (2007)

Perhaps lacking the punch of his earlier work, this is still very high quality writing. The author commented that it was written more for the general reader and independent thinker.

The first few chapters explore a wide range of issues related to both astrology’s lack of widespread acceptance and the problems of forming healthy relationships in the modern world. Arroyo refers to the “mass psychosis” of the modern Western lifestyle that bombards us with commercial images and unrealistic expectations. Our ability to form relationships with each other is one area that suffers as a result. The author suggests that if more people opened their minds to what serious astrology has to offer, they would find a much-needed, precise, insightful tool for self-understanding.

Arroyo gradually moves on to explore astrological basics such as the four elements, the twelve signs and the rising sign. The personal planets and relationships are covered in great depth, with countless everyday quotes and examples from many years of observation. 

Relationships And Life Cycles: Astrological Patterns of Personal Experience (1979)

Book Review: Relationships & Life Cycles by Stephen Arroyo | RealAstrologers

A masterful and entertaining volume on the astrology of relationships. Early in the prologue, Arroyo explains his approach here: “Sometimes one must concentrate on tuning in on the LIVING nature of ideas by having fun with them, and this can often be more significant for students of astrology than systematic and dry attempts to be deep and meaningful”.

The majority of “Relationships And Life Cycles” is comprised of workshop transcriptions, much of these being naturally presented in a question and answer format. There are five sections: The Individual’s Capacity For Relationship, Techniques Of Chart Comparison, The Use Of The Houses In Chart Comparison, Understanding Transits, Some Thoughts On Astrological Counselling.

Numerous astrological perspectives on common everyday relationship experiences are scattered throughout the text. At the same time, all the theoretical basics are covered e.g. the Sun and the Moon, Venus and Mars in the different signs of the zodiac, aspects between the charts of two people (particularly involving the planet of commitment, Saturn). The section Understanding Transits could almost be a separate book in itself, there is an excellent few pages here on the journey of Jupiter and Saturn through the different houses of the birth chart.

Exploring Jupiter: Astrological Key to Progress, Prosperity and Potential (1996)

This book is the very essence of Jupiter. From its apt title, to its generous use of many famous chart examples, to Arroyo’s trademark insight and wisdom on every page, Exploring Jupiter is positively a winner.

While outlining a framework for understanding Jupiter in the first chapter, the author comments: “…I cannot help but feel that Jupiter’s bigness and broad vision is inextricably linked to the perennial human search for a larger truth and for an experience of oneness with the universe”. The range of natal charts throughout the book reflects this, each one accompanied by a brief biographical account and astrological notes. Albert Einstein, Woody Allen, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michael Jordan, Robert Redford, William Blake are just a few of the charts covered.

Arroyo refers to Jupiter’s ancient rulership of Pisces as being significant, and the book is written with this in mind. Otherwise much of the book is built on the standard cookbook approach: Jupiter through the signs, Jupiter through the houses (arranged by element), Jupiter aspects in the birth chart and so on. The chapter on transits involving Jupiter is particularly good.

Practicing the Cosmic Science: Key Insights in Modern Astrology (1999) 

El extranjero » Blog Archive » Practicing the Cosmic Science. Key insights  in modern astrology, by Stephen Arroyo

A very broad range of often neglected issues are covered here. Many of them will be familiar to anyone who has been practising astrology for a number of years. For those starting out, the observations, insights and suggestions will be tremendously supportive.

Arroyo uses many excellent quotes from a vast range of sources to discuss astrology and its position in the modern world. Is it a science, a language, or a healing tool? What can it show you? Can it inspire you? Can it help you understand what other human beings and you yourself are going through in this life? What are the skills and qualifications necessary to be a good astrologer? How much should you charge? What kind of one to one connection can we make with other people? Do we have the necessary listening and communicating skills?

Since 1999 when this book was written, things have perhaps got better for anyone attempting to practice intelligent and genuinely consciousness-raising astrology. Most obviously, an increasing percentage of western society are now aware that astrology is not just about newspaper horoscopes. On the other hand, some changes in society are mixed blessings. As discussed in chapter 7, widespread use of computers by astrologers has cut out lots of tedious calculations, but the valuable period spent pondering the birth chart may be lost, thus potentially lowering the quality of interpretation. Similarly, although not anti-technology, Arroyo observes “there is a general degradation of standards in virtually every field that is widely promoted on the internet”. Twenty years later, these comments are more relevant than when they were first written.

The above article was originally published in Journal, the magazine of the Astrological Association https://www.facebook.com/AstrologicalJournal Thank you to editor Victor Olliver. This is the bimonthly publication of the Astrological Association http://www.astrologicalassociation.com dedicated to educating the public on astrology since 1958.

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

About Tim
UK musician (pop/rock/prog), astrologer for 30 years (the deeper stuff), care and support worker #ExtinctionRebellion "We're all f***ed, so be nice." ~ Russell Brand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s