Getting To The Heart Of Your Chart by Frank C. Clifford

Quality and quantity for anyone interested in modern astrology, beginners or advanced

Over the last twenty years or so, Frank Clifford has breathed new life into modern Western astrology in a number of ways, and this book demonstrates why. His direct, enthusiastic and straightforward Aries approach runs throughout this carefully presented, professional and well written volume. It has been recently re-published after an original 2012 release. There is an astonishing amount of information and there are countless examples of astrology in action, which both beginners and experienced astrologers can benefit from.

This is very much a 21st century book – now that astrology charts can be quickly generated by computer, the whole process of presenting and interpreting them has speeded up since many of the classic 20th century astrology texts (Derek and Julia Parker, Liz Greene, Hand, Arroyo, Cunningham, Elwell and so on) were written. According to the cover, there are over 150 charts here. Drawing on his many years of experience, the author expertly zips through sometimes brief and sometimes in-depth analysis of a huge range of the horoscopes of characters from all walks of life. Frank Clifford is often meticulous in his attention to detail, including the accuracy of birth data, which he is well known for in the astrological community.

Overall, an excellent book, packed full of insights and information for anyone interested in contemporary astrology.

Cosmos And Psyche by Richard Tarnas

An academically rigorous, complete, presentation of the case for modern Western astrology. Outstanding

Author and respected academic Richard Tarnas had already established a name for himself with “The Passion of the Western Mind” before the publication of this extraordinary book in 2006. “Cosmos And Psyche” is a substantial volume, masterfully written and the culmination of many years extensive research. It fully lives up to reviews that have described it as “groundbreaking” and “breathtaking”.

Tarnas has cleverly chosen to not use the signs of the zodiac or even use the word “horoscope”, and instead puts the focus entirely on the planets and their archetypes. Early on, he recounts his own journey from sceptic to astrological practitioner and researcher, made through repeated and extensive first-hand observation. gradually overcoming resistance along the way. He has thoroughly absorbed the best of late 20th century astrology (from the likes of Charles Harvey, Liz Greene, Robert Hand and others) and applied it to an extraordinarily thorough analysis of history and culture.

Whether the reader is familiar with deeper astrology or not, there is a ton of high quality work here. I found the analysis of Nietzsche’s life and the correlation with subsequent Jupiter-Uranus and Saturn-Pluto cycles particularly excellent. Apart from having to overcome huge cultural prejudice, astrologers also have to be pretty on the ball when explaining the often complicated nuances and subtleties of astrological symbolism applied to human affairs – Tarnas is masterful and precise with his use of language. Using his background as a cultural historian, and with hundreds of international examples, light is shone on historical cycles and their repetitive nature. Chapters are given to specific planetary cycles: Uranus-Pluto, Saturn-Pluto, Jupiter-Uranus and Uranus-Neptune.

For the open and educated mind, still sceptical but aware of the possibility that there might be something seriously going on with astrology, this is the book to seriously shift your paradigm! For established astrologers who have been frustrated for many years that astrology does not get the intelligent treatment or respect it deserves, this substantial volume is deeply satisfying. Tarnas re-unites the human and the cosmic, restoring transcendent meaning to both. Surely just what the alienated Western mind needs right now.

Astrology, Karma & Transformation by Stephen Arroyo

40 years later, still a modern classic, great for beginners or advanced

More than any other astrological text over the last thirty years, this book has continued to provide me with astrological wisdom and insights that no other book can match. The depth of Stephen Arroyo’s writing here is extraordinary, with perhaps the only criticism being 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 much 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. Show any 29-year old (with a bit of self-awareness) the section featuring the Saturn return, and watch their reaction as they read!

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 (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. Like nearly all of his books, still a modern classic.

The Gods of Change by Howard Sasportas

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Great, accessible psychological guide to major transits

The late Howard Sasportas packed a huge amount of high quality astrological and psychological information into this intelligent, clear and accessible book  It was a constant companion for many years, both for my work as a professional astrologer and in following my own transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. It is a classic cookbook on the outer planets, covering their transits to each planet and through each house.

The first section, “The Collaboration with the Inevitable”, is an excellent summary of how astrology can be used as a tool for understanding ongoing personal transformation, helping to turn perceived crises into opportunities. Sasportas then moves on to look in great detail and depth at the transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto to each planet in the natal chart. A very large number of case histories are dotted throughout the transit interpretations, with a wide range of examples of how each planetary combination can show up in daily life. These possible events are considered in the context of the psychological development of the individual, Sasportas drawing on his extensive knowledge of many fields of psychology, mythology and spirituality.

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Much of the astrological material here is similar to other classic late twentieth century transit books such as those by Robert Hand, Betty Lundsted or Stephen Arroyo (who Sasportas acknowledges), but Sasportas masterfully integrated a huge number of additional psychological and spiritual insights from many sources. Over 25 years later, The Gods Of Change is still a wise, compassionate and substantial contribution to modern astrology.

 

Planets In Transit by Robert Hand

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Still the definitive work on planetary transits

I picked up a cheap second-hand copy of this classic 20th century text recently, my old heavily-used copy having fallen to pieces several years ago. Although most people relatively new to astrology now learn astrological basics from the internet, this book still remains one of the modern classics that perhaps no contemporary astrologer can afford to be without. Just about every serious astrologer I’ve ever met has got a copy of this on his or her shelf.

For most of the book, Robert Hand explores the meaning of every possible combination of planets in transit to each other, this being one of the most commonly used techniques of astrological prediction. In addition to the planets, the ascendant and midheaven are also included but astrologers using Chiron will have to look elsewhere. The introductory chapters about the interpretation and timing of transits are well worth a read, and these are followed by a case study of Nixon and the Watergate scandals in the early 1970s. Then its on to a chapter for each planet and the transits it makes to all the others. RobertHandcolour

Hand’s interpretations are full of psychological insights, but the nature of specific events that may occur are also covered. For the first few years I had this book I tended to focus on the more obvious long-term transits of the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) but eventually I became just as intrigued by the uncanny accuracy of the “insignificant” daily or even hourly transits of the Sun, the Moon and Mercury. The smallest and the largest life cycles have their part to play. Buy this book and prove or disprove predictive astrology for yourself. A massive contribution to modern astrology, thank you Robert.

Astrology For Dummies by Rae Orion

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Good introduction to astrology 
If you have heard or suspected that there is a great deal more to astrology than the newspaper columns, this book is a good place to begin finding out more. Rae Orion explains the basics and complexities of the birth chart (a proper horoscope is based on the exact time, date and place of birth) in a clear, straightforward manner. In “The Cosmic Cookbook” section, Orion takes the reader through the basics of birth chart interpretation. Sun signs, Moon signs, the positions of all the planets in the various signs and houses e.g. Mars in Aquarius, Uranus in the sixth house and so on. Real life examples are scattered throughout the book. Other sections cover basic compatibility, both Sun sign combinations and more complex relationship astrology. The revised second edition has an entertaining section on using astrology in everyday life and various other bits and pieces. A great overall introduction to real astrology.

Cosmic Loom by Denis Elwell

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Astonishingly creative and intelligent astrology

The quality of astrology in Cosmic Loom is quite extraordinary by any standards, one reviewer having understandably described it as “The most important astrology book in 100 years”.

Most astrology books written over the last 50 years or so, including many classics which I and many others rate very highly, interpret astrology primarily as the map of an individual’s psychology. While this approach is not dismissed by Elwell, his perspective is much broader, and simultaneously more simple and more complicated. Astrology as a whole benefits hugely from the kind of vision and intelligence that are eloquently expressed here.

At the beginning of the book Elwell suggests that “we have mistaken the nature of our reality”. This is a theme that runs throughout Cosmic Loom. An astrology chart is not only an accurate map of the psychology of an individual human being, it is much, much more. Rather, it is more a set of instructions, revealing what the cosmos is up to at a precise moment in time. We are treated to fascinating chart interpretations of the birth of the United States, the publication of Darwin’s “Origin Of Species”, and all manner of events from the most contemporary and mundane, to important moments in history.

DennisElwellElwell expands the cosmic science and language of astrology in its own terms. His imaginative but also absolutely literal interpretation of the chart opens up a whole new reality. Internal and external events in our lives are linked as Elwell plugs directly into a universe where everything is connected to everything else, where the observer is inseparable from what he or she is observing, where everything has a part to play in the great plan of life.

I came across the first hardback edition of Cosmic Loom sometime around 1990 and I am not surprised that it has come to be regarded as a modern classic. Even experienced astrologers can be taken by surprise with this book – expect the unexpected!