The Gods of Change by Howard Sasportas

TheGodsOfChangeThe 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.


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

PlanetsInTransitI 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 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. RobertHandcolourHand’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

AstrologyDummiesIf 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

Cosmic_LoomThe 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!

Saturn in Transit by Erin Sullivan

SaturnInTransitEvery so often one comes across a quality astrological book that really stands out from the crowd and stands the test of repeated reading over time. “Saturn in Transit: Boundaries of Mind, Body, and Soul” is one such book. I have continued to re-read this since I bought it several years ago. In the best possible sense, it is a Saturnian treatment of the transits of Saturn. There is also a great deal of other high quality non-Saturn astrology here.

In addition to her obvious extensive experience as a practising astrologer, Erin Sullivan draws extensively on depth psychology and classical mythology to portray Saturn’s developmental influence on our lives. The fourth section of the book, “The Personal Heroic Journey” stands out for me. Here the journey of Saturn around the birth chart is illuminated profoundly and accessibly. Sullivan begins the cycle at the midheaven and tenth house stage, “The Call To Adventure” as she terms it, in contrast to the more conventional viewpoint that places the ascendant and first house at the beginning of the cycle. From there on she comments on Saturn’s movement round the chart and the various inner and outer lessons it has to teach us.

Countless practical examples are referred to throughout, with two contrasting ErinSullivancase histories at the end showing how different but essentially similar each individual’s “heroic quest for meaning” can be. As befits a book on Saturn it does all get a bit heavy going at times but is well worth the effort!

Chart Interpretation Handbook by Stephen Arroyo


The best astrological chart interpretation book on the planet!

For anyone interested in understanding the essentials of astrological birth chart interpretation, this is a great book.

Those familiar with Stephen Arroyo will not be surprised by the exceptional quality of the writing, which builds on his other internationally best-selling astrology books. In fact some of the content is directly lifted from previous work such as “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. Its 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.

StephenArroyoI had been a practising astrologer for several years when this came out, and after one read through, the Chart Interpretation Handbook became my primary reference for birth chart work. Highly recommended, thank you Stephen Arroyo.