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Published in 1981 by Whitford Press, it is one of his first books, but this does not mean it is obsolete. More, I would say it is the first book that should be studied when someone starts to learn astrology. That's why I chose this book to be the first reviewed.
Here Robert Hand explains what he wants to achieve with this book: a deep understanding of the astrological symbols, their relation and also an interesting idea that everything is happening to us (even it seems an exterior event) has his roots in our actions, in our behavior. I agree with this point and we can think that in Hinduism and Buddhism it's a basic notion named “karma”. This signify our future but, attention!, is produced by our past actions. So, basically, it is the same idea. We generate what is happening to us, even it seems exterior. And a lot of people (at least Hindus and Buddhists) are pretty comfortable with this idea.
1. The Horoscope: a Map of the Psyche
Here we can found a piece of history and see, for example, where and when appeared the first astrological activity (it was Mesopotamia), when the Ascendant began to be used or other interesting facts. Also there is some philosophy here. Rob express some points of view about astrology and religion and is repeating that our experiences are created by us and even more:
"You create not only the experiences of events involving you with others, but also the experiences of events involving others with others".
And you can find another beautiful idea out there:
"The needed knowledge, wisdom and experience are not learned in school. Rather, they are acquired from living life consciously and with understanding. They may also be acquired from doing astrology: the study of astrology feeds itself".
This is great and is true. Very important, when you study astrology you change your way of thinking. You see how the things really are and understand them, gaining wisdom. You understand that if something bad happens you must search your actions first and not to blame others. You understand to be responsible, to assume your actions and, finally, your life.
2. The Symbol Systems of Astrology
In this chapter, Rob tells that planets must be seen like patters of energy. We should not assign planets to some kinds of people or entities, but to some kinds of actions and energies. And those planet energies in a chart are being seen subjective, every person perceive a chart from her position. For example, I see a woman in a way and for you the same woman means something different. Because her energies are connecting different with your energies than with mine. So, every human perceives the same people, the same events differently, subjective, from his point view.
Then Rob says: "If planets can be likened to verbs, signs can be likened to adverbs", which means that planets signify energy and signs can change this energy, but not fundamentally.
In the final part of the chapter there is some astronomy and I would like to remark the explanation for celestial latitude, which is something that we are not using very often. Celestial latitude means the distance between the body and the ecliptic and when is used can change the position in house and also the power of manifestation. For example, Pluto may seem a whole house below the horizon and in reality is above. The problem appears especially when you use asteroids and fixed stars because they have great latitudes.
I think would be a good idea to use celestial latitude, most astrology software calculate this value and we could easily see if it has any relevant significance.