Classical Astrology


astrologyThis book, published in 1996 by Whitford Press, presents a wide range of classical astrology techniques with the aim to “radically improve Astrology”. At least this is wrote on the cover…


The first 4 chapters (1.Introduction: Why Classical?, 2.Have you forgotten what the Sky looks at night? The Babylonian Captivity, 3. Elements, Qualities and Triplicities, 4. Historical Context: From the Fall of Rome to the End of Renaissance) are really boring. You can find here some history, definitions, generalities bit won’t take long and you will think something like “Are there any more pages until this chapter will end?”. I don’t say it is not good to know what is in that book but, it is not easy to read, a lot of pages are not relevant for the subject and the book is not coming with something new, useful, something that will bring an important improvement to your practical astrology.


Let us go back to the book. After the introductory chapters comes Chapter 5 – Essential Dignities and Chapter 6 – Accidental Dignities.  I believe these are the best chapters from the book (she wrote a whole book about dignities: Essential Dignities). One can find here tables with both Egyptian and Chaldean terms and the almuten for every degree. I think that’s useful. Also, some examples: the charts of Nicholas II, Mary Godwin Wollstonecraft Shelley and Prince Charles.


In chapter 6 the accidental dignities are very well grouped after the House placement (angular, succedent, cadent), motion (swift, slow, direct, retrograde), oriental and accidental (for superior planets is better to be oriental, for inferior planets occidental), closeness to the Sun (cazimi, combust, under the Sun`s beams), the Moon increasing or decreasing in light, aspects to malefic and benefic planets and conjunctions to fixed stars. I like this chapter.


Chapter 7: Everything you ever wanted to know about sect… is not “everything” about sect, not even close. But, you will find here some general theory that will help to use sect. For something closer to this “everything about sect” read “Night and Day: Planetary Sect in Astrology” by Robert Hand.


Chapter 8 is about the Part of Fortune and chapter 9 is called “When a quincunx is not inconjunct”. Not interesting…


Chapter 10. The Nodal Cycle: from Ptolemy to Rudhyar presents the relation between the Lunar Nodes and the Moon. This is a very nice chapter where you will find the interpretation for the conjunction, opposition, square of the Moon with the Nodes. For example:


“When the Moon is conjunct South Node, the hero is the dictator for the collective. […] Lenin, like Hitler (another South Node type) was supremely confident in his own vision.”


Basically, the idea is that the Moon at Node North begins a new cycle, creates a “new system”, then in the journey to the South Node it is systematizing and building it and, at the South Node, reach a stage of successful development and supremely confidence. After this, from the South to the North Node are the processes of elimination and restructuring.


Then it comes Chapter 11: What is Mutual Reception, anyway?, Chapter 12: The Ancient Medical Model, Chapter 13: How to Read a House, Chapter 14: Profections and Chaper 15: Changes. About profections, I must say that seems awkward. The idea is that every house gives predictions for a year of life (house 1 – age 0, house 2 – age 1, …., house 12 – age 11, house 1 – age 12 and so on) but I don’t think it really works. We don’t even know what is the best house system… I don’t see the philosophical explanation for this system and, you know, that almost everything must have an explanation! Though, I accept there are things we can not yet understand I think this is not the case.




Conclusion. It is a big book! Has 350 pages…and you will find here many techniques and many explanations. But after you read it I don’t think you’ll have more than 2 or 3 ideas to apply to your practical astrology. If you should buy it? I don’t know… Probably, if you are a person that reads a lot of astrology you should buy it, but, if you don’t have much time for astrology you should not waste your money. I think 6,5 is a proper evaluation for this book. 

Whole Sign Houses

whole sign houses

Published by Arhat Publications in 2000, this 48 pages booklet is, in fact, a former material appeared in The Mountain Astrologer, who is trying to prove why the author uses the Whole Sign Houses system and to convince us about his usefulness.


The Whole Sign Houses is a system where the first house is the whole sign where the Ascendant is rising. Then every next sign is a house. For example, if your Ascendant is rising at 27 degrees in Virgo, the first house is from 0 to 30 degrees in Virgo, the second house from 0 to 30 degrees in Libra, the tenth house from 0 to 30 degrees in Gemini and so on. But, attention, the Ascendant and Midheaven keeps their position, so the Midheaven may not fall in the tenth house! Back to our example, if you used Placidus house system and the Midheaven was at 28 degrees in Taurus, now, using the Whole Sign Houses you will have the tenth house in Gemini but the Midheaven will still be at 28 degrees in Taurus, so, in the ninth house!


Astrological Roots: The Hellenistic Legacy


astrological_roots.jpgJoseph Crane (b. 1954 Brighton, MA) is an American astrologer and psychotherapist who practiced astrology since the late 1980’s and is the co-founder of the Astrology Institute. His main interest is to understand and teach Hellenistic astrology or, even more, "to reformulate modern astrology by using methods from astrology’s traditions". The most significant results of his work are his books: A Practical Guide to Traditional Astrology (1997) and Astrological Roots: the Hellenistic Legacy (2007). The last one is the most comprehensive study about Hellenistic astrology that we have nowadays. 


In the Preface the author gives a beautiful definition for astrology:


"Astrology is one of the great adventures of human civilization and has contributed greatly to people’s lives and to our culture over time. Astrology’s purpose is to use the positions of the planets and stars in the sky to gather information on the individual and on humanity. Astrology is a system that enables us to understand the past, present and the future within a universe full of meaning."


and then starts to criticize modern astrology as being too focused on speculations, too much connected by modern astrologers with different spiritual ideologies like supposed previous lifetimes, Jungian psychology etc., resulting in difficult, fuzzy, confusing interpretations. On the other side traditional astrology, the subject of this book, has clear concepts, gives better results and is easy to apply. He wants to help us reestablish contact with, what he calls "astrology roots".  


Introduction: Astrology then and now

First, Joseph Crane makes a brief incursion in the early evolution of astrology starting from Mesopotamia in 400 BCE until 400 CE when Christianity became a fierce enemy for astrology. Then, he discusses the most important critics regarding astrology: why many astrological predictions do not pass, how the planets can scientifically influence humans, how astrology match with different religious beliefs, why ancient astrologers judgments are fatalistic etc.  


Chapter 1: Astrology’s Bricks and Mortar

The author explains that in ancient astrology the relation between the astrologer and the visible sky was much more important that in modern astrology because now we use computers, software and forget to look at the real picture, on the sky. With this idea in mind, he presents several important matters in traditional astrology like: sect, the seasons and their relation with signs, the whole sign houses system, the planetary joys, triplicities, quadrants and a little piece of practical astrology. About the houses, he mentions that in ancient tradition the houses were not associated with signs (House 1 with Aries, House 2 with Taurus etc.) like in modern astrology. This is a good point to remember. Also, he explains very well the relation between seasons and signs, for example:


"Cancer is the sign that begins with the summer equinox, and the season is hot. Hot increases activity and can also go to extremes of expression. Cancer, however, is a water sign and we tend to think of signs in the water triplicity as sensitive, emotional, and imaginative. Cancer, more than Scorpio and Pisces, has hot qualities of dramatic emotionality. Cancer wears its heart on its sleeve, despite its desire to hide within its shell. Libra, which begins with the autumn equinox, is in the dry season of the year. Dry separates and sees things as distinct. Unlike Gemini and Aquarius, the other signs in the air triplicity, Libra discriminates carefully between it and others, and defines itself by form and protocol. Capricorn is an Earth sign in the cold season. Cold is subdued and self-contained, sometimes brittle. Capricorn’s reticence, sobriety and curmudgeonly qualities are legendary, especially in contrast with the restlessness of Virgo (in the hot and drying time of the year)and the sensuality of Taurus (in the wet and warming time of the year)." 

Exploring Jupiter


Exploring_Jupiter.JPGStephen Arroyo, born October 6, 1946, in Kansas City, Missouri, is an American astrologer who wrote several psychologically oriented astrology books like Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements (1975), Chart Interpretation Handbook (1990), Astrology, Karma and Transformation (1992), Exploring Jupiter (1996). His astrological views are similar with those of Liz Greene, another representative for modern psychologically oriented astrology, and different in some essential points from what is accepted by traditional astrology, for example he uses non-Ptolemaic aspects (quincunx, semi-sextile etc.), dissociate aspects, which happen when planets are in an aspect but the signs they are placed within are not in the same aspectual relationship, for example, Mars 28 degrees Libra is considered to square Venus 2 degrees Aquarius even the signs are in trine, accepts mutual receptions between planets which are not in a Ptolemaic aspect, considers retrograde planets not to be debilitated, associates sign elements to houses (fire, earth, air, water houses), uses modern planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto like co-rulers for Aquarius, Pisces, and Scorpio. For his work he was honored in 1992 with the Regulus Award for Theory and Understanding and became one of the best-selling astrology authors.


Understanding Jupiter

In the first three chapters 1. A Framework for Understanding Jupiter, 2. Jupiter in the Birth Charts and 3. Exploring the Jupiterian Personality the author tries to define the characteristics of Jupiter by itself and in relation with other planets and signs. The books starts with the Hermetic theory of the unity between the man-microcosm and macrocosm where Jupiter represents the processes which help us understand our position:


"I cannot help but feel that Jupiter’s bigness and broad vision is inextricably linked to the perennial human search for a large truth and for an experience of oneness with the universe."


Jupiter is also defined in another manner by analyzing the differences between him and opposed planets and signs. The relation Jupiter/Mercury opposes the Mercurian logic, knowledge, concrete, present with the Jupiterian intuition, understanding, abstract, future. The relation Gemini/Sagittarius shows two different mental, intellectual attitudes with Gemini looking for concrete, rational knowledge, having an empirical view and Sagittarius looking for a spiritual, intuitive, holistic knowledge. The author also presents the relations Sagittarius/Virgo, Sagittarius/Pisces, Jupiter/Neptune, Jupiter/Saturn and Jupiter/Venus. Among other interesting ideas he mentions that the Mercurian signs, Virgo and Gemini, tends to demystify life while the Jupiterian signs, Sagittarius and Pisces, tends to mystify life. 


The best analyze between planets I think is the Jupiter/Saturn relation, where the two planets are counterbalancing each other. A strong Saturn will keep Jupiter not to become extreme, arrogant, over-confident, self-indulgent, risking too much, not to rely too much in luck, fate, fortune. Also a good balance between Saturn and Jupiter indicate a good business man. I think this is a good point and the balance between Saturn and Jupiter is an important aspect in the chart. I can say that especially when Jupiter is also in aspect with Mars the person needs a strong Saturn to control the tendency to "push his luck". 


In chapter 2 one can find some useful guidelines for interpreting Jupiter. It is something of this sort:


"A strong Jupiter usually manifests as a hopeful, buoyant, upbeat personality – often quite humorous. Jupiter’s sign often gives a clue to the type of humor. […] Jupiter’s position shows where probable success, prosperity, and rapid development are likely, for it is there that bountiful energy can be experienced and that one has enhanced abilities to express oneself and share with society at large." 


In chapter 3 you’ll find the astrological configurations which can make a person embarrassed to express her Jupiterian attitude: a prominence of Capricorn, Virgo or many planets in water signs. I think this is a very good observation which touches a rare subject in astrological literature.   


In every chapter of this book the reader will observe two fundamental characteristics: quotas from other astrologers and detailed practical examples. Stephen Arroyo uses ideas, opinions, quotes from many authors like Charles Carter, Jeff Mayo, Antony Aveni, Theodore Roszak, Isabelle Pagan, Page Smith, David Humblin, Dane Rudhyar, Tracy Marks, Grant Lewi, Donna Cunningham etc., so you can find other astrologer’s opinion about Jupiter too. The other feature, practical examples of the astrological principles, is made by presenting and analyzing charts of famous people. In this part one can find detailed analyzes (1-3 pages) for George Washington, Winston Churchill, Andrew Carnegie and Paul Mellon (Jupiterian philanthropists), Dale Carnegie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  

Saturn – A New Look at an Old Devil


saturn2.jpgLiz Greene (born 4th September 1946 in New Jersey, USA) is an astrologer who became famous after writing several books of psychological astrology like Saturn – A New Look at an Old Devil, The Astrology of Fate, The Luminaries: The Psychology of the Sun and Moon in the Horoscope or The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption. She is strongly influenced by the Jungian psychology, concepts like personal and collective unconscious, archetype, synchronicity being common in her books. Nowadays she lives in Switzerland and is the director of the Center of Psychological Astrology, an institute she founded in 1983 with Howard Sasportas.  


Her first book, Saturn – A New Look at an Old Devil (1976), is a bestseller still considered in astrology one of the main references about Saturn.

The major innovation is that she doesn’t present Saturn from a fatalistic point of view, but tries to explain the psychological and evolutionary processes generated by his presence.


The first half of the book presents the interpretations for Saturn in signs and houses. There are four chapters named "In the Watery Signs and Houses", "In the Earthy Signs and Houses", "In the Airy Signs and Houses" and "In the Fiery Signs and Houses". As one can see from the title the interpretations for signs and houses are blended in the same chapters and the houses are grouped like watery, earthy, airy and fiery. This is pretty awkward for many astrologers. Also, there are too many connections with mythology, the text is not well structured, often confusing, hard to understand and the explanations seem irrational. Let’s see an example:


"Saturn in the sixth house seems to provide an opportunity – often through frustration, dissapointment, and ill health- for a journey into the mysteries of the interconnexion between mind and body and the possibility of a conscious and deliberate synthesis of these two, the reward of which is good health and a new awareness of the meaning of the body and of the material environment." 


The second half of the book contains two chapters named "Aspects in the Birth Chart" and "In Synastry" where the author presents the interpretations for the aspects of Saturn and other planets in the natal chart and synastry. The text changes and, in contrast with the first part, the observations become reliable, the analyze is subtle, fine and insightful. It seems to be a totally different book. It is a pleasant surprise for the reader. One can find the interpretations for Saturn in relation with the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn (synastry), Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The analyze is not divided in separate aspects (conjunction, sextile etc.), just presents the general relation between planets, eventually speaking about good and bad aspects. Every planetary combination made by Saturn is presented detailed, in multiple areas of life. For example, the Saturn – Venus relation is analyzed in relation with marriage, sexuality, the capacity to be happy, the emotional state, the early home life, the rel
ation with parents, the capacity to express and receive affection etc. One can find a various and numerous range of manifestations for every planetary combination. Let’s see a quotation:


"Mercury – Saturn contacts are not productive of the kind of stress and emotional frustration which is more typical of Mars, Venus, or the Moon in aspect to Saturn. Mercury, being symbolic of cold reason and common sense and being inclined toward matters of business or commerce as well as intellectual pursuits, tends to blend agreeably with Saturn regardless of the nature of the aspect. It is fairly obvious why a combination of these two planets should be associated with tact, shrewdness, and diplomacy."




Conclusion. I don’t like the first part where is presented Saturn in signs and houses. My objections are: the analyzes made for signs and houses are very similar (for example, the second house is equated with Taurus etc.), the houses are associated with the four elements (fire, earth, air and water) like signs, there is too much mythology, the text is confusing, not well structured, jumping from one idea to another very easily. A book about Saturn should have a little more structure. I like the second part, the analyze of the relation between Saturn and planets is a very good one. Good, valuable observations can be found in every page. Taking in account the differences between the two parts of the book, I will give 6,5 for the first part and a 9 for the second part. So, the evaluation for the whole book is 7,75.



Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark


predictive astrologyBernadette Brady is an Australian astrologer who lives in Bristol, UK. She wrote Star and Planet Combinations (2008), Astrology – a Place of Chaos (2006), Predictive Astrology (1999), Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars (1998) and received  the Charles Harvey Award (2006).


Predictive Astrology – The Eagle and the Lark (1999), probably her most appreciated book, is a revised and updated version of the textbook The Eagle and the Lark (1992). She was distinguished with the Spica Astrology Award for the best astrological book in 1999.


Instead of preface we have the story of the Eagle and the Lark. Through this fable, Bernadette warns us that only with intuition (the lark) we can’t reach a high level in astrology, we also need the eagle (science, logic, techniques) which this book represents. Another idea emphasized by  the author, essential in predictive astrology, is the relation between fate and free will. For example, if you want to predict an event for a person and believe in free will, then you realize that you might be wrong! Because she can choose how to act, therefore is not perfectly predictable.  So, this is a very sensitive point in astrology.


Chapter 1. The Alphabet     

Here are presented specific keywords and characteristics (adjusted for predictive work) for the planets, planetary pairs, angles, planetary cycles, aspects, houses and transits. Is not much, but I think there are some useful guidelines for understanding the main idea. Especially, I like the explanations for aspects (conjunction, opposition, square, semi-square, sesquiquadrate, trine, sextile, semi-sextile, quincunx).


Chapter 2. Working with Transits

In the first part of the chapter, the author presents an original method which should be useful for interpreting the meaning of transits. The planets and their natal houses symbolize the cause, the current transited house symbolize the main arena of action and the houses ruled by the planets symbolize the consequences. I think this scheme is valuable and brings to attention another important rule for transits: when a transit occurs, always look at the relation of the planets in the natal chart (aspect, sign and houses). For example, if you have a trine in natal chart a square in transit won’t be powerful, but if you have an opposition or square he will be strongly felt, making you remember what he symbolize. Because, even the natal aspect has a constant effect in the day to day life, the peaks of his manifestation are when he is reinforced by transits or progressions.


Back to the book, we can see how this grid imagined by Bernadette Brady is applying in specific situations when signs are intercepted or when appear multiple transits. After that, you can read a case study on Joan of Arc chart. I found this example quite interesting!


The chapter ends with a part named Feedback of Failure, where the author identifies four possible reasons for failure in predictive astrology: incorrect birth time, wrong house system, incorrect rulerships, wrong techniques. For the first case, if the birth time has an error of maximum 60 minutes the author advise us to use transit of slower moving planets over the Cross of Matter (ASC-DC and MC-IC axis) to rectify the chart and presents a practical example using the chart of Thomas Edison. For the second cause, wrong house system, the author propose some strange ideas, from my perspective. She writes:


"some people are Placidus people, while some people are Koch people, and so on."


advising us to use a different house system for every person if this is necessary. I think this is wrong! We must find a house system that works in general and not to change the house system for every person, trying to find which system is good for you, which one for me and so on.


The other causes for predictive astrology failure don’t get to much attention from the author.    

Angles and Prediction


Angles and Prediction

Published in 2007 by Treehouse Mountain, this book represents a lifetime work and has an enormous amount of information, reflected in her size (550 pages). What you will find inside? It is simple! The interpretation of the aspects made by asteroids together and with planets.


How many asteroids are analyzed? No more, no less, than 68! And, the good part is that, when I tested those interpretations seemed to work! Not all, but that is not important. If just a half are working it is a wonderful job by Martha Lang-Wescott. I think this original and impressive work can be a start for us to study the asteroids influence. Martha Lang-Wescott chose an unexplored path and put some solid and valuable basis for our future research. The understanding of asteroids can make our astrological interpretations more precise and accurate. I think this kind of study can make astrology evolve, so I made a section on this site with asteroids, named Asteroids Testimony, where we can post our experience with this subject.



A Practical Guide to Traditional Astrology

joseph crane

Published by Arhat Publications, first time in 1997 and then in 2007 (second edition), this book presents some astrological techniques from the late Hellenistic and Medieval periods. Joseph Crane, the co-founder of the Astrological Institute, also wrote Astrological Roots: The Hellenistic Legacy, a book which treats the same subject, but in a more detailed and comprehensive manner.


Chapter 1. Traditional Planetary Dignity and Disposition

You will find here explanations for different aspects that appear when dealing with planetary dignities, such as every important planetary disposition (domicile rulers, exaltation, fall, triplicities, terms and faces), the meanings for dignity and disposition or the planetary sect influence (more about that here). There are two tables, at pages 2 and 10 with all dignities, very clear.


Essays on Astrology

essays on astrology

Published by Whitford Press in 1982, the book contains 13 essays who are, in fact, former published articles, some among his first writings.


1. The Moon, the Four Phases of the Feminine

Here is some theory about the Moon symbolism. Among many ideas I would like to point out that the Moon does not represent necessarily the women but the archetypal feminine, yin, in Chinese philosophy. And this energies can be found in men too.

Then he writes about one of his theories (presented also in Horoscope Symbols) who tells that nowadays the feminine archetypal is repressed and some functions like moods, feelings, unconscious drives are underestimated.


Horoscope Symbols Book

horoscope symbolsPublished 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.