Book review: Classical astrology for modern living

This 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.