Category Archives: reviews

Mike Brown and Pluto

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is the charming memoir of astronomer Mike Brown’s life and career as a Kuiper belt object hunter. Engaging and funny, he explains scientific concepts in a straightforward and understandable way. Brown’s astronomical discoveries parallel his marriage and the birth of his daughter in a nice mix of personal and professional anecdotes. His “killing” of Pluto resulted from the discovery of the dwarf planet Eris. The controversy over who discovered dwarf planet Haumea could only have happened on Mercury retrograde!

Michael E. Brown was born on June 5, 1965 in Huntsville, Alabama, according to Wikipedia. Most of his horoscope is made up of a major T-square with the Sun, Mercury and Jupiter in Gemini at the apex, variously squaring the Moon, Mars, Uranus and Pluto in Virgo, and Saturn in Pisces. Quite a mutable mix. His writing has a light touch, and he’s definitely open enough to consider the possibility of astrology. Brown’s only trine is between Neptune in Scorpio and Saturn, perhaps leading him to state that, “I don’t have anything other than this deep feeling that another planet past Pluto makes sense. And I’m willing to bet there’s one there.” His intuition was right. Mike Brown

Since Brown’s career is so tied-up with Pluto, it’s fascinating to see that this planet is closely square his Sun and opposite Saturn! No wonder he jokes that he “killed Pluto.” He also calls it the “tiny lonely oddball at the edge of the solar system” and “everyone’s favorite runt planet.” His thoughts are in keeping with the pattern in his own horoscope.

If you’re interested in the discovery of Eris and other Trans-Neptunian Objects, this is an informative and entertaining read.
Buy on Amazon.com: How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

Quantum Mechanics and Astrology

I read science books from time to time, astronomy, physics, history and research topics that may relate to astrology and provide another point of view.  The Cosmic Code (1982) by Dr. Heinz Pagels was one of these.  Physicist Pagels wrote an accessible book about quantum mechanics, which could help explain astrology.

Einstein and others had identified a paradox called “spooky action at a distance” involving entangled atomic particles.  This action is impossible according to relativity theory, but is a logical part of quantum mechanics.  TechnologyReview.com describes it nicely:  “Entanglement arises naturally when two particles are created at the same point and instant in space… Entangled particles can become widely separated in space. But even so, the mathematics implies that a measurement on one immediately influences the other, regardless of the distance between them.”

They are talking about particles, but the idea of being linked at the time of creation, despite distance between particles, is very resonant of distant planets continuing to have an influence on us after birth.Mtn Unsplash nicolas-cool-113895

What was most vivid to me in Heinz Pagels book was his strong argument against action at a distance.  It seemed to me that he was speaking from a bias.  Much of what he’d explained about quantum mechanics made action at a distance seem logically possible.  Either he couldn’t reconcile it with relativity theory or action at a distance smacked too much of metaphysics to make sense to him.  But physicists have, in fact, since proven that action at a distance is real.

The most ironic thing about The Cosmic Code, though, was the ending.  In it, Dr. Pagels, a mountain climber, shared a recurring dream he had about falling while climbing.  He did not become upset, but poetically concluded that, “I realized that what I embody, the principle of life, cannot be destroyed… It is written into the cosmic code, the order of the universe.  As I continued to fall in the dark void, embraced by the vault of the heavens, I sang to the beauty of the stars and made my peace with the darkness.”

Dr. Heinz Pagels fell to his death while mountain climbing in Aspen on July 24, 1988.  Though he probably wouldn’t have accepted it, I believe he foresaw his own demise.  No surprise, as he had a stellium of the Sun, Moon, Mercury and Jupiter all in the often psychic, transcendental water sign of Pisces.  This also explains his emotional bias in his thoughts in the action at a distance paradox.

Heinz Pagels was born on February 19, 1939 in New York City.

The Cosmic Code at Amazon.com:  The Cosmic Code: Quantum Physics as the Language of Nature (Dover Books on Physics)

NCGR Geocosmic Review

Scott Silverman spun an essay on Evangeline Adams, and 1920s astrology and mysteries from his review of my book, The Precious Pachyderm, in the Winter issue of NCGR’s Geocosmic Journal. (This is a great issue edited by Leigh Westin, and includes articles by Bill Meridian, Christeen Skinner, David Perloff and Meira Epstein, among many others.) Geocosmic Jrnl Winter 2017

“Christino’s mystery novel is engaging, well plotted and paced, with dialogue that feels true to the time. I didn’t stumble across a single anachronistic historical detail, although, non-spoiler alert, EA does stumble across her fair share of shady operators, elephant aficionados and hard boiled detectives. After all, it’s a mystery.

High society matrons, condescending cops, delightful dog-walkers, and enigmatic emissaries of eastern mysticism are all present and accounted for as compelling secondary characters.”

More about The Precious Pachyderm here

Buy Kindle versionThe Precious Pachyderm (An Evangeline Adams Mystery Book 1)
Buy print version

Horoscope Guide Review

Ken Irving wrote an upbeat and positive review of my book The Precious Pachyderm:  An Evangeline Adams Mystery in the March, 2017 issue of Horoscope Guide (see below).  (The magazine also includes Jackie Sleven’s forecast, Tomorrow’s News and an article on Venus retrograde.)  Horoscope Guide 3-17

“Move over, Miss Marple!  There’s a new detective in the neighborhood and her name is…Evangeline Adams.  Yes, really, the famous American astrologer finds herself embroiled in a case involving a dead businessman, a valuable item gone walkabout, and herself as the prime suspect.  Though Adams is not alone in trying to work out the problem of who (her two assistants do a lot of the legwork), she is thinking astrologically all the way along.  In fact, given the problems to be worked out, at times we can feel a little sorry for Ms. Adams living in the era she did, as it would have been nice for her to have a PC or a smart-phone app rather than an ephemeris and a supply of pencils, pens, and horoscope blanks.  No matter, as our intrepid astrologer digs in and saves the day.  This fun tale is, by the way, written by the author of the definitive biography of the real-life astrologer, What Evangeline Adams Knew.  Grab a copy and settle in for a good read.”

More about The Precious Pachyderm here

Buy Kindle versionThe Precious Pachyderm (An Evangeline Adams Mystery Book 1)
Buy print version

The Star of the Magi

Courtney Roberts’ provocative and well-researched book, The Star of the Magi, takes a critical look at the Bible story in Matthew.  Roberts reviews the previous work on this topic and concludes that most writers have sought a literal star, using a rather narrow focus.  None were astrologers.  Her perspective is much broader and she has added insight from studying a wide array of historical, religious and astrological texts to reach her conclusions.

To put Matthew’s statement about the star in the context of its time and place, Roberts begins by reviewing the history and politics of Judea and especially the Magi and their beliefs.  Her overview of Zoroastrianism, Persian astrology, the great conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn and the traditions of messianic prophecy is fascinating.  While the author often disagrees with previous writers on the subject, her intent is not to cut down others’ contributions, but rather to correct common misconceptions.

Courtney Roberts’ analysis is illuminating and sensible, and she makes it clear that we in the west have a particular bias and that these events happened a very long time ago.  The Star of the Magi is a scholarly work and deserves serious study by anyone interested in the history of astrology, world ages and the Christmas star.   star-of-the-magi

Buy in Print: The Star of the Magi: The Mystery That Heralded the Coming of Christ by Roberts, Courtney [New Page Books, 2007] (Paperback) [Paperback]

Buy for Kindle: The Star of the Magi: The Mystery That Heralded the Coming of Christ

Wikipedia’s Bias

The Astrology News Service critiqued Wikipedia a few years ago, wondering, Is Wikipedia Concept Fatally Flawed? Based on my personal experience, it is. Wikipedia alleges neutrality. But the ANS article describes how organized skeptics are waging a campaign to edit and delete opposing points of view.

My two biographies of Evangeline Adams used to be listed as sources on her Wikipedia entry. These have now been removed. I find this especially irksome since one of the main things I tried to do with the books is to substantiate Adams’ forecasts with specific, documented and published sources. I believe I was able to do that, and readers can make up their own minds based on the facts. But the skeptical “Thought Police” are so defensive that they can’t even tolerate references to any research that might support astrology.

Instead, the Wikipedia article now only has citations against Adams’ expertise. One simply quotes “skeptics.” The other, from an investment analyst, calls Adams an “obvious quack.”

Those of us who believe in astrology may want to scream, but these people are preaching to the converted. Information on astrology on the Internet only keeps expanding, because so many people want it. Why are skeptics so upset? What’s the big deal? Who really cares what someone else believes? I’m disturbed by the biased Wikipedia edits because organized groups are intent on influencing the public. That’s how we got Prohibition in the U.S. – through organized effort, not popular choice. And we all know how that worked out.

You May be a Martian

Psychic medical diagnostician Edgar Cayce often talked about astrology while in a trance state, mentioning reincarnation and past “sojourns” in various planetary realms, highlighted in the horoscope. I’ve read a number of books on Cayce’s astrology in the past, but I could never quite make sense of it all. Now, having completed Ry Redd’s Toward a New Astrology (1985), it’s finally come together in my mind.

Redd studied the Cayce astrology readings extensively and also researched Kabbalah, Rudolf Steiner’s works and Hindu astrology, studying with Dr. B.V. Raman. He correlates Cayce’s emphasis on “Persian” astrology with Hindu Brahmin techniques for lokas (or planetary dimensions) described by the horoscopes, which he found to often closely parallel Cayce’s statements. He also addresses planetary strength, such as planets near the Midheaven, as indicating planetary emphasis in a past life. So, for instance, with an angular Mars, a recent planetary sojourn may have been in the Mars realm. You may be a Martian! I know I am.

This is one of the most intriguing astrology books I’ve read in a long time. Redd has done a tremendous amount of research and his conclusions make sense. He includes numerous horoscopes and compares them with Cayce’s interpretations, discussing famous reincarnations, Mercury, and challenging and flowing aspects in the charts.

Ry Redd’s book is still available from second-hand book dealers online and I’d highly recommend it to those interested in Edgar Cayce, astrology and reincarnation:  Toward a New Astrology: The Approach of Edgar Cayce

Ry Redd was born on March 30, 1945 at 6:45 AM in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with several chart factors showing an emphasis on reincarnation. An angular grand cross (with the Ascendant and Sun rising, Saturn conjunct the IC, Neptune on the descendant and the Midheaven) accentuates the physical vs. the spiritual. Pluto, the planet of reincarnation, closely trines his Sun, sextiles Neptune and is placed Out of Bounds in declination. And Saturn on his IC (representing the past) is nearly exactly parallel the North Node.

 

 

Uranus in Gemini and the U.S.

Evangeline Adams was one of the few astrologers to forecast WWII astrologically. As early as the 1920s, she said that “the signs point to a war from three different angles: for religious, racial and political reasons, in 1942, 1943 and 1944.” For her forecast, Adams used a cycle of Uranus in the sign of Gemini that Luke D. Broughton had outlined for the U.S. decades earlier.

In his book, URANU.S.A, astrologer Nick Dagan Best takes an in-depth look at this same Uranus cycle, building a fractal-like case with a wealth of examples of Uranus stations, ingresses and transits to birth charts and solar returns of key individuals in U.S. history. The book has a fabulous design and clear diagrams on every page to help illuminate the Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War II eras. As good a historian as he is an astrologer, Best has also added irreverent picture captions just for fun. The book is most suitable for intermediate astrologers, but beginners interested in planetary cycles should learn much since all is clear and straightforward. For those interested in forecasting, it is absolutely fascinating. Purchase directly from the author.

Hardwiring Happiness

We are biologically evolved to react to danger and thus remember the bad times – those with the best fight-or-flight response survived. Yet neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, PhD, building on the work of many recent authors, claims that we can actively train our mental happiness pathways to compensate for this bias in order to lead happier lives.

The practice he recommends is very different from simple affirmations. The exercises to promote the happiness pathways in our brains reminded me of acting exercises that I had in school to conjure up a mood. Readers are encouraged to “take in the good,” becoming more aware of and responsive to positive situations all around us every day, with many examples of how to do so.

I found this premise very intriguing and also reminiscent of simply counting our blessings. The author goes on to suggest developing the technique to overcome habits, free yourself from old emotional wounds and learn new skills. I’m not sure that someone who’s not astrologically predisposed for focus and discipline can really get this technique to work on their own for more significant issues, and perhaps it makes more sense for shorter-term and general outlook.

This book is easy to read and may have been more effective at a shorter length. But it seems like a great idea and I’m already trying it with success!

Beethoven Lives

Ludwig von Beethoven was born on December 16, 1770 in Bonn, Germany. He had the Sun, Moon and Mercury all in Sagittarius. Beethoven’s music is immediately recognizable for its drama and liveliness, which convey a feeling of vitality – it always moves forward. (Mozart also had the Moon in Sagittarius and his music exhibits a similar vital energy.)

Astrodatabank lists several possible times of birth for Beethoven, and I prefer the chart for 1:29 pm. This puts the Moon and Mercury in the 8th house of the metaphysical world and the Sun conjunct Jupiter in the 9th house of international acclaim. Beethoven lives on through his music across both time and place.

The composer’s success took some time to achieve, however, and even much of Europe did not appreciate his work until after his death in 1927. While Jupiter conjoins the Sun, it’s in its detriment in the sign of Capricorn. Success would therefore take time and effort, but could be long-lasting. Saturn in the 5th house trines Beethoven’s Sun, Moon and Mercury, giving a similar indication for the longevity of his creative work.

Our popular image of Beethoven is with a striking head of long hair. Astrologically, hair is ruled by both Capricorn and Saturn, and its abundance is indicated by Jupiter. Several locks of Beethoven’s hair which still exist were taken after his death (a customary memento in the 19th century).

A fascinating book called Beethoven’s Hair documents the travels of a lock of the composer’s hair and its recent journey to the U.S. Medical tests revealed conclusively that the composer suffered from lead poisoning, also ruled by Capricorn and Saturn. Since Jupiter in Capricorn conjoins the Sun in the 9th house in Beethoven’s horoscope, we’ve learned more about his journey through life from his hair’s travels after his death!