Category Archives: reviews

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!

JFK Redux

The media has been having an orgy, feasting on the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy.  Does astrology show our obsession with him?  Of course. 

Kennedy’s South Node in his 9th house closely conjoins the U.S. Sun.  Judith Hill says in her book, The Lunar Nodes, that the Sun entity (the U.S. in this case) “…may cause you grief or trouble at some point.  Or sometimes they drain you.”  This seems appropriate, if understated, for Kennedy.  Obviously he would not have been killed had he not been president of the U.S.!  Hill also suggests that “It can be a karmic bond.”  For us, the country as a whole, Kennedy as a South Node person seems to be someone that strikes us to the core; we don’t seem to be able to let go of him.  Since the Nodes are diametrically opposed, those who want to know more about his position (North Node) or his at times creepy lifestyle (South Node) are both fascinated. 

The natal connection existed for a long time.  But why is it gaining momentum now?  Not all anniversaries are celebrated.  Transiting Pluto is within a degree of conjoining JFK’s natal North Node in Capricorn, dredging up his past.  To once again quote Judith Hill on this combination, “Pluto brings very deep, intense energy… Some individuals may experience an enhancement of personal powers… Your dharma may be pointed out…”  And Pluto can be obsessive. 

Of course, these are just a few of the many connections between Kennedy’s horoscope, the U.S. chart and current transits.  One symbol that I like is his Mars in Taurus conjunct his 8th house, representing the eternal (Taurus) flame (Mars) at his gravesite (after death – 8th house), being activated now by the transit of Saturn in Scorpio. 

But enough already!  Let’s put this guy to rest. 

There have been a lot of books lately on the Nodes.  I haven’t read them all, but I highly recommend Judith Hill’s excellent book, The Lunar Nodes (Stellium Press, 2009).  It describes eastern, western and contemporary approaches, natal placements and transits.  She really speaks from her own and client’s experiences.  It has a great Table of Contents and Bibliography though unfortunately no Index.  Buy it at Amazon.com:  The Lunar Nodes: Your Key to Excellent Chart Interpretation

The Letter from the Virgin

In his debut novel, Anthony P. Geraci brings us an epic story of great scope, effortlessly placing us in 45 AD, the year 963 and the near future. The virgin of the title is of course the Virgin Mary, with her Letter part of the mystery we follow for two millennia. Geraci maintains both suspense and intriguing plot twists from beginning to end. After midnight, I didn’t especially want to continue reading about the pedophile bishop or evil Pope, but I could not put the book down!

Geraci is a masterful researcher, with each of his time periods vividly recreated, as are Rome, Avignon, New York City and other locales. We learn something of the history of the world’s oldest living institution, the Catholic Church, but its leaders are manipulating their message to obtain the greatest power for themselves. Church officials have forgotten their humanity and are as corrupt as any leaders in business, industry or politics.

Through dramatic situations and compelling characters, the author presents the spiritual world and divine inspiration as more real and legitimate than manmade laws. The dynamic women of the first two eras in the story move the plot forward as they try to be true to what they know is right, while opposing power-hungry men. Our final protagonist, a gay seminary student, is able to bridge both worlds, and is uniquely qualified to set things right and solve the mystery.

Geraci’s work is resonant of Taylor Caldwell, Dan Brown or even Indiana Jones. But this inventive and highly imaginative book is completely original. There’s both a satisfying ending as well as a surprising twist, and plenty of room for a sequel. Bring on the movie!