Monthly Archives: December 2017

Stellar Review

Donna Van Toen gave my astrological mystery, The Precious Pachyderm, a nice review in the December ISAR International Atrologer.

“This is an astrological mystery. The pachyderm is not a cute little baby elephant, but rather a carved jewel of great value. And it goes missing. The sleuth who finds out what happened to it is none other than Evangeline Adams. Now Adams was, in her way, a detective, but not in the way envisioned here. This is, of course, fiction, but it’s a very good fit.

The setting is in keeping with Adams’ era in Manhattan, circa 1926. And the story opens with a wealthy businessman, whose wife is Evangeline’s client, being found dead. And meanwhile, there’s the issue of the missing elephant, which Adams herself is accused of stealing. Lots of twists, turns and tangles, and lots of characters, many of whom are, well, characters. Among these are the rather unpleasant Mrs. Fiske, whose husband is murdered, Evangeline’s assistants Mary and Clara, a group of Hindu monks, a prince (the owner of the elephant) and more. All of this, plus plenty of astrology is woven together in a fast-paced and often funny mystery, written by one of the foremost chroniclers of Evangeline Adams’ life.

Christino is probably the foremost living expert on Evangeline Adams. While this work is definitely fiction, it’s credible fiction. For the most part you could see this happening. No need to suspend belief. The cast of characters, clients, staff and hangers-on, are fun. I’m sure you will smile with recognition at some of the client antics, though I never had a client show up with a dog, and of course nowadays we don’t need transcriptionists. And yes, you will relate to the astrology, too, I’m sure.

If you like mysteries and want a good read, I recommend this. I enjoyed it thoroughly!”

More on the book here.

The December issue of the ISAR International Astrologer has excellent articles by Victoria Naumann Smoot on Martin Luther, Nick Kollestrum on the Gauquelin Data, Smijana Gavrancic on North Korea and the U.S., a wonderful essay by Sandra Leigh Serio on the August eclipse and many more. Only available to members!

Also see Donna Van Toen’s website.

Royal Wedding 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to marry on May 19, 2018 at Windsor Castle. Meghan has some unusual astrological similarities with other Americans who’ve married royals.

In my book, Regal Brides, I analyzed the horoscopes of Americans who became royals through their marriages (Consuelo Vanderbilt, Wallis Simpson, Grace Kelly, Hope Cooke and Lisa Halaby), along with their partners’ charts. Meghan’s horoscope fits in perfectly with these ten brides and grooms. All of them had important placements in Libra, and Meghan has the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto in the sign of partnerships. With the Moon also conjunct Jupiter and Saturn, she’s now best known as Prince Harry’s partner.

Meghan shares the Moon in Libra with Consuelo Vanderbilt and Wallis Simpson, two famous Americans married to English royalty in the last century.

The partners I analyzed in Regal Brides represent a very small astrological sample. Nevertheless, four of the ten partners had Saturn favorably aspected in Libra, and Meghan also shares this placement and the flowing aspects: in her case, sextiles from Saturn to her Leo Sun and Mercury. Saturn is exalted in the sign of Libra, and these people take relationships seriously. Perhaps this position also strengthens a person’s position in life.

Whatever Meaghan Markle’s compatibility with Prince Harry, or the astrology of their wedding date, she seems an astrologically appropriate candidate for her new life with the royal family.

(See Jessica Adams’ blog for her analysis of Meghan’s Leo Sun and other royals who shared it.)

The Astronomer and the Witch

Ulinka Rublack looks back at the life of Johannes Kepler and the year he spent defending his mother against charges of witchcraft in their hometown of Leonberg, Germany in the early 17th century in her engrossing book, The Astronomer and the Witch.

Kepler’s work fits neatly into a time when there was great excitement in studying the natural world, which was seen as part of God’s great plan. There was enthusiasm for mechanical developments such as clocks, as well as natural remedies. While women were generally not educated, they nevertheless had access to medicinal plants and herbs, and Katherina Kepler used these for herself, family and friends.

Kepler was around 50 in 1720, when his mother was arrested and imprisoned. He had previously been associated with Tycho Brahe and Emperor Rudolph II and had already published many of his most important works, but experienced career ups and downs in a time of great instability between Catholics and Lutherans. We learn something about his personal life and relationships with colleagues, family and friends.

Leonberg and its neighboring towns regularly prosecuted witches, who were often older women, hanging or burning those convicted. Katharina’s initial accuser gained support, and rumors turned to testimony against her. Her tough, confrontational manner hurt her case, with a biased and corrupt local official complicating things. Over 70 at the time of the arrest, she’d been a widow who’d raised a family on her own and successfully supported herself for over 30 years. She was jailed for over a year while chained to the floor.

At the same time Kepler published his Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, court records show how he was able to use his experience in the political world and as a critical thinker to craft his mother’s defense. He used rigorous logic and research to dissect the testimony against Katharina, and rhetorical persuasion to argue her case.

The author does an excellent job of portraying Kepler as a multi-faceted individual and admits that he had a large collection of horoscopes and did chart interpretations and forecasts for his various patrons. But she unfortunately does not appear to have researched astrology, which could only have strengthened her work. Rublack provides an excellent historical context for Kepler’s “negative sketches,” but to an astrologer, these are obviously cook-book-like delineations of planetary combinations. She similarly states that “What we call ‘gender’ played no role at all in the explanatory framework of astrology,” which is simply incorrect. Interestingly, she shares some of Kepler’s unanswered questions about his own birth chart, which might be answered by using the outer planets today.

Rublack stresses Kepler’s skepticism, stating, “his view that astrology was of little value.” She is probably more correct in her later discussion, where she concludes that Kepler’s mature belief was non-deterministic, allowing for the influence of the human soul, culture, education, choice and habits to modify the horoscope: “good astrology was very much like medicine in its character, an inductive art, which required observation, experience and analysis.” Kepler’s beliefs were based upon his experience as well as his optimistic Christian world view; he also stressed the need for accurate birth data. Astrologically, he was an innovator, as he was in astronomy.

Despite my quibbles, this is an excellent book for anyone interested in the history of ideas, and particularly for astrologers who wish to learn more about one of their most successful forebears.

Buy on Amazon.com: The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler’s Fight for his Mother

Kepler’s Astrology, Ken Negus’ translation of some of Kepler’s astrological writings is available in print.

Culture & Cosmos’ edition on Kepler is unfortunately no longer available. See the Table of Contents here.