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Maya's Book Corner - Astrology Favorites

by Maya del Mar

The Astrology of Self-Discovery by Tracy Marks. CRCS Publications, Reno, Nevada. 1985. Available in paperback through Amazon.

The Astrology of Self DiscoveryIn the 70’s and early 80’s Tracy Marks, a very young woman, wrote a number of excellent and unique books on basic astrology, with the aim of creating tools for self-development. She combined a rich psychological approach with sound astrological principles to make her descriptions dynamic and illuminating. As I recall, she herself had a full twelfth house, which gave her work much depth and breadth, along with sensitivity and grace.

In the introduction she says, "The astrological chart is a map for discovering who we truly are and who we can become when we decide to take charge of all our disparate parts and all the internal and external energies affecting us. Using astrology consciously, actively, constructively and responsibly, we can both discover ourselves and create ourselves in cooperation with universal forces."

She calls this book "a guidebook to some of the neglected or only superficially considered themes in astrology which have highly significant ramifications for those of us attempting to integrate our physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual natures, liberate ourselves from restricting past patterns, and awaken the inner spirit which directs our own processes of unfoldment."

There are eight chapters enfolded in three parts: The Moon and Its Nodes, The Outer Planet Transits, and Astrology and Self-Development.

The chapter on the moon is subtitled Reparenting the Inner Child. It is through the moon that our deepest emotional needs are expressed, and yet we have a culture which dissociates us from our subconscious, instinctual and immediate needs. Tracy gives examples of resulting unhappiness, and through astrology, tools for healing and rejoining our neglected moon, our inner child. In every context, she gives both positive and negative possibilities.

She describes each moon in a sign, and what it indicates about the parenting we received, and she gives perhaps 20 famous quotes which describes each moon. Her first quote, for instance, about Leo Moon is from a Carly Simon song:

Pretend you’re a child, with nothing to hide,
Then we’ll join hands and let the universe swing wide.

Paul Wellstone had a Leo moon. This suits him perfectly.

Tracy discusses Lunar Nodes at some length. The North Node, the future, and South Node, the past, are always opposite one another by sign. Our job is to help them to work together in the now. Tracy gives keywords for each nodal polarity which are helpful for understanding and integrating the polarities in any circumstance.

Tracy writes a chapter on Neptune called "How to Swim Through Cosmic Waters." She describes a dozen Neptunian states of consciousness, and then discusses selected states more thoroughly.

For instance, she talks about the internal fog which we may feel. "One factor which may contribute to our internal fog is our psychic sensitivity, which, under Neptune, may be considerable. Often, we are overwhelmed because we are absorbing the energy of other people. If Neptune is aspecting our Mercury, we may pick up their thoughts; if the Moon, their feelings and needs; if Saturn, their fear; if Mars, their anger. We may have difficulty distinguishing between us and them. We may require meditation or relaxation time each day." Her chapter on Neptune is extensive, and her suggestions for working with Neptune’s fog are excellent.

Tracy ends her book by saying that there are no simple answers, and what answers do exist we must discover for ourselves, at the foundations or our beings. She quotes the poet, Rainer Maria Rilke:

I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the QUESTIONS themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. LIVE the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers.

The Astrology of Self-Discovery is a sensitive, thoughtful, illuminating, and deeply instructional book.




October 2002

Retrograde Planets by Erin Sullivan. Penguin Books, Middlesex, England, 1992. Reissued Red Wheel/Weiser, Ocotber 2000. Available in paperback through Amazon.

There are few books about retrograde planets, and this is the best I’ve seen. Erin includes physical descriptions, patterns, and diagrams of the various retrograding planets, as well as psychological correlates on both individual and collective levels. She is well versed in mythology, and uses the stories of the gods and goddesses in illuminating fashion.

Erin’s descriptions of the planets themselves, even aside from retrogradation, are rich and enlightening. This is a book you can open to anywhere, read a few moments, and find your understanding of the planets and their celestial dances enhanced

Venus turns retrograde this month, so let us look at her. In Western mythology Venus is Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. She inspires the artist, the lover, the poet. Venus likes to appear well, to attract, and to further harmony. However, when she is retrograde Venus reaches underground into the unconscious, and into the past to connect with her past and her ancestry. This is shadow territory, and Venus when retrograde can discover her motivations, which may not be so rosy. And Venus may come back from her journey not looking so "nice."

During the midpoints of their retrogradations, planets encounter the Sun, where they can receive new marching orders, absorb them, and put them into effect when they turn direct.

For Venus, this is shadow time. They are the days when Venus conjuncts Sun, and is invisible in the sky. The Mesoamericans (and the Babylonians) used the Venus cycle for timing, particularly in matters of war. You can see this shift in the sky, as Venus sets in the evening sky, disappears for 8 days, and rises in the morning sky. According to Erin, the Mayans set armies marching in synchrony with her rise from the underworld. To them she was Venus Goddess of War. The whole cycle lasts 586 days, which was a major ritual cycle for the Mayans.

In modern day astrology we use that concept when we consider Venus the Evening Star (before it turns retrograde) as peaceful, and Venus the Morning Star as warlike. I’ve never really pinned down that correlation, but let’s check it out now. According to Erin, armies were mobilized when Venus was in her station about to turn direct.

Since Bush is planning to go to war, and Venus will turn retrograde, we can test this notion. Venus will turn direct on November 21. Just before then we have a potent Lunar Eclipse on November 19-20 at 28 Taurus, square the U.S. Moon, Pallas, and progressed Sun. Indeed, this does look like the stimulus to war.

There is further support for the Venus rising hypothesis at that Eclipse. Venus is rising then through Baghdad—and Mars is rising through Israel—where Sharon wants to use an Iraq war to move the Palestinians out of their homeland.

Venus is retrograde in the same sign, and at similar degrees, every eight years. Checking back to 1994, we find Venus turning direct in Scorpio on November 23, and on November 21 NATO air strikes hitting Serbs in Croatia. On December 5 Boris Yeltsin said, in response, that the U.S. shouldn’t be allowed to dominate the world. At least somebody said it!

This is what I mean by opening Erin’s book somewhere, and finding something provocative! This fine book by Erin Sullivan is worth adding to one's bookshelf.



September 2002

Phases of the Moon, a Guide to Evolving Human Nature by Marilyn Busteed, Richard Tiffany & Dorothy Wergin. Shambhala, Berkeley, CA, 1974. Reissued by the American Federation of Astrologers, 1996. Paperback. Available at Amazon as a "hard to find" title.

The Sun-Moon phase under which one is born is very basic. It corresponds with one’s type of personality thrust into life. For instance, someone born under a Full Moon is always seeking to illuminate things, to understand them. This person looks to communicating with others—as Sun and Moon communicate directly with each other when they are full—to give primary meaning to life, and thus relationships are vital.

In contrast, a New Moon person is always starting out on new adventures, with the impulse rising spontaneously from within the self. An Old Moon person can let the past go, and perhaps peer into the future.

The great astrologer Dane Rudhyar described the basic rhythm of the cycle of Sun-Moon phases in his classic book, The Pulse of Life, used by astrologers as a paradigm for all planetary pair cycles.

Fewer people are aware that the great Irish poet, William Yeats, described that same cycle in his "A Vision," using powerful imagery.

The authors of Phases of the Moon base their work on Rudhyar and on Yeats. They divide the cycle into 28 phases, and develop a system to describe each phase and the inter-relationships between them. This is a book about human development, based on moon-sun phases, which are beautifully and dynamically described.

This is another of those visionary works which in application is extremely accurate. Others have since published similar books, but none has the descriptive power of this one. Throughout the book, quotes from Yeats lend poetic imagery to the descriptions.

One finds a specific phase by counting the degrees between Sun and Moon. For instance, my Sun is at 18 Aquarius, and my Moon is at 14 Virgo. Counting 30 degrees to a sign, I jump through the zodiac, beginning with 18 Aquarius. Virgo is seven signs past Aquarius, thus 18 Virgo would be 210 degrees along the zodiac. However, my Moon at 14 is 4 degrees short of 18, so I subtract 4 to equal 206 degrees. This defines my Sun-Moon phase.

According to the authors of Phases of the Moon, with 206 degrees, I am in Phase 17 (of the 28). Phase 17 is a Libra phase, ruled by Venus with co-ruler Uranus. As such, it is cardinal air. Relationships are still primary (as with Full Moon), but they become more varied and electric.

As co-ruler, Uranus signifies sudden transformations. With Venus, those transformations are in relationships. The native constantly takes up the challenge to break with the past in order to live wholly in the present.

Below are brief selections taken from two pages of apt description:

Uranus brings personal loss and disillusionment. As the native learns to adapt to constant change, she will be able to face each successive moment without a burden of expectations. Intellect enriches life by placing original interpretations on episodes of disillusionment. Revolted by risk and loss, the native nevertheless needs them as stimuli to personal growth.

(I have had a life full of changes, gains and losses. Part of my name change to Maya was to switch my numerology to more stable numbers. Indeed, my life becomes increasingly more stable.)

Phases of the Moon includes a guide to the 30-year progressed sun-moon cycle, also in developmental terms.

This book greatly enriches the understanding of any natal chart, and at a very basic level. I recommend it to anyone who knows the placement of their Sun and Moon, and who has some affinity with psychological language.



July 2002

The Black Hole Book by Alex Miller-Mignone, 627 South 26th St., Philadelphia, PA, 19146. 1995 (very few left). $18 in US funds, cheque or money order made payable to 'alex miller-mignone.' Telephone 215-735-1872, email Alixila@aol.com.

Readers have asked me about the source of Black Hole information, and although I have had the precious little book since 1995, I had lost touch with Alex. Expert researcher Susan tracked him down, and you can get in touch with Alex at the above address and phone number. However, hurry, because he says he is moving soon!

This is an extraordinary little book which combines science, mythology, psychology, history, current events, and astrology in a holistic manner to describe energy flow, which is what astrology is about. In reviewing it, I have the urge to quote the whole thing because it’s so interesting and enriching.

We’ve just seen some samples of Black Hole action this month, July, with the stock market crash. This was an excellent example, because there was nothing else apparent in the heavens to indicate such a massive reality shift. There were, however, an extraordinary number of Black Holes on sensitive points. The crash is, in fact, a literal black hole for many many people.

Black holes, says Alex, represent the principle of transubstantiation, which is an alchemical change of form into material reality. They depict areas of susceptibility to dramatic, intense, sometimes violent and usually unsuspected shifts in the status quo reality. They also show points of energy influx, or energy drain.

Thanks to Alex’s book, I have been able to work with Black Holes. I find all that he says to be true. For instance, the Pluto-Saturn conjunction of 1982, which set us on our current 38-year cycle of transformation of business and government, occurred at 28 Libra.

This Pluto-Saturn conjunction, which we will live with until 2020, conjoined Black Hole Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanic fire. She personifies fiery, passionate destruction. At that time, November 1982, Pres. Reagan gave his Star Wars speech, and Ariel Sharon became "The Butcher of Shatila" as he presided over a cruel massacre of innocents in a Palestinian refugee camp.

We can see in retrospect that those events helped set the tone for the entire cycle.

That cycle received a big shot in the arm on election night in November 2000 when an unstable Mercury actually stood still on Black Hole Pele. And then GW Bush, with a chart loaded with Black Holes, became Destiny’s child.

Alex reminds us, too, that Sun connected with Pele at the fiery Waco debacle, as well as at the explosion of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Alex lists 24 Black Holes and their degrees. Most charts have two or three close conjunctions to Black Holes. George Bush has at least 12 Black Holes in close conjunctions! No wonder he has been draining the country’s energy as though it was running out of a bath tub!

Alex promises that he will send us an article abou t George and Black Holes. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, Alex sent us his article about Princess Diana and Black Holes. The five-year anniversary of her death is coming up soon. Thank you for sharing, Alex. And many many thanks for publishing this fascinating, magical little book.


July 2002

The Book of World Horoscopes by Nicholas Campion. Cinnabar Books, Bristol, England. Second edition, 1995, hardback. Paperback edition Sterling Publications (September 1988). Out of print.

Any astrology student who is interested in the world must have this book. Nicholas Campion is an astrologer, a historian, and especially a researcher, who lives in Bristol, England. He is an impeccable researcher, with a large grasp of world events. Every horoscope in this book is from published sources. Where there are alternative horoscopes, Nicholas presents those as well, and the historical reasons for them.

This is another of those treasure trove books. Just opening it to any page provides a fascinating window on history.

Nicholas is generous with his information. There are 403 national horoscopes, and another 70 or so various types of political horoscopes. There are about 20 horoscopes for the United States as a nation, and about 15 for the UK. There is also a horoscope for the landing of Columbus—documented of course, and horoscopes for the U.S. Defense Dept., NATO, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War.

Nicholas also lists traditional signs for cities, and for parts of the world. New York, for instance, is Cancer, Washington DC is Scorpio, Paris is Virgo, Rome is Leo, Moscow is Aquarius, and London and San Francisco are Gemini.

An invaluable section of the book for the astrologer comes at the end, where Nicholas lists every zodiacal degree with the occupying planets. For instance, I can look up GW’s Aries midheaven, and see that the Aries Mars for Iraq’s Republic chart conjoins it.

For anyone interested in history, this book will be much used. I have a 1988 paperback edition, and it is in tatters. However, a copy might turn up in used book shelves. A feature of the paperback edition which I appreciate is the inclusion of Chiron in the charts.


June 2002

The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara Walker. Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1983. $24.95 paperback. Available at Amazon.

This book is a treasure trove—1100 pages packed with fascinating information about myths and magic from around the world. I turn to it when I’m wanting to know more about a person, place, or proper name, and sure enough, Barbara invariably sheds light on the subject.

It took researcher Barbara Walker 25 years to write this book. It’s unbelievable that she was able to do it in such a short time, considering the quality and depth of her research. The bibliography itself is 13 pages of very small print.

For instance, in the entry on "Palladium," Barbara talks about Pallas:

"…The palladium was a symbol of a protean, androgynous deity usually called Pallas, whose name means 'maiden' or 'youth.'

"Some said Pallas was identical with the Goddess Athene. Some said Pallas was a pan-like goat god slain by Athene. Some said Pallas was a giant. Some said Pallas was a wooden image of a female warrior. Some said Pallas was a thunder stone. A majority believed Pallas was a phallic god, and his Palladium was "the scepter of Priam, in the likeness of a male sex organ."

(This certainly is similar to missile development!)

"In Greek myth, Pallas had offspring, the Pallantids, who worshipped an Amazonian fighting goddess, the enemy of the patriarchal hero Hellenic Theseus. This may account for the notion that Pallas was a female warrior, once a companion of Athene, who took her name and became Pallas Athene after accidentally killing her in a mock battle….

"Constantine moved the Palladium to Constantinople and made it a symbol of his own masculinity. It was buried under a huge red porphyry pillar topped by an image of himself in the guise of Apollo."

This myth sounds very much like today’s fantasies.

I was about to close the book, but another entry caught my eye (as happens with this book):

"Mass. Latin missa, from the Persian-Mithraic communion cake called mixd, thought to embody the divine flesh and blood of the Sole-Created Bull sacrificed by Mithra."


May 2002

Encyclopedia of Astrology by Nicholas de Vore. Philosophical Library, New York, 1947.

If I could keep but one astrology book from my library, this is the book. It is an incredible little book, absolutely packed with precise information about the stars and planets, gleaned from the ancients as well as from twentieth century astrology. Along with the tables of degrees, it even includes selections of relevant verse, from poets such as Shakespeare, Milton, and William Blake.

I have seen many purported encyclopedias of astrology over the years, but none begins to compare with this little, unostentatious book either in pleasure of reading, or breadth of content. It is a little light blue—like the sky—hardback. It used to be a staple in secondhand shelves, but now I rarely see one, though they are available used from time to time through Amazon.com.

A couple of hours ago I picked it up to find a sample selection for this review, and I haven’t been able to set it down. And I barely touched its rich content. It is truly a treasure trove. I can’t open it without discovering something new, or some enlightenment about something that has puzzled me.

At the same time the basic information about planets, signs, and houses is amazingly informative. For instance, there is a table showing the local time of the rising of each of the signs on the first day of each month at 41 N. latitude. With only simple math, one could interpolate and calculate a chart from this simple, but relevant and inclusive, information.

We know about the Full Moon rising in the East, but how about the other phases of the Moon? Where and when in the sky do we see them? Turn to "visibility," and there we find a page on visibility of the Moon, with visibility of the other planets as well.

I read in the astronomy magazines that Uranus is sometimes visible to the naked eye. But when? Mr. DeVore says that Uranus is sometimes visible to the unaided eye on a Moonless night, when it is in a near conjunction with Mars. Oh! Now I know when to look.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. I highly recommend it to both beginners and professional astrologers. Contained within its 400 pages are many lifetimes of study.


April 2002

Planets in Transit by Robert Hand. Schiffer Publishing, 2002. Available from Amazon as a "hard to find" title.

Robert Hand is a very knowledgeable astrologer. This book is a fine handbook, very useful when you want help in interpreting a transit, which is a planet in the sky connecting with a planet in a chart.

Hand covers all of the ten major planets, plus Ascendant and Midheaven. He delineates conjunctions, sextiles, trines, squares, and oppositions. He also talks about planetary transits of houses. There is a thorough discussion of each transit, with both positive and negative tendencies.

I’ll demonstrate with some brief excerpts concerning Saturn’s transit of the U.S. chart. Saturn is now in the U.S. sixth house. It will cross the horizon into the seventh house about May 1. Hand says about Saturn in the sixth:

"This is a critical time in your development. When Saturn enters your seventh house, your efforts to attain your goals and ambitions will begin to bear definite fruit if you have handled this house properly….You have to put everything in order; consequently this is a time of heavy responsibility and hard work."

The next planet which Saturn will conjoin in the U.S. chart is Mars. This happens this coming June and July, and again in February 2003. Hand says about Saturn conjoining Mars:

"This is often a time of enormous frustration, when you feel as if you are beating your head against a wall. It can also be a time when you accomplish a great deal of hard work. Its basic meaning is 'inhibited energy,' but it can also be 'disciplined energy.'

"The energy of this transit can produce feelings of intense irritability. The least little thing sets you off—and generally you are confronted with more than little things….It is likely that you put out energy that is threatening to others. They respond by trying to stop you.

"The energy of Mars wants to assert itself in every direction, but transiting Saturn signifies limitations imposed from without. You should take on only projects that are limited in scope. If you proceed with grandiose plans, you will probably encounter the worst effects of this transit.

"The combination of Mars and Saturn can signify a kind of cold, cruel anger which you should avoid projecting. If you get angry, bring it out in the open…"

Some might say that it’s time to curb the U.S. warrior energy. Let’s lean on Saturn’s wisdom.


March 2002

The Combination of Stellar Influences by Reinhold Ebertin. Ebertin-Verlag, Wurttemberg, Germany. 1972. Also 1940, 1950, and 1960. Available in paperback from Amazon.

The pages are falling out of my book, which has been a standby for 30 years. I once noticed a copy on Jim Lewis’s bookshelf, as well-worn as my own.

Reinhold Ebertin was a fine astrologer, with a brilliant mind. He used complicated astrological techniques which I haven’t even begun to probe. He is also known for a system called Cosmobiology.

However, the beauty of this book is that it is simple, succinct, and yet full of information. The title describes it, and I use it to give me hints of possibilities of planetary combinations, particularly where the concern is with three planets combined.

Ebertin worked with midpoints, which is the place on the zodiac midway between any two given planets. The character of this midpoint is brought out by a third planet sitting on that place. This book arose as a way to describe that midpoint place itself, and then combine it with each of the planets.

It is a masterful book, amazingly accurate, while at the same time providing a diversity of possibilities for any given combination. In a chart, the principle of the planets involved together is even more important than their sign, house, or aspect. Planets are the action terms in a chart. How do they work together?

For instance, the description of GW’s combination of Mercury/Pluto says, "Principle: the art of persuasion, suggestion." We then see Psychological Correspondences, and there are given both positive and negative. They are followed by both Sociological and Biological Correspondences. At the end of the page is Probable Manifestations, again both positive and negative. On the facing page, meanings are given for the Mercury-Pluto combination with Sun, with Moon, with Venus, and so on through each of the planets.

The Combination of Stellar Influences is considered a classic, and it is a goldmine of a handbook. Purchase the paperback, or keep your eye out for a hardcover copy in a secondhand bookstore.



February 2002

The Rulership Book by Rex E. Bills. Republished 1998 by the American Federation of Astrologers, Tempe, AZ. Paperback available from Amazon.

Almost everything and every place is associated with a planet or sign. We say that it is "ruled" by that planet or sign. Many of these rulerships are obvious. Others are by association. Others are by tradition. A key to understanding the astrological language is knowing some of the more common rulerships. Of course this is an ever-changing process, as is all meaning, but there is a great body of agreed-upon rulerships, as well as tentative ones.

This book is another of my old favorites. Rex E. Bills first published this hardback in 1971. It is invaluable for astrologers, and much missed when it was out of print for many years. There was great joy when AFA republished this gem, one of a kind, book in 1998.

The Rulership Book is very easy to use. Words, with their rulerships, are sorted by alphabetical order, as well as by planet, sign, and house. There are also special listings for parts of the body. Just browsing is very stimulating.

There are traditional signs for countries, in many cases different from the date-time chart. For instance, eastern U.S. is considered Gemini, central U.S. to the Rockies, Cancer, and the west coast, Leo. This makes sense. We have the constant movement and communication in the east, the heartland in the center, and the stars in California.

In addition, Saturn is now in Gemini—east coast—and was in fact eclipsed over the U.S. on September 10, just before the east coast got socked. The heartland is the part of the nation that voted for Cancerian GW Bush. And Leo Pres. Clinton had a special affinity for the west coast.

Astrology is really quite amazing. So is The Rulership Book.

Back to current issue

November 2002
Table of Contents
November Home
Paul Wellstone, Man of the Poeple
Pluto and the Queens
The Magaliesberg Medicine Wheel
Crystal's Full Moon Meditation—the Divine Organizer
Daily Success Guide
November 1 through 30
General Astrological Influences for Nov 2002
General Sun Signs,
November 2002
Moon Report
Retrograde Watch—Uranus Direct Starts the Month with a Bang
November Skywatch
Goddess of the Month: Hina
Books Reviewed: The Mood Cure
Maya's Astrology Favorites: The Astrology of Self Discovery
Sign of the Month: Scorpio Learn about your sign in Maya's Sun Sign Archives

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