The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers. Penguin Books, New York, London, Ringwood, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. Hardback $34.95.
This is a huge, remarkable, and popular book, and many of you may have it. The major part of the book contains birthday profiles for each day of the year, spread on a double page. There the reader finds an amazing description for the day, an uncannily accurate, but brief, character profile, names of famous people who share this birthday, ruling numbers, planets, and Tarot cards, health suggestions, advice, strengths and weaknesses, and a short "meditation."
The inclusion of all these elements could be fragmented or recipe-like. It is neither. The information is presented attractively and coherently, and is easy to read.
For easy reference, there is an index of notables, with their birthdays. For instance, we have an exhibit of Marc Chagall in town. He is a painter whose work I particularly love, so I look him up. Yes, hes here, born on July 7, which the writers call "The Day of Imaginative Revelation." No one phrase could better describe Chagalls work. Perhaps Gary Goldschneider was also born on this day, for the descriptions in this book, although concrete and specific, are as though channeled.
The ruling planets for Chagall are Moon and Neptune, Moon for Cancer and Neptune for the seventh day. Again, these are the two planets which describe his workthe spiritualization of everyday family life, and the images of childhood expressed as archetypes. His Tarot card is the Chariot, again day 7, which means moving ahead no matter how precarious the path.
Composer Gustav Mahler and musician Ringo Starr are among notables born on July 7.
The first 80 pages of this rich book contain descriptions of birth characteristics based on signs of the zodiac. We start with descriptions of each sign, its personality, and another dozen things about that sign, as well as notables born in the sign. The authors relate each sign to stages of life growth. For instance, Cancer is taken to represent ages 21-28. Thus the Cancerian personality can be likened to a young person making their way into the adult world.
The year is further divided into 48 sections, again based on signs. Each sign is divided into three phases, similar to decanates, and there is a 6--day period which overlaps signs, the cuspal period. Im delighted to see this division, because I believe that people born around the cusps have a special sensibility.
July 7 is included in the Cancer II period, from July 3-10. The Cancer II takes the Unconventional as its central image. The authors say that "Cancer II people are not always what they seem to be. One can be sure that an unusual, even bizarre, fantasy life lurks just below the surface." With Chagall, this fantasy life is beautifully and poetically expressed in his paintings.
The Secret Language of Birthdays is a fun and very informative book. Once I open it, I have a hard time shutting it. Visitors also find themselves engrossed by it. Its a book for everyone. There is no special astrological knowledge required, and yet the astrology upon which it is based is solid and extraordinarily intuitive. This is a great gift book for someone special.