Here is my list of the top books that are essential for those interested in modern astrology.
Astrology for Lovers
Astrology for Lovers was originally published in 1980. The author of the book Liz Greene is a trained psychotherapist and astrologer. Hence the signs are interpreted at a much deeper level but not without a sharp wit. Thus, it is a fun and entertaining read, as well as being incredibly insightful and useful. If you want to know the truth about all twelve zodiac signs and learn about each of their personality traits, well, this is a good place to start your study. The interpretations focus on the thematic themes of each sign as a lover. Sections containing the astrological myths, the shadow side of the zodiac signs, female and male versions, are all explored in depth.
The reader is able to attain a better grasp of the basic characteristics of all human beings. For instance, if you want to know which signs are clingy, jealous, mean, stubborn, bad-tempered, hypocritical, or sexist, it’s right here. The root causes of each sign’s insecurity are also explained so that one can crawl inside a lover’s mind and understand their motivations. The student will refer to this work constantly in order to deepen their understanding of astrology, and expand upon their knowledge.
Let’s look at Virgo. Precise, orderly, tidy – in thinking if not in practical matters. There are generally two types of Virgo. There are the ones who empty ashtrays a lot, where everything is spotless and carefully planned. (That happens more often when Virgo is on the ascendant.) And there are the congenitally sloppy ones with, nevertheless, filing cabinet minds. Objects may skitter away, but memories and facts and the latest books don’t.
Ruling Planets: Your Astrological Guide to Life’s Ups and Downs by Christopher Renstrom was published in 2002. It is a wonderful, colorful, illustrated book on all twelve signs and their ruling planets. The author writes in a personable manner, and the astrology is very on point. Filled with artwork, photos of celebrities, and mythical images of the gods, it’s a joy to leaf through its pages. After 12 years of study I’m astonished that I never cease to ask questions and, while the themes are covered with the Sun Signs and their planets, every astrologer’s analysis always returns with new overtones and undertones. In this work you’ll find your Sun sign’s ruling planet is discussed at great length, followed by interpretations of the relationships between the different signs.
Sun in Pisces: What you show the world is an infinitesimal part of who you really are. When people say you look like you’re off in some dream world, they don’t know the half of it. You’re not just walking around in a dream world. You’re walking around in a dream universe. Your inner life is so rich and alluring, it’s no wonder you’d rather be there than here. And if others could see what you see – chances are they’d dive in and join you.
The Development of the Personality
The Development of Personality: Seminars in Psychological Astrology (Seminars in Psychological Astrology; V. 1) is part of a 4 volume seminar, which was given by Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas, and first published in 1987. We begin the book with The Stages of Childhood and the inherent temperament of the child. You’ll gain some ideas about the relationship between child and parent and the ways in which archetypal patterns can play out in our first relationships. The Parental Marriage in the Horoscope is another fascinating lecture, and case examples are worked through to help the reader to better understand the material presented.
This chapter cleverly illustrates the different ways in which an individual may polarize with the parental significations of the same sex and, in doing so, tries very hard to be the opposite of all those qualities. This is sometimes the case when there are feelings of resentment and hatred towards a parent. Liz Greene also explains how the elements can be split in the chart and each one relates to a different parent. For example, cold, detached, and intellectual air signs, alongside emotional, sensitive, water signs. It signifies how the child perceives such a split in his parents.
The book is a nice primer for psychological astrology and explores the relationships we first form with others that may lead to problems in later life when forming close bonds with partners. It sends alarming shivers down our spines as we can imagine ourselves at the center of numerous mirrors. We look into one. We turn. We are looking back at the self from a different angle. Some angles we like better than others.
What about Moon-Uranus aspects? Let’s look at the hard aspects first. The child is born with an inner image of the mother as erratic, inconsistent, or unpredictable. The mother may actually be like that, or the child with this aspect is predisposed to notice when she is acting that way rather than other ways. When I put the archetype of the Moon together with the principle of Uranus, I think of a mother who may not be that comfortable with the maternal role. The traditional Moon-Mother is the Earth-Mother. However, if Uranus touches something then it will bring out the less conventional sides of the archetype or principle it aspects. Therefore, the mother may not have been experienced as a traditional maternal type mother…Many people with Moon-Uranus aspects have reported to me that they felt their mothers would have liked to be doing something else rather than being at home changing nappies and washing dishes. The picture I have of a Moon-Uranus mother is someone holding and feeding the child but her mind is off somewhere else. She is thinking about the future, or other things she might be doing, or of something she saw on television.
Dynamics of the Unconscious
Dynamics of the Unconscious: Seminars in Psychological Astrology Volume 2 (Seminars in Psychological Astrology, Vol 2)was published in 1988. There are chapters on Astrology and Psychology of Aggression, Depression, The Quest for the Sublime, and Alchemical Symbolism in the Horoscope. On being depressed, the author talks about the positive factors of being depressive, which is rarely discussed. Furthermore, the type of frustration involved in these low moods often forces an individual to cultivate self-sufficiency and to overcome feelings of powerlessness (Saturn and Pluto).
In life, we all just want to meet the right mate, stay happily together for our whole life. Raise happy children who turn out well. Discover work we love. Grow old gracefully and without anxiety. Avoid major regrets. Reach the end of life with a sense of fulfillment. However, this unconscious stuff seems to have a lot to answer for. Things don’t always turn out as perfectly as planned. This book is a good place to begin exploring why we’re so f*cked up (not really), and it will have us peering deeper into ourselves than perhaps we are prepared for. A great read for delving into this Astro-psycho-thingy and getting a better handle on what’s going on in the psyche.
Difficult natal aspects to the Moon, particularly from the outer planets or from Saturn, suggest unresolved problems in relation to the mother; and this is often what is triggered at the onset of depression. Neptune is also a sensitive here, because an individual who is strongly Neptunian is inclined to idealize others, beginning with the parent, and to resist separating.
The Luminaries was first published in 1992. It discusses both the Sun and Moon in the astrological chart, along with the phases of the Moon and its related myths. A discussion of the Lunation Cycle is also included. It’s well known that the Sun signifies our sense of purpose and the whole point of our lives. Yes, there is a greater purpose behind it all. So, that’s good to know. The chapter of the Sun touches upon the struggle to break free from the past and the quest to realize our own individuality.
The Sun can reveal the type of vocation an individual may need to pursue to feel more fulfilled in life and less empty. The Moon mostly explains our innate reactions to life and what feeds the soul, so to speak. It relates to the underpinnings of how we naturally react to most things and describes our past, the emotional connection with life and with other human beings.
The Moon in fire needs a sense of meaning, an imaginative connection with a deeper or higher pattern. Because we are dealing with lunar nourishment, this is both a question of formulating a philosophy or spiritual framework. It is an instinctual urge to infuse life with a mythic archetypal dimension, so that one can feel part of something larger and more significant than the mundane world. In this sense the Moon in fire is a contradiction in terms, because the lunar realm is the realm of the body. But the Moon in Aries, Leo or Sagittarius instinctively tries to vitalise material reality with drama and imagination. What crushes a fiery Moon more than anything is a banal life, where there are no knights on white horses and no damsels in distress and no huge, giant, colorful figures crashing out of a fairytale world to compensate for the taxman and the grocery bill.
Aspects in Astrology
Aspects in Astrology: A Guide to Understanding Planetary Relationships in the Horoscope by Sue Tompkins was first published in 1989. The book is one of the best of its kind, with 3-4 pages dedicated to each aspect. It was one of the first books I bought and is probably the cause of my addiction to the mysteries of the universe. The author begins by introducing all of the planets, so that the reader has a good basic understanding of the interpretations of each aspect and how each planet affects and interacts with one another. Tompkins presents an insightful and accurate analysis of all the astrological aspects.
It is easy to read, set in a cookbook format, but it is also psychological in nature, with some interesting case studies. For example, the chart of Astronomer and rationalist Patrick Moore has a tight T-square involving Mercury, Jupiter, and Neptune. Sue gives this interpretation: “On the one hand, he is very learned, but can come across as vague and absent-minded. He describes astrology as “fairy-tale” nonsense.” Sue Tompkins’ book is well worth a read and this work is often highly recommended by most modern astrologers.
For Mars-Saturn the sexual act and control go together and where there is fear that physical love-making involves domination may be experienced as deeply satisfying or intensely frightening, depending on the individual – sometimes both. For some, the feelings of sexual inadequacy propel the individual into being something of a sexual athlete, the lover with amazing staying power but less talent perhaps with the softer more gentle side of love making. More positively, where we find Saturn is often where we learn the hard way and where we really do learn through personal experience. Mars-Saturn may well become an authority on sexual matters and an authority on Martian matters generally.
Saturn a New Look at an Old Devil
Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil by Liz Greene was first published in 1976. Today, it still remains in a class of its own. The book has been heavily referenced by various authors. It discusses the usual associations with Saturn – delays, limitations, and frustrating experiences, but it also helps the individual understand how these types of “negative” experiences can be used as an opportunity for growth. Not in the Jupiter sense, but in the real world, and to gradually learn lessons of self-sufficiency and mastery in a chosen sphere of life.
The author offers no fast route to making a friend of Saturn, but to try and extract its less known spiritual aspect. Saturn’s astrological aspects and synastry contacts are included for breadth and depth when attempting to understand the devil on our shoulders. Saturn has always been difficult to read about but it is a vital part of our being and, apparently, according to Greene, we need to greet this planet with a good old smooch. To begin a love affair with Saturn, make it substantial and meaningful, and this will, in the transformational sense, turn lead into gold.
Saturn is key to this invocation of the self with its transforming potential. In esoteric teaching, Saturn is the planet of discipleship, and a disciple is simply someone who is learning. He is not malefic; he is not a negative influence and is only inimical to those who cannot understand the educational value of pain. His path is not that of the martyr or the disciplinarian but instead contains the seeds of joy. His lineage is ancient and impeccable, and his associations in the world of myth, religion, folklore, and fairytale are innumerable and varied, yet always colored by the idea that instead of running away from the devil, if one goes up and kisses him on the lips, he becomes the sun.
The Art of Stealing Fire
The Art of Stealing Fire is another seminar by Liz Greene, which helps the student of astrology to grasp the meaning of Uranus in the horoscope. The book was first published in 1996 by the Centre for Psychological Astrology Press. It’s especially interesting to read in light of the recent wiki-leaks scandal involving Julian Assange as he appears to be one of our modern-day Prometheus,’ and possesses a Sun square Uranus in his natal chart. The myth of Prometheus is discussed and then moves along to the interpretation and meaning of Uranus.
The importance of using accuracy in the astrological language is discussed. The author wants modern-day astrologers to do away with the word “individuality” when discussing Uranus. Liz Greene also highlights the book Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelly. D.R Frankenstein is viewed as a Uranian figure. The creator possessed a Sun conjunct Uranus aspect. Social vision, rebellion, science, and astrology are all explained, too, in relation to Uranus. The house placements of Uranus are only briefly discussed, but there is a wonderful chapter on the transits of Saturn and Uranus included. If you’re not fully understanding Uranus, this book will definitely help. It is a favorite in my collection; it’s both clever and incisive and gets to the root psychology of the planet.
Uranus can be fascinating because it seems to confer a quality of freedom that many people envy – even though the person with Uranus in the 1st or 7th house may not feel it’s such a hot thing, because they may not have asked for the freedom and would prefer a tranquil, dependent, safe life. Uranus has a mind-expanding quality because of its inclusive vision, and the Uranian person can exercise considerable fascination over others because of the glimpse of celestial heights which he or she manages to convey.
The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption
The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption by Liz Greene. This book was first published in 1996 and under the Uranus (Astrology) Neptune conjunction in Capricorn. It’s an in-depth exploration of the symbolic meaning of Neptune in the personal horoscope and it also contains the broader implications of the collective. The mythology of Neptune is discussed and the author succinctly explains the element of water better than any other astrologer. Both the political and glamorous aspects of Neptune are covered by personal life accounts.
Notable examples of Neptune can be found in the chart of Diana the Princess of Wales, and we also see Neptune across two charts in the romantic longings of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. We scale the beautiful heights of the imagination, art, music, and plunge into the darker aspects of the planet through suffering, longings, victimization, and loss of the ego. Detailed explanations of each house placement of Neptune and synastry contacts are covered in the final pages and formulated into a cookbook section.
Even if we believe we have found a redeemer, we are still in trouble. As long as we must find someone outside who is worthier than us, we will sooner or later come to hate the one whom we idealise, simply because he or she makes us feel so unworthy. The only other option is the grow to hate ourselves. The logic of idealism is inescapable, for it always brings unconscious rage in tow behind it. So we dismember, crucify, vilify and cruelly humiliate our redeemers, because our fantasy of their perfect goodness makes us feel wretchedly bad; or we do the same to ourselves, offering our throats to the sacrificial knife wielded by the redeemer who has become a tyrant…It is, in the end, all done with mirrors. Those strenuously saintly souls who offer themselves up to joyful crucifixion in the name of saving the unrepentant tend to make everybody feel horribly angry.
Pluto the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul
Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Volume 1 (Llewellyn Modern Astrology Library) by Jeff Green was first published in 1985. Pluto had just begun its transit through its own sign (Scorpio) and there was a wide Saturn-Pluto conjunction. The author believes that Pluto describes our evolutionary path in life and that its opposite sign and house represent where we need to grow. Many people struggle with this Green and the way he interprets things. His style of writing throughout the book is heavily laden with karmic signatures, evolutionary growth, past life traumas, and often repetitively so. But there are various parts of this body of work, which are extremely accurate.
The house signs, placements, and aspects are all delineated and are useful for interpreting Pluto. Pluto lost its status in the eyes of astronomers’ in 2006; it was around the time of Saddam’s execution, not that the two have anything in common. But in the dictator’s chart, Pluto is in Cancer in exact opposition to Jupiter and forms a T-square to Venus in Aries. Active, ambitious, with powerful beliefs and tense relationships with others. In astrology, Pluto represents all forms of power, control, wealth, and transformation.
Under some evolutionary and karmic conditions, individuals with a Second House Pluto are born into difficult material conditions of lack in order to enforce lessons of self-reliance. In other cases, some individuals will be born into life situations where there is wealth linked to the parents but they are denied the material resources because they are not able to relate to their parents’ values, or cannot conform to the dictates of the person’s desires. In a few rare cases, the individual can experience the shock of imprisonment if criminal means were used to acquire wealth. In other cases the individual will be made to struggle throughout the entire lifetime for material security. No matter how much effort they put into sustaining themselves, prior karmic conditions will dictate that they live or survive on a marginal basis.