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Let's Learn Astrology

A place to start.

Have you got one of those instant astrological interpretations from the net? (Hundreds of sites feature them.) How could they know all those surprising things about you? Want to know how they do that? Start here.

The books below (and on the other pages of this section) will tell you about the planets & signs, how planets change from sign to sign, how planets relate to each other (eg, form aspects), what planets mean in each of the twelve houses, and much more.

Then go further:

Want to know how you relate to your friends? Look at the books here:
Astrological Books on Relationships.

Want to know what's coming in the future?
Books on Forecasting with Astrology.

Are you brave? To calculate your own charts, you will need an Ephemeris, a Table of Houses, and, very likely, an astrological Atlas. See the choices, starting Here.

Not so brave? There are dozens of excellent astrology programs, from inexpensive to super-deluxe. We don't sell programs ourselves, they're an entire speciality.

With astrology, you can learn more about yourself, more about your friends and loved ones, more about your world. It can be most rewarding.

Let's Learn Astrology: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6

Indicates a book on our Top Ten list. If you would like to find more books like it, click on the star.



Table of diagrams, charts & tables
Preface, by Charles Carter
Introduction to the second edition

1. Introduction to the modern situation in astrological thought
2. How to begin to learn
3. Basic concepts
4. The zodiacal signs
5. The houses
6. Computation
7. Methods of charting & systems of house division
8. Further consideration necessary for the completion of chart-form
9. Interpretative meanings for planetary positions in signs and in houses and by their shaping in a chart
10. The aspects
11. Scheme of chart interpretation, with example: 1. By equal house. 2. By Placidian house
12. Progressions
13. The problem of the uncertain birth-moment
14. The comparison of charts
15. Introduction to other astrological techniques:

  • 1. Electional astrology
  • 2. Horary astrology
  • 3. Mundane astrology
  • 4. Degree meanings
  • 5. Solar & lunar returns
  • 6. The pre-natal epoch
  • 7. Astrology in relation to eras of time
16. The house division question
17. The historical background of astrology
18. The use of modern psychology in modern astrology
19. The duty of an astrologer

1. The modern situation with regard to books
2. Table of standard times
3. Accleration table
4. Table for converting degrees & minutes of longitude into longitude equivalent in time



It was a long time ago and few alive now remember what life was like in England in the years after World War II. Yes, the Luftwaffe and Vengeance weapons had made a fine mess in the south of the country, but during the war years the Yanks were there, millions of them, seducing the womenfolk, brawling in pubs, and, most importantly, spending their pay with local shopkeepers.

May, 1945, the war ended and all the Americans left. Most went home, but a sizeable contingent set up shop in Germany, where, to the best of their ability given the local ruins, they carried on as before, seducing the womenfolk, brawling in pubs and spending their pay with the surviving shopkeepers. These Americans were joined by contingents of English, French and Soviet troops.

As a result, the surprising fact, long forgotten, is that after the war, conditions in England were even worse than they were in post-Third Reich Germany. Some in Britain rued winning the war, as deprivation became their fate.

In London after the war books were so scarce that used vendors had long lists of people waiting for the few books that turned up. For schools in London which taught astrology, the situation was impossible. Responding to the post WWII book shortage, Margaret Hone published this ultimate Astrology Text-Book.

She was born in Birmingham, England, on October 2, 1892, at 2:13 am. Her ascendant was 27 Leo; her Sun was 9 Libra; her Moon was 13 Aquarius. Her midheaven was 15 Taurus.

Of Ms Hone, James Holden wrote, “English astrologer, educator, and author. She was a professional astrologer and private teacher for many years and later was Principal and Director of Studies of the Faculty of Astrological Studies 1954–1969 and Vice President of the Astrological Lodge of London. Mrs. Hone was an advocate of the Equal House system of house division. She is best known in the U.S. for her two instruction manuals.”

This book is dedicated to Charles E.O. Carter, 1887-1968. Carter succeeded Alan Leo as head of the Astrological Lodge (1920-1952) and was First Principal of the Faculty of Astrological Studies, which he helped found in 1948. Hone succeeded Carter at FAS. She passed away on October 14, 1969.

In his Preface, while quick to praise Hone, a personal friend, Charles Carter pointed out that this book’s high price was justified, that “padding has been rigorously excluded.” He goes on to praise the workmanship, the carefully worded definitions, as well as the fact that the book was complete and entire in itself. Save for ephemeris and tables of houses, this one book would suffice beginning as well as advanced students for some years.

Hone also includes one of the earliest modern histories of astrology, short biographies of leading astrologers past and present, astrology and public opinion (daily horoscopes in the newspapers were a recent innovation). On a more practical side, Hone gives a thorough analysis of the principal house systems of the day (Equal, Campanus, Regiomontanus, Placidus), and even mentions C.G. Jung’s recently developed Depth Psychology.

In addition to definitive planet/sign/house delineations (refreshingly brief and to the point), there are many unique details. Hone preferred Equal houses, but also delineated the widely known Placidus. She gives fully worked out chart delineations, as if she was presenting the material to a paying client, which is eye-opening. Progressions are fully treated. There is a history of astrology, a quite good one. There is a useful bibliography, and while it is dated, you will discover, to your pleasure, that many of the books remain in print. There are useful appendices as well as a comprehensive index.

This book was designed to be the best possible teaching text-book, from a woman who was one of the very best teachers of astrology.

See a pdf sample here

Astrology Classics, 333 pages.

October 8, 2013: This book was featured as the Book of the Week for the week of October 8. Much to my surprise, a dozen copies sold in 24 hours. It is now gone. Did you miss out?

I am going to build on this. For every book you buy at regular price, get an Astrology Classics book of equal or lesser value, such as Hone's, for half price. Astrology Classics are the books we publish, there are 50 of them in all. Qualifying books include all the astrology books we stock, as well as all our Vedic titles, and even tarot books and decks. This is also cumulative, so if you would like Cornell at half price (at list of $69.95, not $49.95), buy your choice of $70 in books.

If you go for this, you must leave a note in the shopping cart, as I am not certain I will be clever enough to make it sort things out. I will make the changes to the total.

Let me educate you! - Dave

Read the book? Want to tell the world? How many stars (1-5) would you give this book? Tell us!

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO PRACTICAL ASTROLOGY, by Vivian Robson, has been moved. You will find it at the Vivian Robson page.

A STUDENT'S TEXT-BOOK OF ASTROLOGY, by Vivian Robson, has been moved. You will find it at the Vivian Robson page.

ASTROLOGY FOR DUMMIES: A reference for the rest of us - Rae Orion, $19.95


This book has contents, and then it has contents at a glance. So here's the glance:


1. Mapping your place in the cosmos
2. Here comes the Sun
3. Everything else in the cosmic cookbook
4. Using astrology right now
5. The part of tens

Appendix: Planetary tables


Comment: It's me that's the dummy. The various [_BLANK_] for Dummies I have seen have all been excellent books & I have been inexcusably tardy in not bringing the Astrology version to your attention earlier.

This may be the best "transitional" book ever written. By transition, I mean that awkward moment when you want to know more than just your daily horoscope, but the challenge of learning all those symbols, all those meanings, and actually reading a chart seems, well, impossible. Or at least unlikely. This book helps pull you through that by helpful tips, points to remember, useful sidebars & much else.

In this book you will get brief, well-written delineations of planets in signs, planets in houses, aspects from planet to planet, ie, all the usual stuff you would expect in a basic cookbook. There is a complete set of tables in the back giving sign placements for all the planets, including Moon, from 1930-2012. Orion gives three on-line sites for instant charts (, Astrodienst (, and Everything you need to get started, and then some.

And in Part 4, Using Astrology Right Now, you get Sun (or ascendant) signs in love. For those days when it's all to much bother & you'd like to backslide a bit. (Met someone new. Want an instant read on him/her.) And there's a handy table of retrograde Mercury, 2007-2012, on pgs 264-5.

Part 4 is the Part of Tens. Ten talents you can spot in a chart (artistic, athletic, beauty, making money, etc.). And ten occasions to make your move: First date, opening a business, schedule a meeting, get married, buy a house, etc. (This expands on a section in Debbi Kempton-Smith's famous Secrets book.)

There's also a useful section on transits, boiled down to transiting Mars through Pluto, conjunctions & oppositions only.

In sum, comprehensive, detailed, very well-written, with lots of reader-friendly, learner-friendly tips & tricks.

Wiley Publishing, 380 pages.

THE ASTROLOGER'S HANDBOOK - Sakoian & Acker, $16.00
Introduction, by Minor White; Preface; How to use this book;

Part I: Basic Astrology: 1. For the astrological beginner; 2. Basic chart calculation; 3. Sun sign potentials; 4. Rising sign overlays; 5. The houses: how they relate to man & his environment; 6. Planets in the signs & houses; 7. Dispositors of the planets; 8. Exaltations of the planets;

Part II: Interpreting the Aspects: 9. General rules for interpreting & integrating aspects; 10. Interpreting aspects; 11. General remarks concerning conjunctions, sextiles, squares, trines & oppositions; 12. The conjunctions; 13. The sextiles; 14. The squares; 15. The trines; 16. The oppositions; Glossary; General index; Cross index of aspects.

Comment: One of the best, most complete guides to basic horoscope interpretation. Meaning of planets by sign & house, a complete interpretation of planet-to-planet aspects (trines, squares, sextiles, conjunctions, oppositions), rising sign overlays (unique), dispositors, exaltations, interpreting the aspects, instructions for calculating charts.

Harper, 461 pages, paper.

Contents: Foreword to the 2006 edition

PART 1: As above, so below. The language of astrology:

I. Astrology, astronomy, the earth & you:
1. Astrology & its place in the universe of man
2. The astrological tree of knowledge & its branches
3. The horoscope & natal astrology
4. The earth & its movements through the heavens
5. The earth, the elements & the triplicites
6. The earth, the seasons, the sexes & the quadruplicities

II. The cosmic family of man: The signs of the zodiac:
7. Introduction: The two zodiacs
8. Aries - I seek myself
9. Taurus - I seek myself through what I have
10. Gemini - I seek myself through what I think
11. Cancer - I seek myself through what I feel
12. Leo - I seek myself through what I create
13. Virgo - I seek myself through what I learn
14. Libra - I seek myself through what I unite
15. Scorpio - I seek myself through what I desire
16. Sagittarius - I seek therefore I am
17. Capricorn - I seek myself through what I use
18. Aquarius - I seek myself through humanity
19. Pisces - I seek myself and I don't seek myself

III. The cosmic family of the Sun: The planets:
20. The astronomical nature of the solar system
21. The Sun - Light of the father
22. The Moon - Light of the mother
23. Mercury - Light of the messenger
24. Venus - Light of beauty
25. Mars - Light of the agressor
26. Jupiter - Light of wisdom
27. Saturn - Light of the teacher
28. Uranus - Light of illumination
29. Neptune - Light of inspiration
30. Pluto - Light of transcendence

PART 2: The horoscope: Tool for self-awareness:

IV: The horoscope:
Foreword to Part 2: Astrology: The cosmic tool
31. The astrologer: Artist & scientist
32. The natal chart & the importance of birth data
33. The tools of the trade
34. Symbology
35. The planetary energies
36. The zodiacal principles
37. The planets in the signs
38. The pattern of the houses & the ascendant
39. The planets in the houses

V. The road: Chart erection & interpretation:
40. Time: The universal factor
41. The wheel of life
42. The planetary blueprint
43. The geometry of the spheres
44. Interplanetary relationships
45. Planetary pictures
46. Interpretation: The first steps
47. Interpretation: The second steps
48. Prognostication: Free will or destiny?

VI: The travelers: Five delineations:
49. Carl Jung: Voice of the collective unconscious
50. Lily Tomlin: Voice of laughter
51. Rajneesh: Voice of the magician
52. Shirley MacLane: Voice of a New Age woman
53. Edgar Cayce: Voice of the spirit

VII: The new consciousness & the cusp of the ages:
54. The great year; the polarity of the ages; the age of Taurus; the age of Aries; The new great year begins; the age of Pisces; the cusp of the ages; the Aquarius-Leo age

VIII: The religious revolution:
55. Religious dogma & the cusp of the ages, Uranus & Neptune, the charts of spiritually evolved beings: Abdul Baha, Helena P. Blavatsky, Martin Buber, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Meher Baba, Dr. Albert Schweitzer

Appendix 1: Fixed Stars: 1. Sets of relationship; 2. The stars & their planetary correspondences; 3. The major asterisms & their effects.

Appendix 2: Answers to exercises.

Bibliographies; Index.

Comment: After having studied various metaphysical subjects and after having traveled in the world for a bit, one day I gave in to the inevitable & decided to have a look at astrology. I went to Weiser - at that time on Broadway in lower Manhattan - and asked the clerk for a book to start with. This is the one she gave me. I took it back to my tiny apartment in mid-town & read it, cover to cover. That was in October, 1983.

Now, when I look at this book again, it strikes me as very 1960's, a decade I remember well. It was a time when we thought we could remake the world anew, that everything and anything was possible, that logic, truth & morality would win the day. Then the drugs came & all was lost, but I digress.

True to that spirit, Oken wrote not only the basic introduction, but the introduction to the introduction, the underlying philosophy so essential to understanding astrology as an art, a philosophy, a way of life unto itself. This is what makes the first half of this book so compelling, to this day.

When he settles into the main body of the work, his delineations of planets, houses, signs & aspects are still among the very best I have ever read, me with nearly a thousand other astrology books in the room as I write. Oken is also mercifully brief & to the point.

Where the book breaks down is at the very end, when he tries to make grandious statements about religion & the astrological ages. These pages date from the mid-1970's, they did not form part of the original series of books that form the bulk of the preceding pages. I like to think he could do better now. Heck, I ran across him a couple of times while I was in Santa Fe, in the late 1990's. I know he could.

One of the very best books on astrology, an ideal introduction.

Ibis Press (Red Wheel/Weiser), 621 pages.

LLEWELLYN'S COMPLETE BOOK OF ASTROLOGY: The easy way to learn astrology - Kris Brandt Riske, $18.95



1. The basics of astrology
2. The signs
3. The planets
4. The houses
5. The aspects
6. Astrology in action

1. Chiron, asteroids, fixed stars, moon's nodes, vertex, Part of Fortune
2. The branches of astrology
3. Astrological organizations & websites

Suggested reading

Comment: A lot of things make this book different & better than other books of its type, expecially for those completely new to the subject. I will list a few of them, chapter by chapter.

In chapter 1, page 17, a wheel with the major features clearly delineated by arrows & definitions. Things like where the second house cusp is. That "R" means retrograde. On pgs 16 & 18, tables of planetary rulers & keywords, and houses & their signs & rulerships. On pg. 24, an excerpt from our own Daily Ephemeris, with detailed notes on how to read it. You may think this sort of thing completely obvious, but I have seen otherwise intelligent people - including me - stumped over the simplest things.

In chapter 2, sprinkled among the essays on the twelve signs, How to Spot an ...., with useful tips & keywords for each of the signs. Chapter 3, on planets, gives delineations of the usual planets through each of the twelve signs. She also gives a key to easy interpretation of a planet in a sign, using keywords. At the end of the chapter are notes on planetary power (ruling, exalted, fall, detriment), Mercury retrograde & the void of course moon.

At the end of chapter 3, Riske starts something new & quite useful: She shows how the delineations in the chapter can be applied to a specific group of natal charts. They belong to:

Brad Pitt, Condoleeza Rice, Anderson Cooper, Dr. Phil McGraw, Willie Nelson, Ted Kennedy, Tom Hanks, Al Gore, Tiger Woods & Oprah Winfrey. In the first section, she highlights one planet in each of these ten charts. For Al Gore, she writes,

Al Gore achieves emotional security (Moon) through status & career advancement (Capricorn). Although this ambitious Moon fueled his desire to become president of the United States, it also has much to do with his loss of the election. Capricorn is a serious sign, reserved & often lacking warmth. The Moon represents the public. He was unable to connect with the public and was perceived as stiff & aloof. (pg. 138)

In chapter 4, on houses, we again have a very explicit wheel with arrows & definitions (pg. 142). It shows a skeleton chart with the same signs (Leo & Aquarius) on each of two house cusps, with Virgo & Pisces intercepted, just like many real charts. She then tells us the differences between Equal, Placidus & Koch houses, giving Oprah Winfrey's chart in each. Oprah's was not quite the best choice, as, while there are many differences in Oprah's chart between Equal & the other two, when Oprah's chart is contrasted between Placidus & Koch, her chart does not change all that much (one planet changes house, the signs on two house cusps differ). I have seen charts with far more striking changes, Placidus to Koch. Riske bravely says that she uses Placidus houses because she thinks they're the best. I think so, too. On pg. 148, more arrows & definitions, this time pointing out the house domicile of the ruler of the ascendant. On pg. 156, how to use derivative houses. She then gives brief & useful delineations of each of the signs on each of the house cusps, something rarely seen in books of this sort. She follows this with delineations of each of the planets in each of the twelve houses. At some point she mentions that you should also read the planet who rules the sign on the cusp of the house as if it was actually in the house. This is not only a good idea, it's also the way I cross-check an author's skill in writing delineations. Riske finishes the chapter with the same ten charts & how specific house placements have influenced their lives, for better or worse. To the ten she adds Robert Redford & Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

In chapter 5, on aspects, she starts with a table of glyphs & simple keywords for some 9 aspects (the usual ones, plus 30, 45, 135 & 150), plus parallel & counterparallels. On pg. 226, a chart showing an out-of-sign aspect. She covers aspect configurations (grand trines, T squares, etc.) as well as mutual reception. Aspect delineations include those to the angles. In her delineations, she lumps trines & sextiles together, along with squares & oppositions. I'd rather she had written explicit square & explict opposition delineations. At the end of the chapter we have the usual charts (now 12 in number), starting with Al Gore. Of Gore & his aspects, Riske writes,

As a presidential candidate, Al Gore found it difficult to - and never really did - connect wth the public, as indicated by Sun (self) square (obstacle) Moon (public). He gave it his all with the Pluto-Saturn-Mars stellium in the first house (self), an aspect that represents a hard worker who has ambitious drive but also is prone to frustration (Mars-Saturn) and uncontrollable career setbacks (Saturn-Pluto).... (pg. 267)
Riske concludes the book with an in-depth delineation of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. In her intro she says she's a fan of NASCAR & would glady be a driver herself.

Overall, how are the delineations in the book, the real meat of it? Quite remarkably good. They are brief and to the point. They each start with a statement of traditional astrological fundamentals, as you might read in any good book. Almost all of them end with some nugget gleaned from her own practice, thrown out almost casually. This, to me, is what makes the book priceless:

Virgo Fifth House: You're discriminating in love, choosy about whom you date. It's great to maintain high standards, but finding someone perfect is impossible. Many people with Virgo here fill their leisure hours with gardening, games, puzzles, needlework, and woodworking, all of which your friends may define as work, not pleasure. But not you! (pg. 165)
Overall, an excellent book, and the best new introduction to astrology in many years. Is the study of astrology "easy" as claimed on the cover of this book? No. Astrology has never been "easy" and never will. It requires thought & study & attention to detail. But if you're willing to make the effort, this book will reward you many times over.

Llewellyn, 316 pages, oversize.

ASTROLOGY, A Cosmic Science - Isabelle M. Hickey, $22.95
Part One: Preface; 1. Signs & symbols; 2. 12 Signs of the zodiac; 3. Planets & their meanings; 4. Keywords of the planets; 5. Table of planetary powers; 6. Quadrupplicities & triplicities; 7. Houses of the birthchart; 8. Meanings of apects; 9. Ascendants & decanates; 10. Signs on the house cusps;

11. Signs on the house cusps (continued); 12. Sun in the houses; 13. Moon in signs & houses; 14. Mercury in signs & houses; 15. Venus in signs & houses; 16. Mars in signs & houses; 17. Jupiter in signs & houses; 18. Saturn in signs & houses; 19. Uranus in signs & houses; 20. Neptune in signs & houses;

21. The moon's nodes; 22. Aspect to the Sun; 23. Aspects to Moon & Mercury; 24. Aspects to Venus & Mars; 25. Aspects to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune; 26. Birth chart calculation; 27. Some information about transits; 28. Progressions; 29. Medical astrology (Comments on Pluto); 30. Art of interpretation; 31. An allegory;

Part Two: Pluto or Minerva: Introduction; 32. Pluto discovered; 33. Pluto's meaning; 34. Pluto in the signs; 35. Pluto & Minerva through the houses; 36. Natal aspects of Pluto; 37. Transits of Pluto; 38. Perversions of Plutonian power; 39. Letters & charts; Epilogue.

Comment: A best-seller in hardback, now available in paper. Comprehensive textbook of astrology, karma & reincarnation, including the author's later monograph on Pluto. A spiritual perspective shows how astrology can be a road map to a more meaningful way of life. Inspirational approach stresses our ability to tap into the power of our higher self to make changes in character to consciously shape our destinies.

351 pages. CRCS, paper.

SPIRITUAL ASTROLOGY: Your personal path to self-fulfillment - Jan Spiller & Karen McCoy, $19.95
Foreword; Acknowledgements;
Part 1: Planets, signs & houses: 1. Introduction; 2. How to use part I; 3. Planets in the signs & houses; 4. Conclusion;

Part II: Prenatal eclipses: Key to life path & destiny: 5. Introduction; 6. How to use Part II; 7. Solar & lunar eclipses (through all 12 signs); 8. Houses; 9. Aspect patterns; 10. Conclusion: Eavesdropping on the signs;

Part III: Mathematical tables: Finding the sings in which your planets & eclipses are located: 11. Introduction; 12. How to use Part III; 13. The planets; 14. The prenatal eclipse.

Comment: In addition to the usual planets, signs, houses & aspects, this book also reveals the importance of pre-natal solar and lunar eclipses. These eclipses reveal the lessons you came here to learn & teach & are a revelation to anyone looking to the zodiac for guidance. Includes mathematical tables for finding the signs in which your planets and eclipses are located. A simple & complete astrological guide to understanding life's higher purpose and finding the keys to your personal self expression, self worth, emotional security, public achievement, self-mastery, emotional ecstasy & more.

452 pages. Simon & Schuster, paper.

THE CONTEMPORARY ASTROLOGER'S HANDBOOK: An in-depth guide to interpreting your horoscope - Sue Tompkins, $37.00

1. First things first - Philosophical underpinnings
2. Elements & modes
3. The zodiac signs
4. The planets
5. Aspects & planetary combinations
6. The houses
7. Non-essential bodies
8. Steps towards chart interpretation
9. Profiles

Comment: The author is the co-founder (in 2000) of the London Schools of Astrology, and is a director at The Faculty of Astrological Studies. She has written a thorough, detailed & dense book that will appeal to the careful reader.

Flare Publications, 350 pages.

EASY ASTROLOGY GUIDE - Maritha Pottenger, $14.95
Formerly titled, Astro Essentials. Curious about your own chart, or that of a friend? With this book, rapidly find the meanings of houses, signs & aspects for your sun, moon & planets. Astrology is a tool that makes life more fulfilling. Fundamentals are covered clearly so you can learn the basic building blocks of astrology - planets, houses, signs & aspects. Appendix: transits, progressions, directions, returns. 330 pages including glossary, plus reading list, references, software. ACS, paper

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