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THE ASTRO TUTOR: Master astrology step-by-step with an expert - Nancy Frederick, $24.95



1. Learning the basics: Signs of the zodiac, planets, houses, major aspects

2. The details: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto

3. Speaking astrology more fluently: Astrology in action, Combining astrological symbols

4. Delineating a horoscope: Harrison Ford & Clark Gable - the male icon [sic], Martha Stewart

5. Relationship astrology: Jane Fonda's three marriages, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck - an enduring friendship, Obsessive love

6. Astrology as a tool: Using astrology to plan events, Predicting the future with astrology, The predictive tools of astrology

7. Astrology & spirituality: Karmic astrology

Comment: This is a collection of essays that first appeared in Dell Horoscope. Checking the Dell site, I see that Ms Frederick has an ongoing monthly column.

In the table of contents, for each chapter there are opening remarks. The first chapter, Learning the Basics:

Here is where you gain the information you need to make sense of astrology. You may have to memorize at first, but soon enough it will all make sense to you & you'll go on instinct.
It's a 40 page chapter, but offers only a sketch. Conjunctions are dispensed with in one single page. Yes, if you learn the essential keywords, you can master aspects from these flimsy instructions, so let's have a try: From the book: Mars: Action, sex; Jupiter: Expansion, personal growth, luck; Conjunction: Blended energies. So here is what I get for a Mars/Jupiter conjunction: Lucky sex. Personal growth through sex. Sex expands to fill everything! - Beginners need explicit delineations, not do-it-yourself guesswork.

In this case, a good book on astrological basics cannot be made from a collection of articles from a popular magazine. Dell Horoscope has not, in recent memory, devoted the time or sheer space to publish comprehensive, well-thought-out instructional articles. What it prints instead are glosses & overviews. Fun to read, but not something you can learn from.

Even with the text as it is, a better book could be had with better formatting. That's the publisher's job, and, I regret to say, the publisher has let the author down. So some quick notes:

Line length vs: point size. In this case, 8-10 point type with 5.75 inch width type blocks. Long lines of small type make it hard to follow the text, line by line. Make the type bigger, or make the text blocks narrower.

There are no page headers in the book. Open the book to any page, you will not know where you are, nor in what chapter.

Along with this, there are few, almost no, subheads. The author's text runs on, paragraph after paragraph, with no clear idea where she is or what she's talking about. Chapter six, Astrology as a Tool, is as good an example as any. It's divided into three sections. Here is the first:

Part One: Using Astrology to Plan Events: 1st paragraph: Personal story. Paragraphs 2-4, introductory remarks. Paragraph 5: Back to the personal story. 6: Reasons for electing times. 7. Buy a car. 8. Mercury & buying a car. 9. Cars & retrograde Mercury. 10-11. Caesarian delivery. 12. Birth charts for Caesarians. 13. What astrologers can & cannot do. 14-15. A charity ball. 16-39: Planning a wedding. (pgs. 167-175)

Publisher-supplied subheads would have made sense of this ramble. They would have forced the author to make cleaner breaks from topic to topic. They would have led the reader on, as, otherwise, I don't know if the casual reader will suspect that after tips on buying a car, there follows a minor treatise on getting hitched. The pages simply run on & on & on.

This book is Print-on-Demand. As such, not that much money was spent on it. With a bit of formatting & a bit of editing, it could be shaped into something quite decent. While I haven't asked, I presume the reason the book was published was that the author was a favorite with Dell Horoscope, and that many sales to Dell's readers are hoped for. Years ago I advertised with Dell & I think the hopes are misplaced. Aside from the AFA's own membership, I doubt it & Dell share much readership. Second, the bulk of Dell's subscribers read their sun-sign forecasts & nothing else. I would like to be wrong.

If there's any lingering doubt, check out the author's own website.

AFA, 204 pages.

KEY WORDS FOR ASTROLOGY - Hajo Banzhaf & Anna Haebler, $18.95
Contents: The luminaries, the planets, and the moon's node; The twelve signs of the zodiac, or the sun in the signs; The moon and the planets in the signs; The cardinal axis; The sun moon and planets in the houses; The aspects; An illustrated key to the horoscope; The astrological picture of the world. 284 pages including glossary, notes and bibliography. Weiser, paper.

Contents: Signs of the tropical zodiac; Planets and important horoscope points; Annual cosmic clock; Elements and qualities; Signs of long and short ascension; Dates when sun changes signs; opposing signs; key interpretations of planets; Planetary motions and cycles; retrograde planets; Houses; Aspects; Suggestions on delineating a horoscope; Interpreting planets in signs and houses; Detriment, fall, exaltation chart; Medical astrology; Transits; Eclipses; Synastry; Calculating and drawing the horoscope; Daily sun clock diagram; Calculating Greenwich mean time from longitude; Calculating local mean time from standard time; Table for corrections; Using logarithms; Calculating the Part of Fortune; Progressing the horoscope. 53 pages. Self published, oversize paper.

CHOICE CENTERED ASTROLOGY - Gail Fairfield, $16.95
Contents include: The foundations of astrology - the natal chart; Astrology as a technical system - houses, signs, planets, points, aspects; Interpretation, application, and organizing interpretational data; Interpretational structure of the houses - sections and pairs; Interpretational structure of the signs - qualities, elements and themes; Interpreting the planets by their orbits and by their psychological processes; Aspect groups; Strategies for interpreting aspects; Interpretations for planet or point combinations; Interpretations for ruling planets in aspect; Reading a natal chart; Summaries and exercises for each section. Appendices: Using a pendulum to divine your birth time; Computer and other resources; The asteroids; Calculating the Part of Fortune; More about the structure of the houses; More about the structure of the signs; More about aspects. 373 pages including index. Weiser, paper.

Contents: How to determine signs and house positions of your planets; Understanding your birth chart in terms of psychological potentials; The basic symbolism of astrology and the cyclical development of energy; Initial steps in interpreting your birth chart: holistic overview - your natal inclinations; Common questions and interpretive guidelines; In-depth analysis of your psychological functions - sun, moon and usual planets' sign and house position. Appendices: Where to purchase your computerized birth chart; How to read your birth chart form; How to interpret astrological symbolism; Creative blending of the signs and house positions of Alice's planets in her birth chart; Additional sentences for interpreting the signs and house positions of the planets in your birth chart; Sign/house development potentials and keywords for sentence completion exercises. 217 pages. Breakthrough Enterprises, oversize paper.

Contents: Understanding planetary placements; Sun's, moon's, and usual planets'' roles in the universe - favorable, unfavorable and doubtful aspects, mental and emotional attributes and general characteristics, rulerships of people, things and health, applying the planetary positions.

AFA, 85 pages.

Contents: Houses; Cardinal, fixed and mutable signs; Fire, earth, air and water signs; The planets; The signs; The example horoscope; The houses - a summing up; The planets in the example horoscope - rulerships, house positions, aspects. 68 pages. AFA, paper.

THE DIGESTED ASTROLOGER - Jinni Meyer & Joanne Wickenburg ("Jinni & Joanne"), $6.50
Contents: The elements of a chart; The signs of the zodiac; Elements and qualities; The houses; The planets; The aspects; Dynamic interpretation of a chart; The highest and lowest potentials of the signs and houses. 60 pages. Source, paper.

MAPPING YOUR BIRTHCHART - Stephanie Jean Clement, $19.95
Contents: List of charts; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Why learn astrology?

1. The basics of astrology; 2. The zodiac; 3. The sun, 5th house & the conjunction; 4. The moon & the 4th house; 5. The ascendant & your persona; 6. Mercury, the third & sixth houses, and the trine; 7. Venus, the second & seventh houses, and the opposition; 8. Mars, the first house, and the square; 9. Jupiter, the ninth house, and the sextile; 10. Saturn, the tenth house & the semisquare & sesquisquare; 11. Uranus, the eleventh house & the semisextile & quincunx; 12. Neptune, the twelfth house & the quintile & biquintile; 13. Pluto, the eighth house & synthesis; 14. Transits; 15. The midheaven & self-awareness

Glossary; Appendix 1: Astronomical data; Appendix 2: Creating a birthchart using your CD-Rom program; Bibliography; Index.

Comment: This is about half a book. Planets are not delineated by house, and there is virtually nothing about aspects (nothing at all about nodes). The organization, where a planet, a couple of houses, and an aspect, are jumbled into one chapter, does not make a lot of sense to me. There is a CD-Rom (for Windows computers only), I have not looked at it.

Llewellyn, 228 pages, plus CD-Rom.

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The Astrology Center of America

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Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

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