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NOW THAT I'VE CAST IT, WHAT DO I DO WITH IT - Maxine Taylor, $13.95

The symbols

The houses
Signs on cusps
Planets in houses
Planets in signs
Aspects to planets
Aspects to angles
Linking planets with signs

The 13th house (tidbits):
Dignity, detriment, exaltation and fall
Mutual reception
The charts in our charts
Retrograde planets
The Vertex and Anti-Vertex
Heliocentric planets

About Maxine


In her Introduction, Maxine explains that once upon a time not so long ago, astrologers had to calculate charts by hand, a laborious process. I got it down to about 15 minutes. Maxine was teaching, and when her students had completed calculating, their question was invariably, "Now that I've cast it, what do I do with it?" She wrote this book in answer to that question.

As you can tell from the table of contents (above), Maxine has her head on straight. She reads from the houses, as all sane astrologers must. Delineations are refreshingly brief, focused, to the point. Here is Maxine on the second house. This is the complete text:

The 2nd house describes the basic need in all of us for fulfillment of our personal desires. It also describes the tangible possessions (people or things) which we often substitute when our personal desires go unfulfilled. Because of Taurus's rulership over this house, the 2nd house person's needs are often very practical, and deal with the basic needs of life: food, shelter, love, and the money to buy what he needs. Many people, however, have fulfilled their basic needs sufficiently so that they are working on fulfilling their secondary needs. For this reason, the 2nd house deals with our values, our priorities and all security-giving possessions. (pg. 5)
An outstanding description! Notice how she brings in Taurus and then immediately grounds it with concrete, to-the-point, examples. This is masterful.

The overview of aspects is drop-dead great. It involves cookies. If someone gives you cookies (you do nothing), that's a trine. If someone will give you cookies if you will get up to get them, that's a sextile. If someone will swap you cookies for your cake, that's an opposition. If someone steals your cookies, that's a square. If someone offers you cookies, but you're on a diet, that's an inconjunction.

The conjunction is a bit trickier. If someone plops down in your lap, that's a conjunction. How well the two of you get on will depend a lot on exactly who it is who has plopped down in your lap! Tellingly, if a friend sneers at the two of you, that's a conjunction with a square. If a friend gives the two of you a knowing wink, that's a conjunction with a trine. (Well, okay. I invented the wink. Maxine gives the same idea in different words.)

At this point, instead of writing explicit aspect delineations, Maxine gives lists of keywords for each of the planets. Taking her cookies and party scene as your model, you then apply the keywords as appropriate. Taking my Sun-Saturn trine as an example, positive keywords for Sun are, creativity, individuality, strength, etc. The trine says I need do nothing at all to get Saturn's responsibility, discipline, maturity, etc. Which would be creative discipline, responsible individuality, mature strength, etc.

So how about a Venus-Jupiter square? Negative Venus is lazy, self-indulgent, phony, etc. Negative Jupiter is overoptimism, overbearing, exaggeration, etc. Can you stammer out, Overoptimistic self-indulgent? (Well, no, neither can I!) A very good learning exercise. Perhaps aware that a lot of students won't do even this much work, Maxine then follows with very terse delineations: Venus-Jupiter: You can rationalize your self-indulgence. There. I feel better now. I feel rationalized.

In Linking Planets With Signs, Taylor shows how planets in one house influnce the house they rule, which makes the title of the chapter slightly misleading. Her instructions in this chapter are a bit convoluted, but only a bit, and will work brilliantly if you take the time to work through them once or twice. The brief delineations she gives will get you started with this essential technique: Ruler of the 2nd in the 4th: You spend money on your home and family. You spend money on what makes you feel secure. And then, precisely because this is a book that makes you work with keywords and BASIC SENTENCES, you will be inspired to use keywords for the planet in question, the ruler of the 2nd.

A well-crafted book, one with many insights.

118 pages. AFA, paper.

ABC BASIC CHART READING - Lynne Palmer, $21.95


How to use this book

1. The houses
2. The aspects
3. The planets


This book appears to be long list of key phrases about houses and planets. In the introductory remarks (How to use this book), Palmer says the book is intended for those who give astrology readings. Palmer has an A - B - C approach, as we read on pgs. xii - xiii:
A. Determine the aspect(s). Determine if the aspect in question is harmonious. If so, read the harmonious delineation for each of the planets in the planet section. If the aspect is not harmonious, then read the discordant delineations.

B. Look up the meanings of the houses the aspected planets rule. For Palmer, a planet in a house rules it, regardless of the signs. When there are more than one planet in a house, then the planet closest to the cusp rules mostest, with each successive planet in the same house ruling a little bit less. Last of all comes the planet that rules the sign on the cusp of the house.

C. Instructions for step C are not clear. It seems to be a repeat of step A, above, with the addition of neutral aspects, which include the inconjunct.

D. "After you have completed the above steps, try putting everything together." This is a bit vague.

E. Use common sense. Palmer gives an example: Investing in the stock market. The astrologer must choose an appropriate date & time to make an investment and so advise his client. The astrologer must be sure to eliminate actions & events that are not pictured in the horoscope.

F. Read tha aspects made by the Ascendant & Midheaven.

If this sounds a bit choppy, it is. Palmer then gives a brief example, of an individual with Sun trine Moon. This Sun is in Virgo in the 10th and rules the 9th, of Leo. The Moon is in the second house (Capricorn) and rules the 8th. So the man has good fortune from the 2nd, 8th, 9th & 10th houses. The man can therefore expect to make lots of money (2nd) one way or another (with the public: 10th) which would enable him to pay his debts (8th) and travel abroad (9th). No mention is made of the fact that Sun-Moon trines are so very nice that I would expect few of them to turn up as clients. Perhaps Palmer has a different sort of clientele. You will also note that no serious mention whatever is made of signs, a curious omission.

I liked the key phrases for the houses. They were not complete, but they are among the most detailed that I have ever read. Each house is divided into people of the house, and matters of the house. For the most part, they won't help you if you're just starting out in astrology as you will not know how to apply them. What's missing is how the houses are conceptualized, because when you understand the concepts, you will greatly appreciate the itemized lists.

Much the same can be said for the even more extensive key phrases for the planets. Each planet is divided into Harmonious and Discordant sections. In each sections are lists like these:

  • One who . . .
  • One who is . . .
  • One who desires . . .
  • One who can . . .
  • One who has . . .
  • One may attract . . .
  • Type of people . . .
  • One whose hobby and/or work deals with . . .
As an elementary book, it's not that good. As a collection of key phrases & ideas for an experienced astrologer, it's quite very good.

AFA, 132 pages.

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

ASTROLOGY THE NEXT STEP, Complete Horoscope Interpretation - Maritha Pottenger, $25.95
Contents: Philosophical foundations; Uncovering themes in delineation; The astrological alphabet; Themes: elements, qualities, polarity; Aspects; Identity; Work and career options; Relationships; Mind and communication; Children and creativity; Beliefs and values; Money; Sensuality and sexuality; Health; Parents; Growth areas; Future; Overview of the whole chart; The art of astrological counseling; Putting all the pieces together. appendices: Worksheets; Using this book as a traditional astrological "cookbook". 540 pages plus index. ACS, paper.

ADVANCED ASTROLOGY FOR LIFE: Balance your life with planetary power - Constance Stellas, $10.95
Contents: Foreword; Acknowledgements; Introduction;

1. Cosmic ingredients; 2. How your planets work together; 3. Your personal planets & their daily motions; 4. The big picture; 5. Predictions; 6. Synastry, or, is this the one?; 7. The hidden chart; 8. Horary astrology; 9. Astrology grab-bag; 10. Analysis of a chart; 11. How to think like an astrologer; Conclusion; Reference tables & charts; Resources; Bibliography; Index.

Comment: I remember chatting with Constance over the phone, back in the '80's & '90's, but can't remember that I ever met her. She's nice. The book, alas, tries to cram too many things without enough detail. Chapters 9 & 11 are good, with brief but useful notes on critical degrees, fixed stars, decanates, medical astrology, Feng Shui, travel, fertility, etc.

Provenance Press/Adams Media, 258 pages.



Moving towards the 21st century and the age of Aquarius
Sun sign astrology and the astrological ages
Understanding astrology
Interpreting the horoscope
Calculation of the birth horoscope
New boundaries of the Aquarian age.


Mostly introductory material, but the topics raised & the charts supplied, you can do your own analysis & get a lot more out of the book than what the author intended.

153 pages including references, recommended reading and worksheets. Gemcraft Books, paper, 152 pages.

Contents: Aries/Mars; Taurus/Venus; Gemini/Mercury; Cancer/Moon; Leo/Sun; Virgo/Mercury; Libra/Venus; Scorpio/Pluto; Sagittarius/Jupiter; Capricorn/Saturn; Aquarius/Uranus/Saturn; Pisces/Neptune/Jupiter; The moon's nodes; Delineation. 108 pages. AFA, oversize comb.

ASTROLOGY IN MODERN LANGUAGE - Richard Vaughan, $13.95
Contents: What is a horoscope?; How to set up a horoscope; The houses of the horoscope; The focus of your emotions; The image of your personality: the ascendant and its ruling planet; Saturn in your horoscope; Other planets in your horoscope; Aspects between planets; The source of money in your life; Creative expression in your life; The security factor: Your subjective self; Children, speculation and gambling; Your job, health and other duties; Other people in your life; Thresholds of change; Travel and education; Ambition, recognition and worldly success; The meaning of friendships; The bright side of despair; Developments and predictive trends in the horoscope; Astrological analysis when you do not have the time of birth. 338 pages. CRCS, paper.

THE INNER SKY: How to make wiser choices for a more fulfilling life - Steven Forrest, $18.95
Contents: Dedication; Foreword; Acknowledgements.

Part 1: The Territory: 1. Why bother, what about metaphysics, the seven principles; 2. Symbolic language, symbolic reading; 3. What exactly is a birthchart?, why is east on the left, planetary motions.

Part 2: Words: 4. The prime symbol, the circle of the year, seasons, not stars, the dance of the elements, the modes, the twelve signs; 5. Signs; 6. Planets, two solar systems, retrogradation, introducing the players, the significance of retrogradation, the invisible planets, beyond Pluto; 7. Houses, the daily cycle, horizon, meridian, the great cross, houses & signs.

Part 3: Sentences: 8. Interpretation I: Planets in signs & houses; 9. Interpretation II: Aspects, Rulerships & the Moon's nodes; 10. Interpretation III: Putting it all together, a helpful trick, the ruler of the ascendant, planets in their rulerships, planets conjunct the sun, the stellium, angular planets, singletons, stationary planets, strong aspects, keeping perspective on focalizers, the moon's nodes; 11. The Englishman; 12. Dreaming the Universe.
Appendices: How to cast a birthchart; How to avoid casting a birthchart; Suggestions for further reading; Sample birthcharts. Glossary, Index.

Comment: A chatty book, easy to read. Lots of stuff in here, though lots that was omitted. To best use the book, you have to sit down & read it, cover to cover. The tenor of the author's writing may be judged from the dedication: One world, one people - if you can feel it, then this book is dedicated to you.

Seven Paws Press, 303 pages.

BUDDHIST ASTROLOGY: Chart interpretation from a Buddhist perspective - Jhampa Shaneman & Jan V. Angel, $19.95
Contents: Foreword by the Dali Lama; Introduction by Steven Forrest; Preface by Shaneman; Preface by Angel

1. Buddhist astrology; 2. Buddha's natal chart; 3. The wisdom of Siddhartha; 4. The deeper wisdom; 5. Love & compassion; 6. The houses; 7. The planets; 8. The moon & sun in the houses; 9. The inner planets in the houses; 10. The outer planets in the houses; 11. Aspects of the moon & sun; 12. Aspects of the inner planets; 13. Aspects of the outer planets; 14. Buddhist meditations & personal astrology; 15. Meditation; 16. Biographical sketch of Jhampa; Glossary of Buddhist terms; Bibliography; Index.

Comment: A good start of a book on natal astrology, marred by incessant carping about Buddhism, and by general astrological inexperience. Much of the critical cookbook section was written from theory unsupported by observation, or reflection. As I think the authors are better than the book they have written, I would like to see them revisit & enrich this book in a decade or so. With a bit more maturity, there is potential here for something outstanding.

Llewellyn, 359 pages.

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The Astrology Center of America

207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

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