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Here are essays on astrological themes. Some of these books are very good:

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ASTROLOGY FOR WRITERS: Spark your creativity using the zodiac - Corrine Kenner, $17.99



Part 1: The planets
Part 2: Signs and stories
Part 3: The houses of the horoscope
Part 4: Quick reference guide

Glossary of astrological terms
Recommended reading


This is a book intended to help the creative process. In actual fact, a lot of creative people are creative, not from inner compulsion or even talent (at least as far as they may be consciously aware of any), but because it's their job to churn out writing or music or painting, etc., and must somehow get on with it in order to make a living. This is in fact the traditional medieval view of things, that creative people were workmen at worst, and craftsmen at best. Churn out enough stuff over the years and you will, in fact, create the odd masterpiece from time to time. Which, should you not fall into complete obscurity, may be long remembered, keeping your name alive when all your contemporaries have been forgotten. I make this preamble as many people erroneously believe that creativity is a mysterious act of God and if you have it you are innately special, while if you do not have it, you are condemned to be ordinary and worthless. Creativity is often just another job that must be done. Yes, there are truly inspired people, but they, in fact, are rare, and the world needs a lot more of the stuff than they alone can provide. So there will always be a place for simple craftsmen. And yes, like love-deprived adult singles, you will occasionally get lucky every now and then. Having been out that way a bit myself, the experience, when it happens, is marvelous. Worth waiting for, and long to be remembered.

In this book, planets are characters in your novel. Sun, Moon and eight planets, but you need not stop with those. You can have asteroids, transneptuians and more. Kenner in fact includes the four major asteroids, the Black Moon Lilith, and Chiron, but you could just as easily add nodes. I was hoping this book would function as a de facto astro cookbook in disguise, but the opening section, on the Sun, limits its role to that of the hero. The Sun could just as easily be a king, sitting in his castle on the hill. Or a president, or mayor or local big shot, and thus be an ancillary player, rather than the lead. Fortunately Kenner fleshes out the other planets better than this.

Planetary characters will of course act out according to the aspects that exist between them. Which means you could reduce a novel to a single chart, which would be, say, the one critical event in the book as a whole, the reason for the novel itself, as played out by the planets/characters, in their signs, houses and aspects. Regrettably, while Kenner mentions aspects, the section is brief and undeveloped. In your novel, the characters of Jupiter and Uranus could be friends, as shown by the trine between them. Mercury and the Sun could be, let's say, in opposition (which is impossible in actual fact) and carry on as life-long enemies. Mars and Venus could be in square: People who can't stand each other but can't get away from each other, either. Such as two brothers, or a brother and a sister. Use your imagination!

Signs in this book describe the planets they are posited in. So you can have an Aries Jupiter, big, expansive and headstrong, or a Capricorn Venus with a love of the past, etc. This is where Kenner pushes aspects, by the way. A Gemini character will be in square (stress) to a Piscean character. I would have based this on planets, as there are many books about planetary aspects to use as a reference. Not so many about aspects between signs.

Another way of thinking about planets/characters, signs/motives, and houses/places, is to reduce your novel to a game of Clue: Miss Edwards in the Library with an Ax! Regrettably this isn't in Kenner's book.

In summarizing planets and signs, Kenner says to cast against type. Which is often said and a bit vague. I once had fun writing solid boy-girl parts and then reversing the sexes. Giving the man the woman's part, and the woman's, the man's. It threw otherwise pedestrian characters into the strangest light and made the parts both a challenge, and memorable. One can do the same with young/old parts, mother/father, adult/child, etc. Sometimes one is inspired and is an artiste, sometimes one uses tricks and is a craftsman. A solid command of craft, without the least "inspiration" can, when well-done, produce memorable work. You will be surprised. If I sound skeptical of the great artiste, I am. Work is what counts. Day in and day out. This book can help you with that.

Houses are settings for action. Where do you want the scene to take place? In the streets? That's third house. Do you want a sporting competition or a romance? That's 5th. Move from house to house.

At the very end is a sample chart that you can read for your amusement. It belonged to Agatha Christie.

The idea of conceptualizing a story in terms of astrology is basically a good one that can be used with great effect, provided one is a good craftsman and does not write simplistic dreck. Which, of course, is the secret to all good writing, that it be well-done. The author, Corrine Kenner, is better known for her work in tarot, by the way. She has also been a house editor for her publisher, Llewellyn.

Now get out there and write.

Llewellyn, 327 pages.

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THE CONSULTATION CHART: A Guide to What It Is & How to Use It - Wanda Sellar, $22.00
Contents: 1. The rising sign; 2. Prognostication: What may happen; 3. The personal planets; 4. The social planets; 5. All change: The outer planets; 6. The magic dragon & the wounded healer; 7. All around the houses.

Case histories; Conclusion; Bibliography; Astrological schools & organizations; Index.

Comment: How to know in advance what clients will demand? Here’s one of Evangeline Adams’ tricks: Use the chart for the moment the client walks in the door, AKA the Consultation Chart. The ascendant is the matter at hand, the ruler of the ascendant is how the client feels about it & to what extent s/he can deal with it. Sound simple? This powerful tool brings immediacy to a reading. An excellent book.

Wessex Astrologer, 225 pages.

ALL THE SUN GOES ROUND: Tales from the Zodiac - Reina James, $14.95


Aries: Flame delivery
Taurus: The Empress
Gemini: Cissy & Sem
Cancer: Thomas Coates
Leo: The King
Virgo: Kate
Libra: Mr. Spoons
Scorpio: Absalee
Sagittarius: Jack Fortune
Capricorn: Anwen
Aquarius: William Crane
Pisces: Meggie Mary


This is a book of astrologically based short stories. The author, Reina James, is the daughter of Sid James (1913-1976) and Meg Sergei, born in 1913. Sid was an actor in British film and TV, from the late 1940's to his death, and was especially well-known for his roles in the various Carry On films of the '60's & '70's.

Reina, his daughter, has written four other books, published by Portobello Books. She and her books have been featured in the UK press, the Guardian newspaper among them. Margaret Cahill, at the Wessex Astrologer, has scored a coup with the publication of this small volume of short stories.

Wessex Astrologer, 118 pages.

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Contents: Numerology; Astrology; Dreams; The brain and laboratory research; Symbols; Personal year cycle dreams; Recording your dreams. 194 pages including appendix. Whitford, paper.


1. Chose your world: Assumptions create reality; materialistic vs: humanistic astrology

2. Astrology's 12 letter alphabet: Alphabet soup; An example: Virgo Sun; Don't forget the houses; The exaltation fallacy; We need all twelve

3. Elements and qualities; Element combinations

4. The right thing in the wrong place: Neptune in the 7th; Saturn in the 7th

5. Astrological dilemmas: The cardinal dilemma: In defense of Saturn; Solving the problem; The fixed dilemma: Self mastery through sharing; Gate to the universals; sisterhood/brotherhood; Freedom vs: closeness; The mutable dilemma - world of the mind: Search for absolutes

6. New developments: Aspects; Asteroids: Ceres, Vesta, Juno and Pallas; Dwads and decanates; Planetary nodes; Fixed stars; Midpoints and Arabic parts; Sorting the alphabet soup; Is once enough?

7. The alphabet in action

8. Ethical astrology

The astrological alphabet
Key phrases for house-sign-planet combinations
Major aspects
Minor aspects


This book is based on the author's 12 letter alphabet system of astrology, which I will get to in a moment. First, I want to look closely at the book to see what the book is actually all about. So I start at the beginning.

On page 1, the author starts presents the duality of the evil materialists and the saintly spiritualists. From page 1:

One of these worldviews accepts life-consciousness as the creative power, and sees it evolving and testing its power through the manipulation of physical matter-energy.

The other worldview sees matter-energy as the final reality with life as an accident and consciousness as an epiphenomenon in a meaningless world.

This leads to a discussion of Materialistic vs: Humanistic Astrology. From page 3:
The world is seen as a closed system with every future event already fore-ordained by the nature of the cosmos. Human beings are flies caught in the web of cosmic forces . . .

Humanistic astrologers, in contrast, tend to recognize the potential of life-consciousness as a creative force operating in an open system. . . . [T]he humanistic astrologer believes that there are some options or choices and that these choices can make a difference. In this worldview, character is destiny, and when we change our character (our habitual attitudes, beliefs, and actions) we change our destiny.

Which is stirring stuff. This is a prelude to the author's own concept, the Twelve-Letter Alphabet of Astrology, which is chapter 2. Dobyns was famous for this, which explicitly equated Signs, Houses and Planets. She does not present the system itself in this book, merely an overview of it.

There follows chapters on Elements and Qualities. Qualities are compared to cars. Two cardinal cars will crash into each other. Two fixed cars will reach an intersection at the same time and then wait forever for the other to take the right of way. Two mutable cars will never get close enough to touch each other.

Chapter four is about the right things in the wrong places, which are defined as, [p]lacement of planets in signs and especially in houses that are square, opposite or quincunx their own signs or houses may show this misplaced aim. (pg. 21)

Neptune, for one. When it is in the 7th, or in Libra, or Pisces is in the 7th, or the ruler of the 7th house is in the 12th house, we search for God in a human partner and things do not go right. When Saturn is in the 7th, or Saturn is in Libra, or Capricorn is on the cusp of the 7th, or Venus is in Capricorn or is in the 10th house in conjunction with Saturn, we end up married to a father figure, or a weak person whom we want to be our father, or are dominated, rejected, criticized, judged unfairly or are just very late finding a partner. Dobyns says the solution is to take turns and alternate being parent and child. Since I have Saturn in Libra (Neptune, too) and Venus in Capricorn, some of this is true, but some is not and the author's notes do not give specific guidance. So far as acting as a child, Saturn, for one, repudiates children, while Neptune is in too much of a fog to care.

Chapter 5 is on dilemma of too much cardinal, fixed or mutable energies in one chart. Which are charts dominated by oppositions, quincunxes, semisquares, sesquisquares and conjunctions, all or mostly in one or the other of the three possibilities. The Cardinal Dilemma is solved by self-expression and initiative, posssibly by playing the mother/father role. Cardinals must be denied dependency.

The Fixed Dilemma is stalemate. The fixed dilemma is solved ("resolved") by acting out the dominant fixed sign, whatever it may be, as well as its polarity and the signs in square to them. While the cardinal dilemma got a mere three paragraphs and 2/3rd of a page, the fixed dilemma gets more than four pages.

The mutable dilemma is the mental search for absolutes.

Chapter six are new developments, which starts with the work of John Nelson, who for many years was in charge of radio transmission and reception for RCA, in New York. He formulated his own system of planetary aspects, which Dobyns imports wholesale. Nelson used aspects of 7.5, 11.25, and 18 degrees. This takes the author into a discussion of orbs and why they must be much tighter than in the past, as wide orbs overlap independent harmonics. The author follows this with brief notes on the four asteroids. Dobyns, along with Eleanor Bach and Emma Belle Donath (all deceased) were early asteroid pioneers, so one customarily expects to see asteroids turn up in their work. Followed by Vertex, Fixed Stars, Midpoints and Arabic Parts.

Chapter 7 is an analysis of Billie Jean King's natal chart. King was a tennis champion.

Dobyns' letter system itself is not presented in this book, which builds upon it.

AFA, 70 pages.

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Contents: The nature of astrology; The natal chart; Signs of the zodiac, and their correspondences in human character; Personal appearance through the signs; the signs in the context of love, money and authority; The planets (including extra-Saturnians); Aspects and transits; Importance of the birth moment; The houses; Progressions; What is the Ecliptic?; The precession of the Equinoctial points and the great year (including tropical and sidereal Zodiacs); The client-consultant relationship; What does chart interpretation entail?; Difficulties-disasters-death; Health and psychology; Clairvoyance-dreams-sensitivity; the Predictive scene; Heredity; children; Animals can have charts too; Relationships (compatibility, chart comparison, inter-family, professional and business); Questions commonly asked; Various techniques and branches of astrology (mundane, electional, horary, palmistry, medical astrology); Philosophical questions (evil; separateness and wholeness - reincarnation and human potential). Appendix: Recommended reading; Study courses; Societies and journals; Glossary; Keyword system of interpretation. 267 pages. L.N. Fowler, paper.

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Birthchart of the US; Understanding astrology

1. The planet Pluto & the self-image of the US; 2. The birth of the US; 3. Tension & conflict within the US birthchart; 4. Causes for material success & obsession in the US; 5. America & sex/birth/death; 6. Spit-balls & relationships; 7. America's drug culture; 8. Where are we going from here?; 9. A tarot reading for the US; 10. The Arab/Israeli conflict & the tribulation

Appendices: The astrological system; Bibliography; The Hilarion series; Acknowledgments; About the author

Comment: This book is an excuse for a rehash of the writings of Maurice B. Cooke, a Toronto, Ontario, businessman, who claims to be the channel for Hilarion, an "Ascended Master". Occultists know of an Hilarion, whom they believe to be the ultimate incarnation of the man who was once Paul of Tarsus. They claim he doesn't give interviews & is generally busy elsewhere. Presuming they exist, ascended masters would be quite busy generally. It seems to be a rule that the greater the talent, the greater & harder the work.

That Mr. Cooke is a channel I can accept, as it requires only low-grade clairvoyant ability. (In fact, continued channeling often degrades the channel remarkably.) Should we believe those who claim to channel some famous or great person, that they, in fact, channel this or that famous person? Generally, no. We should never. Our first job as readers is to strip away the name & then ask if what we are reading is worthy of such an exalted source. And the answer is always no. Perhaps hearing voices, perhaps not, Mr. Cooke was unwilling to publish under his own proper name, presumably for fear that no one would notice. And, in fact, what he has written under the pen name Hilarion, is no better than what one may read from a variety of strictly human sources - and there are many better. For Mercury in Cancer, the Great & Wise Hilarion writes:

Mercury here if afflicted will make it very difficult for the rational mental process to operate independently of and unaffected by the emotional life. Negative feelings & emotions will have a way of muddying up the reasoning ability. The main lesson is to separate thought from emotional influences. (pg. 62, emphasis in Vanel's quote, taken from Hilarion's Astrology Plus, pg. 39)

Which, true to form, is no great revelation. Many people, including myself in more cheerful days, want some form of divine guidance, or, at the very least, divine inspiration. Seekers will look everywhere for it, they will wait forever for it to arrive. Alas, if there is a certain source of the divine, it is through sheer unremitting hard work. Such is what all the great sages have said, and such has been my own discovery. The book is mediocre, eg, not horribly bad, but rarely inspired.

Spiritual Company Press, 149 pages, oversize.

Essays by Doris Chase Doan

ASTROLOGY'S WIDE INFLUENCE - Doris Chase Doane, $18.95
A collection of essays. The table of contents describes them: You can't ignore Uranus; The Vernal Equinox; Mind & mater; ESP trends; Full moon beams on a riot; Uranus & past destiny; Stars along the air lanes; Does anyone know what time it is?; Key to auto-conditioning; The difference between personalities; Action in a Mars year; Do you need to change?; Our economic barometers; Christmas constellations; California & astrolgy; Horary astrology dividends; Stars of love & marriage; Destiny of a nation; Are you familiar with Pluto?; Emphasis of horoscope areas; Cycles underline manifestation. The bibliography cites six of her own books, 10 by her teacher C.C. Zain, one by Edward Doane & one by Sydney Omarr. AFA, 142 pages.

VERSATILITY OF ASTROLOGY, Its Place In Your Life - Doris Chase Doane, $24.00
Contents: The importance of time to the astrologer; When man and the heavens disagreed; Pluto: yesterday, today and tomorrow; A key to your relationships with others; Venus in your horoscope; Facts and importance of the number nine; Your valentine in the zodiac; Star magic for year-round vacations; Mars on a roller coaster; Keep healthy to enjoy life; TLC for your best planet; The twelve labors of Hercules; Detours in your horoscope; Seven ways to immaturity; Obesity: mind over matter; Cosmic forces behind your aspects; Six sweeps of the scythe; The trinity of wealth; Christmas shopping with the stars; The astrological case history; Prophesy 1641 - Fact today; The accident event chart; Your power graft; Animals have horoscopes; Journey through darkness; Radio jackpot winners; How to relive job tensions; How to use astrological constants. 208 pages. AFA, paper.



Part 1: Scope of influence:
1. The tarot tells what's in a name
2. More names and numerology
3. Tarot reflections of the birth path
4. Tarot philosophy
5. History and background
6. Foundation and purpose of the tarot
7. How to handle the cards
8. Illustrations and keywords
9. Astrological symbolism
10. Zodiacal signs symbolized
11. The planets symbolized

Part 2: Tarot spreads demonstrated:
Yes or no spread
Pyramid spread
Sephiroth spread
Three sevens spread
Magic seven spread
Kabala spread
Solar spread
Wish spread
Spread of 36
Magic cross spread
Life spread
Four trines horoscope spread
Twelve horoscope houses spread
Individual horoscope spread


The book starts with numerology, equating the English and Hebrew alphabets with colors, gems and divinatory significances. It continues with the premise that the wrong name will lead to an unhappy life, whereas the right name will guarantee success. Judy Garland and Joan Crawford are given as examples. Evangeline Adams is worked out in detail.

Tarot per se enters in chapter 4, Tarot Philosophy, where it is compared to planets and colors and is presumed to have a kabalistic origin. We are then given a very metaphysical overview of the origin and use of the cards. In chapter 8, Illustrations and keywords, specific astrology-to-tarot analogies are given. Jupiter is the Hierophant (V), while Scorpio is the Sovereign (IV), Venus is the Two Paths (Lovers VI), Gemini is the Star (XVII), and Pluto is the Materialist (World, XXII). The minor arcana are essentially based on decanates, with Wands = fire, Cups = water, Pentacles = air and Swords = earth. The ace of Wands is Aries-Aries, the two is Aries-Leo, the three is Aries-Sag, the four is Leo-Leo, the five is Leo-Sag, etc. The tens are unique, court cards have their own system.

Illustrations of the complete 78 card Brotherhood of Light Tarot follow. Each card is given astrological associations as well as numerous key phrases. The Brotherhood deck is fairly abstract. Chapter 10 is a cookbook of the twelve signs (appearance, temperament, personal interests, occupations, associations, environmental factors, cities, states, countries, etc.) Chapter 11 does the same with the planets.

Fourteen tarot spreads conclude the book. These range from five cards to the full deck, in various lavish layouts. A guide to which layout to use is given on pg. 53, in an overview of the various questions that tarot can answers: Personal, Public interest, and spiritual. Each has recommended spreads.

AFA, 217 pages.

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

Contents: The tarot tells what's in a name; More names and numerology; Tarot reflections of the birth path; Tarot philosophy; History and background; Foundation and purpose of the tarot; How to handle the cards; Illustrations and keywords; Astrological symbolism; Zodiacal signs symbolized; The planets symbolized; The spreads - yes or no, pyramid, sephiroth, three sevens, magic seven, kabala, solar, wish, spread of 36, magic cross, life, 4 trines horoscope, 12 horoscope houses, individual horoscope; biblical associations. 183 pages. AFA, paper.

August 2012: The AFA has recently reprinted this, see above.

A NEW AGE CONVERSATION - Doris Chase Doane & Earl H. Cramer, $14.00
A Psychiatrist and an Astrologer Exchange Ideas. Contents: Setting a foundation; Getting acquainted; Inner plane influences; Comparing horoscopes; Childhood conditioning; Conditioning and behavior; Energy and sex hangups; Tracking energy patterns; Astrological illustrations. 87 pages. AFA, paper.

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