An astrology chart is a two-dimensional representation of the solar system when you took your first breath. Points in the chart include both astronomical bodies, like the Sun, Moon, and Mercury, as well as calculated points, like the angles (Ascendant, Imum Coeli, Medium Coeli, and Descendant) and the Nodes of the Moon. Each point represents an aspect of human personality. The Sun is the primary drive, while Saturn represents our patterns and how we make or respond to rules.
The number of books available in and out of print on astrology is mind-boggling, and continuing to grow. Unfortunately, there is a lot of “static noise” in the overall stream of information, which can make finding the best books on the subject a daunting task. This article will suggest 4 books to get your astrology library going and to help you begin a serious study of the subject.
The Inner Sky by Steven Forrest (10th Printing, 2010)
Without a doubt, Steven Forrest is one of the best-known names in professional astrology. He has been reading professionally for many decades and getting an appointment with him now is nearly impossible. Fortunately, he has written many books and his beginner’s guide to astrology, the Inner Sky, remains one of the best.
From the Amazon description:
This bestselling astrology classic was the WINNER OF THE 1985 PAI AWARD (Professional Astrologers Incorporated) “for outstanding activities in furthering the goals of Astrology.” Published to almost immediate critical acclaim, The Inner Sky is beloved by both beginning and seasoned astrologers. The book introduces all the astrological basics–signs, planets, houses, aspects–and pulls them together in a step-by-step strategy for synthesis that anyone can learn. One of the most popular texts for beginning the study of astrology, the book has received praise by professional astrology teachers as well as celebrities such as Sting and Robert Downey Jr.
Readers will learn an approach to astrology that is positive and affirming, and which celebrates human diversity, in the style of Evolutionary Astrology that Steven Forrest has become renown for the world over. The writing is both accessible and poetic, reaching the reader through clear imagery and storyline that is easily memorable and retainable. Differing from astrology texts that are simply descriptive, The Inner Sky takes the reader on a journey into the astrology of freedom and choice, where we discover the interplay of celestial influence and free will, and the magic that we all can find there.
There really is no better starting text. He is an excellent writer, who can make complicated information digestible and understandable.
The next two books are a bit more technical and will help you understand even more of the depth and complexity of astrology.
Astrology: The Divine Science by Marcia Moore and Mark Douglas (1978)
While a much older text, it still holds up as a great beginner book. Moore and Douglas are excellent writers with insightful information across the many aspects of astrological information. The book is 850 pages long made up of 8 parts and 29 chapters, an appendix, glossary, bibliography, and index. This book is literally a scholarly tome.
From the Amazon description:
This unique book will instruct the newcomer, enlighten the expert, and extend the boundaries of contemporary thought. It contains all the information you need to become an expert astrologer – including instructions for casting and interpreting horoscopes. The authors present astrology in a readable manner that enables you to understand basic character, human relationships, and life-trends. Their commonsense approach tells how you can effectively direct the forces of your destiny by assessing the nature of the assets and liabilities with which you were born.
Sadly, it is out-of-print, so you may have to pay handsomely for a copy if there are not many used ones floating on Amazon, eBay, Alibris, or any other book reseller when you go looking. Their descriptions of the points in the signs (Part 3 – The Vocabulary of the Zodiac) are simply the best.
Horoscope Symbols by Robert Hand (1981)
Another out-of-print book you need to track down. Hand, like Forrest, is a titan among astrologers, and the author of multiple books, all of which you should own, especially his book Planets in Transits if you plan to work your way up to an advanced level of study. This book, better than any other, will explain the difference between Tropical and Sidereal astrology.
From the back cover:
Every age must re-examine astrological tradition in the light of its own experience. In Horoscope Symbols, Robert Hand, one of the foremost astrologers of his generation, recreates astrology for our time. In this book, Hand takes the reader deep into the heart of each of the planets (and other points), angular relationships (aspects and midpoints), zodiacal positions (signs), and mundane positions (angles and houses).
Like Moore and Douglas’ book, Horoscope Symbols, maps out the complexity of astrology. These three were all contemporaries, and no modern books really come close to the level of scholarship found in Astrology: The Divine Science and Horoscope Symbols.
Astrology and the Authentic Self by Demetra George (2008)
Demetra George’s book convinced me to start doing charts using the Whole Sign system, breaking with Placidus, which is the system used by most astrologers, especially when learning astrology (including Forrest, Moore and Douglas, and Hand). Even Demetra George started with Placidus. This book is an excellent primer about Hellenistic astrology and a must-read for the beginner or professional.
From the Amazon description:
Astrology and the Authentic Self is a ground-breaking work by Demetra George, one of the most respected authors in her field. This book provides a model for the practicing astrologer to analyze a client’s life purpose as indicated through the natal chart. It addresses significant concerns, such as relationship and vocation, and provides methods for determining current timing movements.
She gives the methods to communicate this complex information in a concise and professional manner within the context of an astrological counseling session. Ms. George provides an excellent introduction to the doctrines of ancient astrology concerning how to determine the condition of a planet and its capacity to be effective and produce favorable outcomes. She outlines how to follow these traditional guidelines, but interprets them within a modern context, adding the insights of more contemporary approaches.
Her most recent book, Ancient Astrology, came out in 2019 and is a deep, deep dive into classical astrology. Like Forrest and Hand, she is a prolific writer and serious scholar of astrology, as well as an adept practitioner.
If you purchase and read through these four books, you will be well on your way to get the most out astrology for yourself and others.