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 monthly book review will focus on the best books for beginners, serious students, and professionals.
Choosing the Book
For this review process, I am looking at three main factors: the knowledge and wisdom of the author, the readability and delivery of the knowledge, and the usefulness of the book. The book this month is targeted at advanced students and professionals. Rudhyar is one of the stalwarts of the profession, a great thinker and a prolific writer about the subject.
The Book This Month – The Lunation Cycle by Dane Rudhyar
The ISBN 13 number for this book is 978-0943358260 and it can be purchased on Amazon for $14.93 USD. You can find used copies on Alibris for $9.52 USD at the time this article was written.
Published in 1967, “This pioneering classic provides a new dimension in the use of Astrology as a powerful tool in understanding life patterns. The Lunation Cycle is a unique technical breakthrough revealing the significance of the cyclic relationship of the Sun and Moon as phases of a larger process. Rudhyar formulates and describes here for the first time, the eight Soli-Lunar types of personalities and the importance of the New Moon Before Birth and the Progressed New Moon charts” (back cover).
The book is well-edited, with a useful table of contents at the beginning of the book, a forward by Dane Rudhyar, an epilogue, and a final section entitled The Lunation Process in Astrological Guidance by Leyla Rael Rudhyar. Rudhyar is a thorough scholar and a tremendously creative and critical thinker. At the outset of the book he writes, “Astrology can be defined as a technique for the study of life-cycles. Its main purpose is to establish the existence of regular patterns in the sequence of events constituting man’s inner and outer experience; then, to use the knowledge of the patterns in order to control or give meaning to these experiences” (1).
The book contains seven parts: Astrology, Time, and Cycles; The Lunation Cycle, as a Dynamic Pattern of Relationship; the Eight Lunation Types of Personality; the Part of Fortune; the Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit; the Planets in Relation to the Lunation Cycle; and the Progressed Lunation Cycle.
This book is for advanced students or professional astrologers. Without a good foundation in Astrology, reading this book can feel like jumping in the deep end of a pool, never having learned to swim. Novice students would easily drown in the more technical aspects of the book’s information and processes. That said, the information in the book is invaluable to anyone seeking to understand the most powerful aspects of astrological practice. The Lunation Cycle is one of the most profound cycles in each of our individual lives.
Focus on Part 3 – The Eight Lunation Types of Personality
We are all born into a particular phase of the Lunation Cycle; mine is the Full Moon. As Rudhyar says, “Modern astrology gives considerable importance to the birthday of the individual, the life and character of whom are being studied” (37). As a rule, most people know their Sun Sign, but little else, which is useful, but in rather extremely limited ways once you become aware of your full chart dynamics.
This part of the book focuses on, “The cyclic relationship of the moon to the sun, [which] produces the lunation cycle; and every moment of the month and the day can be characterized significantly by its position within the lunation cycle. Thus, a person can say: ‘I am a first-quarter phase,’ or ‘I am a full moon phase’ with just as much reason as [saying]: ‘I am a Libra’” (38). As a Full Moon individual, “objectivity and clear consciousness” regarding interpersonal and social relationships are “the basic factors” of my character (53).
Focus on Part 7 – The Progressed Lunation Cycle
The progressed chart is done using a special calculation where 1 year of life is matched with 1 day of life after birth. A person born with Sun in Aries at 15 degrees would have their 10th-year chart cast as the 10-day chart after the birth, which would advance the Sun 10 degrees. So, the 10-year old’s progressed chart would have the Sun at 5 degrees of Taurus. All other points would progress accordingly with regard to their speed. The Sun is easiest to use for an explanation because it moves 1 degree per day.
So, the Sun will “progress” through a sign every 30 years. Since the Moon is a satellite to the Earth, it is closer and moves faster, so it progresses through a sign ever 2 and ½ years, which means it will return to its degree of origin roughly every 29 years. The birth chart is merely a “snapshot” of the motion of the Solar System at the moment of birth. Everything keeps moving after we are born.
Because the Moon moves so rapidly “in normal time” through a sign in a day-and-half. The progressed calculation is a way to slow down the motion and see how the Moon affects us over longer durations of time and in relation to our individual lunar phase.
Knowing the Reviewer
I have an academic background; my PhD is in English (1996) and my concentration was rhetoric and composition. Astrologically speaking, I am an Aries Sun with Mercury, my point of communication, also in Aries. These two facts about my background and astrological identity are the two main “lenses” for how I pick and interpret books. I want them to be well-written, researched, and presented (my academic lens), and I want them to be useful, direct, and pithy (my Aries Mercury lens).
I do recommend this book because it is a technical gem. Surprisingly, it does not come off as “dated” in any way, which is often the case in texts written around this time and earlier. Rudhyar is one of the rare writers and thinkers that does not get bogged down in his own era. He writes philosophically in a transcendent way that prevents his texts from being lost in their time period. For any serious student or professional in the craft, this is a must-own and read book.