Great Minds in Astrology: Erin Sullivan

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Welcome to a series about the Great Minds in Astrology.  Each month this post will look at the key thinkers and practitioners in the field of astrology, from ancient to contemporary times. Numerous men and women have made significant contributions to the field of astrology.  These Great Minds provide a large bibliography of writings worth reading and putting into your own astrology library.

This article will distill a thinker’s essential and many contributions and provide a book list of their key works.  As with any thinkers who write extensively, some books stand out more than others, and these will be identified.  Some works have practical application and others are theoretical, depending on whether or not you wish to practice astrology or just study it.

This article will talk about Erin Sullivan.

Erin Sullivan (November 9, 1947 –)

Erin Sullivan is a contemporary astrologer who published her first book – Saturn in Transit: Boundaries of Mind, Body, and Soul – in 2000.  Since then, she has published four other books:

  • The Astrology of Midlife and Aging (2005)
  • Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape (2006)
  • The Astrology of Family Dynamics (2008)
  • Where in the World: Astro*Carto*Graphy and Relocation (2020)

Her website offers comprehensive information about her.  Here is a portion from her biography page:

Erin Sullivan has been a consultant astrologer, author, and teacher since the late 1960’s.

It is her unique view of the human condition that is outstanding. Her approach to astrology and the psyche is completely original. Her counseling is sensitive, deep, imminently practical, and completely tailored to the individual or business client. She sees the outer world as an active mirror of the inner self, and the horoscope as an ideal reflection of both. This is her area of mastery – the personal, one-to-one consultation.

Practical Astrology

Saturn in Transit

Erin Sullivan is one of the most accessible writers on the subject of astrology, which makes owning her books so very worthwhile.  Without a doubt, her first book, on Saturn, written in 2000 is still one of the best books on the subject, even 20 years later.  The book will continue to be excellent 20 years from now because she writes in a “timeless” manner. 

One caveat of astrology books written in the first half of the 20th Century and earlier is the limits that appear because the content is trapped in the cultural paradigm of that time, relying too heavily on assumptions that failed to translate into new eras of expanding knowledge and information.  You can see this problem in the works of C. E. O Carter and Alan Leo.  As a result, modern readers must “read through” the cultural bias constantly.  Not so with Sullivan, she is careful to avoid the 2000 era thinking that would trap her ideas in the era.

I still use her Saturn book regularly when interpreting charts for clients and reviewing my own chart from time to time (especially every 7 years since my birth).

From the back cover of the book:

Saturn, god of the “saturnine” disposition, is popularly associated with doom and gloom.  But Saturn in Transit reveals the planet’s useful and developmental influence in our lives.  Saturn assists the modern hero and heroine, during its transit around the Zodiac, by destroying the old and outmoded within, and throwing us periodically into chaos, which invariably generates a creative transformation of our purpose in life.

The Astrology of Midlife and Aging

Her second book tackles the period of life between 37 and 41, which is a time when all of us must deal with the opposition of transiting Uranus to the natal position in your chart.  According to Sullivan, “at this time, we may observe our own lives in a manner symbolized by Uranus, a slow-moving planet, awakening foresight, change, and discovery”.  This book is also a must have, especially if you are coming up on this period in your life.

From the back cover of the book:

Between the ages of thirty-seven and forty-one, something mysterious occurs within the psyche.  Jung called this phase our “unlived life,” assuming rightly that midlife does not inaugurate a time of rapid decay, loss of libido, and inevitable death – but rather ushers in a stage in which we might review our lives contemplatively and move more consciously into the next phases of adult development.

Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape

Retrograde motion is a normal part of the astronomical process and an important interpretive concern for astrology.  Every point, outside the Sun and Moon, will retrograde from time to time.  The most famous is Mercury Retrograde, which gets a bad rap, especially since it retrogrades three times every year for three weeks.  Sullivan writes another excellent book on a crucial subject in the study and practice of astrology.

From the back cover of the book:

Erin Sullivan has penetrated the veil of myths, mystery, and false assumptions about the geocentric phenomenon of retrogression.  In this watershed book she has carefully outlined the system of regression and applied it to both natal horoscopes and transiting cycles.  Through her research and experience with clients, Erin Sullivan has explored all possible cycles within cycles that retrograde planets perform and has interpreted those movements in a way which is immediately apparent and useful to both novice and professional astrologers alike.

The Astrology of Family Dynamics

This book is probably the most complex of the four covered so far.  This work involves looking at multiple charts across many generations, so this text will be for more advanced students or professionals.  She also works with planetary positions and aspects to “track core themes in families”.

From the back cover of the book:

Like no other system of contemporary psychological theory, astrology explains the complexities of the family as an organic whole, as well as the family’s place in society – that is, who we are and can become – according to our natal charts, our parents’ and siblings’ charts, and our family position.

Where in the World?: Astro*carto*graphy and Relocation

I can only say that I am looking forward to reading Erin’s latest book, which I have ordered and expect to be delivered the same day I am writing this article.  Astrocartography is one of the most enjoyable forms of astrological work I do.

I highly recommend you get all her books; you will not be disappointed.

Philip Young, PhD

I am a spiritual adviser located in Cary, North Carolina. I earned my PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1996 and had a career in academics until 2007, when I retired to become a stay-at-home father. In 2013 I “hung out my shingle” starting my business Black Unykorn Enterprises, LLC. I provide spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing). With a home office, Zoom, WeChat, and WhatsApp, I work with local clients in person and distance clients from around the world. You can read about my practice and contact me through my website: https://www.blackunykorn.com. Philip Young, PhD Website