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 beginners, advanced students, and professionals. These writers provide a wonderfully written and comprehensive text on the art and science of astrology.
The Book This Month – Astrology: The Divine Science by Marica Moore and Mark Douglas
The ISBN 13 number for this book is 978-0912240046 and it can be purchased on Amazon for $25.00 USD. You can find used copies on Alibris for $17.35 USD at the time this article was written.
Published in 1978, “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.” (Amazon Editorial Review).
The book is well-edited, with a useful table of contents at the beginning of the book, a forward by Dane Rudhyar, an appendix, glossary, bibliography, and index. Moore and Douglas are both thorough scholars and enlightening writers. They write at the beginning of the book, “The word astrology derives from the Greek roots Astron, meaning star, and logos, meaning word or speech. As such, it is a system of universal logic which may be comprehended by people who feel that man’s mind may be illumined by higher principles than those acknowledged by the scientific materialists of the twentieth century” (1).
The book contains eight parts: The Language of Astrology, Heaven’s Golden Alphabet, The Vocabulary of the Zodiac, The Syntax of Space, The Grammar of the Zodiac, Casting the Horoscope, Interpreting the Horoscope, and Esoteric Astrology. The main text is over 700 pages!
This book is about as thorough an introduction to the field of study as you could hope to find in a single text. Part three looks at all the points in each sign, starting with the Sun and ending with Pluto. Part four looks at all the points in each house, with special emphasis on the ascending types (which sign rules the 1st House). Part five explains the aspects, with a focus on individual aspects and patterns. Additionally, Moore and Douglas are excellent writers, taking time and care to explain all the intricacies of astrology basics for astrology practice.
Focus on Part 3 – Points in Signs
Each point is given plenty of pages to address its basic nature and interpolation through a specific sign. Using Gemini as an example, the content begins with a list of the Ruler of the sign, in this case, Mercury. If it has any point that “exalts” in it, feels its “detriment”, or “falls” (none, Jupiter, none), they are listed, along with the quality of the sign (mutable), the element (air), and the polarity (positive). (81)
One of the best summations of point-in-sign is given at the beginning of each point description as the Keynote and Symbol. For the Sun in Gemini, they write the Keynote as, “The power of individuality manifests through knowledge.” And the Symbol is, “A youth skips lightheartedly off to school.” (81) For Jupiter in Gemini, they write the Keynote as, “A variety of intellectual interests enlarge the scope of the mind.” And the Symbol is, “A world traveler coordinates plane, train, and bus schedules.” (87)
Focus on Part 4 – Points in Houses
At the beginning of this section, they write, “The basic purpose of a horoscope is to answer the question, ‘Who am I?’ The houses depict the circumstances of life. Literally, they are the twelve segments of the sky that ‘circum stand’ or stand around the self, looking out from the center of the natal chart.” (291). Each house rules an area of human life, which they refer to as “fields”. The first house is the “House of Self”, which represents the “field of action and personal initiative.” (295). The tenth house is the “House of Public Standing”, which represents the “field of worldly attainment.” (296).
Once they get to the section on the Meaning of the Planets in the Houses, they take each point through one house at a time. Beginning with the Sun in the 1st House, they tell us that the individual will have a “strong sense of identity”. If the Moon is in the 1st House, then the individual will constantly experience and have to master “changing circumstances” because “feelings are hypersensitive to environmental factors, giving a tendency to make easy, quick adjustments to the demands of the moment through day-by-day decisions rather than to look ahead.” (301) If Saturn is there, the individual will show “personal austerity” and may even indicate a difficult childhood and very serious demeanor. (303)
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 so very thorough and complete. Surprisingly, it does not come off as “dated” in any way, which is often the case in texts written around this time and earlier. The creativity of the writers also makes the reading of the text enjoyable, especially with so much information to convey. Certainly, this a must-have book for any astrology library you would build for yourself.