There are thousands of astrology books available, including texts that go back over a millennium. Most of the books offer insights about special techniques, timing, and various uses of astrology in daily life, relationships, and career. And, of course, there are many, many beginner books, which offer the foundational, “all-in-one” knowledge to get started with astrology at a level that is far more sophisticated than the daily horoscope. This article will suggest some of the best beginner books, ranging from gently accessible, “on the lighter side” reading to very complex, “make your head explode” tomes.
On the Lighter Side
The books in this section will help you understand the complexity of astrology with a “gentle” hand, using non-technical language, fun examples, and the best blend of accessible reading for a complex subject.
The Inner Sky by Steven Forrest
Probably the gold standard for beginning books; this book is easy to recommend as an ideal starter book. Forrest is a gifted writer who has the magic touch to make a complex subject as accessible to an audience as possible. Originally published in 1984 and most recently republished and updated in 2012. It is the first book to own in a series of three, which also includes Yesterday’s Sky and the Changing Sky.
The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk
Originally published in 1982 and updated and republished most recently in 2012, it is not, in fact, the only astrology book you will ever need, but it is a solid starter book. Like Forrest, Woolfolk is a very good writer who does a nice job making one’s first foray into the more complex ideas of astrology very accessible. This book is an excellent one if you have “caught the astrology bug” and want to know more about such terms as “rising sign” and “midheaven” or what it means to know your Moon or Mercury sign as well as your Sun sign.
Gary Goldschneider’s Everyday Astrology: How to Make Astrology Work for You by Gary Goldschneider
Published in 2009, this book stands out among the many more modern books by offering complete sections that break down the many ways to understand roles based on Zodiac signs. Want to know how to raise an Aquarius child or deal with an Aries lover? How about the best way to succeed with a Taurus boss or make a Leo employee happy? This book provides one of the most comprehensive looks at the Sun sign in all its different manifestations in everyday life.
These all-in-one books are great for someone seriously considering doing astrology for others, but maybe not professionally. If you want to “get serious” about astrology, these books will help take a much deeper dive.
Alen Oken’s Complete Astrology by Alen Oken
Originally published in 1980, this book includes the math to cast a chart “by hand”, which will really make you appreciate online resources like the chart calculator we have on AskAstrology (https://askastrology.com/astrology/birth-natal-chart-calculator/) and professional programs like Solar Fire. It has been updated and was republished in 2006. Oken also has a series of books if you like his writing style and how he explains astrology; his other books include: Rulers of the Horoscope, Houses of the Horoscope, and Soul-Centered Astrology.
Horoscope Symbols by Robert Hand
Robert Hand, like Steven Forrest, is one of the pioneers and ambassadors of modern astrology. While Hand and Forrest are both experts, Hand’s style of writing has a bit more of an academic and serious tone. Originally published in 1981; it has not been updated or republished, suggesting that its more technical information is harder to sell to a wider lay audience. While Oken’s work is closer to the lighter side, Hand’s work is closer to the academic side.
These all-in-one books are really aimed at professionals and scholars, averaging over 500 pages each.
Astrology: the Divine Science by Marica Moore and Marc Douglas
Originally published in 1978; this book is out of print, but well worth tracking down. It is as readable as the Inner Sky, but leaves no stone unturned in its over 800 pages of information. One of the best offerings in this book is the rather poetic descriptions of each point in each sign, such as: The keynote for Jupiter in Sagittarius is, “the mind encompasses a broad range of interests” and the symbol is, “friars prepare monastery wine for world distribution” (Astrology: The Divine Science, Moore, and Douglas, 149).
Hellenistic Astrology: the Study of Fate and Fortune by Chris Brennan
Now this book, and the next one, are full-on scholarly works. Published in 2017, Chris Brennan’s book is one of the most comprehensive modern texts on classical astrology. Not for the faint of heart, this book is rigorous, detailed, and complex. Comprised of 698 pages of dense information; this book targets professionals in and scholars of astrology. If you want to know astrology at its most complete and detailed level, this book will deliver.
Ancient Astrology: In Theory and Practice by Demetra George
Published in 2019, Demetra George continues her revival of classical astrology, which began with her book Astrology and the Authentic Self, published in 2008. This book, like Brennan’s, is a thorough and in-depth look at the origins of astrology and the classical techniques that are still useful today. Sliding in at a meager 622 pages, George also leaves no stones unturned, focusing heavily on ancient practices that are still relevant for professional astrologers looking to perfect their craft.