Llewellyn Worldwide Publishers is perhaps the best source of new astrology books. It was founded about a century ago, by an astrologer of Welsh heritage, Llewellyn George. Llewellyn has been best known over the years for Mr. George's basic astrology text, and for their various annuals, most notably the annual which gives a forecast for each sun sign, and for their Moon Sign Book, an astrological almanac which is very useful for timing. Over time Llewellyn has increased their number of titles and, I believe, the quality of their books as well. Check their website for further information: http://www.llewellyn.com.
Here I review two of Llewellyn's recent books which are valuable in filling a gap in popular astrology.
Predictive Astrology by Christine Shaw, Llewellyn Worldwide, St. Paul, MN 55164. 2001. $14.95 pb.
This book is for the reader who is well grounded in basic astrology. It describes progressions, which are various ways of moving the planets ahead (or backwards) to show current and future development.
I have seen only a few books on progressions, and Christine Shaw's book is at the top of my list for the counseling astrologer. Christine is an Australian astrologer who has had her own astrology school, and has lectured in Australia and New Zealand. Excellent astrology seems to come out of Australia, and Predictive Astrology is no exception.
Robert Blaschke's books on progressions are extensive and thorough, and give more precise instructions for accurate timing. But Christine's book is easy to use, and sufficient for day-to-day work. I would turn to Robert's books after familiarity with using Christine's book.
Christine not only knows her astrology well; she is able to convey her knowledge in a dynamic and practical fashion. The book includes a lengthy and rich discussion of progressions in general. Christine uses personal research as her raw material, and her discussion is grounded in real circumstances, thus bringing progressions down to earth. The bulk of the book describes specific planetary progressed aspects, from the progressed chart to the natal chart, and within the progressed chart.
Christine talks primarily about secondary progressions, which follow the basic formula of one year in the life of the person (or event) equals one day in the ephemeris. However, a progression is a progression, and similar dynamics will operate in any type of progression. She also includes progressions into houses, and stationing progressions.
Christine stresses the importance of the natal chart. Progressions do not correlate with developments unless they are promised in the natal chart, and the way a particular progression works depends on the natal disposition of the respective planets. This is why a thorough grounding in astrology is necessary before moving on to more complex interpretation. If you know natal astrology well, the rest is in fact easy because the same principles apply. A planet is a planet, a sign is a sign, and a house is a house.
Let us look at a major progression for GW Bush: his Cancer Sun progressed into Virgo, and joining his natal Virgo Mars. This progression came into orb two months ago, and will last for two years.
First, looking briefly at his natal Mars in Virgo: This is an analytical and fix-it Mars. It also makes for nervousness and irritability. Mars semi-sextiles its dispositor, Mercury in Leo, on GW's Ascendant. (Christine discusses the importance of minor aspects.) Mercury in turn has a partile conjunction to Pluto in Leo. This shows the potential for using that Mars for power-mongering and bullying. (Readers, aren't you glad I don't go through this with you regularly? And this is just the beginning of setting the foundation of this progression!)
Here are some excerpts about Sun-Mars progressed aspects from Christine's book:
This is an excellent time for initiating projects. It is not a time for cooperative ventures. You need to identify with what you are doing, and to use vigorous action. Take the plunge. During these two years the qualities of your Sun sign can be more fully expressed. This period will show you what you are most interested in accomplishing....You need constructive direction and planning....Poorly used, there can be aggressiveness, accidents, fights, separations, and death.
We can see a turbulent two years beginning for GW.
Predictive Astrology is well worth while owning and using.
The Complete Node Book: Understanding Your Life's Purpose by Kevin Burk. Llewellyn Worldwide, St. Paul, MN 55164. 2003. $15.95 pb.
The Moon's Nodes are not planets, but nevertheless they are vital points in the chart. They are the point where the orbit of the Moon crosses the orbit of the Sun. They thus relate Moon, Sun and Earth in an unseen fashion, which correlates with our own unconscious as well as with our own transcendence.
Kevin Burk says of the Moon's Nodes: "The nodes show us where our spiritual path and our soul lessons intersect with our physical path, and they are the point where we can most easily align with our spiritual path." I too see that the Moon's Nodes show us our spiritual path.
The Nodes express two sides of a polarity, e.g., Gemini-Sagittarius. Thus understanding the six sign polarities (and six house polarities) is vital to understanding how the nodal axis works. Kevin explains these polarities simply, differentiating between signs and houseswhich some authors, to my annoyance, do not.
Many astrological interpretations ignore the nodes, give them a bad rap (as in Vedic astrology), or put down the South Node. Kevin, on the other hand, gives us empowering interpretations of both North and South Nodes. After all, everything in our charts is there to try to use positively.
Kevin defines the specific challenges presented by each of the 144 possible placements of the nodes. I like his interpretations; they are logical and insightful, descriptive rather than value-laden, and useful.
This is an easy book for anyone to use. All you need is a copy of your birth chart. If you don't have one, the book offers a coupon to order a free chart from Llewellyn.
Kevin, like Christine, is a teacher. It shows. In both cases, their conciseness and groundedness is of great value to the reader.
I highly recommend both booksthe Node Book to anyone who's curious about his/her life purpose, and Predictive Astrology to the serious astrology student.