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Maya's Book Corner - Astrology Favorites

Each month Maya recommends a favorite astrology book.

Book Cover Image, Dane Rudhyar, An Astological MandalaAn Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformation and Its 360 Symbolic Phases, by Dane Rudhyar. Random House.

Many readers have asked about the source of the Sabian Symbols. I use the Sabian Symbols as translated by Dane Rudhyar in An Astrological Mandala. This book was published by Random House as a paperback in 1974, and was an immediate success. At some point it went out of print, but by then there were thousands of copies on used book shelves, and for years it was easy to locate a copy. However, those books gradually dwindled, as demand continued. And finally An Astrological Mandala was recently republished.

Other astrologers have made up images for each of the 360 degrees of the zodiac, but none approach the power of these symbols. You can use them however you want to. For instance, you can apply them to any degree in any chart to help illuminate the meaning of that degree or you can apply them to all the planets in a chart and make a story of them. Dane Rudhyar has devised a simple system to use the symbols as Oracles, similar to Tarot cards.

Dane Rudhyar has adapted his interpretations of the symbols from the original manuscript of astrologer Marc Edmund Jones, who first elicited them in partnership with Elsie Wheeler, a clairvoyant. Marc had been working with the idea of zodiacal symbols for many years, and suddenly he had an inspiration how to develop them.

On a certain morning in 1925, Marc took Miss Wheeler in his car to a park in San Diego, and stopped in a quiet place. He had with him a pack of 360 small index cards, and each card was almost invisibly marked with a zodiac sign and degree. Marc Jones then began to shuffle the cards thoroughly, and continued to shuffle them. He then picked one card at random, and without looking at the marking, asked Miss Wheeler what she saw.

Marc Jones quickly wrote down what she said, and eventually created his own book, Sabian Symbols. I like this book, also. Dane consulted with Marc, and the meanings are similar in both books, but I prefer Dane’s writing. And it was Dane Rudhyar who made the Sabian Symbols a coin of the realm in astrology.

May 2001

Heaven Knows What, by Grant Lewi

Heaven Knows What: How to Cast Your Horoscope in 15 Minutes, by Grant Lewi. Now in its tenth printing, published by Llewellyn Publications.

Every few years a new Sun-Moon combination book is published. None of them compares with an old standby, Heaven Knows What by Grant Lewi, first published in 1935. I have a tattered 1978 Bantam paperback, and felt lucky to have it, because it was out of print for many years.

Heaven Knows What was a popular book, written for everyone to understand and use. One could start with the clever do-it-yourself horoscope system at the back of the book, and then move onto the aspects between the planets, all delineated in concrete, everyday terms—except for Pluto, just being discovered when he wrote.

The book is brief, but amazingly accurate, far better than any computer report I’ve seen. Many of Grant’s interpretations don’t seem to arise from logic, but they are right on. His super intuitive ability is shown by his Gemini Sun conjunct Pluto and opposite Uranus. Grant died young, at 49. It seems a great pity that he wasn’t around to write more.

But perhaps this uniquely useful book is quite enough for one person. (I do have one other by Grant Lewi.) It had hundreds of thousands of sales—probably millions by now—and was republished many times by several different publishers.

The good news is that it has been recently republished by Llewellyn. Grant had an engaging writing style, and once you open this book you’ll be hooked.

April 2001

Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight CoverAstrology for Yourself: A Workbook for Personal Transformation, by Douglas Bloch and Demetra George. Wingbow Press, Berkeley, Ca.

People often ask me to recommend a good beginner’s book. If you’re interested enough to do a bit of work, I suggest Astrology for Yourself: A Workbook for Personal Transformation by Douglas Bloch and Demetra George.

This book has become a classic primer. My copy was published in 1987, and it continues to be republished.

The reader uses their own astrological chart, and step-by-step works through the basic astrological principles, like a detective, eventually interpreting their own chart. The authors are both well grounded in astrology, and are able to lay out the basics in a simple fashion.

In fact, the language of astrology is simple. There are three basic categories—planets, signs, and houses—and all interpretation is based on a thorough understanding of the meaning of each term, 34 in all. Practice is the key. A student could go through this simple book with many charts, of people they know or people in the news, and develop a workable understanding of astrology.

Since every chart is different, every combination different, experience is essential to develop a framework of meaning for each of the 34 terms. This book provides a good grounding, but like any other discipline, it requires practice to develop skill.