by Maya del Mar
The Womans Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara Walker. Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1983. $24.95 paperback.
This book is a treasure trove1100 pages packed with fascinating information about myths and magic from around the world. I turn to it when Im wanting to know more about a person, place, or proper name, and sure enough, Barbara invariably sheds light on the subject.
It took researcher Barbara Walker 25 years to write this book. Its unbelievable that she was able to do it in such a short time, considering the quality and depth of her research. The bibliography itself is 13 pages of very small print.
For instance, in the entry on "Palladium," Barbara talks about Pallas:
The palladium was a symbol of a protean, androgynous deity usually called Pallas, whose name means 'maiden' or 'youth.'
"Some said Pallas was identical with the Goddess Athene. Some said Pallas was a pan-like goat god slain by Athene. Some said Pallas was a giant. Some said Pallas was a wooden image of a female warrior. Some said Pallas was a thunder stone. A majority believed Pallas was a phallic god, and his Palladium was "the scepter of Priam, in the likeness of a male sex organ."
(This certainly is similar to missile development!)
"In Greek myth, Pallas had offspring, the Pallantids, who worshipped an Amazonian fighting goddess, the enemy of the patriarchal hero Hellenic Theseus. This may account for the notion that Pallas was a female warrior, once a companion of Athene, who took her name and became Pallas Athene after accidentally killing her in a mock battle
"Constantine moved the Palladium to Constantinople and made it a symbol of his own masculinity. It was buried under a huge red porphyry pillar topped by an image of himself in the guise of Apollo."
This myth sounds very much like todays fantasies.
I was about to close the book, but another entry caught my eye (as happens with this book):
"Mass. Latin missa, from the Persian-Mithraic communion cake called mixd, thought to embody the divine flesh and blood of the Sole-Created Bull sacrificed by Mithra."
Encyclopedia of Astrology by Nicholas de Vore. Philosophical Library, New York, 1947.
If I could keep but one astrology book from my library, this is the book. It is an incredible little book, absolutely packed with precise information about the stars and planets, gleaned from the ancients as well as from twentieth century astrology. Along with the tables of degrees, it even includes selections of relevant verse, from poets such as Shakespeare, Milton, and William Blake.
I have seen many purported encyclopedias of astrology over the years, but none begins to compare with this little, unostentatious book either in pleasure of reading, or breadth of content. It is a little light bluelike the skyhardback. It used to be a staple in secondhand shelves, but now I rarely see one, though they are available used from time to time through Amazon.com.
A couple of hours ago I picked it up to find a sample selection for this review, and I havent been able to set it down. And I barely touched its rich content. It is truly a treasure trove. I cant open it without discovering something new, or some enlightenment about something that has puzzled me.
At the same time the basic information about planets, signs, and houses is amazingly informative. For instance, there is a table showing the local time of the rising of each of the signs on the first day of each month at 41 N. latitude. With only simple math, one could interpolate and calculate a chart from this simple, but relevant and inclusive, information.
We know about the Full Moon rising in the East, but how about the other phases of the Moon? Where and when in the sky do we see them? Turn to "visibility," and there we find a page on visibility of the Moon, with visibility of the other planets as well.
I read in the astronomy magazines that Uranus is sometimes visible to the naked eye. But when? Mr. DeVore says that Uranus is sometimes visible to the unaided eye on a Moonless night, when it is in a near conjunction with Mars. Oh! Now I know when to look.
I cant say enough good things about this book. I highly recommend it to both beginners and professional astrologers. Contained within its 400 pages are many lifetimes of study.
Planets in Transit by Robert Hand. Schiffer Publishing, 2002.
Robert Hand is a very knowledgeable astrologer. This book is a fine handbook, very useful when you want help in interpreting a transit, which is a planet in the sky connecting with a planet in a chart.
Hand covers all of the ten major planets, plus Ascendant and Midheaven. He delineates conjunctions, sextiles, trines, squares, and oppositions. He also talks about planetary transits of houses. There is a thorough discussion of each transit, with both positive and negative tendencies.
Ill demonstrate with some brief excerpts concerning Saturns transit of the U.S. chart. Saturn is now in the U.S. sixth house. It will cross the horizon into the seventh house about May 1. Hand says about Saturn in the sixth:
"This is a critical time in your development. When Saturn enters your seventh house, your efforts to attain your goals and ambitions will begin to bear definite fruit if you have handled this house properly
.You have to put everything in order; consequently this is a time of heavy responsibility and hard work."
The next planet which Saturn will conjoin in the U.S. chart is Mars. This happens this coming June and July, and again in February 2003. Hand says about Saturn conjoining Mars:
"This is often a time of enormous frustration, when you feel as if you are beating your head against a wall. It can also be a time when you accomplish a great deal of hard work. Its basic meaning is 'inhibited energy,' but it can also be 'disciplined energy.'
"The energy of this transit can produce feelings of intense irritability. The least little thing sets you offand generally you are confronted with more than little things
.It is likely that you put out energy that is threatening to others. They respond by trying to stop you.
"The energy of Mars wants to assert itself in every direction, but transiting Saturn signifies limitations imposed from without. You should take on only projects that are limited in scope. If you proceed with grandiose plans, you will probably encounter the worst effects of this transit.
"The combination of Mars and Saturn can signify a kind of cold, cruel anger which you should avoid projecting. If you get angry, bring it out in the open
Some might say that its time to curb the U.S. warrior energy. Lets lean on Saturns wisdom.
The Combination of Stellar Influences by Reinhold Ebertin. Ebertin-Verlag, Wurttemberg, Germany. 1972. Also 1940, 1950, and 1960.
The pages are falling out of my book, which has been a standby for 30 years. I once noticed a copy on Jim Lewiss bookshelf, as well-worn as my own.
Reinhold Ebertin was a fine astrologer, with a brilliant mind. He used complicated astrological techniques which I havent even begun to probe. He is also known for a system called Cosmobiology.
However, the beauty of this book is that it is simple, succinct, and yet full of information. The title describes it, and I use it to give me hints of possibilities of planetary combinations, particularly where the concern is with three planets combined.
Ebertin worked with midpoints, which is the place on the zodiac midway between any two given planets. The character of this midpoint is brought out by a third planet sitting on that place. This book arose as a way to describe that midpoint place itself, and then combine it with each of the planets.
It is a masterful book, amazingly accurate, while at the same time providing a diversity of possibilities for any given combination. In a chart, the principle of the planets involved together is even more important than their sign, house, or aspect. Planets are the action terms in a chart. How do they work together?
For instance, the description of GWs combination of Mercury/Pluto says, "Principle: the art of persuasion, suggestion." We then see Psychological Correspondences, and there are given both positive and negative. They are followed by both Sociological and Biological Correspondences. At the end of the page is Probable Manifestations, again both positive and negative. On the facing page, meanings are given for the Mercury-Pluto combination with Sun, with Moon, with Venus, and so on through each of the planets.
The Combination of Stellar Influences is considered a classic, and it is a goldmine of a handbook. Purchase the paperback, or keep your eye out for a hardcover copy in a secondhand bookstore.
The Rulership Book by Rex E. Bills. Republished 1998 by the American Federation of Astrologers, Tempe, AZ. Paperback.
Almost everything and every place is associated with a planet or sign. We say that it is "ruled" by that planet or sign. Many of these rulerships are obvious. Others are by association. Others are by tradition. A key to understanding the astrological language is knowing some of the more common rulerships. Of course this is an ever-changing process, as is all meaning, but there is a great body of agreed-upon rulerships, as well as tentative ones.
This book is another of my old favorites. Rex E. Bills first published this hardback in 1971. It is invaluable for astrologers, and much missed when it was out of print for many years. There was great joy when AFA republished this gem, one of a kind, book in 1998.
The Rulership Book is very easy to use. Words, with their rulerships, are sorted by alphabetical order, as well as by planet, sign, and house. There are also special listings for parts of the body. Just browsing is very stimulating.
There are traditional signs for countries, in many cases different from the date-time chart. For instance, eastern U.S. is considered Gemini, central U.S. to the Rockies, Cancer, and the west coast, Leo. This makes sense. We have the constant movement and communication in the east, the heartland in the center, and the stars in California.
In addition, Saturn is now in Geminieast coastand was in fact eclipsed over the U.S. on September 10, just before the east coast got socked. The heartland is the part of the nation that voted for Cancerian GW Bush. And Leo Pres. Clinton had a special affinity for the west coast.
Astrology is really quite amazing. So is The Rulership Book.