The Astrology of Self-Discovery by Tracy Marks. CRCS Publications, Reno, NV. 1985.
Tracy Marks was a fine young astrologer who lectured and wrote during the 70s and 80s. I havent encountered her in years, and I miss her insights. She was very 12th house, very Neptunian, and very well versed in the dynamics of consciousness. Perhaps she has gone into a field that is more artistic, perhaps she lives in Hawaii and meditates with the great earth energies there (just my fantasies).
At any rate, 20 years later I still appreciate Tracys work enormously, and often refer to it. Not only is she an excellent writer, from the esthetic standpoint, but she has a manner of discussing subjects which I find especially useful. She puts together specific information and basic general patterns so that the reader gets a sense of the whole. She clarifies dualities through using contrasts. She gives us a combination of interesting descriptive writing, and then study sheets with specific questions. She includes her own experiences now and then, but only briefly enough to make her point. In short, I come away from her feeling a renewed acquaintance with the art of astrology.
There are three sections to the book: The Moon and Its Nodes, The Outer Planet Transits, and Astrology and Self-Development. The last section is the shortest, but self-development runs throughout the book. And the subjects chosen do constitute depth astrology. Moon (and its Nodes) and the outer planets constitute the basis of our unconscious, the matrix from which consciousness arises.
Scattered throughout her book, Tracy has interspersed relevant quotes from well-known people which express the core of the meaning of her subject. For instance, here is a quote from psychologist Fritz Perls which she applies to the Scorpio-Taurus Lunar Node polarity, which is in effect now (from April 2003-December 2004):
"I call neurotic any man
Who uses his potential to
Instead of growing up himself.
He takes control, gets power-mad
And mobilizes friends and kin
In places where hes impotent
To use his own resources."
Tracy describes some of the lessons of this nodal axis, and then lists a few words each for the categories of concerns, issues, and keywords. The lessons are excellent, and realistically described. Here is one for Taurus-Scorpio:
"Our values, established through Taurus, need to incorporate the awareness of what is really essential, which Scorpio can provide. Scorpio attunes us to that which makes us feel alive "
Some Taurus-Scorpio issues are stability vs. intensity, accumulation vs. elimination, self-indulgence vs. self-denial, and holding on vs. letting go.
Tracy calls the chapter on Neptune transits, "How to Swim through Cosmic Waters." She describes 11 states of Neptunian consciousness, and helps us to shift from one state (of confusion) to another state (a different confusion). Neptune is never crystal clear. Anyone who has undergone a Neptune transitand we all havecan identify with her descriptions of how Neptune removes us from ordinary states of consciousness. Sometimes we choose to do that by drugs or alcohol, both associated with Neptune.
She calls Pluto "From Darkness Into Light," and explains that it motivates us to release intense bursts of energy. (Pluto is associated with Hiroshima.) One of Tracys many perceptive statements about Pluto occurs in the section called "Plutonian Struggles: Powerlessness and Projection."
"One of the negative manifestations of Pluto is the urge to dominate, which may also be experienced as the urge to manipulate, destroy, or devour. This urge may take us over when we feel powerless in regard to all that is happening inside us; our ego is too small and too rigid to invite the influx of energy we are experiencing, and so we feel overwhelmed "
Tracy goes on to describe in depth our psychodynamics in response to Pluto.
One type of power projection which is common to astrologers is projecting our inner power to exterior planetary bodies. It is, after all, we who are the actors in our lives.
I could go on and on about the outer planets, but read the book and let it stimulate you as it does me. Its both a good read (and I do like a good read), and a fine reference book.