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The eagerness with which increasing numbers of people are delving into astrology is a healthy sign of a powerful hunger for a more meaningful way of life. Still, one might reasonably ask, is astrology as it has been practiced a worthy instrument to satisfy that hunger? There are serious and sympathetic people who believe that it is not. In many ways Western astrology has become debased in its resources, subject to commercial distortionand reduced to simple gossip by sign, Planet, and house.
Happily, insightful astrologers, who were first surprised, then delighted at the skyrocketing interest in their art, have started to respond to this renewal of interest by attempting to renew astrology itself. This book, The Astrologer's Handbook, represents a significant effort on the part of two experienced astrologers to clarify and rebuild the potentially magnificent but threatened structure concerned with man's correspondence to "cosmic consciousness."
How did astrology come to the state in which we now find it? The reasons date at least to the mid-seventeenth century, when man began to think of himself as more important than God, and the rise of scientific supremacy began. One of the major effects of the new thinking was that nature, previously at one with every order of phenomenon in the universe, became desacralized, and as the dimension of Divine Intention was cast aside, the world became metaphysically two-dimensional rather than three-dimensional. Astrology, which had had no misgivings about which was higher, God or man, of course became the target of the rising opposition. Soon astronomy and astrology split from each other, and the new"scientists" started issuing edicts against astrology through a corrupt-and politically oriented-cburch.
The attempts to tear down such a profound understanding of what each man is placed on earth to do could not eliminate astrology, but they did drive it underground. For centuries it peeped out only in the old almanacs, persisting more as an oddity than as a vital art. So astrology survived, but the disaster was that for several hundred years it lost contact with other intellectual disciplines. That was a costly isolation, and, in fact, even today the skeptical astrologer is still a rarity. Denied the rigorous pruning that a strong metaphysics would have given, astrologers and clairvoyant geniuses have had no assistance in discriminating between fantasy and revelation. The inspired insights that have occurred in the intervening centuries have gone unjudged; mistakes have been perpetuated as blindly as truths.
Times have changed since astrology was rejected by science and the church alike. Jacob Needleman says in his New Religions (Doubleday, 1970), "Things are different now, and the present interest in astrology can be as much a sign of the incipient spiritual search as was, for example, St. Augustine's turning away from astrology in his day." But even now astronomy remains at odds with astrology, or more accurately it ignores astrology. The father of a successful young astrologer I know is a wellknown astronomer. I understand that the subject is simply never brought up between them. It is interesting, however, that when science bothers with astrology at all it demands, before anything else, statistical proof of the correspondences between individuals and the configuration of certain Planets at their birth. This is surely appropriate, because what science does have to offer contemporary astrologers is precisely its methods of statistics. Applied to astrology, these techniques could be of real help in distinguishing fantasy from divine revelation. Scientists in general may never be able to enter the intuitional domain of astrologers, but through participation in a common search for truth they might come to acknowledge instead of ignore its existence.
With so many overblown testaments abroad today, all extolling astrology for the wrong reasons, the art's honest values are overshadowed. I surely make no claim to know absolutely the true from the mistaken or the exaggerated; what endears astrology to me is that during my study of it I found a forbearance and even a compassion toward people who could not help doing what they do. Astrology is valuable to me because it balances the hint of fatalism with the reality of being able to read the forewarnings in a chart and then to attempt to transcend them by "rightminded" actions taken in the light of the chart. This important dimension of astrological thinking is akin to the wisdom of the I Ching.
The Astrologer's Handbook has rich material for beginner and expert alike. Chapter 1, "For the Astrological Beginner" shows the novice how much information he can gain about himself if he knows no more than thee day on which he was born, and it indicates to him how much more he can learn about himself if he has the precise hour and minute of his birth. The expert reader will be especially interested in the material on the major aspects. In this book, for the first time, the characteristics of squares and oppositions are not lumped toer as "unfavorable" but are delineated together specifically as two kinds of opportunities to work and to learn. Further, the characteristics of squares are distinguished from the features of oppositions and both of these from conjunctions, and so on for all the major aspects. The bulk of the Handbook is devoted to delineations of each aspect combination, Sun square Moon, Sun square Mars, and the squares of the Sun to all the rest of the planets, Sun trine Moon, trine Mars, and so on.
In working out this new material on the major aspects, the authors adhered strictly to the classic rules of astrology, bending every effort to stay close to the concepts that are at the foundation of the art. Thus, we may surely recognize this ambitious book as a genuine contribution to classic astrology prepared by two modem astrologers with faith in the ancient laws....The Astrologer's Handbook copyright © by Frances Sakoian. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All Rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.