Planets And Possibilities

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Overview

Astrology is almost as old as mankind, and has helped countless people throughout the ages. And although knowing astrological basics can tell you a lot, a more in-depth look into this ancient art can reveal so much more.In PLANETS AND POSSIBILITIES, certified astrologer Susan Miller shows you how astrology can help you envision new possibilities for your future, ones you may never have considered. You will learn about the myths the Greeks and Romans attached to the twelve zodiac signs to explain their ...

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Overview

Astrology is almost as old as mankind, and has helped countless people throughout the ages. And although knowing astrological basics can tell you a lot, a more in-depth look into this ancient art can reveal so much more.In PLANETS AND POSSIBILITIES, certified astrologer Susan Miller shows you how astrology can help you envision new possibilities for your future, ones you may never have considered. You will learn about the myths the Greeks and Romans attached to the twelve zodiac signs to explain their characteristics. As you read these stories, Susan Miller shows you how their interpretations can help you fully understand your sign and perhaps see yourself in a whole new way! She also shows you how every Sun sign has a guardian planet that strongly influences the personality of each person born under that sign. For example, Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the planet of prosperity and good fortune, and contributes to the happy-go-lucky Sagittarian approach to life. What will your ruling planet say about you? In addition, PLANETS AND POSSIBILITIES helps you learn which careers may be luckiest, most profitable, and fun for you. Discover the best ways to handle your cash flow and the ideal way for you to get rich. Be more fit by following the natural tendencies of both your personality and your body, find out more about your romantic side and how to attract the person right for you. Astrology can help you uncover your latent gifts, affirm your hunches, gain the courage to take risks, build your confidence, and seize opportunities. Astrology can also offer powerful insights into the personalities of the people around you. Life your life to the fullest! Investigate your untapped potential!

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Grounded" is not a word that is often applied to books about astrology, and yet a refreshing sense of groundedness is indeed what propels Susan Miller's Planets and Possibilities to the top of our list of favorite new age reads. Miller explains the basics of how astrological signs relate to our personalities, with interpretations that are fresher and more perceptive than those offered in most books. The influences of the signs are then explored in the context of everyday life, with advice given for practical situations involving love, money, and more. While the book is conveniently organized by sign, the insights are so fascinating that many readers will undoubtedly find themselves reading from cover to cover.
Library Journal
One of the best astrology books to appear recently, this work is exceptional in its in-depth character analysis of each sign. The cosmic gifts, relationship trends, financial tendencies, and career tendencies associated with each sign are all described in detail. The mythology of each sign is included as well, nicely rounding out the book. While most astrology books concentrate on the strengths of the various signs, this book also delves into their negative aspects so that one can really see how to use the information in very practical terms. It's great for helping to deal with people who don't share the same outlook on life as you do. Highly recommended.--Marija Sanderling, Wells, ME Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446524346
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/24/2004
  • Edition description: book with 8 page b/w insert
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 1,205,038
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Miller
Susan Miller
A former skeptic who became one of astrology's best known, most reliable figures, Susan Miller draws fans with her detailed, comprehensive horoscope forecasts and works to help people understand the zodiac's potential and limits. Her Year Ahead books and Astrology Zone web site have become must-reads for astrology aficionados.

Biography

Susan Miller and her husband Bob enjoy sharing stories of rural life and collecting farming mementos. After some sixty-four combined years in the printing business, the Millers are focusing on writing and collecting. They reside in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
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Read an Excerpt

When I was little and couldn't sleep, late at night I would creep into the living room to see if anyone was up. Invariably, I would find my mother curled up on the couch reading her astrology books or studying her charts. In those wee hours of the morning my father would be asleep, but Mom, as the busy mother of two young children, would try to use the only time she had to concentrate on her serious hobby. Astrology was not her only interest. She (along with my father) devoured three newspapers a day, had friends, and also helped my father in his specialty grocery store. But astrology deeply intrigued Mom, and she studied it every chance she got. Her penetrating mind sought to figure out why astrology always seemed to work, and her study also offered her creative clues to life's mysteries. My mother's biggest challenge, however, both in life and in astrology, would be to figure out how to help me with a debilitating and mysterious birth defect in my left leg.

She asked me not to tell anyone about her interest in and knowledge of astrology, saying it should be for "just us" and never for those outside our family. Times were different then, and she did not want to invite criticism about her hobby from either new acquaintances or old friends. Still, she said, "It's always good that I know the cycles, Susan—I can help you go with the cosmic tide, not try to swim against it."

I remember having lunch with Mom when I was little at the dining-room table. She would always sit down next to me, wearing her apron, and cheerfully keep me company. A Gemini, she'd make lots of interesting conversation. It was fun to be with Mom. I would eat my tunafish sandwiches, and sometimes she would talk about astrology. She said I would look at her with big eyes and swing my legs while I chewed. Today she laughs and says, "I used to talk to you but you never said much, dear Susie, so I thought you weren' listening. Now I know that you heard every word!"

My mother discovered astrology by accident. Her elder sister (my wonderful aunt) Harriet, the eldest of five, suddenly became interested in the subject and, wanting to have someone with whom she could talk about it, tried to get my mother involved. My mother was initially skeptical about astrology and resisted my aunt's suggestions. I think that is a very common and healthy first reaction by everyone who comes to study astrology. I don' think anybody is a born "believer." Later, Mom, as a young girl of eighteen, moved to New York City and Aunt Harriet remained upstate, but they both took a home correspondence course in astrology. It was something the two sisters could still do together even though they lived apart. Mom continued to study over the next two or three years and become better and better at her hobby and more drawn to investigating the full spectrum of what the ancient art could offer. Its complexities fascinated her, and its richness never bored her active mind. My mother wrote letters to my aunt to debate certain shadings of current planetary aspects.

When my mother was thirty-five years old, Aunt Harriet suddenly became very ill with ovarian cancer and died a very slow and painful death at the age of forty-five. (At the time, I was five years old.) This was a terrible and devastating event in my mother's life. At the reading of the will, my mother learned that Aunt Harriet had left all her favorite astrology books to her as a special gift. When my mother received them, she found inside one of the covers a letter from my aunt, apparently written when she was aware that she did not have long to live: "Erika, study astrology—you will go far, much further than I was meant to go with this subject. You are innately mathematical and you deal with symbolism superbly. Don' give it up." Hence my mother found herself the new owner of some of the best books on the subject. From that point on, my mother dove even more deeply into astrology, probably as much out of curiosity as well as to remain psychologically close to her sister.

My involvement with astrology would also start almost by accident and certainly was fueled by my birth defect. I was born with a debilitating and mysterious illness that caused excruciating pain in my left leg; I had sudden, inexplicable attacks that felt like thick syrup was falling into my knee. The attacks would come about twice a year and would leave me bedridden for six to eight weeks. Doctors were mystified, and in the absence of any hard data they said I had made up the illness to stay out of school. The doctors who did believe me suggested all kinds of cures, including radiation treatments which we rejected. The leg was so terribly tender and painful to the touch that I didn' want to risk having anything done to it, and even as a child I begged my mother simply to "let me be." After any one of my sudden "attacks," as long as I remained perfectly still (not moving an inch in bed for weeks), I always recovered perfectly.

I felt unjustly accused when the doctors called my illness psychosomatic, and after a time I didn' want to see any more doctors. A mother's intuition is strong—Mom knew something was very wrong with me, so she became my protector, comforting me with the assurance that someday someone would figure out what was wrong and help me. She even predicted a change of status in my health when the ruler of my ascendant, Mercury, would go direct in my progressed chart when I turned age fourteen. She surmised that I would simply outgrow the illness, so she wasn' too anxious to hurry me into an unnecessary operation. It was clear that she was confident that my ordeal was going to have a happy ending. My father was supportive too, but they nevertheless agreed that we had to continue to see new doctors no matter what the charts said.

As things turned out, Mom was astoundingly right about the timing of my health breakthrough. When I was exactly thirteen years, ten months, three weeks, and two days old, I had the worst attack of my life. Bedridden again, I patiently waited two months for a recovery that never came. Something was different about this attack. The pain was much worse and the swelling greater. Still, I did not want an operation. We tried one doctor, who put me in traction and made everything worse. My father, horrified by the pain I was in, carried me out of the hospital, saying quietly that we needed a new doctor. Exasperated, I begged to celebrate my birthday at home, and I blew out the candles on the cake in bed.

I was now fourteen, the exact age my mother had predicted for the end of my health difficulties. Two weeks later, I agreed to surgery performed by a new young doctor and brilliant scholar. The protégé to the chief of a different hospital, he solved my case, and he is still my doctor to this day.

The secret of my illness was that I had had recurring life-threatening internal bleeding. I was born with veins in my left leg from the hip to the knee that were malformed and turning to tissue paper. The vessels would simply vanish. There was nothing for the surgeon to tie or hold on to, so for any doctor operating on me, a condition like this is a nightmare. Today such a condition is still rare—I am told that there are only forty-seven known cases in medical history. I am one of the very few survivors because my condition was located in the lower body. Had the malformed veins been near my head or my heart, the illness would have killed me. The doctor said it was better that we had waited for surgery, surmising that part of the problem was that during my growth periods, my vessels didn't grow along with me. Now that my growth (at age 14) was nearly over there was less chance that I would experience fresh internal bleeding. Even so, the doctors went the whole nine yards to see that my attacks never happened again.

I spent eleven months in the hospital when I was fourteen as doctors revamped my veins, arteries, muscles, and bone, and I even had a skin graft. A nerve was severed during the difficult surgery and I had to go through therapy to regenerate it, a process that took three years. During those years I could not actually attend high school, so I studied in the hospital and later at home, taking my state exams and SATs. I graduated high school and then at age sixteen entered New York University and later received a B.S. degree in business with honors. Studying by myself had helped my self-discipline. Through these years Mom told me, "Susie, get used to not having friends. They will understandably get tired of you being sick. Read, sweetheart, and for now let books be your friends. Later, when you walk again, you will have friends again." She was, as ever, right.

During this period of recovery, no one was sure if I would ever walk again. With a severed nerve, I had no sensation or movement in the lower part of my left leg. Although my doctor never wavered in his cheerful predictions, the hospital residents were not so sure—and would privately tell me not to keep my hopes up.

I was highly motivated to find out what was going to happen next, and I needed a big dose of hope quickly. It was then that astrology entered the picture for me. I wrote a letter to the editor of Horoscope magazine, a publication I used to see my mother read occasionally. I asked the editor if she would do my chart and tell me if I would ever walk again. (I could have asked my mother, but I figured she might not tell me the whole truth if the answer was no.) In the letter I included my month, day, and year of birth, as well as the city and exact time of my birth, knowing from my mother's afternoon lunch conversations that this information was critical for doing a chart. I knew my time of birth because my mother so often talked about it. Much to my surprise, my letter was published! My mother, amazed that I had written to the magazine, sat down next to me and read the answer aloud. After a long analysis, the astrologer-editor said yes, she felt I would walk again and that I would eventually fully recover!

At the time I was still very, very ill and needed braces and crutches to get around, but I was very encouraged by the answer though still a little cautiously skeptical.

Instantly, I made up my mind that I wanted to know more about astrology and figure out exactly what the editor had seen—I wanted to do my chart for myself. Not being able to walk, I certainly had time to read and study. But I would have an unexpected obstacle: My mother surprised me by saying she did not want me to study astrology. She explained that astrology demanded a full and intense commitment, something I was still too young to know if I would be able to carry out. "A little knowledge is dangerous, Susan," she would often say. She felt that novices often think they know more than they actually do, leading them to jump to conclusions. She warned, "Don' start, Susan. Leave it alone. If you aren' ready to study for twelve years straight, don' begin." Of course, tell teenagers not to do something and that's precisely what they will do.

In those teen years, I could not get out of bed by myself; I was weak from many blood transfusions, and my hip was so swollen it was hard even to sit up. There was no TV or phone in my room. In our house, the TV stayed in the living room, the phone in my parents' bedroom or the kitchen. This situation was good because I had no distractions. My mother would go to the library and get me stacks of classic books to read, which I enjoyed.

Yet I also wanted my mother's astrology books. During that summer, when I was finally home from the hospital, my little sister, Janet, then eleven, would secretly bring my mother's books into my room. We would hide them under my bed's dust ruffle. I studied a great deal after I got my homework done but I did not tell my mother, and I kept this secret for years. In fact, my interest was only revealed twenty years later when one day I had to ask my mother for a written recommendation to an astrological research association that she belonged to. "You aren' ready," she responded. Then I had to reveal that I had been writing a small column for a magazine and told her the full extent of my research. But before she would write the recommendation she took my articles home with her and did charts for all the months I had written about. She studied whether I was giving the right advice or not. I am lucky she was such a tough teacher, and I'm also lucky that I passed her test.

My true calling, however, had not yet formed. When my two daughters were still babies, I started my own business as an agent for commercial photographers but continued to write two astrological columns on the side. I became very successful as an agent, representing talent in London and the United States. I was happy with life, though the bones in my left foot were clearly wearing down (the severed nerve had left that leg a little weaker). Just walking a few blocks would give me teeth-grinding pain. Still, I was determined to persevere no matter what. In 1992 another bout with the leg scared me—on a total eclipse, out of the blue, I broke my left thighbone for the third time. This last bout was the worst. I received seventeen blood transfusions in one night during an emergency operation. It was a defining moment, for I was to be reminded again how fragile life can be. My original doctor saved me—but both of us agreed that I could not endure more surgery. I now had steel lining my femur and was able to walk again after I recovered.

A few years later, in connection with my work as a photo agent, I was calling on Warner Books and offering to do an occasional chart if someone asked me to do one. My reputation for accuracy was growing. My mother's insistence on my doing research in astrology for twelve years before I was to read a single chart outside the family was starting to pay off in peer respect. Not surprisingly, I was getting my readings right. I turned to writing more and more, and the magazine work kept growing bigger. Warner Books gave me a chance to be editor of my own astrology Web site in December of 1995, and thus Astrology Zone® was born. My first book, Astrology Book of Days, appeared a few months later. I was wellon my way to a new career.

It turned out that the difficulties with my leg bestowed unanticipated and enormous side blessings. I became religious, reflective, and philosophical. Like most people who go through an ordeal, it also made me very compassionate toward others who suffered.

I am reminded of a little incident that was to forever change the way I viewed difficulties in life. It remains as crystal clear today as the day it happened. One morning when I was nine years old, I was at my grand-mother's house in the country. My father had brought my sister, my mother, and me upstate for the summer. I shared a room with my sister in the attic. Within a day or two of arriving, I suffered one of my mysterious attacks. I knew I would be in bed the rest of the summer.

That morning my mother was changing the sheets with me in the bed, a routine we used to do as I couldn' get up. I couldn' even move from one side of the bed to the other, no more than an inch, because the pain was so intense. After my mother spent about an hour slowly pushing the new sheet under me and the old sheet off the other side, I had cool, smooth, new sheets and pillowcases. My mother was putting another pillowcase on another pillow to prop up my back when I saw through the open window a verdant oak tree with a bluebird on a branch. The sunshine was bright, and the air was warm. Suddenly overwhelmed by the prospect of spending the whole summer in the attic in bed, I blurted out to my mother: "Oh, this old leg. I wish I didn' have this old problem. I wish somebody else had it!" I guess it was typical of what a nine-year-old would say, but it was kind of unusual for me actually to voice such a thought. My mother spun around with the pillow in her hand and looked a bit surprised. "What did you say? Did I hear you say that?" I repeated my lament. She came over to the side of the bed and said very gently, "There is a reason for everything. What if you knew you were absorbing some of the ills of the world with your pain? How would you feel about it then? What if there were worldly reasons for your pain that transcended you? You should never say you wish you didn' have it—it is your cross to bear but you must do so gladly. God chose you for this difficulty. We know nothing about life or of God's will, Susan. We must not suppose we know all about the universe. Reasons may be revealed in time." Her words struck a deep chord in me; I was stunned into silence. But her words taught me about the concept of pain having a noble value. This was an idea I had not considered, but she inspired me to think outside myself. I wanted to find out my life's role and determine whether I had a mission to fulfill.

My mother's words echoed in my heart for years as I continued to have many bad bouts with my health. It is only now that I have an inkling of what she may have meant. She told me that it is through compassion that one's pain can absorb others' pain, but at nine I was too young to understand that empathy is one of the world's most human and valuable gifts. This is something I see with greater clarity and depth as I get older. Life has many twists and turns, and often we have no idea why we are going through a particular phase until years later.

My mother's deeply philosophical nature and steadfast optimism in the face of all odds was to have a profound influence on my view of the world and, I think, on my readings and predictions, too. She taught me to see the value in challenge, and for that I will always be grateful. My dear father was also highly encouraging. He sparked my determination to explore all aspects of life. He also helped me to realize that material objects are ephemeral and hold no candle to spiritual values. Both parents helped me not only to become a happier person but also to look beyond the surface, to look deeply into events and conditions to try to find clues as to why there is suffering. My hard start in life and many subsequent challenges shaped me as a person and as an astrologer. I realized that "bad" aspects weren' necessarily all bad—they had value too. As my mother would say, "We learn nothing from times of ease, Susan. It is in times of difficulty that we come face to face with who we are and what we want to be. We will always have the opportunity to build our character to its full potential—it is never too late to begin."

Copyright © 2001 by Susan Miller

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
My Unusual Introduction to Astrology 3
The History of Astrology 12
Your Road Map to Understanding the Basics of Astrology 24
How to Use Astrology 52
The Heavenly Bodies: What Science Tells Us and What Astrology Tells Us 57
The Sun 59
The Earth 62
The Moon 64
Mercury 67
Venus 69
Mars 72
Jupiter 75
Saturn 78
Uranus 81
Neptune 84
Pluto 87
The Sun Signs: Personality and Myths 91
Aries Personality 93
The Myths of Aries and Mars 108
Taurus Personality 112
The Myths of Taurus and Venus 130
Gemini Personality 138
The Myths of Gemini and Mercury 159
Cancer Personality 168
The Myths of Cancer and the Moon 190
Leo Personality 198
The Myths of Leo and the Sun 218
Virgo Personality 225
The Myths of Virgo and Mercury 251
Libra Personality 254
The Myths of Libra and Venus 272
Scorpio Personality 280
The Myths of Scorpio and Pluto 301
Sagittarius Personality 308
The Myths of Sagittarius and Jupiter 331
Capricorn Personality 334
The Myths of Capricorn and Saturn 355
Aquarius Personality 360
The Myths of Aquarius and Uranus 379
Pisces Personality 385
The Myths of Pisces and Neptune 410
Bibliography 416
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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Susan Miller

Q: Does astrology predict the future? How best can one use astrology?

A: Astrology predicts future trends. We all have free will and are responsible for our own choices and actions.

Astrology can make one more prone to act and less limited by inertia or fear, become more knowledgeable about inner gifts, talents and personality traits, accept change and challenge more enthusiastically and open up their creative thinking. It can also help to make one more compassionate and helpful to others, which I feel is our ultimate calling.

No astrologer believes it is healthy to be obsessed with one’s horoscope. The responsibility for success or failure of a person’s life depends on that person; their chart is simply a map of many paths they may decide to pursue.

Q: How did you get started in astrology?

A: My mother is very interested in astrology and has been since she was young. At home, she never encouraged her children to learn astrology. The books were on the bookcase, but she never actually sat down to teach me or my sister. I was born with a birth defect in my leg, had many operations and spent years recuperating. After each subsequent operation, I had to spend months, at times years, away from friends and family and in physical therapy.

During the recovery process in my high school years, I read classic literature and history books, but at times I wanted something different to read. Unable to walk, I begged my sister to search the house for different and interesting books, and that began my lifelong research into the subject.

My mother was more than willing to help me as soon as I expressed an interest, and it has been a great benefit to have a mentor teach me the delicate art of interpretation. However, her emphasis on research is so strong that she would not allow me to read a chart before I had studied with her for twelve years. She and I occasionally have some lively debates concerning the shadings of certain planetary aspects!

Q: How do you reply to skeptics?

A: I welcome skeptics! As a teenager, I was my mother’s biggest skeptic. When approaching any new theory, I feel it is healthy to be cautious and careful. It is a very personal decision -- I don’t expect everyone to embrace astrology.

My mother’s observations and later my own were too powerful for me to ignore. Incidentally, my rise to prominence as an astrologer came through reading literally hundreds of charts for friends -- my readings, they tell me, are highly accurate. I thank my mother’s emphasis on research and classic interpretation for that.

Q: What new information about astrology can people learn in your book?

A: Planets and Possibilities covers not only the traditional astrological niche of personality traits, but also the science, history and mythology behind the zodiac. The book provides in-depth explanations and is chock full of little known facts about each of the astrological signs. Through using a unique series of contrasts, I reveal each sign’s dominant traits, as well as what each sign is not known for -- both are important for a full picture.

In addition to the Sun signs, I also explain the importance of the rising sign -- the sign of the constellation that was dominant on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth. Rising signs explain why people of all signs are not alike. We are all a blend of both the rising sign and Sun sign, and knowing both signs is important. These unique features make this an astrology book like none other.

Q: Why do you include chapters on all of the planets, with what the ancients said about them and what science today says about them?

A: Many people aren’t aware that the planets and their characteristics make them who they are. The signs, such as Aries, Leo, Gemini, etc., do not have any intrinsic quality apart from the characteristics given to them by the planets. For example, the word Aries is a convenient way of referring to 0-29 degrees on the horoscope wheel. The more you know about the planets and myths associated with them, the more you’re able to get a three-dimensional view of who you are and how to develop your full potential.

I have tried to resist a cookbook approach to astrology in this book. I invite the reader to decipher the same symbols that I have to describe the rich texture of their personality.

Q: Astrology has always been assumed to be a female interest. What explains your enormous popularity with male readers?

A: On my website, Astrologyzone.com, I have always attracted a very high male readership (an estimated 47% of readers are male). Being curious about the future is a human quality, not strictly a female quality. Astrology is a wonderful way to look at all of your options and offers a whole spectrum of possibilities for our lives. Plus, there’s an element of surprise and randomness to astrology and men like this, too.

Q: How is astrology different from the “new age” disciples such as palmistry and tarot?

A: Astrology is not fortune telling. It is also not a religion and it is not a substitute for religion. It does not rely on chance. Astrology is the study of mathematical cycles, unique for each individual, which indicates areas of life that will bring expansion or constriction.

Each individual has free will. It is very important to remember that fact. I’m not able to predict what an individual will do about conditions being presented -- but I can see the various cycles operating on that person at any given time and suggest various beneficial courses of action. The more you study astrology, the more you realize the enormous power of the individual, both in terms of their personality and outlook on life. In addition, our ability to help others and make a lasting contribution to the world is truly unlimited.

Author Essay
Nobody in my family wanted me to learn astrology, least of all my mother, who, as things were to turn out, was to later teach me everything I knew about the subject. "A little knowledge is dangerous, Susie," my mother would initially warn, an admonishment I would hear more than once. "Why not let me answer any questions you have?" she would ask. She felt that any understanding of astrology would require twelve years of careful study just to grasp the basics, and even then she felt I wouldn't be scratching the surface. "Better to know nothing at all," she would say. She was right, of course, but you rarely understand your mother's wisdom at a young age. The fact that I have become a full-time astrologer was as much a surprise to me as it might be to you, for nothing in my background would have suggested that my life would have taken this course. Astrology has a way of choosing you, and it is almost never the other way around.

Before I go on, a little background might be in order. I grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. My Sicilian grandfather had come to New York City in 1898 and set up the beginnings of his Italian food specialty store in that neighborhood. Not being able to afford the rents on Houston Street, which is where all "the action" was based at the turn of the century, Grandpa moved uptown, to where the streets where made of dirt and cobblestones and where, as my father used to tell me, a brook still ran down 75th Street. Grandpa, along with his family members, saved up to buy a brownstone to house his food store. Once he was able to buy the house, all my relatives moved in to the three apartments.

Grandpa lived and died before my time, but I can say that all my relatives --aunts, uncles, my sister, mother and others --lived in that building on Second Avenue, and after all this time, 100 years later, we all still live within two ZIP codes (about 30 blocks) of where Grandpa built that store in Manhattan. My father and uncle later continued the small business that Grandpa started, and it remained in operation until shortly before my father's death in 1988. Growing up in New York City was exciting, and I enjoyed it so much, I made sure I brought up my own two children, Chrissie and Diana, in Manhattan too, so they could experience much of the same childhood I had had loved so much.

I come from a family that is probably much like yours, with hardworking parents who instilled strong values in their children, and who were very warm and loving. Indeed, we were, and still are, quite close.

As said, it was my mother, of German extraction, who was interested in astrology and who was to pass her interest to me, perhaps unwillingly. She came to study the subject through the urging of her older sister, an interest that started long before I was born. She tells me that, like most people, before she actually studied astrology, she didn't initially believe it had any basis. She started to read her sister's books to see if she could find something to disprove. Instead, the more she studied, the more fascinated she became with the ancient art. My mother never told anyone outside the family that she knew astrology and nor did she ever accept money to read charts, even to this day. Instead, she did years of research, quietly and methodically building up a reservoir of information that she planned to keep closely confined within the heart of our family.

When I was little, I would creep into the living room late at night to see her curled up on the couch, staring at her carefully constructed maps of the stars (known as horoscopes). I could never figure out how she could look at a two dimensional piece of paper and see all the way into the future. I always felt my mother had a good heart, because she was always intensely studying the horoscopes of all our family members. She was very sharing to everyone around herself, and she studied all our charts with a very energetic and caring attitude.

I would say to her: "Couldn't we just let the future happen all by itself?" She agreed we could, but she also felt that examining one's life had great value. As a small child I was highly skeptical of astrology's value, and it would not be until I was a teenager that I was to become much more interested in what astrology could do for me.

There were no personal computers at the time, of course, so my mother had to do all the birth hour, latitude, and longitude conversions to Greenwich Mean Time by hand. (Conversions of one's natal birth time to GMT are always required, so that astrologers can make planetary calculations from a uniform point on earth.) My mother claims she never liked doing the complex math, but all of us in the family laugh when we hear her say that. She is fantastic at any kind of number work, and her calculations are never off, not even a half-degree. To this day, her calculations stand up to all the computer printouts.

I was born with serious problems with my left leg, so my mother was always very worried about whether the doctors would ever figure out what was wrong with me and find a cure. Trying to find the right specialists posed a real problem to her. Each doctor she brought me to throw up their hands, saying they had no idea what to do about my problem, and some suggested it might be psychosomatic. My mother kept doing chart calculations for me, determined to discover what was causing me painful attacks that would strike without warning and that would be so debilitating. She would study at night, when the daily chores and cares of the day had settled down. It was the only time she had for her, to do with as she pleased.

She finally came to the conclusion that when I reached 14 years old, the problem would end. Boy, was she ever right. At 13 years, 11 months, and 20 days I was to have a massive attack that would send me into the hospital as an emergency patient for nearly a year's stay. It was to be an attack far worse than any other before, and it later involved a complete reconstruction of the knee and thigh of the left leg. It turned out I was bleeding internally in the leg and that I had been born with massive malformations that never showed up on X-rays. That was what had been causing all my intermittent difficulties.

Waking up from the surgery, it was apparent that although the operation was successful there were some things that had gone seriously wrong during the operation. I could not wiggle my toes or flex my foot, or even feel it when the doctor ran his little pin along my left leg shinbone. I desperately wanted to know if I would ever walk again. Doctors planned to regenerate the main nerve of my lower left leg, severed during the operation, along the path of the old nerve by using electrical stimulation. My doctor, then the chief of staff of the hospital, and a man who I admire tremendously for saving my life more than once (there would be more operations, later), said things were going pretty well. However, I knew by the way he spoke that the jury was still out as to whether the treatment would work to fully restore my ability to walk. I wore a brace on my leg after the operation, which disappointed me to no end -- I was only 14, and I wanted to look like everyone else. Normal.

A year later, at age 15, still very much in the process of recovery, I decided to write to Dell's Horoscope magazine to find out what my chart said about my chances of walking again. To my amazement, the editor printed my letter and answered that I would walk again and do so in quite a normal manner! My mother was a little surprised I had written to the magazine and asked why I hadn't simply asked her the same question. I explained that, after all, she was my dear mother, and she loved me!) I was sure she would never tell me if my outlook looked hopeless. She smiled and nodded, giving me a hug, telling me she completely understood why I sought an outsider's opinion. (As things turned out, that editor was right!)

Friends have asked me if my mother would ever have told me if she thought I would never walk again. Honestly, I am not so sure -- my mother happens to be the most optimistic person on the planet. She would probably say, in that case, that my chart showed it would not be easy -- that I would need to do lots of treatment, and that I would have to marshal my energies with great determination and dedication in order to get well. My mother always felt if we wanted something badly enough, anything was possible. Astrology, she always taught me, was not destiny. If prospects looked dim in a chart, it meant that it would be a difficult road to hoe, but it didn't mean that the outcome would be bad. For the most part, she would tell me, we ultimately determine the course of our lives. What we choose to do about our challenges is what ultimately defines our character.

After the magazine printed my letter, I was bitten with the astrology bug and had the time to pursue my interest. I was then 15, and wanted to know more about the aspects the editor wrote about in my chart.

The fact that my mother didn't want me to learn the subject would not deter me. She was not enthusiastic about my learning astrology because she felt that in order to learn to discern a chart properly, I would have to study for 12 years. She feared that after only a couple of years I would have the impression that I knew more than I did, but instead of being a good astrologer, I would be seeing things in flat, cookbook terms. She wisely pointed out, "A little knowledge is dangerous, Susie." Mom felt I should read only for the family and promise never to practice on anyone outside the family until she thought I was ready. Constant research and empirical observation was imperative, she explained, and the process could not be rushed. In later years, she told me she never expected me to follow her advice but as things turned out I did listen to her -- to the letter. Like most mothers, Mom was right, of course, but I didn't fully understand what she was saying until much later. Tell a teenager not to do something and what do they do? Just the opposite! So it was not surprising that I took up astrology at first secretly.

I guess I should add here that my mother, fearing criticism for being knowledgeable about a science that was not fully accepted by the public, never told friends that she knew astrology. She never ever did charts for payment. In fact, while I was still a teenager, she advised me not to tell anyone that she knew astrology either.

At age 16 started college, a sweet prospect because, after two and a half years of home study, I was going to be out in the world with other kids again. I chose to attend New York University, so I could continue physical therapy. I did extremely well, graduating with a B.S. degree in business, and several honors. My first job was with Life magazine, and I worked with several other magazines, such as Cosmopolitan and Seventeen. Later I became an agent for with world-class photographers. I enjoyed my work -- I never had any plans to leave my industry. On the side, I continued to study astrology and after 20 or so years of study, had become proficient, later taking the test from various astrological organizations and being deemed accredited.

I began to do charts for many friends, with my mother¹s blessing. Like her, I never charged a fee for those charts. It was my way of helping those around me. With each passing year, I was learning more and progressing further.

One dear friend who worked at Warner Books was impressed with my knowledge and complimented me often. I was grateful for her kind words, but they never went to my head -- I was glad to be helpful. Yet one thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was writing my first book, The Astrology Book of Days: An Illustrated Perpetual Calendar, in the fall of 1994, which was published by Warner Books. While I was busy writing that small book, the same friend offered to help me get an interview with the webmaster of the former Time Warner web site, Pathfinder, so that I could write a predictive column on astrology. Talks went well, and I was able to launch Astrology Zone®, my web site, in December 1995. I expanded Astrology Zone® into a large 450-screen site, with every article on the site penned personally by me. Later, in April 1999, I moved Astrology Zone® to Disney¹s Go.com. When Go.com folded in January 2001, Astrology Zone was picked up by another Disney family member, ABC.com.

So you see, dear reader, as they say, astrology chose me, rather than me choosing astrology as a life's path. Perhaps looking at your own life, you can say that you never chose your current career but that it, too, chose you. Sometimes that happens!

Astrology is not an end in itself. The point of using astrology is to shape a happier, more productive life, to use our talents to their fullest form, and to consider some of the many of life¹s rich and varied possibilities. Astrology is a wonderfully creative tool to use to this end. Until you delve into the subject, you may never know how perceptive and proactive it can make you. You¹ll know when it is time to act -- with no excuses allowed! On the other hand, you will also know when it is best to show patience and restraint. It is a rare and wonderful feeling to discover choices you never realized were there for you, and later to see triumphs materialize that you never thought possible.

Some things simply can't be described but must be experienced firsthand, and astrology is one such endeavor. Although astrology may not be right for everyone, it could be for you, dear reader. You, like me, might just find yourself changed forever. (Susan Miller)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    I once heard someone say that only a selfish person reads inform

    I once heard someone say that only a selfish person reads information on his or her sign alone. So for the first time in recent memory,after decades of astrology reading, I decided to read an astrology book from cover to cover. As I read each chapter, I keep in mind someone I know who was born in that sign. This has been a fun way to approach the book, and I must say that when I got to my own sign, she definitely had my number. I probably have never read a more accurate description of my own sun sign than Susan Miller's. .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2002

    Sterotyping at it's finest.

    I've read the book in a matter of a week. As some as I picked it up I couldn't put it down. I for one love a good Astrology cook book, and she seem's to get the job done this time around. Whenever Astrology is simplified your bound to hear criticism, this book seemed more like a story tale, lucky she added some of her life experiences at the very beginning, almost to prepare you for the fantasy element you feel through out the book. Definitely aim throw's the newbie, not the more serious Astrologer[Commercial book].

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2002

    not her best work

    <p>I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed at the style of Susan's book after reading her excerpts at the web site. This was laden with TOO much info, which while some may find interesting, I found boring. I am an avid reader, and there are actually few books that make me squirm, but I found that this one really surprised me by disappointing me. I expected this to be a much better book than it was. </p> <p> Maybe, I am just complaining, because I am familiar with seeing her write in a Linda Goodman style. Short, concise, and to the point, with details, but not as thorough. </p> <p> I found myself skipping through the book to read information solely on my sign without the tidbits of information that she had entered.</p> <p> For those who want to get deeper in astrology and the roots of it, this is for you. For those of you who are looking for a stick-to-the-point description of our sun sign, you will be disappointed if you buy this book.</p> <p> I'm glad I checked it out of the library. And I should add that I have read various astrology books, and while some are disappointing, none are as disappointing as this one was. I've actually bought some of Linda's books, but wouldn't waste my money on this one</p>

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2001

    Great for everyone!

    Susan Miller manages to write a book that is useful for the deep enthusiast as well as being engaging enough for a casual dabbler. I don't think I can recommend this book highly enough.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2001

    Planets and Possibilities

    IN MY OPINION ITS VERY USEFUL NOWADAYS:Planets and Possibilieies:Explore the Worlds beyond Your Sun Sign because one can match it with his/her partner for good.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Complete and exciting astrological reference book

    Most rational philosophers will place astrology in the pseudo-science bin. Yet the ancient art of reading the stars and planets is still a powerfully popular instrument today. In PLANETS AND POSSIBILITIES, Susan Miller (see astrologyzone.com) provides an in-depth look at astrology by bringing the planetary and solar relations into a current and historical text. For instance, Ms. Miller explains that the recently discovered moon Chiron has influence but is so statistically insignificant in comparisons to the sun and the personal planets that it is not worth including in a reading. <P> The book is well written and very entertaining whether a person is a skeptic or a disciple, and clearly educational for the believer. Ms. Miller provides insight into the twelve Zodiac signs from a refreshing ancient historical perspective (predominantly Greek and Roman, Egyptian and Babylonian, etc.) to a modern look. Besides enjoyment from a well-written reference tome, Ms. Miller makes astrology seem so genuine that many cynics will remove the ¿pseudo¿ label and start following their daily horoscope. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

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    Posted October 10, 2011

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