Many Darkstar readers have inquired about my influences and have wanted recommendations for astrology books so they can start learning astrology for themselves. Others have asked if I run astrology courses. With this in mind I started to build up a book list on Amazon, going through my book shelves and adding favourite books that have helped me through the years. Half way through assembling the booklist I completed a certificate course in Horary Astrology with Deborah Houlding who owns the amazing website Skyscript. I have been moving slowly towards integrating techniques of traditional astrology for a while, inspired by Demetra George’s approach.
Like myself, Demetra started from a psychological perspective and places a great importance to the goddess principle. What I love about Demetra is that she has managed to marry traditional and modern in a way that does not dilute or compromise either approach. We are at a time now that we really need to acknowledge that with an ever expanding solar system, it is essential to return to the foundations of the craft of astrology. The solar systems ‘expansion’ is probably the reason for the resurgence of traditional astrology techniques in the last 10 years. Astrologers are in need of an anchor.
Back To The Future
As I said earlier, I came to astrology from a psychological perspective, but in 2009 was introduced to the world of the fixed stars. This was the spur for me to go deeper into astrology and eventually to go full time with it a profession. The fixed stars interest brought me to Deborah Houlding’s site which in turn introduced me to the fact that traditional astrologers took great note of the fixed stars within the context of a tropical zodiac. In this way, one does not need to ‘go sidereal’ in order to connect with the galactic realm.
I also became interested in Horary astrology which is really a crash course into the rules of traditional astrology. Of course like many psychological astrologers, I balked at the complex system of dignities and alien terms such as whether a planet was in hayz, combust, occidental or oriental of the sun etc etc. Describing a planet as malefic or in detriment seemed way too fatalistic, so I went scuttling back to psychological astrology still clutching a bag of fixed stars. I couldn’t quite let them go!
The fixed stars are so rich in mythology, but the interpretations do tend to be very specific and either ridiculously over-the-top positive or totally fatalistic which modern astrologers have a real problem with. We must bear in mind that the fixed stars were used at a time when natal astrology was not the primary form of astrology.
We really can’t afford to take the fixed star meanings too personally and try to see them from that higher, galactic perspective. Pre 20th century birth times were not noted, so Horary was widely used to answer pressing questions. The birth chart was taken as representing twelve areas of life, with the ascendant and its ruler, really being the only house to describe the native. With precise birth times rarely being recorded, very few people knew their actual rising star, unless they were royalty or otherwise notable.
Holistic Astrology V Cookbook Approach
The traditional chart is far less ego-orientated and is refreshing as it considers the person as part of a whole, the 7th house described your partner, not you, not ever. Traditional astrology also obeys the rules of natural law in that the signs are more descriptive of the months of the year rather than the constellations. Tropical astrology works because the suns height in the sky when we are born is like a seed moment.
Western astrology reflects the westerns northern hemispheres very clear and distinct seasons. Seasonal plants bloom best under certain conditions and at different times of the year. We all have our personal best seasons, so all astrology does is describe our body clocks response to cycles. We all have peaks and troughs, so there is no good or bad really. The fixed stars give a wider, galactic perspective within the seasonal framework.
Because tropical, horoscopic astrology is so holistic it is quite difficult to pull one aspect out of it without considering the rest of the chart. Unfortunately due to the modern need to sell books and make astrology accessible, astrologers are forced into constructing cookbook interpretations. As far as these go they can be helpful, but sometimes a little knowledge can be worse than none at all. It can give beginners a very false idea of how astrology works, a bit like modern medicine only treating a symptom.
Looking at isolated parts of a chart, like a Sun in the 8th house, or a Venus in Aries (in its detriment) can be misleading and sometimes lead to very negative interpretations in those who have a very poor self-image. We are fragile beings all told, so when we read that we have some grim aspect to our natal chart, it tends to stick out like a sore thumb. With the cookbook approach we forget about the whole and see ourselves as fragmented again.. So my job, as an astrologer using the cookbook approach on this site, is to constantly remind readers that these Sun and Moon aspects, or planets in a decan, are just ingredients. One chilli does not a curry make!