Astrology · Book Reviews

Astrology Bookshelf

A selection of recommended Astrology books, covering chart interpretation, forecasts and transits, and individual planets. These are some of the books I’ve found most useful or insightful when working on my own horoscope. Longer reviews are attached via links…

Richard Tarnas – Cosmos and Psyche

Cosmos and Psyche

In this groundbreaking book, Richard Tarnas demonstrates the correspondences between planetary alignments and the archetypal patterns found running through human history, both collectively and individually. Subtitled Intimations of a New World View, it offers a worldview and cosmology to heal the split in the Western psyche and is based on thirty years meticulous research. Mapping transits across time and cultures, this book explores the correlation between the human psyche and the movement of the planets, and delineates all the major archetypal alignments, comparing how they play out in different eras. You don’t need detailed astrological knowledge to follow the arguments, and it’s essential reading if you want to understand the movements of history, why humanity seems to repeat the same mistakes, and what we can learn from astrology. Read the full review here

Katharine Merlin – Character and Fate

Character & Fate

This is a great introductory text that explores the psychology of the birth chart. The book provides all the details you need in order to learn how to interpret a horoscope, including planets, elements, aspects and houses. There’s a full case history which shows how it all fits together, revealing the patterns that repeat and give structure to our lives. Katharine Merlin explains how understanding these patterns means we’re not stuck with them. Astrology provides new knowledge and insight that can help us come to terms with our inner conflicts and difficulties. In the past, astrology sometimes implied we were controlled by the planets. This isn’t true. With depth psychology, we can choose how to respond to our fate and learn to shape our character using the tools of astrology to guide us.

Stephen Arroyo – Relationships and Life Cycles

Relationships & Life Cycles

This book is presented as a lecture with questions and answers taking you through the various subjects covered – chart comparison, synastry and compatibility, and how to determine the individual’s capacity for relationship from the horoscope. There are sections that detail individual placements and aspects, and a multitude of examples. The conversational style makes it easy to learn how to develop your own interpretations and extend the material given in relation to your horoscope and relationships. At the end of the book is a section on transits covering the cycles of the major planets, but it mainly focuses on Jupiter and Saturn, going into a lot of detail on the differences in how they work through the houses by transit. This book is easy to use and understand, and packed with useful information.

Liz Greene – The Astrological Neptune


Liz Greene is a Jungian analyst and astrologer, and writes some of the best astrology books, but this one is my favourite. Neptune represents the desire for unity and transcendence, and any Neptunian would benefit from reading this book. It’s a fantastic exploration of the archetype and psychology of Neptune and the quest for redemption through themes in literature, myth, politics, religion, fashion, and art. Neptune works through the horoscope and psyche in many different ways: deception, illusion, addiction, renunciation, karmic obligation, creativity, love, relationships, and mysticism. The book includes a cookbook section on Neptune in the houses, by aspect, in synastry and in the composite chart, and the interpretations are exhaustive and enlightening. Essential reading if you want to get to grips with Neptune.

I recommend all of Liz Greene’s books, but here’s a few of the best:
Astrology of FateThe Astrology of Fate

Confronts questions of fate using the language of myth, fairy tales, dreams, and the horoscope to look at those aspects of ourselves we find hard to face because they’re so hard to change.

Astrology for LoversAstrology for Lovers

Don’t be put off by the title! This is a fantastic guide to the zodiac, debunking popular myths and revealing what makes each sign tick. Looks at the myths for each sign and how they work in men and women. Fun and deep.

RelatingRelating: An Astrological Guide to Living with Others

A classic of modern astrological literature. This book uses Jungian psychology and astrology to explore how people relate on both conscious and unconscious levels.

Saturn New Look at an old DevilSaturn: A New Look at an Old Devil

Explores the meaning of Saturn using depth psychology and Jungian archetypes to demonstrate how our weaknesses can become our strengths. Essential reading if you want to confront your shadow.

Horoscope Interpretation

Stephen Arroyo – Chart Interpretation Handbook

This book provides step by step guidelines to help you understand the essentials of the horoscope. It’s set out in cookbook form with keywords for the planets, signs, elements, and angles. Arroyo distils the meaning of the chart components and presents them clearly and concisely. He emphasises the importance of learning to think astrologically so that the central meanings of each part of the horoscope are always kept in focus. This book will enable you to build in depth interpretations from the keywords in a way that illuminates the true meaning of the horoscope, and brings a deeper understanding of needs and motivations. It’s an excellent reference book for practitioners and brilliant for beginners.

Howard Sasportas – The Twelve Houses

Twelve Houses

This is an essential handbook for interpreting the house placements for each planet. The houses show how the individual character (as shown by the planets) will express itself through specific areas of life. Each house represents a different area of experience. This book details how the planets work on multiple levels, from the mundane, to more subtle, inner meanings. Sasportas also provides guidelines for how to interpret the signs through the houses. There’s a section on the Moon’s Nodes, and Chiron. It’s packed with examples and sample charts to illustrate and demonstrate how the techniques of interpretation work, all written in an accessible style with an emphasis on psychology. Highly recommended for its clarity and depth.

Martin Schulman – Karmic Astrology series

Karmic Astrology

This series of books covers various aspects of astrology from the perspective of reincarnation and soul development. There are four books in the series: The Moon’s Nodes and Reincarnation; Retrogrades and Reincarnation; Joy and the Part of Fortune; and The Karma of the Now. They’re set out in cookbook style and detail how the moon’s nodes, retrogrades, and the Part of Fortune work in the signs and houses. The final book explores the planets through the signs and offers interpretations to help you avoid getting stuck in the past and move beyond your karma. Martin Schulman doesn’t pull his punches and some of his interpretations can be hard to swallow, but these books can bring about a welcome wake up call.

Sue Tompkins – Aspects in Astrology

Aspects in Astrology

This is the book for understanding aspects in the horoscope. It’s a comprehensive guide to interpreting aspects for every planetary combination. But this is so much more than just another cookbook for aspects. Sue Tompkins spends the first third of the book looking at the individual planets and then exploring the nature of aspects and their deeper meaning. Each aspect represents a subdivision of the circle which affects how it manifests – whether the planetary energies are harmonising or conflicting, for example. She also explores the question of orbs, elements and qualities, and the weighting of aspects (which planet in any configuration ‘goes first’, as it were). There’s a short section on planets aspecting the chart angles, and lots of examples. A great reference book and learning aid.

Forecasting & Transits

Robert Hand – Planets in Transit

Planets in Transit

A classic cookbook reference and the definitive work on transiting planets. This book covers all the major transits between planets, through the houses, and transiting the angles. Robert Hand is one of the world’s leading astrologers and he takes a humanistic, multi-levelled approach to the meaning of the transits. He details the events that may happen, the feelings you may experience, and the possibilities of each transit for growth and increased awareness. The interpretations in this book have proved themselves over and over as accurate and insightful. There’s also chapters on how transits work, the timings and orbs of influence, plus example charts. Start here for interpretation.

Howard Sasportas – The Gods of Change

Gods of Change

This book is subtitled Pain, Crisis and the Transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, which tells you all you need to know. This is an excellent cookbook for outer planet transits, showing how you can grow through difficult times and learn to cooperate with forces beyond your control. Each of the transpersonal planets feels slightly different and their transits affect you in characteristic ways. These interpretations blend depth psychology with case histories to illustrate what can happen under transits from the outer planets. If you can discover the deeper meaning and pattern behind periods of upheaval, you can turn a period of crisis into one of opportunity. A great supplementary text to the Robert Hand book.

More useful books on transits and forecasting:
TransitsBetty Lundsted – Transits

Highly readable and conversational in tone. Provides interpretations for all the major transits of Jupiter through to Pluto, plus guidance on interpreting transits of the personal planets.

Saturn in TransitErin Sullivan – Saturn in Transit

Explores the cycles and transits of Saturn through the houses and to other planets, focusing on Saturn as a catalyst for change and increased awareness. A welcome balance to the often doom-laden interpretations in other books.

Alive and Well UranusBill Tierney – Alive and Well series

This series covers the transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in a fun but direct way. Each book details the transits through the houses and to other planets, and provides excellent guidance without being fateful.

There are so many excellent astrology books, it’s hard to pick just a few to recommend. Here’s some Astrology quickies for books I couldn’t leave out…

PlutoJeffrey Wolf Green – Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul

Volume One covers definitive interpretations of Pluto through the signs and houses with a particular focus on spiritual growth and the evolution of the soul. Includes extensive case studies.

Development of PersonalityLiz Greene & Howard Sasportas – Seminars in Psychological Astrology

Brilliant series of books covering the mythology and psychology of the planets, with lots of Q&As. Titles include: The Development of the Personality; The Dynamics of the Unconscious; The Luminaries; and The Inner Planets.

Astrology of Self DiscoveryTracy Marks – The Astrology of Self-Discovery

An in-depth exploration of the potentials revealed in your birth chart with a particular emphasis on Neptune, Pluto, the Moon, and the outer planet transits. Includes useful worksheets with questions to help you dig deeper into your experience.

Astrological MoonHaydn Paul – various books about the planets…

Covers the astrological planets through the houses, by aspect and in transit. They’re all great: Lord of the Light (Sun); Queen of the Night (Moon); Revolutionary Spirit (Uranus); Visionary Dreamer (Neptune); and Phoenix Rising (Pluto).

Chiron Healing JourneyMelanie Reinhart – Chiron and the Healing Journey

An astrological and psychological perspective on the wounded healer archetype. Profound and comprehensive with detailed material on Chiron through the signs and houses, and by aspect.

Astrology of PersonalityDane Rudhyar – everything he ever wrote!

Let’s face it, the man was a genius, but a good place to start is The Astrology of Personality – the book responsible for starting humanistic astrology and demonstrating that the subject was so much more than about predicting the future. Sadly, many of Rudhyar’s books are now out of print, but The Rudhyar Archival Project has rescued some of them and made them available online.

>Read The Astrology of Personality online here

>Visit The Rudhyar Archival Project

Astrology Resources:

Missed any good ones? Recommend a book in the comments section below…

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