“O Urania! Io Urania!
Great Muse of Astronomy & Astrology
Glorious Heav’n Urania
Great watcher of the Empyrean’s dance
Traced constellations and swirling globes
Those cosmic Harmonies shared with her sister Euterpe
Muses of Sacred Mount Parnassus
Near Zeus’ Omphalos & Apollo’s Pythia
Beautiful intergalactic Urania
Please help us sing the songs of the stars”
Here comes our selection of astrology books the celebrate winter solstice and Saturnalia, a Roman winter festival, from which Yule possibly originated, as well as its traditions of special markets and giving presents (though the customary massive orgies don’t seem to have made it to present day celebrations ;)…
1. Far Out – A Space-Time Chronicle by Michael Benson
Over 50 years of jaw-dropping astronomical photography from the great telescopic wonders of the modern world. From the furthest galactic clusters and deep range filaments to the immense clouds of cosmic matter and galactic fold-outs of the local yet still grandiose Milky-way, the sheer scale and resolution of these beautiful quality photographic prints pushes your imagination as the mind reaches to comprehend the incredible distances and humbling periods of time involved. Gaze with wonder on the supernova remnants and feel holy awe as the book moves out through the patterns of the zodiac constellations into the vast fields of nebula.
2. Parker’s Astrology – The Definitive Guide to using Astrology in Every aspect of your Life by Julia and Derek Parker
For anyone who wants to know more about astrology and wants it in a way that is graphically clean and generously illustrated. Daunting complexities here are dispelled for the beginner; this uplifting tome is dense with detail and a treasure house of astrological images. Explaining the conceptual framework, each of the Zodiac signs are given the full-treatment with rich visual semiotics of the corresponding rulership groupings – types of minerals, flowers, herbs, animals, cities etc. The Parkers unfold how the basic construction of a natal chart operates; simply taking you through drawing a chart-calculation step-by-step through to interpretation, how fixed stars work, how to understand horary and locational astrology. The book also scrutinizes how relationships work (or fail) through astrology and the book even contains a ephemeris.
3. The Mars Quartet – Four Seminars on the Astrology of the Red Planet by Lynn Bell, Darby Costello, Liz Greene, Melaine Reinhart
Quarrelsome Mars comes under the microscope through these talk transcripts, which took place from 1995-2001 at the Centre for Psychological Astrology. The four great female astrologers give great consideration to the machinations of the Red Planet in a Q&A format with their audience. This excellent book covers the (battle) ground, from analysis of the forced-will and aggression to the strength that comes from its archetypal forms – Ares blending his brutish nature with honour and heroism or Achilles displaying martial prowess. Directions of anger and conflict resolution suggestions are given form with each subtle blend of the zodiac; Mars can be the source of many desires – a plethora of examples and case histories show all the permutations of Mars in planetary aspect and tenanting energies in the houses. Hopefully by reading this you can better know the impulses, the courage, the raw instinct and the life-affirming purpose that can be found through contemplating Mars.
4. The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire – Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun by Roger Beck
This eye-opening book explores and unravels many of the obscure and abstract signs of this ancient mystery religion through the tools of cognitive science, exploring in detail how the language of astrology was enshrined within the Temples of Mithras across the Roman Empire. It speculates on the evolution of those symbols into a ritual communication structure and posits possible meanings towards a truly ‘cosmic’ cosmology.
5. Stellar Magic – A Practical Guide to the Rites of the Moon, Planets, Stars and Constellations by Payam Nabarz
This ground-breaking book plunges you into the astrological inspirations of antiquity, delving through the papyrus and scrolls to produce a text that contains invocations of Orion & Horus, gnosis of bears Ursa Major and Minor, incantations to Sirius and the Greek mythic stellar dramas of Pegasus, Andromeda and Perseus. Using Zoroastrian moon liturgies and the Orphic hymns to create rites for the seven planets, Cygnus the swan and poetic ceremonies for the seven Pleiades, the book enables a wealth of astral path-workings that embody historical curiosity into the night skies.
6. The Star of the Magi – The Mystery that Heralded the Coming of Christ by Courtney Roberts
This season-appropriate themed book looks at one of the most famous of all astrological encounters – the mysteries of the Three Kings following the Star of Bethlehem. Reading through the Persian histories and influence of Chaldean astrology, Roberts explores the stunning context of the Nativity – Bethlehem here is situated within the overarching background of Roman Empire as merely the crust on established Macedonian and pan-Asian Hellenic cosmologies gathered together and syncretised by the trade routes. Were Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar cataloguing the systematic observations of the heavens, identifying their cycles and correlating them to the ebb and flow of the tides of human history in the hope of finding an earthly avatar of the Zoroastrian deity of time Zurvan? Astrology seems to be in the political awareness of that era: “Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared” – Matthew 2:7. The book also examines 8th century Baghdad astrologer Masha’allah’s messianic astrology of the Virgin birth, especially the theory of a gigantic Saturn-Jupiter conjunction; and discusses the conjectured appearance of a supernova and the Precessional year.
7. Astrology, Magic, and Alchemy in Art – Guide to Imagery by Matilde Battistini
Since the revival of interest in the arcane from the late Medieval period, stemming from Arabic scholar’s work making its way into Europe alongside a growing fascination with the pagan period of the heydays of Rome and Greece. By the time of the Renaissance, especially in Florence & Venice, much of the symbolism and lore involved in astrology and its sister hermetic science alchemy had found its way into some of the most prestigious artwork. This fascinating book allows you to delve into that arcana, to identify those astrological signs and themes both hidden and overtly celebrated with clear examples and useful footnotes.
8. Planetary Spells & Rituals – Practicing Dark & Light Magick Aligned with the Cosmic Bodies by Raven Digitalis
An informative catalogue of spell-casting rituals all centred on the planets of our solar system – Digitalis takes us through the mechanisms of Sol mask work and sun-charm creation enchantments; Lunar childhood trauma healing, moonlit exorcisms of unwanted spirits and Selenite divinations. There are Mercurial communication spells for astral contact, mental focus and magickal travel insurance; fascinations for Venusian lovers, helping you increase your empathy and heal heartaches. Find Earth magicks for purifying/grounding; Martian hexes for anger harnessing and defence sorceries; Jupiterian charms for joy, fortune and self-empowerment. Also includes Saturnian change-curses of Kronos and the psychopompic whack of ancestral gnosis; Uranian weather magick wards & conjurations to undo social conditioning; Neptunian psychic dream elixirs and scrying cantrips; finally rounds off with Plutonian past-life last-rites, rebirthing/underworld ceremonies and poppet-binding. Comes with a handy correspondence chart but candles and parchment paper are needed separately!
9. The 12 Chinese Animals – Create Harmony in your Daily Life through Ancient Chinese Wisdom by Master Zhongxian Wu
Explore the world of the Chinese 12 power animal symbols and the hexagrams of the I-Ching. This book helps you seek harmony with your years, months & hours through the Ba’Zi astrology of Heavenly stems and Earthly branches; poetically taking you through the personality traits of each animal – including one’s inclinations towards factors like health, career, finances and even life-enhancing food choices you may wish to cultivate. Master Wu holistically blends in the tidal hexagrams that represent the animal, exploring the Chinese traditions around the time of year and also the nature of your Qi energy as it relates to those symbols. Ceremonies and meditation practices for each of the 12 animals are also suggested for greater balance and prosperity.
10. Your Secret Self-Illuminating the Mysteries of the twelfth House – A guide to using astrology and your dreams for personal growth by Tracy Marks
The revised and expanded edition. Find a secluded place to mine in-depth all the twelfth house interpretations for the ten planets, meditate on the rulerships whilst trying to avoid indulging your escapist tendencies with this utterly fascinating book. Marks opens the Pandora’s Box of the Twelfth house ‘unconsciousness’, explaining these developmental fixations with great quotes to understand the flavour of each modulation. From our secret fantasies to the Shadow-self trauma that underlie many psychological problems, uncover these disowned parts of your nature. Helping us best our self-delusions, this impressive book also uses the filter of the mythically cursed House of Atreus (Tantalus, Pelops, Agamemnon & the Oresteia) to shine a light on Twelfth house family psychodynamics that lead to feelings of confinement. Understanding and self-awareness of our martyr tendencies; acceptance and ownership of these hidden weaknesses is achieved here via dream work – interpretation & study of our unconscious vulnerabilities. The book concludes with a look at how the collective shadow of the 12th influences both nations and earth itself.