Monday, 1 July 2013

Book Review: The Secret Language of Astrology

This is a stunning book to look at and fortunately its content more than lives up to its beauty.

The title gives away a secret most people don’t know - that astrology is a language, one rich in symbolism and myth with a history spanning some 5000 years or more.

Starting right at the beginning, Roy Gillett’s book offers a concise, but comprehensive exploration of the ancient origins and development of astrology, taking us right up to the present day. He explores astrology’s current reputation, how and why it’s been dismissed by both religion and science and why we should reconsider astrology as a vital tool for understanding not just ourselves, but our world and our collective place within it.

“The cycle of the heavens, and of each individual consciousness within it, may be seen as a reflection of one unified world soul.”

However, what most people new to astrology picking up this book will be asking is what does astrology say about me? In this respect, The Secret Language of Astrology will not let you down.

Just like learning a new language, Gillett breaks it down into its basic components, starting with the planets and exploring the astrological themes, mythology and astronomy of each planet in turn.

In the language of astrology, the planets are like nouns and the zodiac signs describe how the planet will behave according to the sign it falls in. For example, Mars is the planet of action. In impulsive Aries it will act “bravely and aggressively”, but in peace-loving Libra, it will act “urgently and defensively.” The Houses are also explored, the next building block in the astro-lingo, describing the arena each planet has to operate within.

Then comes the fun of putting it all together. Fortunately, now we are in the internet age, this book is supported by a website where you can draw up your birth chart instantly, so within minutes you can take your first steps into delineating your Sun in Cancer in the 10th House or your Mercury in Taurus in the 8th and so on.

Once you’ve got your birth chart online though, I would also recommend, if you are new to astrology, that you draw your own chart out by hand. This process really helps you connect with your chart and it’s a fabulous document to look back on years down the line. I still have mine, painstakingly calculated and drawn out.

Taking it further, this book will also help you explore the relationships the planets make to each other in your chart - the aspects. This is the space where your personal story, your challenges and opportunities really start to come alive through the astrology.

The final chapter deals with how to put it all together. This is where the art of astrology comes in. It's the part that takes the longest to master but the one that promises the most rewards, as the chart slowly unfolds and offers up its secrets. Lucky for us, this section of Gillett's fine book is chock full of tips and hints, along with a masterful and detailed exploration of the chart of the Dalai Lama. Gillett also tackles what he calls The Challenge to Transcend, how difficult aspects and planetary placements do not necessarily spell doom, gloom and failure, but present an opportunity to overcome challenges and obstacles and find success and fulfilment:

“We are destined to face our future, but we are not doomed to suffer it… Astrology lays out the territory of our lives, but we have the freedom to choose how we walk through it. Knowing about astrology can make it easier for us to map and monitor progress, and to be clear about the decisions we face. It is the motives behind our actions that largely determine the outcome.”

For the beginner or novice, this is a must have book. If it’s your first astrology book, I can guarantee it won’t be your last. It will start you on your path to discovery so you’d better start clearing a space on your shelf now. Once you’ve looked at your own chart and enthusiastically shared your insights with your nearest and dearest, you’ll soon be bombarded with requests to look at their charts and your journey into this most wondrous of self-development tools will be well on its way.

For the more experienced astrologer, this book might seem basic at first glance, but don’t dismiss it. I guarantee you will discover something new or something you’d forgotten. And at a time when ‘serious’ astrology is becoming more and more academic (and there is a place for that, of course) this beautiful book provides an excuse to go right back to the beginning and re-discover the sense of awe, wonder and magic we all felt when we first started out on our astrological adventure.

The Secret Language of Astrology: The Illustrated Key to Unlocking the Secrets of the Stars by Roy Gillett.
Roy Gillett is the president of the Astrological Association of Great Britain and the author of Economy Ecology and Kindness and Astrology and Compassion: The Convenient Truth.
With love,

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