When I found Astrology: Using the Wisdom of the Stars in Your Everyday Life by Carole Taylor on Amazon, I had to check three times to make sure I was looking at the right book.
It had just been recommended by Chris Brennan on the Astrology Podcast as one of the best new books for astrology beginners, and I had a hard time believing that such a beautiful book could also be informative enough to give a beginner a good start with astrology.
- Hardcover Book
- DK (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 256 Pages - 09/25/2018 (Publication Date) - DK (Publisher)
When the book arrived, I found that it was even more beautiful than it looked in the pictures. It is a book that has been designed to feed the eyes as much as the mind.
The cover of Astrology is colorful and delightfully textured, and the pages are made of high-quality paper. Information on the signs and planets is presented in the style of infographics, making the information easy to digest.
Two-page spreads are dedicated to illustrations and artistically rendered quotes from modern astrologers, exploring the meaning of astrology and its place in the world.
Astrology is a beginner’s text that is clearly designed with an eye for design first. Substance is sometimes sacrificed to style, and the information is occasionally presented in an odd way, so it will fit into the layout.
Despite these limitations, it is an excellent introduction to the subject, and the most seasoned astrologer will find instances where Taylor’s metaphors describe an element of astrology in a way they’ve never considered before.
The Story of Astrology
One of the challenges astrologers in the modern world have is justifying our interest in a discipline that has a reputation for encouraging fatalism and superstition. Taylor addresses the controversy from the beginning.
She begins with a description of astrology as “a person-centered view of the cosmos that acknowledges a meaningful link between the two.” She presents astrology as a complement to science that honors subjective experience and enriches self-awareness without sacrificing a commitment to a grounded life in the material world.
Taylor largely takes a psychological approach to astrology, but she does so while acknowledging that this is only one way to read astrological symbols.
Astrology begins with a brief-but-effective summary of astrology’s history and an acknowledgment of the revival of interest in historical approaches to astrology that is happening today.
One of the benefits of astrology, Taylor says, is “it addresses deeper questions of meaning and purpose but allows each person to decide for themselves what kind of cosmic force or mechanism might be at work.”
Planets, Signs, and Houses
Most of the book is taken up with “cookbook style” descriptions of the planets, signs, and houses. These three elements make up the heart of astrology, so it is appropriate for an introductory text to spend so much time on this material.
Each page contains graphics describing the central themes of the symbols at a glance, making it easy to take in the gist of the information while skimming the book.
The section on the signs, however, contain some of the weakest material in the book.
Taylor takes a descriptive approach to the signs. Sagittarius people are said to love the great outdoors. Taurus is described as stubborn and self-indulgent. Virgo is described as a perfectionist.
This way of talking about the signs is well-known and resonates for many astrology lovers, but it also perpetuates stereotypes. Those who do not find themselves reflected accurately in these descriptions are left to assume that astrology is not for them since the book does not explore the ways that the complexity of a birth chart can alter the basic expressions of the signs.
If the intent of studying the signs in this book is to understand the way the signs are usually portrayed in popular culture, Astrology is an excellent guide.
Understanding Yourself and Life Events
Some of the most helpful sections in the book are the last two, which cover understanding yourself astrologically through a psychological lens and using astrology to help you make good decisions during difficult life events.
The section on understanding yourself gives you a basic guide to the psychological map of astrology. It outlines how astrology can be used to explore identity, habits, relationships, career, money, and motivations in a well-organized way that helps you create a holistic view of the self using the material from the section on planets, signs, and houses.
The Life Events section tackles common problems like making complex parenting decisions and changing careers and helps you use astrology to figure out how to handle it.
These sections are a good start at using astrology for problem-solving. Though, it is unlikely that they will be enough to help you figure out the problem on their own.
This part of the book relies heavily on examples, and if your examples don’t match the ones included, you may have a hard time figuring out what to do without doing further research. The value of these sections is in the way they tell you where to look in your chart for answers and what to research.
If you use this book to find where to look in your chart to find answers and then use the cookbook section in The Inner Sky by Steven Forrest to understand the meaning of the relevant planets, signs, and houses, you will be well on your way to understanding what astrology has to say about your situation.
Next Steps in Your Journey With Astrology
Ultimately, the value of an introductory book isn’t so much in the book itself but in its ability to give you a good start on your journey with that subject. Astrology isn’t the only astrology book you’ll ever need if you want to make a serious study of astrology, but no astrology book is able to fulfil that promise.
And so, Taylor does what any good author does when introducing a complex subject: She sends you on your way with an expansive list of resources to explore when you’re done with her book.
The resources list in the back of Astrology is pure gold. Not only does Taylor provide many follow-up books to enrich your study, she also recommends websites, astrological training centers, and professional organizations.
Whether your loved-one is curious about astrology and looking for a beautiful book to occupy their time or considering a career as a professional astrologer, Astrology is an excellent first step on a journey with astrology.