I’ve never fallen in love over the internet, but I’ve fallen in major like. With a voice. April Elliott Kent’s voice. April’s often wry, bravely honest and hearty essays at BigSkyAstrology had me at hello. Now I’ve had a major crush on another lady Leo writer, too, so what is it about Leo writers?! April says, I think Leo has a gift for telling their own story in a way that helps other people see themselves in it, and inspires them to tell their own story. April & I have yet to meet, which neither of us can believe (she just informed me she is coming to San Francisco in June 2012!!) but I am always happy to promote her work and her second book, The Essential Guide to: Practical Astrology, published this summer by Penguin, gives me another excuse to love on April. Without further adieu, below: April reveals her celebrity astro-twin, secret moon practice, and offers advice to those trying to make the leap from technically correct interpretations to chart synthesis. Practically, of course.
We astrologers are earnest about being taken seriously. This can turn the best of us into curmudgeons, when certain of us shun popular astrology for generalizing (dismissing horoscope writers who shepherd the masses to us for a proper natal reading as irrelevant). The problem with that need to be taken so seriously is that we lose our humor and our perspective, and heaven forbid that happens, because humor is a true friend to creativity and inspiration. That’s why I’m delighted that Matt Currie has carved out his unique niche in the blogosphere and has now published a very cool book called Conquer the Universe With Astrology which is basically wit, writ large.
Backtracking to that endless retrograde station of Mars in Gemini on my Saturn for a moment, I need a soapbox here because that particular transit had me wrestling with immovable questions, but also answered them. My clients began voicing a piece of me – the maternal side of me “take care of me, make it all better, promise!” Which in reality came out of their mouths like this, “answer this question. Make up my mind for me…and what will I, should I do?” and resulted in this post – a real defining moment. Straddling the fear of being wrong or right all the time really takes the spunk out of a girl. So I pulled my courage, examined what I could and could not promise, and realized I don’t like making predictions – at all. I can make a “best guess” but that’s about all. Basically, because at best they’re a crapshoot and I’m no gambler. And I don’t like being wrong. So beautifully, magically, when a client yesterday said at the end of her session, unprompted, “maybe with astrology, the exploration is the destination…” I couldn’t help but feel Mars had had his way with my Saturn.
My dear friend and syndicated columnist Holiday Mathis has just published this absolutely astro-licious book, Rock Your Stars. And she’s so fresh. I’m not just saying this because I love her dearly but because she’s one of the few young voices of astrology that’s truly different (and we could use more of those). Holly’s voice sparkles. From the perspective of a modern gal with real world problems just like you and me, Holly uses the ancient art to expand her toolbox and rule her world. Her positive upbeat attitude is contagious – so you can finally drop that notion that your chart is heinous (or at least more heinous than anyone else’s). She says, “It may seem like others have better luck or destiny than you, but here’s the real truth: Your stars are only as lucky as you make them.”
The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols by Angeles Arrien
Thoth Tarot Deck by Aleister Crowley
Intermediate to Advanced
Tarot is an ancient form of divination, just like astrology. Well maybe not just like astrology. Tarot uses cards, astrologers use circular maps of the heavens (and the computers do the math). But the similarities are striking, especially when you’re using a deck that uses the imagery and symbolism of Planets and Astrological Signs, like the Aleister Crowley deck on which this book is based.
I don’t use tarot a quarter of as much as I use astrology, but everytime I do, I pull out this book. Why? Because we speak the same language, astrology. Maybe I should use it more. Here’s a personal antecdote: As I was getting ready for a first date with my now husband, my tarot deck fell off the bookshelf and the Lust/Strength card landed at my feet. Angeles writes: “As the principle of strength, passion and lustre, the Strength/Lust card is representative of the universal myth known as “Beauty and the Beast.” Here is the princess, riding the back of a Leo, the Lion, the astrological sign of creative power. It certainly described my relationship with my Leo husband, who was then my boss and whom I jokingly “tamed” (yes, he admits this). The princess was riding the back of the Lion, posessing “an inherent faith within herself”. This card still gives me the insight and confidence to pet, soothe and challenge my strong Lion with grace and conviction.
The Inner Sky by Steven Forrest
Beginner to Intermediate
The Changing Sky by Steven Forrest
Intermiediate to Advanced
Inspiration. Storytelling. Imagination.
These are the generous gifts Mr. Forrest brings to the world of boring old Astrology books. But he’s no boring Astrologer, he’s an Evolutionary Astrologer. Just like it sounds, the “endpoint” of each life is to evolve into a higher life form. That may mean talking to a few lower life forms first. He names them for us. Cool.
Every chapter of The Inner Sky is a multi-faceted jewel. SF turns a Sun sign, House or Planet one way, then the other, leaving no piece of the journey untouched, unexplored or unfelt. Real life story vignettes pepper each chapter making one tasty, satisfying astrology salad. Yes, you can eat this one. You immediately connect the questions and dysfunctions to your own real life examples. And you begin to feel the astrology rumble in your belly. Of course anything delicious is a combination of simple and complex…you approach the Sun sign simply, but soon realize there’s more to the story of a Taurus than you realized. And so on. The more you read, the more you come to appreciate the amazing potential in this human journey.
So you naturally want to read The Changing Sky for dessert. Your curiosity has moved from “what’s my Moon sign?” to “I’ve got to figure out why I had that breakdown in ’05 and is it going to happen again?” or “Maybe my boyfriend’s having a Uranus transit, he’s been acting so out of character…” And so on. Now you’ve caught the bug. Which leads you to the next SF series on intimacy and relationships (see below).