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Astrology

Want to learn more about how to do astrology? You've come to the right place!

Top 8 Best Books+Websites for Learning Astrology

Ashley Thiessen

So I learned a couple of things while I was putting this listicle together:

  1. Damn, I have a lot of books.

  2. A lot of these aren’t even mine?

  3. Oh….Thanks mom!

You probably won't be getting any of these back.

I've always been a big reader, especially in learning new things, and especially when I am learning about astrology. In the years that I've been doing astrology, and in the two-and-a-half years I spent writing my own astrology cookbook, I read a bunch of books, watched a lot of videos, and looked over a lot of different websites. Some were good, some were very boring. But in that time I've managed to find a handful of very good places to start if you are interested in this particular topic. 

When I find a writer I love, I tell everybody else they should read them, quote them on my blog, and send out links to their work everywhere I can. Which is why I'm writing this - to share all of my favourites with the rest of you!

Best Website for Charts: ASTRO.com

If you are going to do astrology you have to use Astrodienst. Everybody who is into astrology gets their charts from this site, which has been around since the 1990s. Their Swiss Ephemeris (the computer program used to calculate the positions of celestial bodies) is based on one developed by NASA and covers a span of 8000 years. So far it is the most accurate one I have found, and it is completely free on their website.

As well, you can save the charts of all your friends and family on your account, and even put them together into composite charts to see what the relationship between two people is like. In their Extended Chart Selection you can choose from dozens of different charts, house systems, calculated points, and asteroids, as well as horoscopes, articles written by professional astrologers, and so much more. The best articles are the ones written by Dana Gerhardt. I highly recommend you read her series of posts on the 12 Houses. Those are my favourite!

Years ago I attended a party full of astrologers. The talk had turned to rising signs. “He’s a Scorpio rising, so you better watch your back... Well, of course, she’s got Leo on the Ascendant, always the drama queen...” Generalizations like this are the bread and butter of astrology, but they make me queasy. Along with intelligence, empathy, and a certain technical expertise, a good astrologer must see people as people, and endeavor to find the person in the chart. Individuals are reduced, labeled, and treated like objects most everywhere they go, but in an astrologer’s office, they should be seen in their fullness, as alive, complicated, gifted, and whole.
— Dana Gerhardt, The First House

 

Best Book for Beginners: THE ONLY ASTROLOGY BOOK YOU’LL EVER NEED by Joanna Martine Woolfolk

This book is often suggested to new astrologers, as it really does live up to its title. If I were going to hand you a book to get started, this would be it. You start by being introduced to the characteristics of each sign, including their basic personality types, relationship compatibility with other signs, the different decanates and cusps (different sub-groups) by birth date, then health and body type. Then you learn about having your Ascendent and different planets in the Signs, then the Houses, and finally Aspects between different planets. The end of the book is dedicated to a history of astrology as told by the author, but I would consider it a very simple, elementary version of history (more on that later). At the back, finally, you have a glossary of terms and a printed ephemeris, in case your internet is down and you need some handy reference sheets. Overall, this is a very good book for exposing you to all the different parts and pieces of astrology and for harnessing a very basic understanding of what everything means.

Basically, Virgo woman distrusts and is a little afraid of emotion. To her it represents the unknown, turbulent sea on which she may be set adrift without map or compass or rudder. Because of this many men may wonder if she isn’t a bit cold. She isn’t. Virgo’s enormous capacity for love will pour out, as if from a rich treasury, once her emotions are unlocked. Virgo is a very much misunderstood sign, and Virgo women particularly are often characterized as timid, evasive, reserved. This is also untrue. What Virgo women do have is self-possession, a sense of passion that is controlled by discipline.
— Joanna Martine Woolfolk, You and Virgo Woman

 

Best Website for Beginner’s Research: CAFEASTROLOGY.com

Cafe Astrology is very valuable for beginners too, especially those who haven't bought any books yet. I spent a lot of time as a teenager reading their descriptions of the Signs and the planets. And even now I still look to this site for Aspects, their database of which is the most accurate and thoroughly-written that I have found so far. 

My only complaint is that while new horoscopes are published about every month, she hasn't updated many of her existing works in years (her About Annie page looks like it was last updated back in 2004, for example, and her Chiron pages appear incomplete). It's true that most of these things don't really change over time. Your Mars Square Pluto aspect is still going to be that same no matter what. I would just like to see her articles updated, is all.

Sun quincunx Moon in the natal chart suggests an individual who seems to live life constantly making adjustments and concessions. There can be a tendency to offer too much followed by feelings of being taken advantage of. Passive-aggressiveness can be quite a problem as well. The native seems to expect that he or she has to make compromises in life in order to get what he or she wants, but in the process, undervalues his or her needs. Partners may complain that the native is indecisive, unsettled, unfocused. The native needs to work on accepting both the Sun and the Moon in his or her personality in order to feel whole and to avoid sabotaging relationships (and life goals) with self-defeating attitudes.”
— Cafe Astrology, Sun-moon Aspects in the Natal Chart

 

Best Book for Astrological Signs: SEX SIGNS by Judith Bennett

Anybody who followed my Tumblr Blog in 2015 (or who has seen my Pinterest boards now) knows how much I ADORE this book. It completely changed the way I saw the signs and heavily influenced my own writing along the way. My mother had an old copy in her shop that I picked up and started reading one day. I basically stole it after that, until I could get my own.

Judith Bennett was a therapist and astrologer who worked specifically with female clients in her practice. The book takes you through all the signs from Aries to Pisces, talking specifically about female psychological profiles of each sign. Not only does it cover the basic characteristics of each sign, but how they function in their relationships, their approach to sex and anger, and what they need to do in order to overcome difficulties in their life. I love how straight-forward the writing is, and how flatly she points out the facts and the flaws and the solutions to every problem.

She teaches on the premise that you can have healthier relationships once you have a healthier relationship with your own anger and sexuality, accepting your drives and emotions instead of repressing what you are afraid of. This book was written in 1980, and while it was progressive in its time for saying “alternative lifestyles” such as polygamy, homosexuality, and non-monogamous relationships are options for everyone, it does focus on heterosexuality and claims that some Signs are more “open” to being gay than others. Other than that note, this is by far my favourite astrology book and one I think everybody should read at least once.

This was one of the most liked and shared quotes on my blog ever!

 

Best Book for Astrological Houses: THE TWELVE HOUSES by Howard Sasportas

Just like Sex Signs changed the way I thought about the Signs, this book shaped the way I view the Houses and very much influenced my own writing along the way. He takes you through what astrological Houses are and how each house symbolizes a part of your journey of life - starting in the womb in your 12th House, being birthed into your 1st House, learning about your identify as an individual person and then turning back and rejoining the world, until you are once again united with humanity back in your 12th House. This book is also written in the “cookbook” style as The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need, meaning it is a reference guide to what each planet in each house means. Sasporatas’ writing makes houses very easy to understand, and his descriptions of the planets in each house a very well-put.

For example, a woman with Mars in the 7th may not be in touch with her own power and assertiveness. Therefore, she looks for those qualities in a man. She finds a partner with a prominent Mars, one who is dominant and self-centered, and shouts orders at her. Through him, she has brought Mars into her life. However, when she can no longer tolerate him that way, it may dawn on her that she has a right to make demands as well. She begins to fight back, to make a stand for herself, and in this way she discovers Mars in her own nature.
— Howard Sasportas, The Seventh House

 

Best Book for Compatibility: LINDA GOODMAN’S LOVE SIGNS by Linda Goodman

This one was written in 1978 by a woman who, while she agrees with many parts of the feminist movement at the time, very much has her own ideas about male and female energies and how they collide with each sign's relationships with one another. Still, this is perhaps the most complete book on relationship pairings of each Sign with every other Sign, and highly accurate in my opinion. It is full of Peter Pan references, poems, conversations, and stories which really help to colour the pages with breaks and interesting examples. Her style of writing is very personal and creative. It sounds more like a down-to-earth, experienced person is telling you all about what she knows, as opposed to the drier, text-book readings of other writers. I enjoy this book because she has a story for every couple, like she has met each pairing herself. Just don’t read the segment at the beginning titled ‘a carousel message to Sally’. Unless you feel like crying for some particular reason.

Rams and Archers are simply constitutionally unable to ignore a verbal challenge for other reasons. Aries argues because someone has dared to tell them they’re wrong, when Rams know they are always infallibly right. Sagittarius argues because truth isn’t being told, and if there is anything an archer can’t stand, it’s to hear the truth distorted.
— Linda Goodman, Aries x Sagittarius

 

Best Books for Historical Research: A HISTORY OF WESTERN ASTROLOGY by Nicholas Campion (both volumes)  

Alright, I know this is technically two entries in one, but I consider them to be two halves of a whole. I won't lie to you, these books are boring as hell - dry history textbooks written for advanced readers. Long words, lots of dates and references to historical figures, and a lot of philosophical terminology make up these works. I struggled to get through them. HOWEVER, they aren't on this list for no reason. These books are the most thoroughly researched, the most detailed, and the most comprehensive guides to the history of astrology I have ever found. I quoted him in my last article for a reason; he knows what he's talking about. 

My favourite part of reading these books is actually the last few chapters of the last book, especially the very last chapter in the last book, which addresses the Science VS Astrology debate in the 21st Century and all the attacks and counter-attacks raised by different people over the years. If you are at all struggling to articulate your thoughts feelings (on either side of the debate) it may be worth your time to take a look.

The meanings of the zodiac signs were worked out sometime between the fifth and first centuries BCE, perhaps in a gradual process, possibly in a series of innovative steps. What we do know is that, in the literature of the first and second centuries CE, they are recognizably the same as in any modern text. From the second-century astrologer Vettius Valens we have the following descrptions: Aries was assertive and signified leaders, Taurus solid and prosperous, Geminis liked to talk, Cancerians (and here we are not so close to the modern stereotype) were fond of pleasure and entertaining, Virgos were modest and methodical, Librans like justice and promote the welfare of others, Scorpio is treacherous and secretive, Sagittarius good and generous, Capricorn is hardworking and good at planning, Aquarius (again, unlike the modern version) deceitful and treacherous, and Pisces changeable and popular. And here, from 2000 years ago, we have a series of character descriptions that constitute the world’s oldest psychological model and which remains the most widely known form of personality analysis.
— Nicholas Campion, The Hellenistic World: The Zodiac

 

Best Website for Advanced Research: SKYSCRIPT.co.uk

If you are looking for more advanced astrology articles to read, and you don't want to pick up a book, go to this site and start clicking around. I can guarantee, if you like history and philosophy like I do, you will like Skyscript. I really enjoyed their articles on the exhalations and rulerships in astrology and the history of why they are there. I haven't personally taken any of their quizzes or participated in their forum, but those are options for those of you who enjoy those things. I would suggest this to anyone else who is doing any research and who wants to add some historical depth to whatever you are talking about. It certainly is helping me do that!

The location of Jupiter’s Exaltation is found between the constellations of the Crab and the Lion (Cancer and Leo) on the northernly section of the ecliptic, where it’s rising coincides with the summer solstice. Jupiter is considered to be the most auspicious planet, indeed the ‘King of the Planets’, and his omens specifically apply to the land of Akkad, the traditional ‘homeland’ as far as astrology is concerned. This symbolism is in marked contrast to the malevolent Mars, whose Exaltation rises with the winter solstice and who is associated with the land of Elam, the traditional enemy of Babylonia.
— Gavin White, The Exaltation System in Babylonian Astrology

 

CONCLUSION

 That concludes my favourite books and websites for this list. I do have some extras which I mention in the Youtube version of this article, including some other blogs and Youtubers to check out. If you want to see my face and listen to me talk about the stuff on this list go ahead and click below!