Most helpful critical review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not for those who are serious about Astrology
on May 7, 2014
First of all, a bit of a disclaimer. I've been studying astrology for almost 25 years, and by "studying" I mean actually taking courses and practicing it, not just buying books and being self-taught. In that time, I've had to sift through hundreds of bad astrology books, in order to find (and keep) the few dozens that are actual important astrology tools.
That said, it's no wonder that most of the people in the scientific community, and most skeptics in general, laugh at astrology to this day, afterall, unlike medicine or law (which have their bad practitioners, nonetheless), astrologers don't need a license to practice, let alone to write books on the matter, and books like this are the kind that feeds the bad image of astrology.
By my rating, and the above two paragraphs, you've probably guessed where this is going, but this wouldn't be a review if I just stated this is bad book and left it at that, so allow me to elaborate.
The most staggering problem is that the authors make little to no distinction between "planet", "house" or "sign". Like most (if not all) sun-sign astrologers (aka: pseudo-astrologers), they simply assume it's all variations of the same theme. Well, they're not. As any (proper) professional astrologer will tell you, planets represent the "what", signs represent the "how", and houses represent the "where".
Now observe this quote from this book's first chapter ("Persona") on Saturn in Aries and the First House (yes, it's all treated as the same thing):
QUOTE --- "The energy of Saturn and the energy of Aries are really at odds with one another. Saturn tells you to sit down and calculate, to measure, to take it slow. Aries tells you to charge off into the wilderness, screaming all of your desires to the wind, or to anyone within listening distance."
If you haven't spotted the problem, let me try to help. To use an analogy with language and grammar, imagine planets are "nouns" (the "what") and signs are "adjectives" and "verbs" (the "how"). Well, the above quote would be similar to describing a "wooden chair" like this: "the Chair is there for you to sit down and calculate while the Wooden is there for you to run and scream."
See how awkward that sounds? That's how most of this book sounds to a trained astrologer.
Every section of the book literally combines House placement and Sign placement. This is an extreme mistake in any form of astrological work. To give you an example, if Saturn is placed in the 7th house, it affects your way to deal with others, but it's completely different if it's in Libra (the "how"), where one should look for themes of sharing and social issues, or in Scorpio, where themes of manipulation and deep psychological issues are more likely candidates.
Keep in mind this is "astrology 101". Absolutely no one (not even an amateur, let alone a "professional") can begin to make a decent interpretation, even in basic terms, if they don't know what the items on a chart represent, yet, the authors are clearly clueless of this. Then again, they are aware of their lack of accuracy, as can be seen by their preemptive defense on page 21:
QUOTE --- "You might relate to some sections as if we snuck into your brain and stole your story. On the other hand, some sections could feel a little foreign. That's the big Saturn caveat. (It's the caveat for all astrology, actually.) Don't get mad at us if it's not all absolutely, unequivocally, true. Some stuff will be foreign, and some will be freakishly familiar".
As skeptics (or anti-astrology fanatics) would say, "it's guesswork, then".
Anyway, the second issue with this book is the authors apparent feminist agenda. Don't get me wrong, rational feminism can be a great empowering thing, in the right forums, but extreme feminism is a form of sexism against men and, frankly, it's just uncalled for in a book of this nature. The authors openly admit the book is aimed at women because they "believe" women experience things differently. Even if that was true, it's no reason to ignore the effects of Saturn on a man's chart, now is it? Don't the women who buy this book have sons, a father, a husband/boyfriend, a brother, or male friends? Think about it.
The truth is, though, if the authors had studied astrology properly they'd know that everyone has both "male" and "female" characteristics. Look at your chart. See that Moon and that Venus? That's your feminine side, even if you were born as a male. See that Sun and that Mars? That's your masculine side, even if you were born a woman. There are cultural, social and, of course, genetic reasons why we gravitate towards certain archetypical roles, but studying any form of social science (at university level, mind you) and several years of practicing astrology will show you how "feminine" some men are, or how "masculine" some women are. Think "Kim Petras" next time you discuss human gender experiences.
Another issue with this book is that, despite the title, most of its content is about Saturn in general, rather than the event of Saturn's Return as one would expect. The authors try to convince the reader that they're doing something unique with this book, but they never deliver. In fact, you might as well get a book on astrological aspects - for instance, Robert Hand's "Planets in Transit" - where you can combine the information of Saturn Conjunct Saturn (basically, the definition of a Solar Return), as well as all other Saturn aspects (for a view of the whole cycle) with the paragraphs on Saturn in House and so on.
There are other minor niggles with the book, but they pale in comparison, and I don't want to make this review any longer than it already is. Suffice to say this book is a disappointment to anyone who takes astrology seriously. You're not missing out by giving this one a pass.