If you were wondering which astrology texts really ought to be on your book shelf, you could, as they say, do much worse than the following:

General:

Horoscope Symbols, Robert Hand, Para Research, 1981. This is the one general introduction you cannot be without – a combination of the accessible and the scholarly, Hand’s books are always worth a read.  He even manages to underline some of our lazy thinking about astrology – like planetary rulerships that don’t work properly (e.g. Venus-Taurus; Mercury-Virgo) and puts everything in proper context. A brilliant book.

Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements, Stephen Arroyo, CRCS, 1975. Almost a companion book to Robert Hand’s. Where Hand is more ‘philosophical’ and even cautious in his approach, Arroyo is more upbeat and seductive. A beautifully written, penetrating work on the ‘modern’, energy-based approach to astrology that gets its points across very effectively. There is even a section on ‘how astrology works’, or the various approaches to understanding how it does so. A modern classic.

Secrets From A Stargazer’s Notebook, Debbi Kempton Smith, Topquark Press, 1999. Despite the unconventional style, the author knows her stuff and delivers it with wit and humanity. Actually, it’s hilarious! A damned good introduction for the layperson who wants to both learn and laugh!

Psychological:

Relating, Liz Greene, Coventure, 1977. The classic in this field is a marvellous survey of how Jungian psychology relates to the symbol system used in astrology, and particularly, how we can learn about the effect we have on others. There is some excellent writing here – lucid and profound.

Chiron and the Healing Journey, Melanie Reinhart, Penguin/Arkana, 1989. Still the definitive text for students of Chiron, from one of the best astrologers we have. It’s a journey into the psychology and mythology of this ancient archetype.

Saturn in Transit: Boundaries of Mind, Body, and Soul, Erin Sullivan, Samuel Weiser (2nd edition), 2000. You can never go wrong with Erin Sullivan: I know her personally and she’s an excellent astrology teacher with depth and wisdom to match. As the Amazon blurb says, it ‘gives a thorough account of the astrology, mythology, and [Jungian] psychology of Saturn’s role as the source of divine discontent.’ It’s one of my personal favourites and I recommend you buy it at once.

Transits/Predictive:

Planets in Transit,  Robert Hand, Para Research, 1981. You need not look any further for a reference book on planetary transits and how they affect the individual on a daily basis. The ‘Bible’, as it were, for assessing the dynamics of the horoscope, it has Hand’s typically acute interpretations. All in all, an indispensable work for astrologers of any level.

Midpoints & Harmonics:

Working With Astrology, Michael Harding Charles Harvey, Arkana 1990. A very well written and captivating study of ‘advanced’ astrology –  dealing with midpoints, harmonics and astrocartography. Serving as  a marvellous introduction to all three branches, it pinpoints the workings of these ‘hidden’ elements of the chart very well indeed.

Applied Cosmobiology, Reinhold Ebertin, AFA, 1972. The standard work for those researching and interpreting midpoints – not exactly for beginners, it is based on the ninety-degree dial. However,  midpoints are not exactly an advanced matter in astrology; they are, as Ebertin shows, fundamental to it.

Ephemerides:

Raphael’s Ephemeris, W. Foulsham. Most of you will be acquainted with the annual, pocket-sized ephemerides, a favourite with many astrologers. But there are now larger format versions (re-issued 2011) which go up to 151 years. Crammed with new data like the Dark Moon Lilith, asteroids and the Centaur planet, Chiron – all of them in ten-day increments – there is even a Ready Reckoner for more accurate lunar calculations.