Astrology is a complex discipline, so it is natural that most astrology books are intentionally geared towards beginning or intermediate students, or professionals. It is a rarity to find an astrology book that can be read with interest by both newcomers and those with an advanced understanding of astrology. Nadiya Shah’s book, Astrology Realized, is such a book – while it is explicitly an invitation to learn astrology from the ground up, it contains many insights that will intrigue anyone with an interest in astrology. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and will use it as an introductory text for my students.
Nadiya Shah is an astrologer who is well known for her video channel on YouTube, where she offers forecasts and summaries of astrological aspects. With Astrology Realized, she demonstrates that she can also write. Shah’s tone is conversational and engaging, and reading the book is like having a private lesson with her. In addition to presenting the material in didactic form, she ends each chapter with exercises to help integrate the material. In fact, throughout each chapter she offers questions and strategies designed to help the reader understand not only what the planet, sign, or other factor means in astrology, but what it means in our lives at a personal, tangible level.
The book begins with a historical overview of astrology that helps to orient the reader to a discipline that is thousands of years old. Shah shows us that astrology is not a monolithic discipline that has remained unchanged across millennia, but a diverse collection of approaches that reflects different cultural and philosophical perspectives. This diversity is not only a historical progression leading up to the present, but a continuing phenomenon. Shah takes an integral approach that honors the various astrological schools and perspectives alive today, and places them within the context from which they can be appreciated and utilized to the greatest effect. This section also contains a history of the criticisms of astrology, a brave and intelligent addition to a book that is decidedly pro-astrology.
Astrology Realized goes on to sections on the planets, signs, and houses of the horoscope, all expected parts of an introduction to astrology. Yet in her choice of content Shah goes deeper, including chapters on the elements (fire, earth, air, water) and modes, and the aspects. These topics are often, although not always, overlooked in entry-level books on astrology. She then goes deeper still and addresses areas like house rulerships and prediction – again, topics that are not always found in introductory texts. To include all of these in a 246 page book might seem like a stretch that could gloss over complex issues, yet Shah manages to take the reader deep enough into each topic to begin developing an understanding of its complexities without getting lost in details.
Astrology Realized is an ambitious attempt to introduce the interested reader into the world of astrology – and the author succeeds admirably. Nadiya Shah’s love of astrology is as deep as it is apparent and while she adroitly explains technique, her book’s aim is just as much to share her love of astrology and inspire it in the reader – another ambitious endeavor in which I believe she succeeds.