Astrology has been around for thousands of years, and in that time there have been many astrological systems and techniques, each reflecting a unique time and social milieu. Like any discipline, astrology isn’t given; it’s constructed by the interaction of the consciousness of the astrologer with the observable facts. As the consciousness of astrologers changes and evolves, so does astrology. Periodically, these changes lead to a point where astrologers can – or need to – reimagine astrology. Hadley Fitzgerald and Judith Harte have shared their process of reimagining astrology in their new book, Images of Soul.
The book is comprised of a series of communications between the two authors that begins in the late 1980s, when Fitzgerald moved away to take a new job. Interestingly (astrologers would say synchronistically), had the two not been separated by geographical distance we would not have the record of their correspondence, which forms the core of the book. About halfway through, the letters (actual paper letters!) between the authors ends, and is picked up in more recent times in an email correspondence.
It is a unique format for a book, but why would anyone want to read decades-old letters between two astrologers? There are several excellent reasons, and they all center around the theme of reimagining astrology. By following the thread of the correspondence, the reader gets insight not only into the authors’ ideas, but the processes by which they reach them. Both Fitzgerald and Harte follow a Jungian perspective, strongly informed by the work of psychologist James Hillman, and they are seeking to move astrology beyond its more brick-and-mortar concerns, to make it a language for the soul.
Images of Soul is not simply a book that deals with the larger theoretical issues of astrology. Through their correspondence, we get a sense of how the authors came up against the limitations of astrology and creatively worked past those limitations – for example, through dream work and inner dialogue. We also get a sense of how they each worked with the difficult issues surrounding the limited acceptance of astrology in our society. In sharing their personal feelings and their professional triumphs and frustrations, Fitzgerald and Harte make the book open and heartfelt. The authors also share some fascinating case stories that give us a glimpse of the dynamics of how an astrology session can work.
Fitzgerald and Harte touch upon a subject dear to the heart of this reviewer: how astrology can function from multiple perspectives, and the imperative for astrologers to recognize the client’s changing needs. Some clients seek guidance on what the authors call the Traditional perspective – practical questions with direct answers. At other times, clients have needs on what they call the Humanistic perspective, which is focused on inspiring and awakening, or the Jungian (focused on meaning) or Imaginal (images) perspectives. The authors argue for the astrologer to have the ability to shift back and forth among these perspectives across or even within sessions.
Images of Soul will make great reading for anyone interested in the deeper dimensions of astrology. Counselors and therapists who are using astrology or at least open to the possibility will gain a great deal from this book. The reader will benefit from having some knowledge of astrology, but it isn’t required – this is a book about possibilities, a reimagined astrology.