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Book Review: Astrology and the Archetypal Power of Numbers

March 29, 2019

By Armand Diaz, PhD   

Title: Astrology and the Archetypal Power of Numbers
Author: Joe Landwehr
2018, Ancient Tower Press
591 pages

If fewer people are reading books these days, you’d never know it from the size of astrology books. Joe Landwehr’s recent contribution to the astrological canon clocks in at nearly 600 pages, and like any book of such size, the commitment required demands that the effort be rewarded.

Assessing whether it’s worth the time and cognitive energy can be challenging, but I think that there are two simple points on which the decision would hinge: are you interested in numerology, and are you interested in its applicability to astrology? If the answer is yes, the book is very much worthwhile – even if you occasionally feel little beads of sweat dripping from your grey matter.

Astrology and Archetypal Power of Numbers is the second book in a series, but the introductory material gives a good summary of the material covered in the first volume, The Seven Gates of the Soul. In fact, it is in the Preface that Mr. Landwehr presents a perspective on astrology, numerology, and soul that would be of interest even to folks who answered “no” to the questions above. He does a very good job of deconstructing the modern materialist worldview that looks down on astrology, while also describing the limitations of religious fundamentalism (science and Western religion agree on few points, but their mutual condemnation of astrology makes them strange bedfellows).

In his approach to astrology and numerology, Mr. Landwehr casts a wide net to capture support from contemporary psychology to quantum physics, and he does so in a thoughtful and intelligent way (in contrast to those astrologers and New Age enthusiasts who use Carl Jung and Werner Heisenberg as shouting points). I was very thankful for an impressive list of works cited, presented at the back of the book along with an index.

The root of the author’s approach is what he calls astropoetics, which he describes as “a poetic approach to astrology, applied to the human quest for meaning, purpose, and a deeper connection to all life” (from the Preface, page XXX). He goes on to connect astrological symbols to numbers, which are then connected to mythological figures and deities, following in the tradition of Pythagoras. From here, Mr. Landwehr goes on to match astrological tradition with an underlying numerical theory (it’s a great way to learn numerology, by the way).

The bulk (and I use the term literally) of the book is devoted to the how planets are expressed in each of ten number realms. This requires careful attention to both the overall theory and the specifics of each chapter, which is not the easiest to understand. Thankfully, the author guides the reader through this process with clarity and helpful examples, but it is very much learn-as-you-go. Those of us who prefer instructions followed by examples may be somewhat disappointed.

Yet we shouldn’t really expect the ‘astropoetic’ approach to follow a linear, logical path. I felt that reading the book was more about a process of understanding than learning from an instruction manual, and I believe that’s what the author had in mind. The effort required is great, but the potential rewards are substantial.

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