By Armand Diaz, Ph.D
Where can the curious find a good book to help them get a taste of this ancient discipline? With Roy Gillett’s new book, The Secret Language of Astrology, the problem is solved.
Gillett does a great job of explaining astrological concepts in terms that are easy to understand, and he avoids the sort of astrological jargon that turns people off. Astrology is a complicated language, but in this book the reader is introduced to the vocabulary in manageable chunks, always accompanied by clear explanations. The material is presented in a way that shows appreciation for what the reader wants to know.
The book is beautifully illustrated (it would make a great gift). The use of images helps to make the material fun and interesting, and the reader can relate to astrological concepts more easily through the visual reference. The pictures also make this the kind of book one can pick up and thumb through at leisure, although a serious read from start to finish is recommended. Gillett takes the reader through a tour of the planets, the signs of the zodiac, and other astrological concepts, all with reference to myths and symbols from all over the world and throughout history.
The Secret Language of Astrology begins with a very readable history of astrology, in which Gillett shows that astrology has been on the outside of Western civilization since the days of the Roman Empire, yet it has evolved into a complex discipline with multiple schools. He also points out that astrology is better accepted in other parts of the world, most notably India, where it is recognized as a valuable tool for navigating through changing times.
Gillett avoids – probably wisely – extended discussion of how and why astrology works. This is an issue that not only divides astrology from mainstream science (and hence the dominant worldview in the West), but also divides astrologers. He cautions that the reader shouldn’t assume the planets are actually causing things to happen. But the focus of the book is on experiencing astrology, not explaining it: the idea is that if readers become acquainted with astrology through some direct experience, they will delve deeper into this ancient art and begin to answer the more complex questions for themselves.
Readers won’t have much trouble applying what they are learning, as Gillett directs them to a website where they can get free astrological charts. That makes it easy to take general astrological ideas and make them specific to the reader, along with friends and family.
The Secret Language of Astrology won’t convince dyed-in-the-wool skeptics that there is anything to astrology, but that’s not what the author aims to do. Rather, Roy Gillett has written a book that can serve as a gateway to astrology for the curious and for those who want to know more. Unlike many authors of introductory books, he doesn’t assume that the reader wants to charge in at full speed, and instead has written a book that allows you to hang around the gate, peer inside, take a few steps, and get comfortable at your own speed. Thanks to his clear explanations and the books illustrations, even advanced astrologers will appreciate having a copy.
Secret Language of Astrology
By Roy Gillettt
(2011) Watkins. 176 pages, with illustrations.
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Category: Book Reviews