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I was recently reading ‘New Insights In Modern Astrology’ which is based on a series of lectures given by Liz Greene and Stephen Arroyo. For those of you wanting to try your hands at Chart interpretation and Synthesis the Methods of Chart Synthesis chapter by Arroyo is a must.
His basic message is keep things as simple as possible. As he points out for a long time Astrology used only seven planets and six major aspects to carry out a chart reading. As recently as 1971 this had only increased to 10 planets. But now the use of objects such as Chiron, the Asteroids, such as Juno, Ceres and Pallas and even fictional planets (ones that might or might not exist but are yet undiscovered) has led to a mushrooming of influences that some Astrologers try to take into account. As he says, there may come a time when there are more heavenly bodies used in Astrology than there are Astrologers and clients. Everyone will have their own ruling pebble.
He argues that it is better to use the ten planets and use them effectively and in a comprehending way than to take the line that if it moves you must interpret it. He is not saying that the more esoteric planets should never be used, simply that they should be used in support of the main planets and only then when you can confidently deal with those ten.
He also points out that many professional Astrologer also keep to the main ten or ten plus Chiron for most of their work and only draw on the rest when they need additional information. So if you want to try your hand just get used to the main ten and the major aspects – the rest will follow if and when you need them.
I totally agree w/keeping the first 10 planets as the center and foundation of the chart. I find even w/i the 10 planets, you can even start to forget the weight that the sun sign carries! Arroyo always struck me as being on the conservative side though - not that conservatism is a bad thing, I find he has good reasons for his methods.
Arroyo acts as a consultant and I think once you get into that you have to be conservative. It's easy to speculate or try something new but when someone else is possibly going to act on your advice then you have to think several times before committing yourself.
One of the benefits of a forum like this is we can exchange ideas about the fringe areas without too much risk of damage! However for newbies, Arroyo's advice is good - the real critical stuff is in the 10 planets. Later on when confidence comes or you need to look nuances, the other stuff can help.
One other thing Arroyo said in the same lecture was to look for at least three indicators of a trait before you actually ascribed it to someone. Thus you didn't say someone was stubborn because they had a Taurus Sun. You looked for other signs as well.
what did the book cost????
I was looking at the Liz Greene collection in Borders last night. Minderwiz and it looks fascinating.
Being so new, I purchased instead a book which carries the same message. It is How to read your astrological chart: aspects of the cosmic puzzle by Donna Cunningham, Weiser Books, 1999 $AUS32.20). This in conjunction with Arroyo's Chart Interpretation Handbook looks to be really helpful.
She says: .........you'll find that my style is minimalist - the standard natal chart and transits with few frills - and I recommend that you at least start out that way........Just stay sparse and uncluttered so the cosmos' main messages stand out.
I don't have any of Cunningham's books myself, but I have read one or two articles of hers. She is a top notch Astrologer and I think you made a good purchase their Moongold.
Liz Greene is one of the worlds's top Astrologers and anything by her is well worth reading. I have her book on Saturn, A New Look At An Old Devil - it's excellent.
Minderwiz> that's a great rule of thumb from Arroyo (looking for 3 indicators before commiting). I've also found that looking for placements to counter or balance out a certain trait is also helpful in a natal chart analysis.
I've actually finished reading most of Moon Signs by Cunningham. It's a pretty good resource, going beyond sign/house placements. I do find her analysis somewhat dated b/c of her adherence to traditional gender roles (ie. men w/Virgo moons apparently believe a woman's place is in the house to clean. Uh.... maybe in the 80s when this book was published, but certainly it's a rarity to meet young men who would think like this today.) I find she's very to the point and uses really clear, simple language although it's a tad bit too touchy feely for my taste. But that's just a personal quibble. Overall, it has been quite helpful.
Originally posted by isthmus nekoi
I do find her analysis somewhat dated b/c of her adherence to traditional gender roles (ie. men w/Virgo moons apparently believe a woman's place is in the house to clean. Uh.... maybe in the 80s when this book was published, but certainly it's a rarity to meet young men who would think like this today.) I find she's very to the point and uses really clear, simple language although it's a tad bit too touchy feely for my taste. But that's just a personal quibble. Overall, it has been quite helpful.
Cunningham does not go into the gender stuff very much at all in the book I mentioned, Isthmus. She concentrates on getting people to THINK about the chart as a whole which is good for novices. The emphasis on simplicity is strong, She and Arroyo are good together, but he does have a sharper edge.
Yes, looking for counter, or balancing 'items' is a good approach. I tend to look at say the trinities of houses, Life, Substance, Relationships and Endings to see if there's anything there to counter an imbalance in the elements.
I've not read the Cunningham book, but I hope to eventually get round to it, so thanks for the feedback on it.
Minderwiz, you may find the bulk of Moon Signs a little too basic for your needs. But it's great for those who are familiar w/the rudiments of a natal chart and want to expand. Another nice thing about Cunningham is that she keeps a sense of humour about things. I've read some of her articles at http://www.innerself.com and found them to be helpful.