Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Astrological Roots: The Hellenistic Legacy, by Joseph Crane. Book Review:

Astrological Roots is a "must-have" volume for anyone who is interested in ancient astrological technique, but has no desire to abandon the 300 years of astrological development in the post-enlightenment era.

This is the first clearly written "how to" book for ancient astrological techniques that embraces, rather than alienates, the modern astrological practitioner.

When I think of how dry and dusty a work like this could be, I am very glad that this one is neither.

Joseph Crane has a clear and compelling writing voice. He is clearly interested in the subject matter and succeeds in keeping the narrative moving. He manages to make time to clear up the differences in cultural assumptions between the ancient authors and the modern era, yet he never seems to get bogged down with it.

Crane picks up his readers "where they are" and takes them from things that are easily and commonly "known", to shed light on things previously unknown. He expands the base of astrological knowledge methodically and sensibly, without trying to accomplish too much in one volume.

This volume says a lot about techniques, giving clear and simple "how to" steps that make it possible for anyone to try them. He also says quite a bit about how technique is applied, and is honest when a technique is listed but has no ancient references for how it was applied.

I was pleased to see several of his charts featured in virtually every chapter in the knock-down-drag-out style of the ancient authors. I was less amused by a peppering of celebrity charts that illustrate individual points, however I am also aware that many charts illustrating isolated points form the stock-and-trade of the modern astrological author, and adds to the book's appeal to modern astrologers. I'm just a bit of a curmudgeon in that regard.

I would like to see a companion volume that fills out the many uses for these ancient techniques, and investigates a few other techniques that were introduced in the middle ages.

Mundane and Horary volumes would be likewise welcomed.

As a long-time dabbler in the ancient forms of astrology, I find this book indispensable for the clarity with which it lays out the reasoning for the techniques described, and the application to which those techniques are put.

It is a volume that provides great insight for both the ancient Astrology purist, and the modern astrologer alike.

Astrological Roots lays the foundation for the bridge that will eventually span the cavernous rift between modern astrology and its ancient past.

I highly recommend this book to all students of astrology.

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