When I was asked to undertake the expansion and editing of Llewellyn's New A to Z Horoscope Maker and Interpreter, I was assailed by a mixture of feelings. This was one of the first astrology books I owned. I read and reread entire chapters when I first began my study of the birth chart. I remember putting together phrases from the book about different planetary placements and aspects, trying to make sense of my own chart, and then working with charts of celebrities, family members, and friends.
I wanted to create a story about the person whose chart I was studying—a story that made sense of all the astrological data. Until I could do this, I knew I wouldn't do professional consultations. The outline of birth chart delineation in the A to Z was perhaps the best published tool I had. The only thing better was my wonderful teachers and fellow students.
Before I started the actual work of expansion and editing, I met with other Llewellyn staff members to consider what needed to be changed and added. These conversations developed into a list of new topics to include. We also decided that a self-study guide would be an integral part of the book. As I worked through the A to Z developing the study guide, I was reminded of questions I had asked myself over thirty years before.
A Handy Astrologer's Tool
I understood what a powerful tool this book had been for me. I still have it on my shelf for reference. Not the first copy I owned—it fell apart long ago. I use it to find definitions of terms, review a particular aspect, or recall a detail about the delineation of progressions that slipped my mind. The editing task turned out to be an unexpected gift for my astrological work.
As I worked on the topics in the expanded section, I realized that some reorganization would be helpful, too. Almost everyone I know has access to very accurate birth charts, either on the Internet or through an astrological program, so in the new edition, all the math is in an appendix. The lessons on interpretation are organized in digestible chapters. Some of the additions are integrated into already existing sections of the book, and some are in an entirely new section. Many contemporary astrological methods are introduced briefly. The added material offers many choices for developing your astrological expertise.
Over the years, my personal astrological studies have led me in the direction of creativity. As I studied humanistic and transpersonal psychology, I came to understand that every one of us has creative potential of some kind. Astrology and psychology are inseparable for me now. I explore creative potential within a person's chart and then seek ways to facilitate the ongoing creative process. My clients have questions ranging from when to file a lawsuit to how to deal with a child's illness. Astrology can help to discover an answer to all of life's questions.
These two words sum up the essence of human life. We all have free will. Yes, astrology can be used to understand yourself and to forecast the future. With the information you gain, you have the knowledge to make better decisions. You continue to exercise your own free will, but with a whole new set of information about yourself and the world in which you live. Astrological information is just that—facts, opinions, and indications of what is possible.
I like to think of life as a journey along a river. The current will carry you along. If you want to go more slowly, you can steer toward the bank. If you want excitement, you can shoot the rapids. Near the headwaters, the course downstream is quick and sometimes treacherous—you can't always see the obstacles. Toward the end of life, most people find that the river flows more evenly. It can reach flood stage, or it can meander the way, old rivers do. Astrology serves to point out the major obstacles along the way, and indicate which part of the current will take you where you want to go.
Llewellyn's New A to Z Horoscope Maker and Interpreter started me on my astrological journey in the early 1970s. My work on the revision has refreshed my excitement about astrology. Regardless of which modern technique I study, I always find myself returning to the basics. This book provides a solid foundation for understanding the planets, signs, houses and aspects. It also provides a systematic guide to interpreting the birth chart as a whole. Through it, you can gain understanding of the person whose chart you interpret, and you also learn ways to share the information.