Several users sent me an email asking what is the best way to learn astrology.
There isn't a best way in general, but there's a best way for each person, according to their astrological chart.
First, we might explore the person's attitude and their intention about learning astrology. There are very different attitudes among astrologers. I see the roots of these attitudes coming from their dominant planet.
For instance, a Mercury dominant would be driven mainly by curiosity and the love of exploring astrology from an intellectual level, as they get pleasure by revealing the intricacies of the planets, houses, aspects and transits.
A person with a Moon dominant would be interested in the emotional aspects of astrology, as they enjoy finding out how the planets give life to their feelings.
A Venus dominant would be interested in the balance between the astrological elements, in the astrology of relationships and how two persons can best be matched through their natal charts.
A Neptune dominant would be attracted by the mystical side of astrology, a Pluto dominant would feel compelled to penetrate astrology's mysteries and so on.
A couple of users also asked me whether 12andus would create videos explaining astrology or the meaning of the dominant planets. I am not going to do that at least for the medium term. I will explain the reasons why.
What I learned in 35 years of passion and research is that astrology is an amazing tool for self-awareness connecting our psyche to the perennial wisdom of the astrological symbolism. As with anything which improves self-understanding, this is better conveyed by media which are helpful to deepen the inner process and view.
Written words travel back and forth between the book (yes, much it is better to read a book than to do so from the screen) and our awareness. Written words respect our pace, while videos pour information directly inside our minds with less involvement from our side.
Since the images are already created and forced into our consciousness, videos hijack our imaginative capacities. By reading books, we become co-creators but when watching videos, we become just an audience.
I think a word is worth 1,000 images, not the opposite. Words create inner images. I might be biased by my past as a book publisher, but I feel that good old words are still the best medium to convey meaning and insights.
After this preface, let's get to the heart of the question. In my opinion, there are 3 main channels for learning astrology, all needed: books (as a Mercurian, I love books), personal conversations with other astrologers and people who are passionate about astrology and practice, practice practice.
A short list of some of the main astrologers whose books have influenced my formation:
Dane Rudhyar joined astrology with spirituality and transpersonal psychology. Not always easy to read, he was a pioneer in considering astrology as something more related to the inner, rather than to the outer happenings. Dane represents a quantum jump from the astrological tradition to see astrology as something that was going to happen.
Stephen Arroyo is an astrologer who wrote several books with a psychological oriented attitude, and is also a pioneer in combining astrology with self-understanding.
Liz Greene connects astrology with depth psychology. Her books reveal the deep meaning of the archetypes in our psyche. The books about Saturn and Neptune are in my opinion masterpieces.
Robert Hand's writings convey depth through an approachable language. Remarkable are his works on relationship astrology and the astrological interpretations suited for children.
André Barbault with his discerning considerations about world astrology and history has connected the individual charts of the kings with the countries' histories.
Lisa Morpurgo was an Italian astrologer and writer who created innovative theories about the planets. Fascinating are her astrological novels.
There are many more great astrology authors, but these listed here have probably best shaped my knowledge.
Personal conversations with other astrologers and researchers were fundamental in understanding how others understand a chart, in acknowledging the different methods of approaching a reading, and to see how each astrologer has their own preferences (and, as human beings, biases).
Then practice, practice and more practice to join the theoretical teachings with the actual natal charts. There was a time when, even risking being ridiculous, I asked the birth data of every person I knew. Many of them, knowing I came from computer science studies, asked if I really believed in "that stuff." My answer was "no, I don't believe in it, I am discovering through experience that astrology works."
Friends were especially useful for giving feedback about my observations. Having had a considerable number of friends from different social statutes, beliefs, countries and cultures, I learned how the planets express themselves also according to the collective cultures, while keeping their symbolical meanings.
As a[n amateur] writer, I also support your opinion about learning from texts instead of videos, specially considering they all are in spoken English while I'm a native Spanish-speaker (it's hard for me understanding spoken English), and the fact it's quite hard finding texts in Spanish about (professional) astrology, specially in my country, Mexico (they are very rare, hard to find, expensive and old; the last ones date from the late eighties!). Texts let me applying effort in translating them when they are in English, learning new specialized terms and then creating new content about astrology in order to share them with any Spanish-speaker interested in it (some astrological terms came from Greek and Latin, the basis of Spanish). Videos not. On the contrary, the huge diversity of accents in English (American, British and Australian English has their own dialects according to specific regions and it's even related to specific races, without even considering the accent from non-native English-speakers) makes pretty hard for me extracting the core data (I can't understand information when it lacks logical order or a comprehensible structure, or when there is a flood of superficial and unnecesary data that isn't relevant: Saturn in the third house) I need. xD
Unfortunately, I never could get in touch with professional astrologers (I just could get in touch with amateur astrologers by Internet only), and, since I'm self-taught, my sources of information may be out of date, wrong to some extent or non-serious. Before "12andus", I joined "Astrodienst" first (2013), where I found non-serious interpretations of my natal chart made by Liz Greene and Robert Hand and my whole birth chart (there were some interpretations about some aspects that didn't match with me or worked "backwards/upside down"). Before that, I just could read "Linda Goodman's Sun Signs" (1968) and a very old book written by an Argentinian guy (1934) where Pluto had just been mentioned as Scorpio's ruler by first time! Thanks to those books, I could find the positions of my Sun, Ascendant and Midheaven...
But I had lots of doubts about me: Why was I more like a Scorpion despite my Sun in Cancer (almost in Leo)? In the year 2013 I decided starting to solve that mystery. First, I made my birth chart with Astrodienst's website and I found my stelliums in Scorpio (rising sign, Moon and Pluto, in conjunction with each other) and Leo (Midheaven, Mercury and Jupiter, in conjunction with each other and the Sun); that was the first part of the answer, but I still was unsatisfied with it: I'm similar with Leo's natives, but I'm much more into Scorpio's traits, and even I feel myself as a Scorpio. Then (2014), I used the old methods described in my 30's book (essential dignities, for example) in order to find the rest of the answer, and I discovered that Saturn (in Aquarius; it's not Saturn's house, but it's similar) was "my best set planet" in my birth chart and the one whose influence is necessary in order to "control the bad influence of my worst set planet", the Moon (in Scorpio: Pluto's house, Uranus' exaltation, Moon's fall, Venus' exile) and managing the influence of the other planets; that was other part of the answer, and despite I'm quite similar with Capricorn's natives I still was unsatisfied with it: I'm similar with Capricorn's natives and even I share the same values, mindset, likes and luck with them, but I'm much more into Scorpio's traits, and even I feel myself as a Scorpio. But finally, and luckily for me, I found this website (2017) and I discovered here the rest of the answer: Pluto dominant and Scorpio dominant. Besides, I found creepily accurate interpretations about my natal chart (I found some of them years ago, but a just a very few of them), and even Spanish-speaker amateur astrologers -like me- with which I shared information about astrology! :D
Now, thanks to your post, I found more sources of information. Thanks for creating this website! <3
P.S.: Only my mother, my little sister and me believe in astrology. And, before joining (in 2016) an university in order to study literature ("Intercultural literature": It mixes literature, anthropology and linguistics; I want to discover the lost past of Mexico before the Spaniard invassion), I was into an engineering (Renewable energies... Maybe I return some day... Or maybe I try the engineering at mechanics... I love mechanics and renewable energies). I always was into The Occult, astrology and that kind of stuffs, unlike the rest of Mexicans, who think astrology is a sort of sorcery or "heressy" (Mexico is 82% Catholic). xD
Thanks for sharing your experience with us and be an active member. Your posts are deep and stimulating.
About what you said, unfortunately there's a common misunderstanding about astrology and religions. I tried to clarify some issues on the post "Religions, Pope Francis and astrology forecast" at https://12andus.com/blog/view/24235/religions-pope-francis-and-astrology-forecast
Hey! May be a bit off topic, You referred "Dane Rudhyar joined astrology with spirituality and transpersonal psychology."- which trigger me to share my observation. The concept of potential is not universal. An attribute which treated as a good thing in indian society, same thing may not be appreciated in western society, So as astrological aspects as well. If you can suggest me any book regarding this deviation it will be great.
Hi. Even though I travelled to India a number of times and approached Indian spirituality, I never really deepen vedic astrology. I read a couple of books only which is not enough to have a deep understanding. Sorry for not being helpful
beautiful explained, in an original and captivating way! Much gratitude for your wholehearted and generous sharing. My commitment is to honour your dedication through this sharing towards us, our personal growth, as well as the universal mind.
Here are some thoughts around "WORDS CREATE INNER IMAGES":
"Written words respect our pace, while videos pour information directly inside our minds with less involvement from our side. Since the images are already created and forced into our consciousness, videos hijack our imaginative capacities. By reading books, we become co-creators but when watching videos, we become just an audience."
I'm on the same wave. That's the reason why - when I'm watching and listening a video concerning a matter I want to learn about it, I'm, at the same time, writing almost each word that is spoken, and stoping the video from times to times, so I can be truly engage and inside the word, its meanings, its teachings. I'm truly glad to read this from you, this is a powerful message that is commonly missed in the present days. Thank you for sharing your sense of life with us.