Recommended Reading

These are books that I have read and recommend. I use Amazon affiliate links to help monetize my expertise. I make a commission from qualifying purchases. 

Astrology

People ask me often what books I recommend at various stages of their astrological journey. These are the six books that I would recommend to take someone from absolute beginner to advanced astrologer. It does get more complex than this, but at that point one will likely have already started to specialize and will have their own ideas about what they want to study. 

Astrology for Yourself, by Demetra George, is an excellent entry level guide to astrology in an easy to use workbook format. I constantly recommend this book to beginners in forums in an effort to combat the misinformation promoted by the undeservingly popular The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need

Horoscope Symbols, by Rob Hand, is one of the first books on modern astrology that I ever read. Although it was written prior to the his involvement in Project Hindsight and helping to spark the revival of traditional astrology we're currently enjoying, Hand was apparently aware enough of traditional predictive astrology even then that he challenges the poor rationale of many modern doctrines that don't bear scrutiny. As a result of his measured stance on the tenets of modern schools such as humanistic and evolutionary astrology, there is very little in this book that the beginning-to-intermediate-level astrologer has to unlearn if they subsequently decide to learn traditional astrology. I still draw upon his teachings on fundamentals like sign and house meanings today. At the same time, Hand does a great job of highlighting contributions of modern astrology that are truly innovative. 

Astrology and the Authentic Self, by Demetra George, is an intermediate level resource. It is the best introduction to traditional astrology that currently exists because it explains the fundamentals in terms that are accessible to a modern audience, preparing them to understand our traditional source texts (with help from her Ancient Astrology Vol. 1 and Chris Brennan's Hellenistic Astrology). I recommend reading it prior to the other two books I just mentioned because it offers a systematic approach to integrating the methodologies of traditional and modern astrology. Even though I don't use every technique that makes up the system that George proposes (like secondary progressios or Dane Rudhyar's approach to lunar phase in nativities), the overall structure she proposes here is something that I still implement in my own system today. The reader should be advised that in all of Demetra George's and Chris Brennan's works on traditional astrology, there are traditional principles that are simplified; perhaps over-simplified. Even so, each of these is a must-read. 

Hellenisic Astrology, by Chris Brennan, is an intermediate to advanced level resource on Hellenistic astrology in particular, a tradition which fused several pre-existing types of astrology into a single system. This system was transmitted to various cultures and was influential upon, if not integral to all subsequent systems. Brennan's aim in this work is to present an attempt at a reconstruction of a unified system of Hellenistic astrology that is more-or-less representative of what all of the astrologers of this era would have practiced. In doing so, I disagree with some of his conclusions, and I feel that he oversimplifies at times. I think that this is worth pointing out because otherwise one might assume that the tradition was more homogeneous than it really was. That having been said, this is an excellent introduction to traditional astrology that transports the reader back in time, and familiarizes them with a way of looking at celestial phenomena as symbols and omens that has largely been lost to the modern psyche. 

In Demetra George's Ancient Astrology series, she and Chris Brennan (her former student) coordinated with one another with the intention of having their books' contents compliment one another. We can see Ancient Astrology as an extension of what Brennan was trying to accomplish as stated above, except that George's focus extends out beyond the era of Hellenistic astrology and, intending a trilogy, leaves herself more freedom to explore and unpack the themes she is investigating. She continues the trend that I have already credited to Chris Brennan of helping the modern reader to view celestial phenomena as a sort of symbolic language. This becomes useful when we begin reading source texts, which tend to be difficult to understand. 

Carmen Astrologicum is credited to Dorotheus of Sidon (modern-day Lebanon), one of the earliest of the Hellenistic astrologers. However this translation, offered by Benjamin Dykes, is based upon later Arabic translations, which presumably contain additions from some of these medieval astrologers. One thing that I've discovered is that not all traditional sources are created equal. Some Hellenistic astrologers were better than others, just as some Arabic astrologers were better than others. Regardless of whether we categorize this translation as Hellenistic, Arabic, or some sort of composite, I hold it in the highest of esteem out of all of the source texts I've encountered. 

Yoga Philosophy

These are books I've written under my monastic name on the subject of Tantrik Yoga. This isn't required reading for astrologers necessarily, but it does offer a worldview that implies a rational explanation for how and why astrology and magic work, as well as a sense of purpose and meaning to the questions of fate, free will, and suffering that astrologers and our clients at times are forced to grapple with. 

Whether you are a first-time meditator or a meditation veteran, this title is a must-read! In a mere 33 pages, So You Wanna Meditate teaches the how and the why of meditation. It is a fresh take on a time-honored tradition. Learn your first meditation within minutes of picking up the book. Learn to turn any act of awareness into potent a meditation; meditate anywhere! Learn how you can tap into the Divine, Truth-revealing power of an ancient lineage that is still alive and well today. Become awake; all the tools are here.

Was Jesus actually an enlightened Master belonging to a Shiva-centric sect of Indian mystics? The Yogic Gospel of Thomas sheds new light onto this question by considering alternate accounts of Jesus’ lost years and exploring the philosophical common ground between the Gospel of Thomas and the yogic mysticism of India, particularly Kashmir Shaivism. Of note are the blatant references to concrete symbols belonging to Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), such as the five trees of Lord Indra’s garden paradise and the iconic Nataraj (Dancing Shiva), as well as the more subtle components of these secret sayings of Jesus that only a fellow mystic would notice. Inner lights, sounds, equanimity, Divine peace, the Guru-disciple relationship, and self-knowledge are all addressed. What was formerly hidden in plain sight is turned over and examined from every angle. The Yogic Gospel of Thomas is unique because it is written by someone who not only studies and is knowledgeable in the relevant sets of conceptual frameworks and philosophical disciplines, but who also lives the practice associated with them, who has had the inner experiences that breathed life into these ancient teachings in the first place, and who is connected to (and can connect you to) a tradition that is still alive and well today; a modern analogue to precisely what Jesus represented in Judea and India over 2,000 years ago. As much as it is interesting brain food, The Yogic Gospel of Thomas is equally, if not more so, a practicum and a lifeline. May it serve you well.

Sanatana Dharma (AKA Hinduism) is founded upon the Guru-disciple relationship. The Guru Gita is the most comprehensive work on the subject. While there are many versions of the Guru Gita, this effort contains an original translation of the complete version, which consists of 352 couplets (called shloka-s). Additionally, this book, The Authoritative Guru Gita, includes a commentary that is notable for a few different reasons. First, it provides insight into the philosophies and traditions that the author (or authors) of the Guru Gita draw from: namely, Kashmir Shaivism, Shri Vidya, and, possibly, some form of Vaishnavism. All of these fall under the broader umbrella of Tantra in this case. The commentary found here is also practical in nature. It is intended to serve as an aid in the practice of the yoga associated with the Guru Path. Incidentally, The Authoritative Guru Gita also includes the full 352-shloka Guru Gita in its original Sanskrit (in Roman script rather than Devanagari) in order to facilitate the chanting of the Guru Gita, which is one of its purposes. Finally, the above-mentioned commentary is noteworthy in that it was composed at the request and under the close supervision of Mahamandaleshwar Swarupananda, one of Hinduism’s eighty Mahamandaleshwars. By definition, a Mahamandaleshwar is a theological authority, the weight of whose stance is second only to four Shankaracharyas. Thus, this truly is the authoritative position on the Guru Gita.