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The most important part of the horoscope is probably the aspects between the planets and/or the ascendant. The more the aspects and the greater their strength, the more the horoscope seems to be saying. But to understand just what it is saying, many of us rely on other astrologers who are better than we are, and that is why owning a few good books about the planetary aspects is so important for most students of astrology. A little technique I use when checking out a book in the store is to skip to the section about an aspect I have in my own natal chart and am more familiar with-- Venus-Saturn, for example --and test the author in that manner. You can't necessarily expect he or she to know every little thing you know about how this aspect seems to play out in your life, but their interpretation should at least tell you something you don't already know. But even if it doesn't, as long as it sounds accurate, I'll give the book a second chance and look at its treatment of some of the other aspects. You usually can tell when what the author says seems to have the kind of authenticity and convincing detail that is grounded in personal experience, rather than being derived from guess-work or deductive reasoning about what a combination of Venus-Saturn or Jupiter-Pluto *should* mean. Horoscope interpretation is hard enough as it is, because I think that everyone who studies astrology quickly learns that the textbooks are just a guide, and even though they are usually referred to as "cookbooks", relying on the separate ingredients to reach an overall understanding of a real person's complex personality is not even as useful as a recipe. Not that I'm much of a cook myself, and not that I don't admire astrologers who can write these books, because it must be quite difficult. Given these facts, Sue Tompkins's book passes all the tests and I've returned many times for guidance to the worn, underlined passages in my 1990 copy of her book. And the fact that it keeps getting reissued by different publishers and still can be found in the ridiculously small astrology section of Borders or Barnes & Noble--while so many others are excluded or have gone out of print-- speaks for itself. I whole-heartedly recommend it.
Sue Tompkins is an amazing women, a true visionary. She has all the skills, academic knowledge & complete professionalism required. She is a pioneer in her field. This book was an absolute must for anyone starting out or already well aquainted in the area of astrology. A book that it easy to follow & one that will be referred to repeatedly through ones ownership. A must buy.
I am a newbie at astrology (2yrs) and Sue Tompkins with her quirky sense of humor made this book a joy to read and easy to comprehend.I bought it used but it was in "New" condition. Buy it and enjoy! I did.