An autobiographical resource list
When people ask me for resources on astrology or where to learn more for themselves I often mention Steven Forrest’s The Inner Sky and Demetra George’s Astrology For Yourself as great places to start. They’re books that lay out the fundamentals of the craft while having plenty of meat to go deeper if you’d like. But when I think about how I actually learned astrology I didn’t learn it through reading introductory books like the ones above. I learned topic by topic, finding authors I liked who wrote about specific topics I was curious about all because I wanted to figure out how my chart worked (ultimately so I could figure out my path as a comedian lmao). I like the way that I learned astrology bc it allowed me to focus on one particular area of study at a time and really get comfortable with that before I moved on to the next area. It was brick by brick. A great approach for my Cap moon. And curiosity led the way so there was no order to it. I think that’s the most important thing about learning something as vast as astrology, curiosity. What part of your chart are you curious about? What stumps you? Is it houses? That Venus in Aries? Asteroids? Who’s writing or talking about that? Who’s writing or talking about it in a way that lights you up? Follow them. If you can do that you won’t need to read the rest of this. But please do anyway bc I crave validation. What follows is a self indulgent list of the books and teachers that taught me the ropes.
My journey began when I first stumbled upon a book on the north node by Jan Spiller, Astrology For The Soul. Her writing on the north node spoke to me in a way that teased out so many aspects of my life I was shook. So I sought out more books by Jan on topics that interested me. New Moon Astrology was next which was all about manifesting and planting seeds with the moon cycle. After that I peeped Astrology of Success which was all about career via the 10th house, the planets therein and the rulers—career is something I’m obsessed with as an Aquarius rising with Uranus on the midheaven. Learning that there was a specific house in astrology that dealt with career (the 10th) made me curious about the rest of the houses. So I picked up The Twelve Houses by Howard Sasporstas based on what I saw in the reviews on book sites. But then learning that each house is influenced by a ruling planet confused me so I sought out Alan Oken’s Rulers of The Horoscope to clarify things— and ya it did that. Through that book I learned that Mars in Scorpio and Pluto in Scorpio are my sole dispositors aka they are the final rulers and thus have an underlying energy that weaves throughout my whole chart. Which took me to Pluto! What’s Pluto all about? If this is an underlying energy in my chart I need to know about this guy. I googled and blog posts weren’t enough so I looked for books. I read a sample of The Book of Pluto by Steven Forrest and was completely smitten by the way he captured the transformative power of Pluto by facing your darkest traumas and their accompanying emotions. He also mentioned that any planet aspecting Pluto is going to have a darker vibe to it while also being a planet associated with great healing. I looked at my chart and saw Pluto squared my Moon. Oh shit, what’s up with the Moon? So I got his book on the Moon called….drum roll, The Book of The Moon. As I was reading that I realized, “My Moon’s in the 12th house? What’s up with that?” Tracy Marks wrote a whole book on the 12th house called Your Secret Self. I really really enjoyed that one and refer to it often. I still haven’t read her other work bc I read too many books at one time but Tracy Marks has a wealth of wisdom that feels so unmatched in it’s holistic approach and simultaneous grasp of the heart of chart synthesis.
I also love Steven Forrest a lot. Our chart affinity helps. Forrest is a Capricorn Sun, Aries Moon and I’m an Aries Sun, Capricorn Moon, not to mention he’s a Scorpio rising and my Sun ruler, Mars, is in Scorpio so I resonate with his work on a deep level. After The Book Of Pluto and Moon I found The Inner Sky and later on his books on the elements. I’m slowly making my way through reading all his books cover to cover. Def one of my mentors from afar. Oh and when I wanted to learn about aspects I read Sue Tompkins Aspects in Astrology which seems to be one of the most definitive and often recommended works on the subject in the past twenty years although Steven Forrest’s take on aspects in The Inner Sky really informed the baseline of way I look at aspects.
Eventually after about a year and half of absolutely devouring these books and applying the lessons to my chart, my partner’s chart, my family’s chart and any friend who dared share their birth time I decided I wanted to meet other people who were also into this shit. So I looked up classes in Chicago. I say I wanted to meet other astro nerds but really I wanted to test my knowledge and see if I knew as much as I thought I knew cuz at this point few people around me had gone as deep. I’m an Aries, man, competition motivates. I thought everyone who was into astrology just devoured it up too but I kinda started alienating and/or annoying people when astro would come up and I wanted to talk about more than the sun, moon and rising. “But what house is your Pluto in? Let’s look up your north node!” So classes it was. Sarandipity had some meetups that were awesome for hands on learning
She teaches the basics so it’s great for beginners but after you learn something everyone in class would share copies of their chart and we would practice identifying what we just learned. “Oh I think that pointy thing next to the pointy thing means you have mars in Sagittarius??” Maybe it’s my Jupiter in the 11th talking but learning in a group and looking at other peoples charts was such a great path for me. But also I had a place to see if the things I had read about solo worked in real life with strangers I’d never met. Sarah’s classes really gave me confidence in my intuition and intellect and I still take classes on her advanced topics once a month two years later. Since the pandemic all her classes are on zoom and at $10-$25 a pop it is a super affordable way to learn astrology in a group setting. Would def recommend.
In addition to books and classes I used to regularly listen to astrologers online. Back before Chani Nichols had an app I bought her monthly workshop every month for about two years and seeing her delineate the transits for the month really gave me a good feel for what that practice looks like. I love Chani bc she talks about astrology along with the struggle for equality in a way that feel seamless and necessary in the times we live in. Def inspiring to me as a young astro. Another person in that vein who brings intersectionality to her astrology practice is Renee Sills and her podcast Embodied Astrology. I used to listen to it every month. She has new moon horoscopes for the month along with deep dives into the essence of each sign at the beginning of a sun season. It’s honestly been a while since I listened but every time I tune in I learn some groundbreaking shit. Oh and on YouTube I really enjoyed Sarah Vrba’s monthly forecasts and occasional updates at particular celestial events. She doesn’t have an overtly intersectional or political approach like the other two I mentioned but she’s groundedly spiritual which is something I value (my spiritual planets Jupiter and Neptune are both in Capricorn and they square my Sun so I need my high in the sky spiritual shit to be touching the earth at the same time).
By the second year of doing all this studying I decided to get my first reading in 2019. My Aries was showing again and I wanted to see if an astrologer could tell me anything about my chart that I hadn’t already figured out myself. I also wanted to see what a reading was like bc I was beginning to suspect I was already an astrologer but didn’t quite know if I had what it took. Elena of Hidden Gifts Astrology gave me my first ever reading and confirmed that that Uranus on the MC ruling my rising sign while fitting snugly in my placidus 10th house definitely pointed to astrologer vibes. Elena has been one of my dear irl celestial teachers.
At this point I had a couple celestial nudges for my new path. My partner had already asked me to read the charts of a few of her friends. Uranus had also visited me in a dream in the form of an eel which I now also recognize as a double entendre for Agwu, the igbo deity of wisdom associated with Mercury. And I couldn’t stop thinking about anything but astrology. I was barely interested in the TV auditions and writing packets I was submitting to at the time—they all seemed like distractions from learning the craft of interpreting the skies. The ball was set in motion. These books were the water for the star child seeds already in me. Maybe one of them will help you on your journey.
PS. And of course there are many other authors and books I didn’t list above that were still influential to me. Martin Schulman’s spiritual/inspirational approach to astrology really informed my early approach and his book on the part of fortune was the first of many that I read. Liz Greene is someone I came to enjoy more recently for her ability to not give a fuck about hurting your feelings when she describes signs and planets. And Chiron is a beloved subject of mine and I’ve learned a lot from reading Melanie Reinharts’ Chiron and the Healing Journey as well as Tom Jacob’s Chiron, 2012 and the Aquarian Age. There are too many other books to name but for some reason I wanna be able to honor every author who ever put me on some game—an impossible task but if you’re just looking for the fundamentals or where to start I think there’s more than enough here to get you on your own journey with writers and teachers you love.
PPS: I also think it’s important to note that the books I read were based purely off self interest. The thing that drove me was finding books that would help me unlock a mysterious portion of my chart. You might find other books (or podcasts or YouTubers) that unlock your chart mysteries (or your partner’s chart mysteries or your crush’s chart mysteries) for you. Follow that curiosity wherever it leads. It’s a powerful driver. Astrology is so deep and big that if the writer doesn’t move you move on, another author will. Those writers that light a spark in you are your teachers.