So you want to learn traditional astrology? Here are the top five books I recommend to everyone to help them get started.
But first? Let’s ask the million dollar question…
Do you have to learn traditional astrology from books?
The short answer to this question is no. If you do a search, you’ll find several well-respected and knowledgeable astrologers who offer online classes in traditional astrology. Some of these teachers do require you to purchase a book or two as “classroom” texts, but they bring a lot of themselves to the table.
If you learn best in a classroom setting, an online course might be just the thing for you. Me? I like books, so that’s what you’re getting here.
All five of the books below are in-print and are readily available online. I’ve included an Amazon link to each book, but if you can find them at your local occult bookstore that’d be swell.
On the Heavenly Spheres
I’ve recommended this book before, and I’ll keep recommending it. On the Heavenly Spheres by Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro is absolutely the best introduction to traditional astrology I’ve ever read. Packed with information on history, theory, and technique, it’s not only a great place to start, it’s a reference you’ll come back to over and over again.
It’s definitely information-dense, so it might pose a challenge to people looking for a quick “overview,” but it really is a must-have. And I think it’ll especially shine if you keep it next to you while reading the other books on this list.
Traditional Astrology Course
This is the companion book to On the Heavenly Spheres, also written by Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro. Its full title is Traditional Astrology Course: Essential Concepts and Interpretation Basics, and it definitely lives up to its name.
While this book expands on the material in the first, it does so in a way which will help you learn traditional astrology through practical application. If you only purchase two of the books on this list, these should be them.
The Martial Art of Horary Astrology
Published in 2002, Dr. J. Lee Lehman’s The Martial Art of Horary Astrology still holds up as one of the best modern works on the subject. In my opinion, when you first learn traditional astrology, it’s best to start with horary astrology. This is the branch of astrology where you cast a chart in order to answer a specific question. It’s the most “divinatory” form of astrology, and one of the most popular forms used prior to the modern era.
This book presents the topic in plain English, and serves as an excellent bridge between the books I recommended above, and the two which I’m about to mention below.
Christian Astrology (Books 1 & 2)
In 1647, William Lilly published his magnum opus Christian Astrology. Consisting of three volumes, this book was the first major work on astrology published in the English language. He covers theory and technique with equal style, grace, and depth. He’s also quite challenging to read, even in the updated editions of his text now available in two volumes.
This volume contains the first two “books” of Lilly’s original text. The first is an introduction to the theory and techniques of astrology, while the second is his treatise on horary astrology and “the resolution of all manner of questions and demands.” It’s a marvelous book, but I recommend that you have considerable familiarity with those I mentioned up above before trying to tackle this one.
Christian Astrology (Book 3)
This is the third volume of William Lilly’s original work, and it focuses on natal astrology. In my opinion, it provides a wonderful description of how to adapt your knowledge of horary astrology to the interpretation of birth charts. If you’re learning traditional astrology, odds are pretty good you’d like to apply its principles beyond the asking of specific questions. This book will help you do just that.
There is a downside, though, and that is this book just isn’t as readable (or reliable) as his earlier work. If you’ve absorbed Books 1 & 2, as well as the others I recommended, then you won’t have too many issues. Otherwise…you’re in for a bit of a time.
Where to go next?
Traditional astrology is a very deep and broad topic. Once you start learning it, and you come to appreciate it, there will probably be no end to the books you’ll acquire. My own shelves (and tables, and floors) are filled with texts on the subject.
Consider the books above to be a “good start” to your traditional astrology library. Where you go from here is really up to you.
If you have any books that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below. I still have a few corners of my house that aren’t completely filled yet.
Have a blessed day!