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on 20 May 2009
We live in world saturated with astrology junkies scouring the `sun sign' columns in almost every newspaper and magazine and eagerly soaking up every vacuous word from celebrity astrologers with their mindless merchandise. Conversely there's also the ceaseless flow of vitriol from academics and would-be intellectuals (and even actors who pretend to be Time Lords) who pour scorn on the very notion of astrology whilst maintaining blissful ignorance on the subject.

John Frawley's book explains not only how this dichotomy between two equally ill-informed schools of thought occurred but also what astrology actually is and the various off-shoots of the craft throughout its long history. If that sounds dry, fear not; this is an engaging, amusing and at times thoroughly waspish gem of a book which: takes entertaining pot shots at the enemies of the traditional craft (astrologer and sceptic alike), demonstrates the principles in action and provides a real understanding of what astrology offers. It's also a really enjoyable read and since Frawley takes the reader from the very basics, you can pick this up without any prior knowledge.

For sceptics, this is a chance to really understand what astrology is enabling a debate without the usual position of ignorance (wonderfully demonstrated by the half-baked research of Paul Couderc, a misapprehension tested by a misconception.).

Be warned though; the writing is sharp and opinionated so some, notably followers of psychoanalytical astrology, may find Frawley's views unpalatable in places and it is clear he takes no prisoners . However his point is that every attempt to change or even abandon the rules of astrological practice to fit in with the prevailing ethos or social whim (be it political correctness, Theosophy, Darwin or Jung ) render the craft no longer fit for its original purpose. The rules are the rules, he argues, because they work and he shows us how.

In short a fabulous read and, for would be traditional astrologers, a fine introduction to Frawley's other works on Horary and Natal astrology. Recommended for the curious and intelligent reader, whether advocate or sceptic, but if you're looking for either Jungian psychology, fluffy New Age bilge or the kind of thing you read in your newspaper column then this won't be for you.
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on 2 January 2005
This is one of the few worthwhile astrology books I have ever read. John Frawley combines his obvious skill and thorough knowledge with relentless wit and great sensitivity to his subject. 'The Real Astrology Applied' is also highly reccommended.
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