Pagan Astrology: Spell-Casting, Love Magic and Shamanic Stargazing
by Raven Kaldera
Reviewed by Karl Schlotterbeck, MA, CAS, LP
There are two worthwhile gems at the heart of this work. One is the author’s insight that we can be more than a passive recipient of cosmic cycles. In fact, we can be an interactive and creative participant in the unfolding drama of our relationship with those forces personified as gods and goddesses in astrology.
The second gem is in the set of practical ideas he presents to give us the tools to show us how to be active participants with the forces. These tools include rituals, altars, stones, colors, icons, invocations, prayers, and associated magical objects. In fact, his general approach could be used without reference to actual astrological data, but as ways of affirming and balancing the various energies operating in all of us. And so I see here the potential of a psychological development program.
That being said, some of his assertions are not equal to the brightness of these two gems. (As we look at some of the shortcomings of this book, however, they do not invalidate the value of his central thesis: that we can participate with cosmic forces represented in astrological figures in a way to maximize beneficial aspects and to ameliorate afflicted ones.)
He makes reference to a “Celtic solar calendar of eight holidays” even though there is no evidence that the Celts celebrated anything but the four “cross-quarter” holidays (which are not really solar). In addition, he would place these cross-quarter days “exactly between” the equinoxes and solstices, which would place them not at the first of the month on which they are now celebrated, but around the 6th of the month in the case of Samhain. (He makes no mention that Samhain, like Beltane, is a month name and would hardly begin on the 6th.) Even if the cross-quarter holidays were placed at the full moon near that time, they would seldom fall exactly between the other holidays.
I found his “Astrology of Magical Tools” interesting since those associated with my own Sun, Moon and Rising signs have always attracted me. He also recognizes the eight phases of all planetary cycles – common in reference to the moon but generally forgotten for the other planets and pairs of planets. He makes a significant error, however, in describing the quarter phases of the moon as falling in particular signs, given the starting position of the New Moon. His description implies a static cycle when, in fact, the sun also advances during the cycle and, if the New Moon is late in a sign, the subsequent phases may advance to later signs than he suggests. Thus, one would do better to check a calendar for the moon phases than using this particular system.
A hefty book at about 350 pages, more than half of it consists of tables of associated implements, colors, stones, invocations, poetry, spells and actions for signs, planets, events and combinations thereof.
I’d never considered that astrology might be sectarian and therefore to be Pagan or otherwise (although some Christian sects decry it). Even with the Pagan deities’ names for signs, planets and asteroids, the Pagan connection seems irrelevant unless one identifies the planet Mars with the god Mars. The breadth of the book’s value is larger than its title and its basic thesis can be applied by anyone of any persuasion. However, Pagans and those with a New Age background may find the concepts more accessible than many mainstream readers, for sure.
Again, these very real shortcomings still do not erase the value of the author’s realization that we can take an active, participatory, and interactive role in addressing the forces in our lives, whether they come from deities, cosmic forces or mundane challenges.
I recommend this book for all readers who can keep their eyes on the prize here (the possibilities in interacting with the forces of our “fate”) and not take Pagan Astrology as a source book for Celtic studies or history.
- [amazon_link id="1594773025" target="_blank" ]Pagan Astrology: Spell-Casting, Love Magic and Shamanic Stargazing[/amazon_link]
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Destiny Books; 1 edition (September 28, 2009)
- ISBN-10: [amazon_link id="1594773025" target="_blank" ]1594773025[/amazon_link]
- ISBN-13: 978-1594773020
- List Price: $18.95
[amazon_image id="1594773025" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]Pagan Astrology: Spell-Casting, Love Magic, and Shamanic Stargazing[/amazon_image]