Newsletter March 2019
by Steven Forrest
Let me start by getting the obvious stuff out of the way. The long-awaited Book of Fire by best-selling author Steven Forrest is now available! Act Now! Act Now! These savings won’t last! Be the first on your block . . . etc.
I know you’ve heard it all before. And of course I would like for you to buy the book, but only if you think you might find it helpful. So far as I know, Linda Goodman, who wrote Sun Signs back in the 1960s, is the only astrological writer who ever wound up wealthy for her efforts. For most of us . . . well, it reminds me of the old joke about how to make a million dollars playing jazz: just make sure that you start with two million dollars.
Astrological writing is a labor of love, in other words. In all honesty, even though I’m probably among the more successful astrological authors, most of the profits from my books have come in the form of spinoffs: readers getting inspired to come to me for consultations, invitations to lecture and teach – things like that.
At this point in my life, I know that I could probably coast on my reputation. I just turned seventy. My recorded readings, which I send to individuals around the world, are currently booked about four years ahead. The situation verges on crazy. And of course promising anyone that I will still be alive and well when I’m seventy-four smacks of hubris. Inshallah, as our Muslim friends say. If God so wills . . .
So why should I write another book?
It is actually even crazier than that: The Book of Fire is only the first volume in a planned series of four. You guessed it: the book(s) of Earth, Air, and Water remain ahead. As I write these words, I am actually about mid-way into the first draft of The Book of Earth.
Here’s the part about my “trying to walk my talk.”
I believe in setting positive intentions for how we choose to respond to any transits, progressions, or solar arcs that lie ahead for us. I believe that is especially helpful for the ones that might look kind of frightening to us – Saturn transiting through a conjunction with the Sun, for example. I believe that each one of them, no matter how scary it might look, has a higher purpose. I believe that if we figure out what that purpose is and embrace it – in other words, set a strong intention to learn what we really need to learn – that we will have the obvious soul-benefit of the learning. But we will also help ourselves to avoid the pointless suffering that arises from an unconscious or foolish response to an astrological stimulus.
We may not avoid suffering – I am not being Pollyanna here. But there is a big difference between the kinds of meaningful suffering that teach us a valuable lesson, on one hand, and the pointless suffering created by surrendering our power to fear and laziness, and just feeling peeved about how unfair the universe is.
In December 2017, Saturn entered Capricorn. I have three planets in Capricorn, including my Sun, so I knew that I had a choice: I could get exhausted or I could get depressed. Wonderful, huh? I know that sounds like a grim decision – but given the choice, I think most of us would pick exhaustion, albeit a bit reluctantly.
Exhaustion is the right choice with Saturn, and it is not nearly as bad as it sounds. Exhaustion arises when we have made any kind of monumental effort. It comes from giving everything we’ve got. And that can be a glorious thing.
With Saturn entering Capricorn, I knew that I had to “climb a mountain” or instead face some miserable emotional states. Writing a book is a good example of that mountain-climbing – it’s got all the Saturn signatures: hard work, it takes a lot of sustained self-discipline, some sacrifices, plus a lot of time.
But after writing a dozen books, I knew that writing one more would probably not be a sufficient response to Saturn’s call. Writing one book would be too easy.
So I decided to write four.
When I first heard myself say those words out loud, I could not quite believe that I was uttering them. They scared me. Four volumes, twelve hundred pages, more or less – yikes. But I have been practicing the craft of astrology for long enough that I recognized the positive omen that lay hidden inside that daunted feeling. That is exactly what Saturn wants – a mountain that is worthy of your best efforts.
And I have to say that, as a result of committing to this four-volume series, even though I am working awfully long hours for a man of my age, I am happy. My total engagement with this huge project actually enlivens me. That’s how Saturn works. To say that this Elements series has “given me a reason to live” would be way too dramatic – I have plenty of other reasons to live. But it has helped.
I have a fantasy – one that is based solidly on the theoretical principles which underlie evolutionary astrology – that we might describe a “parallel universe” in which I decided not to take on this difficult project and instead to slip into some kind of semi-retired state – put my feet up, turn on the television, maybe get one of those “old guy” sweaters and a pair of loose shoes. In that version of the universe, I am vaguely depressed. In that universe, I feel like an “old man of seventy” – rather than holding the world’s record for the longest mid-life in the history of the human race, which is closer to how I actually feel.
So that’s my talk, and I am walking it. Saturn is my friend. And he can be your friend too, no matter what you might read.
Let me tell you a bit more about this Elements series that I am doing.
The Book of Fire is an in-depth exploration of the life-giving nature and inter-dependency of the three Fire signs, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Equally it is an in-depth exploration of the planets which rule those three signs: Mars, the Sun, and Jupiter. Completing the triangle, we also survey the three “Fire” houses – the first, the fifth, and the ninth.
Originally, I envisioned The Book of Fire as a series of more advanced psychological and metaphysical essays about those nine symbols. But Lord Saturn had a more daunting plan. After tricking me into committing to the project, he revealed the fine print to me: that The Book of Fire – and the rest of the books in the series – would have lengthy, “cookbook” sections. That is to say, they would be a bit like encyclopedias – a reader could simply look up the meaning of Mars, the Sun, or Jupiter in any one of the twelve signs or twelves houses. That’s a lot of writing!
In all my work, I have always emphasized the importance of learning how to “think astrologically” rather than relying on these kinds of pre-packaged interpretations. I really do believe that – and there is plenty in The Book of Fire about exactly how to accomplish that aim. That is how to master astrology. Even a computer can spit out paragraphs.
But I have to admit that one reason I have always emphasized this point about “thinking astrologically” is that it is awfully tedious to write about Mars in Aries, Mars in Taurus, Mars and Gemini . . . ad infinitum.
But Saturn said: just do it.
So I did. Or at least I have begun.
Here are a couple of examples of what all that looks like. These are illustrations. Everything else in the book is in the same format – and all four volumes will adhere to the same structure.
JUPITER IN TAURUS
The Prize: What is more precious than a serene heart? Your wisest aim in life includes the achievement of an abundance of peace. Silence is precious. So is a healthy relationship with your physical body. Real friends, natural beauty, a freedom from trivial distraction, and above all, time to immerse yourself in them – these are the true prizes.
Never Underestimate . . . the therapeutic impact on your soul of quiet, of physical touch, and of listening carefully to the prompting of your body. Never underestimate the wisdom of your instincts. Trust your animal friends: they have something important to teach you.
Beware of Inflation . . . regarding the hyped, empty promises of this world: Glamour, money, fame, and so forth. They promise far more peace than they ever actually deliver.
Your Gift From the Gods: Utterly reliable instincts.
Helpful wisdom: ‘Tis a Gift To Be Simple
Mars in the Fourth House
Battlefield: First and foremost, this configuration is about the courage necessary for all inner work. Facing the truth of our own souls is frightening. Psychological work is often connected to family dynamics and these kinds of issues figure prominently here. Angers, resentments, and repressions linked to domestic life arise and require resolution.
Strategy: The integration of the substantial power of the inner warrior into the logic of the visible, outward biographical life. Bringing fierceness, passion, and heat to the surface. Finding the strength to claim one’s natural home, and to protect it against any assault.
Objective: A passionate soul is not enough; the aim here is a passionate life.
The Shape of Failure: To harbor seething resentments or frustrations without a ripple on the surface of life. The bomb detonating inside the steel room. Domestic or familial conflict endlessly repeating and never resolving.
Those are all natal delineations. Lord Saturn, it turns out, was not finished with me. He didn’t want me to leave out transits, progressions, and solar arcs when they are connected to the Fire element, via sign, planet, or house. So, later in the book, you will find, for example:
MARS CONTACTING THE MOON
Time To Defend Your Right . . . To express your true feelings. To take time for your own healing and regeneration. To have a domestic situation that meets your actual needs. To spend time with your soul-family. To not be materially productive. To sleep. To cultivate dream-time. To protect those whom you love.
Synchronistic Correlates: Signals from the emotional body indicating that it is time for some self-care. Similar signals from the physical body. Family events demanding attention; family crisis. Emotions boiling over. Hidden feelings revealed. An edgy mood. Touchiness.
Beware of . . . over-dramatization. The way passion exaggerates and distorts one’s expression. Saying things in the heat of the moment that you later wish you could take back. Errors and accidents arising from a failure to monitor your own tiredness, frustration, or physical and emotional feedback.
Or, for a timely example, with Jupiter currently transiting through Sagittarius – and these words must be tied in with the specific house Jupiter is contacting and any big aspects it is making.
All that is covered in the book.
JUPITER ENTERING SAGITTARIUS
Your New Frontier: Everything hinges upon one critical realization: you have been under-estimating yourself. It may be that your faith in yourself was damaged somehow; if so, recognize that you are now sufficiently healed to get on with your life in a better way. Or it may simply be that you have reached a stage of development and maturation in which you are capable of doing more than you had ever imagined in the past. Either way, this is an excellent time to simply roll the dice and expect a miracle.
The Prison You Must Escape: A constricted, unimaginative vision of your actual potentials. You are better than you think you are; that kind of limiting or negative ideation is your prison. Your social and cultural horizons are too restricted; you have been trained to be less than you are capable of being. Do not accept spending your life in those shackles.
The Terrible Toll of the Dark Road: The shot not taken, the opportunity missed. Standing slack-jawed and paralyzed before the gateway to the Golden City, then watching the gate swing shut in your face.
I try to cover all the major permutations of the Fire energies, both natally and under developmental pressure, in this cookbook fashion. My hope is that my more advanced students will continue to focus on learning how to think astrologically – which is to say, how to put all the symbols into that magical alchemical cauldron they keep between their ears, coming up with interpretations that way. Meanwhile, I am happy to help beginners by supplying them with these cookbook paragraphs. They are a good starting point.
In a nut shell, these paragraphs are the distillation of the first thoughts in my head when I am preparing to sit down with a client.
The Elements series will, I hope, live on after me. They feel like legacy work – a project ambitious enough to see me into my seventies with a sense of purpose, plus a gratifying sense of leaving something useful behind me in the world. I am just praying that ol’ Cosmo grants me the years I need to get to the “amen” in The Book of Water, which will be the final volume in the series. You pray too, please. I do believe in the power of prayer.
Right now, I think I am on track to have The Book of Earth complete by the end of this year.
And, actually . . . (are you listening, Lord?) . . . I do have a few more books in mind, ones that I would not mind having enough years to write. How can I possibly exit stage left without having written The Book of Uranus or The Book of the Sun? What about The Book of Houses?
And what exactly is the meaning of that cryptic look I see on the faces of my guardian spirits . . .?