Yesterday's Sky Dell Review

Yesterday’s Sky ISBN 978-0979067730 | $24.95
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Review by Dell Horoscope from September 2009 issue reprinted with permission

When most astrologers look at Adolph Hitler's chart, they're often surprised by the abundance of pleasantness. Charming Libra is on the Ascendant, while his Taurus Sun is in the seventh house of "others." A benevolent Moon-Jupiter conjunction might make one think that this was a good guy rather than the standard metaphor for evil incarnate. Astrologers then point to Saturn in Leo in the tenth house and square a Venus-Mars conjunction as the signature for his tyrannical side. But, as Steven Forrest points out, Charlie Chaplin had the same configuration, and Merv Griffin had a similar one.

This example is taken from Steven Forrest's latest book, Yesterday's Sky, and, as he explains further, using the techniques of evolutionary astrology quickly gets to the root of Hitler's despotism. Because Hitler's Moon-Jupiter conjunction is also conjunct the Moon's South Node, the astrologer should interpret the more negative side of this combination. It represents a problem area, a preexisting pattern of self-defeating behavior that is seeking a higher path, as represented by the North Node.

In this sense, the Moon-Jupiter influence represents a hunger for material wealth, glory, and power. The Moon's influence reflects Hitler's obsession with his roots and "Aryan" power. Since this conjunction is found in Capricorn, it emphasizes Saturn's placement, which is in the royal sign of Leo and in an elevated position by being in the tenth house. This double influence - "kingly" Jupiter and Saturn as the prominent authority-describes his desire for earthly power.

Then, Uranus squares the Moon's Node from the twelfth house of secret enemies and self-undoing. This placement describes the sudden loss of everything, and his subsequent assassination or suicide.

Hitler's story is told as if looking at a previous lifetime. The tendencies to repeat the pattern are strong, and so the description of the natal horoscope from the perspective of the South Node may just as well fit current circumstances. Yesterday 's Sky is about storytelling, about interpreting a horoscope from the view of the Lunar Nodes as if they describe past lives. While no one may be certain that we have past lives, the story that emerges from the South Node is often an incredibly accurate description of current tendencies and real-life conditions.

Over the past two or three years, many astrology books have been published about the relevance of the Lunar Nodes, but here we have the master of this technique as he presents the philosophical framework, the cookbook reference sections, and the clear interpretive methodology.

Hitler's story is only one of five examples at the end of the book. It illustrates how the astrologer can proceed after understanding what the South Node means by sign, house, and aspect. Then, after understanding what the South Node means and the problems it engenders, the resolution, the soul's intention, is read from the North Node and its placement by sign, house, and planetary aspects.

The early chapters introduce Evolutionary Astrology and give the rationale for accepting reincarnation. However, the astrologer doesn't have to believe in reincarnation to make this system work. One could just as easily couch the interpretations in terms relating to environmental influences, DNA, or family inheritances.

As Forrest often repeats, the past-life stories are meant to be analogies, with the planets acting as symbols for the state of mind or consciousness. Some critics say you can't see past lives in the horoscope with any certainty, and Forrest doesn't disagree with this. Nevertheless, the interpretive method of reading past lives is engrossing. Although the reader may want to skip over to the section that describes a specific placement, I recommend reading the whole book from cover to cover because there's so much intelligence, wit, and wisdom on every page.

Chapter Eight is especially fascinating, as the author describes each planet's meaning when conjunct the South Node. For example, Mars conjunct the South Node gives one a familiarity with violence, anger, resentment, and irritation. Mars knows war and competition, and spinning a story around this placement must also take into account other planets aspecting this position, as well as the house and sign placements. But the idea that violence and murder are justified by getting revenge for others' misdeeds might fit. The spirit of adventurism is strong, as is the need for heroic action, along with the potential for violence or to be the victim of violence as a karmic pattern.

At the end of each section, the author provides a brief list of celebrity examples with the particular placement. In the Mars section, we find that Sophia Loren has this placement, and if you know her bio, then suddenly her life path makes so much more sense. Agatha Christie also has Mars conjunct the South Node, and she is one of the five examples at the end of the book where Forrest gives a detailed explanation of the karmic path.

It seems natural that Agatha Christie - the best-selling author of murder mysteries - should have Mars here. Pay attention to the celebrity examples, since they provide clear personifications of the principles under discussion.

Planets forming hard aspects to the South Node can represent people who opposed the individual, while planets conjunct the South Node represent the individual herself. Where else will you find this kind of insight? As these patterns repeat in the current life, the intuitive astrologer can make stunningly accurate assessments of current life conditions.

Those with Uranus square the South Node will periodically suffer "earthquakes and lightning bolts," or  anything that strikes hard and suddenly.

In each of these hard-aspect descriptions, Forrest presents the karmic situation that has led to this placement, essentially some karmic pattern that was left unfinished. He also concludes with the resolution, how to fix the problem - which is to say, how to evolve. In the Uranian case (like Hitler), one must gain further individuation that is not dependent on any outward conditions or relationships.

The task of interpreting the South Node might seem daunting to beginning and intermediate astrologers, since there are so many factors to consider. All the books that describe only the South Node in the twelve signs are merely scratching the surface of meaning and interpretive potential. Forrest looks at it in a different way: rather than multiplying the possibilities when adding in the house placement, planetary aspects, and the South Node's ruling planet, these factors actually narrow the range of potential meanings and increase accuracy.

Mastering the material in Yesterday's Sky will make anyone a better astrologer.

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