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  < BACK TO BOOK REVIEWS March 2008  

Astrology for Beginners
by Joann Hampar

Astrology for Beginners by Joann Hampar, Llewellyn Publications, 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125-2989, USA, 2007. Softbound—200 pp.—$14.95 ($16.95 Canada) (ISBN 978-0-7387-1106-5). Available from: www.llewellyn.com

Joann Hampar, author of Electional Astrology, has written a book designed to take newcomers though the basics of reading a chart. Subtitled A Simple Way to Read Your Chart, the book is impeccably organized and easy to follow. Hampar provides chapters on each theme within the Framework of the Horoscope: the Seven Chart Patterns, the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, the Twelve Houses, the Planets, and the Aspects.

The Seven Chart Patterns (Splash, Bundle, Locomotive, etc.), developed by Marc Edmund Jones, are often overlooked in chart analysis, but they can give an essential and immediate assessment of the horoscope. Hampar demonstrates each chart pattern with the horoscope of a famous person. The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac are described by element and quality and as a sign on the Ascendant. The chapter on the Twelve Houses includes the basic meanings of each house; an explanation of angular, succedent, and cadent houses; a section on empty houses; and a delineation of each of the signs on each of the houses (beginning with Aries on the 1st-house cusp, Taurus on the 2nd-house cusp, etc., around to Pisces on the 1st-house cusp, Aries on the 2nd-house cusp, and so on). The chapter on the Planets begins with a brief synopsis of their meanings and then covers each planet in each house and sign.

The Aspects chapter, like the rest of the book, is admirably simplified and streamlined: There is just one paragraph on each combination of planets (with each other and with the Ascendant and Midheaven); this includes the basic imagery of that planetary combination along with a simple suggestion about its possible manifestation when in harmonious (conjunction, sextile, or trine) or difficult (square or opposition) aspect. There are clear graphics in the text, as well as an excellent Glossary.

Many beginners or clients who have had a reading want to know a bit more about astrology without necessarily taking up a serious study of our daunting subject. Joann Hampar’s book is an excellent guide for those interested in learning how to read a chart. She sorts out the basics in an exceptionally clear way, and she conveys meaning succinctly without being trite.

— reviewed by Mary Plumb






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