Internationally renowned teacher Oscar Hofman uses 24 case studies to demonstrate how the rich symbolism and myths behind the fixed stars can add a deeper and more spiritual dimension to astrological chart delineation.
Formula 1 driver Nikki Lauda had his notorious accident in which he suffered serious burns to his face, when the fixed star Achernar was activated by progression. This star is connected to the story of Phaeton who, overestimating his powers, tried to steer the solar chariot through the heavens, lost control and came down in flames.
In the chart of Nicolai Tesla, unsurpassed genius in electrical design and invention, the Sun is on the fixed star Castor on the IC; Castor is the dying brother of the famous heavenly twins Castor and Pollux. One of the critical events in Tesla’s youth was the death of his elder brother who was killed by a horse. The heavenly Twins, represented in the zodiac by the sign Gemini, are known as horse tamers.
Review by Joe Polansky, Diamond Fire Magazine
This is a wonderful book that you will need to read many times. There’s no way that you will get everything in it from just one reading. I’ve only read it once and I know there is much I’ve missed. I plan to read it again and I hope the author will forgive me if I’ve left some things out.
This is not a work for beginners. This is for serious and advanced students. The beginner will be totally lost. It is juicy and meaty. There is much to think about here, not just in terms of forecasting or the practical side of astrology, but also on the philosophical side. We get a whole new perspective on the philosophy of astrology.
The main part of the book deals with the influence of the Fixed Stars and how they influence a horoscope. These Fixed Stars move very slowly – approximately one degree every 72 years. So basically if there is a prominent fixed star influencing your chart you have it all (or most) of your life.
But the Fixed Stars are not only powerful in the Natal Chart, but also by Solar Return and Progression. And this is a great tool for forecasting.
When you get into the Fixed Stars you get into mythology. Each one has a mythology around it and this is part and parcel of the interpretation. The myths could be seen as the Bible of the ancient world. A bible written in the sky – “the heavens declare the glory of God” Psalm 19:1. Every star relates to a scripture, which is open ended and can be read in different ways. A good intuition is all important in the interpretation. The Fixed stars are giving spiritual lessons for the person.
Chapter 3 is devoted to explaining the mythology behind each of the Fixed Stars that are used in a horoscope. By the way, this chapter would be interesting for anyone interested in mythology – not just astrologers.
In Chapter 4 he gives a list of the positions of the important Fixed Stars so that you can locate them in your own chart or the chart of a client. In Appendix A there is a list of keywords for each of the stars, but best to find the story in Chapter 3 and relate it from there.)
Most people don’t know that there is a Lunar Horoscope as well as a Solar One. These Lunar Mansions as they are called are based on the Moon’s daily motion (13 degrees approx) and thus gives 27 or 28 Lunar Mansions (depending on the system you use). These he states are really “star houses” as they related to the fixed stars. Each Lunar Mansion Is related to a fixed star and its mythology. This gives more nuance to a chart reading. (A fixed star can be influencing a planet even if it is not exactly on the planet – it will influence it because the planet is a guest in its mansion.)
Most interesting are the numerous case studies of prominent people and events presented in Chapter 6. He interprets by the classical system. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are not used. (He does mention in the beginning of the book that these are considered “like” fixed stars – an interesting perspective.)
What I especially liked about this book was his attention to, and explanation of, the philosophy – the spiritual rationale – behind his methods – both with the Fixed Stars and the Lunar Mansions. Too often we read books about some new technique or method and the philosophical rationale is not explained.
Well written, well researched and well organized. A true service to the Astrological community. This book will be read and studied for many years to come. Highly recommended for the serious student.
Review by Arlan Wise
Oscar Hofman believes that “ the stars in a chart represent an individuals’ life-quest in contrast to the planets, which indicate the events and the conditions of the life.”
He begins this excellent book on fixed stars with detailed instructions on how to use the mythical themes of the constellations before he gives a comprehensive teaching on each constellation – its myth and the fixed stars contained within.
He then gives a list of fixed stars sorted by signs and degrees. This makes it easy to find which fixed stars are prominent in your chart or the charts of your clients.
Hofman devotes a chapter to the Lunar mansions, a system used in Vedic and Arabian astrology. He tells you to consider the theme of the Lunar mansion and how to judge it alongside the prominent myths in a chart. He says to look at myths as many-layered, working not only on a concrete level but also on psychological, moral, and spiritual levels.
Before he starts delineating case studies, Hofman teaches the concept of Dignities and Receptions. He does this in case anyone reading is not familiar with these classical concepts. He examines charts of famous people, major events ( hurricane Katrina, the Titanic), and even astrological events ( the Jupiter-Saturn grand conjunction in 2000).
Oscar Hofman writes from the viewpoint of a traditional astrologer, but includes other techniques which makes this a comprehensive book. He gives basic instruction about using the fixed stars, such as what orbs to use, reminding us that the stars you see in the constellations are not the signs: The visible imperfect (constellations) is not the same as the invisible-ideal (signs).
He emphasizes the importance of seeing where in the constellation the star is placed, i.e., the foot or the head of the animal, and shows this in the images he includes with each description of a constellation. He is sensitive to the fact that much of the old writings on the fixed stars are negative and somewhat scary and tells the reader to look at these explanations last.
Hofman writes well. His descriptions are clear and he keeps them simple enough to avoid any confusion. He has a sense of humor which pops up in unexpected places. Have you ever thought of the 12th house as “the house of silly things we do to harm ourselves” Or, Pluto/Hades “connected to general nastiness.”
Oscar Hofman lives in the Netherlands and is the founder of the International School of Classical Astrology. One can see from reading this book that he is a good teacher. There is a lot of information in this book which is useful to fill in the gaps in one’s astrological knowledge or to deepen understanding of these topics. Hofman wants his readers to understand the essence of the mythological stories so one can use them in a creative way, based on understanding rather than relying on keywords. He succeeds in accomplishing this goal.