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Magical Doors: The Symbols of Astrology

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There’s astrology books and then there’s astrology books. This is one like no other, blending symbolism with inspiring, grass-roots astrology that anyone can understand. If you’re baffled by astrological shorthand, and wonder why some placements in your chart get you such knowing looks of sympathy from the initiated, then you’ll be relieved to know that help is now at hand.
Magical Doors is not only a wildly entertaining guide to what the houses, planets and signs represent, but it also skilfully shows how they came into being and how they work together and influence each other. Jean-Marc’s knowledge, wit, and wisdom shine through his passionate descriptions, inspiring astrologers and non-astrologers alike.

Jean-Marc Pierson

Jean-Marc Pierson

Jean-Marc Pierson was born on November 4, 1961, at 9:30 pm in Laxou, France. He is a Scorpio Sun-Neptune with Cancer Rising and the Moon in Libra. He ...

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This is a great book for beginners. And for those who might want a spirited revision of astrology’s planets, signs and houses. The author says that astrology like life has many layers and he sets out to show the truth of that statement in his examination of the foregoing. Indeed there were times in reading this book when I experienced the planets with a new sense of interest. Some things the author said really did make me think like making an examination of the chart in terms of yin and yang, in other words look to see whether a male or female energy dominates irrespective of gender of native/client. In this day and age that seems to me an important point because fortunately, males can more easily express their yin energy and females, their yang energy. What was once the province of males on the football field, we now welcome the success of the Lionesses, females in football shorts. Also the author doesn’t see the Moon’s energy as being the sole representation of the mother which I found intriguing. The author is a psychological astrologer, a branch of our art that hasn’t been strictly to the fore lately in the light of the rise of Traditional and Hellenistic astrology. There is certainly room at the Lodge for astrology in all its branches.

I liked some of the new concepts or things I’d perhaps forgotten like the second house saying something about our relationship with our body, and our connection to nature; the fourth about our emotional foundation.

It is obvious that the author thinks for himself for he disputes the traditional notion that angular houses are the strongest and succedent and cadent houses are weaker. He maintains that it all depends upon what kind of strength is being considered. For instance the cadent houses may be outwardly weak but spiritually they are stronger. There is also a very helpful chapter on what may be the first things to look at when analysing a chart.

The author lets us know that he has Uranus and Pluto in the third house, a strong indication of the originality permeating through his description of the planets, signs and houses.

Not least to recommend this book is the joyful way that the author writes and brings to the reader a new sense of awe to the subject of astrology.

Wanda Sellar for Astrology Quarterly

Jean-Marc Pierson can certainly turn a phrase! A  consistent theme throughout this book is the author’s unique approach and sense of humour.  He has taken the basic elements of the Planets, Signs and Houses, which one might find in any ‘astrology cookbook’, but rather than listing the relevant characteristics and themes he weaves a story enabling the concepts to become instantly relatable. And he does that quickly, with humour and brevity. There are no over the top narratives of the symbolism associated with each planet, but a down to earth and practical description of how we might use real world observations and experiences to understand key concepts.
The notion of observing life and attaching mental tags to everything as a way of learning about planetary energies is, on one level quite basic, but on the other, almost genius! How many of us have thought about walking along the streets in a town or city with the goal of categorizing the businesses or buildings as a planetary expression? For example, the ‘Fire Station the Police Station, Sports Centre’ each warrant the label of Mars. Or, in the case of the Post Office, the label of Mercury. Simple but illustrative!
As Pierson’s narrative progresses, there is a natural evolution and expansion of his ideas and thinking. The synthesis of key words and ideas could almost be considered conversational.  Using examples which each of us might relate to in one way or another, and presented in plain English, he weaves a story in such a way that the mind conjures a visual picture. He grabs our attention with descriptions seemingly out of the fantastic. Highly creative, for example using the notion of a of a wolf wearing a tutu to understand the relationship of a zodiac sign to the planet inhabiting a sign, is unforgettable.
Initially, I found myself thinking “this is a basic introductory book” that would be helpful to new students. However, before that thought even occurred to me, I was contemplating how much I was enjoying the read. By the end of the book, Pierson has taken things up a notch elevating the text beyond the level of ‘beginner’ and, in fact, making it appropriate for a broader audience. A relatively short book, it is easy to understand, practical and entertaining. I remember reading once that use of humour is one of the best ways to get ideas across while anchoring the learning. Magical Doors checks that box!
Most importantly, Pierson reminds us that ‘Astrology is a language of symbols, like dreams, myths, religious narratives and fairy tales.’  His abundant use of metaphor reinforces this. He states that ‘metaphors do not mean anything “exactly”. They give us clues [and] we need to find the story or the stories in which all the clues in a horoscope make sense together.’ The symbols, and the clues, are the ‘Magical Doors’ Pierson refers to and, throughout the book, he provides us with the opportunity to examine these symbols with a much different perspective.
Jayne Logan –

One annoying habit I have is not to start a book at the beginning, but to plunge in randomly towards the back to get a sense of the overall flavour. I may dip about in different places, sampling what’s on offer before the read-through. Many a book has not survived this processing as I discern cliché, technical abstruseness (or geekery gone mad as wood and trees get separated), fuzzy thinking or hieratic pomposity. Jean-Marc Pierson’s inspired book Magical Doors pulled me in straightaway. It is entirely fresh in its approach, unafraid to remind us of what we know already before taking us on a surprising trek through the sunlit astro-glades, treating us to his original ruminations and musings.
By some miracle he manages to be both playful and rigorously insightful, an astro-Orson Welles-type – conjuror, guide and storyteller.
So, I randomly turned to page 177. This opening sentence should be framed: “The worst way to read a chart is to ignore the fact that it is made of complex relationships and treat it merely as a list of placements.” It seems an obvious thing to say yet in my experience many a seasoned practitioner would be wise to frame that sentence and then place it close to the vanity mirror.
Magical Doors is a long meditation on the symbols of astrology which open up realms that vary but are inter-connected by discrete themes. As he writes: “One day Saturn will tell you about skin, bones and joints and another day about boundaries, structures and morality…” The interlinking themes are form and order – you can read his Saturn chapter extracted in this issue of Journal.
He starts with the symbols of the planets, moves to those of the chart houses, then to those of the zodiac signs before the final section in which he reflects on matters astrological, such as how to understand Black Moon Lilith… “the place of all that is missing”.
Take his view of the 11th house, for instance. The chapter is titled: Flavour of the Eleventh House. We know it’s the zone of friends but “without the benefits”. Life is not all about sex. Our friends can be our ideas and that thought takes us to the perils of ideologies. The 11th is the place where customs and traditions may not always be welcome. As a boy Pierson wanted to dip grapes in mustard to see what it tasted like, but his stepmother objected: grapes don’t go with mustard, she said. She wanted to impose her idea of how things are done appropriately. In this way, using metaphor and personal memoir, he brings to life the symbols we use as astrologers.
Pierson is also a psychologist, closer to modern astrology. The symbols of all religions first intrigued him, he tells us, and that interest drew him gradually to astrology. His lightness of touch arises from total immersion in his subject, enabling a distillation that focuses on the many facets and origins of symbols. The result is a work of immense usefulness – and if a non-astrologer is reading this, Magical Doors is a great place to start in understanding the beautiful non-rational logic of astrology.
Victor Olliver   The Astrological Journal

As a non-astrologer married to an astrologer and publisher of astrology books, I am constantly over-hearing conversations about houses, planets, and aspects, and their pros and cons – mostly without the faintest idea why Moon opposite Saturn (which I apparently have) is likely to generate knowing looks of sympathy from the initiated. Fortunately, there is now help at hand. Magical Doors is not only a wildly entertaining guide to what the houses, planets and signs represent, but skilfully shows how they came into being and how they work together and influence each other. Jean-Marc’s knowledge, wit, and wisdom shine through his passionate descriptions, inspiring astrologers and non-astrologers alike. Finally, I have found a book that makes sense of it all – and does so magnificently!
Stephen Gawtry, Managing Editor, Watkins Mind, Body, Spirit magazine

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