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Tapestry of Planetary Phases

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In Tapestry of Planetary Phases Christina Rose expands the phases introduced in Dane Rudhyar’s Lunation cycle into interpretations for each pair of planets in their individual phases. A fascinating and in-depth work that will transform your chart interpretation, and a very worthy addition to any bookshelf.

Christina Rose

Christina Rose

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Recently, when Christina Rose’s book reached the top of my reading list, I had only just finished Dane Rudhyar’s The Lunation Cycle. Coincidence? I think not! The timing could not have been more perfect.

I continue to marvel at the profound meaning of the patterns, cycles and phases of life which, as the author notes, can be drawn ‘into more personal and practical understanding in the day-to-day application of astrology.’ In the Introduction, Rose lays out a framework for what is to follow, offering the potential to more clearly understanding Rudhyar’s writing on the topic. ‘Potential’ became ‘reality’ in the first chapter when, in a few brief pages, the meaning of the ‘lunation cycle’ quickly fell into place. Immediately I was grateful for the clarity, and practicality, which was somewhat elusive in Rudhyar’s text. Please be assured that it is not my intent to be critical of Rudhyar. His work is powerful and important, though at times challenging to read. However, when an author follows up with work that makes the concepts more accessible, you know the book you are holding is a ‘gem’!

The Tapestry of Planetary Phases is well written and Rose’s style provides an enjoyable read. Her skillful use of metaphor combined with the ability to weave a story, creates mental images that help to anchor key concepts and establish a foundation for, as the author says, ‘a direction finder’ to ‘get back on track,’ when life seems difficult and we are operating ‘out of phase.’ But, even more than that, the material, including Planetary Pairs and Phase-Relationships, offers a way to understand a chart more deeply. As I began to assimilate the relevant technical elements, and experiment with my own chart and others from my client files, it seemed clear that the planetary phases suggest layers of potential understanding more in tune with one’s life experience than the standard traditional analysis of a chart might allow.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that this book requires more than a rudimentary understanding of astrology, however Rose does make the material accessible by providing wonderfully organized illustrations, tables, and chart examples. If you take the time to explore these, and consider your own examples as well, I assure you the results will be well worth the effort.

One of the overarching themes, and I believe the true value of Christina Rose’s work, is the emphasis on living our lives in flow with the natural rhythms of the Earth, and the Cosmos. As astrologers we can get lost in technicalities that pique our interest but, for the consulting astrologer, it is the essence of the individual’s ‘actual living, growing, changing, unfolding life’ that is most important. The Tapestry of Planetary Phases offers an intriguing and powerful tool, to ‘weave the threads of purpose and meaning’ of one’s life, offering the potential to connect deeply with what is most significant for our clients and ourselves. This book would be a worthy addition to any astrological library. Jayne Logan for www.astrobookclub.com

The author sees planetary phases as unique sets of meaningful connections between  pairs of planets that are relevant regardless of whether or not a given pair planets is in aspect or not. She uses the familiar eight-fold phase cycle that we know from the work of Rudhyar and others.

Of course, the best-known phase cycle is probably the lunation cycle, and as you might expect, it is covered in depth. Reference is made to Rudhyar’s work here, but this is not a mere rehash of Rudhyar or anyone one else. There are some fresh insights into each of the phases. Additionally there is discussion of the planets before and after the Moon, planetary containments within the Sun-Moon phase, and the New Moon prior to birth. There’s also a bit of discussion of Sabian symbols.

However, she doesn’t stop there. She goes on to discuss four other core function pairings and what you can glean from their phase relationships in depth. These are Moon/Saturn, Jupiter/Mercury, Mars/Venus, and Saturn/Jupiter. Interpretations are insightful. For example, she notes that Jupiter/Mercury in New phase is often found in the charts of inspiring speakers and writers, as is the case with Anne Frank (who, by the way, has no aspect between Mercury and Jupiter). In contrast, the Balsamic Mercury/Jupiter is inclined to go against the grain, speak out for things that are not generally accepted, and embrace alternative ways of thinking, speaking, and writing. Germaine Greer would be a case in point. D.H. Lawrence is another one. I found all of the relevant interpretations for my chart very valid, as did those I guinea-pigged.

The author has been influenced not only by Rudhyar, but by Marc Robertson, Virginia Ewbank and Joanne Wickenburg, and Michael Meyer among others. There is an extensive bibliography including both astrology and psychology books, though I was a bit surprised to see no mention of Blaschke’s work. Many of the books listed are works that influenced me greatly, and I think many of them may now be out of print. In addition to the bibliography, there is a thorough index. There are also numerous charts, with data and sources for all listed in an appendix.

If I were to complain at all about this book, it would be simply to say that I wish it was twice the size and covered still more planetary pairs. Perhaps the author can be encouraged to write a companion volume? In the meantime, though, this is a superb book and well worth the investment.

   Donna Van Toen for NCGR

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