What really makes this book such a tremendous read is Raghudas’ gift for storytelling.
James Bond is a global phenomenon, yet much remains unknown. The esoteric backstory of his creation and popularity is fascinating, especially when viewed through an astrological lens. Was Bond author Ian Fleming obsessed with Elizabethan astrologer and spy, John Dee? Did Fleming, as a British intelligence officer, use astrological disinformation to capture a Nazi general? How did 007 really get his name and number? From Casino Royale to No Time to Die, we follow the twisting path of the world’s favourite spy as he moves from pulpy books to big screen immortality. We examine the charts of all the actors who have played Bond, plus the astrology of the producers, villains and Bond women. We find the premiere charts predict each movie’s success or failure. We discover Bond’s true birthday, and why he’s a mythological hero who’s still relevant even as times change. The Astrology of Bond–James Bond is a treasure house of insight and delight for Bond fans everywhere. Written with wit and clarity, it’s suitable for readers with no astrological knowledge.
Hardback, colour, deluxe version also available here
Get this book. I’m sure you enjoy astro-histories, although I’m not sure how you feel about James Bond: the movies, the books, and the whole franchise. Then there’s Hollywood and the backstories of celebrities – my guess is most of us have some interest in that. But it really doesn’t matter if this is or isn’t your favorite topic, because The Astrology of Bond – James Bond is so well written and so interesting that you’ll appreciate it even if your idea of an ‘old’ Bond movie is one that stars Pierce Brosnan.
When the book arrived, I was very surprised to find that it was hardcover, and a stout volume at that. The cover art harks back to the 1960s, and I mean that in the best retro-friendly way. It’s the kind of book that you want to leave out on the coffee table (assuming you have one) before it finds a prominent place on the bookshelf. Don’t wait to save a few dollars with a paperback edition or, heaven help us, Kindle. Own the hardcover and be proud.
Yet this book is about content much more than appearance. The author takes us deep into the backstories of Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, as well as the key players in the Bond story and the many serendipitous events that led to a successful series of books and a film dynasty that has rounded the sixty-year mark – a veritable genre in itself.
Balancing astrology and historical narrative is always tricky. Too much astrology and you get a little bleary-eyed at the endless stream of aspects and placements, too much history and you begin to wonder if the astrology is relevant or needed. The Astrology of Bond – James Bond maintains a perfect balance between the two. The overall narrative of Bond’s inception, development, and eventual popularity is supported by clear astrological interpretation that never overwhelms the reader. Even without the astrology, the story is quite interesting, and one of many in which great success is plucked from the jaws of defeat – just as The Beatles couldn’t find a record label, the first Bond film was in doubt. And you’ll never guess who was considered for
the title role!
Astrologically, there are a good number of charts (in color!), including biwheels, that support the clearly written text. There are also many photographs and illustrations that help to demonstrate important points (and are a lot of fun). Ra places Bond within the context of the 1960s and the cultural revolution that was taking place at the time. He correctly points out that although James Bond is hardly a politically correct character, the Bond films – like Playboy magazine – were instrumental in opening up a society that was quite closed with regard to sexuality. He relates this in part to the great conjunction in Aquarius of early 1962, which preceded the release of the first Bond film, Doctor No, in October. But as much as there is an Aquarian theme to the times, the author anchors Bond in Scorpionic energy, which is prominent in all essential elements of the story.
The Astrology of Bond – James Bond, is a great book.
Arguably, it would be of interest to Bond fans who don’t even care about astrology, but if you’re into astrology (and you are if you’re reading the NCGR Memberletter) it’s going to be an absolute joy. Order it today, and pay a little extra for faster shipping. I suppose you could have a cup of coffee ready as you begin to read… or maybe a Martini, shaken… (well, you know the rest)
Armand Diaz NCGR Memberletter
The cultural icon that is James Bond has from the start been perceived as a figure of moral ambiguity. A svelte, tuxedoed alpha male with a killer instinct and taste for sexual opportunism and shaken martinis, he nonetheless is top bulwark – as double-oh-seven! – in the British Secret Service against deranged, cat-loving global visionaries and Russian intriguers. He is a defender of all that is held dear in Old Blighty and other liberal democracies – a redemptive role for all the death and broken hearts he leaves in his wake.
Ra Rishikavi Raghudas’ astrological study of Bond, the Bond movies and their personnel as well as author Ian Fleming – who created the character in the early 1950s – presents entirely fresh perspectives on our hero. Raghudas writes as a very informed fanboy (read our interview with him in this issue). But the range and scale of his insights far outweigh any of my concerns. This is a history of the esoterica of the humongous Bond industry, starting with Elizabeth I’s astrologer, alchemist and likely spy, Dr John Dee, whose secret sign name for the Queen’s eyes only was…007. Fleming – a wartime cryptographer – adopted this code number for Bond, bestowing a licence to kill from the mists of Renaissance divination.
Thereafter, Raghudas takes the reader on a well-structured journey that dovetails astrology and notable people. The Bond franchise is rooted in our zeitgeist: the very first Bond film, Dr No, was made as many planets transited Aquarius in the early 1960s, a zodiac sign marking a period of so-called sexual and moral liberation. We have no formal birthtime for Bond, but Raghudas makes a persuasive case for a Scorpio action hero, based on a random nativity created by a Fleming colleague. Secretive, sexy, a death-dealer, sharp-witted, psychically blighted, emotionally distant – in short, the Mars/Pluto archetype in outline.
What really makes this book such a tremendous read is Raghudas’ gift for storytelling. Between the horoscopic analyses, encounters and scenes are deftly set up. It’s surprising to learn that Fleming suffered indignity en route to the big screen. Then came along movie producer Cubby Broccoli and showman Harry Saltzman who owned the Bond movie rights. The two men bonded to make Bond movies, so to speak, and the rest is film history. Saltzman’s Part of Fortune sits on Broccoli’s Jupiter in the 2nd: a professional marriage made in heaven.
Among myriad people examined are the actors who have incarnated Bond, starting with Sean Connery – a Raghudas favourite. He notes that Connery’s Sun/Neptune conjunction in Virgo sits on the Moon of the first American production of Casino Royale in 1954, “making an energetic lineage apparent when he was chosen to be James Bond.”
In the “Aquarian zeitgeist” of the present, there is much for James Bond to adapt to, such as “female empowerment”, as Raghudas puts it. The franchise must stay relevant yet not be politically correct, he argues. Judi Dench as M did much to relocate power to a female figure, but the challenge remains to coalesce societal notions of femininity with independent power and commercial sexual allure. Bond is not there yet despite attempts at ironic feminist knowingness in the Daniel Craig era – the challenge has yet to be properly met. But remember: Neptune is still in Pisces: old ideas of gender are being challenged; assumed boundaries are turning liquid. Bond himself may yet wonder as to his gender and orientation.
There’s no index in this book but the Notes & References towards the back offer enlightening commentaries. Birth details of the lead players in the whole Bond experience are also a welcome addition.
Raghudas has the smooth, watchful style of his Bond hero, unaffected and articulate, and this approach makes for a book that will appeal to both Bond fans (who know nothing of astrology) and astrology fans (who may want to know a lot more about Bond and his cosmic place). An extraordinary publishing and literary achievement.
Victor Olliver for the AA Journal