One of the regular readers this blog, Katrina Keough from Canada, discovered The Complete Book of Spiritual Astrology (LLewellyn) by one of Norway’s most prominent astrologers, Per Henrik Gullfoss. I encouraged Katrina to write a review and she did a bang-up job communicating the essence of the work with a nice sense of economy of language, even though English is not her native tongue. She also did a fine job of describing her experience as a relative newcomer to astrology and how Gullfoss’ work added to her rapidly expanding knowledge base.
The Complete Book of Spiritual Astrology
Many of us have walked into the world of astrology with a goal of finding out who we are. However, most people’s experience of astrology has been limited to “Hey baby, what’s your sign?”, “Oh! That is sooo ME!” “Pffft! My day didn’t go at all like what the column said in the paper.” “I would NEVER date a Gemini. They’re all crazy.” “For a Virgo, you sure are disorganized.” I could go on, but long story short, all of the above is pure ego-speak. I’ve always believed that astrology, if only looked into superficially, is not only useless, but misguiding. People, seeking to fit into a mould, turn to astrology to tell them who they are. These types usually limit themselves to their sun sign, therefore only getting astrological feedback that is as narrow as their minds. Ass-trology.
Luckily, for the rest of us, there’s Henrik Gullfoss’ The Complete Book of Spiritual Astrology. His work focuses on how the planets operate and interact at the ego level and then, when the person has evolved, at the soul level. This book is for those of us wanting to understand WHY we are here and how we can self-actualize. According to the author, as the individual becomes more “aware,” the planets in his chart become more integrated, resulting in the transformation of the astrological energies. “You are not a fractured mass of astrological data”, Gullfoss reminds us.
Now, for those interested the nitty-gritty.
The first section of the book deals with how the soul reaches enlightenment through the signs. With regards to the elements, the earth signs seek enlightenment through beauty, fire through joy, water through love, and air through wisdom. In turn, the qualities’ essences are as follows: cardinal signs are about will, fixed about power, and mutable about choice. The expressions of the IC, AC, and DC in the twelve signs are discussed in detail, “The planets are players in our horoscope, and the houses and signs are the stage.” The various possible scenarios are played out in the second section of the book. Gullfoss describes the energies of each planet and how they are expressed in various elements, qualities and houses.
In the third section, he examines aspects. By the way, Gullfoss does not believe in drawing aspects into the AC/MC/IC, etc. and other imaginary points as they have no mass: “there is nothing there that can reflect and turn the energy back.” He goes on to describe all the individual aspects and then the aspects between planets. He does not, however, bring the two together (ex: sun square moon; he describes what is a square, and the relationship between the sun and the moon separately). Also, he believes that absolutely every planet in a chart interacts with each other. In other words, all the planets in one’s chart have some kind of aspect to each other. “To even think that there can be no connection between, for example, the Moon and Mercury in a human being is absolutely absurd. There is always a connection.” Finally, he explains how planets express their energies when retrograded in a chart. I appreciated this part a lot because it discusses the more challenging features of one’s chart.
Since I am a novice in the study of astrology, I do find some parts a bit confusing and occasionally tedious. However, Gullfoss writes beautifully, perhaps intuitively, and draws very pertinent analogies. It’s astrology explained in poetic terms. And they say that poetry is the language of the soul. He does not simply present cold hard facts but constantly weaves in his wisdom. This has become a wonderful reference tool that I will be able to use more proficiently in the future.
“Ass-trology” dictates what “type” of person we are, whereas, spiritual astrology, the likes of which presented by Gullfoss, explains how we have been given (or chosen) certain challenges and gifts at the time of our birth. “Is astrology about fate, and is the horoscope a definition of who you are that you cannot escape? Or is astrology about your freedom to use your will to be and become whatever you are capable of?” (Katrina Keough)