Sometimes the best astrology books are not about astrology at all, but of far deeper things that apply to all arts, crafts and sciences. One such is a book on Typography, The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst. Here is a passage from the forward of the book which struck me. I am sure you will agree that its wisdom applies also to Astrology though superficially Typography and Astrology might seem to have nothing more in common that the “y” at the end of their names.
One question, nevertheless, has been often in my mind. When all right thinking human beings are struggling to remember that other men and women are free to be different, and free to become more different still, how can one honestly write a rulebook? What reason and authority exist for these commandments, suggestions and instructions? Surely typographers, like others, ought to be at liberty to follow or to blaze the trails they choose.
Typography thrives as a shared concern – and there are no paths at all where there are no shared desires and directions. A typographer determined to forge new routes must move, like other solitary travelers, through uninhabited country and against the grain of the land, crossing common thoroughfares in the silence before dawn. The subject of this book is not typographic solitude, but the old, well-travelled roads at the core of the tradition: paths that each of us is free to follow or not, and to enter and leave when we choose – if only we know the paths are there and have a sense of where they lead. That freedom is denied us if the tradition is concealed or left for dead. Originallity is everywhere, but much originality is blocked if the way back to earlier discoveries is cut or overgrown.
The Elements of Typographic Style, pp 9-10, Robert Bringhurst
This is a beautifully crafted book, not only in its language but also in its presentation. Looked at from the standpoint of the rules and approach that any craftsman who loves his craft must have, is as apt to typography at it is to astrology. His discussion of tradition touches the core of why we as ‘moderns’ must look to the past if our craft is to have a future. It also cuts through the thicket of arguments that declare the superiority of one method over another (for example the ‘best’ house system &co.) I can even envision the many roads that cross the landscape that is astrology, sometimes running parallel, sometimes crossing and sometimes parting into completely different directions.
The chapter headings are very suggestive; The Grand Design, Rhythm and Proportion, Harmony and Counterpoint… It requires little imagination to fill in the astrological counterparts.
If you are looking for a book to brighten a winter day, one that offers a view into deeper things and a book that is certain to give you a perspective for looking at astrology you never thought possible then this is for you. There is even a bonus – you will immediately be able to spot a serious astrology book just by glancing at its typography! 😉