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The Art of Reading and Everything At Hand to Make It More Enjoyable --

     Highly-desirable vintage and modern books,accessories and art


a selection of the very best vintage books & authors

It's Written in the Stars - Or Was, in 1894 and 1928


Here we have two Astrology books, and one, on the left, is better looking than the other. IMG_5067

But, heh, you really can't tell a book by its cover, because to my mind (which is quite accustomed to thinking cosmic), the older, plainer-looking book is by far the more interesting and entertaining. The Influence of the Zodiac Upon Human Life (at right) was written and published in 1894 by Eleanor Kirk (whoever said self-publishing was a new thing?)

Kirk's book divides the 12 Zodiac Signs into the elements we all know so well (fire, air, earth and water) and then offers insights into how each Sign influences a person's life - especially when it comes to big things like marriage and work and little things like getting along with others. Inside this plain brown book, there's a nifty little chart showing a man's anatomy, with lines pointing to the various effects of each Sign on his body. As you can see, below, Cancer/Moon Child, (the Sign we are about to enter), is said to affect the breast. As Kirk wrote, Cancer affects the "maternal functions of the Grand Man or Microcosm."


This conclusion makes a sort-of-circa-2013-sense, given so many men (probably some of them, Cancers) stay at home, these days, to care for their babies and small children, while their wives/girl friends work. But while the chart is interesting, what I like most about Kirk's 189-page book are her nearly specific Character Readings of Persons Born on the Cusp.

In all my years of  collecting old Astrology books, I've never come across an astrologer who gave as much thought (or paragraph space) to people born on a Cusp. Sure, Cusp births are usually mentioned in most Astrology guides, but not in as much detail as in this one. If we are talking about The Cusp of Leo-Virgo (Aug. 22-28) and, we are, Kirk describes women born in this period as "fond of everything that grows, from the babe at the breast to the seed in the ground." And Kirk describes those born on the Cusp of Aquarius-Pisces (Feb. 19-25) as "peculiar.  ...Although they are "usually well and tastefully dressed," their great love of color sometimes leads them into unpleasant combinations..."  (Rihanna, Drew Barrymore,Smokey Robinson).

In the past, author's biographies weren't generally listed within their books. Neither of these Astrology books describe their authors. But, we can guess about them. In Kirk's case, it's likely she earned (or supplemented) her 1890s income by casting horoscopes and counseling clients about their futures as The Turn of the Century approached. (Kirk  also wrote a few esoteric books, including The Christ of The Red Planet  in 1901.But she is best-known for this work).

The second Astrology book is Simplified Scientific Astrology. With its gold and green Art Deco cover, it is far more beautiful - but, inside more technical, offering detailed steps on how to chart a Horoscope. Written by Max Heindel, the book was published in 1928 by the Rosicrucian Fellowship.  (In the early 1900s, the Rosicrucian Fellowship, which Max Heindel led, was active around these parts).

Unlike Eleanor Kirk's book, Heindel's 198-page book makes for dry reading. But, there's a  bonus at the end: the Philosophic Encyclopedia of Astrology (largely definitions of Zodiac terms).  After reading about "Lights" (the Sun and the Moon), I learned  The 14th Lord Napier invented logarithms, in the 1500s, to make his Astrology calculations easier. I always thought Napier was a brand of popular 1950s costume jewelry . But apparently Napier, in the body of the 14th Lord-Astrologer, was so much more:  he basically married metaphysics and Astrology to Science and numbers. I doubt anybody I know learned his back-story in Calculus.