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  Home › Writing › Book Review: Astrology, Transformation and Empowerment

Book Review: Astrology, Transformation and Empowerment by Adrian Ross Duncan.

Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2002.

Adrian Ross Duncan is a Welsh astrologer who has made his home in Denmark, the man behind the 'World of Wisdom' chart software whose dynamic involvement in astrology is exemplified by his website. He was also the editor of the British Astrological Association's Journal for a while and published a previous book Doing Time on Planet Earth (Element 1990). Adrian did a great job in editing the Journal and Doing Time… is a great book. I say this because it's profound, great fun to read and something I go back to, particularly for the excellent section on transits of the various outer planets to the four angles of the chart. Amongst many other interesting things here, Duncan spends a lot of time advocating and giving examples of using the consultation chart, a very interesting, useful technique that seems to be gaining popularity.

Astrology, Transformation and Empowerment is very different to Doing Time… the title will remind many of the classic Stephen Arroyo book - but it's not like that either. This publication has a real sense of purpose because it's very focussed on the important issue of how to work with clients as a consulting astrologer.

Adrian ran a school for training astrologers for seven years and so writes with great authority on how we can improve our work with clients, providing many invaluable tips and insights. Perhaps the most interesting thing in his approach is the advocacy and explanation of using neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques, which seem pivotal in much of the astrological counselling process so well explained here. The NLP factor lurking within this is clearly a useful tool, not a replacement of astrological counselling but something that enhances and focuses it.

The book provides a bridge between theory and practice, astrological understanding and the realities of working with complex human beings. Here are detailed methods of cutting through familiar verbal dance routines that do not bring the consultation process to the points that really matter, the areas where the transformation and empowerment of the title could occur. Duncan explains how to read clients' utterances that reflect defences, fears or missing insight and how to bring the client to the point where s/he might, for example, see through a blind-spot and so see things very differently. He explains how the astrologer, seeing an astrological feature being mishandled by the client, could bring the client to the point where the penny might drop and that factor in the chart begin to be handled more productively. Thus counselling and astrological techniques can be married, sessions becomes about using these things together, rather than always switching between two overly separated techniques. The rapid insight available through astrology is the force of change here, not than the long, painful, questionable process of "discovery of self" so enamoured of astrologers coming at the subject with a psychotherapeutic bias. It's this shift at the centre of Duncan's model of how astrologers should work that make this book an exciting challenge to accepted orthodoxy and a breath of fresh air.

Much of this book is delightful. There is a brilliant section on how to work usefully and supportively with the client through evoking the positive memories and feelings locked up in easy aspects; there are great example transcript segments from consultations, with explanation of the astrological factors involved, more often that not with the chart of the client also on the page. There is also an extensive section on planetary combinations which includes two and three factor combinations (example of a three factor combination is Mercury with Jupiter and Pluto). The final part of the book details transformation methods. The book is a generous offering from an excellent astrologer, who thoroughly explains his way of working with clients in realistic and eminently practical ways. I have not seen a single volume that explains a whole approach to working with clients so completely and with such interest and insight. Any astrologer working with clients in any depth, or training astrologers to do the same would do well to get hold of a copy.

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