Ace more than just the astrology basics with these reads

Some astrology books are as dense and boring as textbooks–and for a complex subject like this, it makes untangling the inner workings of it all even tougher. Despite the struggle, astrologers have spent their entire career carefully dissecting and interpreting this information for students and clients with no prior experience. So, it only makes sense that the beginners’ astrology books penned by these experts (now turned authors) would be just as revealing and easy-to-comprehend as receiving a reading

But before we list the best astrology books for beginners and those looking to advance their expertise, let’s dip into the basics of astrology so you have a better grasp on the foundation of what is about to be explained to you in greater detail.

What is astrology?

Astrology is a divine science that studies the placement and movement of celestial bodies (stars, asteroids, and planets) in an effort to understand their influence on the world and life as we know it. From what the practice teaches, we know that celestial bodies are not stationary and their place in the galaxy varies based on time and their location in relation to the earth. Which is why when there’s a birth, astrologists look to see where specific celestial bodies were located, their relationships with other stars/planets/asteroids, and in what direction they were moving (direct or retrograde) at that exact moment.

So if someone’s ever asked you, “what’s your sign?” this is what they’re loosely referring to. What they’re typically referring to is your sun sign, because technically speaking, every planet (as well as every house in your chart) is in one of the 12 zodiac signs. You’d be able to find this information through an online astrology chart reading or the detailed breakdown of who you are in coordinance to the positions of the sun, moon, stars, planets, asteroids and their relationships with each other. This is true for both Sidereal and Tropical astrology, but since that’s a lot to unpack, we’ll just stick with discussing the basics of Western (Tropical) astrology for now.

The Signs and what they mean

Figuring out the names of the zodiac and what they mean is the simplest part of understanding astrology.  The four distinct groups of signs (Fire, Earth, Air, and Water) each have their own way of expressing energy. Every sign is also considered “ruler” of a particular planet and house. The TL;DR here is that signs are responsible for how we act and react, but how each sign is expressed relies on other factors like its position in your chart as well as the planetary aspects, presence or absence of stellium, etc. So before we get ahead of ourselves,  the 12 zodiac signs are as follows:

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The Planets and what they mean

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Traditionally speaking, Classical astrology (the umbrella term for all traditional Western practices) maintains a focus on seven planets (or stars). Liz Greene, an astrologer for Astro.com, does a really good job at providing in-depth descriptions of planets and their placement. Listed below you’ll find summaries of her interpretations or you can choose to read the full-length version here.

  • Sun (ruled by Leo)
    • Interpretation: The central aspect of your basic identity–what ties you all together. A broad basis for how you live your life.
  • Moon (ruled by Cancer)
    • Interpretation: Thought to be responsible for your emotional response system and subconscious behaviors.
  • Mercury (ruled by Gemini and Virgo)
    • Interpretation: Symbolic of your thought process, intellect, and communication skills.
  • Venus (ruled by Taurus and Libra)
    • Interpretation: How you express your love, creativity, and attraction.
  • Mars (ruled by Aries and traditionally Scorpio)
    • Interpretation: How you assert yourself or take action.
  • Jupiter (ruled by Sagittarius and traditionally Pisces)
    • Interpretation: Traditionally referred to as the “Planet of Good Fortune,” this social planet is thought to describe expansion, personal development, philosophy, and understanding.  
  • Saturn (ruled by Capricorn and traditionally Aquarius)
    • Interpretation: The second social planet, Saturn symbolizes challenges or hardships that we’ll need to overcome, as well as any areas we need to concentrate on to better ourselves.

We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the 19th century, so it only makes sense that astrology would too. Today, modern astrologers take 10 planets into consideration–plus a number of asteroids, planet aspects, and other contingencies dependent upon the branch of astrology. The revised list of planets includes all seven of the previously mentioned Classical planets plus:

  • Uranus (ruled by Aquarius)
    • Interpretation: Deals with personal freedoms, enlightenment, and change.  
  • Neptune (ruled by Pisces)
    • Interpretation:  Illustrative of inspiration, spirituality, illusion, and transcendence.
  • Pluto (ruled by Scorpio)
    • Interpretation: The figure of transformation, Pluto also details themes of taboo subjects, sexuality, and healing.

In addition to planets and stars, there are also a few major asteroids that astrologers use for their predictions. The common ones being:

  • Ceres
    • Interpretation: Concerned with growth and letting go, ecology and care, often referred to as “Mother of the Living.”
  • Pallas
    • Interpretation: Relates to all things concerned with feminity and how it is expressed. Often times astrologers describe heavy Pallas symbolism as a “challenge to feminity” that must be overcome (i.e. misogynistic behaviors).
  • Juno
    • Interpretation: Symbolic of faithfulness, marriage, and all other committed relationships.
  • Vesta
    • Interpretation: Tied to the laws of nature and ecological consciousness.

And if you really want to get into it, it’s worth noting that when it comes to astrology, centaurs play a role too. Here they’re classified not as a mystical being, but rather a “planetoid” or something that lies in between a planet and asteroid. The most well-known centaur being Chiron, who’s astrological interpretation explains the type of relationship we may have with ourselves–so think self-esteem, confidence, and security.

Additionally, planets in the same sign will be expressed differently in different people depending on their relationship with the other celestial bodies in the chart. Planetary relationships are also referred to as aspects and there are many of them. Green also put together a cheat sheet (which we pasted below) that explains all of the major aspects you can find in your chart.

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To fully explain how each of the planets (or asteroids/stars/etc.) factor into human nature and why we are the way that we are, readers not only have to take the sign a planet is in, but its location (what House it’s in), along with any planetary aspects into consideration.

The Houses and what they mean

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When referring to a planet’s location, astrologers use the term “house” to encompass a given set of degree measurements. Each house is said to have its own set of responsibilities, and its qualities are expressed differently depending on what planet is positioned there and the sign it’s in (that can be uncovered by locating the degrees your house sits in)–all of which is determined by time and place of birth. Astrologer Dana Gerhardt does a fabulous job at describing each of the houses, you’ll find brief summaries of her interpretations below.

The First House (ruled by Aries)

As Gerhardt puts it, the First House is home to beginnings and first impressions–both those you make and the ones the world makes on you. It’s also in charge of your sense of identity and appearance.

The Second House (ruled by Taurus)

This is where we talk about money, material possessions, and self-worth. The Second House is responsible for supporting what’s laid out in the First House.

The Third House (ruled by Gemini)

Curiosity, communication, siblings, neighbors, short trips, hobbies, and all else relating to a sense of community are sheathed by the Third House–AKA the “House of Learning.”

The Fourth House (ruled by Cancer)

The Fourth House is where we set our roots. It rules our home, privacy, basic security, family, ancestors, and acts as a “spiritual retreat” for when times get too tough and we need to rely on instincts and TLC to get us through.

The Fifth House (ruled by Leo)

Considered the house of self-expression, risk-taking, creativity, fun, drama, love, and romance. Gerhardt refers to this area as our “Garden of Delights.”

The Sixth House (ruled by Virgo)

The Sixth House governs health and service, more specifically, our routines, lifestyle, and community service.

The Seventh House (ruled by Libra)

The Seventh House reigns over all relationships–business, personal, and romantic.

The Eighth House (ruled by Scorpio)

The Eighth House manages all the things we wouldn’t want to talk about with people we’re not bonded with–sex, death, investments, mysteries etc.

The Ninth House (ruled by Sagittarius)

International and long-distance travel, inspiration, optimism, expansion of the higher mind, divination, mysticism, spirituality, and higher education are all ruled by the Ninth House.

The Tenth House (ruled by Capricorn)

Also known as the “Midheaven” the 10th House rules your career path, how the public sees you (or how society measures your life), achievements, and discipline.

The Eleventh House (ruled by Aquarius)

This is the social network of your metaphysical makeup–it’s responsible for friendships, social justice, media, humanitarian causes, technology, and invention.

The Twelfth House (ruled by Pisces)

To wrap it all up, the 12th House is home to all endings like projects, stages of life, the afterlife, etc. It also associated with “separation from society”–think secrets, hidden agendas, jails, hospitals, and the subconscious.

Best astrology books for beginners

If you think all of the aforementioned stuff is a lot, boy, do we have news for you–that’s just the beginning! Astrology isn’t simple and mastering it will take patience. Thankfully, there are resources out there that can help you study and eventually nail more than just the basics of astrology. So without further ado, here’s our handpicked list of personal favorites and bestselling astrology books for beginners.

1) Modern Astrology: Harness the Stars to Discover Your Soul’s True Purpose by Louise Edington

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From the publisher: Leaving predictions to the past, Modern Astrology uses a contemporary psychological approach to decode your life’s path and promote positive, personal growth through actionable skills and strategies. To unlock your potential, this astrology reader interprets the planets, signs, houses, aspects, and transits in your natal chart as keys to your life purpose. Armed with this self-awareness, Modern Astrology offers guided, developmental exercises and tactics to successfully navigate the trials and obstacles in alignment with your sign. Learn how astrology can be used as a functional tool to find meaning and happiness through self-knowledge, with:

  • Astrology and psychology 101 that offers a basic understanding of astrology and its evolution into a field of self-help and psychology.
  • Zodiac readings that provide in-depth explanation of the personality traits associated with every sign.
  • Personal growth exercises that include soul-searching shamanic meditations, strategies to address obstacles associated with each sign, journaling prompts, and more!

Reviewers not only loved how well-thought-out and organized this book is, but the fact that it goes way beyond just discussing the “big 3” (sun/moon/rising) but includes conversation around houses, nodes, basic chart patterns and provides tips on how to incorporate the lessons you learn from your chart into strategies that will effectively help you lead a more fulfilled life. 

Price: on sale for $15.20 (regularly $18.99) 

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2) Chart Interpretation Handbook: Guidelines for Understanding the Essentials of the Birth Chart by Stephen Arroyo

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From the publisher: Thousands of readers worldwide have found personal meaning in Arroyo’s bestselling books, which are widely used by students, practitioners, and teachers searching for a method that reveals the essential truths of their lives that they can immediately identify with. Here, he shows how to develop reliable, in-depth interpretations for any birth chart, utilizing a precise, modern language.

Reviewers also claim this is one of the best astrology books for beginners and one-stop type of shoppers since it covers the rising, sun and moon placement to details on elements, aspects, and trines. However, it might be too simple for more advanced readers since it lacks discussion around astrology that’s unrelated to learning how to decipher a birth chart. 

Price: on sale for $11.67 (regularly $14.95) 

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3) The Secret Language of Relationships: Your Complete Personology Guide to Any Relationship with Anyone by Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffers

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From the publisher: The bestselling companion book to the groundbreaking The Secret Language of BirthdaysThe Secret Language of Relationships offers a fascinating look into why we are drawn to certain people. Goldschneider divides the year into 48 “weeks,” showing the personality traits for each period. With 1,176 combinations of personalities, you can better understand any relationship in your life. Beautifully illustrated and designed, the Secret Language series is sure to delight a new generation of astrology enthusiasts and all people who are interested in better understanding themselves and the people around them.

A personal favorite of your friends here at The Daily Dot, this is a fabulous read for anyone looking to better understand their partner, parents, siblings, or friends’ way of life. 

Price: on sale for $22.83 (regularly $30) 

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4) Astrology for the Soul by Jan Spiller

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From the publisher: Astrologer Jan Spiller shows you the key to discovering your hidden talents, your deepest desires, and the ways you can avoid negative influences that may distract you from achieving your true life purpose, as revealed in your chart by the position of the North Node of the Moon. With insight and depth impossible to gain from the commonly known sun-sign profiles, the enlightening self-portrait offered by the Nodes of the Moon can explain the life lessons you came here to learn and how to achieve the fulfillment and peace you desire. Jan Spiller shows you how to locate the all-important North Node of the Moon in your astrological chart and provides a detailed interpretation of its influence and exclusive exercises to help you learn about:

• Talents that could easily be turned into professional success
• Self-defeating tendencies in your personality that can hold you back and sabotage relationships
• The love partner who can be your soul mate—and the partner whose hold over you can lead to heartbreak
• The temptation from a past life that can lead to disaster if you are not forewarned
• Healing affirmations designed to help you release your positive energy and strengthen the qualities that can bring you true happiness

Reviewers claim that this book is so jam-packed with information that you’ll walk away feeling like you’ve read an encyclopedia’s worth of knowledge. It’s written in a very easy-to-follow manner, too, so you’ll actually have a chance at absorbing the wisdom. 

Price: on sale for $18 (regularly $20)

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5) Sextrology: The Astrology of Sex and the Sexes by Stella Starsky and Quinn Cox

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From the publisher: In sophisticated, uninhibited language, Sextrology accomplishes what no existing astrology book has ever achieved: it candidly explores sexual relationships from an astrological perspective without insulting the reader with new-age mumbo jumbo or sugary advice for capturing a mate. Sextrology uncovers the naked truth of all possible cosmic couplings with candor, imaginations, and a wry sense of humor. It focuses on the 24 sex signs, pointing out the difference between men and women of each sign, their particular sexual psychology and behavior, secret desires, and even physical attributes. Both straight and gay sex are explored for each sex sign, while desires, turn-offs, fantasies, and foibles are investigated in titillating detail. No stone is left unturned in this provocative, highly entertaining look at the sexes and sexual relationships.

Although this may come off as an NSFW read, it’s more about personality, gender, and sexual expression than anything else. The book also highlights compatibility between the signs in both gay and straight relationships.

Price: on sale for $13.24 (regularly $23.99)

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6) Star Power: A Simple Guide to Astrology for the Modern Mystic by Vanessa Montgomery

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From the publisher: Become a better modern mystic with the help of this invaluable handbook. Through easy-to-follow chapters, it breaks down all you need to know in order to read your own astrological chart, from the movement and meaning of the planets to understanding what your birth chart reveals about you. It will show you how to make sense of the houses and aspects, allow you to track future planetary shifts and explain how these can help you know more about yourself, your life and your future self. You’ll find out which star sign you’re compatible with, how the universe impacts your approach to love, wealth, creativity and careers, and ultimately learn to take cosmic control of your universe.

Star Power includes a very brief history of astrology, a glossary of astro-related terminology, a guide to learning how to read birth charts, among other detailed explanations. Reviewers claim that this is a great book for a learned reader since it’s rather dense, but beginners would benefit from it too, as long as they’ve got the dedication to sift through all the information. 

Price: on sale for $10.73 (regularly $16.99) 

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7) The Power of Birthdays, Stars & Numbers: The Complete Personology Reference Guide by Saffi Crawford and Geraldine Sullivan

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From the publisher: In this delightfully addictive, wholly accessible book, two skilled astrologers guide you toward greater psychological insight, self-awareness, and a keen understanding of your unique position in the universe. Packed with an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and clear, easy-to-interpret graphs and charts, The Power of Birthdays, Stars and Numbers provides:

  • Birthday forecasts–366 profiles–one for each day of the year–reveal your positive and negative personality traits, career strengths, tips on love and relationships, your secret self, your best days for romance and friendship, potential fatal attractions, famous people who share your birthday, and much more!
  • Fixed stars–Though astrologers have used fixed stars for centuries, now the general public can reap the rewards of this classic method for enlightenment. The stars that line the heavens radiate great power, depending on your date of birth. You’ll learn your primary fixed star plus those that influence your astrological chart.
  • Numerological profiles–Discover the importance of the nine basic numbers, and learn how to calculate your holistic number (which reveals your life purpose) and your personal year number (which sheds light on what specific lessons a particular year has in store for you).

Reviewers say this is a great book for beginners astrology because it discusses more than just the signs of the zodiac but offers you a crash course in numerology basics, too! 

Price: on sale for $23.38 (regularly $30) 

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8) Rulers of the Horoscope: Finding Your Way Through the Labyrinth by Alan Oken

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From the publisher: A practical and thorough treatment on the meanings of all aspects of planetary and house rulerships, Rulers of the Horoscope: Finding Your Way Through the Labyrinth is the definitive sourcebook on this topic. Alan Oken masterfully guides you through the labyrinth of delineating and synthesizing the complex interchange between rulers of houses and their signs and the nature of the houses they occupy and rule. He defines and describes derivative houses, planetary and house rulerships, mutual reception and the compatibility and nature of the importance of their placement in the horoscope. The astrological charts of well-known people are illustrated with detailed descriptions of planetary relationships, their positive and negative aspects, and the traditional and modern interpretation of the houses.

Alan Oken’s in-depth exploration of the ruler for each of the twelve houses and the rulers of the rising sign is an invaluable tool for astrology students and teachers alike.

Reviewers love Oken’s detailed and easy to understand explanations, calling this required reading for all astrology beginners, students, and teachers. 

Price: $19.95

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9) The Astrology of Love & Sex: A Modern Compatibility Guide by Annabel Gat

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From the publisher: Bringing the ancient matchmaking tool of astrology into the 21st century, The Astrology of Love & Sex explores the romantic and sensual sides of the zodiac. In 12 detailed chapters, astrologer Annabel Gat divulges how each sign likes to flirt, date, and fool around. This book candidly explores love and lust in today’s sexually fluid world: From love philosophies to sexual inclinations, readers will enjoy dissecting and analyzing each passage. With unique compatibility profiles matching every sign and a quiz to identify your star match—wrapped in an all-foil case with gilded page edges, this is a fun and comprehensive guide to finding true cosmic love.

Carefully organized and thoughtfully assembled, The Astrology of Love & Sex breaks down each sign into specific subsections: their overarching personality, the signs’ at their worst and at their best, the signs’ in love, first impressions and flirting techniques, dating style, relationship approach, and sex. Then it goes one step further by describing the potential relationship compatibility between any two signs and even offers advice on how to navigate a relationship between historically incompatible signs. 

Price: on sale for $17.76 (regularly $19.95) 

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10) Astrology Zone The Year Ahead 2019 by Susan Miller

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From the publisher: In the world of astrology, there is only one person you should trust to read your 2019 horoscope: Susan Miller, the internationally respected founder of Astrology Zone®. Susan’s monthly reports and readings, published on her website and via her app, “Daily Horoscope Astrology Zone + More by Susan Miller,” are celebrated world-wide equally for their warmth and sincerity as their accuracy and comprehensive nature. And now, she has prepared a wonderful new set of predictions for astrological sign in her newest publication, The Year Ahead 2019. Stuffed full of important information and featuring a layman’s guide to the basics of astrology, Susan’s comforting interpretations will keep you up-to-date on upcoming major eclipses, moons, and the movements of the planets—and what their transits mean for you. Learn what the heavenly bodies have to tell you about what’s next in your love life, career, home, and finances—and much, much more. Including: -A full 2019 astrological reading for every horoscope sign, and why you should also read for your Ascendant Sign -Every date you need to know: Eclipses, new and full moons, and when planets will enter key houses -What’s up with Mercury Retrograde: a what’s when guide to avoiding communication and technology errors.

It’s worth noting that The Year Ahead 2019 only discusses horoscopes for 2019, so if you’re looking to study planetary movement and the patterns they cause this book is worth your while. The book follows the Astrology Zone site and app, so a lot of the content may look familiar to those who frequently visit the site.

Price: $12.94

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11) The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk

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From the publisher: This new edition of The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need is packed with updated information on Sun signs, Moon signs, Ascending signs, the placement of Planets in your Houses, and the latest astronomical discoveries. This book provides the compatibility between every sign (144 combinations) and dispenses advice about health, money, lifestyle, and romance, while also offering advice on dealing with the negative aspects of each sign. This edition also takes an even closer look at the inner life of the individual and the emotional needs that motivate a person. Chapters include a look back on the history and mythology of astrology as well as the newest developments in astronomy. This is an indispensable source for unlocking the mysteries of the cosmos through the twenty-first century and beyond.

According to reviewers, this is a great book for beginners because it breaks down the basics of astrology (as well as some newer contributions) into manageable pieces. That said, it does a lot of generalizing (which is helpful for those who have only dipped their toes into the subject) so if you’re looking for a more detailed read, this pick is probably too simple for you. 

Price: on sale for $13.56 (regularly $19.95) 

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Want a little more guidance? Check out our crash course on numerology or this guide on how to read a birth chart, we’ll also show you where to go for accurate tarot readings and what sites to use for a reliable psychic love reading.

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Marisa Losciale

Marisa Losciale

Marisa Losciale specializes in NSFW culture, audio gear, and photography. A former editorial and photo director for Spoon University at SUNY New Paltz, her work has been featured in the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, Post-Trash, the New Paltz Oracle, and the Legislative Gazette.