The Best Book on Asteroids

Monday March 2nd 2020
Two books by Martha Lang-Wescott

These are the ones I bought.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the asteroid Hygeia and mentioned that little work had been done on the asteroids in general.

What is more, there’s a lot of really woolly thinking available for you to unravel around the internet. Most of it is all theory or wishful thinking, or just whatever! and no practice. It’s not good enough to repeat a myth or folktale and expect the asteroid to follow those rules. You need to have looked at a charts and done some experimenting with transits before you can even start coming to conclusions about what, if any, effect an asteroid might have.

However, a reader pointed out that there is an astrologer, Martha Lang-Wescott, who has been putting in the spade work on asteroids for decades.

So I went and bought a couple of her books.

What a treasure trove! I can’t recommend them more. Lang-Wescott delineates meanings for more than 40 asteroids in the books I bought, The Orders of Light and Mechanics of the Future. Her work is grounded in real astrology: that is actual charts and actual research. She also writes elegantly and with great verve and enthusiasm. Her underlying philosophy is also fresh, juicy and well-argued.

Picture of text

From Mechanics of the Future.

It is like opening a very dull box and finding a mound of glittering hand-made chocolates inside.

There’s a vast amount of information contained within these covers. Lang-Wescott is a generous writer, cramming in twice as much as you might expect, and then adding in a few more details and some icing sugar and a puff of sulphur. Although some of her techniques might be too rich for your palate, her astrology is real food. She is mistress of the astrological Sachertorte. I’d like to see her on Astro-Bake-Off.

She’s collected and organised a huge amount of solid-as-you-can-get (this is astrology after all) data on the asteroids, and just to complicate things a bit further, also on Trans-Neptunian objects.

Both books provide excellent starting points for exploring the asteroids more thoroughly in your own chart. I’d recommend adding only the ones that are on important angles or making tight conjunctions with personal planets first, and then layering in more as you test the meanings. Is is, however, like adding colour and decoration to a black and white drawing. Asteroids fill in extraordinary and unexpected detail. The Orders of Light and Mechanics of the Future are really aimed at the practicing astrologer. You need to know how to interpret a chart before starting in on asteroids.

 

Even though I don’t instantly agree with every nuance of her interpretations of the asteroids that I use myself — Juno, Vesta, Ceres, Hygeia and Pallas — I can see her interpretations are grounded in years and years of experience as well as theory, so they are very valuable. I’ll definitely be testing these new ideas out and seeing if they work for me. Every astrologer comes with different experience and works from a different context. Bringing together our work enriches the pool of astrological knowledge. It’s taken thousands of years for interpretations of Saturn, Jupiter and the rest of our familiar friends to be more than blurry outlines. So we should be working together to evolve meaning for the asteroids.

Lang-Wescott wrote these books a while ago, and I am sure she has done tons more work since they were published. But they are still going to be absolutely key texts on asteroids for a long time: I am sure of it. I note that  she is currently deep into medical astrology, no doubt collating another trove of information. She really must have an incredible mind to be able to marshal so much detail.

There are some critical pieces of information missing, for example the length of orbit and the asteroid number (which would make using astro.com so easy!). But I expect she may have these in another book. These two are just starter tomes really.

Lane-Wescott teaches and has a monthly newsletter which is packed with more asteroid info.

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  1. Catherine says:

    What orbs would you use for asteroids? – the big 4 and then the more minor ones?

    • Christina says:

      Personally, I use very small orbs — 3° or less. I think the smaller the asteroid, the tighter the orb ought to be, so for the minor ones not much more than a degree either way. I note that Lang-Wescott uses much wider ones sometimes.