Book Review: Surfing the Galactic Highways

Tuesday January 24th 2023

Reading an astrology chart is an act of faith, for there is no good rational reason why any of it should work. Why should the position of the planet Mercury in the sky at the moment of your birth say anything about how your mind works? Or Venus say something about the kind of person you are attracted to, or attract towards you? There is no rational or material reason for these things. And that is the wonder of it.” Thus writes Barry Goddard in his new book, Surfing the Galactic Highways.

Surfing the Galactic Highways is a book about astrology and being an astrologer, written in an engaging, conversational style familiar to readers of Goddard’s blog, Astrotabletalk. It’s also one of the best explorations I’ve read in a long time, of the feeling and meaning of outer planetary transits. Goddard uses various examples, but by far the most interesting are his discussions of his own life and chart. This is vivid writing, since it is based on direct personal experience combined with a profound, felt understanding of the symbols and logic of astrology.

Although I sometimes disagree with his opinions, I found this book extremely thought-provoking because Goddard thinks about the big philosophical questions that the study of astrology ought to stimulate. What is the shape of the universe? Can astrologers be impartial? Who are we? What is the meaning of life? Are the planets gods? Why?

Indeed, it’s by disagreeing that one is forced to think for oneself, and I found myself in a dialogue with this book. Goddard is an intelligent, informed interlocutor, with interesting, wide-ranging references, and long experience of applying astrology to real life, and seeing how it works. His personal exploration of shamanism seems to have enriched his own astrological practice enormously, bringing it out of the textbook and into the senses.

Goddard is especially good on this, the enchantment of astrology, lived astrology. Because he is by nature both a seeker and a sceptic, he sees the magic of it.

Book Club

I’ve asked Barry to come along to the next OA members’ meeting on Sunday, 5 March at 7.30 to discuss his book, his philosophy and how shamanism works with astrology. Bring your questions — and answers.

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