Books on Astrology: Natal, Synastry, Transits

Quality astrology books are necessary to learning this art. Even though there are plenty of free astrology resources online, they almost never give the same expert guidance that authoritative books have. Here is a list of recommended general natal astrology books, synastry books and other stuff that are good to read, a little at a time.

Astrology Basics Books

You don’t need to own every good beginner’s book on astrology.   Whatever you get, do get the technical aspect (calculation) and interpretation both covered. You might find that some books do better at explaining one than the other, so you end up getting a couple of books to cover the basics.

Parkers’ Astrology

Book for the serious beginner.  Gorgeous picture book. If you already know how to calculate a chart (say from a software or another book), you can ignore the math part in this book and just dive into the other stuff. I’ve never used the calculation methods because I already had that done, but I have glanced at it and many people have complained about it.  Look for another book to teach you the art of erecting a horoscope. That aside, Parkers’ Astrology has loads and loads of useful guides and delineations. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

The New A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator

Classic textbook on astrology chart calculation and interpretation. Not too insightful when it comes to readings, but the technical aspects are very good. Generations of astrologers have used this as their primary textbook.   But serious students should be happy with it.

The Only Way to Learn Astrology

It consists of six volumes, each teaching an important aspect of modern astrological practice. The first three volumes cover the mathematics and analysis of charts; the last three deal with predictions, relationships and finally, electional and horary astrology. You probably won’t agree with everything the authors say, but it’s still one of the classics of modern astrology.

Synastry Books

Relationship astrology is a challenging area for newcomers. Look for these books on synastry and composites to help you get started.

Synastry: Understanding the Astrology of Relationships

If you think synastry is complicated, um, you’re right.  Rod Suskin can’t change that but he does the next best thing:  He shows you how to slowly approach this giant of a challenge and tackle it one piece at a time. The outlook is somewhat traditional, which makes it very good. I do not concur with what he says about “first impressions” being wrong, but hey, that is his experience which is certainly greater than mine.

The Only Way to Learn About Relationships (Volume 5 of The Only Way to Learn Astrology series)

Another good book on relationships.  It shows you what to look for in a natal chart for the purposes of a compatibility reading; how to compare charts; and how to do composites. The authors are able to jam a lot of info in relatively few pages.  Unfortunately, there is a  preoccupation with celebrity charts– there’s virtually no page where some famous actor, writer or politician isn’t mentioned as an example. While “famous charts” may help illustrate chart elements and techniques, it’s not that helpful to a beginner to use just those.  After all, most of the charts that a student will encounter will be of ordinary people.  Not to mention, a lot of these “famous” persons would be unknown to younger readers.

Planets in Composite

It’s by Robert Hand.  It’s about the composite technique for studying relationships. Like his other books in the Planets series, Hand takes the cookbook approach and raises it to great heights.


Useful mainly for the insights into house transpositions and planetary aspects. It seems to be very popular, as evinced by the fact they made a sequel, Skymates: The Composite Chart.  But it may be too “New Age” for some people.  The approach to synastry here is strongly colored by the authors’ belief in “evolutionary astrology” and reincarnation.  I would not recommend this as your first book on synastry for that reason, but it has its uses.  And of course, if you take the view that humans evolve through reincarnation and the birth chart shows that, you may find Steven and Jodie Forrest to your liking.

Intermediate Astrology Books

Probe deeper into astrological symbolism with any of these works.

Chart Interpretation Handbook: Guidelines for Understanding the Essentials of the Birth Chart

When it comes to preciseness of language in describing the energies in the birth chart, no one equals Stephen Arroyo.  His guidelines are so carefully and flawlessly executed that sensitive students will just know and feel it is correct. If you are ever at a loss to comprehend a placement or configuration, read this book. It is helpful for those struggling to overcome cookbook mentality. Even the expert will find countless gems of insight in this slim book.

Horoscope Symbols

Robert Hand explores the symbols and key concepts of astrology in this lucid, masterful work. If you already have the basics down but want to go deeper, you’ll appreciate this book.  It is a treasure chest of insights from one of the current era’s best astrologers.  Anyone can memorize the basic meanings of astrological factors, but few understand the how’ and why’s of it. Hand does not pretend that his words are carved in stone and frankly, I disagree with some of his views and theories in this book. But overall he is good.

Aspects in Astrology: A Guide to Understanding Planetary Relationships in the Horoscope

While beginners focus on zodiac signs and the planets, many fail to realize that it is the aspects that may have the strongest impact in the chart. Aspects are what really make each nativity unique. Sue Tompkins draws on her rich experience to shed light on the topic. Probably the most in-depth book on aspects.

Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living

The Bible of astrological transits. It is not often we can say that you need just one book on a given topic. But we can say that about Robert Hand’s definitive work on transits. In lucid prose, Hand explains all you need to know about planetary cycles and their impact on human existence. This book is a must-have. Don’t be surprised if you need to buy a second copy after you wear out the first.

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