Ivo Dominguez Jr. does the Pagan world a great service by offering his book, Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans: Using the Planets and the Stars for Effective Spellwork, Rituals, and Magickal Work, available from Weiser Books, copyright 2016.
As a witch whose practice is timed according to Astrology, I greatly appreciate the straightforward insights presented in this book. The author simply explains how Astrology works, and how I may utilize the natural flow of this power in my life, without bogging me down with the technical minutia. The author’s poetic gift of metaphor helped me reach a new depth of understanding in a subject I’ve been struggling to untangle for more than a decade, because let’s face it, I’m a mystic, not a mathematician.
He put my fears of inadequacy to rest on the very first page of the introduction:
“People are often daunted at the prospect of learning enough Astrology for it to actually be useful in their magickal practices. It is true that Astrology is a huge field of study and it could take several lifetimes to achieve mastery. The same can be said of Mathematics, but many people are able to learn enough math so they can function in their day-to-day life and manage their finances. My intention with this book is to teach the core concepts of Astrology so that Witches and Pagans would then be able to truly apply Astrology to their practices.” Pages 1-2
If this is the very first book of Astrology you pick up, you can consider yourself lucky indeed. Seriously, if you’ve been avoiding Astrology the same way you avoided calculus (like the plague) this may be the book for you! He begins with a basic introduction of the world view and core concepts of Astrology in understandable terms that cut through all the woo and jargon. This book is a painless read, that lays out a reasonable explanation for this sacred science, and the value it can bring to your magickal work.
In a section entitled “As Above, So Below,” I was gratified to find this passage:
“Even though it is a standard practice to speak of Astrological events as having an impact upon our lives and our world, this isn’t the most accurate way to describe what is actually occurring. The relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm is reciprocal. It is not so much that the heavens affect us as it is that they are large enough so that we can read what is written there, rather than what is written in a script too small upon the the fine fabric of reality. One of the benefits of making Astrology a part of your practice if you are a witch or a magician is that helps to train our subtle senses to also read those microcosmic patterns.” Pages 9-10
The organization of the book then goes on to break down into useful details how the planets, signs, houses and aspects may be understood and put to good use from a pagan point of view. There are practical examples of how a witch may plan spell workings, rituals and other spiritual events to flow powerfully with planetary movements, the tides of the moon, and the pagan Wheel of the Year.
He maps these useful lessons above and below, to the aura, the body, the day, the week, the season, working with Spirits, working with coven-mates, and spiritual evolution throughout life. Most useful are the suggestions for how to work through the challenging times. For example, understanding how best to mitigate issues when a planet goes retrograde, you experience a Saturn return, or working with the moon when it is Void of Course.
While the purpose of this book is not necessarily to teach about your Natal chart and personality, or uses for divination, it is still very helpful in that department. I recommend you have a copy of your chart handy as you read. Though I’ve been studying my natal chart for years, I still came away with a greater understanding of myself, and how I may better utilize my own personality strengths to empower my magickal work, and use my magickal work to help shore up my personality weaknesses.
Old Witches can Learn New Tricks
Though I’ve been teaching students how to calculate planetary hours according to the Chaldean order for years, I now have a much deeper understanding of where this system came from, and how it works. Dominguez tags all his lessons back to the Hermetic Qabala Tree of life, easily unfolding the astounding beauty in the system, above and below. Perhaps, like me, you’ve found it intimidating when any witchy author brings up the Qabala. Somehow he managed to shed much needed light on those correspondences, without me glazing over.
I recently met Ivo Dominguez Jr. at the Mystic South conference in Atlanta, where I was delighted to take one of his workshops. His knowledge, manner and authenticity impressed me. I can report that he is a genuine gentleman of the Craft, which is not a thing I can say of every elder I’ve met along this pagan path. His teaching impressed me so much that I’m now seeking out all his written works, and I highly recommend them to you as a valuable contribution to your library. He also tours and teaches extensively. Check out his website here for dates and details.
Thanks to reading Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans, I now have a light bulb of eureka shining brightly into a few of the darker corners in my witchy understanding. I’ve long said that my practice makes no room for fearful “superstition.” Either I understand how these things work, or I give it none of my power. However, I will admit that there are some aspects of the Western Esoteric Sciences that I’ve so far accepted at face value, with the faith that someday I would figure out the mysteries behind why those techniques work so well. Reading this book, from this author, makes THIS the day that I finally got it.
Thank you, Ivo, for the blessing this book will continue to be in my practice, teachings, and writings. Y’all can expect many quotations of his beautiful words in future.