The primary author of this book is Mantak Chia, or Master Chia, a Taoist who developed the Universal Healing Tao System (UHTS). Master Chia is a practitioner of various martial arts and western medicine. Christine Harkness-Giles is a certified instructor of the Universal Healing System and a feng-shui consultant in the UK.

Taoist astrology is Chinese astrology. It is based on the five elements and follows the established order of the heavenly stems and earthly branches. The cyclic patterns of stems and branches show how earth and heaven relate to each other in a humanly-comprehensible flow of time. The object of Chinese astrology is to allow the human, who stands between heaven and earth, to live in harmony with time and earthly space.

The point of the “inner alchemy” described in this book is to improve one's personal elemental balance, as determined by one's birth chart, so as to optimize health and one's relationship with fate. The reader can get a free basic chart to use with this book from For a complete birth chart analysis, there’s a link to a Master Chia’s chart service (about $25 US).  

The early chapters of the book cover basic principles of Taoist astrology and how the five elements balance in a birth chart. A person's Day Master exerts great influence over elemental balances. Imbalances are associated with personal problems, career frustrations, and health issues. The “Inner Smile Meditation” (the technique is provided in a separate resource) moves energies to create a more favorable internal balance. The “Healing Sounds” meditation, the “Fusion” meditation, aromatherapy and color therapy supplement deficient elements or eliminating negative or unwholesome energies.

Chapter 7 gives instructions for performing a feng-shui house cleaning/clearing ritual. Working on the body and house integrates improvements on multiple levels. There is a step-by-step summary of how to read the birth chart generated by the web program. Ten-year luck cycles are the topic of Chapter 8. Chapters 9 and 10 discuss the impact that elemental balances have on love relationships and family dynamics. The Tao of Forgiveness ritual disarms and releases harmful elemental energies. There are useful appendices that provide handy at-a-glance tables and a glossary at the end of the book.

SUMMARY: This book is a mixed bag. On the plus side, Taoist/Chinese astrology offers remedial techniques that are absent in Western astrology. On the minus side, this book is part of an integrated program offered by the Universal Healing Tao System organization. It really isn't a do-it-yourself or how-to book. It's one of many manuals that Master Chia's organization offers to people seeking greater balance, happiness, and productivity in life. There's an introductory disclaimer: don't practice the methods described in this book without a UHTS consultation, as it may cause possible injury or health problems. 

Chinese astrology is integrated with Feng-Shui, and it takes a while to learn. A novice is likely to struggle with this book if he/she hasn't done any prior study on deeper aspects of Chinese astrology (which means something different than what-is-your-sign and who-are-you-compatible-with books).

The Inner Alchemy Astrology system does seem to have genuine merits (as a reviewer who has not experienced this system, this isn't an endorsement). It's nicely written with generous full-color illustrations throughout the text. But to be clear, this isn't a primer on Chinese astrology so much as a companion manual for UHTS clients.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Authors: Mantak Chia and Christine Harkness-Giles
Destiny Books (Inner Traditions) 2013
pp. 181, $16.95
(Originally published as Inner Alchemy from the Stars: Practical Taoist Astrology)

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