Elizabeth Hazel has created a worthy and valuable addition to the all too slim fixed star canon. Though classically these bodies were seen as elevated above the planetary spheres and related to eminence, in reality they often get lost amongst all the chatter regarding signs and planets. Hazel’s offering is a welcome, unique and potent remedy for this situation.
The seed for the book is contained in a list of stars by zodiacal longitude accumulated by the author in her teachings on the subject. These entries are brief but dense, including etymology, keywords, and mythic concepts. These are rounded out by blurbs from award winning researcher Michael Munkasey. This in itself makes the book a valuable reference, as one can quickly access a brief synopsis of star contacts to any zodiacal position.
The next section contains valuable insights and ideas for structuring one’s own explorations into the starry realms. Various astronomical factors are introduced and briefly explained, via which we can begin to attribute meaning and functionality to these extremely esoteric bodies. In many cases, Hazel’s brief and understated explorations, though potent and insightful, also seem worthy of far greater exposition. For instance, the idea that the order of planetary associations with a star (eg, Algol is like Saturn and Jupiter) suggests an immediate impact and another later outcome is actually quite profound. Implied is the idea that the initial impact of a star upon human consciousness is often quite different from its presence in a more integrated and finished state. Algol may show up in a very demanding or protective fashion (Saturn) but once integrated into the individual spirit/consciousness becomes more of a benevolent guide (Jupiter). Another understated but extremely important concept is that of cosmic structure. Hazel intimates that some of a star’s meaning and purpose can be gleaned from its location vis a vis important astronomical junctures such as the ecliptic, galactic equator, polar circle etc. Another interesting concept is the grouping of stars via themes such as: Birds, Hearts & Eyes, and Danger Zones. Any of these ideas are wonderful rabbit holes which could easily be expanded upon by the curious reader or researcher.
The next section, which ends up being the bulk of the book, is comprised by a series of essays on various constellations. These are thoughtful, modern and non-dogmatic expositions on the astronomical, mythological and cultural ramifications of these energies upon the human lived experience. Hazel’s approach is largely practical. Though some elements of modern feminism and psychological ideas are introduced, it’s never in a heavy-handed way and the reader is free to take or leave them. Hazel applies a pleasant and unique blend of esoterica including classical planetary dignities, tarot, mythology, history and practical life experience to illuminate the constellations and the stars within them. Most of these essays are on the extra-zodiacal constellations. Again Hazel shows a penchant for unique and insightful analysis, for instance by breaking Auriga into three separate themes or stories and by making an interesting connection between Orion and Hercules. Only two zodiacal constellations are covered, but it’s done in such a way the reader is hopeful this little book will someday become much longer.
The final section contains examples of fixed stars integrated into whole chart analysis. Hazel takes on the charts of famous poets as a means to illustrate the concepts introduced earlier in the book. This is accomplished in a delightfully holistic fashion, with Hazel applying the aforementioned concept of cosmic structure not just to stars but also to planets, for instance. I found the essay on Tolkien particularly exemplary and satisfying, given the recent resurfacing of his material in the collective consciousness.
In the final analysis, this is a very big little book. Though dense with ideas, insights and potential –it is still very practical and grounded, such that the reader does not get overwhelmed or lost. One other feature which might be easily underestimated are the graphics which are original, clear and helpful. Altogether, Hazel has created an enviable volume which fills a hungry void in the astrological literature and serves as stellar exemplar of the positive potential of the self-publishing movement.
~review by Gary Caton, guest reviewer
Author: Elizabeth Hazel
© 2020, Kosmic Kitchen Press
154 pages, $28.00 paperback