Author: William Hewitt
Trade Paperback, 300 pages
Publication date: 2002
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The second edition of William Hewitt's Astrology for Beginners does not appear to be all that different from the first edition. That's probably a good thing as the 1991 edition was a clear, easy-to-read and understand introduction to what astrology is and the basics of constructing and interpreting an astrological chart. As the title states, this book is for beginners. If you are not a beginner, you should pass this book by and select a more advanced astrology book from the shelves of your favorite bookstore.
If you are a new student of astrology, this is one of the better introductory books. It explains astrology and its basic terminology from the ground up. It clearly and concisely explains the essentials of astrology: the signs, the planets, the houses, charts, aspects, the Ascendant and the Midheaven, the nodes of the Moon, and the Elements. The first hundred pages (and seven chapters) is devoted to these basics.
The second section of the book explains how to construct an astrological chart. As this is a modern astrology book, it starts by talking about computer generated charts. Unfortunately, this apparently was not updated for the new edition as it makes this sound much more expensive than it is with today's inexpensive computers and the free astrology programs available on the Internet. This section also describes the traditional method of creating a chart with a table of houses, an ephemeris and a lot of math and a less traditional, but fast, method called "eyeballing," which requires much less math.
The final 125 pages or so of Astrology for Beginners is devoted to explaining the general meaning of each of the planets in signs and houses and the meaning of the various aspects. While the material here is enough to get started, it's a bit too superficial for regular use. If you find you are interested in astrology, you will quickly want to pick up a more complete guide to interpretation. Hewitt recommends The Astrologer's Handbook by Sakoian and Acker in the references -- a good choice.
I am still not sure what has been revised in this book. As my copy of the first edition is in a box somewhere in my garage, I can't easily compare the two. However, it doesn't really matter, even if nothing but the cover has changed; Astrology for Beginners is still a good "introduction to astrology" book. It you are interested in astrology but do not know where to start, this book is one of few introductory astrology books that is complete enough to be useful yet easy enough for the average person to understand.
Reviewed by Randall