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Ruling Planets: Your Astrological Guide to Life's Ups and Downs    by Christopher Renstrom order for
Ruling Planets
by Christopher Renstrom
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I'm not an astrology believer, I found Ruling Planets: Your Astrological Guide to Life's Ups and Downs a fascinating, beautifully illustrated reference on the subject. In his Introduction, Christopher Renstrom tells us that the practice of describing ourselves under a Zodiac sign only started in the 1930s with a British newspaper column. Before that, someone who now calls themselves an Aries would have identified themselves as 'a child of Mars'. Renstrom tells us that the original emphasis on a 'Ruling Planet' (which is continually in motion) is missing from today's astrology texts.

Start by looking up your Ruling Planet in the Planetary tables at the beginning of the book (they include years as well as month ranges). Mine is Mars, but some people will have two Ruling Planets. Next, check out the general characteristics, temperament and outlook that each Planet's Children have. I was happy to discover that I'm 'independent, uncompromising, and heroic', and that I share Mars with luminaries, including René Descartes (of 'I think therefore I am' fame), Thomas Jefferson, Gloria Steinem and Colin Powell. After checking out personality traits, and who you've shared them with through history, look up the sign that Mars was in when you were born, and find additional attributes that relate to these. Once you know yourself, dig into Part IV, which discusses how the Children of the Planets get along with one another - with mates, siblings, children, parents, friends, enemies, bosses and colleagues.

I had a lot of fun exploring my connections with others through Ruling Planets. Astrology columnist Christopher Renstrom knows his subject and makes it interesting and colorful, by connecting the Ruling Planets to historical and contemporary figures, and to modern culture.

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