Under a Sacred Sky
Essays on the Practice and Philosophy of Astrology
Under a Sacred Sky is a treasure trove of essays on the ancient art of astrology, ranging from discussions about its use in our personal lives to its value for understanding historical cycles and patterns. It also includes a fascinating chapter on planetary stations, a topic rarely covered in other astrological literature. Along the way Ray Grasse interjects the story with some of his own personal experiences in the discipline, while exploring its broader implications for subjects like synchronicity, spirituality, and the yogic concept of the chakras. This book also includes interviews with Rick Tarnas and Laurence Hillman and is suitable for both beginner and advanced students of the subject.
Published by The Wessex Astrologer Ltd., 2015
Available through bookstores or Amazon.com
"Those who have studied astrology know that it works, but over the millennia, no physical or causal principle has been discovered that explains exactly how astrology works. Most modern astrologers have given up on cause-and-effect models and turned to a synchronistic or acausal explanation as defined by Carl Jung. Astrologer Ray Grasse takes this view one step further by showing how the mechanism of astrology is symbolism. “Celestial events not only connect acausally with earthly happenings,” he writes, “but also incorporate dimensions of symbolism and meaning beyond surface appearances.”
An entire book could be written about this subject, but it is boiled down to one tightly written essay contained in Ray Grasse’s Under a Sacred Sky, a marvelous collection of 18 essays he has had published over the last twenty years. In this first essay, titled “Symbolism, Synchronicity, and the Astrological World view,” he gives several clear illustrations of why the causal mechanism for astrology doesn’t work. One of the best is the Mercury retrograde phenomenon, which, when it is in effect, tends to complicate business contracts, stall communications, and make technological snafus. Yet Mercury doesn’t actually go backwards in its orbit; its retrograde motion is an illusion caused by the relative positions of the Earth and Mercury. Mercury emits no backward emanations that could cause these well- known, episodic mishaps.
Each essay is a treasure within itself, readily understood by beginners, yet bringing insights and lessons for professionals. Numerous books have been written about Saturn, but this harsh taskmaster is difficult to grasp fully. Does it always bring problems? One of the most practical essays in Grasse’s collection is called “Saturn, the Late Bloomer.” Once the astrologer has grasped the role of Saturn in the chart, everything else falls into place. This essay focuses on Saturn’s aspects to each of the traditional planets. For example, the Saturn-Moon aspect is referred to as “the struggle to relate.” This aspect can bring serious inhibitions in forging emotional bonds. The same aspect also bestows amazing gifts, which take a while (a long while) to develop, if one has the will and patience.
Grasse’s essays are wide-ranging, aimed at both individual practices as well as presenting a persuasive and lucid philosophical view. “The Seven Most Common Mistakes Made by Astrologers” should be required reading for anyone wanting to do consultations or readings for clients. “Astrology and the Chakras” describes the one-to-one correspondences between the planets and the chakra system. And perhaps half of these essays, in one way or another, describe how we are on the cusp of the Age of Aquarius and leaving the Age of Pisces behind.
The most direct explanation of this new age we are entering is found in the essay “The Dawn of Aquarius.” Here, readers see how Pisces symbols have pervaded civilization for the last two thousand years, and the symbols associated with Aquarius are beginning to shape human evolution. The most obvious of these is the Internet, while perhaps the most widespread shift can be seen in how science has replaced religion as the dominant paradigm.
Perhaps you have come across one or another of Ray Grasse’s articles in various astrology magazines and have noticed
that he is one of those rare hybrids: an exceptionally talented astrologer and a gifted writer. Under a Sacred Sky brings
his best articles together under one cover, and it is a gem to be treasured for years. As you read his work, and share his
ideas and perspectives, you will be facilitating the advancement of astrology."
—Dell Horoscope, Feb. 2015