by Rick Levine

I was thrilled when Antero Alli asked me if I would write a preface for his new astrology book. I am even more thrilled now that I have read it and have had a chance to think about it. Confession: this is not the first book by Antero that I’ve read, so I knew that I would have to set my expectations aside because everything that he writes is not what one expects. I remember reading “Astrologik: The Interpretive Art of Astrology” back in 1990 (was that really over thirty years ago?!) and being both excited and bothered by the book. I was excited because it was such a fresh approach to a subject I was already quite familiar with. I was bothered by it because it challenged some of my astrological assumptions and I couldn’t just walk away from his ideas, however revolutionary they were. I was bothered by his eclectic approach, which was a good thing because it changed the way I think about this amazing branch of knowledge called astrology that Antero and I share.

But of course, astrology is not ours. It belongs to humanity. We, Antero and I (and key figures throughout history, plus an ever-growing population of aficionados, students, and professionals), study astrology because it touches our souls. We are intrigued by how the cosmos can, in its immensity, create meaning in the transient lives of those humans who choose to step outside the boundaries of consensus reality to explore this ancient wisdom that holds the special position of being damned by both science and religion. I have always taken pride in the fact that as an astrologer, I escaped from the confines of fear-based religion and broke free of the constraints imposed by the traditional academic view of reality. I viewed myself as sort of an intellectual outlaw, seeking to live by a higher code than the restraining laws of the land. That is, until I met a real outlaw in the form of Antero Alli. Antero didn’t only rebel against the intellectual status quo; he took it farther by stepping outside the trappings of astrology, itself.

I was bothered by Antero’s eagerness to re-language some of astrology’s most basic concepts. Planets were, in “Astrologik,” no longer planets; they became “forces.” The houses became “states” and the zodiacal signs became “styles.” In “Experiential Astrology,” Antero writes, “My job as ‘astrologer’ is all about languaging my perceptions.” His insightful use of language has, in this new book, added to forces, states, and styles. One of the basic techniques in the astrologer’s toolbox is the “house ruler,” the sign that labels the cusp (or cutting edge) of each of the twelve houses. Antero refers to these house rulers as “governors.” It’s another re-languaging concept that works.

As a practicing astrologer, I have been deeply involved in a branch of contemporary astrology called, “experiential astrology,” so I was eager to read about Antero’s perspective on this work. True to form, that is not what I got. This is absolutely a book about experiential astrology, but not the experiential astrology that is being practiced by others. Again, Antero is using language to change how we think. In my world, experiential astrology consisted of a range of techniques like “astrodrama” (where students would act out the planetary energies) or “planet walks” (where they would practice physical walking rhythms to conjure the various archetypes). I have been attracted to experiential astrology because it gets students and clients out of their heads and into their bodies. But it is specifically technique oriented.

Antero Alli’s “Experiential Astrology” is right up the same alley. But it revisions all of astrology as experientially based, rather than being relegated to being a detached intellectual exercise. Ultimately, this book lays the groundwork to understand how all astrology is experiential. In his words, “Experiential Astrology encourages firsthand experience of the living forces symbolized in the horoscope. As such, this approach can be loosely defined as animistic and shamanic.” Yes and yes! Give me more of this, please.

“Experiential Astrology” (XA) is not a book of answers. It’s not an astrological cookbook. Nor does it need to be, since there is no shortage of these books that tell us, “Planet A in such-and-such a sign and house means blah blah blah.” XA is not a roadmap to chart interpretation. It is not a linear “how to” book that says start here and follow these steps to reach your destination. XA is a smorgasbord. It is a multi-dimensional mosaic that lays out an alternative way of seeing the variety of astrological experience. It’s not quite a beginner’s first astrology book, but neither does it require knowledge of advanced techniques. In fact, a minimal understanding of the planets, signs, houses, and aspects might be all that is required to gain the unique perspective this book offers. On the other end of the spectrum, advanced students or even practicing professionals could stand to have their view of astrology shaken up a bit. I’ve been studying astrology for over 50 years (yikes!) and Antero has served me up a rich meal with much food for thought. It will take some time for me to digest all the tidbits that he has brought to my table.

I particularly loved Antero’s section on misconceptions about astrology, because he clearly states things most astrologers think about. But sometimes his conclusions are askew of the traditional astrological party line, and it’s refreshing to consider his ideas about astrology horoscope columns, fortune-telling, fate and destiny, and more.

In the part about the zodiac, itself, Antero leads us on a non-traditional romp through the elements and modalities, the signs (styles) and houses (states), their relationship to the planets (forces) and the role of the house cusps (governors). We learn about the polarity (balance point) of each house and the shadow each planet casts. We learn about the Ascendant, major asteroids, Chiron, and the Lunar Nodes. We are given a cook’s tour of planetary dispositors, planetary configurations, and the significance of timing (transits). But, as stated before, this is not a detached and analytical approach. It is a personal disclosure. It is about the embodiment of the astrological archetypes. It’s a story about how the symbols come alive, about how we can use the astrological language to make the invisible visible, the subconscious conscious.

As a significant part of embodiment, we are led through a unique and revealing section about each of the planets as sexual realities. Although many astrologers have written about astrology and sexuality, Antero creates a template that is quite ingenious and filled with solid and useful observations.

Although we are given excerpts from a few of Antero’s readings, they are not just examples of how it all comes together. They are food for thought to prime the pump for the research exercises throughout the book. Again and again, Antero brings his thoughts back to the reader. How does this work in your chart? What happened in your life when this or that transit occurred?

I love reading Antero’s writing because he is a true innovator. I like to think of myself as less centrist and traditional than many astrologers, yet Antero reminds me how wide our perspective can be and how vast the cosmos is. But Antero Alli is also an artist of language, a poet. Throughout the book, he casually drops bombs that combine powerful depth of perception with the creative magic of poetry. For example, writing about Neptune and “The Illusion of Reality,’ he says, “Neptune transits require the sonar of intuition and the somatic compass of our five senses.” I believe I’ll quote him again on that!

Astrology eludes classification. It’s not a science, nor is it a pseudoscience. It’s more than a science. Astrology is an art form, but it’s not just art. It is the embodiment of the magic of sacred geometry. One can read a few books and, to some degree, mechanically ply the craft of astrology. It has been said that astronomy is a glove and astrology is the living hand inside the glove. Modern science is ultimately distracted by the glove, even to the extent of denying the reality of the conscious metaphysical energy that moves the glove. Technique is assuredly an important part of astrology. But it is the embodiment, the experience, and the use of language to describe the invisible that makes astrology come alive. Antero Alli has given us an offering intended for the gods and goddesses. It is up to each of us to take this offering, to personalize it, and to use it as a tool in our journey into experiential astrology.


- Rick Levine
Redmond, WA


Table of Contents

Author Introduction

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