Stellar Maze Book Club!


Well, not the kind where we all read the same book, but talk about different books in progress, in queue, held dear, and/or resent having to know they exist. What are we reading when we’re not reading and writing about ourselves and each other? What are we reading to hide from others? Joyful reads, hatereads(don’t let me be the only one here who hatereads, please), fiction, nonfiction, it all applies.

I’m in school right now so “leisure” reading is tougher, but I want to finally pick up Carl Jung’s Psychological Types. I loved reading Lincoln’s Melancholy by Joshua Wolf Shenk a few years ago, I wouldn’t mind going over it again. Speaking of which: Anything you guys read when you were younger, that feel much different now upon rereading as an adult?

Anyway, take care. Hopefully we get some cool variety in here :slight_smile:

What are you reading?

That’s always something that excites me so much - rereading a book I read as a kid. I was a much more voracious reader when I was in school (because I read to procrastinate from everything else I was supposed to be doing, like homework). It always amazes me how differently things feel, what things I pick up on that I missed before.

Lately I’ve been wanting to reread The Great Gatsby. A high school staple…which was when I read it. I hated that book with a passion back then. But so many English lit types that I knew were into it that I always felt that maybe I’d like it better when I got older. That maybe there was stuff in it I didn’t “get” yet that would make me like the book in spite of the amazingly annoying douchebag characters (to my teenage mind). So, that’s on my to-read list.


Hi, @SisterJ88. It’s nice to see you come out and play. I love your eyes.

Another good one of Jung’s is The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. I’ve read Jung’s Synchronicity book too. I’ve been meaning to pick up the Psychological Types. Let me know how you like it.

I just finished How to Win Friends and Influence People by Carnegie. It was a book that came out during the Depression and it’s a very popular book among business people. I have to give a couple presentations in April about students and networking, so I got that one and a couple other silly books to give me some insights and ideas. Carnegie’s book was basically just about how to be a good person.

I have an old smelly book. I love it cause it’s smelly. A Man Against Insanity by De Kruif. Non-fiction about the first medicines and therapies being used in mental health. I have a few things that I started but could not finish for one reason or another. The Divine Comedy being one of them. There are some books I bought that I think are important to read for the basic understandings of psychology. Faust is one of them. Haven’t gotten to that one. I think I’ll read The Power of Habit by Duhigg next. I like to read, it’s just hard for me. I have to be really focused and interested otherwise. It’s just words and no connection to me.

@Wendy, I’ll have to read the Gatsby. It probably was on my HS reading list??? But I probably didn’t read it??? I was a slacker in school. I wish I wasn’t. Because now there are things that I want to learn about that I probably would have already learned had I payed more attention.


I’m currently re-reading “Astrology, Karma & Transformation: The Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart” by Stephen Arroyo.

I first read it over ten years ago, but (in my usual Sagittarius/Gemini fashion) speed-read the essentials at light-speed without taking the time to really experience his insights at a deeper level.

I’m currently experiencing some life-changing transits from all the heavyweight planets at the same time (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto!), and returned to Arroyo’s book to better understand why the last few years have been so intense and (at times) deeply stressful and even life-threatening. In typical INFJ-style, my mid-life struggles are mainly internal and invisible to others (for the most part), as I’m still able to maintain a functional facade. But it’s been taking a heavy toll on my physical and emotional health and sucking much of the joy out of my daily life.

And now it seems that I’m finally ready to absorb this amazing man’s profound wisdom at the deeper levels of my psyche; so much so that his book is now my constant companion and essential guide for navigating through my existential crisis without being destroyed by it.

Phew!, sorry to ramble on like, this, but part of my “learning experience” is to share what I’ve learned to help and guide others through life’s dramas. It’s always been part of my INFJ/Sagittarius “Mission Statement”, but my good intentions have been all-too easily sidetracked onto inessentials in the past.


I’m reading Bill Herbst’s Houses of the Horoscope…

Thanks @Stewart for sharing that Mountain Astrologer article of his… I find his civilizational astrology VERY interesting!

Next on my list is Liz Greene’s The Dark of the Soul : Psychopathology in the Horoscope…

In other reading…

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann is in progress…

Gonna give Infinite Jest a try after that…

I feel like revisiting Villette… Charlotte Bronte is so heartbreakingly INFJ…

In light reading…

Royal Children by Nicholas Courtney… because I’m obsessed with Princess Diana and I really wonder what it’s like to be born into that kind of family, in general… I chanced upon a lovely hardcover with lots of black and white pictures at a third hand book store last week…

Also… a sappy Nicholas Sparks book… guilty pleasure… easy distraction… that guy needs a better proofreader and editor though…

I probably shouldn’t be reading so many books at once…


I’m reading a novel-essay, Mercurius: the Marriage of Heaven and Earth. It’s on alchemy and its modern interpretations. Properly taken I think alchemy could be of enormous utility, even in modern times. I think it’s all about finding some link between Intuition and Sensation, that is, a way to purify imagination so that it is strong enough to actualize what itself imagines.

And The birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche. He is the greatest.


Alchemy is of particular interest to me.

I now can see that the Archetype of “The Alchemist” is a powerful force in my psyche, and that I chose to study Chemistry (and continue to work in a lab as a Forensic Chemist) because it’s the closest thing the modern world has to Alchemy.

For me, Alchemy represents the bringing together of opposite, supposedly incompatible elements to create something greater than the sum of the parts. This image resonates with me on so many levels; but is particularly apt for both my MBTI type and my astrological birth chart.

Like many other INFJs, I’ve always had an acute awareness of the bipolar nature of consciousness; partly derived from from my own self-awareness, but also from observing other people over many years. I eventually decided to learn how to apply these insights on a practical level; to be better able to advise and counsel other peopl;, so I eventually undertook private training at my own expense in a number of disciplines, including MBTI-style personality typology and NLP. With these skills, I’ve had some success helping other people deal with psychological issues, both informally and on a semi-professional level. Ideally, I would have liked to become a full-time therapist/coach, but for various complex reasons, I haven’t yet achieved that goal.

However, my INFJ typological makeup serves me extremely well when I work one-on-one with another person. A particular strength of mine seems to be recognising and resolving unconscious internal conflicts in other people; a type of psychological alchemy, if you like. In my experience, these hidden internal conflicts are often the root cause behind a great deal of human psychological and emotional suffering.

But the alchemical themes are also present in my more mystical side; and this is perfectly captured and symbolised in my Astrological birth chart. In fact, the only reason I (as a supposedly sceptical scientist) finally accepted the validity of astrology was because of the incredible accuracy and descriptive detail contained in my personal chart. Luckily my mother, an extraverted sensing type, remembered the exact time I was born, so my birthchart is highly accurate. To confirm this, I drew up charts for all my friends and family (they are very tolerent of my eccentricities!) and attempted to interpret them for everyone. The defining moment for me was when I began to be able to tell that the birthtime I had been given was inaccurate, because the chart “felt wrong” for an individual. Every time this happened the other person went back to their parents and confirmed that I had been right. Once the correct details were supplied, the chart then made sense and (once correctly interpreted) provided an accurate and profoundly meaningful picture of both the outer and inner experiences of the subject. This was the final convincer for me that astrology was indeed a valid, meaningful and even practical discipline.

And the most striking features in my own birthchart are the numerous oppositions; to list just the most obvious:

Ascendant in Taurus exactly opposing Neptune in Scorpio.
A stellium of planets (Sun, Mars, Venus and Mercury in late Sag/early Cap) opposing the near Full Moon in Gemini .
And, less obviously, the emphasis on the opposing elements of Fire (intuition) and Earth (sensing):

Chart ruler Venus (due to Taurus rising) in Sagittarius (Mutable Fire)
Venus conjunct two fiery planets (Sun and Mars), also in Sag.
Several planets in fire houses (Uranus and the North Node in house 5, Pluto on the cusp of the 5th/6th, Sun/Mars on the 8/9th cusp, Mercury fully in the 9th).

Ascendant in Taurus
Uranus and Pluto in Virgo
Mercury, Midheaven and Saturn in Capricorn.
Several planets in earth houses (Moon in house 2, Pluto on the cusp of the 6th, Saturn in house 10)

All this Fire/Earth dichotomy has repeatedly played out in my actual life as an intense power struggle between my strong, conscious dominant Ni function (Fire) versus my equally strong but much more unconscious inferior Se (Earth). It’s basically the irresistable force meeting the immovable object. The practical effects of this metaphysical puzzle on my personality and psyche has been to cage all of that intense inner fire within an impenetrable outer rocky shell. One of the major challenges in my life has been learning how to externally and healthily release some of that inner fire without blasting big holes in the protective earthy exoskeleton.

And astrology has finall provided me with the secret key for bypassing this unwinnable conflict, and instead harmoniously tapping into and combining the best qualities of both elements. I’ve known for quite some time that the Ascendant and the other earth planets form a natural harmonious trine (triangle) between the 3 Earth signs, but it’s only recently occurred to me the same trine is also placed in all three of the fire houses (1, 5 and 9). Because Mercury is part of the Earth trine, and is closely conjunct the fiery personal planets in Sagittarius, it provides a conduit linked to both the Ascendant and also to Pluto in Virgo. Pluto itself is in exact trine with the ascendant (10 degrees Taurus/Virgo) and loosely conjunct Uranus in Virgo for the extra Zap-Pow factor.

In less esoteric terms, the secret is for Mercury (the conscious mind) to divide and focus the flow of fiery energy (Ni)towards the Ascendant (my physical body) in two directions, some needs to flow directly from the 9th to the 1st house and the rest indirectly via Pluto/Uranus (to include the strong unconscious forces in my psyche). This essentially means my body must serve as the safe meeting point for the two conflicting energy streams.

So basically, I have to get up off my lazy ass and move! Too much time spent locked inside my head is deadly for me, I need to be physically engaged to stay healthy and sane. I’ve kind of always known this; I have always enjoyed non-competitive physical activities such as walking, swimming, cycling and, most of all, dancing. One reason I like working in a lab is the physical aspect of moving around the lab and tinkering with equipment and instruments, though lately I’ve been forced by the changing demands of modern times to spend more and more time at my desk (where I am right now, writing this instead of working :kissing:)

And my lifelong favourite hobby has been an abiding interest in railways, both the real thing (which has involved many happy hours exploring the world via rail travel) and also in minature via the medium of model railways, which provides both a creative outlet and also a means for an ethereal INFJ-type to develop certain practical Sensing-related skills (such as painting, woodwork and electrical wiring).

So working out a better balance between Fire and Earth provides a variety of healthy and pleasurable outlets for my Earthy side; but there’s a less tangible (but equally beneficial) spiritual reward for my inner Fiery soul to enjoy from this new psychological peace accord.

But that’s for another time, as I need to finish up and go home for some R&R.


Whoops, almost forgot, here’s my birthchart for anyone crazy enough to have made it through my extended ramblings:


But I guess what you see in your chart is the very dilemma every Ni-dom suffers, isn’t it? And that could be the method of alchemy too, for what I’ve read: using matter -Se- to understand psychological causation -Ni-. But, as you are using matter, the psychological effects you conclude can be applied to that matter as well, resulting in the breakup of the ultimate dichotomy (the one that sums up all the others) of subject (psyche)-objet (matter). It doesn’t mean that you start understanding matter in spiritual ways, neither mind in an objetive perspective, rather than that division makes no sense anymore and the world is alive with the motion your mind bestows upon it: raw material is and is not gold at the same time. Maybe the meaning of the temple veil torn in two? The veil of Maya? Excuse my rambling. But William Blake, my second favourite Blake, has come to mind. Agh, I need to put all this thoughts in order and then come back here.

In practical terms that would mean that you have to make true what your Ni is asking you to do, because your body is not different from your mind. Quoting William Blake: Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. Energy is Eternal Delight

And for sensors I guess it works backwards: what you do means more than you think it does.

Are you into eastern alchemy too? I’ve only readen this:

I’d like to share this too:

I like the way you read your chart. I don’t know a damn thing of astrology, so it is leading me to confussion. I think I prefer to play with the stars a little bit before I get into a more exhaustive interpretation. Prax has already given me a hint however.


Wow, had to scroll to find this puppy.

I’m gonna start reading this. I have a tendency to buy books (cause they’re sexy) and then put them on my shelf and never read them.

I’m kinda already dreading it…especially as a Fe dom…

The contents are as follows:

  1. The Most Wondrous Organ
  2. The Machiavellian Baby
  3. The Glass Self
  4. The Cost of Free Will
  5. Why Our Choices Are Not Our Own
  6. How the Tribe Made Me
  7. The Stories We Live By
  8. Caught in the Web
  9. Why You Can’t See Your Self in Reflection


Ooh looks interesting…care to share your thoughts on it after you’re done?? :kissing:


Fo sho!


I would love to hear more about this, like an example of psychological alchemy in a friend or even a hypothetical person if you want to be extra careful of someone else’s privacy. If you’re open to sharing. Psychological alchemy.

It seems to me like a good way of describing astrology–like, I’ve spent all of 72 hours taking my natal chart seriously now and so i guess I’m looking for metaphors for how to describe what I do really quite love about astrology: day 3.

Also I need to figure out how alchemy figures in symbolically. I don’t know anything about it. I hadn’t thought of it as chemistry’s astrology before.

And man, such lovely language in your whole post. Loved reading it.


Cool. But read the great gatsby first. It’s a love story. Its mostly sexy people flirting. It’s one of the greatest books ever written.


@SisterJ88 can you tell me about Lincoln’s melancholy and why you read it and why you liked it?


I wanna recommend this book to anybody who has attempted Paglia. A more pastoral, literally agrarian take on archetypes from a guy who is going to die before you read him if you don’t read him soon and you’ll regret it if he’s dead when you do finally read him.

Wendell Berry

was a Stanford-writing-program-Wallace Stegner-fellow in around 1960 along with Ed Abbey, larry McMurtry (lonesome dove, screenplay of brokeback mountain), Robert stone, tillie olsen (remember “I stand here ironing” anyone else?) And Ken kesey.

The Taurus? To Paglias Sag-y type libra thing? I suck at astrology

So read Wendell berry is my book club comment and I’m gonna re read.

I earmarked the earmark


How do you know I haven’t already read it? And what you thinks abouts me?? I’m in to sexy flirting all the time???

The brain is by far the sexiest organ.


No I think everyone should be into sexy people flirting


I have love hate for Gatbsy.
Maybe because I was forced to read it in highschool.
But the image of Jordan being a poised icy woman sticks in my mind. Such a hotte character.

The most recent book I read and liked was something from a long time ago: The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene because I liked the images and was into string theory at the time. I still am, but I haven’t kept up with the sciences so don’t know if it still applies! Did y’all hear about pilot wave theory gaining steam… I wonder if Brian Greene wrote more books yet…

i read those two pages by craning my head because you left it in the wrong orientation
shame on you!!!

anyway, generally agree with Berry’s analysis in those pages (i think i’ve made some similar critiques about modern love culture haha), at least in that it makes a lot of sense in a practical manner. idk about dance going into more single-player form is such a bad thing or yet another sign of disintegration of marriage though. lol but then again, i am not that communal in the first place.
wonder if this is a very infj or maybe isfj (because it seems very Si lol).


No time for details as my ENTP (aka Ha Ha the Sun God) is nagging me to come to bed. But my greatest achievement in life was to help a dear friend (an ENFJ scientist who was my mentor when I started in forensic science) pernanently overcome his lifelong agrophobia, which had become so bad it was destroying his life. And we did this in a mere three weeks of sessions during our lunchbreaks at work. The following year, he achieved his heart’s dream to visit Peru and walk the Inca trail to Macchu Piccu.