A Review from the Feb/Mar 2004 Issue of The Mountain Astrologer

A New Vision of Astrology

By A. T. Mann,
Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster,1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, 2002.
Paper—334 pp. — $14.00 (ISBN 0-7434-5341-7)

A. T Mann has been working with his creation, Life Time Astrology, since 1972. (His book of the same name was published in 1984.) The preliminary chapters of his fine new book envelope the reader in the multi dimensional influences of his system — he draws from such resources as physics, biology, Gurdjieff, and Rodney Collin. Mann also reveals his insights into the movement of the solar system and the DNA molecule, along with explaining the “logarithmic progression of life” (i.e., early in life, our metabolism is fast and time passes slowly; as we age, “our metabolism slows down, [and] our time sense accelerates and compacts . Summarizing a key motif of his approach, Mann writes: “Our being in time unfolds from its essence, contained in the birth horoscope, through the spiraling solar system, synchronized by the planets as they continue their movements around the moving Sun.”

Perhaps the most essential and exciting part of the author’s “new vision” is the tracking of the stages of a human life — from conception to death — around the houses of the horoscope. Mann’s unique approach demonstrates that the birth horoscope includes the gestation period: In his view, the 9th-house cusp (Placidus) of the natal horoscope describes the moment of conception. The portion of the chart from the 9th house counterclockwise back to the Ascendant describes the profoundly impressionable period of Gestation. The Ascendant represents the moment of birth, and the Childhood influences extend from the Ascendant to the 5th- house cusp. (The 1st house through the 4th, therefore, describes Birth and Childhood.) At the 5th-house cusp (relating to age seven), we enter the phase of Maturity, extending back to the 9th-house cusp, which Mann sees as death (as well as conception).

The physical body is formed during gestation. The author writes: “Since this is the creation of our physical body, all the events of gestation are stored in our body as instinctive patterns or ways of being.” The emotional body is formed during childhood, and the less dense mental body, during maturity.

In this system, therefore, the placement of the planets in the natal horoscope shows during what phase of life important events occurred. (In gestation and the early years, the planets are herein described as people who had an impact on the life.) These key events are then triggered at various times in the life through the movement of the planets. “Life is a cascade of mathematical and rhythmically pulsing planetary events and experiences, measured by their aspect patterns around the horoscope circle.”

Mann’s book shows thoroughly and carefully how to define the experiences that formed the denser three bodies (physical, emotional, mental) of the human being. His measurement of time is very precise. The houses are broken down into specific years and — in the period of gestation and early life — months of life. (Mann’s model for childhood development is based on the work of Jean Piaget.) Some of Mann’s most intriguing ideas come from his exploration of the moment of conception, which he sees “mirrored in our creativity and drive to transcendence.” He develops the idea that how the parents came together in the sexual act tells much about the individual’s sub sequent creative process throughout life. The author describes the “fourth octave” or “transcendent octave,” which is perceived as a higher level of gestation. In application, the four houses of the horoscope that are associated with gestation (9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th) now “take on a higher and weightier meaning.”

This book offers intricate cosmology, depth psychology, and subtle understanding of the implications of the horoscope, but it is also very accessible to motivated beginners in astrology. Mann covers the basics of signs, planets, houses, and aspects. In fact, the book is intended as a guide for readers who want to learn this method of astrology: The author, through his Web site (www.newvisionastrology.com), provides a free, personalized horoscope and a list of dates from conception to 99 years, so that readers can follow his text with their own natal chart.

Even if you are an experienced astrologer with a well-developed system of your own, I highly recommend this book. Along with the provocative philosophical scheme, the author includes many practical tips for interpreting horoscopes and working with clients. Mann was influenced by psychosynthesis and the notion of subpersonalities, so he offers suggestions for guided imagery to evoke dialogue among the planets. He mentions the importance of the degree sequence of planets in aspect patterns, in terms of how we experience external events or processes within the psyche.

A. T Mann, who is an architect as well as an astrologer and author, has a strong spatial awareness, and the book has some well-designed graphics. Mann has produced a serious astrology book written in very clear language and accessible both to beginners and to advanced astrologers — an unusual accomplishment, indeed! A New Vision of Astrology is a remarkable work.

— Reviewed for The Mountain Astrologer (www.mountainastrologer.com) by Mary Plumb