REVIEW: Inner Alchemy Astrology

Inner Alchemy Astrology: Practical Techniques For Controlling Your Destiny
By Mantak Chia & Christine Harkness-Giles

192 pages, paperback

Published by Destiny Books

The name Mantak Chia has reached legendary status. He possibly is the most famous Asian person behind the drive to bring practical Taoist health and divinity to the greater Western audience. His readership spans far and wide and includes people from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds. From the famous to the obscure, world leaders to humble unknowns, the blissfully unaware to the enlightened, he has positively touched the lives of countless people.

If you have ever decided to read up on Taoist health, Chi Kung or Chinese Astrology, then there is a good chance that at least one of Chia’s many books has passed through your hands or is, in fact, positioned prominently in your library, handily located for reference whenever the need arises.

Mantak’s new book Inner Alchemy Astrology was initially published in Thailand in 2011 as Inner Alchemy from the Stars: Practical Taoist Astrology, and is the product of Chia’s teaming with British feng shui expert, Taoist and Chinese astrologer, Christine Harkness-Giles. It has now been updated for a 2013 release (although the book’s relevance is such that constant updates aren’t required) and there are now online charts and resources (available from www.universal-tao.com/InnerAlchemyAstrology) that compliment the book and offer up to date information, new procedures and fresh insights.

Great care has been taken to explain all of the details in easy to understand wording, and examples are included to highlight the astrological process. While many readers will be well-steeped in the esoteric world of Mantak Chia, there should be no hesitation from newer readers who are discovering Taoism or Chinese astrology for the first time. The world of Chinese astrology can indeed be complex and confusing for the newly initiated, however Chia and Harkness-Giles manage to steer a clear, logical and orthodox path removing many of the complexities which sometimes overshadow well-intended, yet unnecessarily difficult, publications and teachings.

Inner Alchemy Astrology is a step-by-step guide that allows the reader to decode their own spiritual and physical make-up through the study of the astrological energies dictated at birth and which we are all dependent. These energies are based on the universe’s alignment at the time of birth. The reader is taken to higher levels of understanding his or her position in this vast cosmic board game we call life; how do we access good luck, gain wealth, stay happy and live longer? This book helps us plan ahead for our future.

As much as page skipping may be a quick way to leap forward and gain insights, each platform exists to prepare you for the next step. As the title suggests, Chia and Harkness-Giles have developed an internal alchemical process, the architecture of which is defined by one’s own personal astrological blueprint and directed by one’s own intent. The Taoist astrological sections describe the various animal and elemental signs and how they function in the greater astrological plan. For instance, we are all born with characteristics representing one of 12 animal signs that represent the lunar year in which we were born. Based on the time and date of birth there are further influences representing both positive and negative energies – Yin and Yang – and the five Earthly elements of water, earth, wood, metal and fire.

Once these astrological characteristics are defined there is an abundance of exercises, nutrition and diet recommendations, aromatherapy and other health suggestions to live a longer, improved quality of life. Further discussion involves compatibilities and clashes (explained comprehensively via an involved chart which looks at how opposite characteristics are able to attract), trinities – which furthers the “opposites attract” scenario to including harmonising the balance of third party involvement (i.e. children), and a look at some of the deeper interpretations to reading Chinese astrological charts.

For many people, the references to good and bad fortune in Luck Cycles are going to be of most interest. Whether you want to take advantage of your immediate annual luck cycle or plan ahead with your ten-year luck cycle, there is a program designed to suit. As is often the case with books dealing with astrology, it is handy to have around and very difficult to put down. There is so much to learn and so many levels of depth to explore – especially when family and friends get involved!

For those concerned with Mantak Chia’s complex Chi Kung instructions, have no fear as he holds off from divulging the deeper, mystical teachings in favour of subtler easy to digest concepts designed for the Western mindset – and maintaining relevance to the Inner Alchemy Astrology system. This may have something to do with Christine Harkness-Giles’ involvement: the book is certainly a milder read than some other publications dealing with what can, in fact, be heavy metaphysical conceptualisation.

You don’t need to be an expert on Taoist divinity, Chinese astrology or ancient Chi Kung breathing exercises to be rewarded with this book. Even if some of the ideas are new to you, Inner Alchemy Astrology is guaranteed to be a fascinating, perspective-altering journey of self discovery and astrological exploration.

– Reviewed by Bruce Stringer in New Dawn No. 141

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