This is not a book about astrology or about the planetary signatures of plants, minerals, and animals. The subtitle is a bit more on target regarding actual content. The book's back blurb states that it's a “comprehensive exploration of the celestial influences that underlie health and healing.” Gehl is a practitioner of acutonics and astro-harmonic medicine. Acutonics is an outgrowth of acupuncture that incorporates tuning forks. This is not a how-to book about acutonics. Or a book about using astrology in medicine. The author dances around those subjects but never grapples with them in a practical way.

The first five chapters are a hodge-podge of multi-cultural history and mysticism about the body, the earth, and the cosmos. The Hermetic axiom “as above so below” is put to the test in a wide variety of disciplines, cultural knowledge bases, and creation theories and myths. The material moves from the doctrines of very ancient civilizations to discoveries of modern science in subsequent chapters.

The author cites ideas and quotes from innumerable reference works at a machine-gun pace yet shares very little of her own thinking. The reader feels the loss of pacing when it's absent. The excessive quotes suffer from the inclusion of dubious source materials. Remarks about Atlantis and wildly speculative material about the missing years of Jesus's life erode the scholarly tone of the book. Secondary and derivative materials were accessed over primary material. Translations of primary materials can be problematic, and there's no way of knowing which translation was used in a derivative source. Opinions, wild speculations, and facts are presented as equally valid.

Another tip-off about the fishy nature of the quotation collection is that not one respectable contemporary practitioner of medical astrology is mentioned or quoted. There are prolific expert writers on that topic, yet a person who claims to practice medical astrology is (apparently) unacquainted with any of the leaders in that field. The few bits of astrology are marred by amateur errors that also erode the authoritative posture of the contents.

A book's bibliography is where the writer dances naked in the rain. It reveals the author's research journey quite clearly. The references are unusually idiosyncratic; some are just plain weird.

The book's interior is nicely formatted. There are numerous black and white illustrations and photographs placed throughout the text. The later chapters covering scientific discoveries from the 1700s to the present are quite good and describe links between ancient metaphysical theories and modern science. Technical scientific and mathematical ideas are clearly explained. On a technical level, the writing is good and the material in the second half of the book is fairly well organized.

Inner Traditions (Healing Arts Press is a division of this publisher) typically produces highly impressive texts by wonderful writers that are characterized by beautiful formatting and delightful contents. From that standpoint, this book is an anomaly in need of more editorial direction and shaping. If the reader wants a book that describes how everything is linked to everything else and can tolerate excessive quoting from dubious sources, go for it.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Authors: Jennifer T. Gehl, MSH with Marc S Micozzi, MD, PhD
Healing Arts Press (Inner Traditions International), 2017
251 pages, $19.95

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