Future Signs; How to Make Astrological Predictions 
By Maria Kay Simms
Michael Munkasey AFI Journal # 1, 1998
Future Signs; How to Make Astrological Predictions, Maria Kay Simms; ACS Publications, 5521 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA 92123-1314; 1996; 287 pages; paperback, 5 3/8 x 8 3/8 inches; $US14.95; ISBN 0-93512-750-X.

This book is designed for describing to beginning astrologers how to work with and interpret transits. The author, Maria Kay Simms, offers a worthy effort. Maria takes two ideas: astrology, and forecasting with astrology, from the ground level, up to how to interpret future trends in life through understanding transits. The first part of her book explains what astrological forecasting is, how astrology should work with forecasts, what astrological symbols are, how to read astrological symbols, what an ephemeris is, how to read and use an ephemeris, where to locate information on an ephemeris page, etc. Naturally, Maria uses ACS' own fine ephemeris series for her examples and teachings. After her introduction, which is intended for astrological beginners, Maria then goes on to provide "cookbook" interpretations of the various aspects, starting with Pluto and proceeding to the Sun. The interpretations are purposely presented starting with the slowest moving to the faster moving planets. Her interpretations of the transits can be used by astrologers at any level, and are probably the same interpretations also used in ACS' transit interpreting computer program.

There are different parts to this book: the introduction to what transits are, what is forecasting, how to read and use an ephemeris, how to work with transits, an explanation of aspects, and, cook-book style interpretations of the meanings of transiting to natal planets. Maria offers a "Quick Reference Guide" two page tear out sheet for helping readers work with transits. This tear out sheet, in the back of the book, serves as a guide for determining aspects of the transiting planets to natal planets. It is well done, simple to use, and a good tool. In addition Maria discusses a computerized report which her company, the book's publisher, offers, as a companion to this book. The book also offers a Glossary of Terms, as an appendix, to further help the beginner understand astrological terminology.

Maria divides aspects into three types: conjunction aspects, challenging aspects, and cooperating aspects, and uses these divisions for her interpretations. She mentions both major (the traditional) aspects, as well as minor aspects, like the forty-five degree and the inconjunct series. In this sense the book is thorough, well planned, and well presented. Maria's examples are from her own life, and thus the writing and depth of feeling as to how transits played out in a person's life carry a bit more emotional emphasis with them than if she had chosen to describe the effects of transits in the life of a famous person.

This is a good book for both beginners and intermediate astrologers. It is an especially good book because it fills a gap in astrological literature, which is teaching someone how to use and work with transits from an ephemeris. If you are a reasonably new student to astrology, and interested in learning how to work with transits, then this book can help teach you much about this subject.

I especially liked Maria's chapter on lunations and eclipses. This is a much neglected area of astrology, and often what is written is not sufficient. While still retaining a beginner's orientation Maria explains lunations and eclipses, and how to determine and interpret same, is a straight-forward and interesting manner.

My only downside to the book is that I felt that the book is spotty in its presentations at the lowest beginning levels. That is, Maria will go to in-depth on how to pronounce words like ephemeris, what the Mars symbol is and how to read same, where to locate information on the ACS ephemeris pages, etc., but then interspersed with this are comments which are directed at intermediate or advanced astrologers. While not necessarily detracting from a good book, it just leaves me with an impression of being, well, "spotty." That is, a mixture of ideas and levels all at the same time. The book is well done overall, and deserves worthy consideration.