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Author: David John Jaegers

Petition the Lord with Prayer

This passage from Astrologer’s Apprentice ruffled some feathers.  I was reminded of it while listening to Jim Morrison by the pool.

“The next morning, Robert was awakened by the sound of Thomas and Rufus conversing as they worked to resuscitate the fire.  Light banter about the wonders of morning tea on the river soon gave way to a much heavier conversation about Rufus’s Heaven.  Having read the book, Robert had no trouble following the discussion.  The men were not exactly whispering, but they were speaking softly, as if to respect their young friends’ need for sleep after a raucous night.

“Does God just give you the tools, or does He actively intervene on your behalf?  If he does intervene, is it directly related to prayer, or not?  If he does not intervene, a possibility that many Christians do not want to consider, does He at least provide us with clues?  These are the seeds that your book planted in my mind, Rufus.”

Robert stuck his head out from under the dewy sleeping bag and adjusted his pillow so he could hear better.

“God as purely Creator or God as active guide.  That is one of the many issues I tried to address.  You seem to have read the book, and me, very carefully.”

Rufus poured Thomas some more hot water from the pot.

“Each of us is a divine work of art.  But unlike a painting, or a sculpture, or even a book, we exist on a dynamic level.  We change and evolve.  We’re God’s performance art!  But really, the sixty-four dollar question for me is, how much does God interact with us as individuals?  Are we really, as some would propose, his little interactive programs, constantly being updated, as long as we continue to pray for His help, or could it be that we are really on our own?”

“Hey Rufus, prayer could be like On Star.  When we get lost, you know, we can just ask for directions.  That’s actually the way most Christians believe, and I can understand why.”

Thomas was enjoying his tea, playfully following Rufus’s line of reasoning, all the while assuming that Rufus didn’t really believe in the interactive God/man relationship thing at all.  It didn’t take long for Rufus to confirm his suspicion.

“I do not subscribe to the model that implies a God that is actively assisting us along the way, the proverbial father who is always there to pick us up when we stumble and fall.  I do believe that He gave each of us the tools we need, as well as an individualized plan to follow to construct our future.  From the moment we take our first breath, our promise to God is to use His gifts to build ourselves up, according to the design in the blueprint, one unique for each of us.   The guidance comes only from our ability and willingness to pay attention to the forces inherent in the movements of the celestial bodies.  It’s up to us to follow the map and pay attention to the signs.  There is no On Star.  God ‘loves you’, and wants you to fulfill your promise, but He does not actively intervene to help you.”

from Chapter 31.  “New Recruits”  Astrologer’s Apprentice

Donovan review of AP

Readers may not anticipate a spiritual and moral read in a title that mentions astrology and presents Book Two in a series; but one of the strengths of Astrologer’s Proof lies in its ability to surprise, and leading a new age-sounding book to a greater discussion of faith and transformations on more than one level is just one of its many diverse surprises.

From the beginning, Astrologer’s Proof holds compelling reasons beyond faith alone for why the characters are involved in an astrological quest: “Thomas didn’t really care about the details of astrology, but he genuinely supported the quest. He was a disciple because he shared Rufus’s belief that the implications were enormous.”

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Christian theology, philosophical reflections, and hidden agendas combine to impart the flavors of a thriller, a reflective religious story, sci-fi, and more. This means that readers who anticipate a new age novel about astrology may be disappointed and could even be challenged by the various currents running through Astrologer’s Proof. Others who appreciate depth and contemplative stories designed to enlighten as well as entertain will find that it holds plenty of fine insights that move from family relationships and apprenticeships to repairing broken lines of communication: “For Rufus, the most poignant aspect of returning home was grappling with how to restore a sense of trust with Robert. Although it could not have been anticipated, Rufus had stretched their bond to the breaking point. His nephew had a right to be disillusioned…Pursuing Jacob’s plan without the support of his young apprentice was not the course Rufus preferred. He had to find the key that would open a door he never thought would be closed.”

Because the story is as much about the keys to connections as the doors that lead to psychological and spiritual revelations, readers receive a story with all the action-oriented qualities of a thriller, but with an approach that elevates it to something far more than an account of one-dimensional relationships and their evolution.

Under David John Jaegers’ pen the story winds its way through the social and political evolution of a philanthropically significant organization on the track of a greater truth and purpose in life. Although a healthy dose of intrigue holds the story together, the inclusion of Christian undertones that lead to a unique astrological discovery makes for an unusual approach that will delight readers who look for stories a cut above the ordinary and predictable.

Familiarity with the prior book, Astrologer’s Apprentice, is suggested but not necessary for a smooth introduction to this ongoing saga, highly recommended for new age and astrology readers interested in more philosophical and spiritual considerations than most astrology novels offer.

Chanticleer Review

David John Jaegers’ Astrologer’s Proof is all about the steps leading to utopia, involving both ephemeral and cosmic mechanisms, balancing on the edge of an ethical paradox.

The science fiction/fantasy author Orson Scott Card wrote a book called Characters & Viewpoint in which he posited that all novels divide broadly into four different story types: Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event. He dubbed these categories the “MICE” Quotient, and each sets up specific expectations in the reader.

Within that framework, Astrologer’s Proof qualifies as an Idea novel. It is Book 2 of the Astrotheologian Series, a metaphysical techno-thriller trilogy in which a Big Idea is explored.

What’s the Big Idea? Simply put, it’s the search for an empirical proof that astrology is a valid science that defines and guides human nature and destiny, dovetailing with all religions into a unified cosmic truth that can positively change the world.

That’s a lofty promise which author David John Jaegers delivers.

Of course, proving the premise takes serious work – and a lot of illegal maneuvers to gather the necessary data. Astrologer’s Proof thus becomes an end-justifies-the-means story, where honest, moral, well-intentioned philanthropists break laws, invade privacy, deceive their loved ones, and establish front organizations, all to gather the information they need to demonstrate they’re right—in scientific, indisputable terms.

Some series fiction forms the continuing adventures of one or more characters. Astrologer’s Proof, conversely, is the middle segment of a grand epic covering the Big Idea. Book 1 (Astrologer’s Apprentice) establishes the situation and players; Book 2 (Astrologer’s Proof) describes the process of making the Big Idea happen, and Book 3 (A Virtual Life) will reveal the repercussions. In other words, this book is the fat juicy middle of a delicious Po-boy, worth every bit of effort to digest.

In Astrologer’s Proof, Jaegers unfolds the Big Idea and patiently tells us how it is transformed into action. Here the author demonstrates his depth of knowledge with the material and impresses the reader with the story’s thoroughness, technical veracity, rationality, and fascinating possibilities.

In many ways, this book is an experimental novel, with the traditional elements of storytelling over-arching the trilogy, spreading across multiple characters in the telling. Jaegers brings his skill to the forefront here and invites his audience deeper, into a complex world that he skillfully weaves.

For sophisticated readers who yearn for a multifariously inspired scenario that stretches the psychic mind and challenges beliefs, look no further. Astrologer’s Proof is your perfect match. This is a story with exceptional intelligence and visionary quality. It cleaves to the author’s heart, and those who read the book will be affected by its positive energy.

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“Utopia is at hand when science and spirituality merge. But can such a state be ethically obtained when proof allies with deception in the name of science? Discover for yourself in David John Jaegers Astrologer’s Proof, second book in the Astrotheologian series.” – Chanticleer Reviews

Kirkus review of Astrologer’s Proof

A group’s noble effort to validate astrology entails the rather illegal procurement of millions of people’s private
information in this second installment of a series.
Rufus is a sheep farmer by trade, but his real passion is astrology. He’s even written a book, in which his discussion of
unified religions is supported by astrological science—including the concept that everyone’s life is guided by heavenly
bodies. Rufus’ ideas earn him an invite to the Data Collection Group, which hopes to authenticate astrology by linking
real-life data with horoscope predictions. This requires a colossal amount of information, as specific as possible.
Hacking’s the best option, and Rufus—along with his nephew Robert and Robert’s hacker pals, Petey and Matthew—has
already gotten his hands on the 1960-2010 American census data. But the “money people,” including Walter and his
wife, Erica, want more, from data brokers to social media. Walter’s soon-to-open, wholly legitimate Institute for
Humanistic Innovation will give the DCG covert access to a supercomputer to handle the mass of material. Though it’s a
large-scale invasion of privacy, the group’s purpose is philanthropic, with no plans to steal anyone’s identity. Some in
the DCG, however, have a hidden agenda that most, including Rufus, may oppose. While Jaegers’ (Astrologer’s
Apprentice, 2016) series opener was primarily an introduction to astrological theories, his latest tale focuses on
espionage. One scheme for pilfering data, for example, begins with a faked cyberattack, which, to avoid detection, puts
Petey and Matthew in two different states with encrypted laptops. This maintains a constant threat of arrest or
incarceration, as well as some humor: Rufus acknowledges DCG members in public with a surreptitious nod or wink.
The story’s unhurried but absorbing, dishing out character dilemmas (Petey may give up a college diploma for DCG) and
spiritual insight from Rufus: “Each man’s soul is an integral part of a collective universal soul.” Jaegers ends the novel
by leaving the door wide open for another.
A wealth of white-hat hacking gives this enjoyable sequel a boost.

Astrologer’s Proof

Taking astrology to the next level will require lots of data, but astrologers don’t exactly rely on data when they interpret a natal horoscope. Their explanations of human behavior and events sound more like science fiction than science, leaving many people understandably skeptical.

There’s no objective way to test an astrologer’s predictions or prophecies.  Many people automatically lump astrologers in with psychics and tarot card readers. The association of astrology with occult and the supernatural is difficult to avoid, however unfortunate.

In fairness, however, there is a difference between astrology and its often unwelcome cousins. However primitive and anecdotal, the body of knowledge astrologers draw upon is ultimately scientific, in the sense that it can be traced to countless observations and correlations that were made by centuries of practitioners who came before.

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The characters in Astrologer’s Proof are a new breed.  For them, astrology is an evidence-based discipline. It is not art or amusement. They value data and sample sizes. They employ algorithms and supercomputers. They seek correlations and statistical significance.

Serious approaches lead to serious breakthroughs, only made possible by the loyalty and dedication built into human relationships over many years. For Rufus and his merry band of data collectors, the end justifies the means because the end borders on Utopia.

To say it is so does not make it so. However, to live the struggles of the characters, as they doggedly pursue answers, does bring this grand astrological experiment into a realm of possibility the reader will not be able to stop thinking about it.

Astrology for the Masses

I could not believe it.  A friend of mine recently asked: “Can astrology be a religion?”

I was intrigued. In my 40+ years as an astrologer, I have often been asked why I “believe” in astrology.  I have offered a standard response, one that is clearly stated by Uncle Rufus in Astrologer’s Apprentice:

“You can believe in God, or you can believe in America as the greatest country on Earth, but you can’t believe in astrology.  Astrology is like mathematics or physics or language. It’s a tool, an organized system of thought that can be used to investigate or discover something. Believing is an act of faith. I believe in God, but I don’t believe in astrology. I can only make observations that either uphold or refute astrological theory.”

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All my life it has been incredibly easy for me to allow religion and astrology to coexist.
I was raised to value religion, and I have discovered through persistent observation that astrology bears honest scrutiny. My novel promotes the idea that astrology can make you a better Christian.  But … “Can astrology be a religion”? That’s a different question entirely.

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Religion is a belief system many people need to remind themselves to choose good over evil, to assist them as they attempt to reconcile their inevitable death. People want their lives to have some higher meaning, and let me tell you, a sense of immortality is not such a bad idea either.  I am more than supportive of both of these concepts.  People want to belong.  They want to embrace the traditions of their family.  They want to know there is an ultimate value judgment that goes way beyond the regular little value judgments they make every day.  People want to be taken off the hook, and forgiven for their inability to answer the really BIG questions.

Astrology is nothing more than a TECHNIQUE for interpreting ongoing universal forces, the kinds of forces we cannot prove exist or have any direct influence on our lives, forces that are just as mysterious as God.  We cannot prove divine intervention occurs, and we cannot prove astrological forces have an effect.  If you are religious, you just know. If you are an astrologer, you just know.

Bottom line … I told my friend … astrology cannot be a religion because with astrology, there is nothing to believe in but yourself.

 

Astrologers

Astrologers come in all shapes and sizes, with no particular race, ethnic group, political persuasion, or religious orientation represented more than another.

However susceptible astrologers are to stereotyping,

the-astrologer

 

 

 

the reality is quite different.   This is a VERY DIVERSE group of people.

 

 

In my experience, regardless of the specific type of astrology and the level of expertise, astrologers share one thing in common.  They are humanists.  If you get to know them a little bit, you notice something.   They do their best to apply some version of a forward-looking philosophy with the intention of helping others, and most importantly, without imposing conformity.

Astrologer’s celebrate a person’s unique nature rather than suggest adherence to dogma.  This is what makes them so interesting and valuable.  This is their appeal.

I know this from the extensive sampling I have done during my book marketing campaigns.  Two paths have converged to bring me to my happy place, astrology and writing.  As I pursue the merger of inspirational fiction and astrological science, I work diligently through social media to reach my audience, a group I call the “astrology curious”.  My stories don’t require extensive astrological knowledge.  They require only a mind open to an idea, that it’s OK to wonder whether cosmic forces are more than awesome sunsets or twinkles of stars or beautiful moon rays of light through the clouds.

If you have occasion to meet an astrologer in real life or on social media, take it from me.  They are a pretty fine lot.   Some will offer you a reading of your natal horoscope.  Some will help you understand a current event in your life.  Some will offer interesting predictions for the future that apply to all of us.   But one thing appears to hold true.   Built into the science, as astrologers like to call it, is an essential willingness to help you along your own life path, with a reverence for your uniqueness and your resilience.  Astrologers better than anyone know the meaning of “this too shall pass”.

 

 

 

Astrology and Theology Mix

{“Now, to clearly profess why astrology plays such an important role for me, I must bare my soul. I have concluded, and truly believe, that the sum total of all human effort to glorify God, is God. All the gifts manifested in all the horoscopes of men, is God. Each person, each sinner, doing their best with what they have been given, is what God is. God is nothing more than the sum total of the goodness of men.”
He paused as if he had actually overwhelmed himself. He realized that his penchant for reductionism may have caught up with him. Were his statements sounding simplistic? Did they appear to belittle people’s personal concepts of God? Thomas and John did not seem offended in any way. They were simply blown away by Rufus’s theological and philosophical stamina.
“Forgive me for returning to what I don’t believe instead of what I do believe, but I do not believe in God the Father as a distinct deity, or entity, that will sit in judgment of us as individuals. In order to maintain a successful relationship with their maker, most humans down through history have depended on such an image of God. I understand the need to describe God as God the Father, an actual being. But, I personally prefer to believe that God is primarily the Holy Spirit, and that we are all part of the Holy Spirit. While we are alive, we are to do our best to love our neighbor as ourselves, just as Jesus taught. We are asked to rely on individual strengths and overcome individual weaknesses, but there is no individual God the Father, and there is no individual Rufus after Rufus dies. My soul will rejoin the universal Holy Spirit, which is God. Over time, the efforts of all the souls praising God leads to the perfection of God. Moving closer and closer to perfecting the love of God throughout eternity, both on earth and in ‘heaven’, is the idea.”
“. . . . ‘Thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven’. These are the most important, but some of the least emphasized, words in The Lord’s Prayer. Heaven is already perfect. Our sacred obligation is to bring that perfection to man’s existence on Earth. That is our task. That is our call to action.”
“Time is infinity. There is no end. Final Judgment and Eternity don’t jive. I say ‘World without end, Amen’. Eternity’s already here. It’s continuous. Infinity doesn’t start after some finite event. This is it.”
“Well Rufus, I think you did it. Now I don’t have to buy your book.”}

(Excerpt from Chapter 18.  Astrologer’s Apprentice)

Tipping Point

When does a review become a critique, and on what basis?  Doesn’t the author have an obligation to deliver the story exactly as he or she envisioned?   Is there a modern formula for fiction that must be followed for success?  Enter formula, exit artistic license?  Some “experts” seem to suggest that readers of fiction are so accustomed to a certain diet that they are reluctant to sample alternative fare. To what extent do readers, and writers, follow the crowd?

When the reviewer departs from the mission of evaluating the entertainment value, the literary value, the cohesiveness of the story, the durability of the characters, the credibility of the plot, and the sincerity of the theme, it is probably with the best of intentions.  But, when the story is understandable and persuasive, should the reviewer suggest that it wasn’t quite what they wanted just because it didn’t fit neatly into their own personal reader wheelhouse?  Should a reviewer who doesn’t agree with the stylistic depiction of characters because of their gender, race, sexual orientation, or religious/spiritual persuasion suggest that the story is somehow deficient?

 

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As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so literary quality is in the eye of the reviewer.  Strong credentials and experience obviously enable a more keen eye for quality. The service provided is of great benefit to a reader looking for guidance.  But consider this.  Objectivity begs for standards, while subjectivity relies on personal taste.  Constructive criticism is part of life and is crucial to good writing.  That said, when does a review become a critique?  When something about the work does not live up to expectations. Simple as that.

Three top-rated professional organizations published reviews of Astrologer’s Apprentice.  One expressed appreciation for the theme, the characters, and the plot.  Another validated the philosophical integrity of the author’s approach, while suggesting that the female characters are not depicted in the same light as men, and that the author spends too many words depicting scenes not directly connected to the plot.  The third reviewer seemed to completely misunderstand the visionary and metaphysical aspect of the work, instead choosing to express distaste for the writers’s style by quoting specific sentences from the story without proper context.

Appreciative of the reviews and the embedded, unavoidable criticism, this author stands proud, with no regrets, and will gladly re-enlist these same professionals upon completion of the second book of the Astrotheologian Series.

Astrologer’s Apprentice – Kirkus Review

“A good start to a series, with durable characters and fascinating theories.”

A man’s devotion to astrology draws in his young nephew as well as a clandestine organization wanting to use his skills to perfect horoscope interpretation in Jaegers’ debut drama.”

Seventeen-year-old Robert isn’t happy that his family is moving to the country and that he’ll spend his senior year at another school. On the plus side, Robert will be closer to his sheep-farmer uncle, Rufus. Robert, a bright student, appreciates that his uncle’s “different”; he’s a former teacher with a unique way of thinking—most notably an extensive knowledge of astrology. Though some, like Robert’s dad, James, write off the study as nonsense, Rufus stresses that astrology can augment rather than replace one’s religious practice. In fact, he works this notion into a book, Heaven: The Unified Field Theory, in which he argues, among other things, that heaven isn’t as much a place as a state of mind. At an astrology conference, Rufus meets like-minded individuals who invite him to join the covert Data Collection Group. They’re primarily interested in “advanced data collection,” which is essentially pooling people’s private information to optimize astrological readings. This would entail hacking, so Rufus turns to Robert and his computer-savvy friends who are willing to invade others’ privacy (though they’re using the info for research only). And they may have to add a few DCG recruits—discreetly. The author builds a solid foundation for his characters. Robert, for one, inching closer to college, undergoes relationship turmoil, at one point torn between lusty Kristin and steady girlfriend Jane. Astrology, meanwhile, is repeatedly and convincingly defended by Rufus. Not surprisingly, the concepts are abstract; even Robert asserts that his uncle’s ideas are “hard to visualize.” But Rufus’ notion of a unified version of the afterlife based on various religions makes sense. The plan to hack the Census Bureau database, however, while intriguing, isn’t quite the “bizarre secretive web” that Rufus apparently believes it to be. Regardless, the stage is definitely set for an ongoing series, with much left to explore, including enigmatic DCG bigwig, Walter.

A good start to a series, with durable characters and fascinating theories.

—Kirkus Reviews