Within Orb Episode 6 with James Dotson

Host Jenn Zahrt smells something wonderful brewing as she chats with astrologer and psychiatrist James Dotson about the intersection of fragrance, plants, and astrology! James offers some wonderful insights into the astrology books he loves, and shares his interests in ethnobotany, alchemy, and classical astrology. Plus: raspberry-smelling nebulas, learning trigonometry via astrology, and going in magical directions!


View full show notes at our Within Orb pod page!

View the books mentioned on our bookshop.org page. (By purchasing books through this site, you help support CAELi!)

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Song “Wake Up” used with permission by The E-Block Band.



Episode timestamps (conversation recorded June 2023):

00:31 – James is an eternal student and lover of esoteric perfume! Jenn unpacks James’s history, and how astrology sniffed him out. (#SorryNotSorry)

02:55 – James was an early book lover, digging into the McGuffey Readers and learning to read at a tender young age.

04:31 – Great pictures with well-written articles? Count us in! James’s first astrology book back in the day was Man, Myth & Magic: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural. Various authors covered the topics in this 24-volume set, but Ellic Howe wrote the section on astrology – tune in to hear more about this interesting historian! (Note: Some books mentioned are available on our bookshop.org page, so check it out! By purchasing books through this site, you help support CAELi and this show!)

05:41 – What is the first astrology book that James purchased with his own hard-earned money? The classic textbook: Llewellyn’s A to Z Horoscope Maker and Interpreter.

07:58 – If James went to the Arctic Seed Bank, what books would he bring? Vote #1 moves us in the direction of astrology books as symbolic objects: The Picatrix: The Latin Version by David Pingree. Is it in Latin? Yes… Ecce Quam Bonum! And don’t forget the microfiche!

09:46 – James’s second selection is Reinhold Ebertin’s Transits: What Days Favor You?

11:18 – Visit our sponsors: CAELi’s Fertility Astrology Intensive  and Rod Suskin School of Astrology!

13:06 – Another Arctic pick is the Encyclopedia of Astrology by Nicholas DeVore. James loves how this one, which he read long ago, included uncommon topics like lunar mansions, fixed stars, and essential dignities.

14:20 – Is James smuggling any other books to the Arctic? As a kid, he had a paperback reprint of The Book of Charms and Talismans by Sepharial – so that one goes in the suitcase, too.

20:00 – The Green Mysteries by Daniel Schulke also gets an honorable mention, if botany is your jam!

20:53 – What astrology book for beginners would James recommend? Blending pop psychology with traditional methods, You Were Born for This by Chani Nicholas gets a thumbs-up.

22:19 – You can find James at: https://uncannyscents.com/, where he has recently been focusing on medical astrology and has an upcoming class called Venus: Queen of Perfumes. And note: James will be leading a future CAELi book chat featuring the work of Joseph Blagrave (on plants, planets, medical, and medieval approaches).

24:11 – Thanks for listening to Within Orb! If you love the show, please help support it at no cost to you: Follow or subscribe wherever you listen, rate it five stars, or write a happy review! And if you’d like to become a CAELi member or support our work with a contribution of any amount, we’d be delighted! Thanks! 

Show notes by Jen Braun, JJ Boots Productions LLC.

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