Anne Whitaker reviews Inside the Cosmic Mind
Inside the Cosmic Mind: Archetypal Astrology and the New Cosmology
by Phoebe Wyss,
A review by Anne Whitaker
“ Like everyone else who has taken time out to study astrology in depth, I know it
delivers…though I was never able to explain how it works, which left me helplessly
wrong-footed…so in 2005 I started out on a quest to find the answer to this mystery,
and this book is a record of the path I took, and of the unexpected places it led me.”
I have recently finished Phoebe Wyss’ account of her quest, and have to say right
away that I loved this book, which has already begun to inform my own astrology
teaching to which I have recently returned after a very long break. The opening quote certainly applies to my relationship with astrology which began in 1980.
I have a life-long interest in science and have been fascinated for a very long time by what I could grasp of the contingent, bizarre and paradoxical reality which quantum physics has been revealing to us throughout the twentieth century right up until now in the era of the Large Hadron Collider. Fritjof Capra’s book “The Tao of Physics”, was probably the first to bring to popular attention in the 1970s the reality that the ancient world described by the mystics and symbolists and the emerging world view of quantum physics was essentially pointing to the same underlying Ground.
Bringing those perspectives to my astrological studies, teaching and practice soon
revealed to me that astrological symbolism did not reveal a static world where – if
you could grasp and put into practice enough techniques – life was eminently
predictable. In fact, it appeared to be describing the interplay between order and
chaos which governs all flow in our Universe.
Planetary symbols, e.g. the current Saturn/Neptune square, could and did manifest
in different ways, whilst remaining true to the core meaning of each and every
combination. Critically, what manifested at an individual level seemed to depend on
levels of consciousness: not only the level brought by the client to the living of their
life, but also that of the astrologer who was interpreting their chart.
Being aware of all of this, and grappling to understand the WHY of it, made the
recent writings of Richard Tarnas and Kieron le Grice on archetypal cosmology and
archetypal astrology hugely valuable and revealing to me. Phoebe Wyss very much
acknowledges their pioneering efforts in this emerging way of looking not just at
astrology, but at our whole Universe, from the top-down perspective summed up in
the ancient maxim “As above, so below”.
Wyss states in her preface that “The archetypal approach to astrology presented
here offers an accessible entry into a complex subject” and in this she certainly
succeeds. One key to this success is her presentation of the writing of the book as
a personal quest into the unravelling of a cosmic mystery. Covering her material in
this way brings the personal into the Big Picture story. It is in fact a demonstration in
practice of one of the key points she makes about the open-ended, unfolding nature
of the Universe: we are all tiny, unique, co-creative actors in a vast drama to which
we can choose to make a conscious contribution.
Another key is the clear, lively, humorous way in which she writes. Having had
various forays into academe myself, I know that however worthy and valuable
academic writing may be, much of it requires a particular kind of determined
mental effort to penetrate the jungle of reference-strewn prose. This demands a
particular type of conformity of expression from the writer, which can flatten any
excitement which the reader may feel upon embarking on their journey of potential
Wyss, however, has a light, uncluttered touch as a writer. She presents her thesis
that “astrology suggests that meaning in the cosmos derives from the universal
mind as the source of the all-encompassing mathematical and geometric basis of
creation”in a deeply scholarly and well-informed way. But her style will easily
engage both the general reader with an interest in Big Picture perspectives, and the
new student of astrology. She is also greatly helping long-term practitioners like me
to get my head better around the mathematicalunderpinnings of our great art!
This book is timely in its appearance. Our world is going through major turbulence
as the great Uranus/Pluto square scours its way symbolically through life at every
level: the old materialist order is changing, giving way to a world view which is very
different from the Newtonian universe which has increasingly dominated the way
we have lived since the late 17th century. The new world view is of “ an open-ended
universe, one that is not hide-bound by immutable laws, is intrinsic to the new
emerging cosmology and in line with the postmodern scientific paradigm…” as
Wyss puts it.
As astrologer and writer Armand Diaz has already pointed out in his valuable
recent book ‘Integral Astrology’, contemporary astrologers need to take this
change on board, incorporate it into both their practice, their teaching, and their
dialogue with open-minded members of the public as well as fellow professionals. I
heartily agree with this view. ’Inside the Cosmic Mind’, with its clarity, depth of
scholarship and accessibility, is a book which is well placed to help us all do just
Anne Whitaker (astrologer, Glasgow, Scotland)
3.1. 2015 / www.anne-whitaker.com