by Robert Wilkinson
Today would have been the 119th birthday of my old friend, the legendary astrologer Carl Payne Tobey.
Carl Payne Tobey (27 Apr 1902, 10:32 pm, Lynbrook NY – 19 Mar 1980) was an amazing man. Truly one of the first “free will astrologers,” he was best friends with one of the greatest astrologers of all time, Grant Lewi, and pioneered in statistical astrology, upending many assumptions about which signs were associated with which professions. He was a mathematical genius of the highest order, and yet down to earth and practical. I am glad I can say I was his close friend in the 1970s when he lived in San Antonio, hanging with him every week for years.
Carl offered the world some breakthrough approaches involving the Secondary chart, which I researched and expanded on since then, finding that each chart has a “shadow chart” which perfectly mirrors our natal chart, with significant sign differences but identical aspects and configurations. He also opened me to the Clockwise zodiac, said to be the “original” zodiac according to The Secret Doctrine! That too has been a subject I’ve developed in the 45 years since Carl and I hung out, and someday I hope to publish a brief work on the subject.
He was the first one who introduced me to the idea that there is a numerical basis for Pluto ruling Aries, and from that I developed the idea that the ancient dual rulerships hold for the material world, but the outer planets each rule two signs in the spiritual world. And he also turned me on to the idea that above certain latitudes, there is merit in using equal houses based in the MC rather than the ascendant, since the MC does not vary based in latitude. Quite a remarkable innovator!
Carl wrote some great books and pamphlets, most of which are hard or impossible to find. I found out about his work in the mid-1970s, and when looking him up, had the good fortune to discover he was living in San Antonio, just down the road from Austin where I lived and had my Fifth Ray Bookstore and school of Astrology, metaphysics, and holistic health. A bunch of my students and friends in Austin and SA got excited so we went to meet him and ask him questions.
That initial meeting turned into a great friendship, where we’d go down once or twice a week to visit, talk, and generally just hang out. We also had friends in SA who would drop in once or twice a week to visit, cook, and be his support system, since he was in his 70s when we found him. We talked about astrology and all kinds of things, and he was an elegant, gracious man with a great sense of humor. It was tough when we found out he was abruptly moved to a high care nursing home, but I’ve never forgotten those years of talks, laughter, and closeness that we all felt for this legend of astrology.
I still have some brand new copies of the first edition of The Astrology of Inner Space somewhere in my storeroom which I’ll make available to readers via my Fifth Ray Lantern Foundation once I find them again. The price fluctuates on Amazon, and seems to range from $18 to $750! I’m sure my price will be more than welcome (though the shipping is getting more expensive by the year….)
So here’s to one of the great lights of astrology, Carl Payne Tobey. I am glad to have been his friend for a number of years, and think of him often with his beautiful smile and clarity in reducing revolutionary ideas to plain concepts easily understood by all. He gave astrology a great gift by his dedication to our craft. Aum Namah Shivaya!
© Copyright 2021 Robert Wilkinson