Title: A Tiny Universe: Astrology and the Thema Mundi Chart
Author: Joy Usher
Publisher: Xlibris AU
Genre: Politics & Social Sciences/Reference
Reviewed by: Anthony Avina
I believe it was Dane Rudhyar that once said, “Astrology is a Language. If you understand this language, the sky speaks to you.” If this is to be believed and astrology really is a language of sorts, then author Joy Usher speaks it fluently in the incredible textbook A Tiny Universe: Astrology and the Thema Mundi Chart. The book is a textbook all about the ancient practice of Thema Mundi, a symbolic chart that shows the position of the planets in our solar system at the beginning of humankind’s very own existence.
In essence this book dives into the seven original planets that mankind discovered throughout history and their meanings both individually and to astrology as a whole. From early civilization’s belief in the nine-month gestation period of an unborn child and how the planets impacted that child, to the study of the human soul and ancient astrologers’ belief that the soul ascended through the planets upon their death, only to return once more until it had achieved enlightenment.
The author proved to be incredibly knowledgeable and masterful of the study of astrology and Thema Mundi specifically. Joy Usher uses a crisp and articulate way of approaching the topic in the writing of this book, as shown in this passage. “The Chaldean Order was the model used to describe the nine months before birth (Omar’s Disposition of the Months), and it provided the skeleton for preordained time periods within a person’s life.” The directness and historical context in which the author writes
provides a clear look into the history behind astrology. Interestingly it delves into the way the Chaldean Order was used in studying pregnancy and their belief in how a superior being such as “God” brought the spirit into the fetus and how the planet’s energies influenced the fetus each month.
I have to say, getting to study the history behind astrology in this fashion and how it’s impacted our lives was a fascinating experience. This book is definitely geared more towards those either interested in the study of astrology or those interested in how astrology came to be. This book showcases that astrology is so much more than the daily horoscope readings you get on your smartphones nowadays. It is a complex, historical and almost mythological sized study of the universe and how the planets affect the human body and soul.
The clear, precise tone of the author’s writing made this both easy to understand and entertaining to read, which is something I believe is important when tackling an educational topic such as this. If you enjoy learning new topics, delving into the building blocks of modern day astrology and find the mysteries of the universe something worthy of discussion, then you need to read Joy Usher’s A Tiny Universe: Astrology and the Thema Mundi Chart today!
Title: A Tiny Universe’s Companion: Popular Techniques in Traditional Astrology
Author: Joy Usher
Reviewed by: Ella Vincent
A Tiny Universe’s Companion: Popular Techniques in Traditional Astrology is an informative book about the art of astrology, the study of how the movements of planets affect people. Joy Usher has written a book that will enlighten and entertain readers.
Tiny Universe’s Companion is a book that follows A Tiny Universe, a book that looked at the study of Thema Mundi. Thema Mundi, the Birth-Chart of the Universe is an ancient form of astrology that studied the relations between the planets and the sun. Usher has studied astrology in Australia for 25 years and analyzes the twelve houses of the horoscope chart and other aspects of astrology that many readers may be familiar with today. Usher also writes about how the alignment of the planets are affecting life on Earth for people worldwide.
Usher details the art and philosophy of astrology in Tiny Universe’s Companion. She shows her expertise in the subject with thoroughly researched analysis of the Thema Mundi and ancient astrologers like Vettius Valens and Johannes Schoener. She also brings ancient philosophy into the text to understand astrology, like Aristotle’s philosophies, to further interpret ancient and modern astrology.
While Usher takes an academic look at astrology, Tiny Universe’s Companion also helps readers understand the text easily with charts, graphs and grids to break down the complicated relationships between the planets and the sun. Though the book is lengthy, Tiny Universe’s Companion is a book that’s easy to read with the fascinating subject matter and diagrams throughout the text.
She also has an in-depth example of how astrology affects people by using the examples of tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams. By analyzing the sisters’ astrological signs, Usher clearly explains how the Libra Serena became an aggressive champion, while Gemini Venus is the more laid-back of the two. Usher’s writing is a mixture of esoteric and entertaining by writing about the Williams sisters’ astrological charts.
A Tiny Universe’s Companion would be best for readers who take astrology and their horoscopes very seriously. The book would also be best for readers who like astrology books like The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider and The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk. Additionally, the book would be good for readers who want to understand the art of astrology better. Even skeptics of astrology can learn a lot about the planets and how they have been studied
over many centuries. A Tiny Universe’s Companion is a book that will inspire readers to look to the stars.
Many people are familiar with astrology under the terms of the daily newspaper horoscope or a simple understanding of the zodiac, but this textbook provides a comprehensive, complete understanding of the science of the planets and signs. Beginning with the Thema Mundi chart, referred to as the Birth-Chart of the Universe, and incorporating Hellenistic and Arabic perspectives, readers will understand how astrologers construct various charts and understand how the planets relate to the person to whom the chart concerns. Usher examines the natures of each sign and planet, from gender qualities to temperature and elemental alignment, clearly laying out the various ways in which each body complements or aggravates another. Concluding with a different way of considering the chart and an interpretation of each of the twelve houses, the depths and complexities of astrology will be revealed to the reader.
With a lot of mysterious, deep, and ancient concepts, Usher does a wonderful job of using metaphor, history, and visual aids in order to immerse readers in the knowledge of astrology at the level required to fully appreciate its message. Each chapter builds upon the last, working in and layering concepts until the reader fully understands all the different variables in play. Then the author takes another important step by introducing variables that the individual astrologer might use, creating a variance in data interpretation that can lead two different professionals to two significantly different conclusions. At its core, this is a textbook, and as such should only be approached by those desiring more than a casual understanding of astrology. The amount of data on display here is nothing short of impressive, and the author does a wonderful job of teaching that information to the reader.
Serving as a supplement for A Tiny Universe, this accompanying volume provides tremendous additional reading, giving those with questions on the original book some clarity and those with greater curiosity much more information to digest. The book examines many interpretations of astrological data that have been forgotten to time, but which are starting to come back into influence, such as the importance of planetary sect, the infinity-shaped lemniscate, and the Persian Firdaria. The Firdaria, to which almost a third of the book is dedicated, provides different understandings based on whether a person is born during the day or night and allows for planets to rule different periods of life while still obeying the Chaldean Order. With this as a follow-up or reference guide to the original book, one can fully understand the history and origins of astrological insight.
Twice as long as the first book, this companion volume leaves no stone unturned, offering a ground-floor comprehension of potential resurging trends in astrology. Just like the book before it, data is presented both in text form and also with various tables, charts, and real-world examples in the form of insights on Venus and Serena Williams, Marlon Brando, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Read on its own, this book chooses to bypass a lot of the more basic tenets of astrology, and so it seems to be designed more as an advanced text—one geared primarily for those who already have a good grasp of the information in the original. Thorough, complete, and still presented in a way that doesn’t overwhelm but merely expands the reader’s existing horizons and knowledge, this book is the logical next step for anyone with a curiosity to know as much as possible about astrology.