home > article sections > book reviews
email this page to a friend

Book Review: Richard Tarnas' Cosmos and Psyche

As an advocate of the scientific method, and since most astronomers are skeptical of astrology, I approached this book with some trepidation. However, having enjoyed studying human psychology previously I read it with an open mind.

Each chapter of this book details facts to prove the author's theory that there is a direct correlation between planetary alignments and patterns in human history.

Tarnas provides plenty of evidence of shifts of consciousness and spiritual awakenings related to planetary positions and historical happenings. Yet I feel that he may have selectively picked upon convenient and popular examples from history to make his point.

Cover of the book: Cosmos and Psyche One of the many interesting facts I found in the book is that three well known English novelists of the eighteenth century, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson and Tobias Smollett, penned their best novels during a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction. In review of the lives of Galileo and of Kepler, who actually embraced astrology, as did many of his time, Tarnas points out that their lives and accomplishments may have been significantly influenced by the transits of Saturn which occurred during the scientists' lives when they were between the ages of twenty eight and thirty.

The almost 500 pages of this book are laden with an amalgamation of facts and statistics that were at times overwhelming. This book is educational and entertaining but definitely not light reading.

While it lacked the "wow factor" associated with books tackling astrology that's probably no bad thing as Tarnas avoids hyping up the book's central hypothesis, rather he tries to analyse it.

Tarnas is to be applauded for making what I felt was an honest attempt at a serious examination of astrology from a scientific viewpoint. The book's sub-title, Intimations of a New World View, reflects the fact that it is an ambitious work. It is worth reading but this reviewer remains to be convinced of its arguments ...

back to the top   |   email this page to a friend

Reviewer: Lydia Lousteaux

Related Reviews

The End of Night
First Magnitude
Stargazer
Postcards from Mars
Cosmos and Psyche
Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders
Digital Astrophotography
Quips, Quotes and Quanta
Astronomy Hacks
The Formation of the Solar System
Your Cosmic Context
Alien Volcanoes
The Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy
Zoo in the Sky
Pluto Confidential
The Manga Guide to the Universe

Other Sections

Astronomy articles
Solar System Guide
Space Exploration
Cosmology articles
Book Reviews

Features

Night Sky Guide 2013
Buying a Telescope
Historical Eclipses
Meet Astronomers
Astrophotography
The Constellations

Community

Read blog posts
Our newsletter
Meet the Team