One of the most profound turning points in my life took place the day I was introduced to Carl Payne Tobey’s “clockwise house system”. At a holiday party in early December 1971, I serendipitously struck up a conversation with a fellow astrology aficionado, Wayne Cowdrey. He was studying at Prosperos, a metaphysical institute in Los Angeles founded by Thane, one of Tobey’s long-time friends & supporters. Wayne enthusiastically shared Tobey’s ideas with me and proceeded to draw up the Leo 1st house design on a cocktail napkin. Instantly, bells & whistles started going off in my head! All the issues I’d had with the traditional house/sign/planet associations had suddenly cleared up upon seeing the image of the reversed wheel. Seeing Leo associated with the first house (instead of Aries) made so much sense, and having Cancer associated with the second house (instead of Taurus) made even more sense to me. And the rest just fell in line.
At last, the pieces all came together! It was as though some great ancient truth had just been revealed to me, one that was so compelling that I knew that there was no turning back. I was so excited! Little did I know at the time that Pluto had just crossed my ascendant and Uranus was in exact trine to my natal Uranus. It was certainly a significant initiation – one that was to send me off on the major journey of my life!
My interest in astrology had awakened in the spring of ’67, just a month prior to my graduation from UCSB, when on a blind date with a fellow Virgoan. His uncanny insights into my sign, as well as those of mutual friends, immediately piqued my mercurial interest. From there on, I embarked upon my astrological quest – reading any book I could get my hands on, taking any class available, attending conferences, networking & studying with other astrologers, interpreting charts for my friends and doing mini-readings at psychic fairs.
But as much as I was enthralled with astrology, the discrepancies between what I had been taught or read in books—and what I was learning from firsthand feedback—confused & baffled me. The so-called astrological alphabet, based on the commonly-used flat chart (which begins with Aries and goes counter-clockwise), left me cold. The correlations of the signs with houses made no sense at all based on my observations. I’d learned to set up horoscopes using the placidus system, but along the way, I was introduced to the equal house system. After comparing the various house systems amidst the 200 charts of friends & family I’d collected at the time, I became convinced that the equal houses were the most accurate from my perspective. This was a great improvement, but there were still too many lingering questions. Something was missing from the equation. And as a result, my astrology studies remained only a part-time hobby.
And then—in that magical meeting that fateful day—my passion for astrology was reawakened! It was time to delve deeper. I started taking classes at Prosperos, where I met Marcy Nelson, a serious student of Tobey’s correspondence course. She shared the course materials with me, and for the next several years, we met regularly to go over charts and test out his theories. By November 1972, it became clear that my obsession with astrology was first & foremost in my life and—with Pluto now back on my ascendant and conjunct my Jupiter—walked away from my job as a social worker and took a flying leap into the great unknown! I had never had an official reading and didn’t know what an astrologer actually did, but I was determined to figure it out and be the best astrologer I could be!
I was fortunate to finally meet Tobey in person in January 1975, after having two years of astrological practice under my belt. Marcy and I drove to Tucson together to spend a day with him, pick his brain and share our research with him. It was definitely a pilgrimage! A true hospitable Taurus, he welcomed us to his book & manuscript-strewn abode and generously shared hours of his time with us. He felt like a long-lost grandfather (no surprise, considering that his Moon in Capricorn was conjunct my South Node). Earthy & straightforward, he talked and smoked non-stop, shared lots of tidbits and opinions and was actually interested in our findings. It was such a thrill to be in his presence.
When I asked him if there was some aspect of his research that required further development, he encouraged us to dig deeper into the subject of future & past dynamics. He obviously enjoyed the company of younger individuals and was particularly intrigued by those of us in the “Neptune in Libra” generation. Although we only spent a day together, I came away with a deeper appreciation of his contribution to astrology – and an even stronger commitment to share the truths that he had uncovered. And after nearly 50 years of astrological counseling, teaching, researching and writing about Tobey’s concepts (www.dianeclarke.com), I continue to be excited and inspired by his research. I attribute my success as an astrologer to the fact that my work is based on Tobey’s amazing “clockwise house system”!
At the time, I didn’t realize what a challenging path I’d put myself on. Already out-of-step with the mainstream due to my passion for astrology, the fact that I used both equal house and Tobey’s system also set me apart from the other astrologers. We just didn’t speak the same language – and very few were comfortable looking at things from a different perspective. However, my compulsion to follow what was truth for me won out over my desire for peer acceptance. I started teaching astrology so that I could have others to talk with!
I am grateful to have connected with Naomi Bennett – a fellow traveler on this mission to spread the word and keep the work of Carl Payne Tobey alive & well! Her publications of his correspondence course and his collected works, along with her own books explaining his concepts, have been a major gift to the astrological community—and will hopefully inspire new generations to step off the beaten path and put his ingenious theories to the test. Hopefully, in the near future, I will be publishing my own book on chart interpretation based on the clockwise house system.
©2019 Diane Elizabeth Clarke