|Article Title: An Interview with Z
Having been out of sight for a number of years, it is a bit startling to find myself back in the public eye once again. The last time that happened was in 1996 when I started the Traditions mailing list and hosted it for about six months. It was a hot spot for astrologers who took an interest in ancient and medieval sources, especially Project Hindsight and the translation work of Schmidt, Hand, and Zoller -- the "Three Roberts." That seems like a long time ago, but for those of us who caught the bug back then, the ancient and medieval sources still beckon. Those ideas remain very much alive.|
I'm glad for this opportunity to share some of my thoughts on astrological topics. I could write another academic sort of paper, like the one that appeared in Mark Pottenger’s landmark work, the Handbook of Astrological Research (1995). A link to that paper is here: Reconciling Interpretive and Statistical Significance. However, these days I'm inclined to write something more conversational.
In this spirit, I hope to conduct some interviews with the true stars of the astrological world. I will have the pleasure of speaking with some of the prime movers to whom we owe a great deal. The recognition of their central role goes back at least to Aristotle, when he wrote about the motions of the planets: The planets move "out of their love for the Ideas." While it has surely fallen out of fashion to speak of Ideas as being real, I think many of us would agree that this is quite unfair, and that Ideas are people too.
An Interview with Z
Today I am speaking with one of the prime movers, one of the Ideas whom the planets are especially fond of. This is the original Zodiacal Idea who gave rise to all the signs of the Zodiac. I wonder, could you tell us what Aristotle might have meant about the planets moving out of their love for the Ideas.
Z: Well, I hope you realize that Aristotle meant that in the Platonic sense, so to speak (chuckles).
K: (laughs) Okay, I should have seen that one coming. So, you were saying earlier that there is a lot more to the Zodiac than most astrologers make use of.
Z: My status is certainly not what it used to be. Let me describe for you the central place of the Zodiac, as it has been for so long in the realm of astrological Ideas. It is fair to say that in my absence, the planets would have very little to say to one another.
K: Are you saying that the relationships between planets depend fundamentally on the zodiacal signs?
Z: Indeed I am. Planets may come into contact either by their relative positions in the signs or by their dignities in the signs, or both. The signs determine the nature of their relating.
K: You know that many of us, myself included, grew up on planetary midpoints and harmonics and every sort of aspect that can be found within the circle of degrees. We learned to relate planets by their precise angular separations.
Z: And I would not begrudge you any of these innovations, far from it. But I find it sad that the richness of this language has been so thoroughly obscured by the passage of time.
K: Tell me more, if you will, about the rich language that you hold in your memory. Could you shed some light on what has been obscured?
Z: Very well, but first I will ask you to tell me what you know about those essential things that Jupiter and Venus share between them.
K: Well, Jupiter and Venus are the two benefics and they both can signify gifts and giving. I have studied at least a bit of early astrology.
Z: That is not a bad answer, but there is more to say. Of course there is no end to the significations you could list, but I mean something else: I have yet to fully answer your question about what moves the planets. I believe you mean, what makes the planets active in the astrological sense.
We know well that each planet has its own path and its own domicile and exaltation signs. We know in a more vague way that Pisces, where Venus has her exaltation, is also where she is Jupiter’s honored guest in his nocturnal home. What is known less well is how this kind of interweaving gives us the fabric of a story. These two planets express their characters most clearly in the patterns of a love story. We could even say that Jupiter and Venus are moved by none other than the very Ideas that give rise to the truths of romantic love.
K: That is a beautiful thought... though I wonder if we will ever reconcile any of the differing views on this subject. Some say that there is no place for storytelling in the practice of astrology, while others say that there is nothing more to it than making up stories.
Z: I would hope that of all people, astrologers would be the ones who understand the truths of stories that express timeless principles. But it is only natural that I, who hold the seeds of all stories close to my heart, would expect this.
K: I can see that there is much more to be said on this subject. I hope our discussion can continue at a later time, and I regret that it is time to bring this exchange to a close.
Z: I welcome further discussion when the time is right.
K: I don't know how to thank you, so thank you anyway.
Copyright: Kyle Pierce
Bio: Kyle Pierce
Kyle Pierce began his astrological studies in 1974, and since then he has been occupied with one astrological thing or another. He has been writing astrological software, working with lots of charts, and grappling with basic astrological problems and questions. He has also earned Master's degrees and pursued careers in Biostatistics and Computer Science. His articles and presentations on research topics are familiar to research-oriented astrologers.
Kyle was a member of the Matrix Software team during the '80s. Since then he has worked on his own projects and as a software consultant for Matrix. He has also been an active student of the Project Hindsight material. Kyle recently returned to Matrix Software as a full-time staff member. He brings a wealth of ideas for new kinds of software, as well as his long-term fascination with the origins and the evolution of astrological thinking.