Matrix Interview with Astrologer Noel Tyl
Our interviewer is Michael Erlewine April 17, 1991
[This is an interview I did with my dear friend Noel Tyl some 17 years ago. In re-reading it recently, I find it stands up well and deserves to be made available. I hope you enjoy it. This is not a strict interview, but also a dialog, a discussion.]
Michael: Here I’m interviewing the interviewer. We’ll just run for a while, until I feel I have enough stuff to build a little picture. And you can guide me as well. Again, I don’t care what order we do things. They may not be in this order. One of the things I don’t want to forget is some comments about the state of astrologers, any of that kind of stuff, and also all the parenthetical stuff may not be there.
What I’m interested in, aside from all the stuff we need to cover, is any of the things… first of all, the comments… this is why I like to spend more time getting to know the person and then do the interview, but we don’t have a lot of time, so we’ll do the best we can. I have to ask about your recent re-entry into astrology after some absence.
Noel: I object to the word “reentering” astrology, because I don’t feel that I left.
Michael: What was your phrase? You’re definitely coming back to it. Charles Jayne described three times in his life that he… he wandered off into stock market stuff for a while. He never gave up astrology, but at the same time it was not the primary focus for him. Now I get the idea that you are reinstituting astrology as a primary focus. You have been doing your ad agency, but you’ve also been doing AFAN, serving the community of astrologers.
Noel: I think it is the role of a teacher to ascertain a reentry position to the public audience when he or she feels needed.
Michael: Why do we need you? I say this with tongue in cheek. We are thrilled to have you being more active.
Noel: Well, it’s nice to be needed. At least, I think I am. I think another generation of astrologers has bloomed from the heyday of the 70s.
Michael: We were talking earlier about that. We felt that maybe a whole generation bloomed that we didn’t even know about.
Noel: Exactly. I mentioned to you that it is a very good sign to be 6'10? tall and to have a grand reputation in astrology (hopefully) and go to conventions now and be forced to wear a nametag. People don’t quite know me. And then if you say your name is Noel Tyl or Michael Erlewine, they maybe don’t quite register who you are. And I think that’s a very, very good sign that we have a burgeoning body of people fascinated by astrology, who bring to it more education background than perhaps heretofore.
Michael: And they haven’t heard all our stuff before.
Noel: And haven’t heard all our stuff, and we start to feel needed again. And that’s why I just wrote a seventeenth book, a book I never thought I would write. I thought I’d said everything I knew how to say on paper. And here was an opportunity to challenge my own growth again and to share it with others.
Michael: A question about the set of books that you wrote: Now I would like you to verify something that may or may not have anything to do with it. Somebody told me that the set of books you wrote for Llewellyn…
Noel: “The Principles and Practice of Astrology.”
Michael: That’s right. They said that that set sold over a quarter of a million copies. Is that true?
Noel: I think that’s true.
Michael: Is that a quarter of a million sets or a quarter of a million books?
Michael: So divide that by 12.
Noel: If you wish, although there was an imbalance. Some did a higher volume of sales than others.
Michael: That’s a lot of sales.
Noel: Yes. I think that’s right.
Michael: What book has sold any more than that in astrology? I’m curious.
Noel: Oh, I’m sure the “A to Z Horoscope Delineator” did very well. Grant Lewi’s books are classics. I think there are probably one or two of Rudyhar’s books that have had a constant sale history over 30 years. His book ”Astrology and Personality” was written in 1936, mind you, the year I was born. Rudyhar wrote that book, which still today challenges the mind and the spirit to further growth.
Michael: That’s true. Im thinking of other things that came up in our conversation that were interesting: Your whole take on computers and the modern counseling astrologer. We didn’t finish that up. You know, some of this can be a discussion. I’m not going to mind that, either, if we just talk a little bit.
Noel: I’ve had a thesis that I’ve published in some of my works and often have spoken of in lectures about this eternal argument between “is astrology science?” and is astrology art?”
I have said that the stress upon its being a science to get all possible measurements and all of this stuff is perhaps a flight from the responsibility and challenge of being artistic. By that, I mean that I see astrologers in a one-on-one relationship with a client to be supportive and helpful so the client can help himself or herself. I think measurements must stop as quickly as possible, so that the substance can come in through inspiration to the medium.
Michael: What do you mean by measurements? Some astrologers make their whole astrology nothing but the refinement of measurement, like finer and finer orbs, etc.
Noel: I think that there’s a time where the measurements are enough. Enough has been revealed so that you can get into the structure from a humanistic perspective.
Michael: We were talking about computers before. Computers do most of the measuring now for us.
Noel: Yeah, but I think that there’s a fascination…
Michael: On some people’s part.
Noel: Yes, on some people’s part to just dwell on the extraordinary measurability inherent in the field of astrology. You can go on and on and on. I love to tell the little story of the person who comes up to a lecturer with a horoscope that is filled with everything there is and says, “I have a locomotive, a seesaw, a teeterboard, and an IUD in my horoscope” — something like that. How much do you need to know to start to appreciate someone’s position in life?
Michael: I see your point.
Noel: And I think that’s where the art of astrology comes into play. I remember Barbara Watters saying to me… she was a formidable intellect and one of our very, very sharply honed astrologers some years ago…
Michael: She was a friend of Charles Jayne.
Noel: She said to me in one of our many conversations, “You know, not everyone who studies Latin in school becomes a classics scholar. Not everyone who takes a chemistry course in high school becomes a chemist. Not everybody who studies astrology can be an astrologer.” I like to remind myself of that often, because there are times as a seasoned professional when I don’t feel that I’m on, that I’m being the medium I think I am, for what I have learned about life and translated into the symbols of astrology and updated through time about a person’s life.
There are days that are good and days that are bad. There’s a performance curve that we have as human beings. Again, this brings us back to the fact that astrology is not predictable. It is not 100% reliable. And I think the more we recognize that, the more we are freeing ourselves from the expectations of astrology that often get in the way of good performance. I like to say that if it were so reliable, as many people like to assert and that many critics falsely suggest, then the government would have taken over and we’d be charged for it on our income tax, and we’d get these reports and put $5 in a grand central kiosk…
Michael: Or at least there would be a lot of very wealthy astrologers, which there don’t seem to be too many of.
Noel: Yes, there’d be a lot of very wealthy astrologers. And everybody is talking about how they’ve got the hold on the stock market and all these trends and…
Michael: It doesn’t seem to be true.
Noel: The proof is not in the pudding.
Michael: No. I had the best financial astrology newsletter writers here for a conference some years ago. There were some twenty-one of them. And almost to a man, no one seemed to have any money. I had to pay the way for many of them, and under the cover, for them to even get here, aside from the ones I’d already agreed to pay for. Whatever they were doing wasn’t enough to even make a decent living. How could they be advising others. I don’t get it.
Noel: I can’t comment on that.
Michael: No, I’m commenting on it because it amazed me. I know I can’t use astrology in the stock market and make money, but I imagined these folks had figured out a way.
Noel: I’m just saying that I think that my contribution as a teacher in astrology is singularly focused on the creativity of the one-on-one relationship as a guide or as a counselor (I don’t necessarily like those words) as sharing space with somebody and putting a tremendous fact in the foreground. And that fact is that, under stress, under development, nobody wants to be alone. And in that moment with the client, neither astrologer nor client is alone. And this is a very powerful, powerful gift, worth a hundred dollars to pay for.
If somebody says to me, “How do you pick a good astrologer?” — a question I’ve had on a hundred television shows. I say you look into their eyes, you listen to them speak. You find out that what you know about life is much more important than what you know about astrology. Our symbols mean nothing until we give them meaning from experience. And then astrologers must learn — and this again is the teacher speaking — I want so much for astrology to understand that communication is the art. You can’t necessarily put it on paper.
There is an exchange of emotion and rapport and eye contact, this spirit-to-spirit communication that takes place in a good session, reading, that is dependent on artful communication. All of this brings me to the need constantly for the teaching of astrology to be improved. That’s where I feel needed, and I think that the more our educators in astrology get into this artistic dimension of one-on-one, personal interaction through astrology, the more professional, we’re going to be more reliable.
Michael: What can you say about the art of the one-on-one relationship, counseling, whatever you want to call it. Give us some insight about what you’re talking about. What kind of techniques… what is it that someone can learn about how to do that. Can you give us some ideas?.
Noel: Francis Bacon said something that meant a lot to me in this regard. He said, “One-half of wisdom is the prudent question.” I love to point out that you can ask three or four prudent questions and you’ve done your homework. You’ve met the client, you’ve made a physical, personal, chemical, neurological assessment of this client in that chit-chat moment of getting into a comfortable position with each other, and then you start your well-choreographed exchange. As a professional, you’re going to have to take about the same length of time every session you meet someone, so you can see six people a day and earn your living this way. Say you take an hour and ten minutes. You’ve got to start and know where you’re going. If I can ask you two or three very, very important questions about your life, I can get a good conversation going.
I like to say to astrologers: “Do you still use jargon when you’re meeting with a client?” If you take the jargon out (and it’s meaningless)… if you take the jargon out, you find out how much time you have left to say something meaningful. It’s shocking! It’s shocking to hear on tape or witness and hear from people’s experiences from an astrologer, how much unnecessary stuff is being said. And that’s out of a fear and a sensitivity about performing with astrology.
Michael: This is an aside. I never use any jargon, ever. How would the client know what Mars Sextile Jupiter means? Forget about it.
Noel: Even with famous astrologers, for example, for whom I am their astrologer — nobody will be named — I say, “I’m not going to say a word in Astrology, and you have to understand that.” Afterward, and it’s always been successful, because I think I’m an engaging conversationalist as well as a reasonably good astrologer. And when I’m sitting with these people, I ask them the question. And I can say to an audience… I haven’t statistically charted this, but I have found perhaps 60-70% of all my clients will probably tear up or literally shed a tear, sometimes convulsively within 5-6ÿminutes of our discussion.
This is not anxiety; it is recognition. It is the feeling of release. I hear, “God, I knew you would get to that!” What does that mean? That means “I’ve been wanting someone to talk about this with me, and the fact that you can tactfully and gracefully present it to me, and I trust you, and I can talk about it makes me glad I came to see you.” That to me is an art form, and not everyone can do it. And you have to do it in different ways with different clients. You have to use your strengths.
I give master classes with astrologers, which may be limited to fifteen professionals, intensely, in a hotel suite, and I cater the lunch. And I spend the whole day intensely going over each of these individual astrologers, showing them their strengths and their weaknesses, and my strengths and my weaknesses, and putting them together in pairs and performing. It’s like creative dramatics. That’s how you learn technique. You don’t just go into a room and sit down with some measurements and hope what you read in a book pays off. Again, that’s why the teacher is needed.
Michael: That sounds good. I think that different astrologers… You have to satisfy some demand for measurement; otherwise, we wouldn’t have to call it astrology.
Noel: This is the scientific part of astrology, the fact that we can make reliable measurements.
Michael: But what’s also interesting is what it takes to satisfy someone, in terms of measurement…
Noel: Someone being…?
Michael: Anyone, an astrologer. How much measurement? First of all, sometimes I wonder about the fact that astrologers are these people who really measure their lives in a way that most people do not. Astrology in general. when you learn about yourself through studying your chart and transits and progressions and directions and so forth, that’s quite different than what the average person does with their life. (This is just an aside for us to talk about.) Sometimes I wonder about the kind of insecurity someone has to have to even be an astrologer, that they want to measure life this way.
Noel: Oh, I think you’re being gentle. I think that one of the prime motives in the beginning study, starting to study astrology, is not necessarily this very, very gentle dimension of “Gee, self-discovery will make me more comfortable and help me grow better.” I don’t think it’s that.
Michael: What do you think it is?
Noel: I think it becomes that in the best scenario. What I think it is, is a combination of fear and a yearning to be in control.
Michael: Yeah, the second part for sure. We would all like to have at least some control of our lives.
Noel: There are some people who say, “I’ve heard that a thing called squares is bad. I am going home and I’ll praise God, let me not have any squares in my horoscope.” I’ve heard this a thousand times, and so have you.
Noel: “I want all trines,” they say. Well, these are tragic cases when they happen in reality, having all trines. They are people who can’t fend for themselves and they get victimized. It is a very difficult thing, and very few astrologers have actually seen two grand trines, or three, with no outlet squares for the corners. Very few astrologers have seen horoscopes with no oppositions, no conjunctions, and no squares — no 4th-harmonic dimension at all. I probably have seen five in my career! But when you do, you know it. So fear is a very important part, because you want to say, “I want to set up well by something I want to learn about, called astrology. And I think if I can see the good side of myself…” And then it starts to get into growth mechanisms and what-have-you. “I can control it if I can see it and measure it.”
Michael: The concept that I was kind of focusing on, which I think is just an interesting thing to see if you understand it in this field we call astrology is that the demand for some kind of measurement is implicit in the field itself. Otherwise, we could do palmistry or we could do…
Noel: Absolutely. We could just throw pebbles or entrails onto the table.
Michael: That’s right. What has been a source of interest to me, at least casually (and maybe even more than casually), is the fact that… and I’ve had a chance, like you have, to meet so many astrologers, and being somewhat technical myself, I’ve had a chance to know a little bit about the measurements. And what’s interesting to me is that… and I don’t know whether I can find the words to say it… it’s like “Render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s”… everyone pays homage to the measurement part of astrology. That is what we key on, that is the literal talisman we cling to. The degree to which astrologers pay homage is where they differ. Some of them… and we can make jokes and make fun of groups of astrologers… some of the siderealists are extremely heavy into measurement. It is like a dance.
Noel: The Uranians.
Michael: Yes. In order for them to be moved to the point of really being able to benefit a client, they must go through an arduous procedure of measurement. And there are other ones that just… so, I think one of the interesting things in my life about astrology — this is just something I want to talk to you about over there, and I’m doing it now, and I think we’ll have plenty of tape — is that… isn’t it funny? What does it take to pay Ceasar? For each one of us, it’s different. In other words, what preparation must we go through to be ready for a client?
You talk to someone like Robb Hand or me; we’ve probably done a lot of technical stuff. There was one time in my career when I certainly felt I had to do… and I have talked about this with Great Britain’s astrologer Charles Harvey, one of the best. He’s the one I’ve talked to who’s made it clear to me that he sits down and does an inordinate (from my point of view) amount of measurement, to the tune of many hours for each client! He does hours of measurement before he feels confident to bring to bear whatever he brings to bear, which is probably the same thing we all bring to bear. I think that’s interesting. For myself, I’ve always gravitated toward the kind of techniques in astrology that required very little preparation.
Noel: Me too.
Michael: And if the thing, the technique, didn’t work strongly for me, then I usually just didn’t hang around with it long.
Noel: This is a very important thing that we’re both saying here. Because all of astrology is volatile in nature, all measurement work. All systems and measurement work because it is the astrologer that gives them meaning.
Michael: That’s right. I agree. That’s fascinating. Astrology is an oracle, and the astrologer is the medium through which the oracle can speak.
Noel: It is fascinating. Robb Hand told me once — and I think I got it right; I called him up to confirm it when I put it in my book, but I can’t recall it exactly now — all systems work for astrologers the first time and in retrospect, which I think is a beautiful way of saying what we just said.
Michael: What do you mean? All systems work the first time…
Noel: …you use one. You can make up a system. We can have a new system called the “duogesimal system of protracted directions” tomorrow, based on one-fourth of the lunar orbit…
Michael: But if you make that up and give it to me, the first time I use that, it may not work for me. That’s not what you’re saying. You’re saying we discover…
Noel: You discover meaning. Take that out then.
Michael: No, none of this is necessarily in it. I want to have a discussion.
Noel: I just think it is important to understand that we give measurements meaning. And our minds are so swift and so innovative that we rush to make something significant. You walk into the room. You’re a Catholic priest. You’ve driven to my house in a red Ferrari. Something’s wrong. My mind rushes to bring together my expectation of you as a Catholic priest and my appreciation of the fact that you drove up in a very expensive, hot sports car that a playboy would use. To put those two things together is very difficult… my powers of observation… so I’m going to give it meaning. Maybe you’re driving a car because the dealer is contributing to the church, and I haven’t learned that fact yet. So I have to ask an artful question here to satisfy my social expectation of this status incongruence.
Noel: So those kinds of things are called deductions when they’re done with one’s eyes and brains and feelings, and they’re called measurements when they’re done with a computer or a hand calculator or a pencil. The same thing: our minds are constantly challenged to give meaning to everything that we do. And each gives unto Caesar that which Caesar requires.
Michael: And just to continue this another little bit further (see if you follow this): If you — which I’m sure you have, and I can speak for myself — if you’ve had the good fortune within your field (which I think all real astrologers do) to actually… for the techniques you use to become alive for you, the techniques that you’ve discovered or for you actually to carve out some techniques that no one’s ever really done before, some amazing stuff happens.
What happens is that what you’re discovering (this is where you might not agree, but I think if you think about it, you would)… what we are discovering when we have an epiphany, an experience like that, at that time we always learn more about ourselves, and it results in a greater acceptance of ourselves. The residue — what remains after that experience — which has always fascinated me, that is: what remains after one of those experiences IS a new technique. The result of our discovery, what remains after the experience passes is the technique – how we did it. And the technique is the ritual to make it happen again for ourselves or for others. Yeats had a line in one of this poems that said, “The grass cannot but keep the form where the mountain hare has lain.”
Noel: It makes an impression.
Michael: Right. So when we have an AHA! experience in astrology, when it’s over and gone, the remains of that experience are what we call technique.
Noel: Yes. But it might not belong in every Caesar’s technique.
Michael: Of course not; it is our technique. No, not everyone is going to be able to use it. If someone gives you or teaches you a technique, then you must energize that technique. Techniques need to be empowered, preferable from someone who has realized the technique and is capable of empowering others.
Noel: With your own mind, and giving it meaning.
Michael: My point is that if you fail to do it, to become empowered in a technique, then you are in doing a ritual with no meaning for you and this could result in actual harm to your practice or at least: no help.
Noel: Or it’s like selecting a house system. What is more subjective than your personal apportionment of space and time? You’re a world authority on these things, on the division of space and time.
Michael: Right. Astrologers are.
Noel: Well, but you especially, Michael. You’ve made a specialty out of that. (That’s beside the point.) The thing is that all of these things are arbitrary divisions just to give order to our measurements.
Michael: They’re not arbitrary; they’re conventions arrived at by common sense, by looking at how things actually are.
Noel: There are 56 house systems you could probably name in the next ten minutes.
Michael: A bunch, anyway.
Noel: And the midheaven and the ascendant are the same in almost all the house systems. Well, I picked the Placidus house system because my relativity of life and time fits that.
Michael: You mean you like the results it gives.
Noel: Yes. Because my symbolism gives to this Caesar what this Caesar is living.
Michael: But isn’t that astrology as we know it, at least in this country?
Noel: Yes. And coming back from Norway, they have so many births that are so far north, that it doesn’t work very well. And they are hard pressed to give meaning, so I use Placidus system as a projection of me into somebody else’s life, but if I see by my observation that Saturn is not in the 11th but in the 10th, because they are living in a different time/space division and different house system, I can make that correction in my own interpretive skill.
Noel: I don’t have to dispense with the system because it might not be applicable to that person.
Michael: Right. One of the things that I had trouble learning at first — and astrologers today don’t seem to know this as a group — is just what you said. I’m going to echo what you’re saying, but it took a long time for me to realize it was true. All of these systems work. The first hundred or two hundred astrologers I might have met, I had the systems that worked for me, and I wanted to tell them (if they would listen, and no one wants to listen because everyone wants to tell) and that goes for me too. I didn’t particularly want to listen to what they were doing, but it took me a long time to realize that if it doesn’t work for me, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work at all.
Michael: That’s a big lesson.
Noel: That’s the lesson that I think we’ve been saying several different ways in this talk.
Michael: But I would think that a lot of people need to hear that. I think that’s a hard one to learn, that you can only say what does not work for you, and not that this or that astrological technique does not work. Period.
Noel: That’s true. And this is how we grow. For instance, heliocentric astrology: I’ve read your work on it, and others.
Michael: And you can’t get anything out of it.
Noel: And I’ve looked at it here and there, and it’s just not in my bag.
Michael: It doesn’t happen for you.
Noel: It didn’t happen for me. But I’m not discrediting it.
Michael: No. It happens for me.
Noel: Because all measurements do work.
Michael: Right. So that’s a tremendous insight that all astrologers need to have. That should be one of the tools that any beginning astrologer must develop: that kind of respect for other astrologers.
Noel: I think so. Isn’t it fascinating, when you’re watching a news report, say, of a Kurdish rebel saying something in pain and passion and upset. And they can hardly get these foreign words out, because they have no food in their stomachs and they’re dying on the mountainside. And you hear this strange language. And it’s so foreign, and the whole state of this being is so foreign. And then you hear the simultaneous translation coming out in perfect English. And all words are saying the same thing. You don’t give credit to something you don’t necessarily understand immediately, symbolically. It takes a time to give it meaning. And you hear some Swahili tribesman drinking cow blood, saying something in sounds that are so foreign to you. And the translation is erudite. Fascinating, isn’t it!
Michael: Yes it is.
Noel: One system just is so foreign, and yet it has its own beauty and eloquence symbolically.
Michael: That’s good. And then if you look into it…
Noel: …and learn Swahili, you will find the same thing.
Michael: …that in the same situation, you would have behaved the same way.
Noel: Again, we’re back to communication and symbolization. That’s why we can continue to write astrology books, I guess.
Michael: I haven’t done any astrology writing lately, but you have. Let’s talk about this new book.
Noel: “Prediction and Astrology.” It’s a dangerous subject.
Michael: That’s a big topic. Give us some insight.
Noel: I tried to first of all, teach this process of solar arc projection into the future, because it’s been sorely neglected in the United States. Solar arcs are “where it’s at” in many astrologers’ opinions, because it’s a fundamental symbolical projection system that goes way back to Ptolemy’s early work with primary directions, and it’s much simpler.
Michael: Just to sidestep here (what we call a sidebar), who are some of the astrologers that you know in the world today who really use solar arc?
Noel: And I think it is centered in the brilliant work of Ebertin and the cosmobiological school. And he wrote that marvelous formative book of midpoint pictures called “The Combination of Stellar Influences.” There has been…
Michael: There’s another sidebar. We can arrange all this. One of the most important things you’ve told me here is that you’ve taken that book, the concept of all the midpoint combinations and you’ve written an American English version of that. Not a copy — you’ve not translated it — but you’ve written…
Noel: I’ve updated it, in my opinion. I took out some of the enormous… Well, I took out the enormous strain of Germanic pessimism, if you will…
Michael: Good point.
Noel: …that pervades Ebertin’s work, which was written (as you know) at a very pessimistic time.
Michael: Where can we get a copy? I think everyone would like to read this. This is included in your book, right?
Noel: Yes, this is the appendix of the book. It’s about 85 pages.
Michael: That alone is something I know a lot of people really look for.
Noel: Thank you. It will be updated by somebody else as times progress in the future, as well. But it’s fresh. It’s using modern language and good images.
Michael: Great. Because I still go back to the Ebertin book, but I always have to compensate. I have to discount all of that pessimism. And I have to keep it in mind, but it creeps in. And if you don’t keep it in mind, it just creeps in. This way, with new words you wrote; that’s good.
Noel: And I think that the introduction of solar arcs can change the way American astrologers understand time. I think we’ve been harnessed by the system of secondary progressions to an extent that is inhibiting. It really is inhibiting. I don’t want to get into that now; it’s in the book.
Michael: In America we have… My friend Charles Jayne was a great proponent of solar arc. That’s all that he did, and he spoke out loud and…
Noel: But the time wasn’t quite ready, perhaps, for his presentation of it.
Michael: No, and he felt very badly toward the end of his life, that no one was getting that.
Noel: I discovered it when I lived in Europe, where it has the beautiful name SONENBOGEN in German. Curiously, Dane Rudyhar, in 1936, in “Astrology of Personality,” was writing about what he called RAPPORT measurements, using a French word. And that’s the beginning of solar arc application. And I cover all of this in the book, and Llewellyn has been nice enough to say it is the most comprehensive presentation of solar arcs ever written in the English language.
Michael: This is “Prediction and Astrology?”
Noel: And that’s the whole book, using solar arcs and transits to capture great predictions of past history. And I wrote it before the Iraq war (Mideast crisis). It didn’t even have a name then. And all the predictions that came through measurements into the future actually came to pass in reality. And it’s a great way, I think, for a student of astrology (a practitioner) to start to learn a new technique, a new set of symbolization.
Michael: In a word, what is your take on prediction in astrology?
Noel: I think we have to know that it doesn’t always work. And as soon as you say that, you’re free. If you say the converse, if you say “Prediction and astrology is just a matter of mastering the technique,” you’re a prisoner.
Michael: Why doesn’t it work?
Noel: I don’t know that we know the answer to that question. Boy, have I pondered it! It can be that your hands might be dirty, and you’re being distracted, and perhaps you’re not the best medium for the symbolization. Or maybe you’re not listening to the answers to the questions you’re…
Michael: What does the average astrologer tell himself?
Noel: I don’t know. I just think you have to admit fallibility. I think wisdom comes from knowing what you don’t know. At age 54, I have learned through my career in astrology what I do not know. Conversely, what I do know, I have a high reliability about — a high reliability. And that’s the making of a professional. A tennis star knows just when to lob the ball as an offensive measure, or when to aim a certain shot down a certain alley. You learn these things. And knowing what you don’t know keeps you from erring off the path of your major strength.
Michael: Don’t you think that a lot of astrologers… or do you feel that a lot of astrologers, when things don’t work predictably, they assume… we’ve always assumed that there’s a piece of the puzzle missing. Do you feel that’s true? Or is it that some things just don’t work?
Noel: I don’t know. That gets very existentially complicated.
Michael: It does indeed.
Noel: Not knowing all keeps all of us human. You can look at it that way too.
Michael: No problem.
Noel: No problem with that. And that’s a very, very nice thing. I think one of the keenest things an astrologer can communicate with a client at a difficult time of discussion is simply to say, “I don’t know.” For some reason, the client immediately feels very comfortable, because here’s somebody else who doesn’t know. I mean, there are problems we face where we do not have a solution.
Noel: Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, or astrologer cannot give a solution. Time is the solution.
Michael: Right. Time will heal all wounds.
Noel: Well, why do we have these marvelously conventional adages in our languages? It is because they prevail with truth.
Michael: That’s right.
Noel: This is the fascinating thing. So I’ve tried in this book to be brave.
Michael: What does that mean?
Noel: I’ve tried to be courageous and say… The final chapter is “Managing the Indeterminable.” King Olaf of Norway died on January 17. He was 84 years old. His personal reality included a heart attack the year before. Now as I start to add details — that he was a very old man, that he had a heart attack — all of a sudden, the measurements that happen there (a very interesting set of solar arcs and a very powerful transit) occur with more meaning because we know more about the reality of the situation. Backtracking from that kind of observation and studying great predictions set up in the past (the birth of Alexander the Great or Evangeline Adams’s famous stories), we find that we have to know as much as possible about the reality in order to take it gingerly into the future. We can’t just say, “Because of this measurement in future time, such-and-such is going to happen.” As soon as we understand that we must expand the present backwards into the past to find out past reaction, past reality development, growth rate, we can then expand it into the future through cycles, because it ends up that absolutely everything in our symbology, when it moves through time, is based upon the concept of cycles.
Michael: Things recur. When you reach the point of no return, that’s a bad spot.
Noel: Your cycle has ended.
Michael: Well, your interest is lost if there’s nothing coming back, if you get no return on your investment.
Noel: Yes. The most fascinating thing for me in the writing of this book (besides coming to grips with the very, very difficult premises) was trying at the same time to teach a technique I truly feel has a high incidence of reliability. I was fighting myself, and that is a struggle that goes on in learning astrology and applying it. I researched as thoroughly as I possibly knew how to do the major hotel fire of the Windsor Hotel that Evangeline Adams made her reputation on. She supposedly met in the hotel one evening with the proprietor of the hotel (it was a big-time hotel) and read his horoscope and saw the worst possible things in the world. When he came back the next morning, she was still shaking in her body from the portents of the danger around this man. He came in with a smile on his face and checked her out again, and she advised him, “You are in real danger (your whole family)!”. And she said that he walked through the door to the greatest flaming hotel disaster of all time. It turned out that she wrote this account 28 or 29 years after the fact. It turns out that the fire took place 6 1/2 hours later than she said it did. And so the drama of the thing starts to break down a little bit. Her own way of seeing her own career was very self-aggrandizing. She was a very dramatic woman.
Michael: It’s understandable when that happens.
Noel: Yes, exactly, to a degree. And she was very, very sensitive and well meaning, and this was a powerful combination, especially in a woman during that time in history. And then I tried to set up what she saw in this man’s horoscope, and I could not locate this man’s birth record or marriage license anywhere. I go through the whole research to show how to rectify a horoscope under those conditions. I finally found his gravesite in Chicago, and his gravesite had no birth date on it. And then I found, finally, the old records of when his body came in to be buried, and it said how long he had lived in years, months, and days. And then I proceeded to create that moment of what Evangeline Adams saw in that horoscope that was her “claim to flame” — intentional pun — the great fire prediction of Adams. And in this process you learn the drama of dealing with a prediction, the responsibility of talking about it. These are hard things to teach and hard things to learn. I hope I contributed some of it with a book that has some courage about these things in it.
Michael: Let me ask, and this might not be on the tape. I’m just curious. What did you learn in this process about yourself? Obviously, any time we get really energized, we end up learning more about ourselves. Was it something like that?
Noel: About myself?
Michael: Or about your life or whatever. Usually when we have an epiphany, there’s something we discover.
Noel: Well (chuckle), the motivation of my writing this book, which I never thought I would write, was very poignant and swift in my consciousness. I had made some predictions for a major life change of my own, which did not come to pass as I anticipated. And they were very grand. I talk about them in the book. And they were very disruptive. It was a midlife crisis. It was a change of direction in my life. It’s still happening as we speak now.
Michael: I’d like to hear a little bit about that. We all are interested, especially those of us who are a little younger than you but still close to your age. What is going on?
Noel: My Sun is in 10 degrees of Capricorn, and we know that for the last two years we have had successive transits of Neptune, Saturn, and Uranus over that degree. The United States is at 12 Cancer. There are 10 or 12 degrees of cardinal signs all over this world that are feeling an accumulation of extraordinary developmental tension, affected by conjunction, opposition, or square. I absorbed it all in a very, very powerful way when, at the same time, a major solar arc measurement (solar arc Uranus) conjuncted my ascendant. That’s powerful! And in 90% of all cases, it is a major individual change of life direction, usually with concomitant geographic displacement.
I applied for new life directions in other cities. I was trying to work the astrology. It has yet to come to pass. But this delay (this slight delay, because it is starting to come to pass) enriched me, I guess, through a lot of self-questioning, analysis of my needs, strategizing about the best deployment of adult perspectives and energy. And I said, “My gosh, I’m going to write about this.” The teacher in me came out again, and perhaps it is a return with greater intensity than in the last ten years, for instance, to the astrology world. And I’m highly enthused about this, and we shall see.
I also came up with a concept that helped explain measurements that seem to parallel events slightly out of time phase. Very often, astrologers report, “My gosh, this very complex set of measurements or this very dramatic set of measurements occurred in October, but the event that seems to be tied to them did not occur until January.” The following January, four months later. For instance, I anticipated my mother’s death, not in the point of death but as a major change of life situation for her and her health and all of those things, that added up to death, and I like to smile because I know she may be appreciating this with her sense of humor, but she died four months later than she “should have,” so to speak. Her life situation changed four months later. So I started thinking that there is a hierarchy of measurements, especially in solar arcs, where the very powerful ones expand over a length of time. This concept I like to call “time orb,” which gives the astrologer symbolical freedom to go ahead or backwards in time in the future.
Michael: Can you clarify that please?
Noel: Yes. Let’s just say you’re doing a reading in January, and there’s a major situation centered around July. The first thing you do is ask a question to the client, “What do you project for yourself for the next six months?” That’s a prudent question — one-half of wisdom. And we get to a projection and we start to understand the symbolizations in the person’s life, and what happens is, you must know from experience that the time-orb might see this starting in March and it might go through December. And that’s a very small time orb in solar arcs. That’s 5 minutes of arc per month, which is a very small orb, so it’s valid by any measurement system to have that size an orb. But it’s a remarkable span of time sometimes when the measurements are very powerful.
Michael: Coming events cast a shadow? Is it that kind of…?
Noel: Very well said.
Michael: Both ways, right?
Noel: Both ways.
Michael: It’s like a bubble.
Noel: Yes. I love this idea of expanding the present backwards and forwards.
Michael: What does that mean exactly?
Noel: Well, we make the present moment significant in terms of past experience and also future projection. So this sense of time orb helps the astrologer deal with complex measurement images like lots of midpoint pictures, which is a very simple thing now with Matrix Software and other software that comes out with solar arcs, and you just have to know which ones are going to have the potential of symbolizing something extremely important. Then you look for a transit trigger and put it into the personal reality system of the client, and you’re in business. And that’s all we can do in astrology.
Another thing that I’ve found in my research of prediction is something we’ve lost sight of in astrology, and I think it’s a new frontier. It’s a frontier rediscovered.
Michael: They all are.
Noel: The thing is fixed stars.
Michael: Tell me about that. I’ve done a lot of work with that material myself..
Noel: I know, and nobody has really brought it down to earth, in my opinion, in this epoch.
Noel: The ancient astrologers, as you well know, really dealt only with what they could see: conjunctions and squares sometimes, but mainly conjunctions, eclipses, and fixed stars.
Noel: And the ascendant, the horizon.
Michael: The rising of the stars.
Noel: Rarely, rarely was there discussion of the midheaven, although Ptolemy did. But all the others around did not. And you read about the Black Plague and the London Fire in Lilly’s work. And all these great predictions that I reassembled in my book showed the reliance these people had on fixed stars. Lilly’s prediction of the Black Death and the big fire in 1666 in London was based upon a fixed star position on the ascendant of London. And that’s about it! I found out when the fire started, where it started. We’ve drawn all the event charts possible, and they’re eminently uneventful. Was something else happening? Do astrologers have some other magic? Or did just Lilly just crib from Nostadamus’ quatrains predicting exactly the fire and the plague of that year? He saw the fixed star. Did his mind rush to give meaning to it, influenced by all the things he had read? And that prediction by Nostradamus was made 111 years earlier.
So constantly astrologers are pulling stuff out of past experience and trying to relate it all to forge something that’s reliable in the future. This is a tremendous drain on creativity. It is an art form. It is a highly intra-social, interactive, demanding exchange between astrologer and client, and not enough is being taught about it. So I’m trying to contribute.
Michael: So what did you find about fixed stars?
Noel: Fixed stars need a lot of work.
Michael: Is it the fixed star, or is it that general direction?
Noel: You mean the position of it?
Michael: Is it the position of the star, the point, or is it the area of the heavens in which that star is embedded?
Noel: I don’t know. It seems to me that… let’s put it this way. These astrologers, like in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries, were no dumbbells. They really weren’t! They really and truly knew their stuff.
Michael: I hope so.
Noel: And they were writing for the public at this point. They weren’t just getting money from kings. When we get into Lilly’s time and John Gadbury and all those others, they were at each other’s throats. They were highly competitive because they were earning their money off drastic predictions and selling them in pamphlets. They would make these predictions for many years into the future so they could cushion their bets. And the public loved to read it.
Michael: That’s not dissimilar to today.
Noel: Thank you for making my point. So I play it very close to the vest. I think you can only go six months or so, eight months, looking at a time warp very carefully and adjusting all of that with a personal reality. Nothing is going to happen that has not already happened, if you will, in the extension of the personal reality, what is possible.
I can’t be a neurosurgeon, but I can certainly “doctor” a situation of a certain kind by controlling my nervousness. I’m using the same words in a different way to fit my reality. Fixed stars, by conjunction, without all the parameters of declination and those things that become terribly technically sophisticated now… line-of-sight measurement seemed extremely important, and it permeates all their work. We’ve lost sight of it. The only thing we know now about are using the dire, suggested symbolic meanings given to fixed stars that have come down from those times (filled with plague and murders and assassinations and upset) ii Vivian Robson’s book, and that was 60 years ago. Somebody has got to come out with a practical, easy-to-use, reliable reference on fixed stars to start us on another wave of research. And it’s a very interesting frontier.
Michael: It is an interesting frontier, something I know a little bit about and we can chat about it for a minute because I think we’ve gotten a lot of good stuff anyway.
I spent some creative time looking into it very intensely, which is the way anyone is going to have to look into it, no matter what they do. There’s going to have to be intensity and that kind of intense activity that expands the moment or the research (that’s what these things are like). What came out of it for me (and I did present it in my book “Astrophysical Directions”) is that, instead of focusing on fixed stars as this fixed star or that fixed star, I grouped them all so that people could understand the groups to which individual stars belong. For example, the group of stars of which the fixed star Antares is a member is a certain kind of star, a red star that indicates that the star is in a certain place in their lifetime, in this case slowly dying. The life and death of a star is not dissimilar to that of a human. I did that kind of grouping for everything out there (fixed stars, black holes, quasars, etc.), and I really believe for myself (and I also found a lot of myself through that exploration), I went through some real discovery times, which is a sign of success, a sign that what remains of your work may not be good for anyone else but the technique that results from that is going to be a valid technique.
My point is that all celestial objects out there cluster or group. They each belong to a group and by knowing about the nature of the group you know about the nature of the star or object much easier than trying to treat each object on its historical reputation, like that Antares on the ascendant indicates blindness, and so forth.
Noel: You made that point earlier.
Michael: I know. I’m just restating it because it is essential to understand. All real astrological techniques are the result or remains of incendiary personal experiences. They are rituals to recreate the experience, techniques are.
Noel: I don’t know enough to speak smoothly about fixed stars. You know, I’d like to be glib and say, “Algol, which symbolized decapitation for the ancients, could today be updated to losing one’s head in many different ways.” But that’s too much in jest. I know what you’ve done in your work with fixed stars, but I had a real problem, for example, in something that I discovered in setting up the birth of Alexander the Great by what the great magician Necthanabus anticipated.
Michael: Which was this precession thing.
Noel: Yes. But hidden in this precessing thing (I wasn’t going to talk about that)… What I discovered was, the fixed star Regulus, which became very important in the arrangement of the birth time of Alexander the Great (and it was arranged)… that star, with all its leonine proportion at Cor Leonis, the heart of the lion (that constellation) was actually laid in Cancer when the birth of Alexander the Great took place in Leo. Now I wonder, did Regulus and Cor Leonis get its bravura meaning from the fact that it was at the heart of the lion in this constellation, which never changes? Or did it have to wait until it got into Leo for Ptolemy to label it as leonine and heroic? I personally feel it’s from the constellation and not from the ecliptic longitude.
Michael: This is the age-old argument, right?
Noel: But I bring it again to the fore (1) to ask for more research on fixed stars in a practical way, (2) to show how pervasive it was in ancient times, and (3) if it meant so much then, why doesn’t it now?
Michael: And I repeat a little bit here the idea that unless astrologers begin to understand the whole structure of space and how all of the different planes you’re talking about move and interact together, interdependently, and how the whole thing evolves, I don’t believe that we’re going to see fixed stars in a singular sense assume the importance that they once did. I think that what we’re going to have instead in the future is an understanding of the structure of space. I think what is significant from my investigation was “Where is all the stuff? Where is all the matter?”
And it isn’t evenly distributed; it’s very unevenly distributed. In fact, it’s incredibly massed in just two areas of the sky. One is the center of the galaxy. Then even more predominant, much, much more, of all the matter that’s known to us by science, by all our means of measurement, is centered at 1 degree Libra at the center of the supergalaxy, which in a word is: just about everything is in that direction.
There is a lot more to it. There are a lot more centers and planes and stuff. Once you understand that, you find it easier to take a different approach to this kind of study. You understand where things are, and of course, anything that’s going to be going through late Virgo and Libra, etc. In fact, you can even derive the meaning of the signs (the popular sun-sign meanings) from understanding the structure of the matter in space. You can understand why they say Capricorn…
I went through, and this is just an aside, but it’s an interesting one. I’ll just be brief. I could go on and on, like anyone. The point is that I spent years studying the galaxy center — I mean years! I’ve seen people write about it now.
Noel: The galactic center.
Michael: Yes, the center of our galaxy. I described it. I minutely tried to describe it. And years later, I suddenly realized that all I had to do to correctly describe what I’d spent all this time on was simply to take the two signs bordering it (Sagittarius and Capricorn) and mix them together and understand them. That’s where it is, right near the galactic center at about 26 degrees Sagittarius. And that’s what it is, the traditional meaning we give to the two signs Capricorn and Sagittarius. All the time, the meaning was already right there, captured in our understanding of those two zodiac signs. It was always already there, right in front of me. I did all this looking at charts and looking at it and this and that, paying no attention to the traditional, simple sign stuff, which was telling me the same thing all along. What a surprise!
Noel: And the ancients were so skilled at sign delineation, and we’ve gotten away from that a little bit too. Just as a footnote here, I wanted to say something else: Tycho Brahe was known more as an astronomer than as an astrologer. Today in Denmark, his home, he was the astronomer, because he invented all these special viewing instruments, and this was before the telescope. Now he wrote a book that Kepler brought out in 1604, I think it was right after that Brahe died, that cataloged by line of sight some 777 fixed stars. Think about this. Isn’t that amazing?
Noel: There’s something out there.
Michael: Right. That is for sure.
Noel: It’s fascinating.
Michael: Yes, it is interesting. That is for sure.
Noel: Thank you, Michael.
Michael: Yes, I think we have plenty of stuff here. The end of it for me (I think I’ve told you this before) is that the end of my study… I went out looking at the stars and all that stuff, the blackness and the coldness of space that I had been raised to understand, being brought up in the ’50s and 1950s science, that when I finally saw myself there, it wasn’t black and cold. We were raised to think of outer space as black and cold and that mankind was huddled here in a warm spot cringing before the vastness of the void. It was like we did not belong. We were not a part of this, but were alone out here in space.
But then I realized that I was its product, the product of space. I was its very child and that “we” are in fact intelligent life we have been looking for. We are the spaceman we are always thinking will come. We already are here. We came.
Before that, I had never made the connection that I was a product of the galaxy. I’m its child. I’m its eyeball, right? We are the universe looking at itself.
Noel: Landscheidt talks this way, as you know.
Michael: Landscheidt and I talk together about this. But my point is that I actually had that realization myself. It’s easy to say the words and say, “Well, of course, we’re of the universe. We’re not separate from it.”
Noel: We’re nerve ends of the earth.
Michael: That’s right. And I hadn’t realized that. I had been brought up in the ’50s sort of to feel isolated from… we were cast out… man was lost out here at the end of the galaxy, on a tiny speck of dust. That’s a bunch of baloney.
Noel: This is why your beautiful center here is called the Heart Center.
Michael: Well, it might be.
Noel: And it’s filled with light. I want everybody to know that.
Michael: Thanks. Anyway, I think we have some good stuff from which I can build a nice article out of. A little interview…
Noel Tyl can be reached at www.noeltyl.com
About Astrologer Noel Tyl
Noel Tyl [no-el' til] is one of the foremost astrologers in the world. His thirty-three textbooks have led the teaching of astrologers for two generations. Tyl wrote the comprehensive professional manual for the field– the 1,000-page text Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology – which put astrology securely in pace with the most sophisticated disciplines of humanistic studies extant today. As well, most recently, he has written Vocations: The New Midheaven Extension Process, a much-needed guide that will forever change the process of astrological vocational counseling.
In the 1970's, it was Tyl who first integrated psychological need theory into astrological analysis. In the years thereafter, he has continued to hone that process with an eye to keeping analysis clear and relevant to his clients' lives. He has eschewed the all-to-common practice of adding unnecessary layers of measurement complexity onto chart analysis simply because computers allow it to be done. He offers a streamlined approach that brings each horoscope vividly to life and properly centers astrological consultations on the reality experience of people rather than upon a compendium of technical textbook measurements.
Tyl lectures frequently in many countries and maintains a client list of individuals and corporations throughout the world. He is now making some of his seminars available on DVD's with his new "Tyl Teaches" series. In August, 2006, Tyl released the first two volumes – Volume 1: "15 Indispensable Keys to Analysis" and Volume 2: "The Magic of Solar Arcs." In these two full-day seminars, Tyl shows astrologers how to unchain themselves from "this means that" thinking and thereby free themselves to engage their clients in meaningful, productive conversations.
Tyl is a graduate of Harvard University in Social Relations (Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology).
Tyl was a co-founder of AFAN (Association for Astrological Networking), astrology's world organization, and retired from the position of Presiding Officer after serving AFAN for eleven years.
In May 1998, Tyl was honored at the United Astrology Congress, the world convention for astrology, as the recipient of the Regulus Award for establishing and maintaining professional image in the field.
Noel Tyl can be reached at www.noeltyl.com
© 2008-2009 — Copyright Matrix Software