Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 09:41:00 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] Zanoni

I read Bulwer-Lytton's "Zanoni" (1842) when I was 15, and it blew me away emotionally. It still does, and obviously has some very intimate connections with my inner emotional dynamics.

Bulwer-Lytton is considered today a second-rate Victorian romantic writer, but was immensely popular in his time, one of the most eminent novelists. His "Rienzi" was used by Wagner for his first important opera, and "The Last Days of Pompeii" became a Hollywood movie. In literary circles he is well-know for the "infinitely plagiarized" romantic cliche with which he opens his novel "Paul Clifford" (1830): "It was a dark and stormy night..."

The whole phrase is as follows:

"It was a dark and stormy night and the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."
These type of images, I think, are typically centaurean and transneptunean

In occultist circles Lord Lytton has a very high reputation mainly because of "Zanoni". H.P. Blavatsky, as well as Rudolf Steiner, on several occasions referred to his depiction of "The Guardian of the Threshold" and said it was very accurate, as only an excellent psychic could describe it. In the book it is called "the specter".

<<White magic is portrayed in the earlier Zanoni (1842). Zanoni stands for the virtuous version of daemonic will. He has lived for many centuries as a member of a wise circle of initiates who have discovered the secret of eternal life. Taking another's place on the scaffold, during the Reign of Terror, he offered the pattern for Sidney Carton's sacrifice in Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. Lytton stated that this novel represents the fullest expression of his thought. We can think of it as a Rosicrucian novel of ideas. It brought to a nineteenth century audience the timelessly fascinating Rosicrucian alchemical tradition. The character of Zanoni represents his synthesis of these ideals. For its treatment of these, it belongs with his historical novels.>>

NOTE: The full text of the novel with notes and commentaries, can be freely downloaded as e-text from the Internet. It is part of the Gutenberg project.

The love-story of Zanoni and Viola which is the center of the novel, especially the ending, is the archetypal Hylonome: Zanoni, who is inmortal, offers his life in exchange for that of his wife and son. Viola silently realizes what Zanoni was about to do just before he leaves. The next morning, Zanoni's head has been cut off and the body of Viola is found sitting with her eyes open, and the little baby, now an orphan, is by her side.

Since I think this story touches a characteristic and archetypal Hylonome theme, I would like to share the ending here:

"Daylight in the prison.  From cell to cell they hurry with the news,--crowd upon crowd; the joyous captives mingled with the very jailers, who, for fear, would fain seem joyous too; they stream through the dens and alleys of the grim house they will shortly leave.  They burst into a cell, forgotten since the previous morning.  They found there a young female, sitting upon her wretched bed; her arms crossed upon her bosom, her face raised upward; the eyes unclosed, and a smile of more than serenity--of bliss--upon her lips. Even in the riot of their joy, they drew back in astonishment and awe.  Never had they seen life so beautiful; and as they crept nearer, and with noiseless feet, they saw that the lips breathed not, that the repose was of marble, that the beauty and the ecstasy were of death.  They gathered round in silence; and lo! at her feet there was a young infant, who, wakened by their tread, looked at them steadfastly, and with its rosy fingers played with its dead mother's robe.  An orphan there in a dungeon vault! "Poor one!" said a female (herself a parent), "and they say the father fell yesterday; and now the mother!  Alone in the world, what can be its fate?" The infant smiled fearlessly on the crowd, as the woman spoke thus.  And the old priest, who stood amongst them, said gently, "Woman, see! the orphan smiles!  THE FATHERLESS ARE THE CARE OF GOD!"
Here ends the story. It leaves me in a state of deep sadness and loss.

Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton's chart, cast for 8 a.m., is given in A. Leo's "Notable Nativities" #258, but this is probably speculative, since a biographical account by his grandson the Earl of Lytton (page 10, 1948) says he was born at night. He was born May 25, 1803 (the same day as Ralph Waldo Emerson); I will use 9 p.m. as reference:

       Sun = 3,37 Gemini
       Venus = 27,28 Aries
       Pholus = 26,45 Aries

Zanoni was published in 1842, and was based on a story left unfinished called "Falkland and Zicci" published in installments the year before. Remember that his author considered it to be <<the fullest expression of his thought>>. I always check the time of the Sun/Venus conjunction by solar arc in my consultations, and take it as the time of a very special encounter or intimate consummation in a person's life. If I calculate the solar arc here I obtain:

      converse Sun conjunct natal Venus Nov 1840 
      solar arc Venus conjunct natal Sun May 1841
      converse Sun conjunct natal Pholus Aug 1841 
      solar arc Pholus conjunct natal Sun Feb 1842

The Sun/Venus conjunction means that the writing of Zanoni ("Zicci") was the culmination or "blossoming" of the author's life. The involvement of Pholus, natally conjunct Venus, shows that "Zanoni" incarnates artistically or in archetypal form the author's Venus/Pholus conjunction. You will find a description of "Pholusian relationships" in my essay on Wagner, which I quote below in part:

1- Both parties cross their own boundaries and become a little more of the other. This would be the main clue regarding Pholus as a crosser of boundaries. It is also a clue to the transformational "fairy tale" aspect of Pholus...

2- The relationship is very intense and may seem "miraculous" and liberating, but makes the two parties very vulnerable, it is dangerous and unstable, and ultimately is broken. I and not-I are "touching" themselves, living in communion, but neither one belongs to the other's world.

3- The confrontation with this "other" companion forces the individual to go to his limits and establish a dialog with himself that expands his being beyond life into death, since by eliminating this "other", the individual also condemns himself to death. Then he can be reborn into a new "pholusian" life-and-death dimension of being. If this goes wrong, the result is destructive for both.

All these points describe the relationship between Viola and Zanoni, even though I feel the ending is Hylonome's abandonment.

Incidentally, I note that we are "under the spell" of a very strong Venus/Pholus conjunction by transit that happened around October 9th and 10th. Venus went stationary retrograde in exact conjunction with Pholus (a very strong focus). The "spell" will last until they are in conjunction again by the end of December. We are in "magical times", when, because of the retrogradation of Venus, we witness a triple conjunction of Venus with Hylonome: 18 September, 28 October (now, virtually), and 19 December.



Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 11:23:24 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] Zanoni, 2: Hylonome

How much Bulwer-Lytton's life has to do with his Venus/Pholus conjunction, and therefore with the Rosicrucian ideas and love-death theme of "Zanoni", is reinforced by the positions at death. He died January 18th, 1873; I use 12h GMT:

       Sun at death = 27,34 Capricorn (tropical, precession-corrected 0,58')
       Mars at death = 27,14 Libra (id.)
       Venus at birth = 27,28 Aries
       Pholus at birth = 26,45 Aries

But I mentioned that the end of the story, i.e., Viola's surrendering to death in order to join Zanoni, leaving their son orphaned, is an Hylonome theme. There is evidence that confirms this.

Transiting Hylonome made 2 stations over Bulwer-Lytton's natal Sun during 1837-1839. It first stationed exactly over the Sun in September 1837, passed it in June 1838, then went retrograde again crossing it backwards in December 1838, stationed over it again in February 1839, and passed it the last time in April, 1839. This is a very strong impregnation of the Sun by Hylonome. It made the Sun contain the seed of Hylonome from that point on.

I mentioned that Zanoni (1842) was based on "Falkland and Zicci", published the year before (1841). Since "Zicci" apparently was left unfinished, it is difficult to obtain good enough information about its publication. But see for example the following:

<<Bulwer-Lytton wrote extensively on Rosicrucian themes in his fiction. In 1838 he published a version of a dream in a novella called Zicci in William Harrison Ainsworth's magazine, the Monthly Chronicle. This fragment was later expanded as Books 2 and 3 of his 1842 novel, Zanoni.>>
and also:
<<An early appearance of Zicci which originally appeared in a periodical (1838) as an unfinished work that was later completely rewritten to become Zanoni (1842), an influential horror novel. Bleiler does state that the "flippant boulevardism of Zicci is occasionally more effective than the pretentiousness of Zanoni"- Bleiler, Guide, 303-4.>>
The confirmation of this 1838 date is found in a pdf file ["lytton.index.pdf" -- sorry, lost the url] that says the following:
"Zicci.­A Tale," published anonymously and unfinished, but later rewritten by Bulwer and published as Zanoni, Vol. I, March­June 1838, p. 51­59, 116­125, 234­243, 331­336; Vol. II, July­August 1838, p. 52­64, 126­135.
This means that the first 2 books of "Zanoni", were written exactly during the Hylonome transit; they are Hylonome's offspring. My feeling is that they relate to Viola, with whom Zanoni falls in love.

More confirmation of the role of Hylonome (and Chariklo, obviously) in Bulwer-Lytton's writing is found in its position at birth:

       Mercury =  25,04 Gem
       Chariklo=  25,36 Gem
       Hylonome=  25,40 Pis
       Jupiter =  25,57 Vir

Consider the tittles that were given to the first chapters of book I, and see how they describe Hylonome:



Vergina era
D' alta belta, ma sua belta non cura:
Di natura, d' amor, de' cieli amici
Le negligenze sue sono artifici.

"Gerusal. Lib.," canto ii. xiv.-xviii.

(She was a virgin of a glorious beauty, but regarded not her beauty...Negligence itself is art in those favoured by Nature, by love, and by the heavens.)


Fu stupor, fu vaghezza, fu diletto!
"Gerusal. Lib.," cant. ii. xxi.

("Desire it was, 't was wonder, 't was delight." Wiffen's Translation.)


Fra si contrarie tempre in ghiaccio e in foco,
In riso e in pianto, e fra paura e speme
L'ingannatrice Donna--
"Gerusal. Lib.," cant. iv. xciv.

(Between such contrarious mixtures of ice and fire, laughter and tears,--fear and hope, the deceiving dame.)


E cosi i pigri e timidi desiri
"Gerusal. Lib.," cant. iv. lxxxviii.

(And thus the slow and timid passions urged.)



Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 15:54:21 -0600
Subject: [Centaurs] Zanoni, 3

Asbolus is also present in the story, from the conspiracies that Zanoni must face to save Viola's virtue, and, later on, life and that of their son, to the alchemical dreams of Mejnour and Glyndon and the dreadful specter or "dweller of the threshold", the elemental magic performed on Mount Vesubius, the fabrication of the elixir, etc. One good astrological sign of this involvement of Asbolus is the following pattern in Bulwer-Lytton's life between 1838 (Zicci) and 1842 (Zanoni):

       solar arc Asbolus conjunct natal Sun = September 1839
       progressed Sun conjunct natal Asbolus = February 1840

The best summary of what "Zanoni" is about (there are many summaries in the Internet that are pure trash) is a review written right after the novel was published. I would like to use it here in order to comment on some fundamental centaurean characteristics, having in mind the following assumptions:

1- that the book "incarnates" Hylonome, Asbolus, and Pholus (It would be an interesting exercise to analyze the difference between the three in the book, how each is "incarnated")

2- that the symbolism is that of a solar conjunction, making it fundamental, "at the core" or center of consciousness. The conjunction with the Sun will make the centaurean urge a question of life and death.

3- that the story, completely fictional or based on fantasy, can be read in a way that is applicable to real-life situations. This is a characteristic of literature in general, fictional or not.

The 1842 original review from which I make the quotes is here:

<<The idea of the novel is borrowed from the dreams of the old Rosicrucians, and of the predecessors of that sect as far back as the Chaldeans. These visionaries imagined that man, by a rigid practice of virtue and the sublimation of every earthly feeling, could attain to a perfect comprehension of the most hidden secrets of nature -- could hold communion with, and exercise control over, the unseen powers of the air -- and could even preserve human life to an indefinite extent, by acquiring the means by which it might be perpetually renovated.>>

we are in the world of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, the outer frontiers of  the centaurs' world.
the fountain of eternal youth = Hylonome
dreams, alchemy, hidden secrets of nature = Asbolus
communion with nature, renovation, immortality = Pholus

<<The story opens at Naples, towards the close of the last century [1700's]. The hero is a noble Chaldean, who, having attained to the knowledge of the last secret of his sect while yet in the prime of youthful manhood, wears now the same aspect as when he gazed on the stars from his home in Assyria, before the temple had been built on Mount Zion -- before the Greeks had fought at Marathon --before the builders of the pyramids had died. To an imaginative mind, such a character possesses peculiar charms. He comes before us with all the solemnity of the past, making vivid to us the great deeds of buried ages. He has seen the army of Alexander on the Indus. He was in Egypt when Antony's fleet set sail for Actium. He remembers when Demosthenes thundered for the crown, when Caesar fell in the Senate House, when Rome was sacked by Attila.>>

we have here the introduction to the pholusian character of Zanoni: he is epic and heroic, but stays away from the mainstream, like a lone wolf; he is a wanderer in the world, homeless and outcast, "outside of time" like Cain, but he is also noble and idealist.

<<For three thousand years he has gazed on mankind with a face as unchanging as that of the weird Sphinx of the desert. For ninety generations, he has survived war, and pestilence, and the slow decay of the system, -- a being mysterious in his subtle power, wonderful in his awful and majestic beauty. This exemption from death he has won by the subjugation of every feeling and passion to the mastery of a PURE INTELLECT.>>

NOTE: this is not like Pholus, it looks as a description of a good Nessus!

<<But still retaining his youth, he retains the capacity to love; and though, for such a lapse of ages, he has withstood temptation, he is destined at last to yield to it. He meets with and loves a beautiful Italian girl. He thus endangers his earthly immortality; for the moment he yields to earthly passion, however pure, his intellect becomes clouded, and he loses the prophetic faculty as well as others of his high attributes.>>

here is the pholusian "fall", the smallness and precariousness of his existence, his "capacity to love", i.e., his passion and un-tameness, the danger, the incongruity, the waterfall that is about to happen.

<<Conscious of this, and knowing that he will bring peril and sorrow around the path of Viola by linking her fate with his, he struggles long against his passion, and even after yielding to it, endeavors to avert from her head the dangers which, as consequences of his conduct, thicken around her. In this Titanic conflict betwixt the intellect and the heart -- in the alternation of the aspirations of the one and the agonizing throes of the other, lies the burden as the old writers would call it -- of the novel.>>

Viola is Hylonome. Zanoni's heart and head are split (Pholus), and he looses himself. To avoid burden and harm to Viola, he makes many sacrifices but in vain, she runs away out of fear with her child and he is not able to find them (Pholus). He finally finds her enjailed in Paris, about to be executed. It is then that he realizes that the only way to save her is by offering his own life (Hylonome). He then arises victorious over the Dweller of the Threshold, and his Angel of Light "Adonai" comes to him again (both are aspects of Pholus), regaining his strength and prophetic power. He is able to see Viola in her cell again after a long separation, and when he departs to meet secretly with the tribunal, Viola understands in her heart the sacrifice he is about to make. She surrenders to death that night, leaving her eyes open and the orphaned child by her side (Hylonome).

How many Violas and Zanonis and orphaned childs are out there?



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