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
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
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...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
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')
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.>> http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/biography/esoterica/bulwer-lytton/occult.htmland 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.>>http://www.vanishingbooks.com/catalogue/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
Consider the tittles that were given to the first chapters of book I, and see how they describe Hylonome:
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 15:54:21 -0600
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
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: http://www.eapoe.org/works/criticsm/gm42060.htm
<<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.>>
<<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.>>
<<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.>>
<<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.>>
How many Violas and Zanonis and orphaned childs are out there?