“How sour sweet music is
When time is broke and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men’s lives.
I wasted time, and now dashed time wasted me;
For now, hath time made me his numbering clock;
My thoughts are minutes.”
—William Shakespeare, Richard II
When I first heard his voice come through the small speaker tucked to my ear I was taken aback. He was famous. My journey in life up to that point involved numerous detours and job vagaries leading nowhere. Dead ends. He published some 48 books and counting. He graduated from Harvard. His website was smart and popular; a convivium of astrological learning and wonderment. From the start his words kept time like a metronome. He didn’t miss a beat. His name was Noel Tyl.
It was 2003 and I had just turned 43 when Noel’s bellowing voice came through the phone. “Helloooooo!!!”, the booming baritone blared, loud and clear; a note of distinction and stature coming through. His words sang. He wrapped small niceties around a very serious demeanor communicating that he was all business; that there was precious little time to waste. Students will tell you that “the phone call” changed their lives, that it left an unforgettable first impression and that it still resonates with them to this day. And it’s all true. In my case, little did I realize then that Noel was already teaching me.
First impressions are extremely important in a natal chart. Lesson One! The way someone makes an initial impression on us, or how we make a first impression on them, tends to stick. Napoleon used this skill to assess the battlefield before sending his troops in to fight. In an instant, with a single coup d’oeil, literally meaning a “stroke of the eye,” or “at a glance,” Noel would “see” the essence of a chart. On my first call with Noel his words touched me and seemed to be making this impression: “Remember this call! Because you WILL remember me!” I suppose I was under a spell, some type of hypnotic suggestion at “hello.” So, I stumbled through my introduction keeping my mind on the goal to be admitted to the Master’s Degree Certification Program. The world renown course he developed and still available today. Go to NoelTyl.com for more information. Unfortunately, the prerequisites I met were somewhat off the beaten path. In my pocket already was an informed view of the “cognoscenti,” but none of the nuts and bolts under my belt that Noel reasonably expected his students to already have. So, I was reticent about my previous studies and experience. I was not quite comfortable divulging my personal journey with Noel’s “Majestic Moon.” Not yet anyway. The reason for my call was to sign up for his course. I needed to learn how to discuss astrology more helpfully with clients. I wanted to know how to help clients make their lives better guided by astrology; To learn how impactful an astrological consultation could be in times of change. How to become a significant and trusted counselor. The answer is found in Noel Tyl’s well-defined coherent and compelling process that uses natural everyday language, not the jargon of a horse trader. Noel was a professional!
An inner voice said, “hush! Do not insult this master teacher with your own impetuous blunderbuss.” For the first time in my life those impulses quieted. I signed up! “I’m going to Harvard!” I screamed to myself silently. The funny thing is that as I hung up the phone, still buzzing like I had touched a “hot” electric wire, I think Noel heard me. Heard my inner yell. Soon after, I receive my first lesson back in the mail and opened it, I played the small cassette recording that came in the package and listened to his voice again. The same operatic voice I had first heard on the phone. He said, “You are learning to take that orientation need of being ‘numero uno’ and put it not to the drummer you are dancing to, do that on your own time, but instead learn how much success you can have by listening to the rhythms and beats of others. That is great creativity. Notice the Quintile from Jupiter and that’s where it all is… your mind set, your communication skill, and you cannot be sloppy… too much is at stake… you are going to be a public figure (Pluto=MC is exhibitionism) you’ve got the commensurate and necessary humility growing within you now…”
Unfortunately, Noel never put a expiration date on this projection, but I’ve since learned that Pluto as the ruler of my Ascendant and retrograde on the day of my birth, did not turn direct until 60 days later. More, anon…
iPhones wouldn’t be introduced until 2007 and I imagine Noel took my call from his home office while sitting at his desk. He lived in a big house at the time in the big state of Arizona. And Noel was “big” himself, 6’9” I recently learned, but beyond his height, Noel was bigger than life or so it seemed to me at the time. I suppose this explains my apprehension before I called. That “I” might study with someone of his reputation and accomplishment; or more likely based on my history that this was just another one of my pipe dreams; something out of my reach. Maybe I could just slip it past him that my credentials were lacking, that my erudition and autodidactic studies, uncommon as they are, were enough to power me through the course. That my natural and spontaneous curiosity, my poise for leadership and coaching others would rise to the occasion. That my earliest experience as the head of the class, the boy who Sister Mary Louise declared would one day be pope, might emerge once again from his long deep slumber. Somehow “the course” came to symbolize an important ideal, a romantic notion I had of myself to be much more than my day job. This was my hope. I didn’t read the same books as most other astrology students. Noel had guessed that I read Grant Lewi. I hadn’t. I never admitted to this out of embarrassment, ignorance, and for fear of being found out. Who the hell was Grant Lewi? So, I hurried myself to get Lewi’s books and read them. Wow! How thrilled I was to learn that Lewi was born in Albany, New York just north of the Hudson Valley Astrologer and not far from my own birthplace in Glens Falls, New York. I love Lewi’s work and see why Noel was drawn to such brilliance. But doubling back so to speak, in order to reeducate myself on almost every lesson where I wasn’t familiar with a term or a reference, and while studying under another teacher simultaneously, made an already arduous course harder still. The result of all of this was not just the threat of suffering an aneurysm, it literally felt at times as though my head might explode, but that in the end I did end up with a Master’s Certification Degree and a well-stocked library.
I’m not sure what Noel was picking up on. Perhaps my other teacher’s influence was coming through in my writing. If she hadn’t been directly acquainted with Lewi, then possibly she shared whoever influenced him, like his mother-in-law, who was Grant Lewi’s teacher. The hypothetical “chain of custody,” a who’s who of astrologers, leading back to Max and Alma Theon at the turn of the 20th century and all the way back to the caves where the Eleusinian Mysteries were celebrated, makes for a fun thought experiment. But Noel was intimately familiar with so much of the historical literature in astrology, that perhaps he somehow vicariously simply tuned into some “shared frequency.” I’ll never know. What I do know is that Noel shared his psychic impressions with me more than once and always they became nuanced and graceful “teaching moments.” So remarkable! Is this why he mentioned Lewi? He might proffer suggestions, like giving pearls to a friend, and those suggestions would enter your mind then race off looking to find a place for safe keeping. This I think was one of Noel’s most magnanimous yet understated gifts. He would teach you something and if what something he thought worth keeping, then you would never forget. “Thank you! Noel.”
Noel asked me about the “cognoscenti” in a private exchange after I graduated from the course. I’d fallen away from the group as is so typical of my revolutionary self and “not wanting to belong to any group that might have me for a member.” But it wasn’t for the lack of affinity, rapport and deep respect I have for members of the Tyl “family.” A family that has become “fruitful and multiplied” around the world and is still growing. No, my story about separation and failure, feelings of betrayal and being let down, guilty, inept and insignificant, is all spelled out in Synthesis and Counseling in Astrology, the Professional Manual.
Example chart #121 on page 678: This is a Private Case Noel published in the form of a letter that tells the story of Jonas Nilssen. When I first read that passage, I felt as though he could have just as easily written that letter to me.. It still gets me every time I read it. This morning I exchanged text messages with a friend who mysteriously adopted his Hebrew name, Jonas, much to the dismay of his Facebook friends and followers. We had just discussed the story of Jonas from the Bible. The synchronicity of the story popping up again as I reread Noel’s rendition was striking. The prophet Jonas set out to sea and a life-threatening tempest nearly swallows his ship whole and everyone on it. Jonas admits to his shipmates that he feels responsible for the mayhem because his behavior had caused Jehovah to become angry. And that is why God put a storm in their path. Best practices at the time apparently required that a crew throw any man overboard who might confess to behaving like such a dote. And so, that’s what they did. Jonas was thrown overboard and cast into the sea upon which a giant fish summarily swallowed him, where he lived for three days before being spit back out. In the Disney version, you probably recall that Pinocchio goes in search of his father who had been swallowed by a whale named Monstro. In order to rescue his father, Pinocchio goes bravely into the belly of the beast. Rituals ensue and they finally escape, making it back to shore. But a giant wave breaks, and Pinocchio drowns. The boy who brought trouble upon himself, like Jonas, was the cause of his own undoing, and by not paying attention to what needed his attention, he dies for not being true to himself. However, before his animation as a “puppet boy” a deal was struck between Pinocchio and the blue fairy who had promised to reward him but only if he proved himself brave, honest and generous. And so his heroic action near the end of the story was rewarded. The blue fairy, keeping true to her word, turned him into a “real boy.” It’s a beautiful story and Noel ties the anecdote of the biblical version to his client’s lived experience, the client’s need to go deep, to learn about how he can become significant to others and how he needs to disentangle himself from his early home life experience. Like in the Jonas story, or Pinocchio, we all need time for a therapeutic immersion, a period of self-examination. Self-study appears to be a universal requirement for our reemergence into the world as fully human.
My own father nicknamed me “Whales” when I was young, and the name stuck throughout high school. Tyl students around the world affectionately called Noel, “El Maestro.” Teacher. And Noel was one “monster” of a teacher; a whale of a teacher you might say. His course is the most significant program available for serious astrology students anywhere in the world. The goal of the course is to realize your full potential as an astrologer; to become a prominent and professional counseling astrologer. Not long before I matriculated into the course my wife and I “treated” ourselves to tattoos. She got a magnificent “Rose” drawn on the small of her back. And by any other name she is that. I am blessed with her support. I had a “Killer Whale” painted on my upper thigh. We had just come through a tempest together and the tattoos surely signify some core essence of our identities, or so we like to think. There is little doubt that our most important lessons in life come when we turn to face our own monsters. That day inevitably comes and when it does, we must be ready. Noel’s course guided me through this process. I gained important perspective regarding a tragic event that happened to a friend just after graduating from high school. I write about this unbelievable tragedy in the first lesson of the course I authored and learned in the process how healing the act of writing can be. And my motivation for writing this course is simply because not everyone wants to be a professional counseling astrologer.
Grant Lewi offers an instructive insight here. In Astrology for the Millions, Lewi states, “To study astrology is to continue growing and learning for people who otherwise might stop growing and learning when they ‘grow up.’ I don’t suggest that everyone should become a professional astrologer, doing horoscopes of other people for a living.” [Lewi, 1940] But if you want to be the best astrologer you can be then head over to NoelTyl.com and inquire about the Master’s Degree Certification Program. For everybody else, ask me about “My Course” or make an appointment for a consultation.
The architecture of advance is a concept Noel introduced in his earliest work. He acknowledges Grant Lewi as a major influence in how he approached this process which describes the Saturn cycle. Using Lewi’s discovery and expanding on the framework Noel stretches the concept and tightens up the description. He marries the holistic view of the horoscope with psychological needs theory. I have lost count as to the number of times clients have walk away stunned by how relevant the discussion is around this cycle. A poignant example of how the patterns in the sky correspond to life developments on earth. Even the staunchest skeptic has had their head spun around more than once, only to marvel. Noel’s approach to astrology is not merely based on some loosely fitted scaffolding surrounding an idea, he doesn’t just hang his hat on the architecture of belief. He often maligned derivative dogma as “gingerbread” and “ornamental” trappings, as unnecessary adornments of an age gone by. It is not about belief. It is the Indeterminate. Ever respectful for the Divine origins of this “miracle” we know and call astrology, he was the Astrologer to astrologers. Lean and mean, Noel’s astrology aims at bringing the profession out of the parlor rooms of Victorian mansions, out of the airy fairy clouds of the new age movement and back down to earth. His approach is powerful, practical, and packed with purpose.
But keeping it real, Noel adopted himself well to privilege. He didn’t exactly “start on third base and think he hit a triple.” Perhaps the analogy fits that he went into the game as a pinch runner and subsequently scored the winning run (sorry for the baseball analogy, a game replete with its own astrological metaphor). Noel writes lovingly about his stepfather coming to his rescue. Had that never happened, I wonder if we’d still be celebrating his life today. He had the good fortune to inherit opportunities that he made the most of and I think his development of the “profile in prominence,” what Lewi called The Powerful People, was born out of his own experience. Every individual has a personal story to tell. A narrative that suggests a blend of fate and will, and wherever there is a “profile of prominence,” an astrological signature of promise and potential, there is also much possibility. But sometimes our “stories” can overwhelm our potential, and the promise is suppressed or expunged in tragedy altogether. Astrology, like nothing else, can be so helpful in analyzing and diagnosing these patterns.
To demonstrate the “profile of prominence” Noel presents the study of six popes in Synthesis and Counseling in Astrology. I think he is saying here that the promise of any individual chart equals the fulfillment of our individual potential; only by achieving prominence in life, by putting in the effort, do we prove the potential embedded in the chart. But who decides? I do not think that Noel is suggesting that the profile of prominence proves astrology or that this signature of success is in anyway a certainty. In other words, we must help God help ourselves.
“You do not relate the person to the horoscope… if we reverse this process, I assure you, you are free. If you realize that the horoscope should be related to the life being lived by the person, all of a sudden, every one of these life diagrams lives and breathes. It is beautiful to SEE.”Noel Tyl, DVD 1 Master Work Series
When we find ourselves “in the right place at the right time” by virtue of the intersection of our birth lottery, by our happenstance and by the power of our will, we can experience change. The time (Midheaven) and the place (Ascendant), which Noel brilliantly refers to as the “angular structures” of the horoscope, on page 541 of SCA, defines the timing of our promise, the fulfillment of our potential. Change! A choice is made. Our decisions, defines who we are… our individual sovereignty, so celebrated in the west, perhaps our only true birthright. A product of our Christian heritage and the self-sacrifice implied by the devout who sublimate their fears in order to risk everything, to put it all on the line, and become fully alive in spirit. To become the best version of ourselves. Sometimes at great expense. It is the aggrandizement of the individual not the group, or society at large that matters. And this perspective I think profoundly informs Noel’s astrology at a very deep and personal level where not only the signs and symbols are enriched in a dance of synthesis, but they are imbued with the rich understanding of what Noel knew about life; perhaps even more so than what he knew about astrology. And that’s saying something because he knew A LOT about astrology. His papal study is a perfect illustration of this. What drives us at the most basic level of motivation is our instinct to fulfill our personal needs. The needs of our family. The needs of our community. Our country and the world. Everything is connected and fits together. But the bloom of individualization supports the notion that our independence and self-reliance is our greatest treasure. I think Noel lived by this credo. In the bigger picture, this ethos attends to a part of us that needs to take responsibility for our own lives, and to attend to the things that matter. To know what is important. These things add up. We contribute to the greater good of ALL by exercising our personal responsibilities and by becoming the best we can be. By fleshing out our own “profile of prominence,” dissatisfied that we might end up as fodder, we can have great affect on others. And in this way, I think Noel had that affect, producing an awe-inspiring amount of change in the world:
One chart at a time.
Clients ask me “why was I born?”or “what’s my purpose?” The answer of course is found in your own heart. Someone else cannot answer that question for you or tell you why you were born. It is up to each person to decide for themselves. Astrology can certainly provide some guidance, and by vetting out of various possibilities, we can identify reasonably clear distinctions in life. But the decision is always the client’s decision. The task at hand no matter what level you start from is to get moving. Purpose is signified by achievement according to Noel, and by “achieving significance” that makes you useful to yourself and others. Hopefully, this is a lesson you learn early in life, before the realization bonks you on the head that time has gotten away from you. And even if you live to the ripe old age 83 as Noel did, you must understand this one point quickly: there is much to do and there is so much at stake. Noel accomplished a great deal and I am sure the Capricorn in him had other plans in mind that were still ahead. I hope that he ‘moved up’ satisfied by his extraordinary achievements and that he felt that his work was done. I hope he felt the gratitude of all the people he touched, so many of us grateful for his having been born; For him having found his purpose in life. And especially I pray that he was proud of the extraordinary talents he helped shape and mold into the finest astrologers on the planet, who have become extraordinary stars themselves. At a meta level Noel’s work surpasses much that came before, his analysis of “needs-based” behavior and his modeling of those “needs” in his incessant drive to raise the stature of the astrological profession is unparalleled in history. Noel was a nonpareil astrologer among astrologers. He took his art seriously and carried his burden responsibly. A lifelong conviction like that does not just happen. A person must work at it every minute. Noel equates this process of establishing significance through work with being loved. That our work provides us psychic income, as much as it provides us “our living.” Noel was loved!
Whenever a person takes responsibility to affect change in themselves or others the processional effects reverberate outward and the change compounds. These individuals step into some pretty big shoes in order to share their understanding helpfully with others so that the planetary waves resound perpetually. If we are completely honest with ourselves then we cannot deny that this drive for significance is instinctual. If that drive is missing or disrupted, then there is a short circuit somewhere. We need to find the “short” because our inborn need to prove our purpose, is our only birthright. To work, to love, to meet our responsibilities and become self-reliant contributors in society. We do not have the right to shirk that responsibility. No excuses. And especially not astrological ones. There must be a concomitant sacrifice in order to realize a dream. Choosing what to do “for a living” is the first step. Doing it is the second step. Measuring and adjusting behavior to perform is the third step in that pursuit. Establishing a healthy relationship with yourself, establishing identity strongly, being able to say this is who “I am” becomes its own reward. “Prominence is the measure of this process,” Noel said. He had the process down to perfection:
“We astrologers work with time and potential, with circumstance and the record of performance. As our regimen we have practicality; as our gift we have inspiration. We are extremely prominent in our clients’ life. We must harness our own need to be appreciated and valued for our service, and, with grace and constructive insight, we must be real.”Noel Tyl, Synthesis and Counseling in Astrology,
The Professional Manual
Research suggests that less than 8% of people achieve their goals and according to motivational speakers less than 3% of the population ever write their goals down, while less than 1% review and rewrite their goals. So, if the “profile of prominence” carries any weight and I think it does, we must anticipate that the aspect structures in the horoscope lining up with the “superstructures” in society represents only a small subset of the population where individuals align with their god given potential. Most of us can relate to the quote from Richard II that opens this tribute to Noel Tyl. But Noel wasted no time! He was in alignment! I think because Noel had a special awareness of time that bordered on an obsessive compulsiveness, he expressly demonstrated the importance of time for the rest of us. He transformed his penchant for control to “make the trains run on time” for the benefit of others. Noel performed at the highest levels and man did he deliver. How do you pay tribute to a person so esteemed, an astrologer of such historical import and significance? Do we lower the flags around the world to half-mast? A worldwide moment of silence? Does the Pope hold a special celebration mass for Noel in St. Peter’s Basilica? No, I don’t think so. I do not think these tributes rise to the occasion, to the level of respect and honor worthy of what Noel achieved in his life. The “profile of prominence” he filled out within the perspective of all he achieved deserves more. No, I think we need to dim the lights across the universe. A metaphorical nod to the light that the world has lost, and to turn them up again in gratitude for the light the world has gained for his having been born and for the generous gifts he has left us all with his legacy.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.— W.H. Auden, “Song”
In closing, I think it is painfully obvious that I am wearing my adoration and love for Noel on my sleeve. And for some strange reason, from the belly of a whale perhaps, I began a yearlong commitment to post at least daily to the astrology subs on reddit. My goal was to scale the unscalable, helping as many people as possible by ‘speed reading’ their posts and hopefully sharing some ancient wisdom, sprinkled with a modern twist of sociological insight, and a large dose of Tylisms. My “cakeday” on reddit is January 21, 2020. You can find me @ u/AstralCore, I suspected Noel was dealing with a critical illness for quite awhile, but I had no way of knowing his death was imminent. And I was unaware of his passing until January 5, 2020, the birthday of my other teacher mentioned in this post. She passed away in 2016. So, both my astrological father and mother have moved on. If you’ve lost a parent, then you probably understand. But over this past year, every single day and sometimes multiple times a day, I “communed” with Noel through this labor of love to share with others what he taught me. Strangely I felt him with me at times and even thought to myself, “hmmm, good one Noel,” after writing a particularly astute ‘post.’ The day after Noel passed, on New Year’s Day, I made a substantial upgrade in my technology and software so that I could fully engage and commit myself to sharing Noel’s work. This past year has been all part of a process I put myself through to accept my responsibility to honor Noel and his legacy. I wished I could have shared this post with him. I share it now with you. How appropriate that the conspiracy of circumstances arranged themselves just so in order that my very first post here on the Hudson Valley Astrologer is a tribute to Noel Tyl.