The Blue Raccoon

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cosmic Word Of The Day:

Syzygy, pronounced “szz-eh-jee," is one of my favorite words. Within its syllables are entire realms of endeavor. In addition, the word sits strange in type and it's fun to say.

The most common definition is in astronomy. The word describes the moment of perfect alignment between three celestial bodies, such as that occurring during a total solar eclipse.
The Wikipedia tells us: syzygy is a kind of unity, especially through coordination or alignment, most commonly used in the astronomical sense. From the Late Latin syzygia, "conjunction," from the Greek σύζῠγος (syzygos), "yoked together."

Think of two oxen harnessed in a yoke, one male and the other female. Another way of understanding syzygy is as a union of related opposites.

The word carries meanings in philosophy, religion, math, poetry, psychology, medicine and even zoology, and somewhat sexual. For that combined weight alone, syzygy is worth knowing. Syzygy was also the title of a amusing episode of the television show The X-Files, to which I was devoted to the extent that you might call me an x-filiac. A writer, director and producer on the show was a graduate--two years behind me!--of Lloyd C. Bird High School, Vince Gilligan. Wish I could get him to let us do some live-version X-Files at the Firehouse Theatre...

Vince wrote some of the most memorable episodes and one of which is Je Souhaite about a jihn released into the contemporary world and how people really think they know what they'd wish for given the opportunity to have those desires made reality. The writing was crisp and funny, and I liked the actress who played the jihn, Paula Sorge.

But, as to the topic of the moment, syzygy:

The program's theme , as written by series originator Chris Carter, is that two high school cheerleaders, two girls "born at the same date, at the same time and at the same place" living in the town of Comity are dramatically and adversely affected by an alignment of the planets. This circumstwance also makes the entire place go off its collective rocker. Mulder and Scully bicker even more like an old married couple. The show also has some funny scenes of Mulder and Scully driving--tweakng those men-won't-ask-for-directions and women-can't-drive stereotypes. As in this exchange:

MULDER: Will you let me drive!?

SCULLY: I’m driving. Why do you always have to drive? Because you’re the guy? Because you’re the big macho-man?

MULDER: No. I was just never sure your little feet could reach the pedals.

Syzygy is also a winery in Walla Walla, Washington. No, I'm not making this up. It's the title of a 1982 speculative fiction novel, which I've even read, by Frederik Pohl and in the title of a 1947 Theodore Sturgeon speculative fiction short story, It Wasn't A Syzygy.

Lately as the world is obsessed with purported religious mysteries and myths via Da Vinci Code and end-time hysteria, the word has roots in matters of early spiritual pursuits.

A syzygy, again thanks to Wikipedia, is a divine active-passive, male-female pair of aeons, complementary to one another rather than oppositional; in their totality they comprise the divine realm of the Pleroma, and in themselves characterise aspects of the unknowable Gnostic God. The term is most common in Valentinianism

An aeon, in our case, has a ying-yang quality.

"In many Gnostic systems, the various emanations of God, who is also known by such names as the One, the Monad, Aion teleos (The Perfect Aeon), Bythos (Depth or profundity, Greek Βυθός), Proarkhe (Before the Beginning, Greek πρόαρχή), he Arkhe (The Beginning, Greek ή αρχή), are called aeons. This first being is also an æon and has an inner being within itself, known as Ennoea (Thought), Charis (Grace), or Sige (Greek Σιγη, Silence). The split perfect being conceives the second aeon, Caen (Power), within itself. Along with the male Caen comes the female æon Akhana (Truth, Love).

Aeons bear a number of similarities to Christian-Judeo angels, including their roles as servants and emanations of God, and their existence as beings of light. In fact, certain Gnostic Angels, such as Armozel, also happen to be Aeons[1].

The aeons often came in male/female pairs called syzygies, and were frequently numerous (20-30). Two of the most commonly listed æons were Jesus and Sophia. The aeons constitute the pleroma, the "region of light." The lowest regions of the pleroma are closest to the darkness — that is, the physical world."

And as follows in the various disciplines:


In mathematics, a syzygy is a relation between the generators of a module. All such relations form what is called the 'first syzygy module'. The relations between generators of the first syzygy module form the second syzygy module, and in general, the relations among the generators of the n-th syzygy module form the (n+1)-th syzygy module. See Hilbert's syzygy theorem.


In Medicine, the term is used to signify the fusion of some or all the organs.


The Russian theologian/philosopher Vladimir Solovyov used the word "syzygy" to signify "unity-friendship-community," used as either an adjective or a noun. A pair of connected or correlative things. A couple or pair of opposites.


The combination of two metrical feet into a single unit, similar to an elision.
  • Consonantal or phonetic syzygy is also similar to the effect of alliteration, where one consonant is used repeated throughout a passage, but not necessarily at the beginning of each word.

In psychology, Carl Jung used the term "syzygy" to denote an archetypal pairing of contrasexual opposites, which symbolized the communication of the conscious and unconscious minds. The conjunction of two organisms without the loss of identity.


MULDER: We are but visitors on this rock, hurling through time and space at sixty-six thousand miles an hour, tethered to a burning sphere by an invisible force and an unfathomable universe. This most of us take for granted while refusing to believe these forces have any more effect on us than a butterfly beating its wings halfway around the world. Or that two girls, born on the same date, the same time and the same place, might not find themselves the unfortunate focus of similar unseen forces, converging like the planets themselves into burning pinpoints of cosmic energy, whose absolute gravity would threaten to swallow and consume everything in its path. Or maybe the answer lies even further from our grasp.

BOB: I think it was Satan.

You have to go to Walla Walla to see this, and
maybe not even then.


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