Jean-Pierre Nicola is undoubtedly the most important astrologer of the 20th century. Thanks to his research and his shocking discoveries, astrology finally got rid of its old superstitious moons, and became an authentic contemporary knowledge. Meeting with an astrologer like no other.
Born in 1929 in Nice, Jean-Pierre Nicola is attracted by astrology from adolescence. After years of difficult research, he published in 1964 The Solar Condition, the founding book of modern astrology. He has since published many books. In line with the great astrologer-astronomers of antiquity, he affirms that the astrological influence is natural and conditional, that is to say, it varies according to heredity, education, culture, etc In 1980, he founded the COMAC (Center for the Organization of Conditionalist Astrological Methods) to promote the study of a rational and imaginative astrology. Funny and profound, critical and inventive, lucid and disturbing, Jean-Pierre Nicola agreed to answer our questions.
Richard Pellard: What led you to dedicate your life to the study of astrology?
Jean-Pierre Nicola: Let’s not talk about unconscious motivations, since by definition I don’t know them. For the conscious, there are the circumstances, the character and the natal chart. In terms of circumstances, the post-war period and my social background refused me the studies that my dispositions called for. Curious, stubborn nosy in all areas “out of consensus” generally referred to as “fake science”, I became acquainted with astrology by chance from my self-taught readings. My stubbornness to understand what could be hiding there decided half a century of studies and a turbulent career. Sometimes I regret this socially unrewarding vocation, because I let pass stable professional situations and less exposed to the struggles, censorship, slander of the ghetto of astrologers. But the taste for struggle must be part of the panoply of the marginal researcher.
According to you, what is your major contribution to astrology?
The book Éléments de cosmogonie astrologique, published by the COMAC, summarizes the meaning of research that restores to the Man-Sky relationship all the weight of reality that anti-signal symbolist astrology has removed from it. From now on, unless you lie, it is no longer possible to reduce Signs and Planets to a language unrelated to astronomy, biology, neurobiology, atomistics, living and non-living sciences. So many astonishing amputations from followers of an astrology “queen of science”, as it was called in the past. My assessment reconnects with the lineage of astronomers-astrologers, Ptolemy to Kepler. It has already allowed other researchers to take over, and disinformation, censorship, resistance from anti-physician schools will not be able to change anything in this return of natural astrology (that of Posidonius of Amapée).
What do you think of contemporary astrology?
Nothing good. I prefer not to develop… only to underline a consequence of my previous answer. Astrologers who take no account of the astrometric foundations of astrology, any more than the demonstration I have given of them, are not astrologers worthy of their Greek and Sumerian heritage, but astromancers, soothsayers who could be content of a crystal ball rather than consulting the ephemerides. They’re there media favor subject to scientistic fashion or who prefer not to enter into the debate (there are so many other uninteresting things to take care of). But it won’t last. Sooner or later our Academies and the political powers will have to take a stand: prohibit all kinds of astrology and then betray the history of Knowledge, or sort out and choose the lesser evil. A solution that will exclude contemporary mercantile and anti-historical astrologies.
Is astrology a science like any other?
No, and that requires him to create his own methods, his own status. Like physics, astronomy is a science exact, a science “hard” in relation to science “soft”, imprecise, such as sociology, human sciences in general. To become a new science, a science apart, astrology must find the rules and conditions for the relationship between the sciences “hard” and science “soft”… or, again, between the simple clocks of the non-living (micro and macro-cosmic), and the complex clocks of human receivers. I don’t believe much in statistical methods which do not sufficiently take into account the complexity of the Man-Sky relationship. It is not a Cartesian-mechanical relationship but a conditioning whose study requires appropriate techniques and tools, at least as subtle as the subject to be treated and the effects to be detected.
What advice would you give to a beginning astrologer?
First, whatever the chosen school, to enrich their knowledge in elementary astrometry, there are excellent books and software for this. You can drive a car without knowing the mechanics, but you have to know enough not to attribute the movement of the wheels to the force of the angels… or symbols as some astrologers do for the planets. A few solid bases of astrometry can avoid errors as grotesque as this one. Then, if we did not choose the conditionalism, it is always good to learn the main concepts so as not to say stupid things about them and to have fundamental benchmarks as important as those of astrometry when you do not want to get lost in phantasmagoric speculations and succeed in synthetic interpretations difficult to imagine by traditional means. Of course, the easiest way is to start with conditionalist education, which is generally inexpensive for a short-term training (two years maximum) if you participate in intensive courses. The effort of adaptation what this school demands at the start is sometimes off-putting, but it is largely compensated — and rewarded — later by the great autonomy of the performer and the richness of his keyboard. The last advice is classic: make a lot of charts, compare theory and practice.
▶ 1944–1945: First self-taught astrological studies (like most astrologers of my generation, since there was no school of oral teaching).
▶ 1950: First collaboration with an astrology journal Les Cahiers Astrologiques (Nice). Article on Freud and Nietzsche, Uranus (common dominant) and axis symbolism (verticality-laterality).
▶ 1951–1965: Outside professional activities: Collaborations with the collection Zodiac (Editions du Seuil). Articles on Frederic Nietzsche, Alfred Jarry, Rudyard Kipling.
▶ 1959–1960: Writing a Correspondence courses with the developments and applications of the designs set forth in the following articles published by the Cahiers Astrologiques (publisher Alexandre Volguine, Nice). The course also exposes the first version of the system R.E.T. (Representation-Existence-Transcendence) and the resulting new method of interpretation.
▶ 1961: Cahiers Astrologiques No. 90: For a modern conception of Astrology and Zodiacal Types. Formulation of zodiac of signs from Pavlov’s typology. No. 95: Positive induction, negative induction or the quarrel of the Zodiacs, explanatory of the particularity of the Signs “Fixed”, and response to a criticism of the previous article.
▶ 1962: Cahiers No. 97 and 98: From astronomical time to human time. Temporal principles of conditionalist astrology: “The real plane of coincidence with the Cosmos is that of time. The image horoscope of cosmic clockwork is only addressed to psycho-nervous clockwork.” In issue No. 97: Reflexological foundations of aspects. (2nd publication in L’Astrologue No. 2 (Traditional Editions, in April 1968): number and quality of aspects justified by the inverse powers of 2 (harmonics of the unit cycle) and the role of the 1/2 ratio in the theory of nervous transmissions of Dr Lapicque (chronaxies). In the 2nd release (L’Astrologue): continuity (consonant aspects) and discontinuity (dissonant aspects) in the development of a cycle. Explanation of the peculiarity of the aspect of conjunction and determination of the extent of the orbs (effect margins) by these same powers of 2. No. 101: world harmony. First research on the astrometric data of the planets. Here, the intervals of the semi-major axes, treated geometrically, are placed on a circle of radius 6.66 (mean radius, 3% uncertainty).
▶ 1963: Cahiers No. 105: Transits: application of the temporal dimension of astrology or theory of transits under the 3 aspects of Time: Moment, succession (chronology), simultaneity. Singular figures obtained by the cycles of slow planets. Temporal development of a chart (rhythmic scenarios) from aspects at birth. Definition of the effects of dissonances (surge, frustration, clash of opposites).
▶ 1964: Cahiers No. 108: world harmony (continuation and end of the article of No. 101 and publication of the reflexological foundations of R.E.T. system). The new definitions of the planets make it possible to move from symbolist astrology to experimental astrology (possible control of planetary and zodiac formulas). December: The fundamentals of Conditionalist Astrology, defined in the articles and the course are exposed in La Condition solaire (December 1964, Traditionnelles editions, Paris). Either:
▶ Rational explanation of the typology of the 12 Signs of the Zodiac from the diurnal and nocturnal arcs of the Sun and planets. Extension of the local Zodiac (arcs varying in duration according to geographical latitudes) to Zodiac of declinations (designated Universal since 1985). This explanation is related to the demonstration of the identity of the zodiacal types with the neurophysiological typology of I. P. Pavlov.
▶ Theory of Ages: correlation between the traditional astrological planetary meanings and the stages of neuropsychological maturation (and dematuration) according to the periods given by the sidereal revolutions considered in their chronology.
▶ Demonstration of the internal logic of planetary meanings from a model of concepts (Representation, Existence, Transcendence) based on the unique, the dual, the multiple, and the various possible combinations (binaries for the planets) between these three levels information (simple, bivalent-contradictory, multivalent). This model, acronym R.E.T., now also referred to as “Logoscope”, does not constitute, exclusively, a typology, but a writing and reading grid, applicable to other disciplines than astrology and psychology. One could, in particular, verify the principles in laboratory experiments.
The dates of the following publications relate to details and new or additional contributions:
▶ 1965: No. 116 of Cahiers Astrologiques: The reflex Gauquelin. Polemical article on anti-astrologism and on planetary heredity according to M. Gauquelin.
▶ 1968: On the occasion of a lump sum order of Astroflash, author and designer of Children portraits, computerized astrological studies. Pursuant to R.E.T.: 210 basic sheets deal with the first four dominant planets (leading in the first grid of hierarchy of planetary powers at birth). 7 variants of interpretation of the Rising Sign. Aspect sheets “complex” (two aspects on one planet) on Moon, Mercury. Interpretation of the planet in Sign according to the dominant planet in the hierarchy (therefore, 10 variants per Sign). Subsequently: In 1976: Solar Revolution (interpretation of the trends of a year). In 1990: 3-year forecast. These products are distributed by Astroflash on the Champs-Elysees.
▶ 1971: Nombres et Formes du Cosmos (Traditional editions, and self-employed). Collection of articles published in L’Astrologue (No. 6 to 11, from 1969 to 1970). Technical work justifying the importance and the particularity of the main cycles of the solar system by their formal relations with the whole numbers, the formulas called “hydrogen atom spectral terms”, the average cycle of solar activity. These relationships allow, from the energy levels of the K, L, M shells of the hydrogen atom (model Bohr), to calculate, with less than 0.5% uncertainty, the semi-major axes of the planetary orbits, from Mercury to Pluto, inclusive. Demonstration, in this same work, of the unity of the solar system, of its organization by planetary couples referring to the astrometric data of Jupiter as constants (semi-major axis, sidereal revolution, intensity of the central acceleration).
▶ 1973: Square of December (publication under the responsibility of students of the Center for Astrological Studies and Training). Article on the relationship between “signs and symbols” by the circular model of the R.E.T. Man symbolizes in a language that is his own the planetary signals that come from another language. Path of synthesis between esotericism and exotericism, left brain, right brain, etc. Presentation, during a communication to the former International Center of Astrology, of the method of calculating the “age chart” and its representation. See: Livre de Pluton (1985).
▶ 1974: Square (october). Formulation of a Index of summation of angular velocities for the purpose of comparison with world events based on a scale for evaluating changes in power in terms of personalities, political, economic and ideological systems. The formula and its principle of interpretation have been published in the journal Horoscope of January 1975, in Astrologique of November 1976 and October 1979, in the Cahiers conditionalistes from January 1981, in January 1991 by Richard Pellard, by Maurice Worme and myself in January 1993.
▶ 1976 to 1979: Editor-in-chief of the journal Astrologique, the first conditionalist-minded astrology journal written by astrologers of the same school. 25 issues published. Articles and editorials in the series “Understanding Astrology”: Astrology and ecology (No. 2 — June 1976); Astrology and politics (No. 11 — summer 1977); Astrology and communication (No. 12 — autumn 1977); Astrology and mass media (No. 13 — winter 1977); Woman and Astrology (No. 14 — spring 1978); The Peasant and the Extra-Terrestrial (No. 15 — summer 1978); Astrology and social crises (No. 16 — autumn 1978); Censorship Dictionaries (No. 17 — winter 1978); Neptune-Pluto and the end of the century (No. 18 — January 1979); religion or knowledge (No. 19 — March 1979); The end of a shame (No. 20 — April 1979); Violence and efficiency (No. 21 — May 1979); The transformations of power (No. 22 — June 1979); The energy crisis (No. 23 July 1979); The end of parties? (No. 24 — September 1979); Who is afraid of reality? (No. 25 — November 1979). In issue 4 of August 1976: An astronomer talks about Astrology: debate between astrophysicist Hubert Reeves and Jean-Pierre Nicola.
▶ 1977: For a modern astrology (Editions du Seuil, 2nd quarter, Paris). This book takes up and clarifies the achievements. Main new clarification: classification of concrete signals into four reference frames: Energy-Space-Time-Structure in correspondence with the zodiacal quads codified in: + − (increasing northern declinations). + − (decreasing northern declinations). − + (increasing southern declinations). − − (decreasing southern declinations). That is, for a star without celestial latitude or related to its longitude: Energy: 0° Aries to 0° Cancer; Space: 0° Cancer to 0° Libra; Time: 0° Libra to 0° Capricorn; Structure: 0° Capricorn to 0° Aries.
▶ 1978: Esotericism and Astrology, special issue, published in January 1978 (editions Astrologiques, Paris). Contains the explanatory exposition of the four standards: Subject-Object-Relation-Integration, whose combination with the three levels of the R.E.T. illuminates the traditional meanings of Astrological Houses enriching them with new meanings. Same year, in Astrologiques (No. 18, July): position paper on the limits of the solar system: Beyond Pluto can there be a 10th planet? Critical article towards the astrology of immaterial astrometric factors. Participation in the Astrological Congress of Brussels in November 1978. Communication: Unitary vision of conditionalist astrology.
▶ 1979: Astrologiques (No. 21, May). Resumption of aspect theory. From the geometric progression 2 power −n, demonstration of the unity of orbs and aspects: consonants (… 15°; 30°; 60°; 120°…); Keplerians (… 18°; 36°, 72°, 144°…); dissonant (… 22.5°, 45°, 90°, 180°…). Progressions united in a single diagram. In this same issue, following the Astrology lessons (first course in October 1978): graphic representation of a chart “azimuths and heights”. Insisting development of the importance of these local data, and of a more realistic graphic representation than the current ecliptic chart.
▶ 1980–2004: Cahiers Conditionalistes (publication of No. 1 in December 1980). Cahiers mainly reserved for research, hypotheses, conditionalist interpretations. Since 1990: refinement, with Yen Nicola, of ranking grids and “functions of functions” or interpretation of the interferences (by families and by ranks) between the universal and individual hierarchies.
▶ 1981–1982: Publication by Editions du Rocher/Radio Monte-Carlo, of Signes du Destin (biographies chosen for the twelve Signs). Author of comments with Françoise Hardy. Various examples of conditionalist interpretations that take the planets into account “blind” (the latest in the hierarchy of planetary valuations). The functions of the planet “blind” (the most absent in the interpretation of the dominants) will be specified later by Philippe Pinchon. These biographies already show the importance of non-dominants in comparisons of charts (in strong relationships, the dominants of some replace the non-dominants of others, and vice versa). The blind planet or planets, generally representative of the great conversions, fall under different calculations and concepts of the planets “feral” of the Tradition which are planets without aspect (very rare cases because of the multiplicity of aspects among the moderns). Participation in 1981 in the World Congress of Astrology in Zurich. Communication on the logic of the R.E.T. system, the typologies practiced by astrologers that it allows to analyze and those, much more numerous, that it allows to create.
▶ 1983: Various broadcasts, on Radio-Monte-Carlo, with Françoise Hardy make it possible to make known the passage of the reflexological zodiac exposed in La Condition solaire to the zodiac of referentials “signals” (Energy-Space-Time-Structure). Formulation of relationships between formulas “Subject” and interests or sensitivities “Objectives”. 2nd semester: Le Grand Livre de l’Astrologue (Sand and Tchou editions) underlines the importance of a rating system (calculation grid of planetary powers) to prioritize the dominant ones, to classify them in the diagram R.E.T. and interpret the relationship between dominant planets, sub-dominant planets, weak planets. Interpretation of aspects following both the logic of “chronaxies” and that of the formulas of the R.E.T.
▶ 1984: Twelve Astrological Guides (Eurédif editions) give me the opportunity to vary the interpretation of the Signs according to the planetary family dominant, thus associating each Sign with a planetary formula.
▶ 1985: Posted in Le Livre de Pluton (Sand editions, May 1985) of an initial research report on the relationships, in the solar system, of the semi-major axes of the planets with the respective average gravities on the surface. The results restore the R.E.T. model designed for the analysis of traditional astrological meanings. First approach to an identification of the energy levels of the zodiacal fourths with the energy levels defined by the Yi King. First publication of the calculations and applications of the “age chart” (for a given age: report on a circle from 0° to 360°, of the arcs traversed by each planet — by removing the number of turns, if any — from its native position to the age considered, by adopting 0° as common origin). The age chart makes it possible to visualize universal sensitizations to planetary cycles (slow planets). Publication of a test-questionnaire for the purposes of control between the hierarchy of R.E.T. (extensive) and r.e.t (intensive) obtained by the chart and the ranking obtained by the answers to the items. Interpretations of a planet in Houses (in this book, Pluto) taking into account the dominant planetary family.
▶ 1986: The collective work (Bernard Blanchet, Jean-Pierre Nicola, Richard Pellard, Phillipe Pinchon, Françoise Hardy) Françoise Hardy présente l’Astrologie Universelle applies, Sign after Sign, the previous achievements, in particular the new typological formulations combining forces, speeds, phases, adapted and unadapted. Contains an illustrated explanation of the Zodiac of the Signs against the anti-astrologers and partisan astrologers of the stellar Zodiac (article The game of the century, Signs versus Constellations).
▶ 1987: Publication of Livre De Neptune (ed. Sand).
▶ 1989: We are in the era of Gemini, article published in Astrologie Pratique (Tesla editions, March 1989). While “Age of Aquarius” has no astrometric basis and is only due to the conventional designation of a common origin of Signs and Constellations, the Era of Gemini — the preceding and following ones — rests on the repetition of conjunctions in the same Sign (in Gemini, since 1399) of the slowest stars (Neptune-Pluto) and the last of the solar system (demonstration of the limits of the system in Numbers and Forms of the Cosmos).
▶ 1991: Portraits of Swiss politicians and personalities, published every Sunday in the daily Le Matin of French-speaking Switzerland.
▶ 1992: April — at the ARRC days: the communications on Mars “center of centers” or “Hara” (center of gravity of the being) illustrates the positive aspects of the marsian function, generally reduced to aggressiveness in astro-psychology. May — Le Grand Livre des Prévisions (Tchou editions). Interpretation and practice of transits from the logic of the R.E.T. (for the first time, the interpretation of harmonic and dissonant transits is rationalized by formula combination rules). September — publication (COMAC editions) of Éléments de Cosmogonie Astrologique. Review of a saturnian cycle devoted to research on astrometric data from the solar system. Refinement of the formulations of Numbers and Forms of the Cosmos as far as the microcosm-macrocosm (atom-solar system) relationship is concerned, specified in the book by a proportionality coefficient. Products “distance × speed × mass”, planets coupled according to this model, restore an important constant (“cinematic moment”) for astrophysicists who wanted it without having found it (decisive constant, depending on whether it exists or not, for scenarios of the formation of the solar system). Highlighting a symmetry consistent with that of the R.E.T. allowing to find (uncertainty of 3%) the average gravities of the planets on the surface. There is no anteriority in this way, even less in its results. The same work deals with the usefulness of mathematical abstraction for models of astrological and astrobiological synthesis as well as the constancy of the number 2 and its powers in the models common to living and non-living things. September; symposium Astrology and Spirituality, in collaboration with the ARRC (Association for the Research of Cosmic Rhythms). Communication Esotericism of conditionalism published in the Proceedings of the Colloquium (COMAC editions), takes stock of the relationship between conditionalism and fundamental symbolism. Synthesis on the “Axial and central symmetry” in astrology (zodiac, cycles, aspects, cosmogony of the solar system, diagrams of universal and individual hierarchy).
▶ 1993: March — Communication at the ARRC days on The extensive—intensive powers of Sun—Moon. Communication which follows that on Mars, illustrating the originality of the family “Extensive power” (Sun, Mars, Pluto) and lunar homogeneity (“intensive power”). Illustration of the alignments of centers (symbolic of the Tree, of the Serpent, of the Bird) and application to the interpretation of the charts (planets which occupy the ranks of Moon, Sun, Mars, Pluto, in the individual hierarchy of planets at the birth). Publication of volume I of Anthologie Astrologique (COMAC editions). Collection of articles published in Cahiers Conditionalistes.
▶ 1996: Production of a 45 min K7 video At the origins of modern astrology. In the mind of astronomer-astrologer Johannes Kepler, the astrological meanings of planets and Signs are redefined from astrometric realities. With F. Bourdillat as presenter, this K7 video illustrates and comments with an example the method of synthetic interpretation of “Hero and his Shadow”.
▶ 1997: COMAC editions publish: Les Aspects Planétaires — Interprétation et Théorie (226 pages in 15.5 × 24 cm format). For students, amateurs and professionals, for the practice and understanding of model R.E.T.
▶ 1998: Publication of Livre d’Uranus. Three years of writing for the exploration of the roots, leaves and fruits of the function uranian (representation of Transcendence in the R.E.T. definitions). Analysis of the mechanisms of discovery, of the psychology of the discoverers, of their ancient and contemporary mythologies. The uranian function appears associated with the concept of the First, the beginning of a founding chronology. Publication, the same year, of Proceedings of the Colloquium of 1997 on the theme: Astrology, a science in motion. Personal communication: Are the foundations of physical astrology experimentally controllable? deals with formal correlations between the action potentials of neurons and the energy levels determined by the planetary temperatures at their surface and the average distance from the Sun.
▶ 1999: Publication of Du Logoscope au R.E.T. en questions: Portraits-Signes. (128 pages in 16 × 25 cm format). The answer to a test of eight times twenty questions leads to an unprecedented reading of the Dominant Signs at Birth. Presented as a game, this test is also designed to verify the correlation hypothesis between the functions of the R.E.T. and planetary dominants at birth.
▶ 2000: Publication of Proceedings of the Colloquium from 1998: Images and Representations. Nine communications, from the R.E.T., on the Condition of the Image, its power and its limits of power. Article: Effects and counter-effects of images and representations on facts and ideas. Publication of Représentation, Existence, Transcendance du Logoscope (Figures, functions, Formulas). Brochure summarizing the physical and mathematical foundations of the R.E.T. and its applications.
▶ 2003: Obtaining a thesis titled Globality in analytical psychology and conditionalist astrology which earned Jean-Pierre Nicola a Doctor of Philosophy, mention Psychology, from the Honolulu University of Arts, Sciences and Humanities.
▶ 2008: Publication of Astrological anthology 1976–1979: editorials, articles, sections, portraits, ed. COMAC.
▶ 2009: Publication of Représentation, Existence, Transcendance du logoscope, ed. COMAC.
▶ 2010: Publication of Astrology: definitions, COMAC.
▶ 2014: Publication of Le ballet des coïncidences, Opéra conditionaliste, ed. COMAC.
▶ 2020: Publication of Approche jungienne de l’astrologie, Editions du Cosmogone.
▶ 2022: Reissue of The Solar Condition, Editions du Cosmogone.
Le petit livre du Taureau
49 pages. Illustrations en couleur.
Ce livre présente et explique les trois zodiaques : celui du décor des constellations, celui de l’astrologie traditionnelle basé sur les Quatre Éléments symboliques (Feu, Terre, Air & Eau) et celui de l’astrologie naturelle basé sur les phénomènes astronomiques objectifs.
Interprétation du Taureau selon la symbolique classique et selon ses réflexes dans le zodiaque naturel (force, vitesse, équilibre) ; interprétation du Taureau en fonction des planètes dominantes ; le Signe solaire & le Signe Ascendant.
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