Remembering Noel Tyl

Noel Tyl – The Passing of a Legend in Astrology

by Basil Fearrington

Noel Jan Tyl was born on December 31st, 1936, at 3:57 pm EST in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He left his body on December 31, 2019 at 11:11 AM in Arizona, as a result of Lewy Body Dementia disease. His contribution to modern astrology is extraordinary, with some 40 books having been published, including the first English language book on Solar Arcs He was a Presiding Officer of AFAN early in his career. 


Noel’s parental situation was bad. His father left the home when he was around ten years old and he described his mother as an unstable person who was kind of “whacky.” Anyone with the Moon in Leo needs recognition and ego security to be most fulfilled and he didn’t receive any of it at home in his early years, thus setting the stage for his motivation to do great things as an adult in order to receive the recognition he needed (the spine of his horoscope has a Saturn-Neptune opposition in the 4-10, parental axis, clearly suggesting parental tension). His astrological focus on humanism was motivated by his interest in psychology and a desire to modernize astrology.

Noel’s intellectual brilliance was captured early during his primary school years. He was always at the top of his classes and in high school, he also developed himself as an athlete. He was a nationally recognized star in track and also made a local name for his 6ft-10 ½ inch frame on the basketball court, graduating from high school with so many academic honors that he was nationally recognized. Noel was accepted to the prestigious Harvard University.

Having studied piano and voice in high school, Noel joined the Harvard Glee Club, eventually being selected as its manager (how else could it have been, right?) and this led to his first actual career as an opera singer. He specialized in the works of Wagner. Noel, for some 20 years, graced the stages of the leading opera houses in the world and, for a while, immediately out of Harvard, lived in Texas and was the Business Manager of the Houston Opera House. 


Noel studied psychology at Harvard and was very influenced by his teacher, Professor Henry Murray. It was his studies with Murray that led to the interest in astrology. While randomly checking astrology books in Mason’s Book Store (in Manhattan), he saw parallels with Professor Murray’s teaching. Murray taught “psychological need theory.” It would turn out to be a life-changing experience as Noel’s career in astrology and all of his approximately 40 books, except three or four, were based on psychological need theory. His astrological influences, in the main, were Marc Edmund Jones and Dane Rudhyar.

What is need theory in astrology? For all of us, we start by reading cookbooks that give ideas about planets in Signs, planets in Houses, aspects, etc. The problem is that what you are led to believe or think, as a new person in astrology, is that every time you see someone with a position that you’ve read about, you assign (and therefore confine) that person’s reality to what you’ve read. The person with Mercury in Cancer may not be an emotional thinker/communicator at all, due to family or environmental influences but the reality is that if you have Mercury in Cancer, you NEED to think in terms of emotional security to be fulfilled. That is dramatically different than saying, “You are an emotional thinker.” You don’t know, before the fact, whether or not a person’s life reflects what the horoscope suggests. No one is who or what they are because of a horoscope. The horoscope is held up as a guide to what should be. It’s not always a statement of fact about one’s identity. When a planet is in a Sign, it suggests the behaviors needed to fulfill that planet-Sign combination. You are just inserting the word, “need,” before you say all that descriptive stuff that you know rather than something like, “you are____.”. It objectifies the person and the horoscope. It removes astrology from the realm of the carnival “reader.”

It was 1973 when Noel’s first book, “Astrology as Identity” was published. It was the beginning of a long, substantive career that has been a blessing for clients, students, and other astrologers interested in Humanistic or psychological astrology.

Noel’s Astrology – A Different Mindset

There were a few things that Noel had his own take on, based on the humanistic viewpoint.

The Grand Trine: He used to make me laugh so much talking about how, when he first came on the scene, he practically got eggs thrown at him by “the old guard” when he talked about the Grand Trine in lectures and seminars.

The Ancients, of course, had the Grand Trine painted as the most supreme blessing of all blessings to have in a horoscope. Noel’s early client experiences showed him an entirely different reality. For starters, a trine (sextile, too) is not developmental. It is static. Hard aspects are developmental. We see this easily in our predictive measurements. If you were to collect the horoscopes of 5000 high achievers, you would see that their horoscopes are not dominated by sextiles and trines. This line of thinking came from Marc Edmund Jones who said to Noel, “Trines and sextiles keep things as they are. Hard aspects make things happen.”

Noel saw the Grand Trine as a closed circuit of self-sufficiency (another way of saying defensiveness) that separated one from others. The mindset is one of, “I don’t need you.” (Imagine a pool ball cue, shaped like a triangle. Nothing can get in or out of it). When a point in the Grand Trine is aspected by square or opposition, the House position of the aspecting planet (and/or the House it rules) becomes the area of life experience wherein the person drops the defenses and feels at ease in that area of life. A person with a Water Grand Trine can be emotionally self-sufficient but has, say,  an opposition to a point in the GT from the 10th House. It suggests that the emotional defensiveness mechanism lets its guard down at work, etc.

The 2nd House: From the beginnings of astrology, when it comes to money, astrologers think 2nd House. In reality, when you collect the horoscopes of large numbers of the wealthy, it is rare that you can see financial prowess using the 2nd House as a barometer. In modern times, the 2nd House, in Tyl’s methodology, suggests how you manage whatever money you get or earn (for example, Donald Trump has a tense Neptune in the 2nd House. The lawsuits against him for financial fraud are many). It is not a gauge of earning capacity.

Noel saw the 2nd House as representative of how you view yourself as a resource in terms of self-worth and self-esteem. He never associated it with money from a natal perspective unless he was projecting ahead in time.

The 5th House: Noel branded the 5th House as, psychodynamically speaking, “love given.” This includes the sexual identity. He would say, “How do you have a system where children are seen in one area and then the means to conceive the child, the sex, is somewhere else? He described the 5th House as the House of LOVE GIVEN, which includes the sexual identity (and the 8th is what happens with that identity when engaged in the act with another person). Sexuality was always linked to the 5th House in Classical Astrology.

The 11th House: I’m 65 years old. I was introduced to astrology at age 13 and have been doing it professionally since 1980 and I STILL don’t know what Hopes-Wishes & Dreams are! Neither did Noel. Where the 5th House is giving love, the 11th is the love (popularity; lovability, and anything that makes you feel lovingly rewarded including close friendships) you hope to receive.

The 6th House: He added, “This House, psychodynamically speaking, tells us about a person’s ability to cooperate with others, especially in work environments.

He wasn’t dismissing all of the traditional things associated with the Houses. It’s just that he focused on what was psychologically and behaviorally important.

Saturn Retrograde Phenomenology: Noel had a strained relationship with his daughter for perhaps her first 20 years of life. In studying her horoscope for insight, he wondered about the retrogradation of Saturn she has so, early in his career in astrology, he started testing it on every client who had it. Three years and close to a thousand clients later, he found that 85% of those with Saturn Rx had a father concern of some kind. His standard communication of this to clients was as follows: “There is a legacy of inferiority feelings taken on in the early homelife through relationship with the father figure, usually the father, who was taken out of the picture early; or was there but absent or passive, or was so tyrannical…one or any combination of these….so as to not to have given the guidance of authoritative love.” Then, you are looking at the House that Saturn is in and rules to see what areas of life are most affected by the unfulfilling father relationship.

Pluto: Not transformation but personal perspective and personal prominence potential. He said that it plays an adverbial role in the horoscope that has to do with bringing out the extreme dimension of the contacted planet (by hard aspect) or an Angle and prominence in terms of that planet. For example, both Noel and Oprah Winfrey have Pluto opposing Mercury and both achieved prominence via communications and excel at communicating.

In Closing – My Personal Link with Noel

I saw a Tyl book for the first time in 1975.He had a 12-volume series titled, “The Principles & Practices of Astrology.” I was blown away because, quite frankly, almost everything before that seemed like nonsense to me. I contacted Llewellyn to make an appointment with Noel to see how he operated and, in September 1976, we met and it was like we’d always known each other.

Seeing my development, in the 1990’s when I started being published in astrology magazines, he gave me my first book assignment/credit in his Astrology Looks at History.” That was followed by my writing the introduction to his, “Astrology of the Famed.”

Then, in 1998, he asked me to relocate to South Africa because they had set up a program there (called, Milleydome) where they wanted his methodology taught.  While I was there, he went to Llewellyn and told them that I was a talent deserving wider recognition. That resulted in my book, “The New Way to Learn Astrology.” Just prior to that, he assisted me in my first of two UAC appearances by bringing me to the attention of the committee.

It was early in 2019 that Noel contacted me about taking over his Master’s Degree Certification Course, web site, and clients. Obviously, Noel and I had quite a long, substantive relationship. It is important to know that the thing that delighted him more than anything (including applause) was helping others. I am probably his greatest example of that. There was no reason for him to take the interest in me that he did but he did and my life would not be the same without his help and his astrology. There are many clients and students who can say the same thing. I am one of three “Tyl people” who’ve had books published and there is yet another one from a fourth student soon to be released.

The astrological loves of his life were his book, “Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology,” (the release was timed for when his Solar Arc Sun was exactly on his Midheaven) and his Master’s Degree Certification Course.

Noel Jan Tyl – Job well done!

In Memoriam for Noel Tyl

by Glenn Mitchell

Noel Tyl has had a profound impact on my own approach to astrology. He was my first mentor. His works occupy more than entire shelf in my astrology library.

Noel’s contributions to astrology were many. He was among a crop of brilliant astrologers from the 1970s and 1980s. His seminal work, “Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology,” belongs on every astrologer’s bookshelf.
When I survey his written words, I appreciate that he was open to changing his mind. In the 1970s, for example, he was a strong proponent of Secondary Progressions as a forecast technique. His perspective later changed and he came to prefer Solar Arcs over Secondary Progressions. (He did retain the Secondary Progressed Moon as an event timer together with the Tertiary Progressed Moon.)

AFAN members will appreciate that Noel Tyl was a founding member and an early Presiding Officer of AFAN.

I was attracted to mentorship with Noel by his focus on a psychological framework for understanding astrology. Presented with a natal chart and asked what do we know, his response would be, “We know nothing.” The chart presented tendencies and possibilities to Noel, not certainties. He eschewed readings in favor of consultations. It was only through dialogue with that we come to understand how the chart manifests in the life of the client.

The context of the client’s life was a very important consideration for Noel. He would give me the example of a five-year-old girl growing up in a culture like that under the Taliban. Her future career opportunities were going to be different than a small girl growing up in the United States. We could derive some information about context from observation but much of it flows from dialogue with the client.

What always impressed me about Noel was his deep, abiding humanity.
I’ve lost a friend and mentor. Contemporary, Western astrology has lost one of its giants.

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  1. February 13, 2020

    I am so sorry to hear that Noel has passed but actually not surprised. I have had a feeling recently that he was no longer with us, which is why I did a search to find out if it was true. He was a great man and deserving of respect in a way few are. As an astrologer he was the real thing. I only met him a few times but we had a lively correspondence. I wish him well on his journey beyond life, fully expecting that we will one day meet again in the beyond. Adrian G. Gilbert.

    • March 28, 2020

      Dear Adrian Gilbert: We never met. Still I have the feeling to know you as Noel talked very often about you and what the two of you had in common. He was fond of your times, although not often, together and told me often what great mind you have! 🙂 I just today came across this post and appreciate your kind words of memory. I was blessed to have been his soulmate for the past 33 years until his last breath ….. He was, indeed, a GREAT MAN, very kind and caring and with an unending drive to enrich himself with knowledge and wisdom. – Thank you again, Christa von Legat-TYL

      • Ruth
        September 7, 2020

        Dearest Christa
        I know you remember me from your visit to the Old City in Jerusalem. I’m so very saddened to know of Noel’s passing. He was a great man who taught so much insight into how to live life with deeper understanding and self knowledge. I will never forget him or you.
        Ruth Schonblum

        • Christa von Legat-TYL
          October 3, 2020

          Dear Ruth: Only now I had time to browse the Web regarding Noel and thank your for your kind response. Oh yes, I very vividly recall our meeting in Jerusalem and often wear the beautiful broach you gifted to me at that time. We both, Noel and I, also fondly remembered often our privileged time visiting Jerusalem and the excursions to the historic Fortress of Masada with its incredible view over the Dead Sea and on the way back visiting Qumran. How kind of you to remember Noel. I am still insolubly saddened by his leaving this earth and miss him every day. Shalom, Christa

  2. Stephanie
    March 30, 2020

    Noel was a big part of my moms astrology life. She owned an astrology bookstore and I remember meeting Noel there. My Mom and Noel were the same age. Mom left her earthly home just a month after Noel left his.

  3. Karen
    April 17, 2020

    Best astrology reading I ever had! He blew me away and I am so grateful to him for being truthful and getting to the deeper issues in a compassionate way. 10 years of therapy I had before I met him and in his reading he got to my core issues in 2 minutes. Wow! I also remember his lovely wife. Beautiful and dynamic couple! He had such high respect and esteem for her. Thank you, Noel. So glad I was fortunate enough to have met you.

  4. Bonnie E Svardal
    July 15, 2020

    A wonderful memory I have of Noel Tyl was attending his performance as Wotan at the 1976 Seattle Ring Cycle Opera. The opera runs 4 days. He wasn’t in the last day’s performance but during a break, outside the opera house he was talking to admirers and signing programs. I went up to him and handed him my program and he signed it as he continued talking to others. Maybe a year or two later I was in a bookstore in the astrology section, of course. There were several books written by a Noel Tyl. I had forgotten his name by then, but the picture on the back looked familiar. I pondered this for several days and then it struck me. I got my program from the opera and there was the very picture of Wotan! At the 1980 conference in Los Angeles I was in the registration room browsing the materials after registering. Then a very tall man entered and the room was mesmerized. I said, “I wouldn’t recognize you without your spear!” He roared with laughter and said in his booming voice, “Ah, an opera lover!” His late wife Haloli was with him and I had a chance to talk to her at various times during the conference. I also have a picture I took of him at the 1995 UAC conference in Monterey, CA taking with Donna Cunningham, unknown man, and Marc Penfield, but can’t seem to download it.

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