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We Will Miss You, Zipporah Pottenger Dobyns

How do you say good-bye to someone who has been your parent, sister, best friend, mentor, colleague, and spiritual exemplar?

Mom knew how much all of us loved her. Indeed, many people across the world considered her their mother as well. She had four children of her flesh and many, many more who considered her their mother of soul-choice. Zip’s reservoirs of patience, wisdom and kindness were immense. For me, she was always a shining example of someone who was intellectually brilliant and yet endlessly compassionate. Throughout the 51 years I had the privilege of knowing her, she was unceasingly helpful to everyone around her. She lived the power of a good example.

Mom gave generously of her time, attention, expertise, resources, and energy to anyone who asked. Besides all the practical skills she taught me, the astrological knowledge she passed along, the encouragement she provided, her greatest gift was her philosophy. Mom believed in the goodness of the Universe—and the Universe consistently affirmed her viewpoint. She taught me to always find the silver lining, to be grateful for my many blessings, and to trust that the Universe would come through for me—after I had done my part, of course. Mom’s work ethic was very much alive and well and she didn’t believe the Universe would come through for a slacker. But anyone who was trying—even if they were not very effectual—she was on their side and ready to help.

The “facts” about Zip’s life include her B.A. in anthropology (Phi Beta Kappa), and B.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Zip was certified as a professional astrologer by the A.F.A. after taking the exam in 1960. She lectured, taught and counseled in 16 countries and 36 U.S. states. She is the author of a number of books, the most recent being Healing Mother-Daughter Relationships with Astrology which we wrote together and which just came out in May 2003.

Well-known as a premier psychological astrologer, Zip designed the “astrological alphabet” (fondly called the “Zip Code” by friends and colleagues) to help spot repeated themes and issues within a horoscope. She was a strong supporter of astrological research and encouraged everyone to test their theories against their clients’ life experiences. Her enduring fascination was the study of the asteroids (since 1975). Indeed, Rob Hand referred to the asteroids as “Zip’s pet rocks.” She received numerous awards from her peers, including two Regulus Awards from UAC (one for Education and one for Research and Innovation).

Beyond the facts and figures lies the personal side of Zip’s story—a brilliant mind, incredible compassion, endless curiosity about people, the independence to forge her own path, the spiritual courage and dedication to humanity that enabled her to live a life of inspiration. Her insights, encouragement, support and understanding touched thousands and thousands of people’s lives for the better. She left an extraordinary legacy and the best recognition we can all offer is to strive to live up to her level: her empathy, her intellectual rigor, her passion for justice, her profound interest in philosophy and Higher Meaning, and her visionary example.

*Maritha Pottenger (her daughter)

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