In broadest terms, syzygy (pronounced /ˈsɪzɨdʒi/ ) is a kind of unity, especially through coordination or alignment, most commonly used in the astronomical and/or astrological sense. Syzygy is derived from the Late Latin syzygia, “conjunction,” from the Greek σύζυγος (syzygos). Syzygial , adjective of syzygy, describes the alignment of three or more celestial bodies in the same gravitational system along a line.
- Astronomy: a syzygy is the alignment of three or more celestial bodies in the same gravitational system along a straight line. The word is usually used in context with the Sun , Earth , and the Moon or a planet, where the latter is in conjunction or opposition . Solar and lunar eclipses occur at times of syzygy, as do transits and occultations . The term is also applied to each instance of new moon or full moon when Sun and Moon are in conjunction or opposition, even though they are not precisely on one line with the Earth.
- The word ‘syzygy’ is often loosely used to describe interesting configurations of planets in general. For example, one such case occurred on March 21, 1894 at around 23:00 GMT , when Mercury transited the Sun as seen from Venus , and Mercury and Venus both simultaneously transited the Sun as seen from Saturn . It is also used to describe situations when all the planets are on the same side of the Sun although they are not necessarily found along a straight line, such as on March 10, 1982.
- Gnosticism: a syzygy 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 Gnostic (known) God . The term is most common in Valentinianism . In some gnostic schools, the counterpart to Christ was Sophia .
- Mathematics: a syzygy is a relation between the generators of a module M. The set of all such relations is called the “first syzygy module of M”. A relation between generators of the first syzygy module is called a “second syzygy” of M, and the set of all such relations is called the “second syzygy module of M”. Continuing in this way, we get the n-th syzygy module of M by taking the set of all relations between generators of the (n-1)th syzygy module of M. If M is finitely generated over a polynomial ring over a field , this process terminates after a finite number of steps; i.e., eventually there will be no more syzygies (see Hilbert’s syzygy theorem ). The syzygy modules of M are not unique, for they depend on the choice of generators at each step.
- Philosophy: The Russian theologian/philosopher Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900) used the word “syzygy” to signify “unity-friendship-community,” used as either an adjective or a noun, meaning: a pair of connected or correlative things, or; a couple or pair of opposites.
- Poetry: syzygy is 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 repeatedly throughout a passage, but not necessarily at the beginning of each word.
- 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. Examples include Dieties of Life and Death or of Sun and Moon, which are frequently depicted as male and female, and having a mutually opposing and mutually dependent relationship.
Zoology: The association of two protozoa end-to-end or laterally for the purpose of asexual exchange of genetic material; the pairing of chromosomes in meiosis