Dobyns, Zipporah (1921– )
Zipporah Dobyns, Religious Science minister and astrologer,
was born Zipporah Pottenger in Chicago, Illinois, on August
26, 1921. Set on a rather mundane trajectory, she attended
the University of Chicago and received her B.A. in
anthropology in 1944. She pursued graduate work in her field
at both the University of Chicago and the University of Arizona.
However, rather than launching a career as an anthropologist,
she married Henry F. Dobyns in 1948 and during the next
eight years became the mother of four children. She and her
husband separated in 1956, the same year she began the study
of astrology with a teacher in the Church of Light using the material
written by Elbert Benjamine (1882–1951).
A diligent student, she quickly mastered the material and established
herself as a practicing astrologer. In 1960, the first
time that professional exams were administered by the American
Federation of Astrologers, she completed them successfully.
She also changed her academic field and returned to the
University of Arizona to complete both a master’s (1966) and
doctoral degree (1969) in clinical psychology. Along the way
she had joined the United Church of Religious Science and was
ordained as a minister in the church in 1968. In 1969 she
moved to California to join the staff of the Los Angeles Community
Church of Religious Science.
Dobyns wrote her first astrology text, Evolution through the
Zodiac, in 1964. However, it was in the 1970s that her work
began to attract the attention of her colleagues. She became
one of the principal voices urging the integration of astrology
with psychology, a cause initially championed by Dane Rudhyar
that began to bear fruit as psychologically trained astrologers
such as Dobyns came on the scene. Dobyns’ first major text
in this area, Finding the Person in the Horoscope, appeared in
1973.
Dobyns also was among the first astrologers to make use of
the wealth of new information coming out of the astrological
community concerning asteroids, the majority of which are
smaller planetoid bodies that swing in an orbit between Mars
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Dobyns, Zipporah
435
and Jupiter. Only discovered in the nineteenth century, the asteroid
belt was not mentioned in traditional astrology, and only
in the mid-twentieth century did astronomers begin to distinguish
and name the large asteroids. In the early 1970s an initial
ephemeris of the four major (and first discovered) asteroids
(Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta) was published. Dobyns published
a similar work in 1977. These books aroused interest in
the four larger asteroids while raising the question of the significance
of asteroids for the entire community. Dobyns attempted
to answer the host of questions attendant upon the introduction
of asteroids into the horoscope in her later book,
Expanding Astrology’s Universe (1983).
One of Dobyns’ children, Martha Pottenger, continues
Dobyns’ work. Pottenger also obtained degrees in psychology
and has authored a number of books built around a theme already
present in her mother’s writing, the use of astrology to
map the psyche and thus illuminate the choices and options
open to the client.
Sources
Dobyns, Zipporah. Evolution Through the Zodiac. LA TIA
Publications, 1964, 1972.
———. Expanding Astrology’s Universe. San Diego Astro
Computing, 1988.
———. Finding the Person in the Horoscope. LA TIA Publications,
1976.
———, and Nancy