Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Vettius Valens is a 2nd century Hellenistic astrologer whose Anthology is the longest surviving greek astrological text happens to be the only source of the time lord technique of antiquity called Zodiacal Releasing. Zodiacal Releasing is a technique which is philosophically close to the Dasha systems in Indian astrology which divides life into various periods ruled by various signs that get activated based upon the derived points of the nativity.
In the book IV of his Anthology, Valens introduces Zodiacal Releasing (ZR). ZR works on the basis of derived points from the nativity such as the Lot of Fortune and Lot of Spirit. There are many lots from which we can release to see how different lots signify different events in life. However, Valens suggests the usage of fortune and spirit.
“I will now append this truly powerful method: to begin the vital sector with the Lot of Fortune and with Daimon) which signify the Moon and the Sun). Universally speaking, the moon is fortune, body and spirit and when it sends it emanations to us from its position near the earth, it causes appropriate effects, since it rules our bodily constitution. The Sun is the cosmic mind and divinity. It arouses men’s souls to action through its own energy and love-inspiring nature, and it becomes the cause of employment and progress.”
Page 71, Book IV, Anthology by Vettius Valens, Translation by Mark Riley
As you can see, Valens almost seems to suggest that releasing from Fortune and Spirit can give us a picture of what as astrologers we need to see in terms of predicting events or understanding the nature/quality of life of a native. Valens also talks about crucial periods that might be important in a native's life which I will deal with in another post in future.
Emanation is something that flows out of a source or derived out of something, usually from the Gods in the greek Philosophy. The Neoplatonic philosopher, Plotinus, in his The Enneads, explored and explained his idea of emanations in a detailed manner. Below are the sentences from The Enneads.
And towards the Intellectual-Principle what is our relation? By this I mean, not that faculty in the soul which is one of the emanations from the Intellectual-Principle, but The Intellectual-Principle itself [Divine-Mind].
This also we possess as the summit of our being. And we have It either as common to all or as our own immediate possession: or again we may possess It in both degrees, that is in common, since It is indivisible- one, everywhere and always Its entire self- and severally in that each personality possesses It entire in the First-Soul [i.e. in the Intellectual as distinguished from the lower phase of the Soul].
Hence we possess the Ideal-Forms also after two modes: in the Soul, as it were unrolled and separate; in the Intellectual-Principle, concentrated, one.
The Enneads, Plotinus (http://classics.mit.edu/Plotinus/enneads.1.first.html)
Just like any other time lord technique, in ZR, there are specific derived starting points or releasing points from where the timing periods as to specific signs/planets will be activated in a nativity.
Philosophically, most of the timing techniques are derived from a specific point in a nativity and they emanate from where they are released and where the signifier of the underlying reality is currently placed. The outcomes of a period are bound to the condition of the ruling planet of a sign, planets that are placed in the activated sign and the planets that are aspecting the activated sign or the planet. Benefits emanate if the configurations are good and maleficence emanates if the configurations are bad. This phenomenon takes us too close to the stoic ideology and appears as if there is no freewill at all. But, the philosophical nature of the technique is such that!
Aries and Scorpio - 15 years
Taurus and Libra - 8 years
Gemini and Virgo - 20 years
Cancer - 25 years
Leo - 19 years
Sagittarius and Pisces - 12 years
Capricorn - 27 years
Aquarius - 30 years
A major period will have 3 more levels of sub periods which adds more precision and understanding when it comes to predictive astrology.
Loosing of the bond
Any period that is more than 17 ½ years will have the repetition of the sub periods and when the cycle of sub periods are over, instead of starting from the beginning, it actually jumps to the opposite sign of the period where the cycle ended. This is called as “loosing of the bond”. Why 17 ½ years? Because it is the total number of years of all the sub periods. In a Capricorn period which will be active for 27 years, the cycle of sub periods will be over in 17 ½ years. Instead of beginning the cycle from Capricorn, the sub period jumps to Gemini after completing the first cycle in Sagittarius.
My view of this technique
ZR is something that is not so hard for those who have studied and practiced Vedic astrology because of the habit of working with the Dashas. I have been exploring this technique for almost a year. Earlier, I tested with the 360 day format which did not seem to match with the events of some of the charts I tested. After sometime, I switched to 365.25 day method of calculating the zodiacal releasing periods and it started working when I did some research with some of the events in some nativities.
Chris Brennan is an important proponent of this technique and he teaches a course on Zodiacal Releasing. His book is a decent place to start learning ZR. Mark Riley’s translation of Valens’ anthology is a great resource that is available to us. However, I am still not sure whether we have completely decoded the utility and ways of working with ZR. I have a gut feeling that we still need to understand a bit more and you will see why I am saying this. There has always been a grey area in ZR, at least for me which convinces me that I need to explore more.
For the image of ruling periods, please click here for a free chart created by Chris Brennan.
To explore the technique, I will use the nativity of George Washington, the first President of the USA.
Source of birth time and events:
Note: I have used the sidereal zodiac and whole sign house system.
Death of Father 12 April 1743
L1 - Pisces, L2 - Scorpio, L3 - Leo, L4 -Scorpio (Releasing from Fortune)
The death of the father and matters like that are out of the native’s control and hence I am checking the periods activated relative to the lot of fortune. The native was living through L1 (level 1) Pisces and L2 (level 2) Scorpio ruled by Jupiter and Mars respectively.
Lot of fortune is placed in Pisces and Jupiter is the ruler of Pisces and also the ruler of fortune. Hence, the mutable signs will become the peak periods. Peak periods are those signs that are angular from where the fortune is placed. Ruler of fortune, Jupiter is reeling in Virgo as it is in detriment opposing Saturn. However, Saturn is the malefic in sect but still natural malefic with the lot of fortune brings difficulty. 9th house from fortune (Scorpio) contains Mars which is very strong in its own territory. However, Mars is the malefic out of sect and is the most difficult planet of the nativity. Scorpio is also the 8th house from the Ascendant which indicates trouble. Ruler of Virgo, Mercury is applying to a trine with Jupiter but still the detriment is not a really strong position to call the shots and that too with the sub period ruled by Mars which is the out of favour malefic.
In L3 (level 3) we have loosing of the bonds and the period shifts from Aquarius to Leo. Leo is the 6th house from fortune. The signs in aversion from the derived positions (fortune in this case) are also indicative of challenges. L4 (level 4) is Scorpio which is the double activation of Mars in Scorpio. Mars is the out of sect malefic in a super strong position and being placed in the 9th from Fortune indicates the loss of father. (9th house is the house of father in Vedic astrology and I stick to it).
L1 - Gemini, L2, Aquarius, L3 - Virgo, L4 - Leo (Releasing from Spirit)
Gemini is angular from Fortune and ruler of Gemini, Mercury is posited in the 11th house from fortune and in the 10th house from the Ascendant close to the MC. Hence, Mercury is very prominent in the chart. Mercury is the ruler of the lot of spirit. An angular sign from fortune indicates some kind of a turning point in life direction. L2 Aquarius is 12th from fortune which indicates loss and misfortune. Sun is posited in Aquarius which is activated and Sun signifies Father. Sun in 12th sign of loss from fortune symbolically indicates loss of father.
L3 Virgo is again another angular sign from fortune. Virgo also contains the ruler of fortune, Jupiter in detriment indicating a crucial period in life where the native has to face an irreversible loss and left alone with half brother which is almost descriptive of exile (Jupiter in detriment). Leo is L4 which is 6th from fortune and brings all the difficulties related to being in aversion from the derived point.
Interestingly, just 4 days after his father passed away, there was loosing of the bond and the L3 shifted to Pisces, which contains the lot of fortune. This cannot be ignored at all.
Inherited money in 1752 when half brother died
L1 - Cancer, L2 - Capricorn, L3/L4 - Pisces (Releasing from spirit)
After the death of the half brother, the native, inherited some of money in 1952 and later in 1961, after the death of his half brother’s wife, he took over Mount Vernon. Taking over Mount Vernon was a great breakthrough in becoming a wealthy man.
Ruler of the major period, the Moon is placed in an angular position from fortune and the Moon rules the 5th house from fortune. 5th and 9th houses indicate gains from ancestry and lineage. L2 is Capricorn and Saturn is placed along with the lot of fortune. The Moon is posited in the most powerful angle of Sagittarius which is 10th from fortune.
Despite the fact that there is something to grieve, the native had the other side of taking over the property. In this case, all the planets are connected with the angles from fortune and hence proved out to be a major stepping stone in the native’s life. Importantly, the level 1 activation of Pisces is due to the loosing of the bond at the end of the Virgo’s main period.
Took command of continental army on 3 July 1775
L1 - Capricorn, L2 - Pisces, L3 - Capricorn, L4 - Aquarius (Releasing from spirit)
Saturn is the ruler of MC and Capricorn period bringing about a major inclination in life direction and career is certainly not a surprise. Yet again, it is simple. Ruler of Capricorn is placed with the lot of fortune. L2 is the sign of Pisces and Jupiter is the ruler of fortune and it is a major peak period. In this case, all the four levels of ZR are connected to the angular positions from fortune in the nativity which makes it as one of the most prominent periods in the native’s life.
First US President on 30 April 1789 at 13:00 hours
L1 - Leo, L2 - Aries, L3 - Aries, L4 - Gemini (Releasing from spirit)
Except for L4 Gemini, there is no connection with the angular peak periods. However, Leo ruled by the Sun is very critical here if we go back to the fundamentals. Sun indicates government and 12th house is public life. Sun ruling the major period as being the 6th lord from fortune, indicates, public life. 6th house is service and connection with 12th house from fortune indicates public service. Being the President of a nation is nothing but the highest office of public life and service.
L2/L3 Aries is ruled by Mars and Mars is strongly placed in the 9th house from fortune. There must certainly have been a lot of hardships during the term as President but I do not know what they were. 9th house signifies representative of people or a community or a city or a state or a nation. Depending upon the dignity of the ruler of the 9th house, the native will achieve social status and fame. Mars is out of sect malefic but there are mitigating factors such as Mars being in its own sign and a nocturnal sign. Despite the fact that Mars is a malefic because of its sect status, Mars rules the Ascendant and it becomes imperative for us to understand that Mars is bound to elevate the native to keep up the promise of its role in accordance to this particular nativity.
L4 Gemini is obviously a peak period but more importantly, Mercury is posited in the 11th house from fortune which is the house of good diamon. Mercury is close to the MC in the bounds of Venus which posited along with the lot of fortune. Ruler of Mercury, Saturn is also placed with fortune.
This probably is a good example as to why not just peak periods are only important. But the condition and dignity of a planet that is activated it also equally important while working with ZR.
One more interesting fact is, Saturn the ruler of the 10th and 11th house from the Ascendant is also the Master of the nativity (Oikodespotes) and Saturn is posited with the lot of fortune. My dear friend and colleague, Tania Daniels adviced me to check the positions from hyleg. Likewise, there are many other places from where we might have to decode a specific event based upon the nature of the event. In this chart, Oikodespotes (Master of the nativity) seems to be crucial if we see the amount of periods when Saturn was activated.
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