They have their own special roles to play in the horoscope, and are usually concerned more with pathology and anomalies than they are with basic health, vitality and longevity. The general rule is to limit the selection of the Hyleg to one of the seven classical planets. The luminaries , or the Sun and Moon , being the main sources of power, energy and vitality in the natal horoscope, are naturally the first planets to be considered.
In a day birth Sun above the horizon , the Sun takes precedence over the Moon, but in a night birth Sun below the horizon , the Moon takes precedence. If neither the Sun nor the Moon qualify to be Hyleg, then the other planets are considered. The Hyleg should have no debilities; in other words, it should not be in the sign of its detriment or fall. It should also not be afflicted or in hard aspect to another planet, especially to the malefics - Mars or Saturn.
Exceptions may be made for the Sun and Moon at the lunar quarters. The Hyleg planet should also not be retrograde, nor should it be in anything other than a Hylegaical house. If none of the seven classical planets can qualify as being the Hyleg, then the Ascendant itself becomes the Hyleg.
This could be considered to be the default option. When it comes to matters of essential planetary dignities, classical astrologers like Ptolemy had a much more complex and involved system for reckoning them than modern astrology. In addition to the modern dignities of rulership and exaltation , the ancients also figured in the triplicity rulers as well as the lords of the terms and faces. In addition, they had a point system for tallying up or measuring the relative strength or debility of a planet, based on its essential dignities and debilities.
The planet with the greatest essential dignity is called the Almuten. With Ptolemy's method the Hyleg, being the planet with the greatest essential dignity over the above five key positions in the natal horoscope, functions like a Grand Almuten of the entire chart. To score and determine exactly what this Grand Almuten is, put the symbols for the seven classical planets across the top of the page.
Under each, write down in a vertical column all the points each planet receives regarding each of the above five positions. At the end, tally up the total number of points for each planet; the planet with the highest score or total overall wins. As a reference chart for scoring, especially regarding the more obscure classical dignities, I provide you with the following link.
If no planet can qualify to be the Hyleg, then the Ascendant itself becomes the Hyleg. Once the Hyleg has been determined, it is analyzed according to its various accidental dignities to determine the native's potential for health and longevity. The point system for scoring these accidental dignities and debilities is also in the the Skyscript article that accompanies the chart on the above link. Accidental dignities add to the Hyleg's potential for health and vitality, whereas accidental debilities detract from it.
The 17th century English astrologer William Lilly also had his method for determining the Hyleg. In classical and medieval astrology, there was also a planetary significator that was antithetical to the Hyleg. Valens seems to have used whole sign places for this consideration but there is some ambiguity as he talks about operative degrees and introduces a quadrant division for finding them at one point. Still, whole sign houses appear to have been primarily used for the control determination. We know this because Valens considers the Sun as Sect Light in the 1st to be ideal, despite the fact that it would be cadent by quadrant division.
In that case the one that next aspects the Ascendant is preferred. Also, a Sun or Moon in fall, or Moon under the beams, is not to be taken as control unless it is on the Ascendant by degree. If neither the Sun nor Moon are eligible i. If both Lights are together i. If the Moon is on the Ascendant and will become full within a day but outside of the bound of the Ascendant, then the lifespan is marked by the distance from it to the degree of the Full Moon that day.
A malefic aspecting the degree or opposing the rising sign confirms death in this case. A benefic regard can be protective, such that there is just injury or suffering. As with Dorotheus, Valens takes the control as the main indicator for the life. Ascensional times to its square or sometimes from one angle to another indicate maximum lifespan.
Malefic directions to it that lack influence from a benefic indicate a life cut short before its time. Note that in his Book VI Ch. The implication is if a luminary is the control then we want to start with that planet as the first time lord for decennials.
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If a luminary is not the control, then one starts with the first planet after the Ascendant in zodiacal order. This use of the control as kicking off a time lord technique showing general life circumstances is similar to the use of the control by Dorotheus. Dorotheus used the control in the context of distributions through the bounds to show general life circumstance. The implication is that the control is a planet or point with the greatest power to influence life circumstances.
Its significance extends well beyond the context of finding the length of the life. Valens also instructs at multiple points that if the Sun and Moon have the same bound lord then that planet should be taken as the governor. The determination of the control is said to be certain if its bound lord is regarded by the Sun or Moon and it is at an angle or in operative degrees i. Presumably, this means the bound lord should regard the control and itself be angular or at least not retreating.
Valens in fact adds that there is no houseruler if it is turned away. Valens used the greater years of the governor as a possible indicator of maximum lifespan. However, there are other competing indicators of maximum lifespan, namely the point square to the control following it in zodiacal order. First, there must be a governor. Next, one prefers the governor if its greater years indicate a shorter life than that indicated by the square of the control. Valens only uses the greater years of the governor in this context.
He also subtracts from that indication if the governor is badly placed such as in the 12th. To subtract he uses a portion of the greater years based on the amount of separation of the planet from an angle see Valens for details. Medieval astrologers, like Umar al-Tabari, used quadrant house angularity to determine if an alcocoden gave its greater, middle, or lesser planetary years.
Valens advised to set up porphyry-style houses i. He noted that this technique came from an astrologer named Orion. However, it does not reference planetary years at all. Instead, he introduced this manner of division just after referring to operative degrees. Presumably this is to clarify what the operative degrees are. If it is found to be turned away, the nativity is judged to lack a houseruler. It is important to know whether the governor is strong. Valens instructed that a favorable governor can prevent the shortening of the lifespan from the rays of the malefics.
There is the possibility that the operative degrees could also be used for the finding a suitable control. However, as far as indicating the houses to use for the procedure, it is unlikely. This bit about the houses for finding the control is not clear, but there is an implication that the Sun by day in the 1st house is ideal. Such a Sun would be in inoperative degrees. However, some other Hellenistic astrologers particularly Ptolemy did resort to a quadrant division in determination of the appropriate control.
It also makes good sense that the most influential planet over general life circumstances should be one that is powerful by this method of division. Valens advocated taking the distance in terms of ascensional times from the control to the point square to it. To do this add 90 degrees to its zodiacal position and then convert that to ascensional times. However, if the control is itself an angle Asc or MC , then he advised taking ascensions from the angle to the next angle instead e.
Asc to IC.
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Note that in an example given by Valens, he took the distance from the control to the following angle rather than to its square. The sector of the square or the quadrant is the vital sector and its number of years by ascensional times is considered the maximum length of life. The native will live that long, provided that there is no governor indicating fewer years, and that no malefic direction cuts things shorter.
When there is a malefic direction, then Valens identifies the vital sector as the distance in ascensions from the control to that malefic ray. Valens noted that certain aspects to a point in the vital sector or to the hyleg can cut the life short. These are aspects from Saturn, Mars, the Sun, and in certain circumstances the Moon coming to a phase. The aspect must be within 3 degrees on either side of the degree containing the hyleg itself; a 7 degree span. Valens also noted the importance of the bounds of the malefics. He also noted aphetic bounds, which are presumably the bounds where other possible aphetas fall Sun, Moon, angles.
These bounds are called the anaeretic places in each sign. Valens used planetary years more than any other astrologer in predictive techniques. This only comes into play under specific circumstances and always involves the greater years of the bound lord of the control. Valens provided some explicit examples.
The technique involves allotting vital sector in ascensional years. In other words, in that case the length of life is the arc in ascensions from control to malefic aspect. In the example below, he suggests deducting a portion of the greater years of the governor based on its separation from an angle if it is badly placed.
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See the Project Hindsight translation of this book for more details on how that is done. Having found the total time, you can forecast that the native will live as many years. This forecast will be accurate if the houseruler is in its own terms or is configured appropriately, has contact or is in aspect with the apheta, and if no anaereta applies its rays and deducts from the number of years. If the houseruler is not in aspect with the controller, but is otherwise found to be favorably configured i.
The technique of using the square of the hyleg, or going from one angle to the next, becomes clearer in the many examples that Valens provided. As noted, he goes from one angle to the next if the hyleg is an angle. I can forecast this total of years, unless some anaereta casts its rays. Additionally, Valens presented many more methods for finding critical threats to life. If we do not find them to be such, we will use the following method.
It is a corruption because Valens instructed that the lot is from the nearest New Moon rather than from the prenatal syzygy. In other words, Valens wants us to start from the postnatal New Moon if the birth is after the Full Moon. The corruption is easy to understand. Confusingly, Valens advised to take the lot from birth Moon to postnatal New Moon if birth is preventional, but then to project it in the opposite direction from the Ascendant toward MC rather than toward IC.
This is exactly the same as a lot taken from the postnatal New Moon to the Moon, projected in the usual manner. This lot is used as an exact stand-in for the control. We look to the square from it as a maximum life span by ascensional times. Compare that with the indication from its bound lord if its properly situated. We then take into account any possible malefic directions by ascensional times in which the malefic is strong enough to kill and there is not intervention from a benefic. Again, we take the shorter indication of length of life among the three.
When assigning years for the governor using the hylegical lot, Valens at one point uses mean and minimum years. This may be the antecedent to the use of mean and lesser years of the alcocoden in the later approach. However, Valens gives mean or lesser years due to certain incongruities between the governor and other planets. If it is so configured then it gives the greater years of the governor.
Valens also wants the governor to be configured favorably with the control and its domicile ruler. If the governor itself is strong in its own sign or operative signs, then it indicates maximum. If it is not configured with either then there is no governor. Valens provides a number of additional techniques in Book III including for instance one involving the nodes and one involving the Lot of Fortune. He sometimes also adds the minor years of the ruler of the ruler. The sum indicates lifespan. The logic is that the ascensional time of Fortune itself is not added if it is not well-placed e.
The great diversity of techniques in Valens reflects the great diversity of his early sources. It is in stark contrast to the homogenization of the length of life approach in the Medieval period. The Valens material provides many interesting avenues for further research. In summary, Valens provided a plethora of techniques for determining the length of life.
Many of the techniques can be found in Book III, including some which appear to have influenced the later tradition. Like Dorotheus, Valens has rules for finding a control, directs using ascensional times, and stresses the danger of malefic bounds and aspects. However, Valens also put a lot of stress on the vital sector. This vital sector is the distance in ascensional times from a control to its zodiacal square or the next angle in zodiacal order. Valens also has rules for using the greater years of the bound lord of the control as an indication of maximum lifespan.
The shear number of techniques provided by Valens suggests that confluence was important to him. In other words, it is likely that Valens would find the surest indication as one which revealed itself in a number of separate techniques. As indications from one technique to the next will vary, we must be careful of trying to find the single technique that works on a given chart. Rather, with so many options the burden of efficacy increases, as surely one technique out of so many will always get close to the mark due to chance alone.
Either one or two techniques in concert must work all the time or confluence between multiple techniques of a small set must exist which accurately reflects lifespan. Finally, Ptolemy also writes on the length of life in Chapter 10 of Book III of the Tetrabiblos click here for a link to a translation online. His instructions for finding the apheta were considered by almost all astrologers commenting on the technique in the Middle Ages. It is notably at a variance in some respects with the instructions given by Dorotheus. Additionally, he appears to have only accepted the Sun or Moon as apheta if they are in the 1st, 11th, 10th, 9th, or 7th place of that division.
This differs from Dorotheus, as Dorotheus definitely did not permit aphetas in the 9th place. Additionally, Ptolemy allows any planet to be the control under certain circumstances. As with the other authorities, Ptolemy would prefer the Sect Light to be apheta. However, it must be in the 1st equal house or one of the equal houses that regard it above the horizon. It not, then check the other Light.
If neither Light can be apheta then things get more complicated as we look to see if any of the other planets are a sufficiently strong compound ruler of certain points. If the Lights cannot be aphetas then we must look at the other planets that are in the authoritative places. We must check how much testimony each of these planets has over three key points in the chart.
These differ for day and night births. The planet with the most testimonies over these positions is called the ruler of the proper sect. For day births, we look at testimony over the Sun, prenatal conjunction new moon , and the Ascendant. For night births, we look at testimony over the Moon, prenatal prevention full moon , and the Lot of Fortune. We must see which planet has the most at least 3 forms of testimony domicile, exaltation, triplicity, bound, or being in whole sign aspect or in the same sign over these points. If this planet also fails then we take the Ascendant if the birth was by day.
If the birth was by night, he takes the Ascendant if the birth was after a New Moon, but the Lot of Fortune if birth was after a Full Moon. In certain cases, Ptolemy seems to allow another planet to be apheta instead of a Light that is in the appropriate place. The exception appears to be one that has testimony over the key points and is in a more authoritative place than the Lights.
If both Lights are in authoritative places then the ruler of the proper sect can only be chosen in one circumstance. It must actually be the ruler of both sects testimony over both day and night sets of points and in a more authoritative place than either Light. Note that any apheta must be in the 1st, 11th, 10th, 9th, or 7th place by equal houses. Therefore, you can restrict your focus to planet in those areas, starting with the Sect Light, then the other Light, then the other planets. Only if none of them qualifies do you resort to the Ascendant or Lot of Fortune depending on the chart.
From there, Ptolemy determines length of life by means of primary directions involving the apheta. Ptolemy uses real traditional primary directions rather than ascensional times like the other sources. He directs planets and points to the apheta as is usual in primary directions. However, if the apheta is located in the quadrant from the Dsc to the MC, then he also suggests directing the apheta itself to the Descendant.
The Descendant is symbolic of death, being the point where planets disappear i. Ptolemy recommended the usual technique of looking for a malefic direction to the apheta. He actually went to great lengths to criticize the inaccuracy of ascensional times for points other than the Ascendant. He explains how to calculate true primary directions. According to Ptolemy, directions of Mars and Saturn by conjunction, square, or opposition can indicate death. He also allows for sextiles separated by signs of long ascension, sextiles between two signs of equal ascension, and trines separated by signs of short ascension to indicate death from malefics.
Additionally, Mercury can be malefic if configured with malefics and the Sun can destroy by conjunction if the Moon is apheta.
The potential anaereta is said to be unable to destroy if it is under the beams of the Sun. Also, the bounds of a benefic, or the aspect of a benefic by square trine or opposition can prevent death. My understanding is that this is the bound of the directed apheta and aspects to the directed apheta. Some have interpreted the passage to pertain to the bounds of the malefics themselves and aspects to the malefics but that is inconsistent with the other sources. These aspects must be exactly to the degree or to the degrees following the apheta, within 8 degrees for Venus or 12 degrees for Jupiter.
In other words, the benefic protects from the degree of its aspect to 8 or 12 degrees after it depending on the planet. The benefic must also not be under the beams. If there are multiple aspectual directions to the apheta, from benefics and malefics, then we are to consider which are stronger. Additionally, an anaereta might not kill if it has a different latitude than the apheta one is north and the other south or vice-versa.
In Book IV of the Tetrabiblos, Ptolemy advises to look at directions to the Ascendant for matters concerning the body. Therefore, even though Ptolemy used directions to the control for length of life, we might also want to consider directions to the Ascendant for general health concerns. He emphasized finding a control and examining malefic directions to it. Ptolemy also insisted that actual primary directions by proportional semi-arc should be used rather than just ascensional times.
What is common among the three early Hellenistic authors is a stress on primary directions involving a control. Also, the indication of time of death is not necessarily by an aspectual primary direction to the hyleg. Dorotheus opened up the possibility of death by a malefic distribution. Ptolemy up the possibility of death by direction to the Descendant. These are important points.
Planetary years of the alcocoden and aspectual directions to the hyleg became the cornerstones of the later Medieval approach. In the early Hellenistic era, when it comes to timing it is by primary directions, but not necessarily by malefic aspect. Also, ascensional times are typically preferred to actual primary directions. When it comes to use of planetary years, it is only the bound lord of the hyleg, in certain circumstances, that can indicate a maximum lifespan related to its greater years. The actual lifespan may be much shorter than that indicated by the bound lord.
The late Hellenistic techniques of Firmicus Maternus and Paulus Alexandrinus brought in a much stronger emphasis on planetary years. The technique of Paulus appears to have been particularly influential in shaping the later Medieval approaches. One of the earliest techniques relying heavily on different levels of planetary years based on condition in the chart is from Maternus. It is found in Book II, Ch.
However, some features of the technique resemble the more influential approach of Paulus Alexandrinus. In the Maternus technique the ruler of the nativity giver of life signifies the length of life based on its own planetary years and the strength of its position. Maternus provides instructions for finding the ruler of the nativity in Book IV, Ch. XIX of Brams. In his instructions he does appear to relate some methods that are discussed in Dorotheus and Valens in relation to the alcocoden. For instance, he noted that some use the bound lord of the Sect Light as the ruler of the nativity.
Also, for Maternus the Sun or the Moon cannot be the ruler of the nativity, so you must take Virgo Mercury if the Moon is in Gemini or Cancer at birth i. For example, if the Moon were in Scorpio at birth, then the ruler of the nativity would be Jupiter, as it rules Sagittarius, the next sign after the Moon. The ruler of the nativity is the single most important planet for describing the person. For instance, a well-placed Jupiter as ruler of life will make for a magnanimous character. A well-placed Mercury as ruler of life will signify a learned character.
The ruler of the chart is also used to allot the years for the length of life by Maternus. He instructed how to do this in Book II, Ch. XXV Brams trans. A favorable chart ruler gives its greater years, while one that is unfavorably situated gives its lesser years, or even just about as many months as its lesser years. For Maternus, favorably situated means in a good house, in a good sign, and in good degrees.
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For instance, if the ruler is in his own house, exaltation, or bound and with favorable aspects then the greater years are indicated. Maternus interestingly relies heavily on planetary years of a single chart ruler that also indicates personality. His method of taking the ruler of the sign after the Moon is arguably the weakest approach to finding a chart lord in the Hellenistic astrological literature.
It is also less than compelling as a methodology for finding a governor that indicates years. The approaches of most other Hellenistic astrologers relied upon various methods of timing through primary directions, lacking in Maternus. One may also question the value of putting such important significations as the length of life and main character traits into one planet. It is not as much of a synthesis as found in the Medieval Persian texts because Paulus treats of primary directions in another chapter on times of crisis Ch. In his chapter on directions he noted to look at those to the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant, rather than specific hylegical significator.
In Chapter 36, he is instead interested in the chart ruler, as was Maternus. However, his method for the chart ruler is more akin to the Dorothean approach to find the governor. However, there are some key differences:. Rather he is focused on finding the governor planet with rulership. This governor is a chart ruler of sorts and Paulus uses some of the classical rules for finding the control as a means of establishing this ruler. This chart ruler or governor determines the length of life. His method for finding the control is similar to early astrologers in that he looks to the rulers of the Lights, with a preference for the Sect Light.
Also, the Light must be in certain productive places. By day the Light must be in the 1st, 10th, or 11th, but can be in the 7th or 8th if the sign is mascuine diurnal. By night, the Light must be in the 1st, 10th, 7th, 4th, 11th, or 5th place. These are whole sign places. If there is no Light in these places then we look at the prenatal syzygy, Fortune, Spirit, and the Ascendant in that order of priority. My understanding is that one of these must be in one of the authoritative places or the Ascendant last resort is used.
The governor or chart ruler is the ruler of the bound, domicile, exaltation, or triplicity of the control. It is also configured with the control. If more than one planet is a configured ruler of the control then we consider which has more forms of rulership and is stronger.
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For instance, the one that is in a stake, morning rising, exalted, or scrutinizing the Sect Light close aspect. We must examine the next possible control. It is sometimes unclear whether Paulus is requiring the control or the governor to be in one of the authoritative places. However, this becomes clear later when Paulus assigns years to the governor according to its place. This implies that the governor does not need to be in one of the authoritative places. The Sun or Moon can also be governor for Paulus. Presumably this is due to ruling the control. However, one wonders if a planet can be both ruler and control, such as a well-placed Light in a place that it rules.
Paulus is not clear on this so I assume it is possible. Olympiadorus 6th century in his commentary on Paulus accepted that the Sun could be its own governor. Perso-Arabic astrologers also assumed that the Sun or Moon in domicile or exaltation could be both control and governor. Olympiadorus also clarifies that we are to examine the first triplicity ruler, not all triplicity rulers.
The governor gives its greater year if it is well-placed. However, if it fall under the beams in a cadent place then it gives the lesser years plus the same amount in months, days, and hours. The Sun if cadent also gives the lesser years with months, days, and hours — Paulus says as long it is in a masculine sign. For instance, Venus as governor under the beams in the 6th place would give 8 years, 8 months, 8 days, and 8 hours.
By contrast, Venus in a strong place where she has some rulership and free from the beams would give 82 years. Rather it is the estimate of the lifespan. For Paulus only a non-Light governor can have years added or subtracted and only a non-Light planet can add or subtract years. Many modern astrologers question the ethics of attempting to predict the length of a person's life and the practice has been largely dropped by modern astrologers.
I tend to look at it as the planet that breathes life into the person, giving vitality. According to the works of Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, Book III, Chapter 10, this is determined by looking to see if, in this order, the Sun, Moon, ascendant, lot or part of fortune are in any of the following zones of the chart, also in order of importance:.
Sun is given importance above Moon in a diurnal chart but Moon gains dominance in a nocturnal chart. If neither Sun nor Moon lie in these zones then the ruler of the Ascendant is considered next. If that too fails, look to the lot of fortune. In determining the vitality of the person care must be taken to consider all of the traditional dignities including term and face. Sun being hyleg and in its fall does not necessarily mean the person has a weak constitution. If the previous lunation was a New Moon, the chart is called Conjunctional and you would look to the ascendant as potential hyleg.
If there was a full Moon before birth, the chart is called Preventional. You would then look to the part of fortune for potential hyleg. He also suggested to look at who had at least 3 dignities and was connected to the Sun at the prior lunation. But, he through in a complication, saying that if it were a diurnal chart then there needed to be a new Moon prior to birth and for a nocturnal chart, a full Moon.
Apparently, those born with a waxing moon at night would have to depend on the ascendant alone. In fact, he points out that many used the ascendant and skipped all the other rules. It might work, since the ascendant shows the primary constitution and is a major health indicator.
It may be a malefic planet, lord or almuten of the 8th house or a planet in the 8th house. The terms of the malefics or infortunes are called anaretic degrees also. Times when Mars or Saturn transit the hyleg are times to use more caution in caring for one's self but not necessarily dangerous, unless they are afflicted while making a harsh aspect. At that time they are like a person that intends harm meeting us head on or even hiding around the corner, lying in wait.
If not afflicted they are not considered the potential grim reaper. One whose Moon is hyleg would benefit from practices that assist in balancing the emotional body and maintain peace of mind. One whose ascendant is hyleg would be wise in honoring the true nature of self at the soul level so the higher self can shine through the vehicle of the personality.
If the lot of fortune is giver of life, the physical realm is highlighted more than the mental or emotional attitudes about life and health. When it comes to judging the Alchocoden, bringer of years, each planet has a number attached, shown in the following table. In my natal chart, neither Sun nor Moon are within these zones so I look to the ascendant for the hyleg. Leo rises which gives a strong constitution and is ruled by the Sun.
So Sun is hyleg by default. It is placed in Virgo in the 2nd house. Sun in Virgo is considered Peregrine, foreign but just happens to be at the solstice point of the degree where the Sun is most exalted, 19 Aries. So my Sun receives accidental dignity and could be considered an invited foreigner into the earth plane. Sun receives nice aspects to the nodes and to Mars who is exalted. The trine and sextile to the nodes shows that the Moon is in agreement to handing power over to the Sun and may give special help as the Moon is exalted an honored guest in the 2nd.
The mutable Virgo nature brings in the ability to be adaptable and frugal when necessary in an area that is usually fixed in nature. At nearly 52 I have no major health conditions other than the injuries sustained at work. It is true that I am powered by the Sun. My energy is low when it is cloudy for more than a day. Even if I'm indoors I am much more energized on sunny days whether it is hot or cold.
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