Hyleg and Alchocoden has become somewhat of a well-known concept in the astrological community. In this article I explain how certain well-meaning but insufficiently educated astrologers mislead the community by presenting the Hyleg and Alcocoden as the original system of length of life calculation in Astrology.
Why it is crucial to know the differences between the various types of Astrology
Astrology is an enormous subject. Human life is only a small and ephemeral part of it. It is for this reason that when someone has anything authoritative to say about Astrology, they, regardless of intention, had better done their homework.
Astrology, the natal branch which I am concerned with in this article, encompasses a few well-known and established types Babylonian, Hellenistic, Perso-Arabic and Medieval, to mention the Western tradition. Otherwise, Indian Astrology/Jyotish also contains a few natal types. Chinese Astrology which has 3 natal types. The point here is that the types of a given Astrology may seem very similar on the surface, but when one studies them properly, it will become clear show there are significant differences in them.
Since Astrology deals with pretty much almost everything in one’s life and the essence of human life has almost not changed at all, it is vital that the practitioner knows the fundamental principles and how the various topics and their delineation and prediction was formed. The reason for this is very simple. If the practitioner studies the history not just of Astrology but other very powerful types of knowledge such as Classical Feng Shui, Western Physiognomy, Chinese Physiognomy (Face and Palm and Body Reading), Magic, it will become evident that there was a golden period during which the fundamental principles were laid down. After this period, with few exceptions, knowledge was passed down from teacher to student in the next 1000+ years.
The Hyleg and Alchocoden in the topic of length life in Astrology
One of the major things that prompted me to write this article is the length of life topic in Astrology, which is among my favourite ones. I recently heard this radio podcast (episode 2 Length of Life, which can be downloaded for free, as all the others):
The two astrologers are well-read in general, but no way near well enough when discussing this most important topic. They make the typical mistake for which I warned in my article The Term “Ancient Astrology”: Why I Use It and What I Mean by It. I mean, they mix Medieval Astrology, which type they admittedly practice, with traditional Astrology – which is wrongly used to cover all types of Astrology historically.
So what happened was when these astrologers were discussing the topic of calculating the length of life, they were using Medieval astrological techniques but representing them as traditional ones. In other words, they were presenting the Hyleg and Alchocoden method as the one that encompasses the whole history of Astrology and therefore as the original and correct one. This is flat wrong, dangerous and misleads the public about Astrology. The techniques I refer to are the so called Giver of Life (Hyleg), Giver of Years (Alchocoden) and Destroyer of Life (Anaereta). Keep in mind that Hyleg and Alchocoden can also be found as Hyleg and Alcocoden or Hyleg and Alcochoden.
Hyleg and Alcochoden is not the oldest method for calculating the longevity, it is actually the youngest one in Ancient Astrology
Without going in detail about easily accessible historical astrological textbooks, not only are these techniques not the original ones for calculating the longevity in Astrology, they are, in fact, the last ones. Moreover, they do not work consistently. In fact there are types of charts with specific dispositio (arrangements of planets and other points as per Guido Bonatti) where the Hyleg and Alcocoden technique does not work at all.
The length of life method quoted by Claudius Ptolemy
In Book 4, Chapter 9, Claudius Ptolemy cites an astrological method for determining the longevity. Yes, the method is ancient, but Ptolemy’s views and some of his techniques are reformist. They contradict Hellenistic astrological principles. We don’t even know for sure if Ptolemy was an astrologer and not just an astronomer.
What is important is that the longevity method Ptolemy cites does not differ that much from the Persian-Arabic for Hyleg and Alchocoden, at least in terms of its essence. What do I mean, aside from the fact that his rules allow for one of the planets to be a Hyleg and that Ptolemy does not use an Alcocoden?
The 3 approaches in Astrology
Speaking broadly, there are three approaches of Astrology. While this is made implicit in the astrological textbooks, they are not named.
I call them:
- the fixed/static
- the continuous one
- the mixed one.
This is not unlike the Early and Later Heaven sequence in Chinese Metaphysics.
The fixed approach in Astrology is the superior and idealistic type. It requires no predictive techniques simply because, when it comes at least to the major, foundational topics in human life, they are predetermined. In other words, the chart dispositio is such that they can be seen without resorting to predictive techniques or lengthy calculations. However, this is no easy thing to do!
The continuous one approach demands predictive techniques because of its underlying principles and methods differ significantly from the first one. Such approaches to Astrology are exemplified by Jyotish (the Parashara branch of Indian Astrology) and Four Pillars of Destiny aka BaZi (one of the branches of Chinese Astrology).
The mixed approach is a mixture of the first two, but it is really much closer to the first, the fixed one. As Robert Zoller likes to say: “the natal chart/promise tells us what, the predictive techniques tell us when”. Jean Baptiste Morin says the same, namely that predictive/timing techniques cannot bring about (his philosophy dealt with causal Astrology) anything not promised by the natal chart.
The fixed approach for calculation of the length of life with Astrology
To get back to the topic of calculating how long one will live with Astrology, it is these primary, original techniques that I mean when I explain about the fixed approach. In other words, provided one has deeply studied them over a period of time, separated the wheat from the chaff and has come up with practical insights, determining the lifespan can be successfully done using ancient astrological techniques without having to resort to predictive techniques. Again, this is as advanced as it gets, and few astrologers can do it.
Concluding Hyleg and Alchocoden apt analogies for misleading the astrological community
Because these two astrologers do not have this Ancient Astrology knowledge, yet present what they know from Medieval Astrology as the authoritative, traditional statements on the subject of the length of life, they mislead the astrological community. I am sure they are doing it on purpose, and yet the end result is the same.
To make an analogy, that is like studying one major approach to the topic of eminence in Astrology and saying, unless the person has the Sun and Moon, particularly the Sect Light, in angular houses, and attended by angular bodyguards, they won’t become a king: an extremely powerful, wealthy and influential person nowadays. That is simply not true.
Or that not having prominent 9th and 3rd houses and rulers means that someone will not travel a lot or emigrate abroad. That is not true either.
Neither is it true that the Hyleg, Alcocoden, Anaereta technique is the primary and authoritative technique for length of life in Astrology. Far from it.