N.B. Please see the addendum which I added 6 days after writing and publishing this article.
“He that would truly promote Art must insist as much on the confutation of false opinions delivered by others, as in the declaration of truth”.
Girolamo Cardano 16th century Italian; one of the best astrologers, doctors, and mathematicians in the world
There are a lot of misconceptions about Astrology. While the purpose of my blog is not to correct them, I won’t stand by and do nothing when it concerns topics that are very dear to my heart, namely calculating the lifespan.
People who have not bothered to read a single book on Ancient Astrology, let alone have studied it for a sufficient period of time, are quick to express their opinion on this topic. Namely, because the average human life has increased over the last centuries and Astrology’s techniques have remained the same, the latter have become almost obsolete.
I admit that this is a complex subject. However, that is not the most important thing; not by a long shot.
The need to distinguish the techniques which indicate only danger to life vs those that actually determine the length of life
I have heard the argument, even from fellow astrologers, that the ancient astrological techniques for calculating the longevity are almost obsolete. Such people spread misconceptions about Astrology.
What is actually important is for a person to know what they are talking about. I mean, one must know what a given technique is, its origin and philosophical foundations, as well as its strengths, weaknesses and limitations.
To get into specifics, one must differentiate between astrological techniques that actually calculate the exact length of life versus those that calculate times of danger of death, or illness or injury. If the astrologer cannot do that, then they are spreading misconceptions about Astrology.
Unfortunately, very, very few Astrology practitioners, and by that I mean serious and/or professional astrologers know of these techniques, have researched them and found the ones that work reliably and consistently.
The Hyleg, Alchocoden and Anaereta method: Giver of Life, Giver of Years, and Destroyer of Life respectively
By far the technique which in the last 15-20 years has become known among the ancient astrological techniques for predicting death or the outright length of life is called the Giver of Life (Hyleg/Apheta/Releaser), Giver of Years (Alchocoden/Alcocoden) and Destroyer/Cutter of Life/Anaereta/Killer. It has become so popular that one can read about it even in many astrological forums. This is only natural as this technique was reported to be in use for about 1000 years.
Problems with the Hyleg, Alcocoden, and Anaereta method
The Hyleg, Alcocoden, Anaereta length of life technique seems simple, but it is not. There are various complications that may arise. This can happen even before the astrologer gets to the point of choosing which planet will indicate the lifespan. Then there are the exceptions. Some of the crucial ones were deliberately omitted in the astrological textbooks and were transmitted orally. There are some serious potential problems in with this method. There is no question that it works, but it does not work reliably.
Another problem for the Giver of Life, Giver of Years, and Destroyer of Life method is its dual reputation. Some astrologers claim it always predicts death, others claim it shows dangerous periods and that one may not die. There are also astrologers who claim that this technique is valid as long as life is not terminated prematurely. For example, falling off a cliff, accidentally drowning, being thrown from a horse and so on. This is very important. As I said, the astrologer must be clear about a given technique’s origin, philosophical foundations, and its strengths or weaknesses. Otherwise, he/she risks creating the ground for misconceptions about Astrology and whether it can do what it does.
The question that each practitioner should ask themselves is what is the role of this technique? Are you getting my subtle point? If the Hyleg, Alcocoden, and Anareta technique does not calculate the actual length of life, but only an approximate period, or periods of danger, then is a method which really that calculates the lifespan? If it does not, then why is it called such? Also, what is one supposed to use then?
Misconceptions about Astrology: the Hyleg, Alcochoden, and Anaereta technique
Unfortunately, the vast, vast majority of hobbyists or even professional astrologers applying this technique have not done their homework. In other words, despite that its reputation has grown remarkably, the people do not care enough to study what it actually shows. As a result of that, this is the only widely known astrological longevity technique in the community and on the Internet. Because the Hyleg, Alcocoden and Anareta technique does not work reliably, Astrology’s ability to calculate the length of life as well as to predict death is called into question.
Yes, the people doubting or outright denying Astrology are ignorant. Some of them may even have an agenda, but the overwhelming majority of the astrologers that deal with the length of life topic are understudied.
So what is one supposed to do then? The answer, as usual, lies in returning to the older texts, where the original length of life techniques are discussed. Just as anyone who is into predicting the future with Astrology knows that the reliable techniques meant for prediction can rarely be found in books after the year 1650, every serious astrologer who deals with predicting death should know that the techniques for the actual calculation of the length of life can rarely be found in an astrological book after the year 900.
I have mentioned this before in this article, namely that the Hyleg/Alcocoden/Anaereta is not only not the first technique used for the calculating the length of life in Astrology, it is actually the last one.
The original astrological techniques for calculation of the length of life quoted by Dorotheus, Valens, and Ptolemy
For those that want to know more, I suggest they turn to some of the older authors, such as Vettius Valens and Dorotheus of Sidon who are from the 2nd and 1st century CE respectively.
I must also mention the technique quoted in Claudius Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos from the 2nd century AD. Ptolemy does not use the Giving Years / Alchocoden, but uses the Giving Years / Apheta//Hyleg/Releaser and the Killing Point/Anaeretas. This technique, while similar in essence, is actually more complicated than the Hyleg, Alcocoden, Anareta one. There are a lot of conditions in it, and one needs more knowledge in astronomy, algebra and geometry.
Also, some remaining texts have survived and been translated where one of the techniques is exemplified. For instance, the chart of the Roman emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, where one can read and see for themselves that even the 10th century imperial astrologers did not use the Alcocoden/Giver of Years.
The Giver of Life, Giver of Years, and Destroyer of Life is only one method among many in Ancient Astrology
Thus, to make it more explicit, the Giver of Life, Giver of Years and Destroyer of Life technique is just one out of many. As I said, it does not work reliably. This has resulted in some traditional astrologers completely abandoning it. Not only that, but these practitioners also doubt whether Astrology can predict death. As I said, they perpetuate such misconceptions about Astrology without having done their homework.
The Hyleg, Alcocoden, Anaereta method should not be used for outright determination of the longevity with Astrology. One can use it as an overall gauge of the longevity but nothing more, if at all. And this is provided the astrologer resort to using it at all.
The Giver of Life, Giver of Years, and Cutter of Life method is appealing because it can be applied really fast, unlike the authentic techniques which take a much longer time and effort. Moreover, due to its nature, it can be counterproductive to use the Hyleg, Alchocoden, Anaereta method for outright length of life calcuation, because the astrologer needs to find out the actual, empirical Giver of Life. And that planet or point can be different from what the rules say. In other words, we would be dealing with an exception. As a result, the astrological longevity prediction will be wrong. I may exemplify this with an article some day.
It is the original, ancient techniques that I mean when I say “calculating the length of life” or “predicting death” with Astrology. I mean the actual year of death (which is to be narrowed down to the month and possibly week and even day). I do not mean some dangerous period that the native may survive. I mean actual, inescapable, predetermined death. Actually, it is possible to predict the length of life, more specifically the year of death, with Ancient Astrology, without resorting to any predictive techniques. I am talking about the absolute highest level though.
Why Ancient Astrology predicts death flawlessly
I will finish this article by getting back to the basics. In other words, why does Astrology predict death without fail? The answer lies in the subject of Astrology. I have written about this before. The planets are made of the eternal, from human perspective, element ether. Unlike the planets, anything living in the sublunary sphere, that is, Earth is made of the 4 elements. Thet are Fire, Air, Water, Earth and are subject to decay/corruption and death.
In other words, what are 50, 100, 200 or 1,000 years of human life for something that is eternal and its movement can be calculated a few thousand years in advance, and is impossible to change not even one bit?!
Again, Astrology deals with embodied life. It calculates the death of the human body/the shell/vehicle.
Misconceptions about Astrology: every natal chart is unique, regardless of everything
To reiterate: there are many different techniques for calculating the length of life. I understand the point of those doubting Astrology as far as the modern average life is concerned as opposed to the one from past time periods. However, context is always very important, and each horoscope is approached individually.
Moreover, while these people’s view has some validity, it is debatable/controversial from a certain perspective. I have written before: every natal chart (I mean the planetary configurations, because the context and mundane environment would be different) is unique and can only be duplicated after 1 Cosmic Year, which is 25920 years. Death is right there in the natal chart, as has always been and will always be.
The need for cultivating flexibility and humility
However, the astrologer must be open minded and be ready to throw away some concepts and techniques that do not work reliably or even not at all. I mean those predicting for instance that one should live a short life and the native is still alive decades later. There are many attempts to mislead the astrologer as well as to write cryptically in the ancient astrological texts. One must not approach them as gospels and the final word, if they are to make progress in their studies. The astrologer must learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Finally, while Astrology, Ancient Astrology to be exact, predicts the length of life with 100% certainty, astrologers are people and make mistakes. It takes years of study, research and practice before one can come and offer the calculation of the length of life service to the public. One is always a student of the art as each chart is actually unique and there are exceptions and special dispositios/chart configurations, which the astrologer must take into account.
Being able to accurately calculate the length of life with Astrology reliably and on a consistent basis is a most powerful Knowledge to wield. It is highly recommended that the astrologer cultivate humility and not allow pride to hinder them. This Knowledge is not intended for the general public and should not be discussed in great detail.
Misconceptions about Astrology: quote by 2nd century astrologer Vettius Valens
As Valens says in Book VI p.122 translated by Mark Riley:
““It is better for men, as far as possible, to put stiff-necked pride from their minds and to avoid boldness, to strip themselves bare and to surrender themselves to reason. For no one is free; we all are slaves of fate and if we follow her voluntarily, we will live undisturbed and without grief as a whole, having trained our minds to be confident. If someone adopts a false cast of mind and attributes the possibility of acting to himself, he will be refuted by the impossibility of his acting and will be a laughing-stock.”
Addendum 5 days after writing this article: modern people do not live longer then their ancestors
I came across this wonderful article today. I strongly recommend it. It opened my eyes and helped me clear another of the misconceptions about Astrology.
It is called “The Life Expectancy Myth, and Why Many Ancient Humans Lived Long Healthy Lives”:
Pay particular attention to these two quotes from the article:
“It would appear that as time went on, conditions improved and so did the length of people’s lives. But it is not so simple.
What is commonly known as ‘average life expectancy’ is technically ‘life expectancy at birth’. In other words, it is the average number of years that a newborn baby can expect to live in a given society at a given time. But life expectancy at birth is an unhelpful statistic if the goal is to compare the health and longevity of adults. That is because a major determinant of life expectancy at birth is the child mortality rate which, in our ancient past, was extremely high, and this skews the life expectancy rate dramatically downward.”