Hi. I moved this article to my new website. Please read its updated and improved version there. Thank you.
N.B. Please see the addendum which was 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 Astrology practitioners, doctors and mathematicians in the world
There are a lot of misconceptions about Astrology. While the purpose of my blog is not to straighten them out, 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 Astrology, in this case ancient astrological works, for it is Ancient Astrology that has the apparatus for, and also deals with, calculating the length of life and predicting death, let alone have studied it for a sufficient period of time, are quick to point out that since 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.
What the most important thing actually is, is to know what one is talking about. What I mean by that, because I have heard the argument that the ancient astrological techniques for calculating the longevity are almost obsolete from astrological fellows as well, is that 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.
Unfortunately, very, very few Astrology practitioners, and by that I mean serious and/or professional ones know of these techniques, have researched them and found the ones that work reliably and consistently.
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 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.
The Hyleg Alcocoden Anaereta length of life technique seems simple, but it is not. There are various complications that may arise before one even gets to the point of choosing which planet will indicate the lifespan. Then there are the exceptions, some of the crucial ones of which were deliberately omitted in the astrological textbooks and were transmitted orally. There are some serious potential problems in this technique. 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 technique is its dual reputation. Some practitioners claim it always predicts death, others claim it shows dangerous periods and that one may not die. This is very important. As I said, one must be clear about a given technique’s origin, philosophical foundations and its strengths of weaknesses.
The question that each practitioner should ask themselves is what the role of this technique is. Are you getting my subtle point? If this technique does not calculate the actual length of life, but only an approximate period, or periods of danger, then is the Hyleg/Alchocoden/Anaereta method really one that calculates the longevity? If it does not, then why is it called such? Also, what is one supposed to use then?
Unfortunately, the vast, vast majority of hobbyists or even practitioners applying this technique have not done their homework. What this means is that its reputation has grown remarkably yet the people do not care to study what it actually shows. As a result of that, that is, because this is pretty much the only technique (in addition to Claudius Ptolemy’s which does not use a Giver of Years/Alcocoden but uses the other two) that is widely known in the astrological community and on the Internet, Astrology’s ability to calculate the longevity as well as to predict death is called into question. Yes, the people doubting or outright denying Astrology’s ability to predict death or the length of life outright, are ignorant and may also have an agenda, but the overwhelming majority of the practitioners that deal with the length of life topic in Astrology 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 practitioner 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 800.
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.
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.
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 as late as the 10th century no mention is made of the Alcocoden/Giver of Years.
Thus, to make it more explicit, the Giver of Life Giver of Years and Destroyer of Life technique is just one technique out of many. As I said, it does not work reliably (which has resulted in some traditional practitioners completely abandoning it but also doubting whether Astrology can predict death, of course without having done their homework as I said). It should not be used for the outright calculation of the length of life. In fact it can be argued that, in the types of charts where it works, because there are specific ones where it fails miserably, one can use it as an overall gauge for the longevity but nothing more, if at all. That technique 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 Alcocoden Anaereta method for outright determination of the length of life because one needs to find out the actual, empirical Giver of Life, which can be different from what the rules say and actually the astrological longevity prediction will be wrong. I may exemplify that with an article some day.
It is the original, older techniques that I mean when I say “calculating the length of life” or “predicting death”. I mean the actual year of death (which is to be narrowed down to the month and possibly week and even day), NOT some dangerous period that the native may survive. I mean actual, inescapable, predetermined death. In fact, as I wrote in this article, it is possible to predict the length of life, more specifically the year of death, with Ancient Astrology, without resorting to any timing techniques.
I will finish this article by getting back to the basics – in other words – why Astrology predicts 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, while anything living in the sublunary sphere, that is, Earth is made of the 4 elements Fire, Air, Water and Earth which are subject to decay and death. In other words, what are 50, 100, 200 or 1000 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, I have also written this: Astrology deals with embodied life; it calculates the death of the human body/the shell/vehicle.
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, but context is always very important and each chart is approached individually. Moreover, their point, while it has some validity, is kind of moot from a certain perspective – because as I have written before – every 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.
However, one must be open minded and be ready to throw away some concepts and techniques that do not work reliably or even not at all (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 as well as to write cryptically in the ancient astrological texts and one must not approach them as gospels and the final word if they are to make progress in their studies. One 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, practitioners, while human, often make mistakes. It takes years of study, research and practice before one can come and offer this 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 that must be taken 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, but one is advised to stay humble and not let pride get in the way.
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 15 May 2016:
I came across this wonderful article today. I strongly recommend it. 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.”