In Search of the Correct Path for Finding the Oikodespotes and the Kurios in Ancient Astrology aka the Owner and the Captain of the Chart

Before starting this article I would like to give my thanks and appreciation for the works of Robert Schmidt, Rumen Kolev, James Holden and Curtis Manwaring.

Without the translations and materials by these dedicated people, as well as the astrological software Porphyry Magus 2 by Rumen Kolev and Delphic Oracle by Curtis Manwaring, I would not have been able to have access to the texts and to have two programs which go as close as possible in determining the Oikodespotes and the Kurios.

Of equal importance is my gratitude and admiration for the work of Regulus Astrology, thanks to whose world class research, generously and freely published on his website, plus his two books, I have been driven and inspired to do more research into the most fundamental topics in Ancient Astrology.

Also my thanks to Dorian Greenbaum whose work “The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology: Origins and Influence” has been of big help.

I want to express my gratitude to Eduardo J. Gramaglia for translating (for free) the Definitions of Serapion of Alexandria for I have had some crucial insights when reading them that are relevant to this topic.

Speaking of the most fundamental topics, it does not get more “fundamental” in Ancient Astrology than discovering how to correctly determine the Oikodespotes and the Kurios, for the former deals, among other things, with “the length of human lifetimes/the vital times of men” – the most primary topic – and the latter deals with “the type/manner of life of those about to come into existence[1]”.

I am really surprised that, given the highest importance of this topic, save for Regulus Astrology, no one has researched it (and he has focused on the Kurios not so much on the Oikodespotes), at least publicly, or written about it with the depth that it deserves. By that I mean in a practical and clear manner which allows delineation and prediction, and not just an article here and there with 1 example chart with such a dispositio that allows easy determinations of these two planets.

On other hand, I am not blaming anyone of course, for as you will see, this topic is far more difficult than is given credit for. In fact if I want to blame someone I can definitely do so with Antiochus of Athens, Porphyry and even perhaps Rhetorius. They wrote in such a deliberately cryptic manner that it is simply exasperating trying to find out what they meant and whether they attempted to mislead (which they most likely did). Someone may say that they were removed from the tradition (remember the Kurios and Okidespotes can be traced all the way to Nechepso the King and Petosiris) and were interpreting the cryptic writings of their predecessors which explicated these doctrines. I agree with that, but I will never agree with such practitioners who, in explaining a given technique, make sure they themselves write in a cryptic matter.

IF they had said that they agree or disagree with the materials at their disposal, and also given an example, then we would have known their preferences, just as Valens often does when says: “but it seemed better to me to”, but to give no exemplification and to continue to write in a maddeningly cryptic way, while complaining of this themselves, is no excuse.

Again, IF they had said that this was priceless knowledge and they could not give it away to the uninitiated, that would be fine, but what is not fine is to write pages and pages and deliberately conceal and attempt to mislead.

I am sure you can get a sense of my own exasperation in dealing with these topics, but you will see how many variations there are and thus how many dead ends exist, which need to be detected and avoided.

Another factor which contributes to making it difficult in finding the correct path to the Oikodespotes and the Kurios is that there exist traditions within the traditions, schools within the schools so to say. They all need to be carefully examined and I will do so. They pertain to the Oikodespotes, but at the same time they are, indirectly, connected to the Kurios because remember the last sentence in Porphyry which says those who have the same planet fulfilling these two roles, that planet will “rule over an important rendering/a great outcome”[2].

In other words, if a practitioner incorrectly determines the Oikodespotes, say by following one of the schools over the other, then they will get a different planet which would not match with the one assuming the role of the Kurios (provided they determine the Kurios right of course, because it is more difficult). My point is that having the same planet assume both roles shows something special, something great, although it has not been specified whether this relates to eminence, fame, and the outside world in general, to the internal spiritual path, or to both, and by miscalculating these two, one will miss the cases when one planet plays both roles, which will lead to incorrect delineation and prediction.

Another obstacle to finding the correct path for finding the Oikodespotes and the Kurios is that there exist so few charts which mention these. In fact, when discussing the topic with Dimityr Kojuharov these days he asked me to name some charts where the Kurios is mentioned. I could immediately give some charts which mention the Oikodespotes, which he too knows about, but I could not give a single chart which mentions the Kurios. Note “mentions”, let alone explicates and exemplifies.

Yes, a huge amount of astrological works have been destroyed, lost, stolen etc; another significant amount is collecting dust in libraries around the world, but how could there be so few remaining charts with the Oikodespotes (about a dozen) and even fewer so, if even not a single one, which mentions the Kurios?

What you are about to read has been, dare I say, probably never written in the history of Astrology. It must have been passed only orally. I do not (yet) have all the solutions, although I have a lot of pieces of the puzzle – pieces I have assembled together not just from theory but from continuous practice and prediction. However, in order for the pieces to be seen one must first realize that there are puzzles within puzzles. What I am offering is a description of all the possible paths within the puzzles. Coming to thoroughly know these paths, as well as staying open minded but conservative, will eventually allow one to comprehend the boundaries of the puzzle. Once this is achieved, one will then be able to travel inwardly and explore the puzzles, their intricacies and dead ends, appreciate them and finally move to intimately knowing the whole layout which will lead them to the correct path for finding the Owner = Oikodespotes aka Domicile Master and the Captain = Kurios aka Lord of the Nativity). The names the Owner and the Captain are, of course, based on the ancient texts and is how I myself have been calling them and is how I will be writing them from now on.

In order to comprehend what follows, make sure you read it more than once and do so slowly and carefully. You may want to take notes.

Here it goes:

  • A distinction of what the Owner is not.

The Owner is not necessarily the same as the Giver of Years (which has the same name, Oikodespotes and which the Perso-Arabs call Alcocoden) unless accidentally.

Why? Because the Owner is derived from the Predominator and only the Lights and the Ascendant are used, whereas the Giver of Life (aka Apheta, Hyleg) uses Fortune and SAN (prenatal lunation) in addition to these 3. Some authors use the MC portion (Valens), others use Spirit (Paul of Alexandria). Likewise, the Predominator is not the same as the Giver of Life unless accidentally.

In fact the Predominator is almost the same as the Apheta/Releasing point in the predictive technique called Decennials, especially when given by Valens. It also uses the Sun, Moon and the Asc and if both Lights fall amiss one defaults to the Asc (in the sense of using the first planet in zodiacal order after the Asc).

Whole Signs (WS) are implied for Decennials, but that is not, of course, made explicit. On the other hand, it is known for a fact that quadrant houses are to be used for the length of life in using the Giver of Life. To put it more correctly, dynamical houses like Porphyry are used to gauge the activity of the planets and points, but not for topics; thus an 11th house Sun by quadrant but in the 10th place from the Asc is counted as a succedent Giver of Life or of Years, but topically it will speak about 10th place matters.

Since Antiochus and Porphyry do not say what house system is to be used for the Predominator, using a dynamical one vs WS will most often give different results for the Predominator and thus for the Owner (unless the latter happens to coincide). By reading the language carefully, Robert Schmidt favours that WS are meant.

I do not know ancient Greek but I too favour WS because of the way it is explained and of the nature of the differences between the Giver of Life/Apheta/Hyleg and the Predominator. The only way to resolve this issue is by studying hundreds of rectified charts to the necessary depth and comparing the results.

Another very tricky part about the Predominator is the phrase which Schmidt translates “in the east” and Greenbaum “being carried up in the east”. Also Dorian gives for a similar case “going up toward the east”, while Schmidt gives “ascending in the east”. The difficulty lies in figuring out what this means, that is, does the Antiochus/Porphyry or some older one they might be quoting, mean the usual eastern/masculine and western/feminine quadrants from the Asc as explicated by Ptolemy and others, or does he mean something else? Schmidt has one understanding on the matter which supposes that the author meant the names of the WS places.

Greenbaum, while offering no commentary, when translating what Schmidt does as “declining westward” as “declining on the west”, she adds “side of the chart” in brackets: (declining on the west (side of the chart).

It does not seem to be significant at all, right? Wrong! I can’t believe it took me so long to notice this. I must have read this passage dozens of times. It cannot be quadrants because the 2nd place, where the Moon is, in the example given, when the Sun is “declining westward” as per Schmidt or “declining on the west (side of the chart”) as per Greenbaum, and the Moon takes over as Predominator, is a western quadrant. Yet the author speaks of “ascending in the east” by Schmidt and “being carried up in the east” by Greenbaum. Now, he might say that because the Moon is rising by primary motion and thus going up toward the horizon, and I understand that. However, what if something else is meant? What could this be? He could have explained it yet Antiochus/older author deliberately chose words he has not used nor explained in the whole book up to this point.

What I think he may mean by east and west, is what Greenbaum added in the brackets, that is, side of the chart. In other words, the line of the MC/IC portion divides the chart. Whatever is to the left side of the MC/IC when looking at the chart, that is, from the Asc to the MC and from the Asc to IC, is eastern, and whatever is from the MC to the Dsc and the Dsc to the IC is western. Note these are used by practitioners of modern astrology – the so called “free will’ vs “fate” or “self” vs “others” halves of the chart.

So, if this is true, and I repeat he never makes it explicit, and I only noticed because of Dorian Greebaum’s added brackets, which prompted me to reread and compare the passage a few more times, then how significant is this? It is very significant!

Why? Because this would mean that no Light can be a Predominator if in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th quadrant houses.

This idea only hit me that it could be a monumental insight because of the research I have been doing with the 2 Lots, namely Fortune and Spirit. This is another absolutely essential and cryptic topic (note that it again concerns a technique from the Universal Approach) that deserves its separate treatment but what you should be thinking right now is how various authors understood differently Nechepso’s riddle of the reversal of Fortune. I posit that there is much more to this. Ptolemy misunderstood what was said and we have all seen what this lead to (particularly in late Medieval times in Europe where almost no one reversed Fortune for night charts, let alone use Spirit or know when Spirit takes over. This mistake continues to this day: 1800+ years after Ptolemy’s blunder!). Then there is this key passage given by Serapio when Spirit becomes Fortune. Since it is freely available here, I will quote it:


Notice this one: “when the Light of the Sect is not Eastern in the Hemispere of the Sect”.

It is unfortunate, though not unexpected, that the meaning of this term is not explained. I posit that it may mean the same thing which Antiochus meant, that is, when the Light of the Sect is on the western side of the chart, so between the 4th-9th quadrant houses, then one takes the other Light and if it also so, then the Asc, because what happens here is that Spirit takes over the role of Fortume, which is the exact same thinking – something is not fit to perform its tasks.

Again, this thinking of mine may be wrong, Antiochus may simply mean that the Moon is going up diurnally towards the Asc in the east, but it is worth keeping in mind that it may be true, and if it is, when the Luminaries are between the 4th-9th quadrant houses, one defaults to the Asc.

Of course, the only way to resolve this is take a big number of rectified charts and study the life of the natives in detail. After all, if one can’t identify the Owner in an objective way (by being given all the major external and internal events of the native) – the planet taking the whole chart into itself, the planet being by far the most influential – then what good is this technique in terms of practical Astrology?! What good is having such a powerful technique if one can’t apply it even on hindsight?!

  • Who the Owner is:

There are two major schools so to say. The first one says it is the confine/bound lord of the Predominator. The second one says it is the domicile lord of the Predominator. You noticed perhaps that I said the “first one” takes the confine lord, which differs from Antiochus/Porphyry who give the first one to the domicile lord.

This may be insignificant but it is not to me. Why? Because the earliest authors, at least from the surviving texts, (Dorotheus and Valens) take the confine lord. Carefully notice that if the confine lord is used (Rhetorius takes it as well), the Lights cannot be Owners of the chart, whereas they may be Givers of Years/Alcocodens in the length of life because all the 4 (or 5) dignities are used in the later tradition.

Antigonus of Nicea belongs to the school that uses the domicile lord of the Predominator as the Owner. He uses it for the length of life in 2 of his 3 examples, as cited by Hephaistio on Book II[3] (the third chart has no longevity given, but uses the same methodology – the domicile lord of the Predominator).

Within these 2 schools of thought, there are 2 more. One of them takes the confine lord of the Predominator as the Owner and the domicile lord of the Predominator as the Co-Owner (Sunoikodespotes), while the other one does the reverse: the domicile lord is the Owner, while the confine lord is the Co-Owner.

Rhetorius (or the author to whom the text with the delineations of the planets as Owners and Captains is ascribed) belongs to the first school of thought, while Porphyry to the second one.

Thus keep in mind that there exists a school which does not recognize the Co-Owner, that is, such a thing does not exist according that type of thinking. I want to add that Antigonus is the not the only one which does not mention the Co-Owner.

In fact, notice that Nechepso and Petosiris do not mention it either, at least from the surviving quotes. This does not necessarily mean they did not use it. It may be equally important or even more important in some areas and they wanted to conceal it, or perhaps it was included in works of theirs which did not survive or was transmitted to later authors whose works also did not survive.

Now, knowing that the doctrine of the Owner and Captain comes as early as from Nechepso and Petosiris, do you notice the same kind of thinking in dealing with that mysterious Lot which Valens presents in Book III chapter 7? He says about that Lot that “the King also explicated in a mysterious fashion”, as translated by Robert Schmidt. The technique with this Lot is for determining the length of life, hence the connection with the Owner and why I am bringing it up.

Moreover, this technique utilizes both the confine and domicile lord of the Lot, but the confine one is mentioned first. Note that Valens does not tell us what house system to use. It may be that it is a quadrant style one since this has to do with determining the length of life. On the other hand, Valens presents it in another chapter, which is later than the one where he shows a method of calculating the longevity. Moreover, whenever Valens speaks of Lots, he means WS, thus it is not entirely certain, especially because of the language he uses, which is pure WS (aversion, configurations by zoidia etc). Thus, one could even argue that WS are meant.

  • What the fitness conditions are for the Owner:

IF the Owner = the Giver of Years/Alcocoden, then there should be a hierarchy of criteria for its choice, that is, if it did not fulfill them, it would be thrown away and another would have to replace it. So with the Predominator chosen, if the Owner were not fit, what to do then?

This, of course, expands the variations and hence the margin of error in choosing the wrong Owner increases. One may look at the Co-Owner (provided they belong to a school of thought which allows its existence) to see whether it can take over. This has not been said by any surviving author.

What if the Co-Owner is not fit either? The only option is to choose another Predominator and look at the condition of the lords and whether they are fit. What if they are not either?

Note that other than choosing the well situated Predominator we are not told that the Owner has to meet any conditions. This brings me to the question of whether the way of determining the Owner is strictly mechanical or not.

Again, depending on whether one distinguishes between the Owner and the Giver of Years, what is made more difficult is, as I said, that they may coincide.

IF there were conditions of fitness then no invisible and combust planet (the Moon) could be a Predominator. Most if not all authors say that speaking of the Giver of Life and of Years. Yet Antigonus chooses the Moon as she is conjunct the Asc portion and of the sect as the Giver of Life, even though the Moon is applying within 7 portions to the Sun and is invisible and combust. [4]

Likewise, no author would allow an invisible (and combust) Giver of Years, yet Antigonus chooses Ares in Aries who is in his domicile chariot as the Owner in chart 2.

Likewise, Dorotheus, Valens etc would not allow a cadent Giver of Years, much less one which also falls amiss[5], yet the practitioner does so.

Here is the chart, as calculated by Porphyry Magus 2 and Delphic Oracle – the best programs for Ancient Astrology. The first one is the chart as given by the author while the second one shows the astronomically correct ecliptical longitudes.





He chooses Hermes. The chart itself says Hermes at 10 Aries and the Sun at 14.06 Aries, but these positions are not exact. It is clear that the author used a sidereal measurement though when one compares. He chooses Hermes (so he is of the confine lord = Owner school of thought and no Co-Owner). Note that Hermes is the Owner of both Lights and the Asc when keeping in mind the position given by the Sun as 14 Aries. This is such an important chart to illustrate the principle. Did you notice who he chose Hermes over?

Now it becomes very intriguing. If one ignores my argument which claims that it is possible that no Lights may be Predominators when in the western side of the chart, as is here (and I repeat again that I may be wrong), then the Moon is in the 7th place, it is even within 5 portions of the Dsc and as the Sect Light would be the Predominator for sure. If he had been of the domicile lord = Owner school, the practitioner would have taken Aphrodite: exalted, in confines, in the place of its joy, of the sect and in a feminine zoidion. It does not get much better than this for a planet, right? Yet he ignores the domicile lord.

Fine, if I am right and he threw away the Lights because of being in the western side of the chart[6], if here were from the domicile lord = Owner-school, he would have chosen the pivotal and retreating Ares in the 4th place, eastern relative to the Sun, of the sect, etc.

Now compare Aphrodite and Ares with Hermes. Without understanding what is talked about, namely that Hermes is making a phasis, you would not know why he is selected[7].

The point is Hermes is making Evening First 6 days after the birth[8]. I have written a few times about this: this is about real astronomical planetary appearances and disappearances, NOT some 15 portion approximations around the Sun. In fact if you were to move Hermes by 2 portions per day, it would not achieve this approximate elongation of 15. Yet the author says he makes a phasis. Why? Because, as late at the 81 CE in Egypt, some practitioners still had retained the original doctrine of planetary visibility. Rumen Kolev’s Porphyry Magus 2 program is the only one in the world, along with the Italian one Astrophasis[9] which is based on the true visibility of the planets. Again, what looks like a “combust” Hermes is a planet of the sect which makes an appearing phasis 6 days after birth (and applies to its pivotal domicile lord, but I digress) and is thus very active.

This chart reminds me of another one which is kind of similar. It is on p.306 in Greenbaum and chart 137 a.b.c, on p. 37 in Greek Horoscopes[10].

Here is the chart:



Here is the astronomical reality (Aphrodite is cazimi, within 13 minutes of the Sun).

Greenbaum says “Aphrodite in a phase of visibility in the morning” Neugebauer says “morning (rising”).

The planet is earlier than the Sun. If it were making a phasis, it could only be Morning Last – disappearing into the rays of the Sun. Porphyry Magus 2 does not show a phasis, at least for that location.

What this means is, if Aphrodite is not making a phasis, then that practitioner took an invisible (and combust) planet as the Owner. Talk about a surprise – for some people at least – who do not differentiate between the Owner and the Giver of Years.

I won’t even mention that, by using a quadrant type system, Aphrodite is barely conjunct the Asc, but 5 portions above it and thus retreating into the 12th house. Of course, she is in the Asc zoidion and carries 1st place significations.

In other words, if these fitness conditions were a requirement for the Owner, there would be cases where some charts have no Owner, just as there are nativities without a Giver of Life/Releaser or of Years/Oikodespotes/Alcocoden, but that is not the case when it comes to the Owner.

Thus, since the Owner does not have to meet conditions, but yet we are told that it deals with the length of life (unless they meant the Giver of Years – “the other” Oikodespotes so to say), one may wonder how the longevity is determined, that is, does it differ from the way the Giver of Life shows it? The answer to this question is both yes and no for it is multifaceted and beyond the scope of this article, although I may write an article about it some day.

Now it is time one looks at the Captain of the chart.

  • What it is not:

It is not the same as the Almutem Figuris as per Ibn Ezra; it is even less similar to the late Medieval Lord of the Geniture. Why? Because, the way the instructions are given, the Lights are kind of not considered. Again, we are, of course, not told that explicitly, but all this talk of phasis and mentioning confine lord/s suggests that.

Moreover, the one surviving text attributed to Rhetorius[11], when giving the significations of the 7 planets, only mentions the Owner when it comes to the planets and not the Sun and Moon even though it is in the same chapter. This is because, as was said, Rhetorius belongs to the confine lord = Owner, domicile lord = Co-Owner school of thought. He does mention the Co-Owner at the end.

Moreover, the Captain is also mentioned in these same delineations, that is, Rhetorius/older author, does not bother to distinguish the roles of the Owner and Captain but simply gives delineations of the planets according to their nature and usual fitness conditions, plus he adds that planets configured to the Owner and/or Captain colour that planet, and remember Firmicus Maternus who says that figures made by the Owner are the most important planetary configurations in the chart.

When speaking of the Owner Maternus says that some took the planet placed in the principle houses in the chart in its domicile or confine. But others took the confine lord of the Sun by day and of the Moon by night[12]. Note he does not mention the Co-Owner at all. He explicates some other strange methods, like that the Owner is the exalted lord of the Moon or the lord of the 2nd domicile from the Moon according to others, but not only does he not mention the domicile lord of the Lights (or the Asc), but he says, in two places, that the Lights cannot be Owners:

“Yet we ought to know this – that neither the Sun nor the Moon can be made rulers in any nativity. For being rulers of the whole (world?), they reject being allotted the rulerships of (individual charts)”[13].

  • Who the Captain is:

Porphyry talks cryptically on the subject, and he is the only surviving author that deals with the Captain. Unfortunately he goes out of his way in concealing the instructions. He spends 5 rows of letters to say that one must take the confine lord of SAN! He does the same with explaining phasis: 5 rows of letters to explain what it means, yet he does not bother to say explicitly whether, when he discusses the lord of place, whether the domicile lord, the confine lord or even both are meant to be taken. The same goes for what house system one should use in determining the Captain.

For instance, Schmidt understands the MC as the 10th place from the Asc, whereas Kolev as the MC portion, the intersection of the local meridian with the ecliptic. Note 2 reasons why the MC portion is meant: Porphyry does not say to look at a planet in the Good Daimon (which would be the 11th place), but the one rising after the MC; the 2nd one concerns the confine rulership mentioned for the prenatal lunation, for a planet in the Asc confines, and possibly for all. It makes no sense to use the confine lord of the Place at the Peak (the 10th equal house cusp) and it makes every sense to the confine lord of the MC portion[14].

Thus quadrant houses are much more likely meant for determining the Captain unlike for the Predominator and therefore for the Owner (and Co-Owner, if there is such a one).

As far as the fitness of the Captain is concerned, Porphyry again wrote cryptically, deliberately of course. He gives all these complex hierarchical conditions and one is left strongly convinced that the Captain must not fall amiss, much less be invisible [15].

I vividly remember my heated discussions and arguments with Dimityr Kojuharov and Rumen Kolev about whether the Captain may fall amiss (2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th or 12th quadrant house or WS place) and/or be invisible. They strongly insisted that it may not be such. I was certain that it may fall amiss and/or be invisible.

Why? Because some Souls have chosen very trying and difficult human lives and the chart must reflect this. The Captain is one such very likely choice, but one must be careful and not hasty because this could be shown by other factors in the chart, such as the domicile lord of the Asc, the Lights, the 2 Lots and their domicile lords etc.

These heated discussions happened more than 4 years ago in live conversations. Looking at many charts plus the priceless research of Regulus Astrology[16] has shown that invisible planets may assume the role of the Captain, that is, they are not automatically thrown away.

In fact, if one closely reads what Porphyry says, without being influenced by Rumen Kolev and the Babylonian knowledge of the visibility of the planets, they will see that Porphyry does not say explicitly that an invisible Captain is not allowed. It is kind of taken for granted, one might say, because of the uniformly accepted biggest impediment which a planet can suffer[17]. Fine, but why does he allow planets which will be sinking/becoming invisible or have become so within 7 days? Yes, he says that those making an appearance/rising are to be preferred over those that are setting or have set, but he allows them. The answer is because Porphyry likely knew that invisible planets may be the Captain, but kept it to himself or said it in this elaborate manner, which incidentally took me a long time to figure out.

This has been a very demanding article to write. These doctrines are, as you have seen, full or traps, dead ends, cryptic descriptions, omissions and attempts to mislead. The reason I am sharing this is to inspire others to do research, to think critically and, above all, to practise. Enough with the hundreds of repeated pages and cook-book delineations! It is a real shame for a tradition (the Hellenistic one) which lasted for 600-800 years that there would be about a dozen surviving charts, almost all of them including a few sentences, with not a single one that deals with both the Owner and the Captain.

Speaking of practice, the issue of the Zodiac needs to be considered. As has been said by others, this is pretty much an entirely modern problem, at least when it comes to Hellenistic Astrology, that is, given the inaccurate ephemeris and that the two Zodiacs coincided at the end of the 3rd century CE and that this type was practised for a few hundred years more, this would give a variations of 4-6 degrees, which could be nullified by the inaccurate planetary tables.

I am not a historian or a translator. I am a practitioner who practises daily, has clients and has to deliver. I am interested entirely in whether something works, its strong and weak sides and whether it is worth bothering studying and incorporating it.

I am a firm supporter of the tropical Zodiac, though not as much as I first was, for I have come to not only respect but value the sidereal one as well, especially in certain unusual or complex dispositios/chart configurations where it is a big advantage to have the benefit of a second angle at the chart. Anyway, preferences or biases should be irrelevant when one pursues Truth.

When it comes to the Owner, Co-Owner and Captain, the Owner and/or Co-Owner will be different in the more cases than not in the two Zodiacs. This entails an even deeper studying of the native’s life to see which one matches better. Of course, there will be cases where they coincide, which is both good and bad. It is good because it will show the correct planet, but it is bad because the practitioner may be lulled into a false sense of security by claiming that “their” Zodiac works better. In other words, it would be impossible from this one chart to say which one works better.

When it comes to the Captain, if there is one thing which should have the same result in both Zodiacs, it is this same planet. If this proves to be the case, this will be a monumental discovery. As much as I love Rumen Kolev’s fully customizable Porphyry Wizzard for determining the Captain (see below) I have been working on coming up with my own table of conditions, which, like Regulus Astrology’s table, includes expanded criteria. So far my results, when comparing the Captain in both Zodiacs, have been impressive. Real results can only be expected, of course, when the birth chart is rectified to the minute (keep in mind how crucial this is, especially if it is the confine lord who is the Owner and how fast the bounds change), and one studies many, many charts in depth.


Another thing that I want to stress is the spiritual aspect of the Owner and Captain. I absolutely love Ancient Astrology; one of the many relevant reasons for this is that I know where it is coming from, namely the Soul, NOT psychology, emotions and other transient human states, like the modern psychological branch.

My point is that, since these planets are intimately connected with the type of life the Soul has chosen and how it will go about living it, it IS equally important to take note not just of the external events of the native, but of their internal ones as well. It is recommended that you speak to people you know and whose charts you have and ask them about how a given life period, which was ruled by the supposed Owner or Captain, has impacted their life, BOTH externally and internally.

For instance, have they learned life lessons, have their changed their value system, have they had critical insights into their purpose in life of life’s work; in what way has this happened? Or is it that they have not and that this planet is not the actual Owner or Captain.

Or, is it that, provided that the practitioner is well versed in Ancient Astrology, they assume that since the topics ruled by that planet were activated once it started ruling the Times and whatever it signified its natal promise was fulfilled, that they believe this planet must then be the Owner or Captain, while it turns out that it is not. What I am saying is that the “influence” if you will of the Owner and/or the Captain is stronger, much stronger than of the other planets. In other words, it is not enough that this planet’s promise is activated and hence fulfilled. The periods ruled by it WILL carry more significance for the native, for good or bad.

One last thing to emphasize is taking the time to rectify EVERY single chart you open. It takes time, but it is an absolute must. It takes an even longer time to learn how to rectify properly and objectively. It can take an even longer time to figure out that you have been working on the wrong charts (dozens, or more) and thus have wasted a long time.

What I am getting at? What if you study the life of a native really well, you read their biography, buy books about them, watch movies, read quotes etc. Ultimately you end up determining that this planet is the Owner (this one is the Co-Owner, if there is such a thing) and this planet is the Captain. You are certain in your choice, you have followed the rules[18].

You use one of the techniques, say that of the Owner = the domicile lord and the Co-Owner = that of the confine lord. You determine them and then you determine the Captain by following the techniques the way you understood them. There is no repetition in the results: the Owner, Co-Owner and the Captain are all different planets. You believe your result should be correct and you justify it with quoting delineations.

However, years later it turns out that since you did not bother to rectify the chart, even though the native was born on a half-hour, because it is according to the birth certificate, you worked with a wrong chart. In other words, the Asc was the same, but the MC portion changed and so did Fortune. What ultimately happened was that the Captain you determined when studying the half-hour chart is actually the Owner of the rectified chart, when one uses the Owner = the confine lord. What makes it even more solid is that this Owner owns both the Sect-Light and the rectified Asc. In other works, you transposed the actual Owner for the Captain, which by the way is a planet you have not selected. Thus this same planet which you selected is one of the two and since it has such dominating role in the life of the native, you really were onto something and were partially correct, but there is a notable difference between the Owner and the Captain and that must be kept in mind.

When all is said and done, one must delineate and predict, that is, one must make sure that it is the chart which matches the life of the native. What I mean by that is that there are cases where by following the many complex rules one comes up with a planet, but it does not reflect the life of the native in an objective way. Thus the choice of Owner/Captain is wrong no matter what the rules say. In other words, depending on whether one weighs the different criteria or not, different results will occur.

Does this mean that one can’t determine the Owner and the Captain without comparing them with the native’s life? In some cases, I have to say, the answer is yes. You will come across these, especially for the Captain when 2-3 or even 4 planets compete closely.

After all, Porphyry did say that the determination of the Captain is one of the most difficult of all.

This, along with the Owner and the possible Co-Owner is one of the things I have been researching.

For someone who deals with rectification and predicting the length of life through Ancient Astrology and has clients from different parts of the world, figuring out not just when the native will die but what their true overall life purpose is, is indeed a topic of the highest priority.

Written on the 25 of Sep 2016, day of the Sun, hour of Ares, day of the Yin Metal Pig, hour of the Yin Earth Ox.

[1] The quotes are taken from Dorian Grennbaum’s The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology”, p. 143. Greenbaum translated “manner” but I have added written the word “type” as a possible translation which comes from Robert Schmidt’s Definitions and Foundations p. 331, and also “the vital times of men” is how Schmidt translated the text which Greenbaum translated as “the length of human lifetimes.”

[2] Schmidt (p.322) translates as “an important rendering”, while Greenbaum (p.321) as “a great outcome”. The word is apotelesma. The meaning is there will be something special, something great about the destiny of the human being who has the same planet acting as both the Oikodespotes and the Kurios.

[3] Chapter 18, p. 53-66; or in Schmidt’s Definitions and Foundations: p. 350-369.

[4] To be thorough, he does that in the context of determining emperor Hadrian’s longevity. The point is that unfortunately they coincide, that is, with the Lights in the Asc all having the same domicile lord, there are no options left (remember Antigonus belongs to the school of thought which uses the domicile lord of the Predominator as the Owner and does not mention or use any Co-Owner.) In other words, what would be great to have is a chart whose Giver of Life/Releaser is not among the Lights and the Asc and at the same time the author discusses the Owner. If he would discuss the Captain, that would be splendid.

[5] The chart of Hermon drawn by Titus Pitenius for 31 Mar 81 AD, Alexandria Egypt, 9.06 pm with Fagan Bradley ayanamsha, so that the Asc is 18.00 Scorpio as given. This chart is on p. 305 in Greenbaum’s work while it it chart 81 in Neugebauer and Van Housen’s Greek Horoscopes, p 21-28.

[6] We have no way of knowing that because Hermes is the confine lord of all 3 Predominators unfortunately. Still, if he had said who the Predominator is, that would have been of big help.

[7] Unfortunately very little has survived of the chart and we do not know whether this was meant for length of life only, that is, whether Hermes is the Giver of Years or the Owner, keeping the distinction I made in mind. In other words and to be thorough, we do not know with 100% certainty whether the author belonged to the confine lord =Owner-school, even though that is most likely, Yet what if he chose Hermes over Ares – the domicile lord of the Asc or over Aphrodite the domicile lord of the Moon and thus Co-Owner – because of the phasis Hermes makes while neither Ares nor Aphrodite make one. So is phasis that more powerful than exaltation, confine, in the place of its joy, pivotal and eastern relative to the Sun etc?

[8] Due to the difference of atmospheric extinction it could be 7 days after the birth. Anyway, the author for some reason says it made a phasis 7 days before the birth which is wrong or there was a mistake in the manuscript.

[9] but I can’t vouch for that program’s accuracy as I don’t have it and do not know whether the algorithms are based on live observations on 3 continents over a period of years, as Kolev’s, or only on Schoch or some other tables.

[10] 4 Dec 137 7.01.43 AM, I did it for Alexandria, Egypt but there is no given location. I have only given the necessary planets as they are differences in positions and it would take longer to explain, but they are not relevant at all as it is a diurnal chart and one goes straight to the Sun as the first possible Predominator. If it had been nocturnal and he had thrown away the Moon in the 3rd place but 2nd house, at least for Alexandria, then it would have been even more useful.

[11] “Rhetorius the Egyptian” translated by James Holden, Appendix II. Also found in Schmidt – pages 331-337. Schmidt’s translation is better.

[12] Book IV, chapter 6, page 216 in Holden’s translation of Firmicus Maternus Mathesis.

[13] Page 217 in Holden. The words in the brackets are of the translator. I have quoted verbatim.

[14] Remember Valens considers the 10th quadrant house cusp/MC portion and its lord as possible Releaser/Apheta and Giver of Years/Oikodespotes.

[15] By invisible I always, without exception, mean astronomically so, which can only be shown by Rumen Kolev’s program or the Italian Astrophasis. Not surprisingly, the Hellenistic astrological authors, in keeping with the Babylonian ones, only recognized 2 phases of the planets: visible or under the beams, that is, with no difference between “combust” and “under the beams”.

The problem is that most of the Hellenistic authors had lost the keys, or never had them, and reported the gross approximation of 15 portions around the Sun. Do not make the mistake of thinking that a planet more than 15 portions from the Sun is visible. I know of cases (when it comes to the superiors) where even 30+ portions and the planet is still invisible, and likewise when Hermes, much more so that Aphrodite, is 20+portions and moving swiftly away from the Sun and yet it is invisible. Conversely, as you saw in the example, with the case of inferiors, 6-7 portions may be enough for the planets to become visible.

When a planet is invisible and “combust”, I tend to write both.

[16] Who, like almost everyone in the West, save for the Italians influenced by G.Bezza and M.Fumagalli and of course those influenced by Kolev, does not know that the true visibility of the planets is meant and not some approximations. In any case, this does not take away anything from his invaluable contributions. It allows one studying his research to take the data and run the tests for themselves, which is so helpful and time saving.

The problem with the approximation vs the real astronomical phases is that even Antiochus and Porphyry reported the former! On the other hand, authors like Valens, Ptolemy are much more explicit in their language when it comes to heliacal setting/invisibility and rising/visibility, that is, the real heliacal phases.

[17] Unless it is in a covered chariot (in its domicile, exaltation or confine) according to the Greeks, but I will not dwell on this and its significance.

[18] this is a real case I have in mind, which was done by a famous practitioner years ago, but I have chosen not to give their name out of respect.


4 thoughts on “In Search of the Correct Path for Finding the Oikodespotes and the Kurios in Ancient Astrology aka the Owner and the Captain of the Chart

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