The Syzygy of Fortune – Hellenistic Fortune Indicator

For no small power occurs with the prenatal conjunction whenever it chances to be upon a pivot, especially the Horoscopos and the Midheaven.
(Hephaistio of Thebes – Apotelesmatics, Book II, Schmidt trans., p. 53

Hellenistic astrologers payed great attention of the delineation of the fortune native may have in life.
There are many different techniques of how this can be delineated in the chart and the place of syzygy and its lord in the natal chart is one of these.

Hephaistio in the quote above conclude a delineation of a distinguished nativity who happens to have prenatal conjunctive lunation in the Midheaven. But the technique does not require this to be conjunctive lunation, a preventive lunation will do just the same:

If the sign of the new or full moon or the ruler of this sign happens to be in the Ascendant or at MC, the native will be fortunate.
(Vettius Valens – Anthologies Book II, Riley trans., p.38)

This alone would not give distinguished nativity, but I have a habit to always check this indication and it seems that really works. Even if the other indicators of the chart – such as social status – are low, the nativity has some amount of “luck” in life and is distinguished among the people co-present with him at that social dwelling.

Why is this a “powerful” thing as Hephaistio says?
The prenatal lunation was seen as some sort of life giving place. Therefore Valens says that if the lord of the syzygy does not see the syzygy in the natal chart, native may die violently. It is somehow a protective place for the native. It is the lace of Life, the source of life power. Having this place or its lord on the two greatest pivots in the chart is very potent thing, it gives strength to the nativity, because the life power is on a very vital place in the chart.

Valens was calculating what later was called “Pars Hyleg” in the medieval tradition, by the Moon and the syzygy.
Valens says that this place has the power of the ascendant, and Bonatti says that this part is the “root of the radix“, the base of all things in nativity.

Further investigation needs to be made in this direction, as to why is this place so potent and why it matters in the nativity.

Let’s examine some notable nativities.
Some note of caution though. I’m not saying in the examples I present, that the whole fortune and status in life (of the persons) is due to this factor alone. They for sure have more indicators then this, but the factor of the syzygy or its lord on the two pivots is for sure adding a strength to the whole nativity, on a fortune level and on a vitality level as well.

Image

Brad Pit has his syzygy on the first pivot, near the Sun and having Jupiter in trigon relationship (mutual reception with Sun), showing the power and fortune this nativity has.

Image

The most famous and for many years richest musician Paul McCartney, has syzygy at 20 Gemini on the 10th pivot in conjunction with the ruler Mercury and Sun. This is really powerful chart, having very good spear-bearers as Mercury and Saturn for the Sun (configured with the MC, Mercury in its own domicile and Saturn in its own triplicity), ruler of Lot of Fortune in 10th from Fortune, Jupiter exalted on the MC and etc.

Image

Metthew Perry is (for me) the funniest character from the Friends sitcom. He has syzygy in Leo – the first pivot, with Sun configured here in its own domicile.

I’m sure there can be found many examples of exceptional nativities with the syzygy or its lord on the two strongest pivots, but you may found (I haven’t yet) a nativity not so exceptional who has this configuration in his chart. As I said, having this configuration may not show the head of a state, but will show some exceptional qualities and will distinguish the nativity among its social peers.

Sources:
Vettius Valens – The Anthologies, Riley translation.
Hephaistio of Thebes – Apotelesmatics Book II, Schmidt translation.

Charts are calculated in the freeware Morinus:
https://sites.google.com/site/pymorinus/

8 thoughts on “The Syzygy of Fortune – Hellenistic Fortune Indicator

    • You have them calculated in most of the serious astrology softwares🙂
      I have calculated them in Morinus software, pressing F7.
      If your software does not have syzygy calculation, then you will check your ephemeris: check when Moon made last conjunction or opposition (the last one of these two) to the Sun, this place will be your syzygy.

      • I thought so!

        Alternatively one can just approximate the date and erect a chart based on that approximation. The Moon completes one sign (30 degrees) within 2 to 3 days, so calculating the angular distance between Sun and Moon and then dividing by 30 should tell you how many days have passed, and therefore indicate the day of the prenatal lunation.

        Then erect the chart and adjust the date accordingly. This is the method I used.

        According to Robert Schmidt in the ACT Astrology forum, it seems Valens had an alternative formula for the prenatal full moon, which is why I asked this question.

  1. Ah, I made a mistake. It should be:

    [ (Distance between Moon and Sun) / 30 ] x 2.5.

    I missed the last step, which is multiplying by the average speed of Moon (avg speed = (2+3)/2 = 2.5 ).

  2. Hi Aishia!

    I think I know of what you are talking about and on which particular chapter from Valens Mr. Schmidt is referring.
    This is chapter 8 from book I of Anthology and Mr. Riley translated it as: “A Handy Method for New and Full Moons”. Mr Schmidt’s translation is titled as “Synodic conjunctions and Whole Moons, Roughly”.

    This is an approximation of how to find the New or Full Moon’s position prior the birth. I doubt anyone will need it in this century with all the software and technology evolving, but it is good to know.

    The method goes like this (Mr. Riley’s translation):
    >>To find new and full moons handily: take the distance from the sun’s degree-position to the moon’s, and determine how many dodekatemoria there are between. Count this amount off from the sun’s degree-position and you will find the new moon there. The moon will be as many degrees from conjunction as there are dodekatemoria which have been determined. For full-moon nativities, take the distance from the point opposite the sun to the moon, and determine how many dodekatemoria there are . Subtract that amount from the position of the point opposite the sun. The full moon will be there.<<

    So for example, if one has Sun in 2Aquarius, and Moon in 12Libra, we will immediately notice that the past Moon was Full! Now, Valens advises us to take the opposite to Sun's position (the place where Full Moon happened!) and count the amount of degrees to 12Libra, or Moon's position in natal. From 2Leo to 12Libra there are 70 degrees. 70 degrees is approximately 6 dodecatemorias. Now count backwards 6 degrees from the place of opposition of Sun, that is 2 Leo, and I come to 26Cancer, the past Full Moon should be there. My software calculates it at 27 Cancer, so as we can see, the approximation is very close!

  3. Mmm, apparently there’s an alternate method; the method you described gives you the same position for the full moon as the Medieaval method. However, Schmidt outlined a method that would give you a totally different position:

    “The algorithm in Valens for calculating this lot when the prenatal syzygy is a new moon is the same as the Medieval version. However, the algorithm in Valens for a prenatal full moon is different. In Valens, it is

    ASC – (upcoming conjunction – Selene)”

    By the way, do you know how I can italicize or embolden the text in the reply section? I’m not sure HTML would work…

    Anyway, coming back to the method you outlined, it is interesting how I came to the same conclusion as Valens! Namely, divide the distance from Sun to Moon or from Moon to Sun by 12.

    Let’s look at the definitions: the prenatal new moon is defined as the last conjunction between the Moon and Sun before birth, and the prenatal full moon is the last opposition between the Moon and Sun before birth.

    At a glance, we can intuitively guess that the lunation lies near the current position of the Sun (new moon) or the position opposite the current position of the Sun (full moon). But the problem is that the Sun has also moved after the lunation!

    So we need to take that into account.

    If we want to know how far something has moved or how long it took to move a certain distance, we need to know its Speed. According to Deborah’s website (http://www.skyscript.co.uk/gl/slow.html), the average speed of the Moon is roughly 13 1/6 degrees per day. The average speed of the Sun is roughly 1 degree per day.

    Let’s assume a new moon has just occured. Let the degrees of the Sun and Moon be c.

    After 1 day, the position of the Sun will be c+1 (because it moves 1 degree per day) and the Moon will be c+13 (I rounded it up to make calculation easier). After 2 days, Sun is at c+2 degrees, Moon at c+26 degrees. And so on:

    t=number of days passed, (position of Sun, position of Moon)

    t=0, (c, c)
    t=1, (c+1, c+13)
    t=2, (c+2, c+ 26) …

    So:

    t=t, (c+t, c+13t)

    If we know how many days have passed since the lunation (i.e. t-value), we will be able to find out where the lunation was (i.e. c-value). Problem is, there is no way to tell directly from the chart how many days have passed, since the Sun has moved from the last lunation!

    But there is one thing we can find, and that is the distance between Moon and Sun. Let’s call this distance D. Algebraically, we then find that:

    Position of Moon – Position of Sun = Distance between Moon and Sun, i.e.

    (c+13t) – (c+t) = D
    c+13t-c-t = D
    12t = D
    t = D/12 (!!!)

    So to find the number of days passed, we need to divide the Distance by 12. Notice that this is exactly the same as the instruction of Valens!

    Finally, once we know t, we can then find the lunation, c degrees, like so:

    c + t = Current Position of Sun
    c = Current Position of Sun – t

    …which is also exactly the same as the instruction of Valens. To get an even more accurate estimation, we can divide D by 12 1/6 instead. Still, using 12 seems to be more elegant, and mathematicians would agree on using 12 instead of 12 1/6.

    The interesting thing is, this method can be extended to find the last partile conjunction, opposition, trine, sextile and square of any two planets!

    12 is the difference between the Speed of the Sun and the Moon. So to find partile aspects of any two planets we just need to find the days that have passed after the aspect:

    t = (Distance between the two planets)/(Speed of Planet One – Speed of Planet Two)

    …And then subtract “vt” from the current position of the planet, where “v” is the speed of the planet:

    c + vt = Current Position
    c = Current Position – vt

    Of course, that goes without saying that we can also find the NEXT partile aspect! Exciting!😀

    Sorry if the post is too long: I get excited easily. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

    Either way my Syzygy is pretty bad haha😛

  4. Hi Aisha!

    Yes, I’ve enjoyed your mathematics! As a graduated musician, I was back then happy not to have Mathematics in Music Academy, but now I’m starting regretting it😀

    You are good in thinking mathematically, where did you get this?

    BTW the first thing you mentioned above is the Lot of so called Hyleg [later in the medieval astrology], though the formula is slightly different. I think I have read that one on ACT forums, Mr. Schmidt wrote there about the same Lot.

  5. I think the reason why many people don’t like math is the way it’s taught. Math concepts are taught concurrently with Math language, but the concepts are not sufficiently linked to the language. So in the end most people understand the language’s syntax, but don’t understand what the individual words mean. It would be like knowing how and when to write the word ‘apple’ but not knowing what it means.

    When thinking about mathematical problems, I spend most of my time first trying to understand the problem itself. Once I have a glimpse of what the problem is, I make a guess about what method might work and try it out. If it fails, I make another guess. If it works in some places but fails in other places, I preserve what works and work from there. While doing all these things, I refine my understanding of the problem.

    Only once I’ve solved the problem in its entirety do I begin formalizing the solution, using the math language I know.

    So you see, the concept comes first, and the language comes later. How many teachers ensure that the concept is remembered before ensuring the language is remembered?

    Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it🙂

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