Valens on Giving and Receiving

For the reason mentioned above, the Lot of Fortune and Daimon have great influence on undertakings and their outcomes.The former gives information about matters concerning the body and concerning the work of hands. Daimon and its ruler give information about spiritual and intellectual matters and about the activities of giving and receiving. It will be necessary to examine the places and the signs in which their houserulers are located and to correlate their natures, in order to learn the type of activity and fortune and the quality of activity <to be expected>. (Vettius Valens – Anthologies, translated by Riley Book II, 35. Bold letters are mine).

Today we hear from the new age-rs that one needs to give in order to receive, to let the universal flow of energy to flow through his being and to out-pour (some call it “out-flowing”) this to the people around him and (bla-bla-bla) etc.

You are supposed to imagine a ball of violet light and this is supposed to be this energy which you need to inhale into your body and to exhale out to the people around you.

These new age-rs think that they have outgrown the old wise people like Seneca & Co, “they were good, but not good enough to know the quantum wisdom of creating your life from the beginning to the end, everything is in your power, and hence you can give and receive according to the power of your mind and visualization. Nicola Tesla used this power of imagination, Albert Eisenstein, and now it is your turn to become great”. In short, “give me your money and I will tell you that you will become great”.

For Valens, even the giving and receiving was predicted in the natal chart. If you have a good, old malefic upon your Daimon (Spirit), in bad shape, you will have problems in this area of life and that’s it. You can visualize and imagine how everything is wonderful in your giving and receiving, but you will only get to sleep after that, I’m not sure if you will get something out of that.

What is Giving and Receiving? It is simple like the title, it is to be able to give and to be able to receive on balanced amount. These are polarities, so if one of the two predominates, problems aroused. You need to give and be able to receive, you need to receive and be able to give. You can’t have the one and underestimate the other. I mean, you can: but you’ll have problems.

Valens uses these words in 8 occasions throughout his Anthology. He says that Lot of Spirit is related to giving and receiving, Mercury, 2nd house and Venus.

Spirit and Mercury are related to the intellectual matters.Spirit is related to intellect, undertakings related to career and etc. Mercury similarly has to do with merchantry, business – works of that kind, and hence the giving and receiving related to Mercury too. 2nd house is also related to possessions and things needed for our livelihood, hence giving and receiving related to the 2nd. Venus is connected to giving and receiving, NOT because modern astrologers think that Venus represents money (Jupiter is natural significator of money) and values, BUT because Venus represents Gifts, and hence giving and receiving of gifts.

So, if some of these areas is impeded, the giving and receiving in that area will be particularly hardened.

As I said, Venus represents more a giving and receiving related to gifts, 2nd to possessions and money, Mercury to merchantry and business, and Daimon in all together. Daimon is the lot of the Sun – the Life Force and hence its special importance in our lives and our beings, especially in giving and receiving matters, because what is life if not balancing the amount of giving and receiving with other people?! Having impeded Daimon denotes that you’ll have problems in giving and receiving in greater part of your life activities: intellectual, career, substantial and etc. Valens calls it “the intellectual place”. In other words, it affects our Thinking, and how we think really matters, not because we can move mountains with our thoughts, but because this is how we gain perspective on things.

One of the most famous Stoics has interesting thoughts on the giving and receiving:

Among the many and diverse errors of those who live reckless and thoughtless lives, almost nothing that I can mention, excellent Liberalis, is more disgraceful than the fact that we do not know how either to give or to receive benefits.  For it follows that, if they are ill placed, they are ill acknowledged, and, when we complain of their not being returned, it is too late for they were lost at the time they were given.  Nor is it surprising that among all our many and great vices, none is so common as ingratitude.
(Lucius Annasus Seneca. Moral Essays. Translated by John W. Basore. The Loeb Classical Library. London: W. Heinemann,1928-1935. 3 vols.: Volume III.)

It is said that it is more blessed to give than to receive, but once I was on a very interesting course were we were thought that in all interactions with people, whether they are business or private associations, balance of giving and receiving must to exist. If someone gives you a precious gift, you were supposed to contribute not necessary with money or substance, but with helping the person in some other way.

These people thought that greatest part of the problems in ones life is in the inappropriate amount of exchange, and if one learns how to contribute or compensate, then he will have less problems in life.

Sure, there is truth in this. But in my own experience, even though one knows all these things, and tries to practice them, some inner flow of destiny is pushing the person toward people with whom he will have an unfair amount of exchange (in the promised time of lfe), or the person from the other side will think that the amount is unfair, and yet again the natal promise of the birth chart is manifested.

What I’m saying here is that I’m of opinion that you can learn something, you can control your reactions, but again, the fate will bring you interactions with people with whom you will end having problems in matters related to exchange. This is something bigger, stronger then our knowing, and no matter how hard you try to get out of it, you will still get it. This is my observation of life through astrology,and I think Valens would agree with me, and indeed he does, when he says that even our taking bath is predetermined.

OK, back to the giving and receiving in Anthology.

It is particularly interested to analyze the original Greek words which Valens uses in his book.

Τε τας δοσεις χαι τας ληψεις (te tas dosis kaitas lipsis).

Δόση (dose) in singular, in modern Greek means “Dose” or “Installment”. It is a word used in healing matters, as to how much of a medicine the patient needs to receive. This is a noun which comes from the verb δίνω (dino = Give). In ancient times probably meant “the act of giving” or “the object of giving”.

Ληψεις (Lipsis = Acquisitions) in modern days, is a word often used for “Downloads” as downloads on your PC from internet. In modern greek there exist the compound word “δοσοληψία” (=transaction [dosolipsia]) from “δόση” and “λήψη”, which is most close to our examination of “giving and receiving”.

So this “giving and receiving”, or “givings and receivings” in plural, in Valens’ time was related to making transactions, not only of money, but also as an act of intellectual sharing, exchange of acquisitions, possessions and even gifts. As a “dose”, denotes how many or how much you will exchange and how much you will download, or receive from the other side.

Working Examples


The givings and receivings of this person are related to Friends (Spirit in 11 sign) who are helping him in his career (MC is here). Most of his undertakings were related to foreign countries because the ruler of Spirit (Jupiter) is found in 9th sign, alongside Venus and Mercury. Jupiter is also ruler of 2nd.


The givings and receivings of this person are related to his mother with whom he is particularly close. But he gains also from his father’s estate. The ruler of 4th of parents and of Spirit is in 5th in its own sign.


The givings and receivings of this person were source of troubles with friends. Because Spirit is in 5th, and 5th is related to friends, and both malefics were found here. The inappropriate amount of giving and receiving (sometimes giving much more, sometimes receiving much more) were the source of quarrels with friends and co-workers, because both malefics also rule the 7th. Valens in describing Mars is telling us that he denotes “quarrels among friends.


The givings and receivings of this person are related to foreign country, where she also found a rich man. Spirit was found in 9th with the Sun in its own domicile.
This person also get precious gifts from her paternal aunt, represented with Venus on MC in its own sign. She helped her to find career path and to succeed in life.
Venus is ruler of 6th (sister of her father), but also Moon as exalted ruler of 6th is found in 1st in its own decan, showing the affinity of her aunt toward her. Both these planets are showing the help from her aunt.


The acts of giving and receiving are cornerstone on which the people’s interactions are based. The greatest part of life problems have the act of giving or the act of receiving, or fair/unfair exchange as a basis. There exist many schools who think that by practicing this art of giving and receiving, and getting good at it, one can escape having problems of that sort in life. My position is that this can help, but not in a great measure. There exist fate, an underlying principle working beneath the human interactions. You can become better at it, but you can’t change what is promised. The problem is that we think that everything is in our control, when indeed, only our inner life is in our control, and we can collect and develop wisdom, we can develop the rational side of the mind and learn to act in more knowledgeable way, but we can’t change this underlying flow of energy which is called fate, and which exist in all our undertakings, all our relations. This is the same fate which the new age-rs think that they invented it and which you can change and shape according to your wishes. This flow of energy is called Fate, and it can be found in every little detail of our life. In the battle between Her and your Mind, you loose even before the match begins. Try to change it and you will roll the ball of Sisyphus up on the hill. I will leave you with a quote of the master Vettius Valens:

Some are fated to have unwanted experiences and to be unable to act as they desire. Some seem to be under the power of others; even though they are free, they are punished by a bad conscience. Some travel abroad or sail, and are held somewhere on an island or in deserted places, or they do service in temples or sacred places. (Riley, book V, p.96)

And the funny thing is that those who succeed are celebrating as their mind did it all, when in fact it was fated to happen, and they even didn’t knew that. There fore they look at  those who don’t succeed with disgust, as they were unable when in fact, for them it was not fated to succeed.


Vettius Valens – Anthologies, translated by Mark T. Riley.
Lucius Annasus Seneca. Moral Essays. Translated by John W. Basore. The Loeb Classical Library. London: W. Heinemann,1928-1935. 3 vols.: Volume III.

4 thoughts on “Valens on Giving and Receiving

  1. Hi~

    Interesting read.🙂 Please continue writing more~

    A few questions though~ First, why is the 5th house related to friends? Is it due to the opposition to the 11th? If not, where can I read about this?

    Secondly, in the last example, you used chart turning didn’t you (3rd from 4th => father’s sister)? Is this technique extant in Hellenistic literature or did you borrow it from the medieval tradition?

    Also, in one example you used 4th to signify mother and in the last one you used it to signify father…how did you decide which one to use?

    • Hi,

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      Your questions are good and you made very sharp observation on why 5th happens to receive the significations for friends. Yes, being in the opposition of 11th is one of the things why the 5th was associated with friends and friendships. Valens used this power of the opposition in transfering the meanings of the two houses, and this is not just an innovation of Morin de Villefranche as some think. Morin argued that some meanings of the houses are their intrinsic and some are from derivation of the house opposite to it. So, 6th is intrinsicaly Servants and Animals, but also represents Diseases and Enemies due to the opposite house. On the other side, 12th intrisicly represents Enemies, but also Animals due to the opposition to 6th and so on.

      Valens in p.80 when describes “The Names of the Twelfe Places” (Riley’s translation) says that the third represents “travel abroad” and IX friendships. It is true that all cadent places has to with traveling abroad, but if we take the later medieval understanding of it, this “long journeys” would be signification of the 3rd due to the opposite 9th house which particularly has to do with taking long journeys, or journeys “over sea”. Now, Valens also tells us that 3rd and 9th also has to do with friendships. I tend to think that this is so because in those times you couldn’t traveled alone (or this was very rare occasion), you always travel with someone, with companions, and these companions are Φιλιας – Friendships.

      Valens uses interchangeby the words Φίλοι= Friends and Φιλιας = Friendship throughout his book. The following are just few examples of how often and in different occasions Valens uses the word friendship:
      Sun is “the master, friendship” (p.1)
      Jupiter indicates “friendships with great men” (p.1)
      Mars “quarrels among friends” (p.1)
      Venus “friendship, Companionship” (p.1)
      Mercury “friendship and trust” (p2)
      Sagittarius: “loving their brothers and their friends” (p5)
      Mercury bound in Pisces: “with many friends” (p8)
      Saturn and Sun in same sign are: “giving and taking away possessions and friendships maliciously”.
      Now all these need to be put in some context. For example, Mercury has to do with Merchantry, and he signifying “friendship and trust” means that one need trust and friendship (conversation, mutual understanding and trust) in order to exchange, give or receive things, that is, to sale or buy.

      On p.80 Valens tells us that:
      “V The Place of Children, friendship, association, slaves, freedmen, the completion of some good deed or benefaction.” Schmidt adds “Society” which is again I think, derivation from the 11th. 5th is the place of friendships because with friends you ought to enjoy to enetrtain and etc. Venus is natural significator of friendships and she has her Joy here in 5th. So, I think there are many connections of friendships related to the 5th. Friendship is a complex thing, it is related as we sow, with manymanifestations and particulars. So, I think that in the future of our development of understanding of traditional astrology, we need to assign every particular friendship into particular house which bears significations of the speciffic nature of that friendship. For example, when we talked about friends with whom I have fun, go to clubs and enjoy night life, I would say that this is a 5th house friendship. But when I have friends with which I’m on a daily basis, and with whom I chat about different things, or with whom I travel and make short journeys, I would assing those friendships in the 3rd house, with my religious friends, or philosophical one, I would hang out in the 9th place of the horoscope and etc..

      But in luck of such distinction yet, we can easily assign the recommendation of 5th as friendships in general, because in later astrology this was accepted as particular place of friendships (I mean 11th, but through the power of opposition), and because today there is rarely distinction of with whom I’m hanging out as this was most likely the case in older times. Today with my friends I do all the things signified by the 3rd, 5th and 11th: I talk with them about everything (3rd), I make philosophical and religious debates with them (9th) and I hang out in ight clubs and all other kinds of enjoyment which is represented by the 5th house.

      Now, about your question on Parents.
      Valens also used derived houses. Look at the beginning of book IX of anthology. He says that VI is place of brothers relative to IV of Parents.

      It is true that many later astrologers, starting from probably Umar, through Schoener till today, astrologers assigned 10th to the mother. Benjamine Dykes argues in one of his comments on translation of Umar that this was most likely misinterpretation of particular passage of Ptolemy’s tetrabiblos book III, and here is where from the assigning of the 10th to the mother started. There are no indications that 10th represented the mother in the early astrology. Although is we use our astrological thinking and the power of derivative houses, we would say that the 10th would be the father’s spouse. But this isn’t very good analogy, because 4th was Place of Parents, not of Father! 9th was particularly the place of Father for Valens! And we can say that the 3rd through the derivation is the place of Mother! Now, 9th and 3rd were the place of the Authoritative male and female figures suchas the God and Goddesses. In those times the parents, especially the father, really had an authority, and this is why it is logical to assign the father, the authority of the house, to the 9th house. In Vedic Astrology this tradition is still present. 9th is the house of Joy of the Sun, another significator of the father. But 4th was in general Parents, because 4th is the place of Home. This is why in the two examples I took the 4th to represent the father and the mother in the other example. Well, in the example nr.2 the Moon from her place is casting her ray to the 4h house, she is in her own place elevated on MC and powerful, makes beautiful aspect (sextile) with the ascendant ruler Venus in her own place too. It is obvious that there is mutual friendship between the native and his mother. This is Moon taken as the natural significator for mothers. Saturn would represent both: mother and father, that is, will bear significations for their affairs, but particularly of the father but as we can see he is absent from the home because of the aversion, though it is mitigated through the same sign of ruelrship (signs on the same journey) of Saturn (capricorn/aquarius: both are ruled by Saturn)!

      These analysis are post factum (after the fact) and here it is easier to decide which is which, because I know the whole story. Facing such chart before the facts, it would be much harder task to decide, though in some cases it is obvious, others are more tricky.

      Well, this become a long reply, I hope I was clear though🙂


      • Hi Ile~

        Thanks for the reply, it was very insightful!

        I found the part of the text that used the derived houses: “VI. Concerning injuries, illness, and afflicting crises. Relative to the IV Place of Parents it concerns brothers.”

        You come across as a person who analyzes things with depth and explain things with depth too! As I am also studying Hellenistic Astrology I will keep my eyes peeled of your posts, so please continue😀; there are not many people to discuss Hellenistic Astrology with, much less practice them >.<

        By the way, is the word Φιλιας pronounced Filia/Philia? I read the letters as Ph-i-l-i-a, though I don't know how to pronounce the last letter~

        It reminds me of one of the four Greeks words for love: Eros, Agape, Phillia and Storge.


  2. Hello!

    Φιλιας would read Philias, and yes, it is one of the “Love words” used by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Etics to denote love, but I think love through friendship, not an erotic love which would be Eros.

    I’m preparing a post on synastry, especially synastry of friendship, which is based on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Etics. I don’t know where will I publish it though, have so many things to do in between🙂

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