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Study Notes: Valens Anthology

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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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Study Notes: Valens Anthology


Similar to my study notes thread on Lilly's Christian Astrology, these are my jottings on my feeble attempts to master Valens's approach to Hellenistic astrology.

My selfish motive in starting this course of study was adding Zodiacal Releasing as an additional predictive technique to my toolkit (I primarily use Solar and Lunar Returns + Transits). During a thread conversation with Minderwis, ZR came up, and Valens, and hints of other time lord techniques all of which sounded intriguing, so I thought I'd learn those too.

As with my Lilly Notes,
1. These are written from the perspective of a student, *not* that of an expert astrologer (I can't emphasize this enough)

2. As I get stuck I'll
(a) ask for help
(b) take some time to digest these sticking points thoroughly, and occasionally, just to commit procedures to memory bit by bit. (which I am doing right now for Lilly's basic chart examinaton procedure, almost done). So the writing will have a stop start quality, but when done, should be useful to other students.

3. I use Sidereal (Fagan Bradley) for my personal practice, though I'll be using Whole Sign Houses. Not sure if Valens uses Tropical or Sidereal, but there may not have been much of a difference in his time.
Unlike Lilly Valens doesn't seem to give actual charts.

4. I'll skip the 'calculations of planet positions' parts of his book.They seem to use strange months like Mechior (spelling?) which I can't make any sense of. I suspect for the charts I want, modern software tools should give me the precise position of ascendant, the precise rising degree and so on. I think this should be fine, but if anyone really thinks working through his calculations is useful, let me know.

5. Other than the above I plan to work through every single page of every single volume, and incorporate any techniques I find, and test it on a representative sample of charts (all of which will be logged here)

To start off, here are some *very* useful resources I've discovered to 'prep' for Valens study

1. This thread right here on this forum. http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=190689 where our own Minderwiz analyses a few charts with Hellenistic Techniques. I'm not sure I follow the Schmidtisms in the analysis, but I could get my head around the basic concepts, even Zodiacal Releasing

2. Free Software. Morinus Valens - available from https://sites.google.com/site/astrovalens/ . Installed easily on my Windows *and* Linux machines, and gives L1 - L4 breakdowns of Zodiacal Releasing for a given natal chart, and also a battery of other techniques I'm not familiar with.

Fwiw, I took a quick look at a couple of 'turning point' dates in my life, just for the fun of it, and the ZR symbolism is so perfectly on the dot and accurate *to the day*, it completely freaked me out (and this is from Lot of Fortune, using Fagan Sideareal, I didn't test with Tropical, fwiw). Very impressive, and very motivating.

ight now I'm working through Section 1 of Book 1, which is a description of planetary significances for the 7 classical planets. Not hard, but I like the writing style.

More later, as I understand Valens (and get stuck, heh).

Cheers
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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RohanMenon View Post
Similar to my study notes thread on Lilly's Christian Astrology, these are my jottings on my feeble attempts to master Valens's approach to Hellenistic astrology.

My selfish motive in starting this course of study was adding Zodiacal Releasing as an additional predictive technique to my toolkit (I primarily use Solar and Lunar Returns + Transits). During a thread conversation with Minderwiz, ZR came up, and Valens, and hints of other time lord techniques all of which sounded intriguing, so I thought I'd learn those too.
You're taking on a lot with this set of study notes, given that Lilly is still in progress. There's a fair amount of similarity between Lilly and Morin. They operated in the seventeenth century and shared the same astrological heritage, though there are differences in their approach to it.

Valens is a whole new ball game. He was writing about 1,500 years early from a tradition that had been effectively lost for Lilly and Morin. Their only knowledge of it came from Ptolemy, who is not a mainstream Hellenistic Astrologer, though a towering figure in the history and practice of Astrology. Their other main sources were the Persian and Arabic texts that carried on the tradition after the fall of the Roman Empire and the marginalisation of the Byzantine Empire, which had a long term fight for survival on its hands.

Both thought the Arabs and Persians were a source of error, neither realised the extent to which those medieval writers actually carried on the Hellenistic legacy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RohanMenon
3. I use Sidereal (Fagan Bradley) for my personal practice, though I'll be using Whole Sign Houses. Not sure if Valens uses Tropical or Sidereal, but there may not have been much of a difference in his time.
Unlike Lilly Valens doesn't seem to give actual charts.

4. I'll skip the 'calculations of planet positions' parts of his book.They seem to use strange months like Mechior (spelling?) which I can't make any sense of. I suspect for the charts I want, modern software tools should give me the precise position of ascendant, the precise rising degree and so on. I think this should be fine, but if anyone really thinks working through his calculations is useful, let me know.
Valens wouldn't know what you meant by a sidereal zodiac, or a tropical one, for that matter - the zodiac he worked with was virtually indistinguishable from either the modern tropical zodiac or a sidereal zodiac (though the fairly large numbers of ayanamsas, would have introduced a degree or so difference). There was only one zodiac in which the equinoxes occurred in March and September and the Solstices in June and December and the constellation of Aries resided in the sign of Aries.

As you get into the work you will find that Valens actually gives a very large number of charts. Unlike Lilly he just gives the planetary positions by sign and the Ascendant position, the latter allowing you to reconstruct the chart because with Whole Signs, the Ascending sign is the first house. Mostly he doesn't even give a date and time. You have the chart and you can use it to follow his point.

Valens used the Egyptian calendar of his day. You can find conversions but you can still follow the principles of his charts from the planetary positions quoted.

It's interesting, if you have the time (and I confess, I haven't had that luxury) to follow how he sets up a chart and determines the Ascendant and MC, bearing in mind that he had no computer, no logarithms, no, algebra, (all not yet invented) but some tables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RohanMenon
5. Other than the above I plan to work through every single page of every single volume, and incorporate any techniques I find, and test it on a representative sample of charts (all of which will be logged here)

To start off, here are some *very* useful resources I've discovered to 'prep' for Valens study

1. This thread right here on this forum. http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=190689 where our own Minderwiz analyses a few charts with Hellenistic Techniques. I'm not sure I follow the Schmidtisms in the analysis, but I could get my head around the basic concepts, even Zodiacal Releasing
That thread was my first attempt to make sense of what I was reading and learning and certainly is wobbly in the early parts. Robert Schmidt was one of the key forces behind Project Hindsight, an attempt to translate and analyse ancient texts. As there was not much out there, apart from some translations by James Holden, they had to work almost from scratch and teach themselves classical Greek. Therefore there are errors in their early work. The most criticised was the claim that the Hellenistic Astrologers only uses sign based aspects. They didn't, they had degree based ones as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RohanMenon
2. Free Software. Morinus Valens - available from https://sites.google.com/site/astrovalens/ . Installed easily on my Windows *and* Linux machines, and gives L1 - L4 breakdowns of Zodiacal Releasing for a given natal chart, and also a battery of other techniques I'm not familiar with.

Fwiw, I took a quick look at a couple of 'turning point' dates in my life, just for the fun of it, and the ZR symbolism is so perfectly on the dot and accurate *to the day*, it completely freaked me out (and this is from Lot of Fortune, using Fagan Sideareal, I didn't test with Tropical, fwiw). Very impressive, and very motivating.
I do have a copy of Valens, but I had difficulties installing it. Not sure of the reasons but I suspect a clash somewhere or other. I do have Delphic Oracle, which is a paid for program (though not exorbitantly so) which is excellent for ZR and many other Hellenistic and Medieval techniques.

ZR from Spirit is perhaps more widely used than ZR from Fortune. The reason being that the Lot of Fortune is concerned with what fate deals you. How you are affected by the environment and external forces. It became more used to look at health and well being, as issues related to those greatly influences the success or otherwise of your life.

The Lot of Spirit shows how you are able to influence the world around you. How your own efforts can change your life. For that reason it has relevance to your Career and your attainment of social position.
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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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Thanks for the response Minderwiz


Quote:
Originally Posted by Minderwiz View Post
You're taking on a lot with this set of study notes, given that Lilly is still in progress.
In one way, yes. This reminds me of my PhD (in Math) days, when I would take more courses than my advisors thought healthy. But I got through them all, since my study habits are very efficient. I don't even work all that much per day, I'm just a steady worker and (eventually) grind through stuff.

On the other hand, no. since I'm reading (and taking notes) only for about 15 minutes each (Lilly and now Valens) per day. at lunch time, on the way to work etc, I try to think through what I read, and try to relate what I understood to the few charts (Mine + some of family and close friends) I have in my head.

I plan to work through these volumes all of next year, if not beyond, and it is all good. Astrology is my only hobby. So this is relaxing to me.


Quote:
Valens wouldn't know what you meant by a sidereal zodiac, or a tropical one, for that matter - the zodiac he worked with was virtually indistinguishable from either the modern tropical zodiac or a sidereal zodiac (though the fairly large numbers of ayanamsas, would have introduced a degree or so difference). There was only one zodiac in which the equinoxes occurred in March and September and the Solstices in June and December and the constellation of Aries resided in the sign of Aries.
This is very good to know, thank you. I think the one degree error of differing ayanamsas can be finessed.

Quote:
As you get into the work you will find that Valens actually gives a very large number of charts. Unlike Lilly he just gives the planetary positions by sign and the Ascendant position, the latter allowing you to reconstruct the chart because with Whole Signs, the Ascending sign is the first house. Mostly he doesn't even give a date and time. You have the chart and you can use it to follow his point.
This is *really* good to know too. I can just use his description to fill up some circular chart blanks, and examine those on my bus trips etc!


Quote:
That thread was my first attempt to make sense of what I was reading and learning and certainly is wobbly in the early parts.
It still worked, in that I got the 'big picture' especially by the time you got to delineating Liefa(spelling)'s chart. so all good, I love this forum. Hopefully my notes will be useful to someone else someday, warts and all.


Quote:
ZR from Spirit is perhaps more widely used than ZR from Fortune. The reason being that the Lot of Fortune is concerned with what fate deals you. How you are affected by the environment and external forces. It became more used to look at health and well being, as issues related to those greatly influences the success or otherwise of your life.

The Lot of Spirit shows how you are able to influence the world around you. How your own efforts can change your life. For that reason it has relevance to your Career and your attainment of social position.
hmm those do resonate somewhat with the nature of the Sun and the Moon, so I think I understand what you are saying. Both events I examined had more of the nature of 'fate' than 'effort', so I think it turned out well.
Top   #3
RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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Sme confusing language in Valens Vol 1


"
20. Transits.
The Sun: the second, the sixth, and the twelfth are good; the seventh and the fourth are rotten.
The Moon: the third, the eighth, and the ninth are rotten; the fifth, the
eleventh, and the twelfth are good
etc..

."

What is the starting point of these ? the whole sign house containing the ascendant? Or the sign in which the respective planet is located in the horoscope?

e.g: in my chart, the ascendant lies in Gemini, and the Sun in Sagittarius.

Does "(the Sun transiting) the seventh and fourth are rotten", mean that i have a bad time when the Sun is transiting through Virgo and Sagittarius (counting Gemini as 1,) or when the Sun is transiting through Pisces and Gemini (counting Sagittarius as 1)?

Thanks in advance.
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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
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Welcome to the difficulties of dealing with texts that are nearly 2,000 years old - well about 1,860 to be more accurate.

This is all we have in this section. Whether it was all he wrote, I'm not sure. Gehrz treats this small section as a subsection of the book, even though it continues on without a break.

I would assume he means places here and these would be whole signs, counting the Ascending Sign as the first. But note, in later books he describes what is clearly the Equal House System, starting with the Ascendant it self. As the work took nearly 20 years to complete (or more precisely was written over a period of 20 years), whether he means Equal Houses at this point is anyone's guess. He doesn't say what system he's using and indeed elsewhere he refers to quadrant houses (Porphyry)

I can't get a clear view of his reasoning, firstly because he doesn't distinguish between diurnal and nocturnal charts and I would have thought that the diurnal planets would be interpreted differently in nocturnal charts and vice versa.

Clearly Sun in the twelfth is a diurnal chart. In Whole Sign Houses, the Sun may be above or below the Horizon in the seventh, and I can see why that might not be fortunate, if it's below. Even with Equal Houses, the Sun in the Seventh is setting and in the fourth its anti-culminating. In Gehrz' translation the second isn't mentioned but if we take it as being included, the second is a succedent house and the Sun will soon enter the Ascendant and the light (especially if Equal Houses are used).

For the Moon and the rest, we can't know whether it's a diurnal or a nocturnal chart. It's possible that this is a fragment, perhaps introducing the next section or presaging issues raised in further books. I don't know.

I have Mark Riley's commentary but on a quick examination he doesn't seem to mention this area. Nor do one or two other commentaries I've seen. I think the last part of the section, where he is mentioning transits to natal planets and where he says they are especially important if the transiting planet happens to be the current time lord (Chronocrator= ruler of time). Here he says you have to check for benefics and malefics witnessing the transiting planet and also the natal position and condition of the planet transited.

Don't forget that Transits don't always produce an outcome. They need top be supported by more powerful forces, such as Time Lords. So unless the Sun happens to be the Time Lord passing through the fourth may not be noticed, unless you have a planet there and even then, only if the time lord in force has activated that house.
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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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Thanks Minderwiz


The last paragraph is key I think. When I have some time (friend visiting right now) I'll look up my present chronocator (Cancer/Moon I think measuring from Part of Fortune) and examine transits of the Moon through Valen's houses and see if they are relatively good or bad. Easy enough to do
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RohanMenon View Post
The last paragraph is key I think. When I have some time (friend visiting right now) I'll look up my present chronocator (Cancer/Moon I think measuring from Part of Fortune) and examine transits of the Moon through Valen's houses and see if they are relatively good or bad. Easy enough to do
Depends which of several Time Lord methods you use. Indeed at any one time you might have several, though they are differentiated by area of life, emphasised. Something I'm still trying to get my head round because as well as ZR, you could allso use Protections, Decennials Circumambulations, .....
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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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Good points. Which is why


I make prediction the winnowing principle of my studies. Very effective in discouraging getting too entranced with elegant theories that don't work.
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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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so, after restarting my Lilly studies


I restarted Valens too.

I just finished working through (and making notes on) the planetary significations (which are *much* better than in most modern books), and also the signs. These are a little more weird and have many indecipherable (to me at least) bits like

"This sign is calm, Its first 3 are worthless and destructive; from 3 to 7 it is
well-watered; good weather from 7 to 15. The southern parts are wellwatered. The last degrees are a combination of traits."

I am not sure what any of these means, or how it is useful in interpretation.
But, ok, I'll just move on.

Descriptions for (people born under) every term of every sign follows (whoa).

e.g: "The first 6 of Gemini belong to Mercury: temperate, with fine weather,
intelligent, versatile, skilled, active, poetic, prolific.

The next 6 belong to
Jupiter: competitive, temperate, with fine weather, prolific, luxuriant,
beneficent.

The third term, 5, belongs to Venus: blossoming, artistic,
addicted to plays and mimes, poetic, a contest winner, popular, cheerful,
prolific.

The fourth term, 7 belong to Mars: much-burdened, with no
brothers, having few children, a wanderer, with a good income, destructive,
bloody, inquisitive.

The last 6 belong to Saturn: temperate, a procurator,
having possessions, intellectual, with a wide knowledge, distinguished, noted
for intelligence, an arranger of great matters, most famous."

I assume Valens means that people with their ascendants in these terms show these characteristics.


I have to say I've never seen such 'term descripitons' before, but I'm not sure what to do with this information. Memorizing would take too long. Make short notes? Hopefully future chapters/book will teach how to *use* this information.
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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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What is an 'operative sign'?


Valens speaking about the combination of Saturn and Mars (Book 1, Chapter 21)

"However, if these stars are not in their own or in operative signs, and if they have benefics in aspect, they produce distinguished and noble nativities, "
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