With this having been established, it is necessary to prove by experience <the effectiveness of> still another place which I will demonstrate most abundantly: this is the Crisis-Producing Place, the place causative of terrors, dangers, and chains. Consequently this place is strong; (Vettius Valens, Anthologies, Book V, Ch. 1, Riley trans., 2010, p. 95)
The Lot of Affliction
In my last post I provided a very thorough introduction to the lots, using the four principal lots to which Vettius Valens attributed particularly special importance. I recommend reading, or at least skimming, that article before proceeding.
In that last article I focused on the most important four lots in the chart, which pertain to two polarities. There is the more static polarity of physical (Fortune) condition vs. “spiritual”/abstract (Spirit) condition, and the more dynamic polarity of attractive interpersonal matters (Love) vs. adversarial interpersonal matters (Necessity). I also touched on the rationale of the lots, namely that there is a metaphorical sense of moving from the significations of the starting planet to those of the ending planet.
While those 4 lots are the most important, there is a fifth lot that I also consider to be exceptionally important. Together with the four lots previously discussed, these five lots represent what I feel are the five most indispensable lots in ancient astrological literature. In other words, if you use only 5 lots, use these!
The fifth lot is the most sinister lot you can construct out of two classical planets, and it is mentioned by many ancient sources and given various names. It is referred to as the Lot of Injury or Chronic Illness by Dorotheus of the 1st century CE (Carmen Astrologicum, Book IV, Ch. 1, #75), the place producing crises and accusations by Valens of the 2nd century CE (Anthology, Book V, Ch. 1), and the house of affliction and illness by Maternus of the 4th century CE (Mathesis, Book VI, Ch. 32, #40).
Think back to the rationale discussed earlier for the lots. When constructing this lot, we use the same rationale. In this case we have a metaphor for things going from bad to worse, from the sect malefic to the out-of-sect malefic (projected from the Ascendant). Therefore, for one born during the day the lot is the distance from Saturn (the more benign malefic by day as it is of the diurnal sect) to Mars (the more aggravating malefic by day because it is nocturnal), then projected from the Ascendant. It is reversed for night charts (those with the Sun below the horizon), such that you take the distance from Saturn to Mars and then project that from the Ascendant.
Valens describes the interpretation of the lot at great length in the beginning of Book V of the Anthology. He connects it chiefly with imprisonment and servitude, whether social, such as incarceration, or physical, such as a debilitating illness. Even mental afflictions, such as anxieties and a bad conscience, and social afflictions, like betrayal, are possible under this lot. When eased by the influence of benefics it may still show burdensome obligations, such as heavy debts, military service, required attendance with something one loathes (e.g. mandatory community service), and so forth. In any sense this lot signifies the most undesirable states of affairs. I will refer to this lot as the Lot of Affliction.
Usage in Predicting Crises
There is first a general natal analysis concerning this place of Affliction (these analytical guidelines are from Valens). If it is ruled by, occupied by, or strongly aspected by a malefic, then that shows vulnerability to afflictions signified by the influential planet and/or sign, while benefic influences serve as alleviation or escape.
Additionally, Valens combines this with another type analysis that signals general vulnerability to crises. When the Sun and/or Moon are in a whole sign sextile to Mars and/or Saturn it signifies vulnerability to crises in the life. This is intensified if the sextile is within 70 degrees and/or between the hearing signs. Presumably a greater number of sextile configurations there are between the Lights and the malefics shows more potential for crises.
Prediction of when the crisis will occur is made by using various chronocrator techniques which are discussed in Book IV of Valens. Danger is shown when a Light (i.e. the Sun or Moon) transmits to a malefic (i.e. Mars or Saturn) or a malefic to a Light. When it comes to the yearly chronocratorship (i.e. Valens-style profections), then the way I understand Valens is that the period of crisis is indicated when a malefic transmits to a light or a light to a malefic. For instance, in terms of annual profections this occurs when the Sign occupied by the Sun in the chart profects to a sign ruled by Mars or Saturn (transmission typically occurs either when one planet profects to the place occupied by the other planet, or when it profects to an empty place ruled by the other planet; but in this analysis Valens emphasizes the ruler). Again, when doing these chronocratorships, the influence of the benefics in the place or in strong aspect provides alleviation or escape. The worst, most full-blown crises occur when a greater chronocratorship and an annual one of this sort (i.e. Light-to-malefic or malefic-to-Light) occur at the same time.
While in profections the transmission is from the natal to the ruler of the profection destination, in chronocrator (time lord) techniques of Valens the transmitter is the time lord of the larger period and the transmission is to the time lord of the smaller period. For instance, if a planet ruling the year is the Sun, while the one ruling the month is Mars, then it is a transmission of the Sun to Mars.
Effect of Basis
Nativities with a very strong “basis” (great personal strength and leadership) and those sets of such difficult chronocratorships that have benefics influencing matters tend toward more social or figurative crises, or to tending to prisoners and so forth (in a similar vein I’ve noticed this type of thing when people have activations of benefics in bad places, where one deals with those who are afflicted and is not necessarily afflicted oneself). If there is not significant basis signified, then the crisis is likely to be more difficult.
Natal Lot of Affliction Examples
Dahmer’s tight conjunction of the lots of Affliction and Love is interesting, particularly as it is ruled by Saturn, and with both Saturn and Jupiter, two planets which Dahmer identified with (both have dignity at the Ascendant). Both lots are very closely square to Dahmer’s Mars also (especially the Lot of Affliction which Mars aspects within 2 degrees). Dahmer started relationships with his victims before he would torture, kill, mutilate, and eat them. His first killing was impulsive and due to a desire to sleep with a hitchhiker he had picked up. That killing occurred during an annual profection of his Ascendant to his Moon-Mars conjunction in the 7th, ruled by Mars. He did not kill again until 9 years later, at age 27, kicking off sporadic serial killings that year, with the annual profection of his Ascendant to the 4th, the place of Affliction (and the Lot of Love), ruled by (and occupied by) Saturn, and squared by Mars and the Moon. The fact that the serial killing started in the year of the annual profection to the place of both the lot of affliction, and the lot of love, with both lots strongly linked with each other, is very illustrative, as he has admitted in interviews that renewed intense desires that were awoken in him at this time inspired the killings.
David Carradine’s Lot of Affliction was in the 8th house, in Libra, ruled by Venus, adhering to Carradine’s Mars and with his Moon also (Mars-Moon conjunctions can carry significance related to bodily harm).
In this prediction example I’m going employ a few predictive techniques discussed by Valens that I have not previously introduced on the blog. Here I will keep my explanation of the techniques rather short so I can focus on the relevance of Affliction. These techniques will be explained in some future posts.
General Vulnerability in the Natal Chart
The chart of an Anonymous friend is provided below for examination (CTRL+Click to enlarge in a new tab).
Notice that the chart has the Sun above the horizon, so Saturn is in sect and Mars is out of sect. The distance from Saturn to Mars is about 91.5 degrees in the zodiacal order. Adding that to the Ascendant of just under 4 degrees Aquarius brings us to 5 degrees Taurus.
Affliction is not in very bad condition in this natal chart. It is ruled by Venus and in the bound of Venus. There are no malefics located in the place, opposing it, or squaring it. Saturn doesn’t even regard the place, and Mars does not scrutinize the lot, though Mars almost does, as Mars is in a superior trine to the lot which is just over 4 degrees from perfect (within 3 would be scrutinizing). So for the most part we don’t read a major affliction into the lot, but if we were going to describe a particularly vulnerable area it would probably pertain to Taurus, Venus, and the 4th house, so we might expect that matters pertaining to the home, family, and particularly significant women could take on special significance.
However, the other sign of vulnerability is very apparent. The Moon is in a scrutinizing sextile with Mars, while the Sun is also in a pretty close sextile to Saturn. Hearing signs are not involved but these are pretty close sextiles and each Light is in such a configuration. However, this situation is at least alleviated by the fact that the Moon is in close conjunction with the benefic Venus and Saturn is in close conjunction with the benefic Jupiter, therefore the benefics have a very strong alleviating impact on these promises of affliction.
At age 27, a string of unfortunate events happened to the native. His spouse intentionally blew the family savings and maxed out the credit cards as a personal attack, he got divorced ending a 10 year relationship, he slowly went out of business due to lack of work caused by a major global financial crisis, he lost both a mortgaged home as well as a rental, and moved back to his parents home with his 2 children after having been independent for the prior 8 years. You will notice that many of these themes (aggression from women, marital problems, family, real estate) relate very directly to the place of Affliction and its primary associations with Venus and the 4th place.
Timing: Major Period by the Quarters Technique
Now, let’s look at the predictive techniques. One predictive technique that Valens discussed right at the beginning of Book IV, and then returned to at the end of Book IV, utilizes the 1/4 values of the minor years of the planets, so I have personally called it Valens Quarters or just the Quarters.
There is a major and a minor period. The major period begins with the first planet after (in zodiacal order) the point of the prenatal syzygy (New or Full Moon most nearly preceding the birth) in the chart in zodiacal order. For instance, in our example chart the Moon is waning so it was a Full Moon that preceded the birth. That Full Moon, or prenatal syzygy, was located at 0 Gemini. The first planet that one encounters moving from 0 Gemini up through the zodiac in order is Jupiter at 6 Libra, and if we continue then it would be Saturn, and then the Moon, and so forth. Therefore, Jupiter gets the first major period, ruling for a quarter of its minor years (12), which is 3 years, then Saturn for 7.5 years (i.e. until age 10.5), then the Moon for 6.25 years (i.e. until age 16.75), then Venus for 2 years (i.e. until age 18.75), then Mercury for 5 years (i.e. until age 23.75), then the Sun for 4.75 years (i.e. until age 28.5).
The events under consideration occurred while the native was 27 years old, in the middle of the native’s 28th year, so the Sun ruled the major period.
Timing: Minor Period by the Quarters Technique
To find the minor period in the Quarters technique we start with the ruler of the major period and we take the days of the planets (I’ve addressed them previously here), multiplying them by the length of the period in years to determine the number of days for each planet, with the rulership again passing in zodiacal order around the chart. At the end of Book IV Valens provides convenient tables with the amount of days each planet gets under each period. The Sun minor period started when the native was age 23.75 and ended when the native was 28.5, with the event occurring when the native was 27.5. It will be easier to work backwards, one year from the end of the major period, knowing that Mercury would be the last planet in sequence by zodiacal order. During a solar major period Mercury gets just over 269 days, this is less than a year and the major event took place over the last couple days in May thru June 1st, so we need to go a whole year back. Prior to Mercury is Venus for almost 108 days. That period will be inclusive of the days in question. Therefore, the minor period at the time of the event was that of Venus.
In this case the period of crisis does not fall under a major time lord period in which the a Light transmitted to a malefic (nor vice-versa) as Valens instructed. Here we have the Sun transmitting to Venus.
Zodiacal Releasing also involves a transmitter and a receiver, the ruler of the sign of the Level 1 releasing transmits to the ruler of the sign of the Level 2 releasing (you can also do this for Level 2 lord transmitting to Level 3 lord, and Level 3 lord transmitting to Level 4 lord). Interestingly, in his discussion of these transmissions Valens identifies those of Lights transmitting to malefics as particularly bad, but those of malefics transmitting to Lights as good (contradictory to some interpretive guidelines he provides in Book V).
Looking at releasing from Fortune, for Level 1 we start with Fortune’s natal sign, Capricorn, which gets 27 years (typically the minor years of the planetary ruler, but Capricorn is an exception at 27 – note: these are Egyptian 360 day years). We would expect that Level 1 moved into Aquarius shortly before this happened, which is the case. The first Level 2 period in Aquarius would last for 30 months (note: these are 1/12 the Egyptian 360 day year, so they are exactly 30 day months). Therefore, both Level 1 and Level 2 were Aquarius for the releasing of Fortune, signifying a transmission from Saturn to Saturn. Taking things down to Level 3 and Level 4 for the actual set of a few days in which the financial attacks by the spouse were discovered, the spouse requested a divorce, and the native moved back with family, gives us Leo for L3 and Aquarius for L4. Therefore, a more complete picture of those days is Saturn transmitting to Saturn (L1 to L2), which transmitted to the Sun (L3), which transmitted to Saturn (L4).
Looking at releasing from Spirit, for Level 1 we start with Spirit’s natal sign, Pisces, ruled by Jupiter which gets 12 years, then the next sign, Aries, and its ruler, Mars, which gets 15 years. Therefore, at about age 27 Level 1 Spirit moves to Taurus, ruled by Venus, where it would be for the next 8 years. This is interesting given that Taurus is the place of Affliction and Spirit refers to professional and social changes, which in this case were beset with crises. Still, Level 1 is neither a Light nor a malefic. Level 2 also changed to Gemini, ruled by Mercury, just before things went downhill fast. Therefore the transmission is from Venus to Mercury. For the tumultuous days, L3 for Spirit was Cancer, ruled by the Moon, and L4 was Aquarius, ruled by Saturn. So the transmission was Venus (L1) to Mercury (L2), to the Moon (L3), to Saturn (L4). This intensifies the sense of a Light to a malefic, not for the greater periods but for that short set of about 3 days.
Finally, we want to examine the annual profections, paying special attention to those of the Lights and the malefics. First, it is best to look at the profection of the Ascendant, which is typically used to establish the Lord of the Year and the activated sign. At age 27 everything profects to the 4th house from itself, so the annual profection of the Ascendant was interestingly to Taurus, the 4th place, the place of Affliction, ruled by Venus.
As we noted earlier, when looking at profections of the Lights and malefics in this technique we are particularly interested in transmission by rulership. The Sun profects to Pisces, so it transmits to Jupiter. Mars profects to Aries, so it transmits to itself. Saturn transmits to Capricorn, so it also transmits to itself. The Moon, however, profects to Aquarius, so it transmits to Saturn. Therefore, the crisis did occur during a time when a Light made an annual transmission to a malefic by rulership.
Let’s recap the predictive technique findings:
- Quarters: Sun transmits to Venus
- Annual profections: Ascendant transmits to Affliction (and Venus).
- Annual profections: Moon and Venus transmit to Saturn.
- Months Fortune releasing: Saturn transmits to the Sun.
- Days Fortune releasing: The Sun transmits to Saturn.
- Days Spirit releasing: The Moon transmits to Saturn.
- Additionally the Moon was transiting in Taurus, the place of Affliction, during the most pivotal two and a half days of the crisis period.
While this is just a single example, we can see that Affliction merits further exploration, as does the special technique which Valens provided for evaluating and timing periods of substantial crisis and hardship.
Affliction or Injury is an interesting lot because it brings the topic of misfortune to a place in the natal chart where you might not have expected it. It’s a very important addition to an astrologer’s arsenal of lots which should not be overlooked. Valens has provided interesting and unique insights into how one may use the lot of affliction with predictive factors to forecast periods of great hardship or general malevolence. I hope you’ll take up the ongoing work of researching these lots and techniques by putting them on your charts.