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Ptolemy -Dividing the Ages

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Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 132

Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:46 pm    Post subject: Ptolemy -Dividing the Ages Reply with quote

Ptolemy links the general condition of the planets in a particular order to the general condition of the age it corresponds to. I'm curious whether this technique has been used by any of you, or possibly any other traditional astrologers you know of?

"Hence, the first age of infancy, which endures for four years, agreeing in number with the quadrennial period of the Moon, is consequently adapted to her;"
"The age after this continues for ten years, and accommodates itself to the second sphere, that of Mercury"
"Venus corresponds with the next and third age, which lasts throughout the following eight years, the number of her own period" and on..

This link is not the greatest translation but here is what Ptolemy says in chapter 10 about general division of time. The chapter I am enquiring about.
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Joined: 15 Nov 2005
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Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Borealis,

There are many planetary periods in astrology (as I am sure you aware of), ages of Ptolemy being one of them. Let's just explore them and could you tell us as which one you prefer (others please contribute if you use any of these):-

Before that:-
It seems that each planet is associated with a greatest, great, middle and least years:-

Saturn, 256, 57, 43.5, 30
Jupiter, 426, 79, 45.5, 12
Mars, 284, 66, 40.5, 15
Sun, 1461, 120, 69.5, 19
Venus, 1151, 82, 45, 8
Mercury, 461, 76, 48, 20
Moon, 520, 108, 66.5, 25

[source: Robert Zoller - Tools and Techniques of the Medieval Astrologer Book One].

These numbers are used in the calculation of longevity of natal charts with the exception of the greatest years which are only used in the calculation of dynastic periods.

Origin of the greatest years = ?

Origin of the great years for the 5 planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury) = sum of their degrees allocated in the Egyptian terms (hence my preference for using Egyptian terms). Sun and Moon's great years are derived in different ways. The middle years are simply average of the greater and least years. For more comprehensive review see:

Now for the different planetary periods:-

1) The Greek time Lords (Vettius Valens). Periods = least years (as mentioned above). MO is shown in:-

2) The Decennia (Firmicus Maternus - Mathesis). If you add the least years of the planets, you get 129. The scale use is months - hence 129 months for all 7 traditional planets. Period of each planet is then fixed 10 years 9 months giving 129 months in total. Again MO is shown in the url given above (1)

3) The Fridaria (probably Persian). The sect of chart determines the starting point (Sun for diurnal chart and Moon for nocturnal chart) and each planet has its own period. Saturn (11), Jupiter (12), Mars (7), Sun (10), Venus ("8"), Mercury (13), Moon (9), NNode (3) and SNode (2). The total gives 75. The origin of these numbers = ? Even Valens say that these numbers were derived by the ancients (more ancient than Valens???). MO is also given in above (1) and the following:-

4) Ptolemy 7 ages of man. Moon (4), Mercury (10), Venus ("8"), Sun (19), Mars (15), Jupiter (12), Saturn (30) though Ptolemy said Saturn's age is extended till death. Some astrologer give Saturn's age = 30 because
i) Saturn's least period = 30
ii) Saturn's age (30) x Moon's age (4) = Jupiter's age (12) x Mercury's age (10) = Mars' age (15) x Venus's age ("8") = 120 = sun's greatest years.

There are other periods that do not depend on the planets but on the "signs" e.g.

5) Directing via triplicities, simply dividing life into three parts (source: Dorotheus of Sidon and Bonatti).
6) Directing via terms - where the ascendant is directed via oblique ascension and the term ruler is taken as the Algebuthar (source - Omar of Tiberias and Bonatti).

The only planetary period that I have tested extensively is the Fridaria (which seems to work for me pretty well). I have not tested the Decennia and the Greek time Lord methods (so can't comment). I tried using Ptolemy's ages of man but I did not get consistent results (maybe because I simply do not know how to use it properly...). Anyway, whatever planetary period used, I assume that we have to tie them back to the natal chart (for specifics) and the other predictive methods e.g. transit, profection, solar revolution, etc. (for confirmation).

Different planetary periods will definitely give different ruling planet (in different slabs of age) and this gives contradictory statements especially when one planet is in good condition and the other is in bad condition (natally) ---? I guess these planetary periods give different meanings for different areas of life ???
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Joined: 05 Nov 2005
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Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In theory, I understand what Ptolemy is saying here, but in practice, I just don't get it!!! I've tried to go back through what I have and it still does not make sence. The link that you provided about Valens is great! Exactly what Im looking for THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

The idea of starting with sun moon or horoscope seems more reasonable to me than ptolemy's basic always start with moon. These systems seem to resolve easily in my mind, I will work on seeing if it actually gives me any results.

The methods I have always used so far, are based on revolutions. Basically returns and progressions. When doing a complete chart, I usually start of with a huge list of possibilities that a position could promise. As I check progressions and returns, many of these possibilities eliminate themselves based on when the contact is being made and what else is being triggered at the same time.

Logical deduction like this works but I find that the biggest mistakes I make are directly involved with my method in this area. After years of keeping track of my predictions, there is pattern being formed with my mistakes...I mix up the time periods that associated predictions are related to. An example would be predicting a higher education related event in say 2000 and a travel event in 2002 but in the end, it was accurate but opposite. I am now at the point, where 'intuition', or logical deduction does satisfy me as a replacement for precise technique. I also believe mastering an understanding of who rules that "time period" will be the answer to my problem.
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Joined: 17 Jun 2005
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Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I learned the method of "Ages of Man" from R.Zoller's DMA course cd as a broad prediction technique whose application seems quite similar to firdaria. I used and tested it with my own natal and found that it makes sense.

Prior to to using the technique, you need to delineate the natal (every house and every planet) chart very well. Then examine the natal house position of the ruling planet along with the houses that are ruled by that planet and of couse aspects. Give more emphasis to the house position as it is stated that "the position of a planet in a house is ALWAYS stronger than the ruler(s) of the house".


As for the method of predicition what I would suggest is, after throughly delineating the natal horoscope, start with the Method of Directing by Triplicity Rulers, which gives the largest time scope for the native, and proceed with other techniques that have smaller scopes in time in decreasing order such as The Ages of Man, Directing by Terms, Firdaria, Profections, Revolutions, Progressions, Primary Directions and Transits.

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