A real strength of ancient astrology is its ability to predict both singular events and the themes present during broad chunks of time in the native’s life.  One of the most useful techniques in the latter category is to judge one’s general success and happiness, the ease with which one’s life moves, by looking at the triplicity lords of the sect light.  This technique is found in the earliest sources and is prominent in both Vettius Valens’ [1] and Dorotheus of Sidon’s work.

The basic premise is that we note whether the chart is a day chart (Sun above the horizon) or a night chart (Sun below the horizon).  If it is a day chart, we will focus on the Sun, if a night chart, the Moon.  From there we judge the relevant luminary’s condition before looking at the lords of its triplicity.  The triplicity lords are as follows:

  • Aries, Leo and Sagittarius have the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn in the day-time, Jupiter, the Sun and Saturn at night.
  • Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn have Venus, the Moon and Mars in the day-time, the Moon, Venus and Mars at night.
  • Gemini, Libra and Aquarius have Saturn, Mercury and Jupiter in the day-time, Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter at night.
  • Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces have Venus, Mars and the Moon in the day-time, Mars, Venus and the Moon at night.

So, if we have a day chart with the Sun in Aries, we are to note the condition of first the Sun, then Jupiter and finally Saturn.  If in a night chart, and the Moon is in Taurus, we are to note the condition of the Moon, Venus and finally Mars.  What this technique does is to break the life up into three chunks of time and from there we can talk about those who have difficult beginnings but prosperous endings, prosperous beginnings but difficult endings, or any other permutation one can think of.  I will note here that Valens recommends that we look at only the first two lords of the triplicity and use the third in a supporting role so that the life is broken up into two chunks. [2]  In fact most authors in both the Hellenistic tradition and the Arabic tradition use the lords in this way.  However, through experience, we have found that to use the three lords as signifying three chunks of life is more accurate and there are hints of this found in Abu Ali al-Khayyat’s On the Judgements of Nativities. [3]  The last point to touch upon then is the length of these chunks of time.  Valens recommends to us that we use the rising time of the sign of the triplicity lord to judge the number of years that each lord has dominion.  The use of the rising times of the signs is very old, and it amounts to the number of degrees that pass the MC in the time it takes the whole of the relevant sign to rise in the East.  On Ben Dykes’ site, we can find a table to give us the figures as they are dependent on the latitude of the birth. [4]  If the table looks confusing, fear not, all will become clear when we look at the chart examples.

First, Benito Mussolini:


Mussolini was was born into relative comfort, his mother a school-teacher, his father a blacksmith.  In his youth, he spent time in Switzerland and studied philosophy and became a political journalist.  Of course, he went on to become the fascist dictator of Italy after World War I and towards the end of World War II, he had a spectacular fall which ended in his death at the end of a gun.  I will note here that I use the Sidereal zodiac of the Babylonians which places the alpha star of Taurus, Aldebaran, at the 15th degree of Taurus.  Mussolini was a day birth with the Sun in Cancer, the 10th sign.  This means the order of the triplicity lords is Venus, Mars and finally the Moon.  Venus is cadent, but in a sign aspecting the ASC and conjoined Jupiter without the aspect of any malefic.  So while Mussolini’s first part of life was not hugely prosperous, he was comfortable and free from general harm.  Mars rules the second part of life and is succeedent in the 8th house being joined by its lord of exaltation, the Moon.  Mars is also in the 10th sign from the Lot of Fortune which makes it really busy in the life of Mussolini.  All in all, Mars is very powerful in Mussolini’s chart and will show an uptake in his prosperity though Mars being the out-of-sect malefic will bring troubles from enemies and contentions.  The final part of Mussolini’s life is signified by the Moon.  The Moon is also in the 8th sign, is exalted, and is also in the 10th sign from Fortune.  However, the Moon is in a very poor state as it is besieged by the malefics without the aspect of either benefic.  Besiegment (or enclosure) is one of the maltreatment conditions given by Porphyry in his text, [5] and is a serious maleficent condition if not broken by the ray of a benefic.  So the general pattern of Mussolini’s life according to the triplicity lords is as follows: middling to low -> high but with some troubles -> a big fall.  To time this, we have to consult with the ascensions table mentioned earlier.  I will note here that while I use the Sidereal measurement in most things, the Tropical measurement gives a more accurate picture when using it to time the rising of each sign.  So in our case here, we must move each planet forward in the order of the signs by around 20 degrees to find out how long each planet rules for.  The first lord is Venus who is in Sidereal Gemini, but in Tropical Cancer.  At 44N of latitude, while Cancer rises, 36 degrees pass the MC.  We convert this number into years, so Venus rules in Mussolini’s life from 1883 + 36 years, or until 1919. From 1919, Mars takes over.  It is pertinent to point out that in 1923, Mussolini became the Prime Minister of Italy.  Mars is in Sidereal Taurus and Tropical Gemini.  At 44N of latitude, 28 degrees pass the MC while Gemini rises, so Mars rules for 28 years.  1919 + 28 years takes us to 1947.  Mussolini was deposed in 1943 and executed in 1945.  This technique should be used to show the broad-stroke level of prosperity in one’s life, so while the Moon strictly did not take over until 1947, we can use more refined timing techniques to show that Mussolini’s fall would happen 4 years earlier.

Next, the first post-World War II Chancellor of West Germany, Konrad Adenauer:


Adenauer was born middle class and spent his youth studying law and politics and then acting as a lawyer in Cologne.  He went on to become the mayor of Cologne, but later had confrontations with the Nazi government and was ousted from his position after which he went into hiding and was arrested twice.  After the war, he re-entered into political life and was elected as the first Chancellor of West Germany in 1949.  Adenauer was a day-birth and the Sun was in Sagittarius meaning that the Sun, then Jupiter and finally Saturn would show the general trend of his success and prosperity.  The Sun is in the 11th sign,in an ok state – there is no benefic aspect, but friendly aspects from both malefics and a trine  from the Moon.  Jupiter is powerful in the 10th sign and with an ascending powerful lord in Mars, though Jupiter is in a tight square with Saturn. This shows a rise in status for Adenauer in the second part of his life, but with troubles of a Saturnian nature.  The last part of his life is shown by Saturn who is rising in its own sign while in the 10th sign from Fortune, so is very strong.  The tight square from Jupiter is a bonifying condition for Saturn, just as it was troublesome for Jupiter.  Again, the triplicity lords nicely map out Adenauer’s general prosperity.  As for timing, the Sun is in Sidereal Sagittarius and Tropical Capricorn.  At 51N, Capricorn gives 27 years.  Adenauer was born in 1876 which means the Sun rules until 1904.  It was after this time that Adenauer moved into politics becoming vice-mayor in 1909 and mayor in 1919.  At this point (1904), Jupiter in Sidereal Scorpio and Tropical Scorpio takes over and rules for 42 years bringing us to 1948.  During the 42 years of Jupiter, Adenauer was deposed as mayor, had his assets frozen and suffered exile and accusations.  All of this fits the symbolism of an affliction from Saturn, and again, the more refined techniques will tell us when this will happen in the broader period.  Finally, in 1948 Saturn takes over until the end of the life and a powerful, bonified Saturn showed Adenauer rising to lead his country after the war.

Just a couple of concluding observations.  This technique should be seen as qualitative rather than  quantitative.  By that, I mean that even if one has three very powerful triplicity lords, one should not conclude that there will be a royal level of prosperity for the whole of the native’s life.  This technique shows the ups and downs in a level of prosperity relative to the level of prosperity of the chart foretold elsewhere.  In our example, if Konrad Adenauer had a less prosperous chart then the rise at the end of his life could have shown the beginning of a successful business, and if he had a less than average chart in regard to prosperity, the good period at the end of his life could have shown merely steady work.  Second, even if one has three poorly-placed triplicity lords, it does not mean that one shoud forecast beggar-level prosperity for the native.  If the lords of the lords of the triplicity are in good places, it can show that other people aid the natve during those periods of their life.  Valens also recommends we note the condition of the Lot of Fortune and its lord, as if the triplcitiy lords fall badly, but the Lot and its lord are well-placed, then we can say that the native will get by, but with times of difficulty.  This is a very useful technique, but it is broad-stroke and should be used as a point which is further refined to map out the native’s life more accurately.

1. Valens’ full text can be found for free here: http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/Vettius%20Valens%20entire.pdf
2. Valens’ Anthology, Riley trans., pp. 25-26.
3. Persian Nativities vol. 1: Masha’allah and Abu Ali al-Khayyat, Dykes trans., pp. 240-256.
4. http://bendykes.com/reviews/ascensions-table-2014.pdf
5. Porphyry: Introduction to the Tetrabiblos, Holden trans., p. 20.