Happy President’s Day! Unfortunately, you probably won’t be celebrating it unless you’re a government employee or you work for a bank. The rest of us will still have to go to work. This post actually comes from a suggestion by Wintersprite, who suggests that I show my patriotism by testing out a technique with past presidents. This technique, length of life calculations using the hyleg and alcocodon, is something that many different authors have different criteria for, which only adds to the confusion. I’m going to be using/comparing Bonatti’s and Lilly’s. It’s interesting that Lilly has a separate calculation from Bonatti, in many ways Lilly’s Christian Astrology can be seen as a translation of Bonatti’s book on horary.
The hyleg is a planet that grants life in a horoscope and the alcocodon is the planet that represents the number of years you have to live. There are many different ideas as to how this works and people tend to face a philosophical brick wall when they learn of this technique. Is it right to look into this? How do you stop yourself from looking into people you care about after you learn the technique? There are a few different ideas on what the alcocodon’s years really mean, though very few people tend to accept that the alcocodon is an expiration date. The most prevalent theory is that the alcocodon represents how many safe years you have, and once these years run out you can face difficult health related incidents from transits and directions to your natal chart. So, in this respect the alcocodon is said to serve more as a guarantee, shielding you from health complications until its time is up and after this point is when the native is supposed to take their health more seriously.
I’m still somewhat of a newbie when it comes to this technique, so if someone sees a place where I’ve messed up, please correct me. All examples will show Bonatti’s technique first, then Lilly’s.
- For Bonatti’s method, you ascertain if the chart is diurnal or nocturnal, and if it’s preventional or conjunctional (full moon before birth or new moon before birth).
- In a day chart, you check to see if the Sun is in the First, Eleventh, Tenth, Ninth, or Seventh house, if he’s not, check to see if the Moon is in one of those houses, in a night chart you reverse this order, but check for the Sun in the Second house, or in the Fourth or Fifth houses in a masculine Sign.
- If neither of those and the chart is conjunctional, check the Part of Fortune to see if it is in the First, Eleventh, Tenth, Ninth, or Seventh house. If it is, see if any of its lords aspect it, if so, PoF is Hyleg.
- If PoF is not in one of those houses, take the lord that aspects it as hyleg.
- If none of its rulers aspects the Hyleg, check the degree of the prior lunation, see if its almuten is in a hylegal place (First, Eleventh, Tenth, Ninth, Seventh), take that planet as Hyleg.
- If none of those, you can take the degree of the last lunation if it aspects one of its rulers.
- If none of those, the hyleg is said to be frustrated and the native dies young.
- A hyleg must aspect either its domicile, exaltation, triplicity, face, or term lord, as that planet will be the alcocodon.
Lilly’s method is a bit more straightforward.
- Diurnal charts- Check for the Sun in a hylegal place, if not, check for the Moon there.
- If neither Sun nor Moon, check the rulers of the previous New Moon
- If not, check the PoF and its rulers.
- If not, check the Ascendant and its rulers.
- If not, the Hyleg is frustrated.
- The only difference between nocturnal and dirunal charts is you check the Moon first, then the Sun, then you check the degree of the previous Full Moon.
Our first presidential test subject will be Woodrow Wilson (also requested from Wintersprite). All of these charts will be done in Bonatti’s technique first, followed by Lilly’s. I’ll outline the technique as we go and make points about it towards the end.
Woodrow Wilson has a nocturnal chart, and there was a New Moon prior to his birth, making his chart conjunctional. His Moon is not hyleg because it’s below the horizon at night, his Sun is not hyleg because it’s in a feminine sign and in a cadent house. Bonatti then tells us to check the Ascendant. We see the Ascendant makes a Trine to its domicile Lord Venus, so we take his Ascendant to be his Hyleg and Venus to be his alcocodon. Venus is peregrine and succeedant, so we’ll take her middle years of 45. She is unafflicted by Mars and Saturn, and is not assisted by Jupiter, so there is no calculation necessary. Wilson’s years are 45.
Lilly takes us down a different path. Neither the Moon nor Sun are hyleg, so we check the degree of the prevention since it’s a night chart. The last full moon fell on 21° Gemini. Mercury and the Sun do not aspect this point in Wilson’s natal chart, but Saturn does. Saturn is our hyleg and he makes an opposition to Mercury who is his face lord, and thus becomes our alcocodon. Mercury has 48 years as its middling, but it receives the full force of that opposition from a debilitated Saturn which would have us subtract 30 years, leaving us with 18.
Woodrow Wilson passed when he was 67.
John Kennedy has a diurnal chart, so we start with the Sun who is not hyleg in the 8th house. The Moon though, can be hyleg since she’s in a feminine sign and in the Eleventh. The Moon is forming a tight Square with its triplicity and face lord Venus who will then serve as our alcocodon. Venus is unaspected by any malefic or benefic planet, and so signifies her middle years of 45.
Likewise, Lilly concurs with the above. Moon is hyleg, Venus is alcocodon. 45 years.
JFK passed when he was 46.
Gerald Ford has a nocturnal chart conjunctional chart. The Moon can’t be hyleg because it doesn’t aspect any of its rulers. The Sun can’t be hyleg in a feminine sign under the earth. The Ascendant, then, is hyleg and aspects Mercury who is its term ruler and then becomes the alcocodon. Mercury suffers a Square to Mars. We take Mercury’s middle years of 48 and subtract Mars’s minor of 15, which gives us 33.
Lilly’s method gives us the almuten of the prevention (Mars) as his hyleg and Jupiter as his alcocodon. Jupiter forms no aspects to a benefic or malefic planet and so gives us his middle years of 45.5
Gearald Ford passed at the age of 93.
James Garfield has a nocturnal and conjunctional chart. His Moon is his hyleg and and Jupiter is his alcocodon. Jupiter receives a Trine from Venus and a Square from Mars. So we take Jupiter’s middle years of 45.5 and add Venus’s lesser years of 8 which gives us 53.6, but then we must subtract Mars’s lesser years of 15 and gives us 38.
Lilly’s technique gives us the same results.
James Garfield passed away at age 49
Taft has a nocturnal and preventional chart. His Moon isn’t hyleg under the earth, Sun isn’t hyleg, and the PoF isn’t hyleg either. So we’ll check the degree of the Full Moon prior to birth, and that was at 11° Pisces. That degree does sextile his natal Jupiter, so we’ll take Jupiter to be his alcocodon while his preventional degree is his hyleg. Jupiter does take a Square from Mars, though, and we’ll take the middle years of Jupiter (45) and subtract from then Mars’s lesser years (15), and get our length of 30.
Lilly takes a different road and instead suggests taking the almuten of the prevention as the hyleg. Jupiter is in the first house and can serve as hyleg. Jupiter closely squares its domicile lord Venus who will serve as our alcocodon. Venus aspects a benefic Mercury (taking on the nature of the planet it is closest in aspect to) and so we’ll add 45 + 20 (Mercury’s lesser years) and arrive at 65.
William Taft passed away at 72.
Ulysses Grant has a diurnal and conjunctional chart. The Sun can’t be hyleg in the 12th, but the Moon can be hyleg in the Fourth in a feminine sign. The Moon receives a Trine from Venus who serves as her triplicity ruler. So the Moon is hyleg and Venus is the alcocodon. Venus has no aspects to a benefic or malefic. So we’ll take her middle years of 45.
Lilly’s technique concurs with Bonatti’s exactly and gives 45 years.
Ulysses Grant lived until he was 63.
Warren Harding has a diurnal and conjunctional chart. This one is a really tricky one. His Sun, Moon, and Ascendant are all not eligible to be hyleg, so we have to go with the prior lunation degree which was a New Moon at 26° Libra. Natal Jupiter aspects this place, so Jupiter becomes our alcocodon. Harding has a wonderfully strong Jupiter, so we’ll take his greater years of 79.
According to Lilly’s technique, Warren Harding would not have a hyleg and it would be considered frustrated. This would typically mean that the native wouldn’t live to be an adult.
Warren Harding passed away at age 57.
Rutherford Hayes has a nocturnal preventional chart. The Moon cannot be hyleg in the 12th house. The Sun cannot be hyleg because it does not aspect any of its rulers. The Part of Fortune has a similar tale. So we’ll go with the last lunation which occured at 7° Aries. The Sun opposes this point, so we’ll take him to be our alcocodon as exaltation lord of the syzgy. The Sun’s middle years are 69, and he trines Jupiter to get an additional 12 years which makes our total 81.
Lilly’s technique would agree, but arrive at the prior lunation at a sooner step.
Rutherford Hayes passed away at 70 years old.
Lyndon Johnson has a nocturnal and conjunctional chart. Luckily, the Moon can be hyleg in the first house and she is closely conjoined to her domicile and exaltation lord, so no need to look far for our alcocodon. Mercury is wonderfully strong, so we’ll take its greater years of 76, and it does not receive aspects from any of the benefics or malefics.
Lilly’s technique concurs with Bonatti’s.
Lyndon Johnson passed away at 64.
Chester Arthur has a diurnal and conjunctional chart. This one is pretty slam dunk. Sun is hyleg on the Ascendant, it aspects its exaltation lord Saturn, who serves as our alcocodon. Saturn is in detriment, but accidentally fortified, so we’ll get his middle years of 43.5. Saturn also trines Jupiter, who will then add his lesser years of 12 into the equation which gives us 55.5 years of life.
Lilly’s technique would give us much the same answer.
Chester Arthur passed away at 57.
Of the ten examples, John F. Kennedy and Chester Arthur were pretty spot on while others were quite off. Lilly himself expressed displeasure at this technique, so I guess it’s no surprise that it didn’t come out so well. The ones who outlived their alcocodons would probably be the norm, but the ones who didn’t outlive theirs are the ones to be concerned about as far as technique applications go. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing, so it’s really no surprise that people would live longer.