Concerning Predeceasing of Parents
© 2002 Curtis Manwaring
Signification of Parents:
This section is about finding out which parent is most likely to die first by examining the birth charts of the children. Dorotheus says that the sect of the chart must be considered and indicates what planets you look at for the mother and father. He says that if you were born during the day, the Sun represents the father and Venus represents the Mother; but by night, the father is represented by Saturn and the mother by the Moon. However, Valens says the following:
Since the Sun and secondly Kronos signify the father, the one more precisely associated with the Moon by day and by night (that is the one being regarded by the Moon and the one co-present with it by existing in [its] house or trigon), that is the one assuming the paternal place. Similarly also, Aphrodite and the Moon assume the maternal place. For each nativity, then, it will be necessary to consider which one is more contemplated by malefics or which one has fallen more amiss ... 
Personally, I have observed instances where the mother was more aptly indicated by the Moon even though it was a day chart and I have also seen instances where the signs for the father were more oracular for Saturn than the Sun in a day chart, and similarly the Sun and Venus in nocturnal charts, so I would agree with Valens' interpretation and not simply take the planet according to sect. However, you should keep in mind that Dorotheus is not the only one who says you should consider the significators according to sect. Notice that Valens did not appear to be specific as to which planet (Moon or Venus) should be the significator for the mother. I would guess that when he says "Similarly also" in the quote above, he means that you should examine which of these 2 planets is more precisely associated with the Sun in the same manner as you considered for the Moon.
The general principle is that whatever significator for the parent is more unfortunately placed or is in worse cosmic condition is the one who dies first. If the parental significator falls in angles (pivots) of the chart, topically (or actually conjunct the MC or IC) this is excellent for the health of the parent whose significator it is. If in a post ascension, this is moderately good, but if in declines this is unfortunate. Also look to see where the domicile lord of these two significators are and judge according to house position in the same way you did with the planetary significators for the parents.
Also very important is to see if any of the significators of the parents are in any of their own dignities or are witnessed (aspected) by the domicile, trigon, exaltation or bound lord of the significator. For instance, if the parental significator is in the bounds of Jupiter, then if Jupiter is in a sign that can witness the significator, this is very positive. It is important not to weigh the dignities here as medieval astrologers do. In other words, the bound lord is not worth less than the exaltation lord or domicile lord. They all have equal weight here. Instead consider if the planet is in one or more of its own dignities (for instance the Moon in it's own trigon and exaltation), and which of the 2 significators has the greater number of dignities; this is the planet that is most fortunate.
Hephastio says that you should consider which of the lights (Sun or Moon) is carried first "by the motion of the whole" (diurnal motion) to the subterraneous pivot.  If the Moon arrives there first then the mother dies first, but if the Sun, the father. Personally I think it would make more sense to see which significator arrives at the setting degree first. It is more in line with Ptolemaic thinking, since the ascendant represents birth, and the descendant, death. (What they are probably thinking is that the ascendant represents birth, the MC represents middle age, the descendant, old age and the IC, death; these are the ages of the native's life.) However, when something sets below the 7th house cusp, it can't be seen anymore. This is symbolic of something leaving or becoming unavailable in the native's life. Also, Ptolemy specifically says that when the hyleg has circumambulated to the degree or ray of a malefic or the setting place, the native dies , so there is ample precedent here for this position. A possible exception is if at least one of the parental significators is in the quadrant between the setting degree and the anti-culmination (IC), then I would use Hephaistio's method above and see which significator reaches the IC first.
Next you should examine the lots of the father and mother to see where they are placed. If they are in pivots, post ascensional, or declining, judge accordingly as above with the parental significators. Also consider the domicile lord of these lots to see if they witness the lot or if the domicile lord is in any of it's own dignities, then this is considered fortunate. I have not seen any indication from any of the ancient authors that says that the planetary significators are more or less important than the lots for the parents, so I am guessing that they are of equal importance.
Lastly, after considering the general fortune of the parental significators see which of these is more contemplated by malefics. In a day chart, Mars is especially harmful when aspecting (especially in superior position - which is a sinister aspect cast 90 degrees foreward in the order of the signs) either of the lights and Saturn likewise at night. If after considering all of these factors it is a close call and you are uncertain, then it means that you should not guess which of your parents will die first, since it is likely not to be clear in the mind of the cosmic soul either, and left to chance. Often in these cases, both of the parents pass within a couple of years of eachother.
Using Valens's method above, in figure 10.1 we see that the Sun is more closely configured with the Moon than Saturn, because Saturn is in Capricorn without aspect to the Moon but the Sun is in close sextile in Leo. Therefore the Sun represents the Father. Of the Moon and Venus, the Moon is more closely configured to the Sun, while Venus is without aspect to the Sun. Therefore the Moon signifies the Mother. The Sun is pivotal and in its own trigon and domicile, without any aspect from the malefics Saturn or Mars but is witnessed by Jupiter in the sign opposite which is fortunate. The Sun here is exceedingly fortunate and indicates long life for the father. The Moon is post ascensional but in an unfortunate house (the 8th house - of death). It is witnessed by the domicile lord Mercury in Leo which helps as well as Jupiter, but it is also witnessed by Mars by day which is dangerous for the mother. Also as Hephastio said regarding the diurnal motion, the Moon is carried to the setting place first, before the Sun.
The lot of the father and mother are both in declines, unfortunate, but the domicile lords were Venus for the mother in decline and Mars for the father in the post ascension otherwise known as the Good Spirit. Venus was witnessed by both malefics, Saturn and Mars, without the help of Jupiter, and Mars was witnessed by Saturn and Venus and the Moon. All of the indicators are overwhelmingly in favor of the father outliving the mother. The natives mother did in fact die rather young, while the father still lives.
One might ask the question, "What if there is more than one child?" and indeed this is the first thing I thought in 1995 at the 2nd PHASE Conclave when I first learned of this method. Rob Hand said that usually all of the children will have the same result in the analysis.  Either the result points definitively in one direction or all of the children seem to have indicators that are not clear (which means that both parents pass at about the same time). In this example, the native's sister also has similar indications saying that the father will outlive the mother.
There are several possibilities as for looking at the time of death for the parents such as circumambulation of the significators to the degree of a malefic, but in the above example, since the Moon was carried first to the setting place, it seemed natural to do the circumambulation from the Moon to the setting degree. Since this is not the chart of the native's mother, but of the native, we have to keep in mind that the starting time for the setting in motion is the natives birth date in Aug of 1961. Since the Moon was at 9 degrees Gemini and 24 minutes, we release the Moon in the diurnal motion at the rate of one degree per year from this point. (This is not a progression in the modern sense adapted from the semi-irregular motion of the Sun, but a pure eidetic rate of 1 degree/year, more appropriate for the motion of Plato's Same which is regular.) Aug 1961 marks the start at 9 deg 24 min Gemini; by Aug 1962, it is at 8 deg 24 min Gemini; by Aug 1963, it is at 7 deg 24 min Gemini, and so on until it reaches 1 deg 20 minutes of Taurus. It reached that position in late Aug - early Sept 1999. The native's mother died on June 11th, 1999. Judging by this method alone we might surmise that the ascendant was really at about 1 degree 34 minutes and the birth time was rounded down to the nearest minute. However, to the arc-minute accuracy was not meant by this method, but generally this technique points out the year in question, + or - several months. Then if you wanted to know the month or day, you would use other time lord procedures more naturally scaled to the period of time in question.
While none of the ancient authors said to do a zodiacal aphesis for timing this subject, I wondered what I would find if I did a zodiacal aphesis from the position of the Moon (signifying the mother). A detailed treatment of the method of Zodiacal Aphesis can be found in the x-files section. The first 20 years were represented by Gemini until Aug 1981, then Cancer took over for the next 25 years. This would bring us to age 45. Since the mother passed away when the native was 37 years and 10 months old, we have to look at the sub periods of the general times of Cancer. At 17 years and 10 months there was a loosing of the bond from light to darkness (Cancer to Capricorn) which Valens says is frought with danger and bloodshed. (The 17 years and 10 months is the sum of the 12 signs of the zodiac according to their minor periods in months. Aries = 15 months, Taurus 8 months, Gemini = 20 months, etc...) Also Saturn was present in Capricorn (one of Saturn's alter ego's is the grim reaper) and this was the 8th house - of death - relative to the Moon's position. The loosing of the bond happened in June of 1999 when the native was 37 years and 10 months old which is also very close to the 38 degrees/years between the Moon and the setting place. Such coincidences make us wonder at fate and put us in awe of the divine.
1. See Vettius Valens, The Anthology, translated and © 1994 by Robert Schmidt, Bk II, part 1, pg. 62.
2. See Hephastio of Thebes, Apotelesmatics, translated and © 1994 by Robert Schmidt, Bk II, pg 18.
3. Claudius Ptolemy, The Tetrabiblos, translated and © 1998 by Robert Schmidt, See Bk IV, pg 36.
4. Rob Hand said this at the 2nd PHASE Conclave in Berkeley Springs WV in July 1995.