Zodiacal Releasing (Aphesis) and Planetary Period Chronocrators
© 1997, 2005, 2009 Curtis Manwaring
I originally wrote this short introduction in Sept 1997, but since then it has been in need of an update...
In modern astrology, it has been customary to look at planets that closely aspect natal planets by transit or progression. The more closely aspecting and more numerous aspects to a single degree were the "hot" spots to be paid attention to because these were the transits that manifested themselves as "events" (Aspects are those degree angles of separation based upon a division of the circle such as by 1 = 0 degrees = conjunction, by 2 = 180 = opposition, by 3 = 120 = trine, by 4 = 90 = square, by 6 = 60 = sextile, etc....). The ancient position was that a planet does not "transit" unless it is a chronocrator for the times for the issue being sought; in other words, it must be a time lord so that's the planets testimony about the natives life can be heard. This would explain the times that a transit appears to be mute, i.e., does not manifest in any obvious way.
All of the planets have periods during which they provide testimony about the native's life and they are derived from the minor periods of the planets, otherwise known as recurrence cycles. The minor period lengths are: Sun = 19, Moon = 25, Hermes = 20, Aphrodite = 8, Ares = 15, Zeus = 12, Kronos = 30. For example the Moon takes 25 Egyptian years to return to the same degree that it was in with relation to the Sun. Venus takes 8 years to recurr with the Sun, etc... (See Valens Vol. III - IV). When a planet reaches the end of its circular period the times are said to hand over to the next sign in zodiacal order.
You might notice that the periods are well rounded and don't have the precision that modern astrologers are fond of. Modern western civilization perceives a phenomenon and measures it as precisely as possible so as to get as close to the truth as possible; probably a side effect of Descartes fundamentalism. We have a tendency to believe that whatever is able to be measured the most accurately is the most real, most reliable and most trustworthy of all phenomenon and that anything else should be seen as "error". The Greeks had just the opposite principle in mind. They believed that material reality only imperfectly reflected the ideal form (eidos) of the universe.  They therefore had a tendency to regard the ideal year as having a length of 360 days, the day having ideally 12 hours and the night 12 hours, etc... They inferred what the pattern was "trying to tell them". The imperfection was regarded as a material universe that had not gotten Gods plan right yet. This is just one of the many stumbling blocks for modern astrologers to overcome if we are to perceive the birth chart as the ancients did.
Now, the top level, yearly periods of the planets were considered the most important overall and broadest picture of the life. But, in order to more completely understand the variations within a general period, sub periods were defined as 1/12th of the length of the general period. The reason for this ratio in the division is probably for the same reason that the lots of fortune and spirit were used for this method, as derived from the Sun and Moon; because the Moon's apparent motion is 12 x's that of the Sun. The sub-periods are analogous to the sub plots or the different scenes within the play. They fill out the story, but the general plot is defined by the general period and it's domicile lord.
In the case of the zodiacal aphesis, it was customary to take the lot of fortune (arabic part of fortune) for affairs regarding the body, for physical happiness and health, financial stability, etc... and to take the lot of spirit for issues regarding what one does, i.e. employment, hobby or career and cast foreward in the order of the signs starting with the Lot for the initial period. The first period lord is the domicile lord of the sign that has the times. For example, if the lot of fortune is in Leo, then the first 19 years are governed by the Sun after which the chroncratorship would be handed over to Virgo, administered by Hermes for the next 20 years. The Sun would have special importance with regard to affairs of the fortune for the first 19 years. The sub-periods are the same as above but the length is in months (preserving the ratio of 1:12). So for the first 19 months the Sun is both the general lord and sub-lord, after this Mercury takes the next 20 months because of Virgo, then Venus takes the next 8 months because of Libra, etc... all while the Sun is the general period time lord. The general period truncates the last sub-period when the general times are finished.
The most important consideration is the location of the sign representing the times, whether it is angular, succeedent or cadent (by whole sign) from the lot of fortune. This is especially important with regard to the spirit releasing because we are finding that famous people often become known when the aphesis reaches the 10th sign from the sign of the lot of fortune, particularly when it is a general or top most releasing / aphesis. The next most important consideration is the state of the domicle lord, whether it, and other planets witness (or aspect) the place (by whole sign). It seems to be the case that the placement by sign shows how noticable or powerful the effects are and whether the period has anything important to speak about. Valens used the word "chrematistikos" and Schmidt has translated it as having the meanings "busy" or "telling". From this we have found that some periods are naturally more busy or telling than others. The cadent signs in particular may not have much to speak about unless a malefic is involved (because Valens says the malefics are more potent than the benefics).
1. Paraphrase from one of Schmidt's lectures.