Zodiacal Releasing

Zodiacal Releasing is a Hellenistic timing technique that operates to divide the life of the native into chapters and sub-chapters of differing lengths. This technique, along with other Hellenistic time-lord techniques, operates on the premise that not all chart placements are activated at all times—but some lie dormant until activated.

Zodiacal Releasing is primarily articulated by the 2nd Century astrologer Vettius Valens in book 4 of his Anthology. Zodiacal Releasing utilizes the lots and the planetary periods to divide the life into periods (like chapters in a book), which are then sub-divided into successively smaller periods (akin to paragraphs or even sentences). At its most granular level, zodiacal releasing divides the life into four levels of periods and subperiods, the smallest of which encompasses just days.

Zodiacal releasing is primarily performed from the Lots of Fortune, Spirit, or Eros, though in theory, a practitioner could release from any Arabic lot. Currently, Solar Fire, astro-seek.com, and astro.com all have the capability of generating zodiacal releasing periods. Releasing from the Lot of Fortune will provide context regarding health, accidents, or the body, while releasing from the Lot of Spirit will provide information regarding career and overall life direction. Releasing from the Lot of Eros speaks to relationships, love, and marriage. When the Lots of Spirit and Fortune are in the same sign, the Lot of Spirit should be moved forward one zodiacal sign before releasing.

According to the technique, each sign of the zodiac is attributed a certain number of years, which is indicated in the chart on the right.

The sign the lot falls in is activated for the number of years attributed to that sign. Once those years pass, the next zodiacal sign is activated for its number of years, and so on around the zodiac. For purposes of zodiacal releasing, a 360-day year and 30-day month is used. The primary periods are often called “Level 1” periods, and the secondary called “Level 2,” and so on.

Signs that are angular from the Lot of Fortune are more active and important periods in the life of the native, and are often called “Peak Periods.” These periods aren’t necessarily more positive; when evaluating the quality of a zodiacal releasing period, the presence of benefic or malefic planets will be relevant, as well as aspects to planets in the active sign. The condition of the ruler of the sign also impacts whether the period is experienced as subjectively positive or negative for the native.

An additional important concept is called the “Loosing of the Bond.” On a Level 2 subperiod, if the subperiods move through all the signs of the zodiac, instead of beginning to traverse the same territory, it jumps to the opposite sign. A loosing of the bond generally marks a major period of transition in the area of life governed by the Lot.


Further Listening & Bibliography:

The Astrology Podcast, Episode 192, Zodiacal Releasing: An Ancient Timing Technique, Chris Brennan & Leisa Schaim, February 11, 2019.

Brennan, Chris, Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, Amor Fati Publications, Denver, CO, 2017.


Article Information

  • Author(s): Claire Rootjes
  • Editing or additional contributions: Chris Brennan
  • Originally published: December 1, 2020
  • Last updated: December 1, 2020
  • Cite this article: Claire Rootjes, “Zodiacal Releasing,” The Astrology Dictionary, December 1, 2020, http://theastrologydictionary.com/z/zodiacal-releasing/