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Zodiacal Releasing: An Ancient Timing Technique

Zodiacal Releasing: An Ancient Timing Technique

In episode 192 astrologers Chris Brennan and Leisa Schaim present a detailed introduction to the ancient zodiacal releasing timing technique, which divides your life into chapters and paragraphs, and helps to identify your life story.

In ancient Hellenistic astrology there were several different time-lord techniques that were used to determine when the potential of placements in the birth chart would be awakened, although many of them were lost in the transmission of astrology over the past 2000 years.

Zodiacal releasing is a time-lord technique that has been recovered over the past two decades through translations of the Greek text of the 2nd century astrologer Vettius Valens.

In this episode Chris and Leisa present a 4-hour workshop on the technique, in order to provide the audience with a broad overview and introduction to zodiacal releasing.

There is a long set of show notes below, which outline some of the main points we made during the course of the episode.

This episode is available in both audio and video versions, and you will find links to both at the bottom of this page, just after the show notes.

Zodiacal Releasing Podcast Outline

Here is our outline with the major points we touched on in this episode:


  • A collection of lost timing systems known as “time-lord” techniques.
    • Recovered in the past 30 years due to revival of ancient astrology.
    • Many of them were lost in the transmission of astrology over 2000 years.
    • Recovered through translations.
  • They time the activation of latent potentials in the birth chart.
    • Not all chart placements are activated at all times.
    • Some lie dormant until awakened through these timing techniques.
  • Similar to dasa systems in Indian astrology
  • Most powerful one found so far is called zodiacal releasing.
    • From 2nd century astrologer Vettius Valens.
  • Divides the life into chapters and paragraphs.
    • Used to study different topics like career, health, or relationships.
  • Can time career peaks and transitions.
    • Periods that are experienced as more subjectively positive or negative.
  • Our goal here today is to provide a broad introduction and overview to the topic.
  • One of the most complex techniques, but also one of the most interesting and profound.
    • Usually taught at the end of Chris’ Hellenistic astrology course.
    • The full lecture on this is 18 hours long.
  • Main goal is to introduce the technique to novices here
    • Some additional personal anecdotes that may be useful to advanced users.

Calculating Zodiacal Releasing Periods

  • First must calculate the Lot of Fortune, Spirit, and Eros.
  • These are the starting points for the ZR technique.
  • Three easy ways:
  • Identify the sign that each lot is placed in.
  • Start from the lot that matches the topic you want to study.
  • The quality of the lot provides the context of the resulting periods.
    • Spirit: career, overall life direction, actions
    • Fortune: health, accidents, the body, that which befalls you.
    • Eros: relationships, marriage, love.
  • Each sign of the zodiac is attributed a certain number of years:
    • Zodiacal Releasing PeriodsAries and Scorpio: 15
    • Taurus and Libra: 8
    • Gemini and Virgo: 20
    • Cancer: 25
    • Leo: 19
    • Sagittarius and Pisces: 12
    • Capricorn: 27
    • Aquarius: 30
  • Zodiacal Releasing Periods Handout
  • The sign the lot falls in is activated for the number of years associated with that sign.
  • Once those years are up, the next sign in zodiacal order is activated.
  • It is called zodiacal releasing because you release the significator from its fixed position
    • Zodiacal “aphesis”
  • It keeps moving forward in zodiacal order as long as the native is alive.
  • Moves at a variable rate, not fixed or constant. Symbolic.
  • For the purpose of calculation 360 day years and 30 day months are used.
  • There are also subperiods to study shorter durations.
    • Signs attributed months instead of years on level 2.
    • Each subperiod is 1/12 of the general period.
    • Four subperiods.
    • Level 3: “weeks” of 2.5 days (1/12 of Level 2)
    • Level 4: “days” of 5 hours (1/12 of Level 3)
  • For the purpose of this we will focus mainly on level 1 and level 2
    • General periods and first subperiods
    • The technique though becomes even more impressive seeing it on lower levels.
  • If Spirit and Fortune are in the same sign, move Spirit forward one sign.

Software Programs for Calculating Zodiacal Releasing

Peak Periods

  • The signs that are angular from the Lot of Fortune are more active and important
  • Coincide with periods of heightened importance and activity when activated.
    • What I call “peak periods”
  • When you start from Spirit and it comes to angles from Fortune these are career peaks
  • When you start from Eros and it comes to angles from Fortune relationship peaks
  • Periods of heightened importance and activity are not necessarily positive.
    • Just more active and more important.
  • Peak periods tend to stand out in a person’s chronology.
  • True especially in general periods, but also in subperiods.

Angular Triads

  • Peak periods do not happen in isolation
  • The sign that comes before a peak period builds up to and prepares for the peak
  • The sign after the peak period carries forward and brings to completion these themes
  • This cluster of three signs is known as an angular triad.
    • Term introduced by Schmidt to name something implicitly used in ancient astrology.
  • You must look at periods as a sequence with a beginning, middle, and end.

Interpreting the Quality of a Period

  • The quality of a period is primarily determined by:
    • Planets in the activated sign
    • Planets aspecting the activated sign by square or opposition
    • The condition of the ruler of the sign.
  • I tend to emphasize planets in or aspecting the sign more than the ruler.
    • Other astrologers focus more on the ruler.
    • Valens initially seems to favor the ruler, but in the examples focuses on the sign
  • The benefics and malefics primarily dictate the subjective experience of the period.
    • If it is experienced as more subjectively positive or negative.
    • The starting Lot you release from provides the context.
  • Important to use sect to determine the most positive and negative planets.
    • Day chart: Jupiter most positive planet, Mars the most negative.
    • Night chart: Venus the most positive planet, Saturn the most negative.
    • The other benefic and malefic are more moderate in their inclinations.
  • The signs angular to the most positive planet will be experienced as the most positive
    • The signs angular to most negative planet experienced as most negative.
    • Angular here means in the same sign, square, or opposed by sign.
    • Sign-based aspects from the benefics and malefics.
  • See where most positive and negative planets fall in the angular triads.
  • Is the most positive planet angular from Fortune, or the most negative planet?
    • Peak periods can be active, but not necessarily experienced as easy or positive.
  • Are benefics activated in the build up period or the cool down phase?
    • Malefics in the build up period or the cool down phase?

The Loosing of the Bond

  • Occurs in some of the signs that are longer than 17 years.
  • On the subperiod it completes the cycle through all 12 signs.
  • Instead of starting the cycle over again, it jumps to the opposite sign.
  • Resumes cycle from opposite sign.
  • This is called the loosing of the bond or the breaking of the sequence.
  • Always happens about 17 and a half years into general period, but on level 2.
    • Loosing of the bond can also occurs on L3 and L4.
  • Always marks a major transition
    • In Spirit it is a major transition in the career and life direction
    • In Eros a transition in relationships
    • In Fortune sometimes a transition in body, health, or circumstances.
  • It is one of the more reliable parts of the technique
  • Often very dramatic or notable.
  • Usually marked by an L or LB in most programs.
  • There are a few different scenarios of what occurs.
  • Foreshadowing period
    • The loosing of the bond is the second time that sign is activated.
    • The first time it is activated 8 years earlier often offers a preview of the LB
    • Sometimes the person almost does something but doesn’t finish/follow through
    • When the LB happens they follow through the second time around.
    • Chris discovered this through working with clients.

Other Stuff

  • Lots of other stuff we can’t get into here.
  • There are many other interpretive principles.
    • Completion period
    • Culmination period
    • Activating the ruler of Spirit
    • Activating the ruler of the general period
  • Not necessary to go into all of that here.
  • Most of it is dealt with in Chris’ full 18-hour lecture.


  • We touch on philosophical issues the technique raises several times in the episode.
  • Talk about some personal experiences with the technique.
  • Realizations/thoughts from using it over time
  • A bunch of other points made throughout the episode were omitted in this outline.

Learning More About Zodiacal Releasing

Once you are done with this podcast, if you want to learn more about zodiacal releasing, here are some other resources:

Watch the Video Version of This Episode:

Here is the video version of this episode of the podcast:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 192 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode:

You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below:

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  • What IS your calculation for the Lot of Eros? I can’t find it anywhere. The site that you mention in the podcast doesn’t have any easily visible way to access that calculation. Or its presentation in a horoscope. Or…maybe this calculation is only available to paid subscribers? 🙁

  • Great episode! I’ve briefly studied some Parts but this is my first introduction to zodiacal releasing and I’m excited to delve into this new rabbit hole! Thank you.

    I’m exploring the technique with my Canc Fortune and Pisc Spirit, but I’m having trouble with my Lot of Eros. I’ve calculated it as 29°45′ Scorp but I’m on the fence as it’s so close to Sag. Would you say it is what it is or should I consider the close proximity to the following sign?

    • Eros moves kind of slowly in some charts, so unless it changes signs within a few minutes of when you were born, you may be fine leaving it in Scorpio, even if it is very late in that sign.

  • If you and Leisa are any indication, the future of astrology is in excellent hands. Thank you for this generous, enlightening collaboration. You’ve given all of us so much to consider and pursue.

  • Thank you both, Chris and Leisa, for doing this very informative podcast/video.
    I recently finished your book, Chris, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • The atroseek site has a tool to incorporate the Valens Adjustment. However, rather than simply move the Lot of Spirit ahead one house, it also moves the Lot of Fortune ahead one house. If you calculate the Lot of Fortune, the Lot of Spirit being in the same house, and include the Valens Adjustment, the Lot of Fortune will also be pushed one house over (Leo to Virgo in this case). Is this correct or is this a glitch?

    • That sounds like a glitch, as Fortune is supposed to stay in the same sign, and only Spirit should move forward. I’ll look into it now.

    • Thank you for report Fiddler23. I misunderstood Valens Adjustment and pushed one house ahead also Lot of Fortune (if Lot of Fortune and Lot of Spirit are in the same house).
      I just corrected this Valens Adjustment … and Lot of Fortune stays in the origin house/sign on Astro-Seek now.

  • Thank you so much for this episode. It is both fascinating and super helpful, as I’ve been struggling to understand how best to apply the ZR techniques.
    On a personal level, it has shown me what a dynamic technique this is. Especially LB – which when applied to my own chart for both Spirit and Fortune is highly significant historically (and as I expect to see soon, going forward)

  • Thank you both so much for this excellent podcast, very generous of you to do such a marathon. I look forward maybe to some more philosophical discussions on the wtf-type questions that this technique raises,

  • Thanks for this lecture–it’s a helpful introduction. I am left with one question.

    1. I notice you’re not interpreting the sign or house placement for lots–ie, “Eros is in Aries in the 12th house and that means your love life will be selfish and there will be a lot of loss or confinement.” Is there any significance to where the lots are in your chart?

  • I did the releasing from Fortune for a friend who passed from cancer in 2015. His Lot of Fortune was in Scorpio and his levels on the day he passed were Aquarius, Leo, Cancer and the DAY he died was also Aquarius where his natal (in sect) Venus was. I see this as a release from his suffering and a return home to the Other Side. We can see with all these fixed signs being activated, that it was a major major peak period (though not in a good way for us).

  • Thank you both so much- after listening twice through I have really absorbed a lot and feel more confident applying this than before! I’ve been experimenting with releasing from fortune bc I’m very physical (made living as a dancer for half of my life, etc).. I’ve def noticed patterns through time bc I’ve had rather dramatic turn arounds (one which is happening now and going according to “the pattern”. Ha).

    One question though: is there a program that calculates the lot of Eros through all levels? The astroseek version seems to give me the sign and degree but not the full breakdown of level 2,3, 4 etc.
    Thank you again, you both are real leaders/ teachers! Now onto vimshottari !

  • Interesting exercise. Since there were major health crisis in my life I released from Fortune and it was clear. For the one that was life threatening I was running Level One and Two in angles from Fortune, for the second incident, I was still running Level One in an angle from Fortune but I 2 was in the 6th House of illness, coming out of an angle sign in the previous sign. L1/L2 resulted (next sign) in H12 of hospitalization, loss etc. Using the Law of 3, Transiting Saturn and natal Saturn ruler Jupiter were also in House 12 during this time, square to natal Saturn and Moon. Moon is ruler of current L1 (same L1 I was running at that time.)
    Moon/Saturn was very hard on my health. Now I look for Eros and can only hope for the best. Interesting correlations too with the Loosening of the Bonds. Definitely will be using this technique layered onto transits and progressions

  • It is interesting to note that anyone who starts life with Spirit in one of the “long” signs – more than 17 years – will have a Level 2 LoB at around 17 and a bit. If you have Spirit and Fortune both in the “long” signs then you’ll have LoB in both at around this age. This happened to me and to many others whose charts I’ve used this technique on. It really does point to a moment of life-changing-ness but not something huge and dramatic. more an experience that then subtly guides the future.

  • I was born 2 minutes before the sun rose. The automatic calculation on AstroSeek is for a night chart. Would you consider my chart to be day or night? If day, how should I recalculate the lots? Thanks!

    • If you were born two minutes before sunrise then your chart would probably behave like a day chart. You could try changing the time on your birth chart and moving it forward two or three minutes, and then see what signs that places the lots in once the sect switches, and then start from those signs manually.

  • Astrodienst has added Zodiacal Releasing! (March 2019) It is displayed with any type of chart as an extra table of data and you can toggle through the Lots of Fortune, Spirit AND Eros! It is switched on in the Extended Chart Selection / Display and Calculation Options / Traditional Astrology Options at the bottom.

  • Thanks so much for this episode. It took me a while to listen all the way through, but when I finally did it was totally worth it. Could recommend someone to do a reading for me based on this technique? I understand the concept, but it’s a lot to process. I’d love to talk it through with someone. I’m in a peak period now (Capricorn from Libra-spirit, Cancer from Aries-Fortune/Eros), and now I’m also in a Cancer (ascendant) profection year, and everything is happening in Capricorn. I’m really interested in understanding how this process has been unfolding in my life so I can understand what’s going on now. If you could suggest someone or maybe a few people, that would be awesome. Cheers.

    • I’d recommend trying to set something up with Leisa, if possible. There are not a lot of people I feel comfortable recommending, since the technique has only been revived somewhat recently.

  • I have a question.
    Releasing from eros in Cancer I’m currently in a Leo L1, Cancer L2, Capricorn level 3/4 which has started today up until the 10th of January. So I have 3 peak periods happening right now.

    There is all this Capricorn energy right now, the approaching Lunar eclipse including the Saturn/pluto has me feeling a little nervous, especially as its happening in one of my active peak signs.

    Is this how it works? As I have my level 3/4 being Capricorn active right now, do we then watch for transits of planets going through this sign at the active periods?
    Do we also need to look for transits to the ruler of the sign during the activated sign period, in my case saturn?

  • Thanks so much for this Chris and Leisa; it is much appreciated. Lots to work through but I can definitely see myself adding the zodiacal releasing technique to my astrological toolbox. First I have to go through my voluminous notes taken during several sessions of watching the video; then I can create my own ‘how to’ check list for going forward. Thanks again for your generosity.

  • Leisa & Chris,
    Thank you! I finally got it. I see the how the “peak” periods unfolded even on Level 4. You might say, I experienced a psychological “release” when I saw it 🙂

  • Petr from Astroseek personally corrected my profile which initially miscalculated my ascendant due to Olson table daylight savings time snafu within in 24 hours of contact – so grateful!

  • Thank you Chris & Luisa, So appreciate your sharing of Zodiacal Releasing. I purchased your book last week, Chris. Feeling grateful for all the content that you & Luisa are creating on the astrology podcast. Best fun teachers ever.