Editor’s Note: We featured part one of this piece, “Zodiacal Releasing: Timing Your Ebbs and Flows,” on November 17, 2022. You can find it here.
Now that some of the basics of zodiacal releasing (ZR) were covered in part one, we can dive into how to use this technique. Sect, which differentiates between day charts and night charts, is one of the primary concepts that underlies ZR. If the Sun falls above the Ascendant/Descendant axis, then it’s a day chart, and if it falls below the axis, it’s a night chart. Knowing the sect of your chart provides key information about which planets are on your “team” and which planets are not. In simple terms, it allows us to see which planet is the most capable of producing positive experiences in your life and which planet is more likely to cause harm or difficulty. If you were born during the day, Jupiter will act as your most positive planet, whilst Mars will be more challenging. If you were born after sunset, Venus will serve as your most positive planet, whilst Saturn will be more difficult.
Identifying which planet is your “benefic of sect” (Jupiter or Venus) and which is your “malefic out of sect” (Mars or Saturn) can help you determine which time periods will be experienced as more subjectively favorable or unfavorable through the lens of ZR. I’m going to walk through a few preliminary steps so you can begin working with this technique.
To begin, locate your Lot of Fortune. Identify its sign placement and the modality of that sign (cardinal, fixed, or mutable). Then, note the houses that are hard angles from the Lot of Fortune, i.e., the houses that are square and in opposition. (Using whole sign houses will make this clearer.) Then, locate Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn, and determine which modalities they occupy in your chart.
Now, you can begin to contextualize your “angular triad sequence,” or what I like to call your “ebb and flow” rhythm. The Lot of Fortune and the subsequent signs within the same modality (the hard angles) are going to be the most important times, as these constitute your peak periods. (For example, the Lot of Fortune in Cancer makes Libra, Capricorn, and Aries the peak periods.) Before every peak, we have a “prep period” where we lay the groundwork and set ourselves up for what occurs during the peak. The modality that comes before the Lot of Fortune accounts for your prep periods. (Continuing with Fortune in Cancer as our example, the mutable signs are prep periods). The modality that comes after the peak period will represent your follow-through periods. It’s in these times where we carry on and develop the work that began during the peak, and often where we see our efforts start to pay off. (Again, with Fortune in Cancer as our example, the fixed signs are follow-through periods.)
I often describe the angular triad sequence as climbing a mountain, where the prep periods represent the trek uphill, the peaks represent reaching the summit of the mountain, and the follow-through periods represent the way back down. Knowing where your benefic and malefic planets fall in this sequence will tell you quite a bit about your personal rhythm of ebb and flow. For example, you might have your malefic out of sect activated during a peak period, which could cause moments of heightened activity to feel more stressful or difficult. If you have your benefic of sect activated in the prep period, then you might enjoy the process of creation or laying the groundwork more fully. If your benefic of sect falls in the prep period, then the climb up the mountain might feel the most enjoyable to you.
On the other hand, if your most positive planet falls in the peak period, then you might feel most rewarded when you reach the summit and can see how much progress you’ve made. If Venus or Jupiter is found in a follow-through period, then the journey back down the mountain will likely be experienced as the most positive for you. Periods when both the benefic of sect and malefic out of sect are activated, are times often experienced as simultaneous highs and lows, (quoting Charles Dickens) “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… .”
Now that we’ve identified your benefics and malefics, along with your personal angular triad sequence, we can begin to understand how the different periods noted by ZR will play out. You can use a free calculator to generate your personal timeline. I recommend Astro-Seek, which you can find here. One of the first things you’ll likely notice upon viewing your timeline is that there are multiple levels. Most software goes to level 4, but Astro-Seek goes to level 8, meaning you can literally time things down to the second. I’d recommend sticking with the first four levels to start, because as we saw in part one with Venus Williams and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, when someone is peaking on multiple levels (looking only at the first four), we can expect it to be a time of greater importance for them.
One of the most striking aspects of ZR is called the “loosing of the bond,” which represents a major transition or turning point in an individual’s life. This unique aspect of ZR is based on the minor years of the planets. Although a comprehensive explanation of the technical side of the loosing of the bond is beyond the scope of this introduction, it rests on the idea that each zodiac sign has a corresponding amount of time associated with it based on the minor years of the planets. The minor years range from Venus-ruled periods lasting roughly eight years to Saturn-ruled periods lasting up to 30 years. Since the loosing of the bond will only take place in signs with periods longer than 17.5 years, this phenomenon only occurs in periods ruled by Mercury, Moon, Sun, and Saturn.
A unique feature of loosing of the bond in practice, is that when it occurs, the sign sequence is interrupted. The sign order jumps to the opposing sign and the sequence begins from there, instead of starting over. For example, if a level 2 (L2) period begins with Capricorn, the signs progress in zodiacal order until reaching Sagittarius, and instead of returning to Capricorn next, the sequence jumps to Cancer, where there’s a loosing of the bond, and the sequence continues forward from there.
A loosing of the bond can manifest in myriad ways, but it generally indicates a major turning point in the life of an individual relative to the lot that we’re releasing from. From important career changes to long-distance moves, the loosing of the bond points to a period where someone tends to embark down a different path than the one they were on prior. It homes in on a specific period of time where someone will make a major life transition that tends to alter the course of the rest of their life. In most astrology software, these periods will be highlighted in some way (sometimes denoted by “LB” or an asterisk).
As discussed in part one, ZR is typically calculated from the Lot Spirit or the Lot of Fortune. Releasing from Spirit speaks to major transitions in someone’s career path or general life direction, while releasing from Fortune tends to speak to body- and health-related matters. As we touched on in part one, “When releasing from Spirit, we can pinpoint peak periods in someone’s life and career, and time when they will uncover their purpose and gain insight into how they will subjectively experience different moments of their life.”
Notably, Arnold Schwarzenegger experienced an L2 loosing of the bond twice in his life. First, when he officially stepped into his career as an actor after being a world-renowned body builder. And second, when he left behind his acting career and became the governor of California. These are the major kinds of career changes that we see taking place during these turning points.
ZR is a powerful tool and using it requires us to confront the notion of fate and free will head-on. It’s a deterministic technique, as it suggests that every event in a person’s life can be timed to the minute, before they ever take their first breath. There is much to be gained by engaging with time through the lens of ZR; and we’ve only scratched the surface here, but I think the most important thing we stand to gain is an acceptance of the ebbs and flows of life. And so I leave you with a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh on this very subject,
“…We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of time and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity — in freedom… .”
Kira Ryberg is a natal and electional astrologer based in Paris, France, who helps to foster a connection with the cosmos through practical insights, supportive guidance and traditional techniques. She is certified in Hellenistic and electional astrology with a specialization in zodiacal releasing.