Astrology finds more ways to use the planets, points, houses and geometry than is immediately obvious when looking at a chart. Kennet Gillman now asks us to look at it yet another way. He believes that the order of the planets at the time of birth reveals our destiny, and if enough of our destiny has already been revealed by life, that order provides an easy-to-do rectification technique. Gillman's method is fairly simple and does not depend on chart patterns, house rulerships or point systems. There is a lead planet: the planet that first crosses the ASC after birth that serves as the first "time lord" for the first ten years of life. The next planet covers the next ten years and so on. But there is more to it. The time lord for the first ten years or "decan ruler" finds expression for one year by itself then for the next year it is influenced by "moving" or being directed to the next planet, clockwise or from house 1 to house 12 to house 11, etc until it reaches the next planet in sequence. So let us posit a hypothetical chart that has Jupiter in the third and Jupiter is the first planet to cross the ASC after birth. Let us further posit Mars in the 12th and then Saturn in the 11th. Jupiter governs the life for the first ten years, hence the term "decan," and Jupiter is sole ruler from birth until the first birthday. Then Jupiter is directed to Mars and from ages 1 -2 of the Jupiter decan, Mars influences Jupiter. The next year, age 2 - 3, would be a Jupiter/Saturn year and so on until the ten year period is up and each of the planets has been "touched" by Jupiter. The next ten year period is shown by the second planet that goes over the ASC after birth, and so on. Ten planets give us 100 years to play with.
This gives some depth, but there is more. Gillman introduces the septenary (of the number seven) or 7 year period time lords. This time we only use the traditional planets and they govern for 7 years each. We get two "go-arounds" with this group. Traditional planets are moved only to other traditional planets in the septenary periods, so that each planet is touched in that time frame and then a new 7 year period begins. Obviously this will overlap with the decan periods and give us a nice mixture of planets and events. He does not state overtly, or I missed it, but hints that the classical planets used in the septenary are to be interpreted in the traditional manner, whereas the same planet as decan ruler more closely resembles its modern delineations. These delineations are not so far apart most of the time, but Saturn as decan ruler is more likely to embody the "lord of karma" interpretations, while as septenary ruler he is more likely to be kicking your butt.
Nice, neat, and Gillman makes a logical case for it, including, but not limited to his extensive research with the system. But does it work? That is the same question we ask about every astrology technique or should ask whether it is old or new. He gives us charts and insights to all sorts of people and explains the life through this technique in each of them and makes a persuasive case.
At this point the interested reader has either dragged out his own chart or is consulting it by memory. Find the planet that would first cross your natal ASC after the time of birth. That planet is the time lord for ages 0 - the 10th birthday. That planet also governs the first year of life. Then mentally move that planet clockwise to the next planet. The decan ruler or first planet to cross the horizon will govern the first year by itself and the combination will govern age 1 - 2. Keep going around the chart in this fashion - one planet for each year. At age ten you should be back to where you started from and that planet will rule the next ten years.
Then find the first classical planet to cross the horizon after your birth. It may be the same planet and in fact probably is. But now it rules from ages 0 - 7. Then at age 7 we move the first classical planet to the next classical planet. Ignore any modern planets. So the last three years of the first decan and will be influenced by this second combination. And the following four years will be ruled by that combination but in combination with the second decan ruler. Thus the life unfolds.
Astute traditionalists will notice a similarity to profections. However, profections move in the order of the signs or counterclockwise. This method moves or directs the planets in accordance with diurnal motion similar to primary directions.
There are dozens of charts out under this microscope to varying degrees, and as expected, the method works well with all selected charts. Astrology authors have been picking perfectly functioning example charts for centuries. There is no better way to get one's point across. However a quick test of a technique is to pick a chart at random and check out what is known about the individual against it. I could use my own chart but that would mean beginning with Neptune, and I am constitutionally incapable of that sort of thing. Since reviews are by necessity, or perhaps should be, short, I picked a short life, that of Jon Benet Ramsey, horribly murdered months after her 6th birthday.
Pluto governs the first decan and Pluto comes to the Moon in her 7th year, the year of her death. No one, not Gillman, not me, is going to argue that everyone who has Pluto rising in this system will die before age 10. Going further no one is going to argue that everyone with Pluto rising will not only die before age ten, but will do so when Pluto comes to the Moon. So looking for death indications might be useful, especially here, but is not absolute. I'm going to pick a couple of quotes from the text. Some of these quotes are from the lives of people who have experienced this particular period. Others are the author's delineations. The text makes clear which are which.
"In the process (i.e. the time frame of the Pluto decan), the new is created from the old, and life is extended by way of death."
Tragically the child has been dead for twice the length of her life and we all know who she is because of her death.
Pluto to the Moon: "A period of separations and farewells."
Keep in mind the author is writing the delineations, and noting the experiences as though the native is a relatively socially independent human being, and this is not the case for a six year-old, but there is a bit of prophecy here.
The first septenary period is ruled by Saturn. This combined with Pluto is an "uh oh" moment on general principles. Saturn is strong in Capricorn, but retrograde and opposed to Venus lady of the 8th. The Moon is the exaltation ruler of the 8th. This is not shaping up too well. The septenary sub period is also ruled by the Moon, again emphasizing the 8th house in an exaggerated (exaltation) manner.
"Saturn represents the whole frame of social and moral rules that keep individuals imprisoned and during these years the person will discover the limits in which he must live and responsibilities he needs to shoulder."
I'm not going to pass judgment on the Ramseys' choice to enter their child in the children's beauty pageants. But the hectic schedule does leave less time, a lot less time, to be a child and "imprisoned" is a pretty good word in that context.
Occidental Saturn to Moon by day in septenary: "… choking fits …death."
I don't think too many astrologers would be looking for the death of a healthy 6 year-old child living in an upper middle class neighborhood, even if Mars is in Taurus on the 8th cusp. That's not the point of this little exercise. The point is that with little effort of a somewhat randomly chosen chart (I purposely looked for a short life), the method seems to work.
One area where the author claims great success is the use of the method to rectify charts. Without going into great detail, he argues that if a person is born during the daytime a major life changing event will occur close to age 18 years three months. If the individual is born at night, that life changing event will occur about age 24 years and 3 months. By narrowing down the possible birth time to a roughly 12 hour period or less depending on the time of year, and then jiggling the time lords to match experiences, a birth time can be established. Let's try my mother because Gillman cannot possibly be accused of knowing her and setting this up. I know where she was born and the date, but there is no record or event a hint of a time. She was married at age 18 years 9 months, and I know of no life changing events at age 24 or thereabouts. It must be kept in mind by the rectifier that my mother and father for that matter, were pretty tight lipped about the past and it is not impossible something happened to her at that time that was life changing. But I have no idea what it might be. We were a fairly typical 1950s suburban family. By the time she turned 24, I was born and so was my brother. The third brother would not be born for almost ten years. So we'll say day birth.
At first this seemed simple. At sunrise only Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Uranus were below the horizon (in that order) and Uranus had just set at sunrise. She was married in the 2nd decan and 3rd septenary. Therefore we must eliminate Venus as rising second because the Sun would have to rise first and then this would then be a night chart.
So Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus are candidates for ruling the second decan. If Venus rises first after the Sun, Saturn rules the 2nd decan. Saturn would then come to Uranus at ages 18 - 19. Gillman emphasizes " … an erratic year in which old conditions no longer seem to apply." In other words a year of surprises? My mother and father had been engaged, but I don't know when that happened. This was during WWII and my father was serving in the US Navy. One day he called unexpectedly and said to my mother, "I have a ten-day leave; do you want to get married?" They put together a whirlwind wedding, short honeymoon, and afterward he was back on ship on his way to either Europe or Africa. The old conditions no longer seemed to apply.
If Venus rises first after the birth, the ASC could be late Virgo, all of Libra up to the very beginning of Scorpio. Libra is a good possibility. Libra rising would put Cancer on the 10th and the Moon just outside the limits of combustion but getting closer. Mars is deep into combustion. Her mother, my biological grandmother, died about two weeks after my mother was born, of an infection incurred during childbirth. The Moon could represent her mother, and Mars the infection or Mars could represent the doctor. There are other possibilities here and I did not go into them as this is a book review not a full fledged rectification, so I'm stopping here. This little exercise demonstrates the method and its potential. I would, if I chose to continue, entertain the possibility that Saturn rose followed by Jupiter and then see if Jupiter coming to Pluto at age 18 - 19 would indicate a marriage. The author describes that period as pretty dismal and difficult, but does give marriage as one possibility.
Obviously this is not traditional astrology and that is where my interests lie. However the method is intriguing, particularly the rectification methods and it does something most astrology texts, traditional and modern, do not: it gives the student a method with which to begin reading the chart. Although the rectification method explained is far simpler than most, I think rectification is best left to more advanced students not beginners or intermediate students. On the other hand it is sad but true that even gifted astrologers run through this and that technique in their books with all sorts of example charts that make it seem all so simple until the student picks up a chart that is not in the text. Now what? One After Another answers: "Here; you start with this, and then continue with that." If the text did nothing else, and it does quite a bit more, it would be a needed addition to the literature. Besides, it is fun to work with. Enjoy.