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Robert Hand, Astrologer

http://www.astrologycom.com/firdar.html
Firdar, Alfridaria, or Alfridaries
an astrological Time Lord system
This article was written by leading traditional astrologer, Robert Hand. He also translated the source
material from Johannes Schoener and other ancient authorities.
All material is copyright Robert Hand and may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Schoener's Table of Alfridaries


The first of the names given above is the original Persian, more or less. The second is
the Latin version which is derived from adding the Arabic article 'al' to 'firdar'. The last
version of the word is the Anglicised form. There are many variants of all of the above
forms of the word. These are a system of planetary periods which appear to be of
Persian origin. They are first described as far as we know by Abu Mashar in various
works and have their origin in a system of mundane cycles intended for the long term
prediction of historical events. But as we have them, they are the small firdar and are
clearly intended for use in predicting for individual charts.
Firdar are a system of planetary periods much like the dasa systems of India. It is one of
the few such systems to come into medieval western astrology, even though there were
quite a few such systems in Greek Era astrology.
In all of these systems the various planets are assigned rulerships over periods of time
in the life according to some scheme peculiar to each system. It is also typical of these
systems, and the firdar are no exception, that there are two or more planets holding
rulership over any particular time. There is a planet which has a long period rulership
over the 'major period' which is often referred to as a 'major ruler'. This major period in
turn is subdivided further into subperiods or minor periods', which are also assigned to
rulers of their own, often refered to as 'minor rulers'. However, we have discovered from
Greek sources that such designations may not be appropriate as in those systems the
'minor ruler' is often more important than the 'major ruler'. We do not know at this time
whether that is true in firdar. Incidentally, in some other systems subperiods are further
subdivided into even shorter periods again and again. This does not seem to have been
true of the firdar where we only have the long-period ruler and the short-period
subruler.

The system of firdar as we have them is an extremely simple system, so much so that
my immediate reaction was one of disbelief that something so simple could be effective.
However, use of the system has convinced me that they have considerable merit
although much work needs to be done to determine exactly what kind of predictive
purpose the firdar most ably serve. So far I have been using them for general purpose
prediction.

General Comments Applicable to all Period Systems


The general idea of all period systems is the same. In conventional natal astrology
planets have rulership over particular areas of life derived from two sources: the
rulership of each planet over its own peculiar sphere of life otherwise known as its
general signification; and in each chart each planet has rulership derived from its
rulership over houses. This could be regarded as a kind of "spatial" rulership because
metaphorically the planets have rulership over "areas" of life.
By contrast all period systems assign planets rulership over times of a native's life, not
just instances the way transits, progressions, and directions do, but over spans of time
with definite beginning and ending dates. This results in each period and subperiod
having a special set of qualities determined by the long-period and short-period rulers.
These qualities are in turn derived from the rulers' general signification and their
rulership over houses.
As a consequence when a planet becomes either a long or short-period ruler, the issues
that it has rulership over become heightened in significance and brought to the fore.
When there is a period in which two planets which are in aspect with each both become
rulers, one being the short-period ruler, the other being the long-period ruler, the issues
indicated by the aspect come especially to the fore.
In Hindu astrology or Jyotish the dasa or long-period ruler and the bhukti or short-period
ruler seem to have their greatest impact in terms of the houses they rule and occupy.
Therefore, it is very difficult to make general statements about the quality of any dasabhukti rulership period without having reference to house positions, house rulerships,
and of course the dignity and debility of the rulers, themselves. On the face of it this
would seem to true of the firdar as well. The quality of a period under the firdar
rulerships should be a function of the houses occupied and ruled by the two rulers, and
their dignities and debilitied both essential and accidental.
Yet the literature on the use of the Firdar is scant. And one of the most comprehensive
treatises on their use delineates the periods not so much in terms of the house
relationships of the rulers as in terms of their general significations. So we have the
treatise on the delineations of the firdar from Johannes Schoener from Book III of
his Three Books on the Judgment of Nativities which is a part of this booklet. These
descriptions are based almost entirely on the general significations of the rulers. This
may not be due entirely to theoretical considerations, however, as much as to practical
ones. One cannot possibly delineate all pairs of planets interacting with each other in
the chart in terms of their various and multitudinous interactions with the houses. This
requires an astrologer working in the context of the individual chart.

The Scheme of the Firdar


Each planet has its own period or firdar. These are listed in virtually all traditional
astrology which describe the attributes of the planets. However, the firdar proceed in a
very simple order in which the only thing that varies is whether the native is born by
day (Sun above the horizon) or by night (Sun below the horizon). The order is the
Chaldean order in which the planets are arranged in ascending order of speed in the

zodiac, thus:
Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon.
In day charts one starts with the firdar of the Sun, in night charts with the firdar of the
Moon. And when one reaches the end of the planets in the Chaldean order, one simply
starts over at the other end until one has reached the planet just before the starting
planet. After seven periods using the seven classical planets as rulers, there are two
periods which come at the end both in day and night charts, three years for the N. Node
followed by 2 years for the S. Node. All nine of these periods make a total of 75 years.
After the 75 years, the cycle starts over again with the first planetary period that ruled
at birth.

Table of the Firdar


by day and by night, in the proper order
Diurnal Charts
Ruler
1
.
2
.
3
.
4
.
5
.
6
.
7
.
8
.
9
.

Nocturnal Charts

Period

Ending
Age

Sun
Venus
Mercury
Moon
Saturn
Jupiter
Mars
N. Node
S. Node

10
8
13
9
11
12
7
3
2

10
18
31
40
51
63
70
73
75

Total

75

Ruler

Period

Ending
Age

Moon
Saturn
Jupiter
Mars
Sun
Venus
Mercury
N. Node
S. Node

9
11
12
7
10
8
13
3
2

9
20
32
39
49
57
70
73
75

Total

75

Each of these long periods is in turn divided into seven short periods,
each of which is exactly one-seventh of the long period. Each short
period is ruled by the same planet which rules the long period, then
each short period that follows is ruled by the planets which follow the
long-period ruler in the Chaldean order.
The following table illustrates the order of sub-period rulers.

Long-Period Rulers

Sa

Ju

Ma

Su

Ve

Me

Short-Period Rulers
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Sa
Ju
Ma
Su
Ve
Me
Mo

Ju
Ma
Su
Ve
Me
Mo
Sa

Ma
Su
Ve
Me
Mo
Sa
Ju

Su
Ve
Me
Mo
Sa
Ju
Ma

Ve
Me
Mo
Sa
Ju
Ma
Su

Me
Mo
Sa
Ju
Ma
Su
Ve

Mo
Mo
Sa
Ju
Ma
Su
Ve
Me

The next table contains the lengths of the short-periods.


Planet
Saturn
Jupiter
Mars
Sun
Venus
Mercury
Moon

Period
11 yrs.
12 yrs.
7 yrs.
10 yrs.
8 yrs.
13 yrs.
9 yrs.

Subperiod
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

yr.
yr.
yr.
yr.
yr.
yr.
yr.

6 mos. 26 days
8 mos. 17 days
0 mos. 0 days
5 mos. 4 days
1 mo. 22 days
10 mos. 9 days
3 mos. 13 days

While the basic idea of firdar is simple, one might find computing the
rulerships a bit clumsy. However, as an aid to computing one's current
period rulership, we will provide a bit further on a table derived from
Schoener's Three Books on the Judgment of Nativities. But before we get
to the practical application of firdar, there is an issue of controversy that
has to be dealt with concerning the order of the major periods.
Most sources give the order of the long-periods just as we have here.
These include Johannes Schoener, Al Biruni, Ibn Ezra, and the Liber
Aristotilis, among others. However, there are two sources which seem to
contradict this view. These two sources have been interpreted as
requiring that the two periods associated with the North and South
Nodes respectively should be placed not at the ends of the seventy-five
periods, but should be placed between the periods of Mars and the Sun:
thus, the diurnal sequence would be

Sun

Venus

Mercury

Moon

Saturn

Jupiter

N. Node

S. Node

and the nocturnal sequence would be

Moon

Saturn

Jupiter

Mars

N. Node

S. Node

Sun

Venus

Mercury

This is as opposed to the sequence given by everyone else:

Moon

Saturn

Jupiter

Mars

Sun

Venus

Mercury

N. Node

S. Node

The sequence is obviously true for day births, because the Sun is the
first period and Mars is the last period of the ones ruled by the planets.
Clearly the periods of the nodes follow that of Mars, and when they are
finished, one starts over again with the period of the Sun. The question
concerns night births.
The first of these two sources is Alcabitius's Introduction to Astrology.
Here is the entire section from the fourth section of the book.
"And the arrangement of the firdar is according to this: This is if the
nativity is diurnal. In the beginning of life the Sun has rulership by

means of the arrangement of his firdar according to the quantity of the


years of his firdar which are ten. After that the planet which succeeds
the Sun [has rulership]. This is Venus the years of whose firdar are eight.
And after Venus the planet which succeeds her [has rulership] and it is
Mercury and his years are thirteen. Then [comes] the Moon and the
years of her firdar are nine. Then Saturn, and the years of his firdar are
eleven. Then Jupiter, and the years of his firdar are twelve. Then Mars,
and the years of his firdar are seven. Then the Head of the Dragon, and
the years of its firdar are three. Then the Tail of the Dragon, and the
years of its firdar are two. Moreover, the years gathered together at
once become 75 years. After that, the disposition reverts to the Sun and
likewise up to the last of the planets.
However, if the nativity should be nocturnal, the disposition begins from
the Moon, and she will dispose the years of her firdar which are nine.
Likewise planet [comes] after planet just as we have described
previously concerning the Sun..."
The problem is that Alcabitius does not actually spell out the nocturnal
sequence. He only implies it.
The other source that seems to agree with Alcabitius is Guido Bonatti.
The only problem here is that Bonatti's passage is almost verbatim the
same as the original Alcabitius and is clearly a quotation of Alcabitius.
Therefore, we have only one real source for the nocturnal placement of
the nodal periods between Mars and the Sun and this one source is
ambiguous.
All other sources which explicitly spell out the nocturnal sequence of the
firdar place the two nodal periods at the end of the 75 year cycle for
both the day and night sequences just as we show here. Therefore, we
have to say that is highly unlikely that even Alcabitius intended that the
node periods should go between the periods of Mars and the Sun in
night births.
Table of Alfridaries

A Table of the Alfridaries Derived from Schoener


A Table of the Two Universal Alfridaries Which Will Serve for the
Genitures of All Persons.
For Diurnal Nativities
Years Days

For Nocturnal Nativities

Years Days

Years Days

Years Days

Su
Su
Ve
Su
Me

1
2
4

156
313
104

Ju
Ju Ma
Ju Su

52
54
56

260
156
52

Mo
Mo
Sa
Mo Ju

1
2
3

104
208
313

Ve
Ve
Me
Ve
Mo

50
51
52

52
104
156

Su
Mo
Su
Sa
Su Ju

5
7
8

260
52
208

Ju Ve
Ju Me
Ju Mo

57
59
61

313
208
104

Mo
Ma
Mo
Su
Mo
Ve

5
6
7

52
156
260

Ve
Sa
Ve Ju
Ve
Ma

53
54
55

208
260
312

10

Ju Sa

63

Mo

Ve

57

Su

Ma
Ve
Ve
Me

11
12

52
104

Ma
Ma
Su

64
65

0
0

Me
10
Sa
12
Sa Ju

208
52

Su
Me
Me
Mo

58
60

313
260

Ve
13
Mo
14
Ve
15
Sa
Ve Ju

156
208
260

Ma
Ve
Ma
Me
Ma
Mo

66
67
68

0
0
0

Sa
Ma
Sa
Su
Sa
Ve

13
15
16

260
104
313

Me
Sa
Me Ju
Me
Ma

62
64
66

208
156
104

Ve
Ma
Ve
Su
Me

16
18
19

313
0
313

Ma
Sa
Ma Ju
NN

69
70
73

0
0
0

Sa
Me
Sa
Mo
Ju

18
20
21

156
0
260

Me
Su
Me
Ve
NN

68
70
73

52
0
0

Me
21
Mo
23
Me
25
Sa
Me Ju

260
208
156

SN
Su
Su
Ve

75
76
77

0
156
313

Ju Ma 23
Ju Su 25
Ju Ve 26

156
52
313

SN
Mo
Mo
Sa

74
76
77

0
104
208

Me
Ma
Me
Su
Me
Ve

27
29
31

104
52
0

Su
Me
Su
Mo
Su
Sa

79
80
82

104
260
52

Ju Me 28
Ju Mo 30
Ju Sa 32

208
104
0

Mo Ju
Mo
Ma
Mo
Su

78
80
81

313
52
156

Mo
32
Mo
33
Sa
34
Mo Ju

104
208
313

Su Ju
Su
Ma
Ve

83
85
86

208
0
52

Ma
Ma
Su
Ma
Ve

33
34
35

0
0
0

Mo
Ve
Mo
Me
Sa

82
84
85

260
0
208

Mo
Ma
Mo
Su
Mo
Ve

36
37
38

52
156
260

Ve
Me
Ve
Mo
Ve
Sa

87
88
89

104
156
208

Ma
Me
Ma
Mo
Ma
Sa

36
37
38

0
0
0

Sa Ju
Sa
Ma
Sa
Su

87
88
90

52
260
104

Mo
40
Me
41
Sa
43
Sa Ju

0
208
52

Ve Ju
Ve
Ma
Ve
Su

90
91
93

260
313
0

Ma Ju 39
Su
40
Su
41
Ve

0
156
313

Sa
Ve
Sa
Me
Sa
Mo

91
93
95

313
156
0

Sa
Ma
Sa
Su
Sa
Ve

44
46
47

260
104
313

Me
Me
Mo
Me
Sa

94
96
98

313
260
208

Su
Me
Su
Mo
Su
Sa

43
44
46

104
260
52

Ju
96
Ju Ma 98
Ju Su 100

260
156
52

Sa
Me
Sa
Mo

49
51

156
0

Me Ju 100

156

Su Ju 47
Su
49
Ma

208
0

The preceding table is designed to give the ages at which each


subperiod ends. It is divided into two major sections, one for day births
on the left and one for night births on the right. The first column
contains the one or two planets that rule each subperiod. The column
marked 'Years.' contains the number of years elapsed since birth, that
is, the individual's age as each period ends. The column marked 'Day.'
gives the number of days in addition to the years of the previous
column.
To use the table, first ascertain whether the chart is a day or night chart.
Then in the appropriate part of the table look for the lowest age in years
and days that is greater than the native's age at a particular time. This
indicates the native's age at the end of the period. The rulers of that
subperiod are the firdar rulers at the time, the left one being the longperiod ruler, the right one being the short-period ruler.

A Delineation of the Periods and Subperiods of the


Firdar
The following is a complete set of delineations of firdar from Schoener.
We provide these as an illustration of how these periods were delineated
in traditional astrology. The modern reader is urged to read these
passages impressionistically rather than literally. They are clearly
intended for males of a rather high social class living in a late medieval
environment. Also, while these delineations do take some accidental
conditions of the rulers into consideration, these delineations are largely
based the general significations of the rulers, plus some traditional
elements associated with these rulers which are not easily deriveable
from the planets' core meanings themselves. We do not know the
ultimate source of these interpretations, but we have found similar ones
in the Liber Aristotilis of one Hugo of Santalla, a pastiche of Arabic and
Persian material translated into Latin in the 12th Century by the
aforementioned Hugo and attributed to Aristotle.
Schoener, Three Books on the Judgment of Nativities
Book III, Chapter Eight
Concerning the Arabic Governors of the Periods,
or, Concerning the Alfridaries of the Planets

http://horoscopicastrologyblog.com/2007/10/16/firdaria-a-medieval-timelord-system/

Firdaria: A Medieval Time Lord System


Posted by Chris Brennan on October 16, 2007 at 1:13 am12 Comments

came

across

an

interesting

website

today

called firdaria.comwhich provides free calculations for the medieval-era time-lord system
known as Firdaria (Firdariyyah). This system, like all time-lord systems, breaks up a persons
life into specific sections or chapters that are each ruled by one of the seven traditional
planets. The nature of the planet and its condition in a persons natal chart determines how
well the period will go for the native when that planet becomes activated at various points in
their life.
The 9th century Muslim astrologer Abu Mashar, who appears to be the principal source for
Firdaria, outlines this time-lord system in his book known as On Solar Revolutions:
Each of the seven stars, and the Ascending and Descending Nodes, has certain determinate
times, and each star administers to the native in accordance with its proper firdar. The firdar
of the Sun, then, is 10 years; of Aphrodite, 8; of Hermes, 13; of the Moon, 9; of Kronos, 11; of
Zeus, 12; of Ares, 7; of the Ascending Node, 3; of the Descending Node, 2 altogether, they
are 75. In the case of a diurnal nativity, then, the Sun takes the governorship of the first
firdar, whether it should be present, then Aphrodite, then Hermes, then the Moon, then
Kronos, in accordance with the order of their zones. In the case of nocturnal nativities, the

Moon takes the first firdar, then Kronos, then Zeus, then Ares, in accordance with the prior
order. (Abu Mashar, On Solar Revolutions, part 2, trans. Robert Schmidt, The Phaser
Foundation, Cumberland, MD, 1999, pg. 42.)
So in this system you are starting with either the Sun or the Moon depending on if it is a day
or night chart, and then you are assigning each of the planets a certain number of years. This
is where Firdaria.com comes in handy because they will calculate the Firdar periods of each
planet for you.
In the ancient traditions of astrology these time-lord systems were usually employed first in
any delineation because they give the astrologer information about broad spans of time, and
they let you know which planets will be activated during certain periods in the natives life,
for better or worse. Transits are then used as the very last line in predictive work in order to
act as triggers, or as more precise timing indicators. This is somewhat different than the
modern approach to prediction which usually employs transits as the initial and primary
means of forecasting.
The Firdaria are basically the medieval western equivalent of the Indian dasha systems, or
the Hellenistic time-lord systems. Although there are some similar time-lord techniques in
the Hellenistic tradition, at this point there isnt any evidence that the Firdaria system
originated in the Hellenistic period. Most people seem to think that the system was
developed by Persian astrologers at some point during the Medieval period. A Persian or
Indian origin seems plausible to me since the nodes are assigned years in the timing scheme
of this system, and for the majority of the Hellenistic tradition the nodes appear to have been
somewhat neglected or downplayed. It was in the Indian tradition and then later the Persian
tradition that the nodes were given great emphasis as particularly important bodies or points
in the chart.
Firdaria.com will calculate your Firdar periods for you and even provide some general
interpretations of certain periods. It looks like they just launched the site earlier this year and
they plan to expand it in the future in order to include some additional techniques and
systems, so we will have to keep an eye on them.
For more background information on the Firdaria you can check out this great paper
by Steven Birchfield, as well as this other article by Rob Hand.