Arabic Parts and Greek Lots – 1
– Work in progress by Philip Graves – 6 Apr 2004
– Reformatted for WordPress, June 1st-3rd, 2016
What are Parts and Lots?
In astrology, Parts, also known as Lots, are numerous particular points in a figure derived in most cases from counting the distance in degrees in a forward direction through the signs of the zodiac between two celestial bodies in a specified order, and adding the result to the degree of the Ascendant. In rare cases, another house cusp is involved instead of the Ascendant.
In many cases, the order of the two celestial bodies to be counted between depends on whether the nativity was diurnal (when the Sun was between the 7th and 12th houses inclusive) or nocturnal (between the 1st and 6th houses inclusive), the order for the nocturnal formula being the reverse of that of the diurnal formula.
Why ‘Arabian’ or Arabic Parts?
The designation ‘Arabic’ or ‘Arabian’ is a misnomer, since several Parts were in use by the ancient Greek astrologers long before the continued development of their traditions by the Arabs introduced many other Parts from the 8th to 12th centuries A.D.. But by the time of the introduction of Arabic astrology into the West, the use of the Lots by Western astrologers had largely died out, excepting the Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit, which were alone in their mention by Ptolemy, who had declared unwilling to concern himself with any of the other Lots in use by the ancient Greeks at all, leaving the false impression to Western astrologers that nearly all the other Parts introduced by the Arabic astrologers to the West were of Arabic origin.
In this article, I shall trace the major currents of historical astrological use of the Parts and Lots, starting in ancient Greece.
1: Parts in Ancient Greek Astrology
In the classical Greek sources, we most often find the whole sign equal house (or ‘sign-house‘) system in use, and aspects being counted by whole sign distance too. Although Parts are calculated with degree precision, they then affect the entire sign (or zoidion) and corresponding whole-sign house (or place) in which they are calculated to fall. Aspects to them are considered to the whole sign in which they occur.
Lot of Fortune; Lot of Spirit
Of the several lots described in ancient sources, most significance is accorded to the Lot of Fortune, also often known as Pars Fortuna, the Part of Fortune, Pars Luna or the Part of the Moon; and nearly as much to its formula-reversed counterpart the Lot of Spirit, sometimes known as the Lot of the Daemon, the Lot of Divinity, Pars Solis, the Part of the Sun, Pars futurorum, or the Part of things to come.
The Lot of Fortune in diurnal figures, and the Lot of Spirit in nocturnal figures, are derived by counting forward through the zodiac in degrees from the Sun to the Moon, adding the result to the degree of the Ascendant. In short, Moon – Sun + ASC.
By contrast, the Lot of Spirit in diurnal figures, and the Lot of Fortune in nocturnal figures, are derived by counting forward in degrees from the Moon to the Sun, and adding the result to the degree of the Ascendant. In short, Sun – Moon + ASC.
Ptolemy, who was primarily an astronomer with relatively little knowledge of astrology, disregarded the formula reversal for nocturnal births, specifying the diurnal formula for both Lots regardless of the time of day. But all the other ancient classical sources concur on the formula reversal needed.
The Lot of Fortune was regarded by all ancient Greek sources as being on a par with the Ascendant in importance.
The Lot of Fortune was taken as signifiying the quality of life, material prosperity, and wealth; happiness; hand crafts; the course of good and bad fortune; the affection of men towards women; desires; the effects of child-care; to some extent the native country; and organs of the body.
The Lot of Spirit was thought to signify concerns of the mind, intellect, spirit and soul; actions taken through discourse, and through giving and receiving; professions; material goods; the affection of women towards men; and to a strong extent the native country.
The particular and benefic / malefic nature of planets in aspect to each Lot are considered in their influences on these matters.
Both the Lot of Fortune and the Lot of Spirit were held to have much influence over the imposing and turning back of actions. For each of these Lots, its indications for action and fortune are considered through the combination of the sign tenanted by the Lot concerned with that tenanted by the Lord of the same Lot.
Placement and aspects of the Lot of Fortune
The Lot of Fortune in the whole-sign first house, or in another of the angular or any of the succeedent houses while in aspect to the Sun, Moon and benefics, is considered by Valens to make for brilliant, fortunate, notable individuals, especially if angular and in aspect to the Moon. The Lot of Fortune in the other angular or any of the succeedent whole sign houses without the additional aspect conditions specified above makes for more average fortune. The Lot of Fortune in a cadent house produces an ‘abandoned, unreared’ nature.
The Lot of Fortune conjunct or in aspect to a benefic is considered to prophesy good fortune, livelihood and possessions, and commendation and praise. If the Lot is in the terms of a benefic and a good house and in aspect to a benefic, property acquisition is indicated.
In a diurnal nativity, aspects from diurnal planets bode well for property and fortune; while in a nocturnal one, aspects from nocturnal planets do so. The reverse configuration leads to delay and despair en route to property acquisition.
The Lot of Fortune conjunct or in square or opposition aspect to a malefic is considered to cause the wasting away of the body and the squandering of possessions.
Lot of Fortune conjunct the Moon
Firmicus Maternus considers the Lot of Fortune in whole sign conjunction to the Moon as being particularly important and precisely delineates its influences.
The waxing Moon conjunct the Lot of Fortune and conjunct or approaching the Sun gives judges and powerful leaders; and, if complemented by an aspect to Jupiter, ‘imperial power’. The waning Moon conjunct the Lot of Fortune and conjunct or approaching the Sun brings early humility and proneness to being duped, but over time the attainment of wealth, high position and fame.
The waxing Moon conjunct the Lot of Fortune and moving towards or conjunct Mercury brings fortune, possessions, position, power, fame and intelligence. The waning Moon conjunct the Lot of Fortune and moving towards or conjunct Mercury brings afflictions, ill-fortune and ill-health.
The Moon conjunct the Lot of Fortune and conjunct or moving toward Venus brings charm and grace.
The Moon conjunct the Part of Fortune and conjunct or moving towards Mars brings, in a diurnal chart, suffering and wretched individuals seeking to earn thir living in connection fire, metal or hard materials; but in a nocturnal chart, leaders on account of their courage, military power and leadership, or athletes.
The Moon conjunct the Lot of Fortune and moving towards or conjunct Jupiter portends leadership, governance, fame and fortune.
The waxing Moon conjunct the Lot of Fortune and conjunct or moving towards Saturn brings misery and hard work in early years succeeded by good fortune and prosperity later, but diminishes inheritance and inclines toward the mother’s widowhood, affliction by illness or early death. The above in a diurnal figure, or the waning Moon in a nocturnal figure, in these aspects, brings orphanhood through parental death, and the wasting of inheritance, followed eventually by good fortune and prosperity. The waning Moon in these aspects in a diurnal figure brings affliction, misfortune, illness, and ‘evil death’. If the waxing Moon is conjunct the Lot of Fortune in the tenth house (or the eleventh equal house if the Midheaven is found there) and conjunct or approaching Saturn (especially if the Sun is conjunct the Ascendant), afflictions and illnesses are compensated by fortune, nobility and power.
Lord of the Fortune
Happiness is to be derived from fields of activity signified by the planet that is the Lord (almuten) of the degree occupied by the Lot of Fortune, and especially so if it is in whole-sign conjunction with the Ascendant. Aspects to this ‘Lord of the Fortune’ from other planets will then affect the degree of happiness according to their benefic or malefic nature.
According to Ptolemy, the acquisition of wealth is also shown by the planets that are Lords (by different essential dignities) of the Fortune, irrespective of the placement of the Lords. In this regard, Mercury brings wealth through sciences and trade; Venus through friends, gifts from women, and dowries; Mars through the armed forces; Jupiter through government, religious office, or other position of trust; and Saturn through agriculture, buildings or navigation, or, if Saurn is in aspect to Jupiter, through inheritance. The power of these Lords of the Fortune, and the power of planets configured with them or elevated above them, all contribute proportionately to the total testimony to wealth. Planets of the same ‘condition’ (presumed to mean nocturnal or diurnal by nature) as each Lord of the Fortune being elevated above it or rising in succession to it bode well for permanent wealth; while those of a contrary condition in such places portend short-lived wealth.
The Lord of the Fortune in angular houses bodes better than in succeedent houses, which in turn bodes better than in cadent ones. In its exaltation or any of its other essential dignities except face, it has more positive power; in its fall, less. In aspect to the Lot of Fortune, more; in aspect to the Lot of Fortune with both Lord and Lot angular, most of all; in no aspect to the Lot, less.
The Lord of the Fortune in an indifferent house in aspect to the Lot of Fortune bodes no good, power or efficacy of the Lot of Fortune for the individual; and the same results from the Lord of the Fortune being in a cadent house (whether or not in aspect to the Lot), especially if the Lord also fails to aspect the Moon (in a nocturnal figure) or the Sun (in a diurnal one); from the Lord and its Lot both being aspected by malefics; from either the Lord or the Lot being under the sunbeams; and from Mars diurnally being conjunct, square or opposite the Lord of the Fortune. These negative indications are furthered where the triplicity ruler of the Sun is also in one of the above listed conditions.
The benefics or Mercury, if eastern, and well-aspecting the Moon, Ascendant and Lord of the Fortune, will offset the negative influence of the Lord’s debilitated house and sign placement, providing fortune in connection with women (Venus), commerce, science and calculation (Mercury) or property, esteemed work and noble favour (Jupiter).
The benefics in cadent houses and malefics in angular or succeedent ones worsen the influence of a poorly placed Lord of the Fortune.
The Lord of the Fortune in the First or Fifth Lot-house brings happiness and wealth. The Lord in aspect to both Saturn and, in a diurnal birth, either Jupiter or the Sun, or, in a nocturnal birth, Moon, Mercury, Venus or Mars, bodes well for all considerations. The Lord well-placed and in aspect to benefics but not malefics brings nobility. But well-placed and in aspect to malefics it causes a fall from fortune. The Lord
The triplicity rulers of the Lot of Fortune in aspect to the Lot are a positive sign for property acquisition, especially if both do so.
Aspects to the Lot of Spirit (Examples of Valens)
The Sun conjunct the Lot of Spirit, and in sect, renders the individual dear to many, estimable and graceful; but if out of sect, fortune will come later following times of adversity.
Mercury conjunct the Lot of Spirit, oriental, and in aspect to benefics posited in places ruled by the Moon, brings the potential of erudition, good fortune from teaching and writing, dearness to many, and deemed worth of repute, honours and gifts.
Mars conjunct the Lot of Spirit and the Moon in a place over which the Moon has dominion renders the individual worthy of esteem, commanding, and fit for rule.
Lord of Spirit
The Lord of Spirit being in the same sign as the Lot of Fortune, or in the 10th whole-sign Lot House (from the Lot of Fortune), makes for ‘brilliant and notable’ individuals.
Individuals having the Lords of the Fortune and Spirit both in their own houses (those containing the Lots over which they are Lords), and oriental (rising before the Sun), and in aspect to the Sun and Moon, are destined to be notable and estimable, worthy of gifts and repute, and to reside close to priests and rulers.
The Lot of Spirit conjunct the Sun, with the Lord of Spirit oriental, favours fortune. Fortune and dominion are brought by the Lord of Spirit conjunct both the Lot of Spirit and the Sun. The Lord of Spirit oriental and conjunct the Moon renders the individual wealthy, generous and fortunate.
The Lord of Spirit in its own house favours a certain degree of esteem and effectiveness in the life. The Lord in aversion (i.e. inconjunct and without familiarity – see Aspects article Part 3) to its own house or in a cadent house, and in aspect to malefics, indicates fugitives, or those who ‘disgrace themselves’ abroad.
The Lord conjunct or in aspect to a benefic indicates much time spent living abroad, with variety and inconstancy in the life. The Lord conjunct a malefic indicates poverty, lack, restriction and a risk of being subject to accusation. The Lord opposite its own place indicates those undergoing troubles, living abroad, and having no inheritance from their family.
Venus having authority over the Lot of Spirit, and conjunct or configured with the Sun and Moon, where the planets having governance of both luminaries lack essential dignity by placement, brings poor luck and ineffectual actions; yet if one such planet is in one of the places it rules, it brings the company of people of power and esteem, but a lack of marriage and children.
Jupiter having authority over the Lot of Spirit, with Mars ‘in a superior position over it’ (this probably means elevated above or better placed than Jupiter in the figure), renders the individual estimable and effective but ruined by opposition or court cases, or banished.