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See also Astrology or InterpretationsIn the field of horoscopic astrology, the Greek Lots, which are also known as Arabic Parts, are based on a mathematical calculation of three points in the chart. Although these "Lots" or "Parts" were developed and used as far back as 2,000 years ago, many astrologers still use them today when casting a chart.

Definition

A Lot is a specific horoscopic point that can be used to determine further details concerning the matters of the planets that are used to compose the lot itself. The Lots themselves are just mathematical formulas that are used to synthesize the difference of arc between the longitudes of three separate points into one single horoscopic point from which details can be extrapolated concerning the desired topic. The formula always starts with the Basis, which is the ascendant/horoskopos and then you add the longitude of one planet to this number, and then subtract another. The formula is: Lot = A + B – C. The trick to it is that the order of B and C is of prime importance and in many instances is changed due to the sect of the chart as a whole- that is, whether or not it is a day or night chart. Some Lots do not change based on the sect of the chart, but for the ones that do “the arc between the component planets is measured from the one that is more in sect to the other one that is more out of sect if the lot is connected to the external or physical plane matters”.1 For lots that don’t change depending on if it is a day or night chart, “if the lot pertains to some issue that is clearly related to either sect or sex, then the arc is measured from the planet whose sect or sex clearly agrees with that of the matters of the lot to that planet which does not or does so to a lesser degree”.2 So the point is that with the vast majority of the Lots the points B and C are calculated from the point that is more in accord with the predominant sect (C), to the planet that is less in accord with the dominant sect (B).

One thing that is very important in understanding how to use the Lots or Parts is to realize that they are primarily used as horoscopic indicators. 'Horoskopos' is the Greek word that we get our word ‘Horoscope’ from, and while in modern times the word Horoscope has come to mean the whole chart in general, in ancient times the Horoskopos referred specifically to the ascendant itself. 'Horoscopic' charts are charts with ascendants and by extension, houses.

Any point can be a horoscopic indicator, because a horoscopic indicator’s main purpose is to tell you what sign to start the first house in. One such part that still has prominence even in Modern astrology is the Lot or Part of Fortune, known in Latin as Fortuna, which reveals the areas of one's life where fortunate circumstances tend to occur in the natives life through little or no effort on their own part, and is calculated by using the formula Ascendant + Moon - Sun for day charts, and Ascendant + Sun - Moon for a night chart. One of the main purposes of the Lots, and the Lot of Fortune in particular is to use them as a sort of auxiliary ascendant. Whatever sign the Lot of Fortune falls in becomes the first house in a circle of houses pertaining to how and where the native is fortunate in life. The significations are essentially the same, just tweaked a little bit. For example, Jupiter in the 10th sign/house from the Lot of Fortune could possible pertain towards fortunate dealings with the public. Jupiter in the 5th Sign/house from Fortune could pertain to fortunate dealings with children, and so on and so fourth.


Calculating the Lots

Before the use of astrology softwares became common, the casting of Arabic Lots was performed using a rather cumbersome method. Today various softwares are used to find out the position of different Arabic Lots. Those who are approaching the study of Astrology may however want to grasp the method used to calculate the lots manually, before they move on and use a software.


Arabic parts are calculated substituting the symbols in the formula with the position by sign and degree of the corrisponding points or planets in the natal chart, and then solving the formula doing some very simple arithmetics.


In the following example it will be demonstrated how to calculate the part of marriage.


The formula for the part of marriage - according to Al-Biruni is:

AC + VII - Venus

where AC means Ascendant and VII means Seventh house.


Now that we know the formula, the second step is substituting its symbols with the sign and degree position of the Ascendant, the seventh house and Venus. (The astrologer needs to be absolutely certain about the native's birthtime. As all parts are calculated using the Ascendant, an approximate birthtime would result in a wrong placement of the Ascendant, which in turn would yield a wrong position of all the Arabic parts one may calculate.) The positions of these points are as follows:

AC Virgo 4° 14' +
VII Pisces 4° 14' -
Venus Virgo 5° 42'

The next step is converting the degrees of the Ascendant, the seventh house and Venus into numerals. Normally, a conversion table listing the twelve signs and their degrees is used.


Conversion Table
0. Aries       =   0° 
1. Taurus      =  30°
2. Gemini      =  60° 
3. Cancer      =  90° 
4. Leo         = 120°
5. Virgo       = 150° 
6. Libra       = 180° 
7. Scorpio     = 210° 
8. Sagittarius = 240° 
9. Capricorn   = 270° 
10. Aquarius   = 300° 
11. Pisces     = 330° 


Each sign is attributed a number from 0 to 11, degrees are in a base of 30, and seconds are in a base of 60. In other words: each sign contains 30 degrees, and each degree is made by 60 seconds of arch. Each time the number of degree in our calculations exceed 30, we move to the next sign. Each time the number of seconds of arc in our calculations is more than 60, we move to the next degree.


Using the conversion table

AC Virgo 4° 14' +
VII Pisces 4° 14' -
Venus Virgo 5° 42'


becomes then


AC 5. 4.14 +
VII 11. 4.14 -
Venus 5.5.42


Now we first add the Ascendant and the cusp of the seventh house


5.4.14 +
11.4.14 =
6.8.28


From this value, we subtract the position of Venus


16.8.28 -
5.5.42 =
11.2.46


Using the conversion table, the resulting value


11.2.46


can be read as


Pisces 2° 46’


The part of marriage will then be at 2° 46’ Pisces.


A simplified way of calculating Arabic lots involves converting the degrees using the values listed in the third column of the conversion table.


The calculations would then proceed as follows:


AC Virgo 4° 14' +
VII Pisces 4° 14' -
Venus Virgo 5° 42'


becomes


AC 154° 14' +
VII 334° 14' -
Venus 155° 42'


AC 154° 14' +
VII 334° 14' =
488° 28'

and then


488° 28' -
Venus 155° 42' =
332° 46'


Once converted, the value of 332° 46’ corresponds to Pisces, 2° 46’. The part of marriage is then at 2° 46’ Pisces.

List of lots

Originated by the Chaldeans, lots were subsequently used and expanded by Hellenistic astrologers, and finally systematised by Arab astrologers. The kind and number of lots has been expanding continuously since then, and compiling a list of all the lots used by contemporary astrologers would be an arduous task. The most comprehensive compilation of Arabic part transmitted to the Western world has been authored by al-Biruni. In The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology al-Biruni listed 97 different parts. Some of these were only used in nativities and solar returns, while others were used particularly in the delineation of horary charts, in mundane astrology, in forecasts related to weather, eclypses and crops. The seven different categories of Arabic parts transmitted by al-Biruni are listed below:

Using the Lots

There are four elements to consider in the delineation of the Arabic lots:

  1. The Lots' ruler.
  2. Planets used in the formula
  3. Planets having the same symbolism of the Lot
  4. Other planets

The planet that rules the sign that the Lot is placed in is the most important planet to look at in relation to the Lot under examination. That planet, and its relative strength or debility, and connection through aspect with the Lot in question tells you quite a bit about the prominence of the subject that the Lot pertains to.

Besides the Lot's ruler, its dispositor by exaltation, triplicity and terms may be used as well. Further indications as on how the Lot may work in practice are given by all the other planets that cast an aspect to the Lot. It is to be remembered that a Lot can work only if it is activated by one of its dispositors, by a planet having a symbolism similar to that of the Lot or by a personal planet. If no planet casts a ptolemaic aspect to it, the Lot will be inactive.


Sample delineation of an Arabic Lot: Year to be feared at birth for death and famine

Notes

Note 1: Rob Hand – Night & Day, Planetary Sect in Astrology - ARHAT Publications, Reston VA, 1995. pg. 38 Note 2: Ibid.


Resources

  • Rob Hand – Night & Day, Planetary Sect in Astrology - ARHAT Publications, Reston, VA, 1995
  • Rob Hand – Whole Sign Houses, The Oldest House System – ARHAT Publications, Reston, VA, 2000.
  • Lee Lehman – Classical Astrology for Modern Living, From Ptolemy to Psychology and Back Again. Whitford Press, Atglen, PA, 1996. ISBN 0-924608-24-2
  • Ramsay R. Wright (transl.) - The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology by al-Biruni. London, Luzac, 1934.
  • Robert Zoller - The Lost Key to Prediction: The Arabic Parts in Astrology - Inner Traditions, Santa Fe, NM, 1980. ISBN 0-89281-250-8