Each Lot provides a kind of script, a lens through which an important
feature of fate can be perceived. How do we gain wealth? Fame?
Happiness? Love and devotion? These are the questions of fate, and each
horoscope details its inexorable inner workings, providing a summary of
fate if we could only but read what is written.
– Antoine Garth
The Arabic Parts have an honourable history in Astrology stretching far back into antiquity, yet they have been largely lost to modern astrologers since the seventeenth century. The parts (also known as "Lots") enable an examination of the "inner" meaning of the horoscope, which goes beyond the "outer" evaluations stimulated by the arrangement of the planets, signs and houses.
The doctrine of parts is based squarely on the numerical relationships between factors of the horoscope. There are a large number of these parts, the best known today perhaps being the Part of Fortune (Part of the Moon), which has survived because it is the strongest of the parts, due to its employment of the Ascendant, Sun and Moon. The Part of Fortune (in Latin: Pars FortunŠ) is not a planet, but a sensitive, calculated point in the horoscope that shows in effect where the Moon would be if you were born at sunrise. Interested astrologers can use our traditional Table to Calculate the Value of the Part of Fortune for use in chart delineation.
Many other parts, however, are distinctly useful in predictive astrology and are regularly used in natal, horary and mundane figures. Robert Zoller's The Lost Key to Prediction: The Arabic Parts in Astrology presents a valuable and illuminating insight into the Arabic Parts, their history, construction and usage. The table at the end of this article lists the seven main planetary parts, according to Zoller's scholarly translation of Bonatti, but there are many, many others. Parts are extracted according to the strength of the planets concerned, i.e., a nocturnal planet is stronger in a nocturnal figure than a diurnal and vice versa.
As with the modern employment of planetary midpoints, the usage of parts should be secondary to an understanding of the major chart factors (planets, signs and house cusps). Use the part to clarify or illustrate any features that need to emphasized. One reason for the decline of parts in modern times may have been their seemingly limitless proliferation and substitution for clear planetary relationships; another is that the mediŠval worldview that they imply can be quite difficult for modern astrologers to appreciate. Nevertheless, experience shows that the directions and transits to the parts (especially Pars FortunŠ) have a definite effect with regard to the matters ruled by the house occupied by the part.
One very valuable function of the Parts, especially the Part of Fortune, is to establish shades of meaning to the whole nativity by using the Part as the ascendant, then delineating the chart again with the realm of the particular Part in mind. This is the sort of thing that Indian astrologers have been doing for centuries—and recent scholarship has shown that it was also employed in the Western tradition, especially in Hellenistic times.
According to Bonatti, the significance for good or ill of the part should be judged by the conjunction of the part in question, or that of its planetary lord, with the planets, but he also allows the use of other aspects (such as opposition, square etc). According to Valens, the planetary rulers of the Parts are the most important, more so than the aspects to the Parts themselves.
The Part of Fortune, the Part of the Moon, is one of the most important Arabic Parts. The point lies the same distance in longitude from the ascendant as the Moon lies from the Sun. It is found in a diurnal figure by subtracting the longitude of the Sun from that of the Moon and adding the difference to the longitude of the Ascendant. In a nocturnal figure, the place of the Moon is subtracted from that of the Sun. Here's how:
Diurnal (Day) Births:
Part of Fortune = Ascendant + Moon - Sun
Nocturnal (Night) Births:
Part of Fortune = Ascendant + Sun - Moon
Its house represents an area of life where one finds happiness, prosperity and natural tranquillity, expressing innate abilities. It indicates an area wherein the self is easily expressed. Moreover, as the name implies, it signifies the physical health and material wellbeing of the body, as well as the potential for growth of the soul.
"This part signifies the life, the body, and also its soul, its strength, fortune, substance and profit, i.e., wealth and poverty, gold and silver, heaviness or lightness of things bought in the marketplace, praise and good reputation, and honours and recognition, good and evil, present and future, hidden and manifest; it has signification over everything..... if this part and the luminaries are well-disposed in nativities or revolutions, it will be notably good."
The Part of Things to Come (also known as Part of Spirit) is next in importance after the Part of Fortune, because it is the Part of the Sun (Pars Solis). The point lies the same distance in longitude from the ascendant as the Sun lies from the Moon. The part is extracted in the contrary manner to that of the Pars Fortunae, in other words, by day from Moon to Sun and by night from Sun to Moon.
Diurnal (Day) Births:
Part of Things to Come = Ascendant + Sun - Moon
Nocturnal (Night) Births:
Part of Things to Come = Ascendant + Moon - Sun
Its house signifies the soul and the body (after the Part of Fortune), along with matters of faith and intentions. With regard to health, it signifies the deeper, spiritual sources, rather than the simple material causes shown by the Part of Fortune. Moreover, as the name implies, it signifies the nature of things which are to come, rather than things present.
"The pars futurorum signifies the soul and the body, after the pars fortunae and the quality of these, and faith, prophecy, religion and the culture of God and secrets, cogitations, intentions, hidden things and everything which is absent, and courtesy and liberality, praise, good reputation, heat and cold... The significations of the pars fortunae appear more during the day... the pars futurorum appear more at night"
The Part of Love is the Part of Venus, signifying pleasures, desires, relationships and lovemaking in general. Take the distance in a diurnal chart between the Part of Fortune and the Part of Things to Come (and the reverse in a nocturnal chart) and project it from the ascendant.
"The pars veneris signifies pleasures, desires, and wants in venereal things and in the culture of them both licit and illicit, and the things which venereal people love and which the soul desires, unions and all things which pertain to the inclination of coitus and pleasure from games and joys and delights."
The Part of Daring is the Part of Mars, signifying dynamic action and all warlike things, especially those involving courage and bravado, plus the sexual relations taking the forms of conquest and overcoming resistance. Take the distance in a diurnal chart between Mars and the Part of Fortune (and the reverse in a nocturnal chart) and project it from the ascendant.
"The pars martis signifies the disposition of armies, of wars and battles, and the worth and sharpness of the soul, also resolution, anticipation and greatness of heart with impulse and haste; it also signifies lascivious incest with cunning and seductions."
The Part of Happiness is the Part of Jupiter, signifying happiness and assistance, the attainment of good things, wisdome, fortune, honour and position, religious and legal matters. Take the distance in a diurnal chart between the Part of Things to Come and Jupiter (and the reverse in a nocturnal chart) and project it from the ascendant.
"Its significance is concerning honor and the attainment of things, victory and assistance and happiness and goodness... belief in God... justice... good works... wisdom ... trust... faith..."
The Heavy Part is the Part of Saturn, signifying serious and weighty matters, deep thought, karma, old age, incarceration, land management, inheritances, death and matters to do with the dead, structure, consistency, time, faith and religion. Take the distance in a diurnal chart between Saturn and the Part of Fortune (and the reverse in a nocturnal chart) and project it from the ascendant.
"Its signifies memory and profundity of mind and counsel... a matter which has perished or been lost... condition of the dead... by what death the native may die... old age and time.. praise and disgrace... "
Part of Poverty and Ordinary Intellect (Pars Mercurii)
The Part of Poverty and Ordinary Intellect is the Part of Mercury, signifying negotiation, buying and selling, ordinary mental activity, meanness of intelligence and intellect, writings, science, contention and enmity. Take the distance in a diurnal chart between the Part of Things to Come and the Part of Fortune (and the reverse in a nocturnal chart) and project it from the ascendant.
"Its signifies poverty and meanness of intelligence and intellect... war, fear, hatred, contentions, injuries... negotiations... diverse sciences. "