The Lot or Part of Fortune

Part 2

In the first installment of this series of notes I described the method for computing the Part of Fortune and said a bit about what it meant, that it was the key to understanding the native's prosperity and career. In this installment I will go further into its symbolism and say more about its proper use according to the Greeks.

As I have said, the Part of Fortune is a primary indicator of prosperity, but it is more than that. It is created out of the longitudes of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant, and therefore is composed out of the three of the most important places in the chart (only the Midheaven outside of these three is as important) and as a result becomes as important as they are. In modern astrology there is a tendency to regard the Part of Fortune as a minor point in the chart, but this was not the case with ancient astrology.

In ancient astrology the Ascendant is the primary indicator of the physical body and health. The Moon is also a very important secondary indicator about the body. But there is a difference between them. The Ascendant was considered to be the body at its most physical, material level. The Moon was the living aspect of the body, in fact soul, but soul incarnated in a physical body. The Part of Fortune, being composed of both of these along with the Sun, is also an indicator of the living, physical body and its relationships with the physical and social world in which the native lives. Its capacity to signify prosperity comes from this. If the Part of Fortune is in good condition, the relationship between the native and the physical and social world in which he or she lives is one that supports the native and enables the native to live well. If the Part of Fortune is in poor condition, the native has a harder time living in relationship with the world that supports the native. The same can also be said about the relationships of the Part of Fortune and health.

However, in the case of both significations one must keep in mind that no one indication in the chart, not even the Part of Fortune, can be taken by itself as a total indicator of any area of life. For health one must also look at the Ascendant, its ruler, the Moon and its ruler. Also the sixth and eighth houses as indicators of illness and death respectively have strong indications for health. For material prosperity one should also look at the second house, the tenth house, and their rulers.

That said, however, the Part of Fortune is well placed when there are benefics or dignified planets in the same sign with it (the fact that "sign" is referred to here is very important as will be seen later on), or these same kinds of planets aspect the Part of Fortune. [Note: if the terms "benefic" and "dignified" are strange to you, they will be explained at the end of this article.] Also it was said to help the Part of Fortune if it was in a sign that was ruled by benefics, and any point in a chart is helped by being in a sign ruled by a dignified planet.

The Part of Fortune is not so well placed if it is in a sign with malefics, especially if the malefics are debilitated. Squares, oppositions, and conjunctions with malefics are also not considered to be very good. As a modern astrologer I would have to say that such indications do not mean poverty or bad health so much as they mean that the native will have to work harder or has a narrower range of possible routes to success. But given those two considerations, the results can still be very positive.

As my concluding comment in this installment, let me say that the Part of Fortune is not merely a point like the planets or the nodes. It is the start of a house system. The sign of the Part of Fortune is the first house of the Fortuna system, and the first house of the Fortuna system extends from 0 degrees to 30 degrees of the sign in which the Part is located. And each of the other houses of the Fortuna system also extend from 0 degrees to 30 degrees of their respective signs. In the next installment I will describe what the ancients said should be done with these houses.

Terms Used:


A planet which easily produces results which would be generally considered favorable or "good." Whether these results really are good for the native will only become clear over time. Certainly benefics produce a desired result more easily in most situations than malefics (see next entry). The natural benefics are Venus, Jupiter, the Sun by trine or sextile aspects, and any planet that is well aspected and dignified (see note).


A planet which does not easily produce results which would be considered "good". Generally speaking malefics are not so much "bad" as it is that they require more thought, more consciousness, and more skill at managing life than the benefics require in most cases. In fact the two main malefics, Mars and Saturn, are necessary for building character and strength. But either of these handled without consciousness leads to less than fortunate results. The natural malefics are Mars, Saturn and the Sun by conjunction only.

General Comment about Both Benefics and Malefics

Ultimately whether a planet is a malefic or a benefic depends upon a number of factors. Planets that are naturally one or the other can be converted into their opposite by other circumstances in the chart. One cannot assume that Venus and Jupiter will always produce good results, and that Saturn and Mars will always produce bad results. This is a old classification and must be taken somewhat freely. In the end I like Ptolemy's definition of the terms best. According to Ptolemy, a benefic is a planet whose natural influence leads to moderation and balance. A malefic is a planet whose natural influence leads to extremes and imbalance.

Dignified and Debilitated

Planets may be dignified (made stronger) and debilitated (weakened) in a variety of ways. In this article I mainly refer to dignity and debility by signs. Planets are dignified when they are in signs in which they rule or are exalted. They are debilitated when they are in signs opposite these. Any regular beginning text of astrology will list these signs. There are other dignities and debilities as well. See Lee Lehman, Essential Dignities, Whitford Press.

Copyright 1996-2011 © by Robert Hand.

Our thanks to (Tees Reitsma) for initiating contact with Mr. Hand and securing his permission to post this material to the Oracle-a list. And our thanks to Mr. Hand for giving us permission to post his material here.

Mr. Hand has been doing translations of ancient and medieval astrology texts now for almost three years with Project Hindsight and that effort has published over 2000 pages of translations and commentary. If anyone is interested in further information on Project Hindsight, they have a web page at Project Hindsight. Small warning: have your modem at maximum speed. The graphics take a long time to load.

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