Monday, August 15, 2005

Weekly Horary: Should I Hire J As Personal Assistant?


Email your horary questions to nina “at” by Friday to be published on Sunday.

Question: “Should I hire J. as my personal assistant?”

Background: The Querent owns a small business and is looking for a personal assistant to help her organize her busy schedule. She has been looking at a number of candidates, and has found one that seems appropriate. However, the Querent had some reservations about the candidate’s skills and experience as a personal assistant.

Short Answer: No. While J. is a decent person who could do the job adequately, it looks as though there will be some impediment to her using those skills. Perhaps the Querent’s job requirements will impede J. somewhat. More importantly, the Querent does not seem to like J. very much, or at least harm her in some way. This may not be personal, just that the Querent feels J is unsuited to the job. Instead, Querent seems to very strongly prefer another candidate, though that individual may be a rather worse choice than J. Nonetheless, we can determine J will not be hired.


  1. J, as the Querent’s potential employee, is shown by the 6th house and its ruler, Jupiter. Jupiter is in its term, so it has some essential dignity, indicating that J has some skills and is essentially a decent person. However, Jupiter is about to conjunct the malefic South Node, indicating that while J would be an okay employee, she will be prevented from using those skills. Perhaps something will happen to her, or more likely, the Querent herself would somehow prevent J from doing her job.
  2. Querent does not seem to like J very much, which would be one reason not to hire J as a personal assistant. This is shown by Venus in Jupiter’s detriment. However, both the Moon and Venus are in strong dignities of Mercury, indicating that the Querent much prefers another candidate. Unfortunately, Mercury is not known for its sense of honesty or integrity, and here Mercury is debilitated by being retrograde, peregrine and combust. Querent would do better in hiring J than this other individual.
  3. There will be no progress in the situation, as shown by the Moon being Void of Course (not making any aspects in its current sign). Nothing will happen, so unless we see aspects between Lord 1 or the Moon and Lord 6, we can assume J will not be hired. There is no applying aspect between Jupiter and Venus/Moon, so J will not be hired by the Querent.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Part of Fortune, Part II

The Meaning and Use of the Part of Fortune

In the previous article we established that it is best to follow Ptolemy’s lead on calculating the Part of Fortune and not reverse it in nighttime charts (to recap, the formula is PoF = Asc + Moon – Sun). This is because the reversed Part of Fortune is actually a whole new part with a different meaning, the Part of Spirit. While the Part of Fortune is concerned with physical riches and the physical state of one’s soul (remember that in traditional thought, the soul itself is a physical entity), the Part of Spirit is concerned with spiritual riches and one’s inclination to the spiritual life. Thus, we cannot confuse the two Parts, and must keep them separate.

The fact that the two most important Parts in a chart are mirror images of one another is extremely important from a spiritual perspective. I will cover the spiritual implications of the reversal and the relationship between the Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit in a subsequent article. For the moment, I simply quote these words from Meister Eckhart: “The Soul has two eyes – one looking inwards and the other outwards. It is the inner eye of the soul that looks into essence and takes being directly from God.” The Part of Fortune, then, is the outward-looking eye, the rays of which go outward into the world (again, traditionally, the eyes emanated divine light toward objects, not vice versa as the scientists assure us today).

The Part of Fortune in the Chart

In the natal chart, the Part of Fortune will show us the physical nature of the soul. Think of it as a bodily faculty, like sight or hearing. Look at its house position and the state of its dispositor, which is probably even more important than the state of the Part itself. We can identify very spiritual individuals from the Part of Fortune and its dispositor. Typically, the dispositor will itself rule several important planets in the chart. This means that the soul governs the other physical and mental faculties of the native, which is ideal, and correspondingly rare.

Bonatti says that the Part of Fortune “signifies the life, the body, and also its soul, its strength, fortune, substance, and profit, that is: 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; and it has signification over everything.” That last bit being particularly unhelpful, the very comprehensiveness of Bonatti’s list is interesting. In it, he basically combines the roles of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant, the three of which on some basic level, do have “signification over everything.”

Regardless of the discussion about the Part’s role in describing the soul, it will always describe the material fortunes of the native. Bonatti ultimately says that the Part signifies “good fortune,” or presumably its lack in the native’s life. Ultimately, the signification of the Part is external, and the spirituality that it describes is that which shines through the native’s exterior. In traditional philosophy, and in an ideal world, there is no disconnect between the external and the internal – one’s appearance mirrors one’s essence. The Part of Fortune reflects that reality, that the inner reality is always tied in with the outer.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Weekly Horary: Should I study architecture?


Remember to send in your questions for next week's horary to nina "at" Thanks!

The Question:

“Should I study architecture?”

The Querent is trying to decide between two possible courses of study to supplement her major at university. One possible course is architecture, in which she did well academically, but did not enjoy the material. The other possibility the Querent is considering is archaeology, with which she has considerably less experience, but is more drawn to it. Ultimately, the choice for the Querent is between a practical career in architecture or an academic career.

Short answer:

Neither architecture nor archaeology are going to miraculously do wonders for the Querent – it appears that she is deciding between two decent but fairly unexciting courses of action. The short answer is that either course of study would be a reasonable choice, though architecture seems to be a somewhat better pursuit. More broadly, however, addressing the Querent’s motivation for asking the question, we can say that a career in academia seems to be the better direction. Presumably, the Querent could enter academia either with an architectural or with an archaeological background. The key is that academic work is more after the Querent’s heart, which is very important, as having a career one loves is crucial.


1. We have to identify architecture and archaeology in this chart. The special challenge here is that both fields are naturally ruled by Saturn; archaeology involves digging in the ground for old things and ruins, while architecture is about creating structures and giving form to ideas. We thus have to turn to the receptions to find out what is what in this chart.

The Querent has told us she is interested in archaeology, so we would want to see one of her significators in the dignities of a certain planet. Venus is in the sign and exaltation of Mercury, while the Moon exalts Jupiter. So, most likely, Mercury is likely the study of archaeology. Mercury is not in good shape in this chart: it is retrograde and combust, and moving deeper into combustion by the day. I don’t tend to see retrogradation as a problem for Mercury here, since the nature of architecture is to go back into the past. However, the increasing combustion indicates problems with that field of study – problems which may get worse with time.

If Mercury stands for archaeology, then architecture may well be Saturn, but we should check this. The Querent has told us she is not crazy about studying architecture, which she finds boring. So we would expect to see one or both of her significators (Venus or the Moon) in negative receptions of Saturn, if indeed it stands for architecture. Venus is not in any of Saturn’s dignities, but the Moon is in Saturn’s debility. This fits what we know – on an emotional level, the Querent dislikes architecture. Saturn is not in an excellent position, either, because it is in detriment. However, it has recently left combustion, and therefore is not that afflicted.

Neither Saturn nor Mercury is in the Moon’s or Venus’s dignities/debilities, so neither field seems particularly good or bad for the Querent. But Saturn is in marginally better shape, so it is the better choice of the two.

I would also note that the Ascendant is conjunct the fixed star Vindemiatrix, suggesting that the Querent may be overestimating her abilities in some manner. Thus, the more conservative option is advisable here, where the Querent should stick to the more familiar – if disliked – architecture studies. Archaeology may be a bit of a stretch for the Querent.

2. Since the Querent mentioned that her question really stemmed from her indecision about pursuing architecture as a career or going into academia, I took a look at the Part of Vocation (MC + Moon – Sun), which is at 15.13 Gemini, in the 9th house. Its location immediately suggests that the Querent’s vocation lies in academia (9th house = house of higher learning). Further, the Moon’s antiscion is conjunct the Part of Vocation, suggesting that academic work is really what she wants to do.

This chart shows what is the case in many horaries – very often, we are faced with two choices, one not much better than the other. This is probably why we asked the question; if the answer was clear, we wouldn’t need to ask. The chart will typically show something like we saw here: “Neither choice seems amazingly wonderful, but Y seems somewhat better than X.” Kind of like real life, isn’t it?

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Part of Fortune, Part I

The Part of Fortune, Part I.

(Sources used for analysis in this article: Robert Zoller’s translation of Guido Bonatti’s treatise on the Arabic Parts; Al-Biruni’s Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology.)

The Part of Fortune aka Fortuna has been used by astrologers for hundreds of years in natal, horary and electional astrology; many modern astrologers typically encounter it but do not use it. It can be quite a handy tool to have in natal analysis, and can substantially enrich one’s practice.

Though we will discuss this notion in greater length, the Part is generally taken to signify one’s material possessions, i.e.: one’s wealth. It is often taken to signfiy the state of one's soul as well. Its reverse, the Part of Spirit, shows shows spiritual, inward possessions, or one's propensity to religion and things of the Spirit. The condition of the Part of Fortune and its dispositor will determine the quality and state of one’s material and spiritual wealth.

In this article, we will discuss in detail what the Part of Fortune means and how to use it. In this Part I of the article, we will discuss the mechanics of how to implement the Part of Fortune in charts. In Part II, we will talk about the practical and philosophical meaning of the Part of Fortune.

Calculation of the Part of Fortune

The Part of Fortune is a point calculated in the chart, as distinguished from any astronomical body. To find the Part of Fortune, take the longitude of the Ascendant, add the longitude of the Moon, and subtract the longitude of the Sun (PoF = Asc + Moon – Sun).

Thus, 2 Aries is 2 degrees of longitude, 2 degrees of Taurus is 32 degrees of longitude, 17 Gemini is 77 degrees of longitude, and so on around the zodiac. The resulting point from your calculations is the place of the Part of Fortune. Its state and that of its dispositor (the planet which rules the sign the Part of Fortune falls in) will describe the state of the person’s possessions.

If you were born at night, that is, the Sun is under the horizon in your natal chart, some authorities state that you should reverse the above formula: PoF = Asc + Sun – Moon.

The Actors: The Sun, the Moon, and the Ascendant

So why use these three points in calculating the Part of Fortune? Obviously, they are the most important parts of a chart. This is especially the case in natal charts, where the Sun and Moon are the elements that power a chart, while the Ascendant is the place where the heavens meet the earth – the point of incarnation, in other words.

The Reversals of Fortune

One of the many debates continuing to rage among astrologers is whether to reverse the Part of Fortune by night (and therefore all the parts that use it also). Ptolemy, in his Tetrabiblos, states in two separate places that one should not reverse the Part of Fortune by night. However, many subsequent authorities, including Bonatti and Al-Biruni, state quite clearly that one should reverse the places of the Sun and Moon by night.

So why would someone do this? Bonatti’s chief justification for reversing Fortuna is that Parts should be calculated from the naturally stronger planet (he would have looked at our formulas from right to left). Thus, because the Sun is considered stronger by day, when it is in houses 7-12, Fortuna should be calculated from it during the day. Conversely, the Moon is stronger by night, and therefore the calculation should begin from the Moon by night.

However, there are a few problems with Bonatti’s reasoning. First, just because we are looking at a nighttime chart does not mean the Moon is stronger than the Sun. We could imagine a chart where the Sun is on the IC, thereby gaining some accidental strength, and the Moon is below the horizon in the sixth house. Unlike the Sun during the day, the Moon does not have to be above the horizon by night. Automatically considering it the stronger planet at night is simply wrong.

Second, the Moon is considered the “luminary of the time” in nighttime charts. All this means is that it has more of a responsibility for the native’s wellbeing on its planetary shoulders; it does not mean it can effectively take care of those responsibilities. Therefore, we should not artificially put it in the driver’s seat by reversing the Part of Fortune by night.

Third, reversing the Part of Fortune gives you another part, the Part of Spirit. The two parts are obviously related, since they are mirror images of one another. Bonatti writes that the Part of Fortune shows the soul’s strength, fortune, substance, etc., while the Part of Spirit (aka the Part of Things to Come) shows faith, prophecy, and religion. The two Parts are obviously distinct in some fashion, and transposing them by night causes us to get two entirely different beasties depending on when we were born.

Stay tuned for Part II. – the meaning and interpretation of the Part of Fortune.