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.


Blogger Gryphon said...

In response to the rude and wonderfully strange comment posted here, I would like to remind any rude posters that they will be removed from the Astrobar by our two beefy Bull bouncers at the door. This will be followed by a summary sting in the posterior by the resident Scorpion kept twitchy and mean for this very purpose.

Thank you,

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do you calculate if your Sun & Moon are the same in natal chart (e.g. Sun & Moon in Cap probably due to new moon at time of birth)? Is it the Ascendant by default?

1:13 AM  

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