Arabic lots – spiritual components of the natal chart (part one)

By definition, Arabic lots represent astrological factors found by mathematical calculations that include three other factors in the horoscope such as planets or angles. The distance between the two factors is added to the third (usually the ascendant), thus obtaining the position of a certain Arabic lot. It is one of the most important astrological concepts, although the most mysterious. The lots are thought to be more closely related to the spiritual part of human existence, so they are ascribed deeper meanings in the interpretation of the natal chart topics. In Hellenistic astrology, they were primarily used to give additional meanings to signs and houses in the interpretation of certain topics in the chart, e.g. if the lot of marriage falls into the second house and Scorpio, that house and its ruler add some significations concerning marriage, although these places would not be observed in connection with the said subject in some ordinary procedure. Furthermore, in practical terms, lots could also be regarded as that third point that astrologers would interpret in the context of a particular natal chart topic, such as offspring, marriage, career, etc. The first step would be to analyze a suitable planet, such as Venus concerning marriage. Then the respective house and its ruler would be considered, in this case, that would be the seventh house, and finally, the third step would be to analyze the appropriate lot, in this example, the lot of marriage. This is also implicit in the “threefold rule”, that is, if something is indicated in one area of ​​life through only one of these three factors, then the outcome is possible, if two factors point to the same, then the outcome is probable, and if confirmed through all three, then the outcome is certain. By far the most famous is the lot of Fortune, also known as the lot of fate, but there are innumerable lots and it can be said that they flourished in medieval astrological practice. But the topic of this two-part study are seven hermetic lots, with special reference to the four lots that Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens pointed out as the most important, namely the aforementioned Fortuna, Spirit, Eros (Love), and Necessity, and these are dealt in detail in the part two.

Arabic lots originate from the Babylonian astrological concept of the relationship between the Sun and Moon through the arc of the longitudinal distance between them projected from the point of the horizon (Ascendant). Although some claim that their origins are Egyptian, it seems that, like everything in astrology, two basic astrological factors have been derived and conceived from this original order. In contrast to their commonly known name, Arabic lots have been developed methodologically for the most part in Hellenistic astrology. The Arabs added a large number of new ones to this method while retaining Greek heritage. Arabic lots serve for deeper natal analysis and to uncover the intrinsic meaning of the horoscope. The seven basic Arabic lots are the points of the soul, or those pillars of the soul, derived by analogy from the seven planets of the horoscope. These seven planets are related to Pythagoras’ numerical week and even earlier before him, with dualistic ancient Persian Mithraism, that is, Persian mysteries of the sevenfold initiation of worship, as well as the seven steps of the fall of the soul, which, on the way to the earthly embodiment, passes through 7 planetary spheres and to ascend through them back to one of the four celestial gates after death: Aldebaran – east, Regulus – north, Antares – west and Fomalhaut – south, which are therefore referred to as the royal stars and guardians of the heavenly gates. Plato’s interpretation of the fall (descent) of the soul seems to be inspired by the Persian mysteries. Plato speaks of the eighth sphere, the sphere of the stars, that is, the zodiac, which is considered to be the place where souls originate from and from which everyone, individually, on its journey to Earth, passes through seven planetary spheres in the Chaldean order from Saturn to the Moon. On this journey, the soul is enriched by each sphere, endowed (blessed) with the pure planetary essence of each planetary principle, which is more or less corrupted by earthly incarnation. After the death, the soul ascends in the reverse order of the journey (from the Moon to Saturn) to purify itself from earthly flaws through each sphere individually according to the type of flaw (about them later). The more it rises through the spheres and the cosmic purification, the soul becomes easier and purer to enter the eighth sphere of bliss perfected. Aristotle adopted this theory from his teacher. St. Thomas Aquinas, a worshiper of Aristotle, was familiar with this theory of the connection between soul and planet. There is speculation that this theory is closely related to the seven virtues and the seven deadly sins of Christian theology. The first three virtues: hope, faith, and mercy are known as theological virtues, while the other four (wisdom, steadfastness, temperance, and righteousness) are called natural virtues. These virtues are thus related to the planetary virtues and vices so that we have:


Planet Virtue Sin
Moon Hope Gluttony
Sun Faith Pride
Mercury Wisdom Envy
Venus Mercy Lust
Mars Courage Rage
Jupiter Temperance Greed
Saturn Justice Laziness


Virtues and sins are thus brought into correlation with the lots of the soul. This is especially notable if we observe that each planet has its “own” lot. Specifically, in Chapter 23 of his „Introduction to Astrology“, Paulus of Alexandria presented a method of calculating seven lots that are related to traditional planets, while citing the work known as “Panaretus”, whose authorship is associated with Hermes Trismegistos. These are called “hermetic lots”. In the picture below you can also see the method of calculating these points (all distances are projected from the ascendant):


arabic lots
Arabic Lots calculation table


The first thing that we can see here is that only the lots of Fortune and Spirit are calculated based on the distance between the luminaries (Sun and Moon), while in other cases, the lots are calculated from the distance between the corresponding planet and either the lot of Fortune or the lot of Spirit or vice versa. When it comes to this calculation, and in connection with the foregoing, we can observe certain important hermetic principles that are coming to light here. First, the ratio in these calculations seems to take into account the ruling luminary, or luminary of the sect. Thus we see that the calculation for the lot of Fortune always starts from the ruling luminary to the other, that is, in day births (where the Sun is the ruling luminary), this lot is calculated by measuring the distance from the Sun to the Moon, that is, the starting point is the Sun, whereas at night births it is the Moon, as the ruling luminary. Such a measurement seems to imply the idea of ​​moving from light to darkness since the calculation literally moves from a dominant luminary at certain times of day or night to the luminary that is somehow obscured at the time observed. This can be related to a deeper hermetic conceptualization that darkness is associated with matter and physical incarnation. In contrast, we see that the math for the lot of Spirit is opposite, that is, it always starts with the luminary that is opposite to the ruling sect, or to the luminary that is dominant at a given time – i.e. from the Moon to the Sun in day births. This also implies a hermetic relation of light with spirit and intellect.

Some other patterns can be observed concerning other lots. As it can be seen in the diagram above, lots associated with positive significations, such as the lot of Eros and the lot of Victory (Jupiter), are both calculated from the lot of the Spirit. The others, which have negative implications, are calculated from a lot of Fortune. It is obvious, then, that the lots of the benefic planets are related to the concept of spirit and light, and therefore to the lot of the Spirit, while the lots of malefic are linked to the concept of darkness and matter, and hence to the lot of Fortune. It seems possible that these assignments were made simply due to the apparent brightness of each of the planets involved, with Venus and Jupiter being the two brightest visible planets, and Mars and Saturn being the darker visible planets.

It is also interesting to note that some lots are calculated from the lot (Spirit or Fortune) to the planet, and some from the planet to the lot, both in the day or night nativities. The possible rationale behind this may again have something to do with the dominant luminary. Namely, the lot of Spirit is also called the lot of the Sun, and the lot of Fortune is considered as the lot of the Moon. As we can see, during the day, the lots of Venus and Jupiter are calculated from the lot of Spirit towards Venus and Jupiter, respectively, or vice versa at night. The concept behind this comes from the principle that the Sun is the one that emits light by day, so his lot assumes the same principle, while at night it behaves more closely to the nature of the Moon, that is, it receives light. In other words, this calculation is based on which of the two luminaries is more dominant in the calculation for lot of Spirit. Therefore, in day births the calculation moves from the lot of the Spirit towards the corresponding planet, imitating the principle of emitting light similar to the Sun, while in night births this calculation will go from the planet to the lot, which now plays the role of “recipient” since the Moon is a dominant luminary. This applies only to these two points since it’s only them that include the lot of the Spirit. However, the same principle seems to apply to the lots that include the Lot of Fortune. As in the daytime, the Moon is the dominant luminary in calculating the Lot of Fortune, and just like the lot of the Moon is opposite to the dominant luminary, the Sun, it acts as the recipient of the light, so the calculation starts from the planet towards Fortune. At night, when the Moon is the ruling luminary and the Sun is the dominant planet in the calculation of the Lot of Fortune, Fortuna is the one that “emits” light, so the calculation goes from it to the corresponding planet. We will return to these observations when we talk about the lots of Eros and Necessity mentioned by Valens, which are calculated differently than described here.

Since the lots calculation methods are given in the diagram above, in the rest of the text we will focus on the description of enumerated hermetic lots according to Paulus of Alexandria:

Paulus connects the lot of Fortune with the Moon and points out that it signifies the body, the things that native does to acquire possessions, reputation, and privileges.

As stated, the lot of the Spirit is connected with the Sun, hence it signifies the soul, intelligence, the exercise of all power (dunasteia), and is sometimes relevant in determining the career of the native or his profession (praxis).

The lot of Eros is associated with Venus and signifies desire and appetites as well as friendships and services.

The lot of Necessity associated with Mercury signifies restrictions, oppression, fighting, wars, hostilities, hatred, condemnation, and other limiting circumstances.

The lot of Courage is associated with Mars, thus denoting boldness, betrayal, strength (or raw power) and all evil deeds.

The lot of Victory is associated with Jupiter, thus signifying faith, good hope, competition, all kinds of benevolence, enterprise, and success.

The Lot of Nemesis is related to Saturn, so it refers to the ghosts of the underworld, things that are hidden, weakness, sadness, and the quality of death.


Izvori korišćeni u tekstu:

  • Chris Brennan – Hellenistic Astrology: The study of Fate and Fortune
  • Chris Brennan –  The Theoretical Rationale Underlying the Seven Hermetic Lots
  • Robert Zoller – Arabic parts in Medieval Astrology (a lesson from DMA course)
  • Nataša Karalić Koprivica – traditional astrology blog link


How to Ask a Horary Question?

The main purpose of this text is to clarify certain details related to asking a specific question to which we get the answer by the method of horary astrology. This is also a good opportunity to look at the considerations before judgement that are traditionally taken into account in these interpretations.

First a few words about horary astrology herself. Horary astrology is a branch of astrology in which an astrologer provides answers to specific questions by making an astrological (horary) chart for the time and date when he learned (heard or read) and understood the question he was asked, as well as the place where he was at the time. The concept of the time and place of the astrologer is based on the idea that the thoughts of the client can be connected with the celestial spheres only through the medium, ie. the astrologer. This astrologer’s “mediation” is a precondition for the birth of a horary question without which it does not exist as such, but only as an ordinary question. Therefore, it is very important that the astrologer understands the question correctly, therefore the client’s question must be precise. Of course, the astrologer can ask for additional explanations when he deems it necessary, all in order to better understand what the client wants to know. This is really the key thing because it allows the answer itself to be concrete and precise, and it allows horary astrology to fully achieve its purpose as the most suitable astrological means of obtaining such answers. This is because the chart made for a given moment, describes the life of the thing demanded, the upheavals that will happen and the final outcome of the situation.

A chart made for a particular question provides enough information to answer the same, but only to that, and not to more than one question at a given moment. It is very important that only one question is asked at a time. The very essence of horary astrology is lost when asking more than one question in the same moment. The client can ask only one question at a time about a problem for which he needs a solution, putting it together precisely and honestly. It is also pointless to ask the same question several times. This limitation should not be taken literally, as additional questions can be asked but only if they are closely related to the main question. Additional questions that have nothing to do with the original question cannot be considered from the same chart. For example, it is wrong to first ask a question about marriage and then ask something about your career. Likewise, asking multiple questions in a row at almost the same time is irrelevant and cannot be interpreted. In practice, this usually happens through modern means of communication, such as messengers and the like, when questions are asked in a series. This is not acceptable because, in principle, you are not focused on any of these issues in the right way, and the chart itself will often show that. This is something that refers to the so-called radicality of the question, but more on that a little later. In principle, the question should come as a product of your true interest in something, and that is the main feature of their importance! Some astrologers say that one should not answer trivial questions, but the final word on that belongs only to the client, since something can be extremely important to the client no matter how different it may seem to the astrologer.


Frequently asked questions by clients:

  1. “When will I get married?”

The chart gives the answer to this question if the marriage is possible within a reasonable time, the type of partner, and if it is judged that the marriage will happen, how it will unfold, in mirth and joy or otherwise. You don’t need to have a candidate to ask this question. If, on the other hand, you have someone in mind, it is more appropriate to ask question number 3, whether that person will be your spouse. The answer to that question may include the answer to the question of when the marriage will take place.

  1. “When will I find a job?”

This chart will show when this will happen, as well as the type of employment. If the answer is yes, the chart will also show the place: here, far away, abroad. For example, if you would ask: “Will I get a job in a laboratory or a bank?”, then, you have to properly formulate the question and explain it to the astrologer. If the question is honestly asked, the chart will reveal whether the employment will occur and whether it is bookkeeping or engineering work. These jobs may or may not be in the companies you mentioned. But, to the question: “Will I get a job in specific bank, you will get the most precise answer.

  1. “Will I marry X?”

This question is possible if you are in love with person X, but, then again, if you ask: “Will I marry X, Y or Z?”, having three people in mind, no astrologer will be able to clarify that mess.

  1. “Will I marry X?”, “Can I avoid it?”, “Will I buy a house and when?”

As already mentioned, when it comes to a group of questions, the chart cannot give an answer to any of them.

  1. “Should I go for surgery?”

All issues of a medical nature are particularly sensitive, so it is necessary to present as many details as possible about the disease itself, since in these considerations the chart is approached in a slightly different manner. This applies to all health issues.

  1. “Am I under some spell, or bewitched?”

A question that is quite often encountered. The only special note here is that if you have someone specific in mind who you suspect might be harming you this way, someone who is in a special relationship with you (friend, relative, lover), it should be mentioned when asking a question.

  1. “Will I pass this exam?”

No matter how promising the horoscope and the answer based on it are, you still need to study 🙂


Considerations before judgement

And finally we come to a few rules concerning the so-called radicality of the question, which are primarily important to the astrologer himself in order to better assess how serious and sincere the question is. Many authorities such as Lilly and Bonatti, according to their own testimony, pointed out that they were asked certain questions that were designed only to test their knowledge, and that’s how some of these rules were created.

Guido Bonatti, anonymous 18th-century engraving.

The primary indicators showing the lack of radicality of a question concern the ascending degree and the planet (ruler of the hour) of the horary chart. The ruler of the hour or the ruler of the ascendant located at the very end/beginning of a sign or at the boundary between two signs are the first hints indicating the lack of radicality of the question. Bonatti didn’t state precisely which degrees (out of thirty pertaining to every zodiacal sign) are to be taken as indicators showing the lack of radicality, but we may assume he had in mind the 29th, 30th and the 1st (ordinal) degree of every sign. There is one more possible interpretation of this rule, which originated because of the imprecise calculation of the ascending degree in 13th century, when Bonatti lived. The ephemerides and the tables of mundane houses were neither very precise nor reliable back in those days, especially in the case of signs of short ascension (Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini). When these signs are concerned, the “sensitive” interval of ascension shift from one sign to the other is, in fact, between the 26th of the preceding and the 5th degree of the following sign. In the case of the signs of long ascension (from Cancer to Sagittarius) this sensitive interval is considerably narrower and is situated along the longitudes which Bonatti presumably had in mind when he mentioned them as indicators showing lack of radicality in a horary question. There is also a third kind of interpretation of the rule pertaining to the early/late ascending degrees and it concerns the observations that the question is too early/too late to be judged. This is not originally Bonatti’s idea. John Partridge, the English astrologer from the 17th century, was the first to explicitly assert that if the first few degrees of any sign are on the ascendant, the matter is not yet ripe for judgment. Several other English astrologers of this period, including John Gadbury and Henry Coley, interpreted the early/late degrees on the ascendant as indicators of “knavery and stupidity of the querent” and the absence of spontaneity. Gadbury, for instance, interpreted it as a hint that the querent had already posed the same question to some other astrologer and is now only testing the current one. Coley suggests the same, whereas Partridge thinks that only the late degrees rising convey such a message. This leads us to another consideration which stresses the necessity of posing a particular question only once, which means that there’s only one horary chart relevant for a particular question. By posing the same question more than once, the horary chart loses its focus, conveys contradictory information and becomes useless for proper judgment. William Lilly, specifically, interpreted the late ascending degrees as a potential indicator of the querent’s age, when, in the case of a match between the querent’s age and the number of the late degrees ascending, the degrees ascending may be taken as an indicator of radicality (and not of the lack thereof, as is suggested in the writings of the majority of the older authorities on horary).

The situations of uncertainty regarding the sign ascending Bonatti used to solve by taking the ruler of the hour into account. If, for instance, the ascendant falls between Pisces and Aries, and Jupiter rules the hour, he chooses Pisces because of the domicile rulership of Jupiter in this sign.

Another, very important rule about radicality is the comparison between the ruler of the hour and the ruler of the ascendant according to planetary/triplicty affinity and according to the sign on the ascendant.

One of the more popular considerations of radicality of the question, first mentioned by Claude Dariot (a lesser known astrologer from the 16th century) is the rule about the condition of the 7th house which is, most probably, deduced from the XIV aphorism of the pseudo – Ptolemy’s Centiloquium which reads: ”The astrologer plunges himself into many errors, when the cusp of the 7th house and lord thereof are unfortunate or afflicted.”. This is also one of the Lilly’s considerations which he wrote down in his “Christian Astrology”. Beside this 7th house rule, Lilly also took into account two rules laid out by Bonatti (early and late degrees on the ascendant and the hour ruler of the question), then the rule about the affliction of the Moon in the late degrees of a sign, especially when in Gemini, Scorpio and Capricorn, Vacua cursus (Void of course of the Moon) and other relevant significators, which implies the absence of the applying aspect before the change of a sign, or, up to 5 degrees in the following sign, as well as the position of the Moon in the Via Combusta (burned path) between the 15th degree of Libra and 15th degree of Scorpio. After the assessment of the conditions of the Moon, important consideration indicating the lack of radicality contained the condition of Saturn, especially if it is retrograde and placed in the 1st mundane house, near the ascendant. The ruler of the ascendant combust, as well as the equality between negative and positive testimonies in a horary chart are the rules Lilly also mentions regarding considerations before judgment.

This all seems like a fairly comprehensive list for rejecting interpretations. Some authorities, such as John Frawley, do not pay special attention to it, treating them as excuses. He only considers the rule of late and early degrees of Asc, but more for practical reasons, because if we do not know the degree of the Asc, we may be working with a completely wrong significator. But today, with precise computer calculations, this consideration also seems to have lost its importance. Nevertheless, I believe that these considerations can be an interesting indicator about the question itself, because these rules can provide very useful information about the attitude of the client towards a given situation or the circumstances that affect the final answer.

At the very end of this lengthy text, it should be concluded that the matter is essentially very simple. You need to turn to astrologer when you really sincerely want to know something, when a certain problem really bothers you and you want to ask an astrologer for advice. Bonatti even stressed, almost obsessively, the need for profoundness and contemplation regarding any horary question. The point is that you are serious and honest when you turn to an astrologer, because in that way you will also invoke the “favor of heaven” and get the proper answer.


Excerpt taken from the article “Considerations before judgement”, author: Nataša Karalić Koprivica. Link