Twelve Easy Lessons for Beginners | 7. The Lots

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Zeroing in on Topics

In the last lesson, we looked at the places, a vital method of assigning topics to houses. The places assign topics to the signs, the houses of the planets, based on their order of rising after birth. The aspect system (dealt with in Lesson 5) and the symbolism of the Ascendant were used as aids in understanding the meanings of the places.

In this lesson, we turn to the lots. The lots are another critical method of assigning topics to houses. Planetary configurations and the symbolism of the Ascendant are also integral to lots.

Lots are a critical element of thorough chart delineation. Without them, we will often find that we lack the confirmation that we need in order to confident about something the natal chart appears to indicate. Equipped with the factors discussed in this and prior lessons, we will be ready to start delineating any topic from the natal chart. Guidelines for delineation will be the subject of the next lesson.

Game Plan

There is a lot of ground to cover in this lesson. Hellenistic astrologers differed considerably in the extent to which they used lots. It is likely that all Hellenistic astrologers used at least one lot, namely the Lot of Fortune. However, some notable Hellenistic astrologers used about two dozen lots. There are also lots derived from lots, places from Fortune, predictive techniques involving lots, and more.

There are two sections to this lesson. First, I’ll provide some background information to contextualize the place of the lots in astrology. This includes the history of lots and their rationale. Next, I’ll explore which lots are most important, who used them, and in what ways. I’ll be providing some quick examples of using many of the lots. Along the way I’ll also show how to calculate lots in free software and indicate some key sections of texts for further research.

Lots are typically part of a deep dive into a specific topic of the natal chart and their use in isolation is often less telling. However, due to time constraints and for the purpose of brevity, examples in this lesson will be brief. They will tend to just point out a couple interesting ways in which the lot connects with the individual’s life. However, like any single chart factor, on its own, without confirmation from other factors, we cannot proclaim what it indicates for someone’s actual life.

What’s Covered

I will specifically discuss what appears to be 10 lots. However, as we get to the the lots of Children and Marriage, we’ll see quite a few alternatives which quickly increase the number of lots we’ll be handling. The lots addressed are those of Fortune, Spirit, Love, Necessity, Affliction/Injury, Father, Mother, Siblings, Children, and Marriage. I will also provide some tips on where to look for information on additional lots.

Canova Astragali
Le Giocatrici di Astràgali by Antonio Canova (1799)

Section I: Background

Lots to Miss

Lots were commonly used in the Hellenistic and Medieval astrology but tend to be ignored in modern astrology. Even among today’s traditional astrologers, the lots do not appear to be used regularly or extensively. This is because they were marginalized in European Renaissance astrology and are ill-understood today. By contrast, they were ubiquitous in ancient astrology of the first millennium.

For the reason mentioned above, the Lot of Fortune and Daimon have great influence on undertakings and their outcomes. The former gives information about matters concerning the body and concerning the work of hands. Daimon and its ruler give information about spiritual and intellectual matters and about the activities of giving and receiving. It will be necessary to examine the places and the signs in which their houserulers are located and to correlate their natures, in order to learn the type of activity and fortune and the quality of activity <to be expected>. (Valens, Book II, Ch. 20, Riley trans., 2010, p. 35)

Early and Ubiquitous

The earliest full texts of Hellenistic astrology make reference to lots. Additionally, their authors note that the lots were discussed in their earlier, now lost, source material. Therefore, the use of the lots predates our earliest surviving Hellenistic texts. Hellenistic astrologers of the first five centuries CE who favored lots tended to use about two to three dozen of them. Lots continued to be very popular in Medieval astrology. In the Medieval Perso-Arabic astrology of al-Qabisi and Abu Ma’shar (9th-10th century) it was not unusual for astrologers to provide formulas for more than six dozen lots.

Repeating Topics and Confirmation

As with the twelfth-parts of the zodiac (another ubiquitous feature of Hellenistic astrology), the neglect of the lots leads to an incomplete picture. Without the twelfth-parts, we miss seeing the more personalized and fine-tuned planetary placements. Without the lots, we miss seeing the more personalized and fine-tuned topical assignments. The places assign topics in the same order for every chart, while the arrangement of topics by lots is particular to each chart.

The key to delineation is confirmation. Too often astrologers read one indication in the astrological chart as if it strongly indicates a specific thing in the person’s life. However, without repeat indications from similar factors in the chart, that one factor is rather insignificant. For instance, we cannot accurately judge relationship matters on the state of Venus alone. Venus, her twelfth-part, the seventh place and its lord, the relationship between the Sun and Moon, the Lot of Love, the Lot of Spirit, and some of the Lots of Marriage may all figure into the delineation.

What’s a Lot?

A lot assigns a topic to a house (i.e. a sign). This is typically done by measuring the distance in the zodiac between two points and then counting that same distance from the Ascendant to end up in a certain sign of the zodiac. That sign is the house of the lot. For instance, the sign where we find the Lot of Fortune is the House of Fortune.

Most lots take the distance from one planet to another plant, and count that distance from the Ascendant. However, some lots take the distance from a lot to another lot, a lot to a planet, a planet to a lot, or a planet to the beginning of a sign, and count that from the Ascendant. There are also some lots in which the distance is counted from another planet or point rather than the Ascendant.

Winning the Lottery by Being Born

The name “lot” evokes lotteries and drawing lots. As the lots assign topics to signs in a more indirect and haphazard manner, they are more strongly associated with apparent “chance” circumstances. It is as if the chart is a roulette wheel. Your birth marks the end of the spin. Based on the position of the Ascendant at birth, topics get dropped into different houses of your chart.

Arabic Parts

Today, the lots are often called Arabic Parts. This is due to a misunderstanding in late traditional astrology. Ptolemy’s astrology was thought to be representative of astrology of the Hellenistic period (which is incorrect). He only made use of one lot, Fortune. Therefore, it was assumed that all of the other lots were invented by the Arabs.

The association of the lots with the Arabs coupled with European prejudice against all things Arabic led to the decline of the use of the lots. Today, the places are still frequently used in some form. By contrast, the lots are rarely examined. This is a shame as both were key methods of assigning topics in Hellenistic astrology. Without the lots you will miss many of the important indications in the chart.

Finding Lots

Let’s try finding a lot. The most famous one is the Lot of Fortune, also called the Lot of the Moon. It has special significance for circumstances of the body and things of a physical or substantial nature in general. We find Fortune by taking the distance from the sect light to the non-sect light (Sun to Moon by day; Moon to Sun by night).  If the Sun is above the horizon in the chart then it is the sect light. If below the horizon then the Moon is the sect light. We then follow the same distance, in the same direction, from the Ascendant. We note the degree and house where it lands.

I show this below with Fortune in the 14th Dalai Lama’s chart. Fortune is typically pictured as a circle with an X inside it. This is a treasure map reference. Find the distance from the sect light (Moon) to the non-sect light (Sun), and then project the same distance, in the same direction, from the Ascendant. In this case, Fortune falls in Taurus, the 11th place, at 10° Taurus, ruled by Venus and in the bound of Mercury.

 

Dalai Lama's Natal Chart
The Dalai Lama XIV’s Natal Chart

Lots in Morinus Software

Software programs tend to use algebraic formulae for lots, which can be a bit confusing. The key to reading a formula like that is to work backwards. For instance, the formula “Asc + Moon – Sun” means take the distance from the Sun to the Moon and project it from the Ascendant.  This is the day formula for Fortune.

Below is a cheat sheet for entering the formulas of lots into the free open-source program, Traditional Morinus. Morinus is free and easy to use. If you’re new to Morinus, I recommend checking out my article on free software and the one on installation.

All of the major lots discussed in this article are covered. As long as you put Fortune as Lot 1 and Spirit as Lot 2, the formulae for Love and Necessity (shown as 4 and 5 in the screenshot) should work no matter where they fall on the list. You can get to the lot entry screen by clicking Option from the menu bar and then clicking Lots.

Lots Options
Options > Lots

Lots and Topics

The Hellenistic lots are similar to the places. They both are means of attributing life topics to the signs of an astrological chart. Both are also of ancient origin, appearing in the early strata of Hellenistic astrology. However, the places (houses) assign topics according to the order of the rising of the signs while the lots do so by projecting the distance between factors in the chart. The lots are not used instead of the places but rather in addition to them. They bring additional topical significations to a house.

The lots are used to assign topics to houses in all branches of astrology, not just natal astrology. Dorotheus used the lots in the earliest electional astrology. Hellenistic and Persian astrologers used lots in mundane astrology. Lots were used in horary astrology from the beginning. In fact, Dorotheus used the Lot of Fortune as a symbol of lost property in inceptional astrology in the 1st century CE.

How to Use the Lots

In the last two lessons, we explored the way in which planets modify the significations of other planets and houses. This happens through planetary relationships by rulership and configuration. To review, a planet in a house has a direct influence on the characterization of the house. Planets regarding the house will have varying degrees of influence. Influence is stronger from the right side (i.e. the one further clockwise), especially right side squares. Similarly, a house (and planets in it) will be influenced by and somewhat dependent upon the rulers of the house.

Delineate Like the Places

While the degree of the actual lot can be significant, lots are best analyzed like the places. In fact, as with the places, houses are named for the topic of their lot. Firmicus Maternus (4th century CE) introduced a coupled dozen lots in Ch. XXXII of Book VI of his Mathesis. Each lot in that chapter is referred to not as a lot or a part, but as a house. In this way, there is a house of the father assigned by the places (the 4th house) while there is another more particular house of the father assigned by the lot.

If you want to collect the House of the Father by the method of degrees, and it is a diurnal nativity, you should compute the whole number of degrees from the degree of the Sun up to the degree of Saturn, viz. of all the signs which are from the Sun up to Saturn, and when you have made the complete sum of the number, then beginning from the degree of the ASC, you will divide that number, which was obtained, among all the signs, assigning thirty degrees to the individual signs; and in that sign in which the last degree has fallen, that same sign shows you the House of the Father. (Maternus, Book VI, Ch. XXXII, Holden trans., 2011, p. 387-388)

Rulers and Aspects Revisited

Review the discussion about the delineation of the places in the last lesson as well as the lesson on configurations. Rulership and aspects from the lights are indicative of power. Benefics indicate benefits and malefics adversity. A planet in a house will have a more direct bearing on matters of the house. The rulers will show responsibility and support, so they can contextualize and indicate stability or lack of it. It is best to see the rulers of the lot strengthened. A weakened or malefic ruler, or hard aspects from malefics, bring difficulty. The nature of the sign is also important, as discussed in the lesson on the signs.

For example, an out of sect Mars in the house of Fortune would signify adverse material circumstances. If the same Fortune and Mars are dominated by Jupiter (i.e. Jupiter squares from the right side) then this signifies positively regarding material circumstances. In such a case, one indication may be that an activation of Mars can directly upset the health or other material circumstances. A subsequent activation of Jupiter may intervene to set things back on good footing.

neither the tropic nor the solid nor the bicorporeal signs will have the same overall effects. It is therefore necessary to examine the aspects or the conjunctions of the stars relative to the Lot: for example, a benefic in conjunction or in aspect with the Lot will be a sign of good and a giver of property. A destructive star <in conjunction or in aspect> will be responsible for loss of goods and sickness of the body.  (Valens, Book II, Ch. 18, Riley trans., 2010, p. 34)

The Place of the Lot

Some Hellenistic astrologers also looked at the place occupied by the lot. For instance, Dorotheus considered Fortune in the difficult 6th or 12th house to be particularly bad. He noted it as an indication of slavery (Book I, Ch. 10) and poverty (Book, I, Ch. 28). Valens similarly associated difficulty with a lot in a bad place or a cadent one.

First of all it is necessary to determine the Lot of Fortune and to see in what part of the cosmos it is located: at an angle, just following an angle, or just preceding an angle. Likewise look for the ruler of the Lot. If it is in the Ascendant during the day or is in some other operative place, with the sun, the moon, or benefics in aspect, it will make the native noble, distinguished, and fortunate. Its effects are more moderate when it is found at the other angles or just following an angle. When it precedes an angle, assume <the nativity to be>
stillborn or abandoned—these are the disagreeable places which bring crises and ruin. (Valens, Book II, Ch. 18, Riley trans. 2010, p. 34)

Notes on Using the Place of the Lot

To begin with, use the place significations only in terms of power (the stakes), good (good places), and bad (dark places). Keep indications from getting too muddled by holding off on combining the topic of the lot with the topic of its place. However, as you get more experienced with using lots, you will find times when the lot topic does connect significantly with the topic of the place.

Side Note on Lot Place in Elections

Dorotheus also used the place of Fortune in elections regarding legal cases (Book V, Ch. 34). Fortune in I or II indicated success in the matter to the one seeking (plaintiff). Fortune in VII or VIII indicated success to the one sought (defendant). In this usage one sees a combination of the material indications of Fortune with those of the I (self) and VII (other) and their succeedent houses.

Predicting with Lots

One of the most effective ways to use the Lots in predictive work is to profect them. In fact, Vettius Valens (2nd century) provided extensive commentary on how to analyze profected lots. For more on this see my article on Valens-style profections and my article on the four principal lots of Valens. Lots are also used in solar returns, transits, planetary years, and other predictive techniques in a manner similar to the places.

Lots in Mundane Astrology

One reason the number of lots greatly multiplied in the Medieval period is the increased interest in mundane astrology. Mundane prediction can involve using lots specific to particular weather patterns, commodities, and political activities in charts of equinoxes, solstices, and lunations. For more on the mundane use of lots see the Astrology of the World series of translations by Ben Dykes.


Names Can be Misleading

The key to using lots rests in understanding what they signify. In order to do this, you need to be familiar with the ways that the ancient astrologers used the lots. Studying source texts and comparing what different astrologers said about an identical lot is the best means of doing this.

Often multiple lots go by the same name. Sometimes the different lots actually signify different but related things. In that case, it helps to look at the way astrologers actually used each lot. However, sometimes there’s a difference of opinion among astrologers as to the best lot to use for a specific topic. In such a case, you must come to your own conclusion about which lot is best for a topic through experience with the lots. There are also times when the same lot is used by different astrologers but they appear to be different due to a writing or scribal error.

Example: Love and Necessity

Take for example the lots of Love and Necessity.  Valens (2nd century CE) heavily stressed the importance of these lots. The Lot of Love also appeared in excerpts of material attributed to Dorotheus. However, in the 4th century, Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century CE) used different Love and Necessity lots (i.e. different formulas) said to come from a (now lost) text by Hermes. Firmicus Maternus (4th century CE) also used lots for Love and Necessity, which are consistent with the Valens lots but have reversed formulas. The Maternus case is likely due to a scribal error, as he reversed many lots including the Lot of Spirit in the same text. Later medieval astrologers tended to adopt the Love and Necessity lots used by Valens despite awareness of those of Paulus.

Therefore, we have a situation of two different sets of lots for Love and Necessity, as well as formula variants for one of the sets. By reading only the later Hellenistic astrologers, Paulus and Maternus, we could end up with lots that are unusual (and less effective) or those with reversed formulas. Through an analysis of the earlier authors (Valens and Dorotheus) and of Medieval authors, we come to understand the more typical of the alternatives and the correct formula.

Start Small

Too many astrologers try to use lots based on their names alone. Software programs can dump every conceivable lot onto a chart. It is tempting to do so and let the names guide the way. However, the names often do not adequately capture the significations of the lot, so please avoid this approach.

Start with a manageable set of 4-12 lots for general chart work. Reserve other lots for deep analysis of specific topic areas. In this article, I’ll provide you with information on the most important lots of Hellenistic astrology.

Understanding Lot Formulas

It can be helpful to understand how lots relate to the significations of the planets and why the order can matter. Chris Brennan’s paper “The Theoretical Rationale Underlying the Seven Hermetic Lots” (2010)  explores the rationale of lot construction. He does this by examining the “Seven Hermetic Lots of the Planets” as discussed by Paulus (4th century CE).

Brennan (2010) focused on these planetary lots in his analysis. I don’t address the use of most of these lots in this article because they are not as significant. However, Brennan’s paper on the rationale of these lots is required reading for serious students of the lots. This is because the patterns Brennan explored are relevant to understanding the rationale behind many lots used in Hellenistic astrology.

The Approached Planet

The Lot of the Sun (Spirit) by day is from the Moon to the Sun. Notice that it is named for the approached planet. Also, it is from the non-sect light to the sect light; from darkness to light. The Lot of the Moon (Fortune) by day is from the Sun (sect light) to the Moon (non-sect light). It is from light to darkness. The Lot of the Sun has to do with “lighter” topics as well, things of a mental or social nature. Physical and tangible matters are signified by the Lot of the Moon.  The planet one moves toward in these cases has a greater sense of finality or importance.

Associative Clusters

The lots of the other 5 planets also display an interesting rationale. Brennan (2010) explained that the lots of the benefic planets involve the benefic and Lot of the Sun. Those of the malefic planets (and Mercury) involve the malefic (or Mercury) and the Lot of the Moon. In this way, the more active and mental Lot of the Sun relates more to the nature of the benefics. By contrast, the more passive and physical Lot of the Moon relates more to the malefics. This shows two sets of loose associations. There is on the one hand an association between day, sect, the benefics, and more mental and social circumstances. On the other hand, night, being out of sect, the malefics, and more physical and tangible circumstances coalesce.

Dice from Museo de Albacete
Ancient dice and game pieces from the Museo de Albacete, Spain.

Section II: The Most Important Lots

There are dozens of lots mentioned in Hellenistic texts. Where does one begin? The number of lots can be overwhelming. It can also be confusing when there are alternative lots which pertain to the same or similar topics. About two dozen lots were popular in the Hellenistic period. Most of them pertain to family members and more general significations about life. Those lots continued to be used routinely in later Medieval astrology. We will focus on the most important of those lots.

A Note on Lot Formulas

In what follows, I will refer to the formula of a lot as “from A to B”. Unless otherwise noted, this means that the lot is taken from point A to point B by day, with the reverse distance taken by night. The distance is always projected from the Ascendant to find the place of the lot, unless otherwise noted. In other words, “From A to B” projected from the Ascendant is the “diurnal” formula for the lot.

Fortune: From Sun to Moon

The Lot of Fortune is mentioned in the earliest Hellenistic texts, including Manilius and Dorotheus (1st century CE). Techniques involving Fortune were well-established in earlier now-lost foundational texts which early astrologers reference.

To my knowledge, all of the Hellenistic astrologers used Fortune.  It is the most widespread lot. The only texts that seem to lack its mention are some that are fragments and some focused on a specific special topic. For instance, the Treatise on the Fixed Stars by Anonymous of 379 may not have mentioned Fortune (though an explanatory annotation to the text does mention it).

Sources

Manilius used only Fortune and eleven other “lots” which are actually the places relative to Fortune (Astronomicon, Book III, 77-202). Dorotheus of the same century used Fortune throughout Carmen (see Book I, Ch. 28). Valens (2nd century) used Fortune throughout the Anthology (see Book II, Ch. 3).

Ptolemy (2nd century) expressed a disdain for lots in the Tetrabiblos (Book III, Ch. 3) but still used Fortune for the delineation of a few matters (Book III, Ch. 4-5 & esp. Book IV, Ch. 2). Porphyry’s Introduction to the Tetrabiblos (3rd century) included Fortune as a significant factor when finding the chart ruler (Ch. 30) and in judging physical ailments (Ch. 50).

Firmicus Maternus (4th century) used Fortune throughout Mathesis (see Book IV, Ch. 17). Paulus Alexandrinus of the same century used Fortune in a few places in Introductory Matters (see Ch. 23), including analyses of occupation (Ch. 26) and length of life (Ch. 36).

Hephaistion of Thebes (5th century) used Fortune throughout Book II of the Apotelesmatics (see Ch. 11). Rhetorius (7th century) used Fortune throughout his Compendium (see Ch. 47-48).

Formula and Variations

The typical formula for the Lot of Fortune is from the Sun to the Moon, projected from the Ascendant. That formula is clearly evident in Manilius, Dorotheus, Valens, Ptolemy, Paulus, Maternus, and Rhetorius (example charts at end of Compendium). This formula is also typically reversed by night, though Ptolemy did not reverse it.

There are some conflicting accounts and confusing passages in some Hellenistic authors, namely Serapio, Valens, and Hephaistion. Valens noted that the source for Fortune’s formula came from a particularly confusing passage in a text attributed to Nechepso. Therefore, some of the conflicting accounts may have arisen from the lack of clarity in the source text. However, the most commonly used formula, reversed by night, was already clearly and thoroughly expressed early in the 1st century in Manilius (Book III, #176-202) and Dorotheus (Book I, Ch. 28, #11-12).

Meaning and Use

Of all the lots, Fortune has a meaning that is most closely associated with the Ascendant (1st Place) and its significations of the body and personal circumstance. For instance, it figures strongly in Hellenistic treatments of longevity, upbringing, illness, overall chart ruler, and professional aptitude. However, there are some ways in which its significations differs from those of the 1st Place. The 1st Place does figure into character and personality, whereas Fortune typically does not. Also, Fortune is a significant factor in the delineation of wealth and property, as well as status, matters typically related more to the 2nd and 10th Places. It is also called the Lot of the Moon, connecting it with the Moon’s importance and sense of physicality. The common denominator to all significations is material circumstance.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Lot of Fortune

Dorotheus used Fortune for the start of life (Book I, Ch. 4), bodily development (Book I, Ch. 9), and longevity (Book III, Ch. 2). These uses are consistent with Fortune’s connection with the body and health. He also used Fortune in looking at slavery (Book I, Ch. 10) and particularly in relation to material fortune, assets, and personal property (see Book I, Ch. 28; also inceptions Book V, Ch. 34 & 36). These uses reflect Fortune’s other primary significations of wealth and personal property. These are the primary associations of Fortune which persisted throughout the Hellenistic and Medieval periods.

The Part of Fortune shows the quality of life, the amount of inheritance, and the course of good and bad fortune. Also love and the affection of men toward women, the effects of child-care, and all desires. It shows the fatherland in an easy way. Abram called in the Place of the Moon. (Maternus, Book IV, Ch. 17, Bram trans., p. 136)

And Fortune signifies all things about the body and actions throughout life. It becomes indicative of acquisition, reputation, and privilege. (Paulus, Ch. 23, Greenbaum trans., p. 42)

Places Relative to Fortune in Valens

The similarity between Fortune and the Ascendant is evident in a number of authors. Fortune often comes up as a type of lesser Ascendant in signification. For instance, Dorotheus mentioned that if the triplicity lord of the Ascendant were weak by place (in the 12th, 6th, or 3rd) then one should look to the triplicity lord of Fortune for the matter of upbringing (Carmen, Book I, Ch. 4).

The Lot of Fortune and The Ascendant <I>           life and livelihood    (Valens, Anthology, Book II, Ch. 16, Riley trans., p. 30)

The use of Fortune as an alternative Ascendant sees its strongest expression in the Anthology of Vettius Valens. Valens gave Fortune and the Ascendant the same signification at one point (see quote above). He also delineated the ruler of the Ascendant and that of Fortune in one section giving them the same indications (Book II, Ch. 4). Additionally, he used places derived from Fortune with a meaning similar to those from the Ascendant. For instance, the 11th place from Fortune is called Accomplishment or Acquisition pertaining to good fortune with property and gifts (natal 11th pertains to good social circumstances). Furthermore, the 8th from Fortune is used for delineating the manner of death.

Stakes of Fortune

Valens also considered the “stakes” of Fortune to be very important places, much like the stakes of the 1st Place. These stakes of Fortune were used in predictive techniques like Zodiacal Releasing as particularly active signs of the chart. In a more opaque passage, Valens stated that the stakes of the Ascendant were the cosmic ones while those of Fortune were the natal ones. My understanding is that Valens considered Fortune even more important than the Ascendant in that it is more particular to the individual.

In addition, after finding the Place which has been assigned to Fortune, examine the points square with it and the other aspects, just as with the angles in the natal chart. The Lot itself will be equivalent to the Ascendant and will mean “Life;” the tenth place from it will be equivalent to MC and will mean “Rank;” the seventh will be the Descendant; the fourth IC. The other places will have the same effects as the <original> XII Places. Some astrologers have mystically hypothesized that the astronomical Ascendant and the points square with it are the Cosmic Angles, while the Lot and the points square with it are the Natal Angles […] (Valens, Anthology, Book II, Ch. 18, Riley trans., p. 34)

Notes on Fortune-Derived Places

While the stakes of any position were influential on the position in Hellenistic astrology, the use of derived places from Fortune is atypical. Manilius assigned lots relative to Fortune, but these have very different significations from the places from the Ascendant (see below). In practice Valens did not seem to use specific significations of the places from Fortune much apart from the 8th and 11th. As far as I know, only Rhetorius, following Valens, also advocated the use of some places derived from Fortune, such as Acquisition (11th from Fortune).

Typically, Fortune has a distinct but related meaning from the Ascendant and is of a lesser importance when compared with the Ascendant. I don’t advocate treating the places from Fortune as having the same effects as with those from the Ascendant. However, I do use them when I’m applying techniques from Valens that employ them.

Manilius and Lots from Fortune

Manilius assigned a topic to every place relative to Fortune. Though these places are called lots by Manilius and have meanings unique to him. The meanings assigned to the places relative to Fortune in Manilius are given in Book III of the Astronomicon. I briefly summarize the significations below.

  • Fortune – home and property
  • 2nd from Fortune – warfare
  • 3rd from Fortune – business, friends and associates
  • 4th from Fortune – relationship with the law and politics
  • 5th from Fortune – marriage
  • 6th from Fortune – financial resources and stability
  • 7th from Fortune – grim danger
  • 8th from Fortune – social status and fame
  • 9th from Fortune – children and parenting
  • 10th from Fortune – character, tradition, and custom
  • 11th from Fortune – strength and health (of paramount importance)
  • 12th from Fortune – the fruit of our labors

Example

On its own, Fortune is not a good indicator for wealth or health. As part of special techniques for delineating each topic it has its place though. However, even without a deep dive into the general state of those topics, Fortune can be used as a predictive factor. The predictive use of Fortune is very useful in relation to chance occurrences involving the body and/or finances. The key here when looking at Fortune is not to judge the overall wealth or success based on Fortune, but to note the pleasant and difficult associations of Fortune by configuration.

Overall wealth or success is a very complex matter to delineate and pertains strongly to the fixed stars, the lights, and additional factors, more so than the Lot of Fortune.  For instance, while Fortune in the 12th was said to indicate slavery, Ted Turner has Fortune in the 12th and is a billionaire.

Ted Turner's Natal Chart
Ted Turner’s Natal Chart (AA-rated birth time)
MC Hammer

MC Hammer (AA-rated birth time) has had a successful but particularly topsy-turvy financial history. Hammer’s Fortune is in great shape overall as it is in the 11th place (a good place), its ruler is a benefic in a good strong place and in phasis (Venus in the 10th), and Jupiter (the sect benefic) also regards the lot from the right side. However, we see multiple indications of threats to Fortune also. Mars is the out of sect malefic and most closely aspects the degree of the lot from the right side, albeit by sextile. However, Mars is also the ruler of the Sun and Venus in the 10th (which pertain to artistic honors). Saturn dominates the lot from a relatively close right side square in the 8th house (Aquarius).

The twelfth-part of Saturn (outside of the wheel) is also in the House of Fortune, while the twelfth-part of Mars is square the House of Fortune from the 2nd House of money. Additionally, the twelfth-part of Jupiter is conjunct natal Mars. Therefore, the twelfth-parts confirm the danger to Fortune from Mars and Saturn.

MC Hammer with twelfth-parts
MC Hammer’s Natal Chart with Twelfth-Parts

Shortly after Hammer’s 27th birthday (1989) he signed a multi-record deal that was to make him millions over the next few years. However, by 1996, at age 34 things had taken a drastic turn for the worse. Hammer had overextended himself and was forced to file for bankruptcy. Additionally, he didn’t pay his taxes that year (and the next). The tax burden from that year would continue to haunt him over the next 15 years, as the government filed suit against him for it in 2011.

Distributors of Fortune

There are many approaches to those years in his life. We have not yet explored the use of predictive techniques in this series of lessons, but I would like to highlight one interesting predictive use of Fortune. In my article on the use of distributors in early primary directions, I discussed how different planets were activated as time lords by primary directions in Hellenistic astrology. Directing the Ascendant through the bounds is the most traditional approach, but other significant points in the chart were also directed through the bounds, including the Lot of Fortune. By directing Fortune through the bounds, a planet becomes the active time lord pertaining to Fortune for the period. A table of the time lords from 1984 to the present can be found below.

Hammer - Fortune Distributors
Hammer – Fortune Distributors

We see that the build up to the record deal and its signing occurred during a time when Jupiter was the distributor of Fortune. His peak success and peak income came when Venus was the distributor of Fortune. However, he faced some serious financial setbacks and consequences (including bankruptcy and tax problems) when Mars was the distributor. Interestingly, some of those problems resurfaced when Mars was distributor again (from late 2009 to mid 2017) in 2011 when he was sued by the government for his unpaid taxes.

As noted, Mars is the out of sect malefic. It not only most closely aspects Fortune but it also opposes the 2nd Place, has its twelfth-part in the 2nd Place, and connects with Jupiter in multiple ways. Has Mars really made Hammer poor during its periods? No. Hammer has lived a privileged life throughout the ordeal, which is why his bankruptcy had to be a Chapter 11 rather than a Chapter 7. However, the fact that Mars is an out of sect malefic and associates readily with money matters makes it a key planet to watch when problems crop up.

Spirit: From Moon to Sun

The Lot of Spirit is also called the Lot of Daimon (or Daemon), Lot of Religion, Lot of Faith, Lot of the Sun, and Lot of Absence. The Lot of Spirit is well established in many early Hellenistic texts, including Dorotheus (1st century CE) and Valens (2nd century CE). It was used by most of the notable Hellenistic astrologers.

The formula is from the Moon to the Sun, projected from the Ascendant (reversed by night). It is the inverse of that for the Lot of Fortune. The formula is consistent across sources, though Maternus has unintentional inversions of many lots including Spirit. These inversions are clearly errors as Maternus has Fortune and Spirit with identical formulas which would not make sense for his delineations.

Sources

Dorotheus of the same century used the Lot of Religion on a similar footing as Fortune in delineation of bodily development (Carmen, Book I, Ch. 9). Interestingly, Dorotheus also used it in synastry, where having Spirit in the same sign across charts is seen as an indication of harmony and suitability (Book II, Ch. 5).

Valens (2nd century) considered Daimon to be one of the 4 lots which are powerful enough to make a sign an “effective” sign of the chart (see Book IV, Ch. 11). He used Spirit throughout the Anthology and often as the more social and mental counter-part to Fortune. For instance, one of the predictive techniques of Valens, now called Zodiacal Releasing, involves moving Fortune and Spirit through the zodiac (see Book IV, Ch. 4). Valens also called the lot, “Intelligence” (Book II, Ch. 9), and “second Fortune” (Book II, Ch. 15), names which make clear its mental association and its importance.

Abram

This use of Spirit as a counter-part to Fortune may have originated with an astrologer named Abram. Firmicus Maternus (4th century) introduced Daemon right after his introduction to Fortune (Mathesis, Book IV, Ch. 18). He noted that it was known by Abram as the Lot of the Sun and is of similar importance as the Lot of the Moon (Fortune). Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century) also referred to Spirit as the Lot of the Sun and considered it in relation to character and capability (Introductory Matters, Ch. 23).

Others

Spirit also has bit parts in other early astrological texts and some later ones. For instance, Porphyry’s Introduction to the Tetrabiblos (3rd century) included Spirit in judging ailments (Ch. 50), along with the lots of Fortune and Injury. Rhetorius  (7th century) also used Spirit for some physical ailments (Ch. 4; Ch. 14).

Meaning and Use

Like Fortune, Spirit has a meaning that is associated with the Ascendant (1st Place) but particularly its significations of the character and capability. These significations were sometimes more associated with its house ruler of the 1st than the place itself. Spirit figures into Hellenistic treatments of character, temperament, and professional aptitude. It also sometimes figures into the analysis of bodily ailments, and even for mental ailments (in Valens). The common denominator to all significations is mental and social circumstance, though with possible consequences for health as well. In the Middle Ages, the associations with the soul, intentions, and body persisted.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Lot of Spirit

Our best early sources for exploring Spirit are Valens, Maternus, and Paulus who all linked it with the mind and character.

Daimon           mental activity     (Valens, Book II, Ch. 16, Riley trans., p. 30)

For the reason mentioned above, the Lot of Fortune and Daimon have great influence on undertakings and their outcomes. The former gives information about matters concerning the body and concerning the work of hands. Daimon and its ruler give information about spiritual and intellectual matters and about the activities of giving and receiving. It will be necessary to examine the places and the signs in which their houserulers are located and to correlate their natures, in order to learn the type of activity and fortune and the quality of activity <to be expected>. (Valens, Book II, Ch. 20, Riley trans., p. 35)

This place is also called the essence of the soul; from this place we find professions and material goods; it shows the affection of women toward men. But also this place shows the fatherland clearly. (Maternus, Book IV, Ch. 18, Bram trans., p. 137)

Spirit happens to be the lord of soul, temper, sense and every capability, and there are times when it cooperates in the reckoning about what one does. (Paulus, Ch. 23, Greenbaum, p. 42)

Rhetorius also notably used Spirit for character analysis.

But if the Lot of the Daemon falls in Capricorn, it makes the native forbearing and changeable, but if in Aries or Leo or Scorpio irascible and stubborn. (Rhetorius, Ch. 48, Holden trans., p. 27)

Example

For an example of the use of Spirit in delineation and prediction, see my article on the four principal lots of Valens. In that article, I provided an example of Spirit in the chart of the 14th Dalai Lama.

Love: From Fortune to Spirit

The Lot of Love is also called the Lot of Eros, Lot of Desire, Lot of the 7th, and Lot of Venus. The Lot of Love is not the third most common lot of Hellenistic astrology, but appears third on this list as it is one of 4 lots which Valens considered most effective. It is probably present in Dorotheus (more on that below) but is clearest in Valens and Maternus.

The formula is from Fortune to Spirit, projected from the Ascendant (reversed by night). The formula is found in Valens, but is inverted in Maternus. As noted, Maternus has unintentional inversions of many lots. Paulus provided a different Lot of Eros (from Spirit to Venus) attributed to Hermes which was not as widespread. The Valens lot prevailed in the later Middle Ages.

Note that the inverse of this lot is the Lot of Necessity. Necessity has a special relationship with the Lot of Love and together with it and Fortune and Spirit, rounds out the 4 lots which Valens noted as “effective” houses. I explore all four lots and how they relate to each other in the article on the four principal lots of Valens.

Sources

Dorotheus made a reference to the Lot of the 7th in relation to configurations indicating that one’s death will involve friends (Carmen, Book IV, Ch. 3). In an excerpt attributed to Dorotheus (Excerpts XVI, #6; from Hephaistion), it is noted that the rulers of Eros are representative of one’s friends and the same formula is given for Eros as is found in Valens. These uses by Dorotheus are interesting because friendship and alliances are important associations of the lot.

Valens (2nd century) considered Love to be one of the 4 principal lots (including also Fortune, Spirit, and Necessity) which are powerful enough to make a sign an “effective” sign of the chart (see Book IV, Ch. 11). Its importance is also highlighted by its inclusion in the chapter naming the places, of which the only lots are the 4 principal lots (Book II, Ch. 16). Similarly, when discussing profections, he specifically advised to also profect the 4 principal lots (Book IV, Ch. 11 & Ch. 25).

Firmicus Maternus (4th century) referred to the lot as the House of Desires (Mathesis, Book VI, Ch. 32).  Hephaistion claimed that Dorotheus used the “Lot of Eros” for synastry, but Hephaistion doesn’t define it (Book II, Ch. 23).  Rhetorius  (7th century) discussed a Lot of Venus or Love, but like most of his lots, he didn’t formulate it, so it’s unclear which Love was referred to (Ch. 47).

Meaning and Use

Love’s significations are most strongly connected to those of the 7th Place and to Venus. It pertains to desire, friendship, enjoyable alliances, and the arts. We see this in the use by Dorotheus (especially via Hephaistion) of the lot for matters concerning friends and synastry. Hephaistion also stated that sympathy between signs of equal ascension in synastry is stronger if this lot is found in those sympathetic signs across charts. For instance, Love in Pisces in the man’s chart and in Aries in the woman’s (or vice-versa) is an indication of harmony as the signs are sympathetic by equal ascension.

Love’s strong association with desire is present in Valens and Maternus. It was used in delineating sexuality (nature of desire, homosexuality, etc.) as well as friendship and what one does for pleasure (past time). In the late Middle Ages, it retained all of these associations. It is the most important lot for the delineation of relationship matters.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Lot of Love

Our best early sources for exploring Love are Valens and Maternus. Maternus only noted it pertaining to all types of desires. Valens briefly defined Love as pertaining to desire, but best described it when discussing profections.

Love transmitting or receiving in operative signs, with benefics in conjunction or aspect, brings about moral desires and makes men lovers of the good: some turn to education and physical or artistic training; they are softened by their delight in their hopes and they do not consider their forethought/goal a matter of difficulty<?>. Others are enchanted by love and intimacy with men and women, and they consider <this life> to be good. Mars and Mercury in aspect or in conjunction with this place (especially if they are in their own signs) make homosexuals, men criticized <for affairs> with both sexes, or those who are fond of weapons, hunting, or wrestling. Venus <in aspect or conjunction brings> intimacy with women; men when loved will sometimes love in return.

In the same way each star, when allotted this place <Love>, when in aspect, or when receiving the chronocratorship, will bring about the type of desire appropriate to its nature. In general, if malefics are in conjunction or aspect, desires will result in torment, penalties, and danger. Specifically, if Saturn is in conjunction or aspect with Venus and the moon, men will have shameful and unnatural loves, will be criticized for affairs with men and women, will suffer under scandal, or (even though repenting) will return to their old practices, overcome by passion. If Jupiter is also in aspect, what happens will be respectable, powerful, or religious. But if Mars and Mercury are in conjunction or aspect, or are receiving the chronocratorship, men will love wicked, criminal deeds: they become forgers, robbers, burglars, gamblers, and have a savage character. If Venus is also in aspect, they become poisoners, lechers, suicides, and so (according to the applicable chronocrator) they are entangled in loans, debts, and villainy, experience imprisonment and trials, and live in danger. This place is strong in many respects, and so pay much attention to it. (Valens, Book IV, Ch. 25, Riley trans., p. 90)

Example

For an example of the use of Love in delineation and prediction, see my article on the four principal lots of Valens. In that article, I provided an example of Love in an anonymous chart and that of Bill Clinton.

Necessity: From Spirit to Fortune

The Lot of Necessity is also called the Lot of Mercury. In the last Middle Age, it was sometimes also known as the Lot of Poverty or of Small-mindedness. The Lot of Necessity is the counter-part to the Lot of Love. It is also not among the most common lots of Hellenistic astrology, but appears fourth on this list as it is one of 4 lots which Valens considered most effective. It doesn’t appear to have been mentioned by Dorotheus but it was significant for Valens and Maternus.

The formula is from Spirit to Fortune, projected from the Ascendant (reversed by night). The formula is found in Valens, but is inverted in Maternus. As noted, Maternus has unintentional inversions of many lots. Paulus provided a different Lot of Necessity (from Mercury to Fortune) attributed to Hermes which was not as widespread. The Valens lot prevailed in the later Middle Ages.

Note that the inverse of this lot is the Lot of Love to which it is related. Necessity and Love, together with Fortune and Spirit, are the four principal lots of Valens.

Sources

Valens (2nd century) considered Necessity to be powerful enough to make a sign an “effective” sign of the chart (see Book IV, Ch. 11). Its importance is also highlighted by its inclusion in the chapter naming the places, of which the only lots are the 4 principal lots (Book II, Ch. 16). Similarly, when discussing profections, he specifically advised to also profect the 4 principal lots (Book IV, Ch. 11 & Ch. 25).

Firmicus Maternus (4th century) referred to the lot as the House of Necessity (Mathesis, Book VI, Ch. 32). However, Maternus says nothing of the meaning of the lot when introduced. Later, in Book VII, Ch. 24, Maternus reveals that it pertains to the fairness of sentencing in legal proceedings.

Rhetorius  (7th century) discussed a Lot of Mercury or Necessity pertaining to war, anguish, hatred, and legal sentences (Ch. 47). However, like most of his lots, he didn’t formulate it, so it’s not clear which Necessity was referred to.

Meaning and Use

Necessity’s significations are most strongly connected to more negative associations of the 7th Place to challengers and open enemies, as well as to the 12th Place’s associations with enemies. It is also linked with Mercury. It pertains to how one deals with competitors, challengers, enemies, and other adversaries. When it is in a good state it shows a general state of prevailing in disputes and competitions, as well as fair treatment by the law. When it is in particularly bad state then it can show attack from enemies, condemnation, legal ruin, and unfair treatment by the authorities. Its associations with hatred, contentions, and legal troubles persisted in the late Middle Ages. While Love pertains to relationships we pursue, Necessity pertains to those relationships we have to deal with which we’d rather avoid.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Lot of Necessity

As noted, Maternus only noted Necessity in relation to fair treatment in court cases. Valens briefly defined Necessity as pertaining to enemies, but best described it when discussing profections.

Necessity transmitting or receiving in operative signs, with benefics in conjunction or aspect, brings family ties, associations with the great, and the downfall or deaths of enemies. If malefics are in conjunction, it brings lawsuits, judgements, and expenses. As a result men fail in their goals and live miserably. If the configuration is afflicted, men are condemned or ruined. (Valens, Book IV, Ch. 25, Riley trans., p. 90)

Note on Basis

While I don’t consider it one of the most important lots to consider, it is worth noting that either Love or Necessity will also be the Lot of Basis. Namely, whichever of Love or Necessity is below the horizon, this lot will be Basis. Valens discussed a Lot of Basis which pertains to personal power and leadership skills. Basis is examined with Fortune and Spirit, and another lot, the Lot of Exaltation. When these lots and their rulers occupy each other’s places it indicates personal power and social mobility. In the late Middle Ages, Basis was identified as being identical to Love and said to pertain to the physical appearance.

Example

For an example of the use of Necessity in delineation and prediction, see my article on the four principal lots of Valens. In that article, I provided an example of Necessity in the chart of Bill Clinton.

Affliction: From Saturn to Mars

The Lot of Affliction is also called the Lot of Injury, Lot of Chronic Illness, Lot of Accusation, or Crisis-Producing Place. I call it the Lot of Affliction after a translation of Rhetorius (by Holden) as that name seems to best encapsulate the many malefic associations of the lot. Its use was moderately widespread in Hellenistic astrology. It is most closely associated with the themes of the malefics and the 6th and 12th Places.

The formula is from the malefic in sect to the one out of sect (i.e. Saturn to Mars, reversed by night), projected from the Ascendant. The movement from the sect malefic to the malefic out of sect evokes a sense of going from bad to worse. Its formula is consistent in Hellenistic astrology. Associations with physical injury persisted in the Middle Ages, and the lot was also used as a Lot of Enemies. However, some of its other associations became tied to a Lot of Origin and the Oppressive Place which were projected from Mercury rather than the Ascendant.

Sources

Dorotheus (1st century) called it the “Lot of Chronic Illness” and judged the area of the chronic illness by the sign occupied by the ruler of the lot (Book IV, Ch. 2, #11-12). Maternus (4th century) similarly used the lot for delineating and predicting physical ailments and defects (Book VI, Ch. 32). The same technique was also discussed by Hephaistion (5th century; Book II, Ch. 14) and Rhetorius (7th century; Ch. 14 & 61).

Valens (2nd century) considered Affliction to pertain to crises and dangers of many sorts (Book V, Ch. 1). His lot name may be translated as the Causal Lot, the Lot of Accusation, or the Crisis-Producing Place. In addition, to his Dorothean use of the lot for health, Rhetorius also followed Valens in a discussion of the “Lot of the House of Afflictions” (Ch. 129, Holden trans.). In that discussion, Rhetorius associated the lot with general peril and danger, including exile.

Meaning and Use

The Lot of Affliction pertains most strongly to the most dangerous and difficult of circumstances. Traditional astrologers typically would look to the malefics and the 6th and 12th Places to better understand difficulty and unpleasantness. Affliction is particularly important because it can indicate harsh circumstances which are not otherwise obvious. The sign, its ruler, and the influences on the sign can help us to understand particularly touchy areas in life as well as potential health problems. Malefics afflicting this house and/or its ruler can show significant dangers. Benefics associating with this house can show considerable capability in handling crises.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Lot of Affliction

In relation to injury, Dorotheus provided a succinct approach which was elaborated upon by Maternus, Hephaistion, and Rhetorius.

There were men among the ancient scientists who calculated by day from Saturn to Mars and by night from Mars to Saturn, then they cast their number from the ascendent; wherever their counting reached or the number was used up, they saw what was the lord of that sign, then they said to what limb of the body this sign belonged, then they predicted that the chronic illness [would be] in such and such a limb of the body according to what was named fro that sign. Aries is the head, Taurus the neck, Gemini the two shoulders, Cancer the two hands and the chest, Leo the two sides and the heart, Virgo the belly and the tube of the back [spine], Libra the bladder which is between the two hips, Scorpio the male [organ] and the two testicles and the buttocks, Sagittarius the two thighs together, Capricorn the two knees, Aquarius the two shanks, [and] Pisces the two feet. (Dorotheus, Book IV, Ch. 1, #75-76, Pingree trans., p. 251)

Valens provided a good exposition of the associations of the lot with general danger.

With this having been established, it is necessary to prove by experience <the effectiveness of> still another place which I will demonstrate most abundantly: this is the Crisis-Producing Place, the place causative of terrors, dangers, and chains. Consequently this place is strong; for day births it is found by determining the distance from Saturn to Mars (for night births, from Mars to Saturn), then measuring the same distance from the Ascendant. It will be necessary to examine the location of this place to see if the sign of a malefic, or malefics themselves, are in conjunction or aspect. If they are, the nativities will be precarious, endangered, and easily destroyed. The nature of each star and sign will cause the particular type <of trouble>. Benefics in conjunction or aspect will cause a lessening of the evil or an escape from crises. (Vettius Valens, Anthologies, Book V, Ch. 1, Riley trans., 2010, p. 95)

Example

For examples of the use of Affliction in delineation and prediction, see my article on the Lot of Affliction. In that article, I provided examples involving Affliction in the charts of Jeffrey Dahmer, David Carradine, and an anonymous individual.

Mother: From Venus to Moon

The last five topics we will look at pertain to specific familial relationships. These are the lots of the Father, Mother, Siblings, Children, and Marriage. Many of these lots, especially those of the parents, were even more widespread than the lots of Love and Necessity in the Hellenistic period.

The Lot of the Mother is taken from Venus to the Moon (reversed by night), projected from the Ascendant. The lot is relatively uncontroversial across authors and is one of the most widespread lots after Fortune.

Sources

Dorotheus (1st century) introduced the Lot of the Mother in Book I, Ch. 15, after his discussion about the Lot of the Father. He didn’t state how it is used but the suggestion is that it is used like the Lot of the Father. Firmicus Maternus (4th century) did state that it is used exactly like that of the Father (Book VI, Ch. 32, #21-22). As both authors discussed the many uses of the Lot of the Father, they are the best sources for the use of both lots of the parents.

The Lot of the Mother has only a couple bit parts in the Anthology (Book II, Ch. 32 & 38). He used the same lot as other astrologers by day, but the text is corrupted concerning reversal.

Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century) defined the lot but said nothing about its use (Ch. 23). The lot is not discussed by Hephaistion (5th century) who instead relies heavily on the Moon for matters concerning the mother (Book II). Rhetorius did not define the lot but mentioned it in determining which parent will die first in the native’s life (Ch. 48).

Meaning and Use

As noted, our best sources for the use of the lots of the parents are Dorotheus and Maternus.  Dorotheus looked at the condition and character of the parent by the the ruler of the lot. Placement of the ruler in the 6th, 8th, 3rd, or 12th was considered bad in this analysis. If the ruler of the lot was not regarding the lot or was opposed to the lot, then it was said to indicate that his assumed mother is not his real mother.

Maternus devoted the bulk of his chapter on the lots (Book VI, Ch. 32) on describing configurations involving the Lot of the Father. In the section on the Lot of the Mother, he noted that these indications apply to that lot in the same way. Maternus judged the wealth of the parent by the nature of the sign and whether benefic or malefic stars are in it or aspect it. The bulk of the section is devoted to examining the state of each possible house ruler of the lot. The character and status of the parent is tied to the nature of the ruler and its state.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Lot of the Mother

Therefore you will collect this House with a degree method, looking for everything thus, just as we have said that you ought to search for it in the House of the Father, namely the aspects of the benefic and malefic stars, also the powers of the houses and signs, and also the mixtures and proper blending of the aspects. Which, when you have brought together everything with an even-handed comparison, you will be able to explain the House of the Mother with true opinions. (Maternus, Book VI, Ch. 32, #22, Holden trans., p. 392)

See the quotes in the next section on the Lot of the Father, as the lot is used in the same way as that for the father. Also, see the quote below from Valens on step-parents.

Valens on Step-Parents

Valens has an interesting passage on step-parents. He takes the point opposite the Lot of the Mother or Father as like a Lot of the Stepmother or Stepfather. The corresponding step-parent is indicated if the ruler of the parent lot is in opposition to the lot (i.e. in the house of the step-parent) or the ruler of the lot of the step-parent is in the lot of the parent.

Concerning a stepfather, take the point directly opposite the Lot. If the ruler of the Lot of the Father happens to be at the point in opposition or if the ruler of the point in opposition happens to be at the Lot, this indicates a stepfather. Likewise if the <ruler of> the Lot of the Mother is found in opposition and the ruler of the point in opposition to the Lot of the Mother is found at the Lot of the Mother, this will correspondingly indicate a stepmother. (Valens, Book II, Ch. 32, Riley trans., p. 44)

Example

Barack Obama (AA-rated birth time) was raised by his mother and grandparents, as well as a stepfather. His parents divorced when he was 2 and his dad moved back to Kenya at that time. His father visited him only once (when he was 10) and passed in a car accident when he was 21.

Obama - Parent Lots
Obama’s Natal Chart with Parent Lots

The character of the parent is usually shown by the nature of the ruler. The Lot of the Mother is ruled by Jupiter in the 1st House, a benefic placed in a strong house. This accords well with his relationship with his mother and her status. The Lot of the Mother is ruled by Mercury in the 7th House, which also accords well with the father’s status as a student. Note that Jupiter and Mercury are in opposition suggesting tension between the mother and father. Note also that Mars is on the Lot of the Father in the 8th Place of death. The divorce at age 2 happened when Mars was activated as lord of the year by profection of the Ascendant to Aries (see the intro article on profections). The death of the father when Obama was age 21, also happened when Mars was activated as lord of the year, this time by profection of the Ascendant to Scorpio.

The Lot of the Stepfather is in early Pisces. While there is not the interchange that Valens spoke of between the ruler of Father and Stepfather, note that the Lot of the Stepfather is with that of the mother, and its ruler is also the 1st House Jupiter. His mother was married to his stepfather for a long time, 15 years, and his stepfather had a strong influence on his life. Of course, this is just scratching the surface.

Father: From Sun to Saturn

The Lot of the Father is typically from Sun to Saturn (reversed by night), projected from the Ascendant. This formula was used by Dorotheus, Valens, Paulus, and Firmicus Maternus.  Note that this lot is identical to the Lot of Power, Kingdom, or Supremacy of the Middle Ages, indicating an association with eminence.

While this lot is very widespread and the formula is uncontroversial, there is a special case variant. Dorotheus and Paulus suggested one should use an alternative formula if Saturn is under the beams of the Sun (i.e. Saturn within 15° of the Sun).  In such a case, one is to go from Mars to Jupiter, by both day and night (i.e. not reversed by night). Valens and Maternus did not mention this special case and its variant formula.

Sources

Dorotheus (1st century) introduced the Lot of the Father in Book I, Ch. 14. He described how it is used to judge the father’s character and condition. Firmicus Maternus (4th century) explored the lot in great detail in his chapter on the lots (Book VI, Ch. 32). As both authors discussed the many uses of the Lot of the Father, they are the best early sources for its use.

Valens (2nd century) does mention that some use an alternative formula which is from the Sun to Jupiter, projected from the Ascendant (Book II, Ch. 32). At one point he also suggested that by night one takes Venus to Moon instead of Sun to Saturn, though that appears to be a corruption given the significations of those planets. Overall, the lot has only a bit part in the Anthology (Book II, Ch. 32). See the above section on the Lot of the Mother for how Valens dealt with stepfathers.

Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century) introduced the lot but said nothing about its use (Ch. 23). The lot is not discussed by Hephaistion (5th century) who instead relies heavily on the Sun for matters concerning the father (Book II). Rhetorius (7th century) did not define the lot but mentioned it in determining which parent will die first in the native’s life (Ch. 48). Like Dorotheus and Valens, Rhetorius associate the lord of the lot in opposition to the lot as an indication that the father is not by blood (such as a stepfather).

Meaning and Use

As noted, our best sources for the use of the lots of the parents are Dorotheus and Maternus.  Dorotheus looked at the condition and character of the parent by the the ruler of the lot. Placement of the ruler in the 6th, 8th, 3rd, or 12th was considered bad in this analysis. If the ruler of the lot was not regarding the lot or was opposed to the lot, then it was said to indicate that his assumed father is not his real father.

Maternus devoted the bulk of his chapter on the lots (Book VI, Ch. 32) to describing configurations involving the Lot of the Father. He noted that his procedure there (examining the aspects to the lot and state of its ruler) are applicable to all lots generally. Maternus judged the wealth of the father by the nature of the sign and whether benefic or malefic stars are in it or aspect it. The bulk of the section is devoted to examining the state of each possible house ruler of the lot. The character and status of the father is tied to the nature of the ruler and its state.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Meaning of the Lot of the Father

[…] for if you found its lord in a good position, it indicates the good of his father, and the condition of the father is known according to its place […] (Dorotheus, Book I, Ch. 14, Dykes trans., p. 83)

For if there were benefic stars in that very sign, or if they aspected it with a fortunate aspect, the good fortune of the father is found. But if malefic stars did that same thing, proclaim to us [that] everything about the father is contrary. (Maternus, Book VI, Ch. 32, #4, Holden trans., p. 388)

Example

Marvin Gaye (birth time A-rated) was killed by his father. The chart is interesting in that Saturn is under the beams of the Sun, so it invokes the need to use the alternative lot from Mars to Jupiter (name cut off but it is at 8°47′ in the chart below). I have written about Marvin Gaye’s death and the predictive indicators that accompanied it in a previous article. I will just briefly touch on the lot here and suggest reading the article to come to your own conclusions about how the lot may have also figured into that timing.

Marvin Gaye Parent Lots
Marvin Gaye’s Natal Chart with Parent Lots

I have left in the typical Lot of the Father (in early Leo) for reference, but it should be ignored in this case. We are looking a the Lot of the Father from early Libra (the Combust one). The lot is afflicted by both malefics (square from Mars, opposed by Saturn) while both benefics are in aversion to it. The lot is also very closely opposed to Marvin Gaye’s Sun, the significator of his life and vitality. His death by the hand of his father occurred right on a New Moon solar return opposed to that lot and conjunct Saturn (lord of the 8th of death) with a profection that activated the planets in the 10th and Mars as lord of the year.

Siblings: From Saturn to Jupiter (not reversed)

The Lot of Siblings is also sometimes translated as the Lot of Brothers, but it pertains to both genders. Its formula is more controversial than those of the other lots we have looked at so far. This is because Valens and Maternus both reversed the formula by night, but Paulus explicitly advised not to reverse it. Dorotheus did not mention if the lot was reversed or not.

Between Paulus and Valens, I would normally take Valens as the more reliable source. However, Valens appeared to have only a passing familiarity with the lot, and Medieval authors citing Hermes as the source noted that it should not be reversed.  Additionally, the lot is the inverse of the Lot of Children so if one should be reversed than the other should as well. Valens and Maternus did not use the Dorothean Lot of Children, and Dorotheus did not note whether it should be reversed. Paulus stated that the Lot of Children is not reversed, so I assume neither lot should be reversed.

There is a second lot of Siblings used by Dorotheus (from Mercury to Jupiter) which doesn’t appear to have been as widespread.

Sources

Dorotheus (1st century) introduced the lot to judge the number of siblings and the benefit or harm associated with them (Book I, Ch. 21 Dykes trans., Ch. 19 Pingree trans.). Dorotheus also used a second Lot of Siblings which is from Mercury to Jupiter, reversed by night (Book I, Ch. 23 Dykes trans., Ch. 21 Pingree trans.).

Valens (2nd century) briefly mentioned that some astrologers use the lot and they reverse it by night (Book II, Ch. 4). Firmicus Maternus (4th century) also reversed the lot by night but explored its delineation in more depth (Book VI, Ch. 32, #23-26).

Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century) stated the Dorothean formula for the lot but stated that it should not be reversed and said nothing about its use (Ch. 23). Hephaistion (5th century) mentioned a Lot of Siblings but did not define it (Book II, Ch. 6). Rhetorius (7th century) did not define the lot but in the example he used it can be inferred that the formula is the usual one by day (Saturn to Jupiter).

Meaning and Use

Dorotheus seemed to chiefly consider the planets in and regarding the Lot of Siblings. My impression is that a sterile sign (traditionally Leo, Virgo, or Capricorn) is indicative of a lack of siblings, while water signs are indicative of many siblings. The benefit or harm associated with the siblings comes from the regards of the benefics and malefics. The lord of the lot does not appear to be emphasized in relation to these delineations. The second Lot of Siblings is also used by Dorotheus for determining the number of siblings, as well as for finding their gender and the good associated with them from aspecting planets.

Firmicus Maternus reversed the formula by night. He similarly looked at planets in or aspecting the lot. For him benefics signified many siblings and good from them, while malefics signified the contrary. Masculine benefics confer male siblings while feminine ones confer female ones. If both benefics and malefics aspect the lot in an equally powerful way then Maternus suggests there will be siblings which will be lost.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Meaning of the Lot of Siblings

If you find a planet in it or aspecting it, then from this the matter of brothers will be made clear to you. If the lot happens to be in a sterile sign, then there is no good in his brothers (sterile are Leo, Virgo, Capricorn, and Aquarius, while great in number are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces because some of them are signs of water and the rest of them keep the middle). (Dorotheus, Book I, Ch. 19, Pingree trans., p. 11)

If you wish to know what of love and other than that there is between him [the native] and his brothers, then look from the lord of the lot of brothers. If its lord aspects it from trine, it indicates love between them, and if it aspects from quartile, it indicates a medium amount of that love. If you find it in opposition to the lot, then it is an indicator of enmity and separation. If it [the lord] does not aspect it [the lot], it indicates the estrangement of one of them from the other. (Dorotheus, Book I, Ch. 20, Pingree trans., p. 11)

For if benefic stars are either found in that same sign, or if they are posited in fortunate houses of the nativity and in those signs in which they rejoice, or win which they are exalted , or in their own domiciles, they denote a group of many and good brothers. But if malefic stars do that same thing, devoid of the testimonies of benefic stars, they do the contrary. (Maternus, Book VI, Ch. 32, #25, Holden trans., p. 392)

And if the Lot of Brothers chances to be in those signs {water signs}, it gives, many brothers; but if the Lot chances to be in a sterile sign (that is, in Leo or Gemini or Sagittarius or Capricorn), it will make a scarcity of brothers, but in the rest [of the signs] a moderate number. And if the benefics aspect the Lot, they bestow life, but if the malefics aspect it, they bestow death. (Rhetorius, Ch. 108, Holden trans., p. 155, {} bracketed entry is mine).

Example

My mother (PA – birth time from certificate) is the oldest of 8 kids. She had 2 sisters and 5 brothers. Her closest sister in age died in a car accident in her twenties. She has had a relatively good relationship with her siblings but there have been clashes with her other sister and one of her brothers has struggled with mental illness.

PA - Siblings
PA’s Birth Chart with Lot of Siblings

The Lot of Siblings is in a water sign, which is indicative of many siblings. 4 planets aspect the lot and two of those are in the 3rd Place, which also pertains to siblings. Both benefics are in aversion to the lot while both malefics dominate it. We clearly see that the number of siblings is not determined by how well the benefics vs. malefics are configured to the lot. The fact that the ruler of the lot is with Saturn (ruler of the 8th), and Saturn dominates the lot (right side square) is consistent with the death of the oldest sister. It is worth noting that the twelfth-part of Jupiter is on the lot, which may be another indication of the multitude of siblings.

Children: From Jupiter to Saturn (not reversed) + Additional Variants

There are multiple variants of the Lot of Children. The most popular Lot of Children is that of Dorotheus which is from Jupiter to Saturn and is not reversed by night. Dorotheus does not mention a reversal. Paulus Alexandrinus insisted the lot is not reversed. The lot was not used by Valens or Maternus (both used different lots) so it is assumed that Paulus is correct. Therefore, I would not reverse the lot by night. However, this is controversial as many Medieval astrologers (including al-Qabisi and Abu Ma’shar) did explicitly reverse the lot by night.

Valens used two different lots, one for sons and one for daughters. I believe both should be considered. The Lot of Sons is from Jupiter to Mercury (not reversed). The Lot of Daughters if from Jupiter to Venus (not reversed). Maternus had a variant in which it appears that the shortest distance between Venus and Mercury was used. I won’t be considering the Maternus lot.

Sources

Dorotheus (1st century) introduced the lot but did not specify whether it should be reversed by night or not. It is assumed that it should not be reversed, following Paulus.

As noted, Valens (2nd century) used two different lots, one for sons and one for daughters.

Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century) stated the Dorothean formula for the lot but said nothing about its use (Ch. 23). Hephaistion (5th century) mentioned a Lot of Children and did not define it but did provide some pointers to its use (Book II, Ch. 22). Rhetorius (7th century) also didn’t define the lot but provided some pointers to its use (Ch. 48).

Meaning and Use

Dorotheus (Book II, Ch. 10) used the number of signs between the Lot of Children and its ruler to indicate the number of children. Malefic planets between them indicate bad things for the child. Generally planets in the stakes of the lot (except Saturn on the lot) indicate children. The Sun and Moon in stakes increase male or female children respectively. If no planet is in or regarding the lot then it indicates that the first child dies before birth or shortly after. The place of the lot is generally indicative of the good or bad from children (6th and 12th are worst). The sign type is important for number of children also (see quote below).

The approach of Valens (Book II, Ch. 39) to his Lot of Sons and Lot of Daughters is different than the approach of Dorotheus. Valens emphasizes the ruler of each lot and the aspects to that ruler (rather than to the lot itself). Benefic aspects to the ruler indicate children while malefics ones do not or may even indicate their loss.

Hephaistion (Book II, Ch. 22) noted that it is better if the lot is in a good place. In the 6th or 12th Place it is said to indicate a lack of children or hardship due to children. A lack of planets in the lot can also be indicative of a lack of children. Conversely, if the lot does indicate children then the sex of the sign may be indicative of the sex of one or more of the children.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Meaning of the Lot of Children

If the lot happens to be in a sign of few children, then it indicates a small number of children. If Saturn is with it, then it indicates that he will be sterile or will have few children or will be grieved with an intense grief on account of [his] children.

Jupiter and Mercury indicate children if they are in good places, but deny [it] if they are in the sterile signs, which are Gemini, Leo, Virgo, Capricorn, the beginning of Taurus, the middle of Libra, Aries, and Sagittarius. As for Aquarius and what is like this, it abounds in children, but Scorpio abounds in children and in deaths for them.  (Dorotheus, Book II, Ch. 10, Pingree trans., p. 29)

Therefore, it is necessary to examine the houseruler of this Lot of Children, which is found as follows: for male nativities, this Lot is found by determining the distance from Jupiter to Mercury (for female, from Jupiter to Venus), then counting this distance from the Ascendant. If the ruler of the Lot of Children has malefics in aspect, it destroys children; if it has the Givers of Children in aspect, it is indicative of fine offspring. (Valens, Book II, Ch. 39, Riley trans., p. 54)

The gives of children referred to by Valens are Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury when unafflicted (according to Petosiris per Valens).

If the Lot of Children falls in a domicile of Saturn and a malefic aspects the lot, it destroys the first-born [children]; and if the Lot of Children falls in [either of the] domiciles of Mars and a malefic aspects the lot, it destroys the middle-born; but if the Lot of Children fall in [either of the] domiciles of Mercury, and a malefic is in aspect, it destroys the youngest-born. (Rhetorius, Ch. 48, Holden trans., p. 27)

Example

Adrienne Barbeau (AA-rated birth time) is an American actress, singer, and author. She was married to filmmaker John Carpenter in the early ’80’s with whom she had a son. She re-married, to Billy Van Zandt, later in life (at age 47) and gave birth to twin boys at age 51. I have included the Lots of Children from Dorotheus and Valens. I have also included the female marriage lots for those interested.

Adrienne Barbeau with Children and Marriage Lots
Adrienne Barbeau’s Birth Chart with Child and Marriage Lots

The Dorothean lot is complicated. It is in a water sign (Cancer) and in a good place (11th), while the ruler (the Moon) is in the lot, all of which is indicative of many children. However, Saturn is also there, indicative of lack of children. In this case, Saturn is suggestive of the advanced age of Barbeau at the time of the birth of her twins.

The lot and its ruler are in a feminine sign, and the Moon being feminine in the place is suggestive of daughters rather than sons. However, we know that is not the case. The Valens Lot of Sons is much more prominent than the Lot of Daughters though. Interestingly, the Lot of Sons is in the sign of the twins (Gemini) and conjunct Mercury. Therefore, the symbolism of twin sons is very clear from the Valens lot.

Marriage: Saturn to Venus for Men, Venus to Saturn for Women (not reversed) + Many Variants

Now we come to the least certain lot. There are many variants to the Lot of Marriage. Dorotheus provided five different lots related to marriage. The most important of those is from Saturn to Venus for male marriage (Lot of the Wife) and Venus to Saturn for female marriages (Lot of the Husband), neither of which are supposed to be reversed by night. These are the lots which were also used by Paulus Alexandrinus. These lots continued to be popular for marriage delineation through the Middle Age.

Valens provided three totally different marriage lots. His general Lot of Marriage is from Jupiter to Venus (reversed by night). His Marriage-Bringer Lot for men (Lot of the Wife) is from the Sun to Venus. His Marriage-Bringer Lot for women (Lot of the Husband) is from the Moon to Mars. Presumably, these marriage-bringer lots are not to be reversed by night. The marriage-bringer lots of Valens continued to be popular marriage lots through the Middle Ages.

Sources

Dorotheus (1st century) introduced his lots of marriage which I term the Lot of the Wife and the Lot of the Husband (Book II, Ch. 2-3). He also used a Lot of Pleasure and Wedding which is from Venus to the degree of the sign of the seventh, and is not reversed (Book II, Ch. 5). An additional Lot of Wedding is introduced as well which is from the Sun to the Moon but projected from Venus (for women) or Mars (for men), and is not reversed by night (Book II, Ch. 6).

Valens (2nd century) introduced his various marriage lots in a thorough discussion of all things related to marriage delineation (Book II, Ch. 38).

Maternus (4th century) also used Saturn to Venus for the male Lot of Marriage by day, but reversed it by night. He used a different lot for female marriage (from Mars to Venus, reversed by night). The reversal of the Lot of Marriage for men and the unique formula for the female lot of marriage appear to only be found in Maternus (Book VI, Ch. 32, #27-32). Maternus also mentioned a Lot of Marriage from the Sun the Moon from the Ascendant by day or night (Book VI, Ch. 32, #28)

Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century) stated the Dorothean formula for the lot but said nothing about its use (Ch. 23). Hephaistion (5th century) mentioned marriage lots at the very end of his treatment of marriage delineation but did not define any (Book II, Ch. 21). It really is not clear if Hephaistion was referring to “lots” at all. He may have been referring to positions relevant to marriage that were previously discussed. Rhetorius (7th century) did not define the lot so it is not clear which one he used (most likely Dorothean). However, he provided numerous indications concerning the placement and configurations of the lot in Ch. 48 (see p. 28 of Holden trans.; also see Ch. 66-67).

Meaning and Use

The use of all the many marriage lots is beyond the scope of this article. Such a discussion could probably fill a book of its own. The most influential sets of lots are the pair noted by Dorotheus and Paulus (Saturn to Venus; Venus to Saturn) and the pair noted by Valens (Sun to Venus; Moon to Mars). Let’s look at some of the ways that Dorotheus and Valens used these lots.

Dorotheus used Saturn to Venus for male marriage (i.e. wife) and Venus to Saturn for female marriage (i.e. husband) – neither is reversed by night. A planet in the lot or the stake of the lot is an indicator of marriage. If the indicator is in the 6th or 12th or a malefic is in a stake of the lot then there will be grief associated with the marriage. Mars in the stake of the woman’s lot (husband lot) indicates a woman who marries many times or sleeps around with men. The ruler of the lot is indicative of the character and condition of the marriage partner.

Valens used Sun to Venus for the male Marriage-Bringer Lot (i.e. wife) and Moon to Mars for female Marriage-Bringer Lot (i.e. husband) – neither is reversed by night. Interestingly, Valens puts a lot of stock into weather the male Marriage-Bringer is in harmony with his Lot of Spirit and the female Marriage-Bringer is in harmony with her Lot of Fortune.  The nature of the rulers of the two lots and their relationship to each other figure heavily in his approach to marriage. Many stars in or in aspect to the lot show many marriages. The aspects of the planets to the lot also describe the nature of the marriage. The delineations are very complex for Valens, involving numerous related factors, so I recommend a study of his Book II, Chapter 38.

Hellenistic Astrologers on the Meaning of the Lot of Marriage

Look at the place (which I shall tell you) of the lot of wedding. Count from the degrees of Saturn to Venus and add to it the degrees of the ascendent [by day] or subtract it thirty at a time from the ascendent [by night]; wherever it reaches, then there is the lot of wedding. If you find any of those planets in this place or in quartile to it [the lot], then this is the indicator of the wedding. Look: perhaps then a malefic or a cardine of the lot is in the sixth or the twelfth so that this happens to be in a sign full of grief [and] scanty in benefit.(Dorotheus, Book II, Ch. 2, Pingree trans., p. 24)

For men the Place of Marriage should accord with Daimon; for women it should accord with the Lot of Fortune, because of the conjoining and uniting of the sun and moon. <If the Places do accord with the Lots>, the marriage will be judged harmonious and legitimate. If many stars are in conjunction or in aspect with the Marriage-bringer, there will be many marriages. (Valens, Book II, Ch. 38, Riley trans., p. 52)

The Lot of Adultery in Valens

As with his treatment of step-parents, Valens derives an additional lot by the point opposite to one of his marriage lots. His marriage lot from Jupiter to Venus has the Lot of Adultery as its point of opposition. The ruler of the Marriage Lot in the Adultery Lot and vice-versa are indications the native is an adulterer.

Calculate the Marriage Lot as follows: for day births, determine the distance from Jupiter to Venus (for night births, from Venus to  Jupiter), then count this distance from the Ascendant. The point in opposition to this Lot is indicative of Adultery. If the ruler of the Marriage Lot is found in opposition, and if the ruler of the Lot of Adultery is in the Marriage Lot, the native will constantly commit adultery, then be reconciled, then having reconciled, be separated, then again rejoin his mate in the course of his adulteries. If the ruler of the Marriage Lot is at morning rising, the native will marry at an early age; if it is at evening rising, he will marry late. If the ruler is operative while setting, the native will have a jealous or an illegal marriage. The ruler of Marriage causes the first marriage, the benefics in harmony with the Marriage-bringer or its ruler also cause marriages, especially if the signs of the stars in aspect or of the Marriage-bringer itself are bicorporeal.  (Valens, Book II, Ch. 38, Riley trans., p. 52)

Example

The delineation of marriage is complex, especially given the great number of marriage lots available. The Lot of Love is also very important in relationship matters. For general relationship considers it is often more important than the marriage lots.

I leave you with the chart of Elizabeth Taylor (AA-rated birth time) who was famously married 8 times to 7 husbands. The female lots noted by Dorotheus and Valens are shown. Your task is to think about how indications from these lots, Venus, and the 7th house pertain to the number of marriages. Read a bio of Taylor online to better understand the circumstances of different marriages. If you are familiar with predictive techniques, try applying them with consideration of the lots. You can report on your findings in the comments.

Elizabeth Taylor Marriage Lots
Elizabeth Taylor’s Birth Chart with Marriage Lots

Going Further

I suggest that one starts with just the lots noted in this article. Work through charts you are familiar with and look at each lot in turn. Don’t just take things that ancient astrologers said about the lots for granted. Think critically and you can learn to make the most of these lots. When you are ready to explore additional lots, I have some recommendations for doing this.

Exploring the Literature

In the “Sources” section for each lot I have noted the sections of Hellenistic texts which comment on each lot. You can refer to these sections for more ideas. When a lot is used throughout a text you have your work cut out for you in tracking down more information.

All of the lots discussed by Dorotheus are important ones. The new English translation of Carmen by Ben Dykes includes a table of the lots used in the work, as well as a convenient index. Some of the books of the Pingree translation have also been made available online, as I discussed in my article on free texts. Dykes also has a nearly 3 hour lots lecture available for purchase in which he discusses lots with examples involving 6 of them.

Vettius Valens was also particularly influential in his use of lots. You can download a free copy of the only full English translation of his text. As it is a PDF, you are free to use CTRL+F to search for mentions of lots within the text. Maternus largely followed Dorotheus and Valens in his use of the lots. Book VI, Ch. 32 of the Mathesis is particularly important on account of the numerous lots (called part or house) discussed. An English translation of the Mathesis in PDF is also available for free online.

Getting Medieval

For those looking for a more comprehensive late Medieval accounting of the lots, I recommend Introduction to Traditional Astrology, a compilation of translations by Ben Dykes. The work brings together introductory material by 9th and 10th century Perso-Arabic astrologers Abu Ma’shar and al-Qabisi. Book VI is dedicated to the lots and provides descriptions of over 6 dozen lots used by these two notable astrologers. As of this writing a Kindle edition is also available and that edition is free to read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. This text is not just a great reference for the lots, but is all around the most indispensable reference on Medieval astrology in all its aspects.

References

Dorotheus of Sidon, & al-Tabari, U. (2017). Carmen Astrologicum: The ’Umar al-Tabari Translation. (B. N. Dykes, Trans.). Minneapolis, Minn.,: The Cazimi Press.

Dorotheus of Sidon. (2005). Carmen Astrologicum. (D. Pingree, Trans.). Abingdon, MD: Astrology Center of America.

Manilius, M. (1977). Astronomica. (G. P. Goold, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library.

Maternus, J. F. (1972). Mathesis: A fourth-century astrological treatise. (J. R. Bram, Trans.). NY, NY: New York University.

Maternus, J. F. (2011). Mathesis. (J. H. Holden, Trans.). American Federation of Astrologers.

Paulus Alexandrinus & Olympiodorus. (2001). Late Classical Astrology: Paulus Alexandrinus and Olypiodorus. (D. G. Greenbaum, Trans.). Reston, VA: Arhat.

Porphyry, & Serapio. (2009). Porphyry the Philosopher. (J. H. Holden, Trans.). Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers.

Ptolemy, C. (1940). Ptolemy: Tetrabiblos. (F. E. Robbins, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library. Retrieved from http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Ptolemy/Tetrabiblos/home.html

Rhetorius of Egypt, & Teucer of Babylon. (2009). Rhetorius the Egyptian. (J. H. Holden, Trans.). Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers.

Valens, V. (2010). Anthologies. (M. Riley, Trans.) (Online PDF.). World Wide Web: Mark Riley. Retrieved from http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/Vettius%20Valens%20entire.pdf

Image Attributions

Featured image is cropped from image of a box of game pieces of the Ancient Egyptian game Senet at the King Tut Exhibit at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center (2012) by Dave Nakayama from Palo Alto, USA (King Tut’s Toys) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

The image of the painting Le Giocatrici di Astràgali by Antonio Canova (1799) is in the public domain.

The image of various dice and game pieces from the Museo de Albacete, Spain by Enrique Íñiguez Rodríguez (Qoan) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

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Ant

Student of astrology since the mid-nineties. Business owner, husband, and father of three. I enjoy hiking, reading, making music, and learning languages.

3 thoughts on “Twelve Easy Lessons for Beginners | 7. The Lots

  • Pingback:Difficult Charts | David Carpenter | Seven Stars Astrology

  • October 21, 2018 at 4:54 am
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    Hello, Anthony! Thanks for a great article. Could you tell us what the other lessons in this course for beginners will be about?

    Reply
    • October 21, 2018 at 8:39 am
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      They are all planned out but I don’t want to reveal that yet. I can tell you that the next lesson is about the principles of delineation though – in other words, it is about how to make sense of all these many factors in terms of what they say about a person’s life and to get ready for predictive techniques. I can also tell you that using predictive techniques is the topic of lessons 9-11.

      Reply

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