Part of Fortune

Part of Fortune

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The part of fortune, an imaginary point in an astrological chart, can be determined in two different ways. The first way is to measure the angular distance between the Sun and the Moon, and then find the point in the chart where the Moon would fall if—keeping the angular distance constant—the Sun were to be moved to the ascendant (the sign and degree of the zodiac on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth). The point where the Moon would then fall is the part of fortune. To clarify this with a concrete example, if in a given natal chart the Sun is at 10° Aries and the Moon at 20° Taurus (Aries and Taurus are successive signs), then the Sun-Moon angle (i.e., the angular distance between the Sun and Moon) is 40°. In this same chart the ascendant is located at 5° Libra. If the chart is then imaginarily rotated until the Sun is at 5° Libra, the Moon would be at 15° Scorpio (40° away from 5° Libra). Thus, the part of fortune would be located at 15° Scorpio. This method of locating the part of fortune is actually a simplification of the older method for finding this part.

In the more traditional approach, the above example is correct for daytime births (i.e., for when the Sun is above the horizon). For nighttime births, however, one imaginarily rotates the chart until the Moon rather than the Sun is on the ascendant. Where the Sun then falls is then where one locates the part of fortune. For example, re-envision the above example with the ascendant at 15° Libra. Whereas in the first example the Sun was just above the horizon, in this new example the Sun is just below the horizon. The angular distance between the Sun and the Moon is still 40°, but the part of fortune is now 40° above rather than 40° below the ascendant. Thus in the second chart, the part is located at 5° Virgo.

The house and sign placement of the part of fortune indicate, as the name intimates, good fortune. The placements also indicate areas and activities in which the native finds enjoyment. The part of fortune is but one member of a system of points referred to as the Arabian parts, but which in fact antedates the flowering of Arabic astrology (the part of fortune as well as the other parts were utilized in the pre-Islamic Mediterranean world). Western astrologers, impressed by the compendium of parts written by the great Muslim scholar Al-Biruni, called them the Arabic parts, and the name stuck. The many other parts discussed by Al-Biruni—death, children, commerce, and so forth, which are calculated by measuring the angular distance between various planets and placing one planet or the other on the ascendant or on another house cusp—are rarely used by contemporary astrologers. The part of fortune, however, is utilized by most modern astrologers. Many chart-casting programs can calculate the other parts in an instant, making experimentation with them relatively easy. Thus, a revival of the whole system in the not-too-distant future is possible.

Sources:

DeVore, Nicholas. Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1947.
Granite, Robert Hurzt. The Fortunes of Astrology. San Diego: Astro Computing Services, 1980.