Arabian Parts

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Calculating Persian astrologer Mashallah[1]

Arabian Parts, or Arabic Parts (from the Latin word pars) fall under the heading of sensitive points as they are not actual heavenly bodies, yet their position can be calculated within a horoscope. The Arabian parts actually pre-dated the emergence of astrology in Islamic societies. Hellenistic astrologers called them lots, and some ancient astrologers used them extensively.

Arabian parts are used in horary astrology today, with some use in natal, medical, and predictive mundane astrology.


The lots are a very ancient astrological technique which can be traced back to pre-Hellenistic sources. Their origin is obscure; they could originally be Babylonian, Ancient Egyptian, Magian, Persian or Hermetic, but by the time of Dorotheus of Sidon in the first century A.D. (and probably earlier) they had become an established tenet of Hellenistic astrological practice.

One of the best informational sources for the lots is the Introduction to astrology by fourth-century astrologer Paulus Alexandrinus and the Commentary on this work by sixth-century philosopher Olympiodorus the Younger. Paulus used a dozen or so major lots for almost every aspect of his analysis. The most important of these were the Lot of Fortune (or Part of Fortune) and its complement, the Lot of Spirit.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, all of the classical legacy, including astrology, fell to the Abbasid Arabs and Persians. Arab astrologers translated sources from Greek and produced many of their own astrologers who wrote a considerable amount in Arabic on astrology. Although it is not clear whether the number of lots began to proliferate in late Antiquity or whether it was purely the product of the fascination the Arabs had for them, Arabic manuscripts show an explosion in the number of lots that were used over the next several centuries. The inordinate increase is noted by the Arab commentators themselves. In The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology, Persian astrologer Abu Ma'Shar (787-886) describes no less than 55 lots, although it's clear that these are only the ones he considers significant. This count does not even include all of the lots of Paulus.

Beginning in the tenth century, many Arabic manuscripts were translated into Latin, becoming the means by which Classical astrology found its way back to Europe. Medieval astrologers, most notably the major 13th-century Italian, Guido Bonatti, a contemporary of Dante, assumed it was the Arabs who originated the concept of the lots, and hence they came eventually to be called the "Arabic parts".

By the time of William Lilly, only the Lot of Fortune continued to be used by astrologers, although in a manner that would be considered strange by ancient practitioners. Lilly's methods with what he called "Fortuna" have continued in modern astrology, although rarely used and usually misunderstood. The Lot of Fortune mainly appears today in horary practice.


Astrologers over the centuries have used hundreds of Arabian parts, involving different sorts of calculations. Essentially they are arithmetically derived points located on the Ecliptic. Most Arabian parts in use today are calculated by taking the longitudinal distance between two planets or house cusps believed to have some influence over a matter of interest, and projecting it from the ascendant or midheaven. Astrologers disagree on whether day- and night-charts should involve different calculations. In a day chart, however, the Part of Fortune is calculated by taking the distance in degrees (according to the order of the signs) from the sun to the moon, and then adding that distance to the degrees of the ascendant. In a night chart, one starts with the moon and determines the number of degrees from the moon to the sun, then adds that number to the degrees of the ascendant.


To calculate the Arabian parts (more details can be found under the individual headings), the degree of a sign must be converted into an absolute degree from 0 degrees Aries. This means that an ascendant at 9 degrees Leo equates to 129 degrees, the sun at 4 degrees Taurus to 34 degrees and the moon at 6 degrees Aquarius to 306 degrees. For a daylight birth the part of fortune is calculated by adding the position of the moon to the ascendant and subtracting the position of the sun. In the above example, that would result in a total of 401 degrees. Because there are only 360 degrees in the zodiac, 360 is then subtracted from this sum, which gives a final result of 41 degrees, which is equivalent to 11 degrees Taurus.

The Seven Hermetic Lots[2]

Sensitive Points of the Seven Planets According to Different Methods

Seven Sensitive Points, each assigned to the seven planets, play an important role. However, even since antiquity there are partly different calculation methods for them in circulation. For example, Paulus Alexandrinus[3] and Firmicus Maternus[4] (both 4th century AD) provide different definitions for the lots assigned to Mercury and Venus, Necessity and Eros respectively.

The following table summarizes the differences:

Point Paulus Alexandrinus
Firmicus Maternus
Fortune/Harmony (Moon) Asc+Lun.gif-Sun.gif dito
Daimon/Spirit (Sun) Asc+Sun.gif-Lun.gif dito
Necessity/Inspiration (Mercury) Asc+Fortune-Mer.gif Asc+Fortune-Daimon
Love/Eros (Venus) Asc+Ven.gif-Daimon Asc+Daimon-Fortune
Courage/Success (Mars) Asc+Fortune-Mar.gif dito
Victory/Fame (Jupiter) Asc+Jup.gif-Daimon dito
Nemesis/Father (Saturn) Asc+Fortune-Sat.gif dito

Astrodienst offers a chart drawing style "Arabic Points/Al-Biruni" (APA) with additional tables, which show the calculations of these and other points acc. to Al-Biruniʹs method. There is also a chart drawing style ʺHellenisticʺ, which calculates the points acc. to Paulus Alexandrinus.


Table of Sensitive Points in Hellenistic Astrology

The sensitive points marked with an asterisc use this formula only for day births. The formula needs to be reversed for night births (+ to - and - to +).

Fortune (Moon) Asc + Lun.gif - Sun.gif *
Spirit/Daimon (Sun) Asc + Sun.gif - Lun.gif *
Necessity (Mercury) Asc + Fortune - Mer.gif *
Love (Venus) Asc + Ven.gif - Daimon *
Courage (Mars) Asc + Fortune - Mar.gif *
Victory (Jupiter) Asc + Jup.gif - Daimon *
Nemesis (Saturn) Asc + Fortune - Sat.gif *
Basis Asc + Fortune - Daimon *
Exaltation Asc + 19 Aries - Sun.gif / Asc + 3 Taurus - Mo
Father Asc + Sat.gif - Sun.gif * (Jup.gif - Mar.gif, if |Sat.gif - Sun.gif| < 17)
Mother Asc + Lun.gif - Ven.gif *
Siblings Asc + Jup.gif - Sat.gif *
Children Asc + Sat.gif - Jup.gif *
Sons Asc + Mer.gif - Jup.gif
Daughters Asc + Ven.gif - Jup.gif
Marriage Asc + Ven.gif - Jup.gif *
Marriage of Men (Paulus) Asc + Ven.gif - Sat.gif
Marriage of Women (Paulus) Asc + Sat.gif - Ven.gif
Marriage of Men (Valens) Asc + Ven.gif - Sun.gif
Marriage of Women (Valens) Asc + Mar.gif - Lun.gif
Debt Asc + Sat.gif - Mer.gif
Theft Asc + Mar.gif - Mer.gif *
Treachery Asc + Mar.gif - Sun.gif *
Being away from home Asc + Mar.gif - Sat.gif *
Accusation Asc + Mar.gif - Sat.gif *
Destroyer Asc + Lun.gif - Ruler Asc *

Table of Sensitive Points according to Al-Biruni

The sensitive points marked with an asterisc use this formula only for day births. The formula needs to be reversed for night births (+ to - and - to +).

Points of the Seven Planets
Fortune (Moon) Asc + Lun.gif - Sun.gif *
Spirit/Daimon (Sun.gif) Asc + Sun.gif - Lun.gif *
Necessity (Mercury) Asc + Fortune - Daimon *
Love (Venus) Asc + Daimon - Fortune *
Courage (Mars) Asc + Fortune - Mar.gif *
Victory (Jupiter) Asc + Jup.gif - Daimon *
Nemesis (Saturn) Asc + Fortune - Sat.gif *
1st House Themes
Life Asc + Sat.gif - Jup.gif *
Permanence Asc + Daimon - Fortune *
Reasoning and eloquence Asc + Mar.gif - Mer.gif *
2nd House Themes
Property Asc + cusp 2 - ruler 2 *
Debt Asc + Mer.gif - Sat.gif *
Treasure trove Asc + Ven.gif - Mer.gif
3rd House Themes
Siblings Asc + Jup.gif - Sat.gif
Number of siblings Asc + Sat.gif - Mer.gif
Death of siblings Asc + 10° 3. House - Sun.gif *
4th House Themes
Parents Asc + Sat.gif - Sun.gif (- Jup.gif, if |Sun.gif-Sat.gif| < 15) *
Death of parents Asc + Jup.gif - Sat.gif *
Grandparents Asc + Sat.gif - 0 Gemini *
Ancestors and relatives Asc + Mar.gif - Sat.gif *
Real estate (Hermes) Asc + Lun.gif - Sat.gif *
Real estate (Perser) Asc + Jup.gif - Mer.gif *
Agriculture Asc + Sat.gif - Ven.gif
Issue of affairs Asc + ruler of last syzygy - Sat.gif
5th House Themes
Children Asc + Sat.gif - Jup.gif *
Sons Asc + Jup.gif - Mar.gif
Daughters Asc + Ven.gif - Lun.gif
Gender expected Asc + Lun.gif - Regent Lun.gif *
6th House Themes
Disease (Hermes) Asc + Mar.gif - Sat.gif *
Disease (andere) Asc + Mar.gif - Mer.gif
Captivity Asc + house ruler of time lord - time lord
Slaves Asc + Lun.gif - Mer.gif
7th House Themes
Marriage of a man Asc + Ven.gif - Sat.gif
Intercourse of a man Asc + Ven.gif - Sun.gif
Marriage of a woman Asc + Sat.gif - Ven.gif
Intercourse of a woman Asc + Mar.gif - Lun.gif
Chastity of women Asc + Ven.gif - Lun.gif
Marriage Asc + cusp 7 - Ven.gif
Time of marriage Asc + Lun.gif - Sun.gif
Fraudulent marriage Asc + Ven.gif - Sat.gif
Sons in law Asc + Ven.gif - Sat.gif *
Lawsuits Asc + Jup.gif - Mar.gif *
8th House Themes
Death Sat.gif + cusp 8 - Lun.gif
Anareta Asc + Lun.gif - ruler of Asc *
Year feared for death Asc + house ruler last syz. - Sat.gif
Place of murder and sickness Mer.gif + Mar.gif - Sat.gif *
Danger of violence Asc + Mer.gif - Sat.gif *
9th House Themess
Journeys Asc + cusp 9 - ruler 9
Travel by water Asc + 15 Cancer - Sat.gif *
Timidity and hiding Asc + Mer.gif - Lun.gif *
Deep reflection Asc + Lun.gif - Sat.gif *
Understanding and wisdom Asc + Sun.gif - Sat.gif *
Traditions, knowledge of affairs Asc + Jup.gif - Sun.gif *
Knowledge whether true or false Asc + Lun.gif - Mer.gif
10th House Themes
Noble births Asc + exaltation time lord - time lord *
Kings Asc + Lun.gif - Mar.gif *
Administrators and ministers Asc + Mar.gif - Mer.gif *
Conquest Asc + Sat.gif - Sun.gif *
Those who rise in station Asc + Fortune - Sat.gif *
Celebrated persons of rank Asc + Sun.gif - Sat.gif
Armies and police Asc + Sat.gif - Mar.gif *
Ruler (those concerned in nativities) Asc + Lun.gif - Sat.gif
Merchants and their work Asc + Ven.gif - Mer.gif *
Buying and selling Asc + Fortune - Daimon *
Medical treatment Asc + Jup.gif - Sun.gif *
Mothers Asc + Lun.gif - Ven.gif *
11th House Themes
Friends and foes Asc + Daimon - Fortune *
Known by men and reverred Asc + Sun.gif - Fortune *
Success Asc + Jup.gif - Fortune *
Worldliness Asc + Ven.gif - Fortune *
Hope Asc + Mer.gif - Jup.gif *
Friends Asc + Mer.gif - Lun.gif
Violence Asc + Mer.gif - Daimon
Abundance in house Asc + Sun.gif - Lun.gif
Liberty of person Asc + Sun.gif - Mer.gif *
Praise and acceptation Asc + Ven.gif - Jup.gif *
12th House Themes
Enmity (Hermes) Asc + cusp 12 - ruler 12
Enmity (others) Asc + Mar.gif - Sat.gif
Bad luck Asc + Fortune - Daimon
Other Fortunes
Hyleg Asc + Lun.gif - last Syzygy
Debilitated bodies Asc + Mar.gif - Fortune *
Horsemanship and bravery Asc + Lun.gif - Sat.gif *
Boldness, violence, murder Asc + Lun.gif - ruler Asc *
Trickery and deceit Asc + Daimon - Mer.gif *
Necessity and wish Asc + Mar.gif - Sat.gif
Requirements and necessities Asc + Spitze 3 - Mar.gif
Realisation of needs and desires Asc + Mer.gif - Fortune
Retribution Asc + Sun.gif - Mar.gif *
Rectitude Asc + Mar.gif - Mer.gif

See also

Brennan's glyph for the Lot of Spirit

Most known Arabian parts:



  • Olivia Barclay, 1990, Horary Astrology Rediscovered, Whitford Press
  • Robert Zoller, 1989, The Arabic Parts in Astrology: A Lost Key to Prediction, Inner Traditions International, Rochester Vermont, 1980, 1989) ISBN 0-89281-250-8
  • William Lilly, Christian Astrology. (London, 1647) (in Ascella Publications edition, London, 1999) ISBN 1-898503-99-0
  • Abu Ma'shar. The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology [Edited and Translated by Charles Burnett] (ARHAT Publications, 1994) ISBN 0-9662266-3-1
  • Paulus Alexandrinus. Introductory Matters Translated by Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum from the Greek in: Late Classical Astrology: Paulus Alexandrinus and Olympiodorus, with the Scholia from Later Commentators (Arhat - Archive for the Retrieval of Historical Astrological Texts, Reston, VA, 2001.)[5]
  • Dorotheus of Sidon. Carmen Astrologicum (Translated by David Pingree 1976; Astrology Classics edition, Bel Air Maryland, 2005) ISBN 1-933303-14-X

Notes and References

  1. Portrayal of Mashallah as a medieval magus by Albrecht Duerer (1504)
  2. In: Paul of Alexandria (4th century); illustration from Chris Brennan
  3. Paulus Alexandrinus, Introductory Matters, Project Hindsight, Greek Track vol. I, 1993, Kap. 23, S. 46ff. Paulus refers to a lost work by Hermes Trismegistos with the title Panaretos.
  4. Firmicus Maternus, Matheseos libri VIII., VI.32.45f. (acc. to the lat. edition by Kroll, 1913)
  5. Paulus is also available in a translation for Project Hindsight by Robert Schmidt (without the Commentary by Olympiodorus), The Golden Hind Press, Berkeley Springs, WV, 1996