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Al Biruni

Life & Influence

Verse 476
Fortunes of the Seven Planets
Fortunes of the Twelve Houses
Ten Fortunes not related to the Planets or Houses
Verse 477
Verse 478
Verse 479
Lots for Anniversaries
Lots for the Four Quarters
Lots for Crops
Lots for Horary Questions
Notes & Refs


Al Biruni's List of Parts
   Compiled & annotated by Deborah Houlding

The following is extracted from Al Biruni's text The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology, (written at Ghaznah, 1029 AD), following the R. Ramsay Wright translation (1934).

Verse 476. Other Lots than Part of Fortune

Ptolemy recognized only one Part of Fortune, but others have introduced an excessive number of methods of casting lots at nativities. We reproduce in tables those which Abu Ma'shar has mentioned.

In each case there are three things to be attended to: place 1 - the beginning 'mubdá'; place 2 - the end 'muntahá'; and place 3 - the casting point 'malqá', which are treated as in the preceeding paragraph, the position in a figure of the heavens of the fortune or lot in question being thereby determined. [note] These three points are called respectively 'manqud' [amount subtracted], 'manqud minhu' [that from which it is subtracted] and 'muzad ralaihi' [amount added]. Sometimes the same arrangement is used for both diurnal and nocturnal nativities, but frequently points 1 and 2 are interchanged for nocturnal ones.

It is impossible to enumerate the lots which have been invented for the solution of horary questions, and for answering enquiries as to prosperous outcome or auspicious time for action; they increase in number every day, but the following 97 different lots, 7 of which belong to the planets, 80 to the houses and 10 to neither are those most commonly in use.

[The following tables present Al Biruni's data in modern format.

S = the calculation remains the same by day and night
R = the calculation is reversed by night.

The reversed formula of the first 7 parts are shown, the others follow the same procedure of reversing the order of the planets in the calculation that projects the difference between them from the ascendant]

Fortunes of the Seven Planets By Day By Night
Fortune or Lunar horoscope Asc + Moon - Sun R (Asc + Sun - Moon)
Daemon and religion [Spirit] Asc + Sun - Moon R (Asc + Moon - Sun)
Friendship and love Asc + Spirit - Fortune R (Asc + Fortune - Spirit)
Despair & penury & fraud Asc + Fortune - Spirit R (Asc + Spirit - Fortune)
Captivity, prisons and escape therefrom Asc + Fortune - Saturn R (Asc + Saturn - Fortune)
Victory, triumph & aid Asc + Jupiter - Spirit R (Asc + Spirit - Jupiter)
Valour and bravery Asc + Fortune - Mars R (Asc + Mars - Fortune)

Fortunes of the Twelve Houses
1st House Life Asc + Saturn - Jupiter R
Pillar of horoscope,
- Nativities, permanence, constancy [1]
Asc + Spirit - Fortune  R
Reasoning and eloquence Asc + Mars - Mercury  R
2nd HouseProperty Asc + cusp of 2nd - lord of 2nd  R
Debt Asc + Mercury - Saturn  R
Treasure Trove Asc + Venus - Mercury  S
3rd HouseBrothers Asc + Jupiter - Saturn  S [2]
Number of brothers Asc + Saturn - Mercury  S
Death of brothers & sisters Asc + 10 Gemini - Sun  R
4th HouseParents [3] Asc + Saturn - Sun (or Jupiter)  R
Death of parents Asc + Jupiter - Saturn  R
Grandparents Asc + Saturn - II [4]  R
Ancestors and relations Asc + Mars - Saturn  R
Ancestors and relations Asc + Mars - Saturn  R
Real estate a/t Hermes Asc + Moon - Saturn  R
Real estate a/t some Persians Asc + Jupiter - Mercury  R
Agriculture, tillage Asc + Saturn - Venus  S
Issue of affairs [end of matter] Asc + Lord of last syzygy - Saturn [5]  S
5th HouseChildren Asc + Saturn - Jupiter (Venus)[6]  R
Time and number of sexes Asc + Jupiter - Mars [7]  S
Condition of males Asc + Jupiter - Mars  S
Condition of females Asc + Venus - Moon  S
Whether expected birth is male or female Asc + Moon - lord of Moon [8]  R
6th HouseDisease, defects, time of onset
a/t Hermes
Asc + Mars - Saturn [9]  R
a/t some of the ancients Asc + Mars - Mercury  S
Captivity Asc + dispositor lord of time- lord of time [10]  S
Slaves Asc + Moon - Mercury  S
7th HouseMarriage of men a/t Hermes Asc + Venus - Saturn  S
a/t Vettius Valens Asc + Venus - Sun  S
Trickery and deception of men and women Asc + Venus - Sun  S
Intercourse [11] Asc + Venus - Sun  S
Marriage of women (Hermes) Asc + Saturn - Venus  S
Marriage of women (Valens) Asc + Mars - Moon  S
Misconduct by women Asc + Mars - Moon  S
Trickery and deceit of men by women Asc + Mars - Moon  S
Intercourse [12] Asc + Mars - Moon  S
Unchastity of women Asc + Mars - Moon  S
Chastity of women Asc + Venus - Moon  S
Marriage of men and women a/t Hermes [13] Asc + Cusp of 7th - Venus  S
Time of marriage (Hermes) Asc + Moon - Sun  S
Fraudulent marriage & Facilitating it Asc + Venus - Saturn  S
Sons in law Asc + Venus - Saturn  R
Lawsuits Asc + Jupiter - Mars  R
8th HouseDeath Degree of Saturn + Cusp of 8th - Moon  S
Anairetai [anareta: destroyer] Asc + Moon - Lord of Asc   R
Year to be feared at birth for death, famine Asc + dispositor of last syzygy - Saturn [14]  S
Place of murder and sickness Degree of Mercury + Mars - Saturn  R
Danger of violence Asc + Mercury - Saturn  R
9th HouseJourneys Asc + Cusp of 9th - Lord of 9th  S
By water Asc + 15 Cancer - Saturn  R
Timidity and hiding Asc + Mercury - Moon  R
Deep reflection Asc + Moon - Saturn  R
Understanding and wisdom Asc + Sun - Saturn  R
Traditions, knowledge of affairs Asc + Jupiter - Sun  R
Knowledge whether true or false Asc + Moon - Mercury  S
10th HouseNoble births Asc + Degree of exaltation of the lord of time - lord of time [15]  R
Kings and Sultans  R
Administrators, vazirs [ministers], etc. Asc + Mars - Mercury  R
Sultan's victory, conquest Asc + Saturn - Sun  R
Of those who rise in station Asc + Fortune - Saturn  R
Celebrated persons of rank Asc + Sun - Saturn  S
Armies and police Asc + Saturn - Mars  R
Sultan. Those concerned In nativities Asc + Moon - Saturn  S
Merchants and their work Asc + Venus - Mercury  R
Buying and selling Asc + Fortune - Spirit  R
Operations and orders in medical Treatment Asc + Jupiter - Sun   R
Mothers Asc + Moon - Venus  R
11th HouseGlory Asc + Spirit - Fortune  R
Friendship and enmity Asc + Spirit - Fortune  R
Known by men and revered, Constant in affairs Asc + Sun - Fortune  R
Success Asc + Jupiter - Fortune  R
Worldliness Asc + Venus - Fortune  R
Hope Asc + Mercury - Jupiter  R
Friends Asc + Mercury - Moon  S
Violence Asc + Mercury - Spirit  S
Abundance in house Asc + Sun - Moon  S
Liberty of Person Asc + Sun - Mercury  R
Praise and acceptation Asc + Venus - Jupiter  R
12th HouseEnmity a/t some of the ancients Asc + Mars - Saturn  S
Enmity a/t Hermes Asc + Cusp of 12th - Lord of 12th   S
Bad luck Asc + Fortune - Spirit   S

Altogether 7 Fortunes belong to the Planets and 80 to the Houses.

Ten Fortunes not related to the Planets or Houses
Hailaj [Hyleg, 'life-giver'] Asc + Moon - degree of previous syzygy S
Debilitated bodies  Asc + Mars - Fortune R
Horsemanship, bravery Asc + Moon - Saturn R
Boldness, violence and murder Asc + Moon - Lord of Asc R
Trickery and deceit Asc + Spirit - Mercury R
Necessity and wish Asc + Mars - Saturn  S
Requirements and necessities a/t Egyptians Asc + Cusp of 3rd - Mars S
Realisation of needs and desires Asc + Mercury - Fortune  S
Retribution Asc + Sun - Mars R
Rectitude Asc + Mars - Mercury R

Verse 477. Differences in Practice

There are people who adopt methods differing from the above under some circumstances; eg., with regard to the lot of parents when Saturn is under the rays of the Sun, [16] they take from Jupiter to the Sun by night or vice versa by day, and cast from the ascendant. Again in the case of the lot for grandparents, if the Sun is in Leo, they take from the beginning of Leo to Saturn by day, and by night in the opposite direction. And if it is in the domicile of Saturn then from the Sun to Saturn by day, and vice versa by night; in both cases cast from the ascendant even if Saturn is under the rays or otherwise afflicted. Should two lots indicate the same point, it is regarded as very fortunate. In some of these cases the instructions for day and night are the same, in others different as may be seen from the table; in the former event there is no advantage to be derived from a separate calculation.

Verse 478. Other Lots

This matter of casting lots is a very long one, so that one might think there is no end to it. For instance, there are those which are cast at the turn of the year (the entry of the Sun into Aries), on worldly matters and affairs of empire, and those which are cast at conjunctions and oppositions of the Moon to elicit prognostications as to weather, as to success of ventures, and other horary questions. We append in tables the opinions of others on these matters which we have derived from books on the subject.

Verse 479. Lots cast at anniversaries of the world-year and conjunctions

The Sultan's Lot   Jupiter + MC of the return chart - MC (or Sun) S
By another way Asc + Degree conj. - Deg. Asc. Conj. S
Victory Asc + Lord of 7th (or degree of desc) - Sun S
Battle Degree of Lot of Victory - Moon - Mars  S
Second way a/t Umar Asc + Moon - Mars S
Third way a/t Al Furkhan Asc + Moon - Saturn S
Truce between Armies Asc + Mercury - Moon  S
Conquest Asc + Mars - Sun S
Triumph Asc + Jupiter - Fortune  R
Of 1st conjunction Asc + Degree conj. - Ascen. Year conj.  S
Of 2nd conjunction Asc + Degree conj. - Ascen. Conj. S

The following lots are associated with the years, the four quarters, and the conjunctions and oppositions of the Moon.

Earth Asc + Jupiter - Saturn S
Water   Asc + Venus - Moon S
Air and Wind Asc + dispositor of Mercury[17] - Mercury S
Fire Asc + Mars - Sun S
Clouds Asc + Saturn - Mars R
Rains Asc + Venus - Moon R
Cold Asc + Saturn - Mercury  R
Floods Moon + Sun - Saturn  Cast chart at Moon-rise

Lots as to prognostics regarding crops, &c.

Wheat Asc + Jupiter - Sun R
Barley meal  Asc + Jupiter - Moon R
Rice, Millet  Asc + Venus - Jupiter R
Maize  Asc + Saturn - Jupiter  R
Pulse  Asc + Mercury - Venus R
Lentils and iron   Asc + Saturn - Mars R
Beans, onions   Asc + Mars - Saturn R
Chick peas   Asc + Sun - Venus R
Sesame, grapes  Asc + Venus - Saturn R
Sugar  Asc + Mercury - Venus R
Honey  Asc + Sun - Moon R
Oil  Asc + Moon - Mars  R
Nuts, flax  Asc + Venus - Mars R
Olives  Asc + Moon - Mercury R
Apricots  Asc + Mars - Saturn R
Water melons  Asc + Mercury - Jupiter R
Salt  Asc + Mars - Moon R
Sweets   Asc + Venus - Sun  R
Astringents  Asc + Saturn - Mercury R
Pungent things   Asc + Saturn - Mars R
Raw silk, cotton   Asc + Venus - Mercury R
Purgatives  Asc + Saturn - Mercury R
Bitter purgatives   Asc + Mars - Saturn R
Acid purgatives   Asc + Jupiter - Saturn  R

Lots cast in connection with horary questions

Secrets Asc + Cusp of 10th - Lord of Asc S
Urgent wish   Asc + Lord of Asc - Lord of hour  R
Time of attainment   Asc + Lord of 10th - Lord of hour  R
Information true or not  Asc + Moon - Mercury R
Injury to business  Asc + Fortune - Lord of Asc S
Freedmen and servants   Mercury + Saturn - Jupiter S
Lords and masters  Moon - Saturn - Jupiter S
Marriage  Asc + Cusp 7th - Venus  S
Time for action   Asc + Jupiter - Sun S
Time occupied therein  Asc + Saturn - Sun S
Dismissal or resignation  Jupiter + Jupiter - Sun S
Time thereof   Cusp 10th + Fortune - Lord of the affair  S
Life or death of absent person  Asc + Mars - Moon S
Lost animal  Asc + Mars - Sun  S
Lawsuit   Asc + Mercury - Mars S
Successful issue [outcome]  Asc + Jupiter - Sun S
Decapitation  Cusp 8th + Mars - Moon S
Torture  Cusp 9th + Saturn - Moon S

Notes & References:

  Note] The 'beginning' is the planet measurement is taken from; the 'end' is the planet measurement is taken to; the 'casting point' is the place from where this distance is projected - usually the ascendant. Thus, with the Part of Fortune by day, which uses the formula: Asc + (Moon - Sun), the Sun is the beginning, the Moon the end, and the ascendant the casting point.

Al Biruni tabulated his data in the style:

Names of the Fortunes Distance between
Place 1 & Place 2
Cast from
Place 3
Dirunal or
Part of Fortune Sun Moon Asc Change

It is here presented in modern format for ease of reference, but otherwise adheres strictly to his data.

Explanatory inserts or translations not found in the original text are placed within square brackets [].
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  1] This is the same formula as the part of friendship and love. Many of the parts listed by Al Biruni share the same formula because the part takes definition from the nature of the query; hence the calculation for friendship and love is used as an indication of the benefits expected from constancy of character when applied to first house matters.

In other instances the same calculation is listed under alternate but similar titles - as seen in the section on the 'fortunes of the 7th house' where the calculation Asc + Mars - Moon is known as the part of 'misconduct by women', 'trickery and deceit of men by women', 'intercourse (of women)' and 'unchastity of women'. Al Biruni appears to have collected his data from a variety of sources and included an entry for each variant title even though they all represent the same principle.
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  2] Albiruni states that the formula remains the same by day and night. Other authors, such as Dorotheus (Carmen Astrologicum, I.19), instruct us to reverse the formula for night.
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  3] Otherwise known as the part of the father. Albiruni explains in v.477 that the formula is normally Asc + Saturn - Sun, except when Saturn is under the Sun's rays - in this case use Asc + Saturn - Jupiter.
Al Biruni defines Saturn as under the rays of the Sun when it is within 15 degrees of the body of the Sun, (v.481).
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  4] This entry is not very clear. Robert H. Granite in The Fortunes of Astrology: A New Complete Treatment of the Arabic Parts, (San Diego, CA: ACS Publications, 1980), uses Ascendant + Saturn - cusp of 2nd house. Ramsay Wright's translation of Al Biruni's text indicates a roman numeral II which could represent the cusp of the 2nd house, but where house cusps are integrated into the calculation elsewhere they are clearly marked 'cusp' which does not appear here. The symbol should probably be taken as the glyph for Gemini - a suggestion which gains weight from Al Biruni's comment in v. 477 that when the Sun is in Leo an alternative calculation for the part of grandparents is to take from the beginning of Leo to Saturn. He goes on to give another alternative if the Sun is in the domicile of Saturn making the calculation of this part quite complicated with logic that is difficult to understand.
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  5] The last syzygy is the new or full moon preceding the chart. The original text states "Lord of conjunction or opposition".
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  6] We are not told under what circumstances Venus is taken as an alternative to Jupiter. Dorotheus agrees with Asc + Saturn - Jupiter, reversed at night, as the lot of children. Like most classical astrologers Dorotheus appears to have extended the influence of the lot to the whole sign/house within which it was placed, and yet it is clear that he was also making use of the degree of the part (for example, in places where he tells us to consider the ruler of its terms). His instruction on the lot of children illustrates the detail that was derived from its employment.

"… wherever it happens to be, look at its lord. Then count from the lot to its lord how many signs there are, or from its lord which follows it; whatever there is of signs between these two, that is the number of children. If you find a malefic between these two, it indicates the death of the children. If the Sun or Moon is in quartile or opposition with the lot, then the Sun will increase the male children, the Moon the female. If you find that there is no [planet] in the lot or aspecting it, then the first child will not be benefited by it because he will be miscarried or will die horribly. If you find the lot in a cardine or a good place, then it is a good indication in the matter of children. If it happens to be in the 6th or 12th place, then neither a male nor a female will be born to him, and he will suffer distress and grief from this; but if he should have children, they will not stay with him, so that they be apart from him in the cities. If the lot happens to be where none of the planets is in quartile or opposition to it, then these [natives] have a need for children. But if there are planets in opposition or quartile to the lot, then it indicates he will have a multitude 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 he will be sterile or will have few children or will be grieved with an intense grief on account of children." (Carmen Astrologicum, II.10)
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  7] Dorotheus uses this as the lot of the time of having children: "When Jupiter transits that lot or its opposition or aspects it from quartile, then will be born children to this native. When Venus happens to transit this lot, it indicates children" (CA., II.11). He also agrees with the formula Asc + Venus - Moon for the lot of female children but uses Asc + Sun - Jupiter for the lot of male children.
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  8] In Ramsay Wright's translation the text reads that from the Moon is subtracted from "Lord of house of Moon".
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  9] Dorotheus gives detail on the use of this part in Carmen Astrologicum (IV.1.75)
"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 ascendant; 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 for that sign. Aries is the head, Taurus the neck …."
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  10] The Lord of time is the Sun is a diurnal chart and the Moon in a diurnal chart. The rendering of Albiruni's meaning in regard to this formula is unclear. Ramsay Wright's translation states that from the ascendant is projected the "Lord of house of Lord of time of Lord of VI" minus the position of the Lord of time. Robert H. Granite in The Fortunes of Astrology has decided upon a much simpler formula, ie., Asc + Lord of Saturn's House - Saturn.
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  11] Presumably of men with women (see below).
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  12] Presumably of women with men (see note 1).
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  13] Dorotheus refers to this as the lot of happiness and wedding (although he reverses the formula at night). He says of it
"See which [planet] is its lord and which is with it and which aspects it, as, if a malefic is in this lot or aspects it, say that the native will marry disgraced and one in whom there is no good. If the lord of this lot is in a bad place while Venus is under the rays of the Sun and the malefics aspect then most of those whose nativity is thus will never marry". (II.5)
However, he also refers to the lot of wedding as: Asc + Venus - Saturn (reversed at night) and mentions a 'lot of wedding by day and night' which is always taken as Venus + Moon - Sun (II.2 and II.6). From the context of the text, the latter appears to be taken as a lot of wedding for men, as we are advised to use Mars + Moon - Sun where the native is a female.
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  14] Ramsay Wright's translation states the 'Lord of House in which conjunction or opposition' is subtracted from Saturn (and projected from the ascendant).
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  15] The 'lord of time' is either the Sun (in a diurnal chart) or the Moon (in a nocturnal chart).
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  16] Al Biruni defines Saturn as under the rays of the Sun when it is within 15 degrees of the body of the Sun, v.481.
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  17] The term used in the text is "Lord of his domicile".
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© Deborah Houlding. Reproduced online Dec. 2004