Fortunae te regendum dedisti, dominae moribus oportet obtemperes. Tu uero uoluentis rotae impetum retinere conaris? at, omnium mortalium stolidissime, si manere incipit fors esse desistit.* Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy
What is the Part of Fortune? Why do we use it and what does it symbolise? I would like to explore this in the next two, maybe three articles.
The Part of Fortune may rightly be called the Part of the Moon. And as we will shortly see, even its glyph reflects the lunar cycle. But first a little background information. The realm we live in, was known by the ancients as the sub-lunar realm. It is the realm of mortality, where everything is subject to change. Here Fortuna with her Wheel of Change (some would say Chance) holds sway. From a personal, biological viewpoint this is the Wheel of Incarnation – birth, childhood, youth, maturity, old age and death. But in all of this change there is continuity. The wheel turns but it doesn’t become undone in the turning.
The formula is: PoF = Ascendant + (Moon – Sun). But we mustn’t succumb to the temptation to look at it as an exercise in arithmetic. Fill in the spaces, add and subtract and finished. The formula itself deserves closer examination. We note three factors: the Sun, the Moon and the Ascendant.
- the Sun, the constant Light
- the Moon, the factor of change, the inconstant Light
- the Ascendant, the doorway to life and the sub-lunar realm of corporality
What is measured? The arc between the Sun and the Moon. And this arc has direction. It is from the Sun to the Moon. From the eternal realm to that of change. And, when you think about it, it makes more sense not to reverse the formula for night births. The reverse formula is symbolically more consistent when used for the Part of Spirit or Daemon. Here the direction is from Moon to Sun, the realm of change directed to that of eternity.
The Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit have the same reciprocal relation as a planet to its antiscion. The only difference is that the horizon replaces the Cancer/Capricorn solstice axis. Whereas the solstice axis represents generally the two gateways, one to mortality the other to immortality, the Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit represent the individual focus, once the gateway of birth or mortality has been passed through. The solstice axis isn’t flipped for a day or night birth and it seems reasonable not to do this for the Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit. This question is a matter of debate among astrologers. It is not only a matter or personal taste but one of consistency. At the moment the argument points in favour of not reversing the formula for the Parts of Fortune and Spirit. This may only be true for those Parts that behave like antiscia to one another and where the Ascendant is involved. The question is still open.
There is only one arc. Once found it is taken from the Ascendant to give the position of the Part of Fortune.
Sun –> Moon is the same as Ascendant –> PoF
(see the illustration below)
We can say that the PoF represents the integrity of the body during the cycle of change which is its lot, being part of the sub-lunar realm. For the same reason, its opposite, the Part of Spirit shows the moral integrity of the mortal creature striving towards the Divine.
There are particular situations which can deepen our understanding of these two Parts.
The first set is the cycle of lunation where particular configurations that need not be calculated because they are immediately apparent:
- At the New Moon both the Part of Fortune and the Part of Spirit are conjunct the Ascendant.
- Likewise at the Full Moon both are in opposition to the Ascendant.
- With a waxing the Half-Moon the Part of Fortune will be square the Ascendant below the horizon and the Part of Spirit in opposition above the horizon.
- This is reversed with a waning Half-Moon.
The second set is the daily cycle of sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset.
- At sunrise the Moon is conjunct the Part of Fortune.
- At sunset the Moon is in opposition to the Part of Fortune.
- At moonrise the Sun is conjunct the Part of Spirit.
- At moonset the Sun is in opposition to the Part of Spirit.
Compare the following two illustrations:
The first shows the Glyph that we normally use. It is a George’s Cross. The second shows the spaces in between, the quarters of the four central phases of the Moon. So we see that the Glyph itself is an image of the cycle of lunation where the Moon itself demonstrates the ever recurring cycle of poverty to prosperity and back again to poverty. The Cornucopia of Fortuna fills or empties itself with light.
*You have given yourself over to Fortune’s rule, and you must bow yourself to your mistress’s ways. Are you trying to stay the force of her turning wheel? Dull-witted mortal, if Fortune were to stay still, she is no longer Fortune.