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Casting Lots: The Symbolism Behind the Formulas


In my last blog post, Intro to Casting Lots, we discussed what the Lots are, where the Lots came from, and how to calculate them. You can find all that info here, oracularjake.com/post/introduction-to-casting-lots.


Today we're going to talk about the symbolic meaning behind the order of the planets in Lot formulas. First up, let's review the calculations a little.


Lot Formula Review

Before we get into the symbolism, remember that all Lot formulas follow the same basic pattern.


How Lot formulas are written in books:


Point A to Point B, projected from Point C


How Lot formulas are written for calculators and programs:


Point C + Point B - Point A


Point A & Point B are usually either two planets or a planet and another Lot.


Point C is usually the ascendant, the cusp of a particular house, or sometimes even a planet. If nothing is mentioned for Point C, just assume it's the ascendant because there's always a Point C.

The Symbolism Behind The Calculations

If you've ever looked at the description of a Lot, you usually get the calculation, the name of the Lot, and maybe a few significations. The thing is, there are a lot of authors that don't agree on things when it comes to the Lots.

The most common issue is authors disagreeing on the formulas for a Lot. How do you figure out what to use? Well, once you learn the symbolic idea behind the formulas, you'll have a much better idea of which Lots give what information.


Let's look at the Lot of Fortune and the Lot of Spirit as prototypes.


The Lot of Fortune

Calculated from the sun to the moon, then projected from the ascendant by day (reverse for night births).

The Lot of Fortune is known as the ascendant of the moon and signifies all things physical, the body, and the substance of the native's life.

The Lot of Spirit

Calculated from the moon to the sun, then projected from the ascendant by day (reverse for night births).

The Lot of Spirit signifies faith, intellect, career, and the native's character.


Observations

Looking at these two Lots, we can start to make some observations about the similarities and differences between them.

The first thing you may notice is the fact that these two Lots use the exact same three points. Both of them use the sun, moon, and ascendant. We can also see that these are two different Lots with two different meanings.


So, we have two distinct Lots whose only real difference is the order of the planets in the formula. Which means, the difference in their significations must come from the difference in their order.


If we stop for a second and think about the idea of reversing the calculations for sect, we can notice another pattern.


The Lot of Fortune, by day, is from the sun to the moon, then from the Asc. Moving from the luminary of sect, the sun during the day, to the luminary contrary to sect, the moon during the day.


The Lot of Fortune, by night, is from the moon to the sun, then from the Asc. Moving from the luminary of sect, the moon at night, to the luminary contrary to sect, the sun at night.


The Lot of Spirit, by day, is from the moon to the sun, then from the Asc. Moving from the luminary contrary to sect, the moon during the day, to the luminary of sect, the sun during the day.


The Lot of Spirit, by night, is from the sun to the moon, then from the Asc. Moving from the luminary contrary to sect, the sun at night, to the luminary of sect, the moon at night.


Thus, we see that


The Lot of Fortune is always moving from the luminary that is light to the luminary that is dark.


The Lot of Spirit is always moving from the luminary that is dark to the luminary that is light.

The sun is never above the horizon at night so the sun is always dark at night. The moon can be above or below the horizon at night so this rule is centered on the sun.


Moving from Light to Darkness or Darkness to Light

All of that was basically so we could arrive at this symbolism between Light and Darkness. So, what are these supposed to symbolize?


Light is symbolically associated with things that are intangible. The sun, Light, and the section of the chart that's above the horizon are all symbolically similar.


Darkness is symbolically associated with things that are tangible. The earth, Darkness, and the section of the chart that's below the horizon are all symbolically similar.


The idea behind Light is basically that it's associated with the realm of the mind, the heavens, the divine, ideas, faith, etc. All of the intangible things. If you think of an apple right now you may be able to see it in your mind, but you can't touch it. This idea of an apple is different from the real thing in that you can't touch it and it will never decay.


The idea behind Darkness is basically that it's associated with the mundane, earth, the physical, growth & decay. If you go get an apple right now you may be able to see it, touch it, and taste it but it will decay. Whether you destroy the apple by consuming it or letting it decay on its own, the real apple is temporary.


Your body (moon/darkness) will die, but your spirit (sun/light) is eternal.

Go ahead and get REAL familiar with this metaphor between Light & Darkness


This symbolic concept was a huge underpinning behind ancient thought and explains WAY more than just Lot formulas.

Reproduction is a major thing in the natural world and people understood the world by making observations from nature.


Men were associated with the sun and Light because that's symbolically more fitting for their role in reproduction. Men just nut and go. Their role in childbirth is intangible.


Women were associated with the moon and Darkness because that's symbolically more fitting for their role in reproduction. Women have to physically grow a human inside their body and give birth. Their role in childbirth is tangible.

Now, as a gay man who doesn't want children, I can step back and say that's dumb, gender roles, misogyny, etc. Those are all valid things that deserve critique. As an astrologer, I can also say that I don't adhere to sun= men, moon = women.

However, I will say that on a naturalistic level, this is a valid observation. Whether I participate in reproduction or not, that's still how babies are made. Does that mean that women should be relegated to the metaphorical realm of darkness? No.

Also take this with several fistfuls of salt regarding sex, gender, and reproduction. This is just an explanation of the symbolic concept. Whatever you identify as, it doesn't have to fit into anything to be valid.

Lot Formula Conclusions

Now that we've established what Light and Darkness mean, let's tie this all together and recap some important takeaways.

The Lot of Fortune signifies the body and the physical world because the calculation is moving from Light (intangible) to Darkness (tangible).


The Lot of Spirit signifies the soul, faith, intellect, and the intangible because the calculation is moving from Darkness (tangible) to Light (intangible).


So, we can see that the meaning behind Lots comes from the objects used in the calculation and their order.

Here are a few more examples of Lots with the same points used, in different orders, to really drive the point home.

The Lot of Buying – Mars to Venus by day

Moving from no item to item

The Lot of Selling – Venus to Mars by day

Moving from item to no item


The Lot of the Home – Saturn to the moon by day

Moving from death to life

The Lot of the Tomb – moon to Saturn by day

Moving from life to death


You get the idea? There's almost an idea of travel with the order of these formulas. We're starting at one place, one symbol, and ending up at another place, another symbol. The meaning behind the Lot formulas is really found between Point A and Point B. What kind of journey is it between these points? How would the journey change if I changed only the starting position or only the end position?


These are important things to think about every time you work with a Lot because the name of the Lot can actually hinder your understanding of it. Remember, none of the Lot names were originally written in English. In some cases, we're talking about translations of translations giving us the names of Lots.

For example, the name "the Lot of Fortune" already conjures up incorrect ideas in most people's heads. We typically associate the word "fortune" with "good fortune" or "wealth." Well, your Lot of Fortune may indicate that you're anything but fortunate since it signifies fortune in a neutral sense. You would also completely miss the signification of the native's body if you only went by the name.

Now that I've covered most of the basic information you need to know about the Lots, we can start getting into actually using them. The next blog posts will probably each cover one of the Hermetic Lots, significations, interpretation, and examples.

To learn more about anything you read here or to find out about your own Lots, book a consultation with me!


Your continued support of my paid services are what allow me to create content. Jake can worry about Lots when he ain't worried about his bills.

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