(Depiction of casting Lots in the non-astrological sense)
When we talk about the Hermetic Lots it’s usually in the context of their calculations and their significations. This is an extremely dry approach but it’s a good way to make sure that specifics are communicated. It may surprise you to know however, that these Lots are not simply calculations and that they are each associated with a particular spirit or divinity.
I often tell people not to overly focus on the name of a Lot when trying to interpret it. One reason is that some Lots have the same name with different calculations. Another is the fact that the names of these Lots have lost some of their meaning as they’ve been translated and passed down.
The names of the Hermetic Lots do not simply refer to their significations. They refer to the allotments granted to you by specific forces or spirits at birth. Just like you can work with Saturn in your chart, you can also work with Fortuna through the Lot of Fortune for ex.
Aren’t the Planetary Lots just about the Planets?
Yes and no! It’s really fucking hard to divide everything under the sun to just seven planets/gods. Think about the concept of the triple moon goddess. Basically we’re separating out these varying aspects of the moon in order to better understand them as a whole. It’s the same idea here. We’re looking at specific parts of a larger whole.
Many of the spirits associated with the Hermetic Lots are a class of being known as a daemon or a daimon. These are intermediary spirits that exist on a lower sphere and carry out a planet or god’s will on Earth. You can almost think of them like an entourage for the gods. Eros would be part of Venus’ entourage for ex. In Greek writings these spirits were specified by capitalizing a particular force or emotion and making it a proper noun. These personified forces then came with their own myths and parables.
The Spirit of the Sun – Agathodaimon
The Hermetic Lot of the sun is simply known as “Daimon.” This is probably confusing considering we just discussed daimons being lesser spirits. There are countless numbers of daimons residing in every aspect of creation since they were basically the Greek form of animism. So, what the hell is this talking about?
The daimon indicated by the Lot of Spirit isn’t just A daimon, it’s YOUR daimon. The idea is that this guardian spirit is merged with your soul before you’re born and is meant to guide you. You can think of this as your “higher self,” your “intuition,” your “guides,” whatever you want to call it basically amounts to the same thing.
The Agathodaimon was specifically associated with snakes, destiny, and life force. In the Oracle of the Potter, a prophetic text from Hellenistic Egypt, the author opposes Greek rule in Egypt and says the Agathodaimon or Shai (spirit of destiny) will leave Alexandria and return to Memphis. The mere act of this spirit leaving was said to cause the destruction of the city.
On a base, technical level the Lot of Spirit signifies career and faith. From a more spiritual approach this Lot is ruled by the spirit of your destiny; this tiny spark of life force granted to you at birth. This is the living intent behind your actions.
The astrologer Vettius Valens even gives credit to his daimon multiple times in his works. You can almost think of it like building a relationship with yourself; giving gratitude for your own genius.
The Spirit of the Moon – Agathe Tyche / Fortuna
(Tyche and Plutus)
The Hermetic Lot of the moon is originally in Greek as Tyche. Tyche, or Agathe Tyche, is the blindfolded goddess of Fortune. This is the personified spirit of chance or luck itself who gives and takes Fortune blindly.
On a technical level we can say the Lot of Fortune signifies the body, reputation, prosperity, things outside of your control, and home. On a more spiritual level we can say that this is the allotment you receive from Tyche.
As an aspect of the moon, Tyche signifies its ever-changing nature. Every two and a half days the moon changes zodiacal sign which creates new circumstances and situations. Some would fear and even curse Tyche because of this idea since blessings granted are just as easily taken away. Fortuna Bona (good Fortune) and Fortuna Mala (bad Fortune) are both aspects of Fortuna.
The very idea of divination relies on chance which is one reason why this was considered the most important Lot. What are the ~chances~ you were born at that specific moment? What are the ~chances~ you pulled that specific order of tarot cards?
The practice of “casting Lots” has its roots in inheritance disputes. Imagine three brothers inherit three acres from their father. Everyone gets an acre, simple right? Except for the fact that each acre has different qualities and they will never be equal. This is even how Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades divided up creation; they used Lots.
Fortune has power even over the gods and in this case it favored Zeus. Rather than thinking of the Lot of Fortune as a list of significations, think of it as your portion of creation. Hades doesn’t lack agency just because he got stuck ruling the underworld. It just means that the underworld is where he has to operate from.
There are ways you can change your luck though! The Romans used to pray at shrines to Fortuna in the bathhouses before gambling to try to improve their luck. Fortune or luck is something you can have a relationship rather than just resenting being affected by it.
The Spirit of Venus – Eros / Cupid
(Eros painted on pottery)
The Hermetic Lot of Venus is known in the original Greek as Eros. Eros is a bit trickier than the others since there were varying depictions. Love is a popular topic. It’s natural that there were more people, especially poets, with ideas about it.
There are two main versions of Eros that I want to mention. The first version of Eros is a god that was born from nothing and was present at the creation of the world. This version of Eros is a powerful force of creation that brought together the discordant elements of Chaos together in harmony.
The other version of Eros, the son of Aphrodite, is a god of sensual love and desire that often causes mischief with his bow and arrow. This version of Eros has nothing to do with greater universal harmony and instead is depicted as blindfolded and fickle.
The Lot of Eros signifies that which one chooses willingly. This extends beyond human interaction and even reflects hobbies and personal preferences. The Lot of Eros does in fact signify romantic relationships as well as platonic ones but it’s also so much more than that.
For example let’s say someone has the Lot of Eros ruled by Mercury. They would generally prefer Mercurial types of people who are smart, funny, communicative, playful, engaging, etc. Those are the qualities that attract that person. Would it be any surprise then to find out that this person also enjoys stand-up comedy, reading, board games, and podcasts?
The Lot of Eros often even influences career in the way that we generally try to do things in accordance with our preferences. For example, this person may prefer a fast-paced engaging job rather than a monotonous, boring one.
Career is still mainly a Lot of Spirit topic but by considering the broader meaning of Eros, as a force of creative attraction, we can broaden our understanding beyond sexual desire. We generally create things that we ourselves think are enjoyable (Eros) as well as things with purpose and meaning (Spirit). Readers become writers, watchers of Youtube become Youtubers, artists appreciate art, etc.
The Spirit of Mercury – Ananke
(Ananke enthroned above the Moirai)
The Hermetic Lot of Mercury is Ananke in the original Greek which translates to Necessity. This was a tricky Lot for me to figure out. Necessity is something that you NEED, but what does that have to do with Mercury? The significations listed for the Lot of Necessity are enemies, hatreds, and contentions. How does it all fit together?
Who or what really is Ananke? Ananke was present at the creation of the universe as an incorporeal serpent that cracked the egg of creation with her partner Khronos (time). Once they cracked this egg, creating heaven, earth, and the sea, they circled the cosmos to drive time forward.
From this depiction of Ananke we can see that what we’re really talking about with contentions is this divisive quality. Mercury doesn’t just break things in the way that Mars does. Mercury disassembles them, piece by piece. When it comes to threshing grain for example, grain often being associated with Virgo, the idea is to separate out the edible part by removing the chaff. You process it.
In this myth of creation involving Ananke, the egg of creation isn’t destroyed. It’s processed.
Ananke is also known as the mother of the Moirai, the Fates, and is depicted with a spindle. As the mother of Fates, Ananke is said to influence their actions. In this role she acts more as a motivator or driving force behind Fate. She is the reason that the wheel spins at all.
Pausanias, an ancient Greek traveler, wrote about a temple in Corinth dedicated to both Ananke and Bia (force). This is an idea that may be best represented by spurs. Spurs are spiked wheels that are attached to boots in order to urge a horse onward. Basically, that shit hurts so the horse tries to get away from it. The act of the horse moving is inevitable once force is applied.
I like to also associate Necessity with hunger. Eating is a basic Necessity that we all have to comply with or we feel pain and eventually die. It’s not unlike the idea of a spur for a horse. This is also a major motivating factor for why any of us work. If we had no needs to fill what would we actually end up doing? What would drive us forward?
(Side note: That kinda sounds like an argument people use against things like UBI but that’s not what I’m saying. The idea of having your basic needs guaranteed is an entirely different concept from not having needs at all.)
By looking at Ananke as a whole, we’re able to see beyond the simple destructive quality given by the significations of “hatred, enemies, and contentions” to see something more robust and meaningful.
The Spirit of Mars – Ares
(Statue of Ares)
The Hermetic Lot of Mars is known as Tulma in the original Greek which translates to something like daring or audacity. This one is interesting because Tulma is the only one that isn’t associated with a specific spirit.
Gabe Rosas was kind enough to share the original Greek names for each of these Lots as well as shed light on this particular mystery. He said that the reason Tulma is uniquely not associated with another spirit is due to the fact that courage, daring, or boldness was so associated with Ares there was no point in separating them.
This is probably also contributed to by the fact that people didn’t just worship Ares like that. As the god of war and bloodlust, there weren’t many people trying to bring that energy into their lives. Much preferred was the goddess of wisdom and military strategy, Athena, who embodies a more reasoned approach.
Daring and audacity are generally the opposite of strategic, which sets the Lot of Courage squarely in Ares’ domain. There is risk inherent in this kind of courage or audacity that separates it from the calm, cool, collected domain of Athena.
From a technical standpoint, this Lot was used to determine whether a person would be in the military for ex. In my own work, I’ve seen the Lot of Courage prominent in the charts of martial artists and boxers. While I’ve yet to see the Lot of Courage play a major role in the lives of average people, it may signify the audacity allotted to you by Ares.
What does audacity look like? Audacity looks like throwing a shoe at a war criminal. Is it the most strategic option? No. It does however make a statement. It takes boldness and courage to engage in conflict. What’s your relationship with your fighting spirit?
The Spirit of Jupiter – Victory
(Statue of Nike)
The Hermetic Lot of Jupiter is known as Nike in the original Greek which translates to Victory. Sounds familiar, right? Well, the goddess came before air forces lol. Nike is the winged Greek goddess of Victory in both war and peace.
Worship of Nike was largely done as an aspect of Athena; Athena-Nike essentially being an amalgamation of the two. This isn’t quite the same as syncretizing them since they both exist in the same pantheon. Realistically, this was probably a way to condense how many deities were worshipped.
Nike is depicted as one of Zeus’ charioteers in the Gigantomachia (The War of the Giants), not to be confused with the Titanomachia (The War of the Titans). The condensed version is that the Titans were born from Gaia and Ouranos and the Giants were born from the blood of Ouranos’ castration falling to Gaia.
Nike is literally depicted carrying Zeus, the ruler of Olympus, to victory. That’s a really big deal. So, what does that have to do with Athena? Athena, as you may know, was born from Zeus’ forehead, after he swallowed his first wife, Metis. It was prophesized that Metis would give birth to a god more powerful than Zeus which is why he tried to prevent that by swallowing her.
Zeus represents the more chaotic aspects of Jupiter that we see from him doing shit like swallowing his wife and being criminally horny in almost every myth. Athena on the other hand is the more tempered version that exemplifies wisdom, strength, and justice. Any way you slice it, they’re inextricably connected.
Nike, being made into Zeus’ charioteer as well as an aspect of Athena, is what brings this symbolism full circle. Nike is almost seen as a consequence of Athena. Athena-Nike isn’t the version of Athena in the war room planning. Athena-Nike is the version of Athena doing a victory lap cause she just did the damn thing!!
From a technical standpoint, the Lot of Victory (Nike) signifies luck, allies, fellowship, contests, etc. From a more spiritual standpoint, this is where Nike carries you to Victory. Much like Zeus’ battle with the Giants, you may not win the fight alone, but you WILL win.
How then can you form a relationship with Nike? Do you charge forth brazenly towards your goals like Ares, or do you strategically approach them with wisdom like Athena? Do you endlessly lay siege to Troy, or do you build a wooden horse to sneak in?
The Spirit of Saturn - Nemesis
(Nemesis by Albrecht Durer)
The Hermetic Lot of Saturn is known in the original Greek as Nemesis… which is translated as Nemesis lol. The word “nemesis” comes from the Greek “nemein” which means to give what is due or to dispense justice. Nemesis was therefore the Greek goddess of justice and giving what is due. This isn’t the same kind of justice as the goddess Dike presides over however. Nemesis’ justice is punitive.
Now we typically think of a “nemesis” as an enemy or a rival but that’s not necessarily the original context of this word. Nemesis would be accurately described by how most of us feel towards Jeff Bezos or any number of billionaires. It is the feeling of resentment inspired by those who commit crimes with what seems like impunity or as a result of undeserved good fortune.
Nemesis isn’t a feeling that’s simply inspired by jealousy, it’s inspired by justice. If you’re disgustingly wealthy because your company doesn’t pay taxes and you exploit workers, people are gonna be mad about it. No one “earns” a billion dollars.
Here’s where things get tricky. The difference between jealousy and justice can get murky pretty quickly. We all know there’s a difference between someone that’s just a hater and someone that has a valid critique and yet they’re constantly mistaken for each other.
Where I place the distinction between justice and jealousy is whether or not you want what that person has for yourself. I don’t want to be a billionaire exploiting people for example.
Nemesis is often involved in matters of love as well. The story of Narcissus is that he was amazingly beautiful and had tons of admirers but he cruelly shot every one down. One guy, Ameinias, got rejected so harshly that he came back and killed himself on Narcissus’ doorstep while asking Nemesis to avenge him. Nemesis answered his prayer for vengeance and cursed Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection.
The issue isn’t that Narcissus wasn’t feeling Ameinias romantically. The issue is the fact that Narcissus was being an asshole about it.
The Romans named their version of Nemesis, Invidia. Invidia comes from the word “invidere” which means to look at in a hostile manner. This was strongly associated with the evil eye and Invidia even became one of the seven deadly sins in Christianity, envy.
As Invidia, this kind of jealousy was associated with witches as well as the evil eye. There were many magical ways created to protect against Invidia/the evil eye as a result. When Roman generals celebrated a victory the Vestal Virgins would attach a fascisnus (a phallus amulet) to the underside of their chariot in order to avert the evil eye.
So, now we know more about how Nemesis and Invidia operate, what does that mean for the Lot of Nemesis? From a technical standpoint the Lot of Nemesis signifies heavy topics, things that weigh on you, things that are stolen, burdens, loss, death, everything conquered, jail, confinement, etc.
From a more spiritual standpoint, this is where the evil eye is coming from. The Lot of Nemesis is the hateration in your dancerie as well as the consequences of your actions. There will absolutely be people simply mad at you for winning, no matter the circumstances, but winning graciously can help.
Don’t be so far up your own ass like Narcissus that you need to tear down other people. You just might end up with Nemesis on your doorstep.
I want to make the distinction that I’m not saying mythology, religion, and astrology have a 1-1 correspondence here. Eros for example is simultaneously a word, a divine being, an idea, and a Lot. What I’m saying is that these myths and religious concepts are ways for us to connect to the higher ideal of what these Lots are actually aiming for.
In the same way we can say the placement of Mercury in someone’s birth chart is indicative of their relationship with Hermes; we can say the placement of the Lot of Necessity is indicative of their relationship with Ananke. Mercury then becomes more than a list of significations like language, travel, and exchange; instead, becoming a dynamic psychopomp and trickster who can be understood through a variety of contexts.
There is space for us to have a living, breathing connection to each of these divinities and the Hermetic Lots serve as a doorway in.
Try pouring one out for your daimon next time you have a glass of wine. Try reciting the Orphic Hymn to Tyche next time you need some extra luck. Ask Ananke to help give someone an extra nudge. Thank Eros for a fun night out. Borrow a little audacity from Ares. Strategize your way to victory with Nike. Pray to Nemesis on your enemies’ downfall.
You just might be surprised who answers!