Having reached this general principle, after recorded observations extending over an indefinite series of years, or ages, the adept astrologer would require only to know what the planetary aspects were at a given anterior date, and to apply his knowledge of the succeeding changes in the heavenly bodies, to be able to trace, with approximate accuracy, the varying fortunes of the personage whose horoscope was required, and even to predict the future. The accuracy of the horoscope
would depend, of course, no less upon the astrologer’s knowledge of the occult forces and races of nature, than upon his astronomical erudition.
Eliphas Levi expounds with reasonable clearness, in his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, the law of reciprocal influences between the planets and their combined effect upon the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, as well as upon ourselves. He states that the astral atmosphere is as constantly changing from day to day, and from hour to hour, as the air we breathe. He quotes approvingly the doctrine of Paracelsus that every man, animal, and plant bears external and internal evidences of the influences dominant at the moment of germinal development. He repeats the old kabalistic doctrine, that nothing is unimportant in nature, and that even so small a thing as the birth of one child upon our insignificant planet has its effect upon the universe, as the whole universe has its own reactive influence upon him.
“The stars,” he remarks, “are linked to each other by attractions which hold them in equilibrium and cause them to move with regularity through space. This network of light stretches from all the spheres to all the spheres, and there is not a point upon any planet to which is not attached one of these indestructible threads. The precise locality, as well as the hour of birth, should then be calculated by the true adept in astrology; then, when he shall have made the exact calculation of the astral influences, it remains for him to count the chances of his position in life, the helps or hindrances he is likely to encounter . . . and his natural impulses toward the accomplishment of his destiny.” He also asserts that the individual force of the person, as indicating his ability to conquer difficulties and subdue unfavorable propensities, and so carve out his fortune, or to passively await what blind fate may bring, must be taken into account.
A consideration of the subject from the standpoint of the ancients, affords us, it will be seen, a very different view from that taken by Professor Tyndall in his famous Belfast address. “To supersensual beings,” says he, “which, however potent and invisible, were nothing but species of human creatures, perhaps raised from among mankind, and retaining all human passions and appetites, were handed over the rule and governance of natural phenomena.”
To enforce his point, Mr. Tyndall conveniently quotes from Euripides the familiar passage in Hume: “The gods toss all into confusion, mix everything with its reverse, that all of us, from our ignorance and uncertainty, may pay them the more worship and reverence.” Although enunciating in Chrysippus several Pythagorean doctrines, Euripides is considered by every ancient writer as heterodox, therefore the quotation
proceeding from this philosopher does not at all strengthen Mr. Tyndall’s argument.
As to the human spirit, the notions of the older philosophers and medieval kabalists while differing in some particulars, agreed on the whole; so that the doctrine of one may be viewed as the doctrine of the other. The most substantial difference consisted in the location of the immortal or divine spirit of man. While the ancient Neo-platonists held that the Augoeides never descends hypostatically into the living man, but only sheds more or less its radiance on the inner man — the astral soul — the kabalists of the middle ages maintained that the spirit, detaching itself from the ocean of light and spirit, entered into man’s soul, where it remained through life imprisoned in the astral capsule. This difference was the result of the belief of Christian kabalists, more or less, in the dead letter of the allegory of the fall of man. The soul, they said, became, through the fall of Adam, contaminated with the world of matter, or Satan. Before it could appear with its enclosed divine spirit in the presence of the Eternal, it had to purify itself of the impurities of darkness. They compared “the spirit imprisoned within the soul to a drop of water enclosed within a capsule of gelatine and thrown in the ocean; so long as the capsule remains whole the drop of water remains isolated; break the envelope and the drop becomes a part of the ocean — its individual existence has ceased. So it is with the spirit. As long as it is enclosed in its plastic mediator, or soul, it has an individual existence. Destroy the capsule, a result which may occur from the agonies of withered conscience, crime, and moral disease, and the spirit returns back to its original abode. Its individuality is gone.