Faith in Astrology
Theosophist, February, 1885
Article Selections by “A Theosophist” | Intro and Note by H.P.B.
The following suggestive reply by a member of the Madura Branch to an enquiry as to whether the writer had any faith in Astrology and its predictions, has been forwarded to us for publication by the Hon. S. Subramaniem Iyer, F. T. S., President of the Branch:—
The theory of universal attraction, which has been recognized by scientists to be magnetic, that is, both attractive and repulsive, teaches that everything in the universe attracts and is attracted by every other thing. Hence it follows that the earth magnetically attracts and is attracted by every other heavenly body . . .
[Here the author outlines some of the known affects of the Sun and Moon on the Earth.]
. . . Such being the observed facts, it is but reasonable to infer generally that the planets exercise each its own influence on the earth and every creature on it. If this inference be correct, it is possible to conceive of a science the object of which would be to define such influences and the laws of their operation; in other words astrology is possibly a true science.
As to whether any particular system of astrological calculation is true or false, this can only be determined in the present state of knowledge by an actual application of the system to particular instances of accurately recorded births and a subsequent comparison of its predictions with the facts of the case. I say accurately recorded, for in the majority of ordinary cases the exact time of nativity is neither ascertained nor recorded. While believing therefore in the existence of a true science of astrology, I cannot so readily believe in astrologers. With few honorable exceptions, they are generally a set of quacks having but an imperfect knowledge of some particular system for the correctness of which there is no guarantee. . . .
I hold, moreover that astrology, being a calculation of the planetary influences on an individual, is merely a science of tendencies. In other words, the influences in themselves are such as to predispose the individual to adopt the line of action predicted. Man, however, being endued with what is called free-will, but what I prefer to call latent will-power or soul-power, may develop it to such an extent that he may successfully oppose the planetary influences and overcome what is popularly known as fate. It is only when the individual is passive, or when his will-power is undeveloped and feeble, or when, the will-power being developed, he works in the direction of the planetary influences themselves, that astrological predictions will be realized. Hence it is that we hear it said that when a person possessing the necessary amount of developed will-power is initiated into the mysteries of occultism, he passes beyond the pale of astrological predictions.
Holding these views, you will see that I do not believe in absolute predestination—a doctrine which, if strictly construed, would annul all inducements to exertion and improvement on the part of the individual.
[Editor’s] Note: [H.P.B.]—As the subject of Astrology is an important one, we invite contributions on the subject, from members studying the same. We do not quite agree with our brother’s views on the subject of predestination, unless he means thereby that course of effects, the causes of which were already produced by the individual during his previous “incarnation.” We hold that the science of Astrology only determines the nature of effects, by a knowledge of the law of magnetic affinities and attractions of the Planetary bodies, but that it is the Karma of the individual himself, which places him in that particular magnetic relation. However, the claims of the Science of Astrology are ably put forward by our brother, and it would be interesting to have good contributions on the science itself.