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Astrology Or Psychology? Which?

"There is no new thing under the sun," but to many the oldest idea is
a new idea, therefore: Open wide your mind’s windows – ventilate as you
would your sleeping room and your shop or office. Let out the stagnant
ideas that clog the mind; let in the breeze, the fresh sun and salt laden
air from the universal mind-sea, the young, healthy, strong, fearless,
free thought, vibrant with conscious cosmic intelligence.

Astrology should be investigated because it promises to solve many human problems, collective and individual, which cannot be solved by any other known means.

Questions arise as to whether astrology in its present form of praxis, or at least in its essential possibilities, is a true scientific means of solving any problems. What reasons have we for believing in astrology? Is it not true what we read in the encyclopaedias, that astrology died with Copernicus’ discovery, which established the sun as the center of our solar system? And then, supposing astrology is true, what good is it to know what “fate” has in store for us? These are the principal questions which earnest inquirers will ask.

When I became interested in the subject nearly twenty-two years ago I simply picked up the thing as I found it, looked it over, tested it by experiments and was convinced. This has probably been the method of inquiry employed by most others who have become its devotees. A direct and simple way of finding out if the pudding is eatable, but not always the most pleasant way for an epicure.

The reader will have observed how all things, big and small, throughout nature, all operate on the same principle. Life in the great cell which we call our solar system, appears to live by the same law of revolution as the blood in our bodies, and as the atoms which compose it revolve in the greater cell, the molecule, at distances apart comparatively as great as the distances of the planets from each other. Modern science tells us that the electrons which compose the atom are not matter at all, but thought waves forming angles. All this motion and revolution become vibration and as it rises on the vibratory scale it becomes one color or another, one matter or another, in harmony or discord with other matter on a different scale of vibration. It forms laws of attraction, repulsion, joy and pain. We say it is life. Science tells us there is only One Life. Will those who profess to believe, as well as those who profess to disbelieve, if such there be, that the universe is one verse please explain how the conceited little pigmy atom, man, ever got it into his head that he is un-influenced, free and independent of the laws of the great molecule of which he is a part?

A psychologist, en route, made his introductory address to 2000 people at the Scottish Rite Auditorium, San Francisco, in the spring of 1921. The doctor made many statements, mostly very good and very true. There were of course some with which the writer didn’t quite agree, but which may nevertheless be true; however, there were a few statements made which positively did not match with the true statements. I have singled out one of these, the most important one, because it concerns my science. I have also singled out two of the doctors’ good and true statements, also very important ones, because they are astrological maxims. I have placed them in contra-position, so that the very inconsistency of the contradiction may ignite and illumine the page:

“Astrology is not true.”

“God is omnipresent.” “The universe is one.”

The doctor did not use the exact words, “astrology is not true,” he said: “The planets have no more influence over your lives than the creases in your trousers,” which voluble levity I am rendering in direct English. The doctor made the statement at his opening address, without waiting for invitation or question.

While some of us are more or less fixed in our ideas and adhere firmly to the thoughts which we have become accustomed to think, there are also those of us who are changeable and readily adopt the new, which we at once embrace with vigor and enthusiasm until the next exciting idea comes along. Advocates of the new ideas belong naturally to the cardinal (active) signs. They are born with the sun, the ascendant and most planets in cardinal signs, hence they become leaders. It is therefore natural that these advocates should walk rough-shoed over other and older ideas in their struggle to gain recognition for their own. A knowledge of this principle alone would make for self-knowledge and tend to make us broader and more tolerant.

Astrology, being older than history, has suffered repeated attacks from every upspringing idea throughout the ages. It is still with us and persistently gaining new ground after each rebuff. It is consistently expected that as our solar system is entering the sign of “the Man” (the humane, broad, scientific Aquarius) that astrology shall gain universal recognition – when calm and earnest students of a dispassionate science may well think it beneath their dignity to give cognizance to flippant utterances of superficial opponents.

If “God” means anything at all in the language of a doctor of philosophy, it may well be supposed to mean the Universal Mind, the thought behind matter, or that in which and by which everything is. Being also an “image” I have a few suggestions to offer on the subject: I swing my arms around – it influences every cell in my body. I think: I shall go out for a walk – I start to move my legs and soon every cell, or minor universe of which I am the “God” are influenced by my thought in motion. Now, I am a universe, am I not? Then suppose the great Universal Mind, the all-God, moves his giant arm (if so I may express it) Jupiter to a trine aspect of collosal Sun. Has that so surely no crystallizing effect through the first breath of the new-born? A trine aspect is an angle, or distance apart, of 120 degrees. Crystallizing angles are called aspects and are based on the pyramid and the cube. They are measured upon the lines of the equator and the ecliptic. Water will crystallize perfect angles of 120 degrees, will it not? Is it so sure that a crystal formation means nothing to the myriad of lives in the little universe, the waterdrop? These queries seem to me quite related. Can intelligent people afford to scoff at the idea of planetary influences without giving it a fair test?

What is the medium through which we may suppose an effect from a planetary aspect? I would suggest – vibration. There is no limit to vibration. If it has a limit it exists only in our knowledge, not in Nature.

Before offering the reader any more speculative suggestions it will be necessary to clear the ground of a nauseating rubbish heaped up by our opponents.

It is really not worth the reader’s attention unless he has admitted the silly nonsense of encyclopaedic writers to a place in his mind. I will be as brief as possible:

“Copernicus discovered that the sun, and not the earth, was the center of our universe, so the Heliocentric system (sun in center) was established. The old Geocentric system (earth in center) with its superstition, astrology, died.”

I hope to make it plain to the reader in a few words, that this view of the matter is bluntly wrong, if not indeed wilfully deceiving. When the ancient astrologers calculated eclipses they did so by the geocentric (earth in center) system, and their predictions were very nearly as exact by their crude means as are the moderns with their superior methods and instruments. There need be no doubt about the truth of this statement, for there are sufficient historical records to prove it. Now, how can this be true if Copernicus really did murder the geocentric system? The fact is simply this, that the astronomers of today are using the very same geocentric system in calculating eclipses. Also, they are using the very same geocentric system throughout the entire field of nautical astronomy, for how otherwise could the navigator make use of the astronomer’s tables? He is not sailing on the sun, is he? The notion is really too silly for mention. I trust I do not offend the reader’s intelligence by assuming that he might possibly without thinking much about it have been deceived into believing such nonsense. Plainly, astrology, like navigation, depends on relative positions.

Pythagoras and his disciples taught that the sun was the planetary center and that the earth and the planets revolved around the sun, and yet a modern is given full credit for discovering an idea that was entertained 2000 years before him. Same as Darwin is looked upon as the father of evolution, while evolution was one of the fundamental teachings of the Veda bards, the Aryan philosophers of the earliest historic civilization.

John Kepler, universally regarded as one of the greatest of astronomers, said: “A most unfailing experience of the excitement of sub-lunary natures by the conjunctions and aspects of the planets has instructed and compelled my unwilling belief.”

Richard A. Proctor, of modern esteem, said: “We refuse to examine into astrology.” Yet a most active opponent. His voluble railings, anonymous and otherwise, permeate the astronomical literature. Alfred J. Pearce in his textbook quotes from an article in the Cornhill Magazine for July, 1877, “The planet of War,” supposedly written by Mr. Proctor: . . . “But if Mars were in truth the Planet of War, if his influence poured from near at hand upon the nations of the earth, excited them to war and bloodshed, we might well fear that the coming months would bring desolation on many terrestrial fields. Moreover, twice during his time of greatest splendour his rays will be closely conjoined with those of the malignant planet Saturn.”

Mr. Pearce comments as follows: “At the time the foregoing paragraph was written, the writer shared the belief of the Russian commanders that the crusade against Turkey would be but a military promenade, and would be ended in a few weeks. The fearful holocaust of victims to the unsuccessful attempts to take Plevna by storm (the sacrifice of life being greater than any known for centuries past) attested the power of Mars and the validity of his right to be called “The Planet of War.” That this effect was anticipated can be proved by reference to Zadkiel’s Almanac for 1877. After the contributor to the Corn-hill Magazine had exhausted the whole of his ingenuity and recources for arguments against the influence of Mars, it was an exceedingly cruel fate to have them scattered to the winds by means of the very circumstance to which he appealed as a test (Mars’ nearest approach since 1798). Perhaps the words of Longfellow (in his poem addressed to the planet Mars) have recurred to his mind:

“O star of strength, I see thee stand, And smile upon my pain!”

(Pearce: page 23, vol. 1, old edition.)

Simon Newcomb, of course, rejected astrology. He also wrote a book on the future impossibility of the flying machine.

I once made bold to approach a “great” astronomical authority. He gave the following characteristic answer: “Modern astronomers do not believe in astrology.” Later this noted newspaper scribe became infatuated with the subject. There was also a lady of charms in the astrological society. Alas! like the morning star – but to be as brief: astrology was promptly declared taboo and all astrologers consigned to the rack by the morose savant. Emerging from the repair shop for cracked brains, the professor claimed he had discovered what St. Matthew says no man shall ever know, except by the signs and events – the day when the sun comes into “the Man.” But he refused to give his discovery to the world for fear that astrologers might learn the secret whereby to cast a correct horoscope. Bless his chilled heart, the “precession” of the equinoxes does not affect the casting of the horoscope at all and but triflingly subsequent calculations. We are not reckoning by constellations, but by the signs. Our mundane equation base is the equator. The ecliptic intersects the equator at the same two points now as ever and forever. The division of the equator into 12 houses and that of the ecliptic into 12 signs are according to crystallization laws, same as the aspects. The “precession” is along the ecliptic. It is a receding motion of our sun and planet family at the rate of 30° or one sign, per 2160 years. Selah.

Camille Flammarion, a former opponent, declared recently: “Astrology is a science worthy of notice to say the least.”

John Flamsteed, the first astronomer Royal of England, gave this, the truest verdict of any critic that I have read of: “I found astrology to give in general strong conjectural hints, not perfect declarations.”

Now, to return to the psychologist: He is a most interesting person, and his argument, which I will come to shortly, is the most ingenious one ever launched by any opponent. I heard him later in Oakland. He was giving a course in vocational guidance to some 800 students. Six evenings for twenty-five dollars per head. And here, to my surprise, the whole evening was given to the reading and demonstration of Frank Theodore Allen’s “Birthday Key,” a tiny astrological leaflet, which my friend Allen had sent me many years ago. This was an exact reprint by “The Mastery Press.” And then I realized what it means to be a great psychologist: 800 students at $25.00 each, one evening of which course would net about $3000 – and for an astrological sun reading! I have too much sympathy for my own kin to want to see an obscure astrologer try a stunt like that. And now I know I have got the reader guessing: “Well, then the doctor believes in astrology after all?” Not so. He believes in the influence of the sun via the subconscious mind, that is to say: “Man partook of certain foods at certain seasons of the year. This gave to certain children certain characteristics, which when recorded were mistakingly attributed to the astrological influence of the sun, and the recording so suggested itself to the subconscious mind of the race, that children ever since have continued to be born with the characteristics of their sun signs.”

I concede gladly that in a superficial degree the doctor’s argument is true. There has been, to my knowledge, only one other contra argument made that had in it a superficial degree of truth. This other was made by Camille Flammarion, our former opponent, many years ago. Obviously to astrological students, however, the doctor’s explanation has much wanting; for there are many factors besides the sun, that are in many instances far more demonstrable of their influence than the sun sign. Certainly these cannot be explained away by the same psychological process as feeding – recording – suggestion to the subconscious, since they have not been popularly known either in ancient or modern times, for instance, the rising sign. It is a common observation among astrologers that as the sun’s place by sign gives the keynote to the individual or latent nature, or what psychologists call the “unconscious” or “subconscious” mind, so the rising, or ascending, sign gives the keynote to the personality, or expressed nature of the individual, or “conscious mind” in psychology.

The argument is well calculated to enhance the power of suggestion in the minds of the doctor’s superficial listeners, on the principle that every little bit that is taken from Peter and given to Paul will give Paul just a little bit more.

Another argument made by the doctor to the effect that events will transpire, both as to time and nature, because of suggestion to the subconscious, does not accord with the results of mathematical investigation, which prove that events of the past are in evidence about as promptly as are those of the future. Yet, also in this there is a tiny superficial truth and a lesson for those who would under-rate or ignore the power of suggestion.

Whatever may be said in an attempt to prove that the conditions of life are the net results of suggestions from our subconscious and conscious, our ancestors and present surroundings, cannot in the least render unprofitable the study and praxis of astrology; on the contrary, psychologists would be especially benefitted by knowing upon a mathematical bases, where and when to apply their suggestive powers.

It has long been my regret that neither of the many elaborated and expensive text-books on the astrological market do present a fairly plausible hypothesis on the modus operandi, and it is an equally welcome and elucidating idea which thus occurs to my mind, this, that our earth may have a subconscious mind of its own, which by some process wholly psychological in nature may influence and be influenced by and merge into that of the other planets, sun and moon included and even the distant stars. Perhaps in the last analysis, after having passed through the initial quack stages of self-importance, psychologists will not regard astrology as un-psychological, when they may wisely follow the precedent of other religio-science cults, of which I wish to mention the Her-metists only, and whose doctrines are inseparably linked to astrology, the science which I should like to term: Cosmic Psychology.

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