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TO “form a judgment” is, of course, the immediate and legitimate aim of all students of Astrology. It is the Sangrail of that rather wearisome pilgrimage through signs, calculations, and deductions which are the necessary preliminary to a right understanding of this great and valuable science. And this judgment—as every student realises the farther he goes—is a very difficult thing. There is always the temptation to rush at it too early, and to read or predict from one’s own horoscope or someone else’s before a ripe experience has been brought to the task. And there is nothing, perhaps, so useful to the student at the outset, as a record of personal observations. Here is a perplexing aspect. How may it be expected to work? Well, here are some observations at first hand showing how it has worked in other instances. And if these observations can be reinforced in minute detail, giving the reasoning upon which they are based, then a really valuable aid is rendered to the student who is taking up the study seriously. This method has, of course, been already adopted in many of the excellent text-books published, especially of late years, and my only reason for bringing forward my own personal contribution is the knowledge of the great value of Astrology in dealing with sickness, whether of body or mind. In fact, this is perhaps the first preoccupation of most students in examining a strange map. It will often be the question of most poignant importance to those who present a map for judgment. What of the native’s health? What of his mental capacity? or in the case of a bad heredity, “Will he escape ?”

And so, having had some rather unusual experiences with regard to patients of unsound mind, I am venturing to publish the contents of my notebooks in the earnest hope that they may be useful to others who are brought into contact with the darkest of human fates.

But before dealing with the cases themselves, a few general rules for the guidance of students in approaching this difficult matter may not be out of place here. I will assume that my readers have mastered the actual technique of a birth horoscope—that they can set this up for themselves, and can draw the progressed horoscope in the same way. This little manual is intended for those who have advanced to the study of “directions,” and who are especially concerned with the indications affecting health. We want to be sure of our ground before proceeding to a definite judgment. We must be able to read a map as we can read the face of a clock; and then, in judging it, we must be careful not to overlook any single factor.

To begin with the sensitive points, so to speak, of a birth horoscope. The cusps of the houses will be considered first. For matters affecting the personality, the cusp of the Ascendant is all important; for position and success, the Midheaven; for relationships, the seventh; for the end of the pilgrimage, the fourth. The Ascendant is of primary importance as it determines the vitality. The cardinal signs rising, endow the native with good resisting powers, while a weak sign like Pisces will give poor recuperative powers. Virgo, on the other hand, I have generally found to be a healthy Ascendant unless badly afflicted. Libra I believe to be a remarkably fortunate sign, as I have seen the heaviest afflictions worked through with hardly any bad results when the second decanate of Libra was rising. A direction to the Ascendant acts only within 5°, and is very markedly strongest when exact. I have a note of a child born under Libra 19° 10°, while Venus the ruler was placed in 13° Gemini. For the first three years the child was exceedingly delicate owing to a square of Saturn and the Moon; but when the Venus trine to the Ascendant became exact, the health recovered amazingly. The same thing happened with a boy who had recurrent illnesses of different kinds; but again the Libra Ascendant (8° 30°) pulled him through. And in another map, where the Sun is terribly afflicted by malefies from the sixth house (illness), again the native has made astonishing recoveries with an Ascendant of Libra 22° 5°. Venus can act malefically like any other planet. I have known some severe afflictions from Venus squaring the Sun in Aries, when the head and face received bad injuries, but there is no doubt that when she is ruler and well placed or culminating, the native will come through disasters that might be fatal to other people. Sagittarius rising with the ruler Jupiter well placed is a good indication also; and I have found Aquarius natives fortunate in the matter of health and vitality just as they are highly gifted in the matter of temperament. One interesting instance showing the importance of the rising degree was brought to me in a case where Capricorn 24° 6° was Ascendant. Saturn was nearly in opposition at 21° of Cancer. However, the health of the native was very good until the age of fifty-eight, when Saturn reached the EXACT opposition. Then came an illness which lasted in a chronic stage for over two years. But in the end the patient recovered. Saturn passed slowly from the exact degree, and a trine of Jupiter to the Sun brought a health-giving influence. One might easily have judged that this Saturn opposition would have caused trouble earlier, but it did not. This was a rather remarkable instance of a direction to a cusp, and looks as if the “orb” were distinctly smaller than that of a planet.

The influence of the Ascendant is lifelong. It shows out in the temperament quite as powerfully as in the health, and no doubt the personal appearance comes under its sway. Also as “temperament” touches the mental side of our complex personalities, the rising degree must doubtless leave its impress upon the mind. But in no case can mental disease be diagnosed from the Ascendant alone. In judging a map, even if the cusp received severe afflictions from malefics in the ninth house, it could not safely be assumed that the native would be wanting in mental balance. Other corroborating influences would have to be looked for. But this will be dealt with later on. Before leaving the question of the Ascendant, the student may be reminded that the map swings round yearly, altering the cusps. Signs of short ascension like ♒︎ and ♓︎ move round rapidly, while signs of long ascension like ♎︎ and ♏︎ scarcely measure one degree a year. The same, of course, applies to all the planets; and this is where the “progressed” horoscope comes in. Directly after birth all the planets move away from their radical places, and this means that, as time goes on, they form a different set of aspects. A new aspect thus formed is called a “direction.” All directions to the progressed cusp of the Ascendant act with regard to health as well as to general fortune. The fourth cusp (especially the radical one), though less important generally than the Ascendants and Midheaven, should still be noticed, because in some maps this cusp may be brought round in middle life to the place of the radical Ascendant, and it then acquires a grave significance. The following is an example. The native’s birth degree was Aquarius 17° 25°. The cusp of the fourth house was Gemini 13°. When he arrived at middle age, the progressed Ascendant became in its turn Gemini 13°, and was thus a double cusp. It received the square of Mars, and the patient died under an operation.

It should be borne in mind that the precise hour of birth should be known before the exact degree of an Ascendant can be calculated. A few minutes’ difference will throw out the cusps of the houses, though the positions of the planetary bodies remain practically unaffected. And finally, when the Ascendant or the Midheaven are under consideration, no aspect, however weak, should be overlooked. Even the minor aspects, or semi-sextile, or bi-quintile, which may be frequently ignored in other places, may leave an impress when operating from these two important cusps. Similarly with eclipses and transits. The power of an eclipse is still a vexed question owing to the absence of any definite body of collected observations, and students would do good service in taking notes of their influence. For instance, in this present year, 1924, there has been an unusually prolonged transit of Saturn in Libra. It began in 1923, owing to the retrograding of the planet, and it has gone on backwards and forwards ever since. In several instances known to the writer it has affected the horoscopes of the Libra people very seriously. As a rule, a transit has no very appreciable effect upon the life, health, or fortunes unless it coincides with a similar aspect operating at the time, but when it happens to pass over the Ascendant—especially the radical cusp—then its influence should be noted.

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