The root of the whole matter in Astrology is, of course, the strange and still mysterious influences which by some unseen vibration connect the planetary system with our Earth life. Logically, everything that is born upon our planet comes under these influences, though it may well be that humanity alone, through its evolved SELF-consciousness, is able to respond to these vibrations and turn them to its good. From the most ancient times, certain definite attributes have been given to each Zodiacal sign, and these attributes are as true and as verifiable to-day as they were in the days of the Chaldees. Each sign has a clearly marked type, or correspondence in human personality, but some signs are perhaps more marked than others where the mentality is concerned; and therefore we will deal with them in greater detail.
The most vivid and perhaps the most easily recognised people in the world are those born under Aries, or else born (as Aries is not a very common Ascendant) with the Sun or several planets in the sign. The Aries people are the natural leaders, teachers, and pioneers of the world. They must be at the head of what they undertake, and they will carve their way through untold obstacles by the sheer force of a somewhat aggressive, self-reliant personality. It is a splendid sign; and intellectually these natives are often splendid people, endowed with breadth of mind and love of truth. But in no case is the shadow side of a sign, so to speak, so easily recognised. The undeveloped Aries person shows us all the splendour of the sign contorted into a sort of caricature. Instead of a truth-loving person, we get the greatest liar that it is possible to find. These people will add one lie to another with an ease which only a vivid imagination can compass; and they will consider nothing but themselves and the needs of the moment. A badly afflicted Aries in any map—more especially if Mercury is in the sign—will always yield the same characteristics; a self-glorification, an exaggeration which in very bad cases may develop into megalomania—an incapacity to speak the truth, and a considerable mental agility in escaping the consequences.
This distortion of the power of a sign has been well called its “passive” side. Thus “Aries active” gives us the leader; “Aries passive” shows us a slave to an uncontrolled imagination. Children born in this sign should be most carefully trained; never harshly, for they are very sensitive and susceptible; but the tendency to selfishness and self-assertion can always be kindly and wisely checked. The Aries illnesses are also characteristic, inasmuch as the head and face are most likely to be affected. The one chief thing that they seem to require is plenty of sleep; and, if the illness is mental, absolute rest (if necessary, induced by hypnosis) will be a desideratum in nearly every case.
The natives of Gemini, though never so forceful, nevertheless often have a marked individuality which shows out in a restless inconstancy of mind and purpose. At its best Gemini is an intellectual sign; and many prominent men have been born under it, its ruler Mercury often inclining its natives to learning and literature. Many fine linguists have been distinguished in the sign, but “Gemini passive” gives a difficult type of person, often very selfish, and with an instability of will that may degenerate seriously if the sign is afflicted. If Saturn, Mars, or Neptune throw evil aspects from this sign, some effect upon the mentality is certain to be encountered. Gemini children should above all things be taught concentration, and definite exercises in the training of the will.
Virgo is the other sign ruled by Mercury, but its natives are steadier and more practical. The “passive” side gives a tiresome habit of captious fault-finding and perpetual criticism. The judgment is keen, but not too kindly. As an Ascendant, when free from affliction, it seems to promise good health mentally and physically.
Libra is a most harmonious and fortunate sign when ascending, and its marked characteristics of spontaneity, affection, and evenness of temper render its natives universally popular. When well aspected it is very rare to find any Libra people thrown “off the balance”* in any direction, and the chief danger comes through what may be called “inordinate affection” in their many and often passionate relationships. Children born under this sign should be trained by every possible method in self-control. I have not found any difficult cases when the sign has been ascending; but if the Sun and several other planets are placed in it at birth, then the sex nature will often be in need of a strong control.
Sagittarius, being the ninth sign and the opposition to Gemini, always shows, when ascending, some strong mental characteristics.
Being Jupiter-ruled, its natives are, at their best, upright and honourable, but there is always the tendency to shake off restraint, and to dissipate the energies in all sorts of scatter-brained schemes. They are difficult children; and any undue restraint is fatal to their development, making them fretful and restless. They are born explorers and travellers. The best planet to be placed in the sign is undoubtedly Saturn. The restraining, sobering influence gives a love of justice, and balances the more frivolous side of the character. A strong bad aspect thrown from any planet in Gemini is likely to work harm mentally.
To sum up briefly, the Ascendants which exercise the most dominating influence upon the mentality of a native are Aries, Gemini, Libra, and Sagittarius. The rest of the signs have, of course, their own “types” and characteristics, but those mentioned come naturally into prominence when considering the effect upon the mind. The planets also contribute a very definite set of influences quite apart from the signs, but their power is greatly enhanced when throwing an aspect from their own signs or the oppositions. The signs and the planets must always be “read” together. Thus, Mercury in Gemini or Virgo, throwing a trine to the Sun or Moon will give a fine intelligence and a well-organised brain. Mercury throwing a trine from Pisces—the opposition sign to Virgo, and one in which he is weak—will not produce the same brilliant effect. And Mercury in Pisces squaring the Sun or Moon will be some indication of trouble in mental pursuits. If the position is corroborated by bad aspects of Mercury and the other planets, then there may be mental deficiency.
It will be seen later, when dealing with some of my cases in detail, how very important these “mutual” aspects of the planets are in the matter of mental health. But the student cannot apply himself too early or too thoroughly to the study of the planetary vibrations affecting the character of man. For their characteristics are constant for good and evil, and with them also, “active” and “passive” are brought into strong relief. Jupiter (sometimes called “the Preserver”) acts through the expansive, generous instincts of a character. Well placed, he endows his natives with an unflinching integrity. Perhaps some of the greatest characters in the world have had Jupiter in the ninth house or the Ascendant, well aspected in a harmonious sign. Such a one will make a fine judge and a powerful ruler—he will be merciful and humane as well as just. And yet the shadow side of this great planetary influence gives us an utterly unreliable type. I have had a case where Jupiter from Gemini afflicted a Moon in Aries—a really lamentable position. The native had a sort of megalomania, conceited and self-assertive beyond words. Deceiving himself by means of a false estimate of his own powers, he became the dupe of others, and the natural religious bent always associated with Jupiter degenerated into fantasy. I believe there is always some fear of deception when Jupiter afflicts the Moon. It may be that the judgment becomes warped, and there is not the power of discrimination between the false and the true. It is not a happy position, and needs to be strongly countereacted by others. Jupiter in Pisces gives a very strong humane influence unless it is in affliction. The great attributes of sympathy and mercy belong to this sign, and the love of all created things—flowers and animals—is invariably marked. The finest mental influence in a Jupiter direction is perhaps a trine or conjunction between that planet and Mercury. This is splendid for right judgment and sagacity, in every walk of life.
It has been said that the Venus-born are the manifestation of what is meant by “the grace of God.” And the expression will scarcely seem exaggerated to anyone who has lived with a person born under a Venus influence. An Ascendant in Libra, with Venus well aspected in the ninth house, will give, if not the greatest and most powerful character, yet certainly the sweetest known to humanity. There is no influence upon the mind so harmonious as that of Venus in the ninth house. Where Jupiter moves by the highest and most honourable motives, Venus sways by the sheer force of love. Occultists tell us that this beautiful planet is the home of very advanced and beneficent spirits whose vibrations mingle with those of our Earth life when the conditions are favourable. It would certainly seem that the Venus natives are well fitted to receive them, for the mind is naturally attuned to everything that is “lovely and of good report.” The shadow side is easily recognised; and is, I think, more often met with in the sign Taurus than Libra. Taurus is the earthy and more sensuous manifestation of the Venus influence. The degenerate types are, of course, those who live only for pleasure, and, if the will is weak, are easily led into bad practices. But it is doubtful whether any native where Venus is strong will do wrong from a really low or malicious motive. The “criminal types” show out influences between Mars, Uranus, and Mercury which bring a different set of instincts into play.
But again, in considering the influences of the so-called malefic planets such as Mars, one realises at the outset that nothing is entirely evil. It would be a sorry business for human life if the energy of the Mars vibrations were withdrawn. Courage, initiative, the noble passion of the pioneer—these things are brought into being through the Mars vibration. I am always glad to see the planet well aspected in a horoscope. When it is afflicted we get exactly the contrary attributes—physical timidity combined with a bullying tendency characteristic of the coward. Mars is at his best in Aries. In fact I have known cases where he has been in conjunction with Mercury in this sign without any ill effects upon the character beyond a certain rashness which maturity might overcome. Of his relations with the other planets we will speak later.
People born under the influences of Saturn could easily be picked out from everyone’s circle of friends. The Aquarius Ascendant gives us the finest of Saturn’s children—people whose faithfulness, sobriety, and prudence make them so valuable in posts of responsibility. Capricorn is less reliable, more coldly selfish and self-seeking. An Aquarius native can be witty and bright, but I have always found Capricorn painfully lacking in humour. Saturn has a most powerful influence upon the mind. In affliction, it tends to acute melancholia. In opposition or square with Mercury, it may lead to insanity. If it is only weak or poorly aspected, and in the ninth house, it brings that negation of life, the extreme economy and miserliness which can destroy the soul more cruelly than the passions of Mars. But well aspected, its value to a character is immense. It brings the native understanding of Life’s discipline, and a cheerful acceptance of those rough times which are the touchstone of our strength. Saturn in Sagittarius makes the philosopher who has learnt to “smile all the while,” even when things are as black as only Saturn can make them.
It is very difficult in judging the map of any ordinary person, to predict how he will respond to the influences of Uranus. I believe that there are some people who scarcely feel them at all. Two cases have come to me lately where Uranus by progression arrived at very bad directions: (1) a square to the Ascendant, and (2) a conjunction with the Sun. In neither case was the life very sensibly affected. There were one or two troubles about a change of house, and there were estrangements from friends (a very characteristic influence), but nothing more.
On the other hand, I have known other people pass through the most critical period of their lives under an Uranian aspect. The good and friendly aspects of this wonderful planet can generally be traced in some way. It is good for popularity and employment. If it is in the ninth house then it will assuredly be felt, and much depends upon its aspects. It has been called the “Destroyer,” from the sudden and unexpected crashes it seems to inaugurate in human affairs; but there is no doubt that it has a very powerful mental influence upon those who are able to respond. It is the planet of Science and the planet of Mysticism. It forces its children out of all ancient paths and grooves, and makes short work of tradition. It inclines to the examination of all new theories, to a deductive habit of mind, and in religion to the “inwardness” of the mystic or the Quaker.
Of Neptune’s influences we still know so comparatively little that all students would do good service by making a special study of any reliable data from their own observation. Neptune certainly seems to have some definite connection with the sea; and an aspect to Venus is frequently found in the maps of musicians. In the eighth house it undoubtedly inclines to the study of occultism, but I have some disastrous examples of a conjunction with the Moon in Gemini, and of bad aspects to Mercury. The influences appear to produce a strange and chaotic course of events, and to bring danger to the moral judgment.
With this general introduction showing the trend of my personal observations in this tremendous subject, I will pass on to some of the authentic cases which I have known.
* ♎︎ is the sign of the Balance.