[The Theosophist, Vol. II, No. 9, June, 1881, pp. 198-199]
[Mr. K. D. Dosabhoy wrote to The Theosophist, saying that his faith in astrology had been destroyed as the result of the failure of the astrologers he had consulted to make correct predictions. H. P. Blavatsky’s editorial comment on this was as follows:]
Our esteemed Brother and correspondent was unlucky in his astrological researches, and that is all he can say. Because half-educated astronomers in one country may fail to correctly predict an eclipse, is it a reason why its inhabitants should decry astronomy and call it a visionary science? Besides the great neglect into which astrology has fallen during the last two centuries, it is a science far more difficult to master than the highest of mathematics; yet, notwithstanding all, we assert again that, whenever studied conscientiously, it proves the claims of its proficients correct. No more than Mr. Darasha Dosabhoy do we believe astrology capable of predicting every trifling event in our life, any accidental illness, joy or sorrow. It never claimed as much. The stars can predict (?) no more unforeseen events than a physician a broken leg to a patient who never stirs from his house. They show a lucky or unlucky life, but in general features, and no more. If our friend was unsuccessful with every astrologer he met, we know at least a dozen of well-educated men who were forced to believe in astrology as its predictions came to pass in every case. A large volume would be necessary to explain in detail the understanding of this ancient science, yet a few words may serve to correct one of the most glaring errors concerning it, not only current
among the masses, but even among many who understand and practice astrology, namely, that the planets make us what we are, their good and evil aspects causing fortunate and unfortunate periods. Says a Professor of Astrology, W. H. Chaney: “Take to the unphilosophical astrologer the horoscope of a boy born with Sagittarius rising, Jupiter in the same, on the ascendant, in exact trine to the Sun and Leo, with other favourable configurations, and instantly he would declare that the boy would become a great man, a Prince, a President—and so would I. But the astrologer might insist that all this good fortune was caused by the boy having been born under such fortunate aspects, whereas I should look beyond the birth for the cause, and should probably discover, that, before his conception, his parents had been away from each other for weeks or months, during which both lived a life of perfect chastity; that they were very harmonious, in excellent bodily health, their intellects clear, their minds cheerful, and their moral natures strong.”
The Egyptian episcope (“overseer”; our English word “episcopal” is derived from the name of this ancient pagan stargazer) discovered that in the morning, shortly before sunrise, in June, he could see in the east the brightest fixed star in the heavens, and immediately after thus seeing the star the Nile would overflow. Having witnessed the phenomenon for many successive years, he laid it down as an axiom that this star indicated the overflow of the Nile, no one thinking of disputing him; for the cause should be traced to the melting of the snow in the mountains of Africa. Now, suppose someone—a sceptic—had heard of this idea of a star causing the Nile to overflow, what an opportunity it would have afforded for heaping scorn and ridicule upon the poor episcope! Yet the episcope would have continued to observe the same phenomena year after year; and being called “moon-struck,” a “fool,” etc., would not have changed his opinion in the least. Now all the hubbub on this point would arise from ignorance on the part of the sceptic just as nine-tenths of all the disputes and quarrels arise. Teach the man that the appearance of that star at a particular time and place in the heavens indicated, not caused the overflow of
the Nile, and he would have ceased to call the episcope an idiot and liar.
The intelligent reader must now see the point at which we aim—namely, that in astrology the stars do not cause our good or bad luck, but simply indicate the same. A man must be a psychologist and a philosopher before he can become a perfect astrologer, and understand correctly the great Law of Universal Sympathy. Not only astrology but magnetism, theosophy and every occult science, especially that of attraction and repulsion, depend upon this law for their existence. Without having thoroughly studied the latter, astrology becomes a superstition.
The article “Stars and Numbers” which follows was written before we received the above letter. We draw our esteemed correspondent’s attention to it.