The philosophy of Theosophy covers all things in manifestation and points out the relations of each thing to every other. Our personal purview extends over our own interests—our religion, our system of thought, our ideas—and moving along those lines within narrow limits, we finally reach the place where we are living entirely for ourselves, making use of all the efforts, thoughts, and ideas of others solely that we ourselves may benefit. We need to raise our eyes and our minds to the wider view of what the great universe itself is.
This Earth is a planet, as we all know. But there are also other planets quite as likely to be inhabited as is this planet. So, too, this solar system of ours is but one of innumerable solar systems in the universe. All are parts of the vast whole; all are consequently related. There was a time when the knowledge of these relationships existed, when they were taught in the ancient temples as part of the Great Initiation. That was the true Astrology—not the Astrology of the present day, which has lost the ancient knowledge just as the true meaning of religion has become lost in the course of time. For just as there are some sorry remnants of religious knowledge in the world today, so the remnants of astrological knowledge are almost entirely applied to the personality in physical life, considering with chart and table the effects of planetary influence merely upon the physical affairs of men. The physical is but one line of effect—the only line, if we believe planets to be mere physical embodiments. But there are other sides to the nature of planets, which we must understand, if we are to get any true idea of planetary influence.
All beings and all forms of every kind are constituted of many different “principles.” For instance, connected with man himself there is his body; there is the mind that he uses; there are powers which he exercises; and there is himself—the perceiver, the knower, the experiencer, who through his mind, his powers, his body, learns. It is apparent, then, that there are other departments of our body than the physical, to be affected by any influence; and, if there is a physical effect of planetary influence, as there must of necessity be, we shall have to inquire also into its effect upon all these departments of our nature.
Not only is man constituted of seven distinct principles, but also all planets are septenary in their natures. There is a spiritual “something,” a psychic “something,” an intellectual “something,” an astral “something,” and a physical “something,” in every planet. Planets are not merely physical things, any more than we as human beings are merely bodies. Beings of various classes constitute every planet and its inhabitants, just as our planet is constituted of the various beings belonging to the four kingdoms, from which it derives its own peculiar influence. Let us, then, consider something of the nature of these planets with which we are most intimately connected, if we would gain any idea as to the real meaning of planetary influence.
The Sun is the life-giver of our particular solar system. The Sun shines on all the planets, but the effects received differ for each planet according to the conditions presented. The Sun is the central store-house of our system and the focus for physical life, but it has also other constituents which apply to our intellectual or psychic, astral and spiritual constituents. At one and the same time, we might say, the Sun is the giver of life physical and life spiritual, if we understand that we are not referring to the mere physical Sun, which is, correspondingly, just what our bodies are—only that principle which we perceive objectively. Yet all the other principles are present, their influence flowing out upon us; from them we get whatever we are able to take. So we see there is not only a direct influence of the Sun on the Earth itself, but also upon us as peoples of Earth.
The Moon, the nearest planet to us, influences us physically, astrally and psychically, for of like nature are the forces in the Moon. Even the phases of the Moon have their particular influence upon us, as noted in the case of “lunatics,” who are rendered more insane at certain phases. The Moon’s influence is observable also in the lower kingdoms—the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal—as well as on ourselves, self-conscious beings.
Other planets still nearer to the Sun, as Mercury, for example, have still greater influence. Mercury receives seven times as much light from the Sun as the Earth, and has seven times as much—other things. Venus, standing next in order of nearness to the Sun, receives twice the light that Earth receives and also shines by her own light. It is not a wise conclusion of our scientists that, because any given planet is nearer the Sun than we are, its climate and conditions would make the sustaining of life thereon impossible. Life always adjusts itself to whatever conditions exist. Hence, bodies and ideas connected with the state of matter due to the nearness of the Sun would exactly fit those existing conditions. Thus we may look upon the various planets as brothers of our own—members of one great humanity scattered in different portions of the great universe—belonging to the same family, but working under different conditions. All have their direct effects upon us, the influence of one planet predominating over another in accordance with the angle of position. Some planets are beneficial in their influence; others are called malevolent in their effects upon man. WE stand as individuals in the midst of a great mass of beings in every direction in our solar system and beyond—all moving in the same direction, all springing from the same Source. However much the path of each humanity and of each individual differ, the Source and Goal are the same for all.
We are influenced by other planets just as we are influenced by other people in our daily walks in life. What is it that causes others to influence us against our own good will, our own right perceptions? Nothing but our mistaken ideas as to what we are, and our suppositions that we can be thus affected, our attitude toward ideas, toward people, toward things, toward life in general. We think that conditions and circumstances bring us to whatever state we are in. That is not true. It is not the conditions nor the circumstances, but the attitude we hold toward them, which matters; the true attitude held with regard to our own natures gives us the power to withstand any influence whatever. According to our attitude, and according to our understanding that all things material and physical evolve from and are ruled by the spiritual, will we—the real Thinkers—receive the effect of any planet. Neither good nor evil can come to us unless there is good or evil within ourselves. If we are good, no evil can touch us. If we are evil, then, for the time, no good can touch us. All states are within ourselves, as we ought to understand by seeing that one gets good effects and another bad effects from precisely the same set of circumstances. We are not the victims of circumstances, save as we make ourselves the victims.
A true understanding of planetary influence would involve an absolute realization of man’s nature in all his constituents, in every principle and every element, which are those of the solar system to which he belongs. Each one of us is a copy of the great universe. Each one of us is connected with every class of beings. We have within us every form of consciousness and every state of substance, and if we understand ourselves, we can move in accord with all the rest, every influence coming our way, or even perceptible to us, only an aid by which we may do good to others. Then we shall be neither oppressed nor elevated by any influences; we can be repressed or oppressed only by our own erroneous thought, will, feelings and actions. We have established a daily tabernacle which has its peculiarities, but it is of our own establishing—built by our own thoughts and doings, and by those of no one else. It was not imposed upon us by any “Being,” nor, in fact, was it necessary, except as we were ignorant, and effects flowed through our ignorance. Now, we can either learn, or maintain the condition through continued ignorance.
The fact that at any given time or place we are subject to certain beneficial or malevolent influences, that we were born as persons at a certain time and place, under certain conjunctions of the planets means only fulfillments of Karmic law. We could not have come through any “holes in the sky” except those we had made for ourselves; we could not have made a place of entrance at certain conjunctions of the planets, except the conditions for us were there at that time and at no other time. Planetary influences express our tendencies, yes; but there is no “God” above to compel us, and there is no possibility of our being pushed into following certain wrong tendencies unless we want to be pushed. If we have made up our minds not to be so influenced, then we cannot be: we simply do not follow those tendencies in ourselves which we have discovered to be wrong. So, we make another kind of birth possible.
So-called astrological prognostications of the present day relate chiefly to the body and its environment, and on that basis people seek only for good, trying to dodge sickness and evil. On the basis of our own true natures we should not seek for good, nor even to be good. We should seek to do good, and then we are good. We are not trying for any reward, but only to make ourselves efficient ministers of good to others. Because we are not creating evil, we do not have to avoid evil. Wherever and whenever we give forth evil we receive the effects of evil; whenever and wherever we give forth good, we receive the effects of good. Each one is absolutely and unconditionally responsible for the condition in which he finds himself. To blame planetary influences for this or that condition is as foolish as to blame the water for drowning a man whose own carelessness, and not the water, was responsible for the drowning. But the same laws govern other planets than ours, and we do make of ourselves magnets which draw to ourselves like things in operation at any given time anywhere. If we are subject to despondency in ourselves, for instance, we shall certainly receive all the effects that despondent conditions anywhere put upon us. This is the nature of our interdependence and inter-relation with every other being in our solar system.
It remains for man to see and realize that he has within him all the elements of the great ocean of Life. It remains for him, in that realization, to act as one who understands all the rest, and who sends out benefit in every direction for those knowing still less than he does.