Writing in the Theosophist upon the subject of Astrology, C.C.Massey says that he thinks at present we are not fully acquainted with the science, and that, as now practiced, it is not always reliable.
His remarks as to its unreliability are justly applicable to that branch of it which relates to nativities alone, and so far I agree with him, because I have encountered numerous cases where judgments upon nativities have been most erroneous. That department of the science is very abstruse and beset with difficulties requiring constant years of study to master. Can we wonder then at the mistakes made by the professional astrologer? He cannot afford these years of patient toil, for even with but one foot upon the threshold of the hoary art he begins to dispense his judgments and prognostications.
The three first divisions of the science: Genethliacal Astrology, or telling what shall be the individual’s fate; Mundane Astrology, or foretelling the circumstances of nations, the occurrence of wars and pestilence; and Atmospherical Astrology, or indicating the weather from certain aspects of the planets, are by no means easy to understand or practice, as they require not only a close application for several years, but a good education too. But here is another branch of the subject called Horary Astrology, or the answering of questions put to the Astrologer at any time upon any subject whatever about which the questioner is anxious. This can be soon learned by close attention, and its practice will be found to reward the student with answers having in them as much of certainty as we can hope for in this illusionary world. Nor, need one wait for years before trusting himself to make replies to questions or to solve problems, excepting always Elections, or the determining of days and times for beginning or doing anything.
Zadkiel, who was a well-educated man, an ex-officer of the English Navy, in writing on this subject, says that any one of average intelligence can soon learn by Horary Astrology, whom to do business with, what things to avoid, and what will be the result of any particular business engaged in or proposed. That Zadkiel was right I have had for some years abundant proof. And we have Lilly who preceded Zadkiel, saying the same as his follower. In Lilly’s Introduction to Astrology there are given hundreds of instances where Horary Astrology has furnished correct answers to questions then put. Lilly was the astrologer who predicted the great fire which in 1666 burnt down London, and also the plague that took off a vast number of her inhabitants. No matter how much the so-called scientific world may sneer at this, it remains a fact quite susceptible of proof.
In my experience with Horary Astrology I have found that some persons have not naturally the proper cast of mind for giving a correct reply to a question, which, by another reader of the figure, would be justly answered, and, again, that one who will always be correct in Horary questions may be quite unable to do well with a nativity.
It is permissible to name those professors who are dead, because then we cannot be accused of advertising them. In the city of New York there resided, up to within a short time ago, one Dr. Charles Winterburn who practiced medicine and incidentally Horary Astrology. I consulted him may times for which he would take no pay, and I cannot remember a case in which he made a wrong answer. His mind was peculiarly fitted to give a sound reply to any question astrologically put, and it was with a sincere sorrow that I heard of his death. From among the many questions answered by him I have taken a few as well as some upon which judgments were given by other astrologers, by myself and some other amateurs.
Two years ago, at exactly 3 p.m., I signed a contract relating to the use of the electric light. The conditions were favourable, and every one interested thought much money would be made. I sent Dr. Winterburn and three other astrologers—each being unaware that the others had the question and one living in a distant city—this question: “At 3 p.m. today I signed a contract; what will come of it?” No other data were given. With starling unanimity, they all replied that nothing would come of it, but that it would be abandoned. Dr. Winterburn said that I might get from it a small sum, but expenses would eat that up, and one of the others said that the opposite parties to the contract were disagreeing amongst themselves and had no funds. This I afterwards found to be true. Eleven weeks was the length of time given by astrology for it to last. Within eleven weeks the whole matter was abandoned, and I made nothing whatever from it.
Subsequently, I entered into a matter having some connection with the Government and a certain manufactured article. For the sake of collecting evidence for, or against, Astrology, I obtained judgments on the affair laying them away without paying enough attention to them to even read them. The business went forward with apparently good prospects, but at last it began to assume an unfavourable turn, and then I looked into the replies I had received. With one accord, as before, they declared I had better not go on; all stating that there appeared to be evidence of some money, but also of a greater amount of expense. Dr. Winterburn, in reply to a letter written on this point, said: “On the 20th of this month you will get some return from it, but then you should drop it. However, I see that you will give it up, and it will slip away from your neighbourhood in toto.” On the 20th I received the only money ever paid in the case, and from that day to this have had no more to do with it than if I had never heard of it.
In the year 1879, I contemplated a removal of my offices, and asked Dr. Winterburn for an astrological judgment. He replied: “Do not move yet, the place offered is not good, and you will have great annoyance and loss there; wait.” Soon after a room, apparently no better in another building, was offered. Dr. Winterburn and others with the same unanimity said; “Move; the new offer is good, it will be pleasant in ever way.” As the new place was good and cheap I moved, and not because Astrology said so. But, singular as it may appear, in eight months afterwards the place against which they advised me—and the location and description of which they were perfectly unaware of—was invaded by masons and carpenters, the wall torn down in midwinter by order of the Municipal Government, and the whole place exposed for half a year to weather and dirt. Had I been there the expense would have been great, and the annoyance immeasurable. Let me say further that when their replies were given, neither the landlord nor the Government had these alterations in contemplation.
When President Garfield was shot, some friends and myself erected different astrological figures on the event, and construing by the rules, we all said he would die. I placed his death about a week off. Our mistakes were of time and were not the mistakes of the art.
Previous to my father’s death, Dr. Winterburn, having no acquaintance with him and never having seen him, said: “All the indications are bad; I think the direction I have named will be fatal. He will die in a few days, but his death will be easy and calm.” He died in fifteen days as calmly and sweetly as a child would drop to sleep. The only datum given to the astrologer was the question:—”My father is sick; what will come of it?”
Such are a few of many instances I have had of the preciseness and truth of this ancient art. I could give hundreds.
These experiences lead me to the conclusion that Horary Astrology is a correct mode of divination. Those ancient men, who, with minds unfettered by the shackles of bigotry or theology, but having an overflowing desire to benefit that “great orphan Humanity,” were wont in the part of India and Egypt to inquire into all of Nature’s works, found that Nature is one vast machine whose wheels work one within the other. Calculate the motion and know the mode of motion of one, and you have a key for all. So they took the planets with the heavenly road in which they travel, and erected a scheme based on experience and the universal reign of law, which enabled them and will enable us to guide the faltering steps of man through the dark and rugged valley of this life. Anxiety is one of man’s greatest and most insidious foes. It fetters his energy and defeats his ends. If Astrology will relieve one at any crisis from anxiety, is it not well to foster its pursuit and spread its fame? It has relieved me often from anxiety which, without it, I would have felt for months. It will do the same for any one.
Let the light then shine from the East where Astrology began: let those whose forefathers gave to Claudius Ptolemy the materials for his Tetrabiblos, give to us what aid they can for the great understanding and development of this most ancient art.