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Were You Born

Under a Lucky Star?


Adapted from the Four Books of
Ptolemy, the Astronomer, on the
Art of Reading the-Stars : : :


" We bold there is more truth in astrology
. than in astrologers,"^



















Appendix A 132

Appendix B 134

Appendix C 135

Appendix D .163

Appendix E 167

Tables . . . . . . . .179



So many eminent men, eminent both in science and
literature, have been secretly interested in astrology of
late years, that we may not unreasonably expect before
long a public movement toward a scientific investigation
of the observed facts in connection with it. And then
we may hope that the ordinary man will not burst into
peals of laughter at the very mention of the word "as-
trology" as he does today.

There are several elements which militate against the
serious study of astrology. The first and greatest is the
almost utter lack in this day of anything approaching a
scientific knowledge of mind and emotion. Astrology
presumes to point out how mind and emotion are
molded. But we must understand mind before we can
reasonably go on to an investigation of the causes which
made it so. What do the scientists know of love, the
most powerful of human emotions ! How very small is
our knowledge of the natural processes of human ob- ,
servation and deduction ! What little we do know, came
down to us chiefly from the Greeks. Indeed, we may
say that our knowledge of the intellectual processes and


the commonest emotions of a human being are of the
most elementary kind.

And this confusion of knowledge has introduced into
astrology vital mistakes. Personally I have never seen
a scintilla of evidence to suppose that the positions of
the planets in any way determine human events except
in determining the crystallization of human character
at birth. But in attempting to account for events in a
life, no distinction has been made between those events
which are the result of character and those which come
from quite different causes. For instance, an astrologer
foretells that a child should die of drowning in his sixth
year. But it is not the event that he really can say
anything about, only the disposition of the child to
meddle with water at that age. The child will very likely
fall into the water, as in a case I have in mind, but
astrology had no possible means of knowing that some
one would fish him out before he was drowned. A cer-
tain horoscope indicated the character for a lawyer, who
at a certain period of his life would have an inclination
toward female clients. If at that time he had such a
distinguished client, it was by no means the stars that
brought that client to him. His disposition naturally
led him to associate himself with whatever eminent
female criminal client might then have need of a lawyer.
Again, many people have died violent deaths for which
there seems no reason in the horoscope. It simply
illustrates the fact, as I personally believe it to be, that
there are two kinds of fate the one in a man's own
character, the other in circumstances outside. With
those outside circumstances astrology has nothing to


do, though indeed it often seems to have much because
we do not understand, with our limited .psychology, the
difference between the events which result from a man's
own nature and those which come from wholly exterior

The second great obstacle in the path of a scientific
investigation of astrology is the fact that it is almost
entirely in the hands of those mystics who either call
themselves "artists," or else apply to themselves the
adjective "esoteric," whatever that may mean. It is of
course impossible for the scientist to consider seriously
that ethereal fluid which emanates from the stars and
penetrates man's being, or to indulge in rhapsodies over
the spiritual harmony of the universe. These terms and
theories no doubt foreshadow and correspond with
actual discoveries and facts ; but they mean nothing to
the scientists. In short, a scientific theory of astrology
is necessary before the scientist will be tempted even
to investigate the facts observed.

But we will pass to another obstacle in the path of
astrology, though to our mind really the slightest of
all, the charlatan fortune-telling for so many ages asso-
ciated with it. Even if the whole claim of astrology
were fully admitted, foretelling a man's future would
be an impossibility because of the multiplicity of known
elements (let alone the unknown) which go to make that
future. In astronomy allowance always has to be made
for comets and world-explosions. Infinitely greater
allowance would have to be made in the realm of astrol-
ogy, so infinitely complicated is it in comparison with
astronomy. It is not for fortune-telling that we wish to


investigate astrology ; but if it is a true science even in
possibility, how greatly would that fact serve to revolu-
tionize our view of erring fellow-beings, and of a thou-
sand other things !

But we do not believe that the known charlatanism
associated with astrology would operate to prevent hon-
est scientific men from investigating the meaning of
observed facts. Charlatanism characterized mesmerism
and hypnotism, but scientific men have redeemed this
latter subject from the region of fancy and made it sci-

Another reason for much of the absurdity in ancient
astrology was the small knowledge of astronomy then
possible. For instance, the discovery of Uranus has in
a moment accounted for grave discrepancies which the
ancients found in many horoscopes.

We stated above that one great obstacle in the path
of a scientific future for astrology was our lack of knowl-
edge of the human mind. There is one branch of the
study not open to that objection, however the effect
of the heavenly bodies on health. We have a whole
learned profession devoted to the study of physiology
and the welfare of the human body. The medical pro-
fession should therefore be prepared to investigate the
facts of astrology as affecting the human body in health
or illness. It is from the physiological point of view
chiefly that our investigation can at present be con-
ducted. Here we have an infinite possibility of obtain-
ing facts, and when it is stated that a man has typhoid
fever or measles, there is no doubt about it. Facts


there are in plenty to prove that human disease has a
direct connection with various combinations of stars and
planets in certain positions. If any one doubt the exist-
ence of the facts he has only to look into the cases that
lie easily before him. There are not a score, but thou-
sands, and out of a thousand cases one can come to
a fairly accurate conclusion concerning facts, after mak-
ing ample allowance for coincidences.

But granting certain facts as patent, what explana-
tion can you give? asks the scientist. The penetrating
influence of Karma is not a satisfactory answer.

Taking the facts before us, let us proceed to deduce
an hypothesis, if not a theory. First, let us state a few
facts and then make a natural deduction.

Facts : Certain stars or planets on the point of rising
at the time of birth have been observed to be connected
with certain types of physique.

Certain effects have been observed to be associated
with combinations of planets in certain positions of the
zodiac when their light reached the earth so as to form
an angle of sixty or one hundred and twenty degrees
(the favorable aspects of the sextile and trine) ; certain
results quite the reverse have appeared to follow angles
of light of ninety degrees and one hundred and eighty
(square "and opposition aspects).

All these influences are ascribed to the moment of
birth and the time immediately following.

The angle which the light of any single planet formed
to the earth in the latitude and longitude of birth is
said to affect the being of the child in certain definite
ways (as in the first thirty degrees to produce secret


enemies of its own nature, thirty to sixty degrees,
friends, etc.).

We assume these statements to be facts. Having
satisfied ourselves that there is a certain amount of truth
in them, for lack of time we leave the proof of the facts
to others.

Deductions : It is known that minerals crystallize
on these angles. It is known that animal life originates
in microscopic cells, at first formless, which gradually
go through a process similar to crystallization, and that
in some way in these invisible cells all human qualities
of mind or body are latent. Let us therefore assume
that at the moment of birth these elemental human cells
begin to crystallize, and that the form of their crystalliza-
tion is determined by the conditions of light, heat, elec-
tricity, or gravitation produced by heavenly bodies at
the moment.

The crystallization is probably a progressive process ;
the first crystals determine the shape of the body, the
ones formed later being connected with qualities more
subtle, which lie latent during certain years until matur-
ity brings them into play. Thus some hours after birth
may be sown the seeds of brain fever to occur in middle

But is it light, heat, or electricity, or gravitation
which determines the mode of crystallization, or a com-
bination of one or more or all ?

It may be the condition of the magnetism of the
earth caused by the angle which that portion of the
earth forms to the sun. This theory is supported by
the fact that the sun is observed to have certain influ-


ences when posited in certain signs of the zodiac. In
the course of centuries the stars in Aries and the other
signs have moved back thirty degrees, but the sign
which begins at the vernal equinox and the others in
succession, have not been observed to change their influ-
ence. It would therefore seem that the light of the
stars, which had changed, was not the fundamental
cause, but the angle which the sun formed to the mag-
netic poles of the earth, which had not changed.

It may be the varying density of the atmosphere
caused by the attraction of the heavenly bodies for the
air about the earth. Thus, the moon as it passes about
the earth raises tides. It doubtless also raises a tide
of air, and the planets may raise smaller tides, thus
affecting the density of the air. Also it is known that
the point at which minerals crystallize is determined by
the pressure, among other elements. This might pos-
sibly account for the influence of the sun and moon when
placed in varying signs of the zodiac ; but this and the
preceding theory leave many things unaccounted for.
The irregular effect of humidity in varying the density
of the atmosphere would seem almost wholly to dis-
countenance the theory of varied pressure. Gravitation
may act in a more direct way, however, though there is
far less reason to suppose that gravitation has anything
to do with human crystallization than there is for believ-
ing light or magnetism to be the controlling force.

Light and heat are merely varying lengths of ethe-
real vibration, and even the chemical rays are essen-
tially the same in character as both heat and light.
Mineral crystallization we know depends on two things,


pressure and temperature ; that is, the balance of the
expansive and repressive forces. We naturally look for
corresponding elements in human crystallization. Either
gravitation, atmospheric density, or the magnetic con-
dition of the earth (which of would be hard to
say) corresponds to pressure, and we may easily suppose
that the chemical and other rays correspond to heat, a
coarser variety of the same thing.

It is well known that light has a powerful influence,
over life the two are often spoken of as almost syno-
nyms. The healthy child must be reared out of doors
in the sunlight. Darkness invariably produces disease,
even when there is plenty of heat.

In recent experiments with the cathode, or so-
called X-rays, the stimulating effect on animal life of
these rays was noticed in several cases. A mouse which
had been kept under water an hour was resuscitated
while being photographed. Edison's young men assist-
ants were able to work in these rays for forty-eight
hours at a time without weariness. Similar observa-
tions were reported elsewhere. But this only goes to
show the tremendous influence of light on life light in
all its varieties, from heat to the invisible chemical rays.

The process of mineral crystallization is this : When
the liquid or supersaturated solution reaches a certain
temperature and condition of pressure, and the impulse
to crystallize has been given in some way, geometrical
crystals are formed, not at one spontaneous burst, but
in more or less rapid degrees, and the process may be
arrested by the change in temperature caused by heat
arising from the process itself.


The child in the womb may be regarded as a mineral
held in solution ; at birth the impulse of crystallization
is given and the process takes place during the hours
and days immediately ensuing; the beginning of the
process determines the general direction or tendency
of the result, and later effects take a secondary place, or
one that manifests itself only when the first crystals have
served their day and given place to maturing elements
held in check while they existed.

We may suppose that the form or nature of these
crystals is very largely determined by the state of vibra-
tion of the ether in its higher forms. Chemical or other
rays coming at a certain angle might harmonize with
each other easily and produce a favorable ethereal
atmosphere ; while rays coming at other angles would
interfere with each other, either neutralizing each other
or producing irregular vibrations of the ether.

Ptolemy said that Saturn was cold and Mars. was
hot. It may be assumed that the rays coming from them
have in the one case a lower and in the other a greater
rate of vibration (or the reverse) than the mean most
favorable to human development, while the benefic
aspects of Jupiter may be the result of the fact that the
rays from him have a medium rate of vibration most in
harmony with the development of the human crysial.

It is well known that the character of the light com-
ing from the various planets varies greatly, the light of
the sun being most comprehensive. Most of the light
coming from the planets is reflected ; but what rays are
reflected and what are absorbed depends wholly on the
character of the planet and its atmosphere.


Planets in conjunction with the sun are observed
to lend to the light of the sun their own character, which
is in accord with the general laws of ethereal vibration.

There is just one grave objection to the light theory.
The position of the signs of the zodiac and of the sun
in relation to them should mean the combined effect
of the light of the fixed stars above the earth at any
given moment. But if by the precession of the ecliptic
the position of the signs in the heaven has changed
thirty degrees, and no corresponding change of effect
of the signs so altered has been observed, it is obvious
that the light of the stars originally in the sign had
nothing to do with the effect of the sign on human life.
This strongly suggests that the second element in human
crystallization, corresponding to pressure in the case of
minerals, is the magnetic condition of the earth accord-
ing to its position in reference to the sun. Also we know
that the light of most of the fixed stars is like that of
the sun, and being direct and comprehensive is not so
productive of variation as the irregularly reflected light
from the planets, including the moon. Still, the light
of the stars at various angles, taking into consideration
that we are dealing with the total effect of all stars above
the horizon, may have a combined effect which has been
only slightly varied by the accident of the change of the
signs of the zodiac, an effect which has therefore not
been duly observed. But undoubtedly we have here a
strong argument for the existence of some other ele-
ment than light rays in effecting crystallization.


As far as I am aware, the theory of human crystalli-
zation has never before been definitely presented. Pto-
lemy spoke of the various planets and luminaries as
being associated with different degrees of heat and
humidity. Thus, Saturn was dry and cold, Mars dry
and hot, the sun dry, the moon moist, etc. ; and likewise
he connected the winds coming from various quarters
with different planets by a very far-fetched analogy.
And he clearly states that the moment of generation or
copulation must be far more important than the moment
of birth ; but since the first is almost impossible to deter-
mine, the latter has to be taken for convenience as the
starting point. Evidently human crystallization had
never entered his mind.

Heredity has been so much talked of in recent years
that one of the best modern writers, Mr. Hiram Butler,
author of "Solar Biology," tries to account for every
characteristic by the condition of the minds of the par-
ents at the time immediately preceding birth. In the
first place, it is safe to say that he never had the slightest
opportunity to observe how the minds of the parents
were directed at the time of birth. And besides that,
what we know of heredity would lead us to believe that
the molding forces begin to operate long before the
time of birth, and at times sa very various and from
causes so diverse that one could by no stretch of imagi-
nation connect them with the merely momentary posi-
tions of planets at the instant of birth.

If we adopt the theory of crystallization, it will
scarcely be possible to go farther in definite knowledge.
All the other matters I have mentioned are merely analo-


gies to give vrai-semblance to the theory as a good
working hypothesis. And while looking for analogies,
it would be well to consider the very interesting phe-
nomena of the interference and polarization of light.
Two reflected rays coming to a single point from mir-
rors a little less than 180 degrees apart produce on a
screen bands of darkness alternating with bands of
light ; that is, at certain points the two rays destroy each
other. Doubtless the light from planets in opposition
or conjunction would exhibit the same phenomena. It
is well known that the process of crystallization that is,
the arrangement of the molecules of a substance in cer-
tain regular orders is easily interfered with. For in-
stance, if water is violently agitated it may be reduced
several degrees below the freezing point before it con-
geals. The same is true if it is left absolutely quiet.

The interference of polarized light is even more
interesting than that of ordinary light, for by its aid
beautiful and varying bands of color are produced.
Moreover, when light is reflected from a polarized sur-
face, polarization is complete only when the beam comes
from a fixed angle, the angle of polarization.

What subtle qualities the particles in a human crystal
may receive from light coming to it from two sources at
an angle of sixty degrees or one hundred and twenty,
human ingenuity will never penetrate in all probability ;
and yet we have quite as much chance of confirming
our theory as we had for confirming the theory that
light is a transversal vibration of an invisible ether.
Ether is but a theory ; and human crystallization may be
quite as good a theory for purposes of investigating the


strange effects produced on human character by posi-
tions and combinations of heavenly bodies.

If this theory is adopted it will be observed that it
makes no place for horary astrology ; that it does not
account for the happening of events, but clearly recog-
nizes that there is an outside series of influences wholly
disconnected with the stars or no more connected than
everything in life is connected with everything else, for
there is no force but is directly or indirectly convertible
into any other. Thus the theory of evolution and hered-
ity is not in the least interfered with, while we have a
wonderful explanation for the acknowledged differences
of individuals born under the same external influences.
We thus have in astrology an explanation of human
individuality; at least we get a glimpse of the individ-
ualizing forces, while our studies in the past have been
chiefly of unifying forces.

Note. Dr. J. Heber Smith, writing in the Arena, calls at-
tention to the fact that if a metal disc is supported at the cen-
ter and is made to vibrate by a violin bow, it vibrates in sec-
dons of thirty degrees, as may be seen by sand springledoverit.



Astrology seems to have made no progress since the
days of Claudius Ptolemaeus, who wrote nearly two
thousand years ago, and his "Tetrabiblos" is undoubt-
edly the best text-book on the subject existing today.
Modern astrologers, notably Kepler, have introduced
some changes, and made large claims, which Ptolemy
did not venture to do. He said specifically that the
science of astrology does not enable any man to predict
particular events, and there are certain things which no
rational man would think of foretelling. His method of
prediction was precisely that of the modern doctor, who
says that a disease will run a certain length of time, that
a certain constitution must have care or it will break
down, that from external appearances one man should
make a good blacksmith, another a good orator, and
so forth. The positions of the stars help us to analyze
more subtle physical conditions, not subject to external
observation. But the whole ground of prediction is
simply a knowledge of the physical, mental and moral
condition of a human being from birth. If we know
that the germs of hereditary consumption exist in a
child from birth, we can predict that he will die of the
disease, and may judge the time with tolerable accuracy.
And if we know the mode of crystallization, we have as
it were a chart of latent germs.


Ptolemy seems to have been kiterested in astrology
first of all and chiefly as a means of predicting .the
weather. What truth there may be in that branch of
the subject I have never had time to investigate ; but I
judge that Ptolemy hit it about as often as the govern-
ment meteorological bureau today. His next source of
interest came from the fact that astrology was generally
used by physicians ; and indeed it has been used by this
profession until very recently. From this he proceeded
to character, and the inferences that may be drawn from
a knowledge of character as to future conditions of
health, wealth, success in business, marriage, etc.

Ptolemy explained everything by temperature and
humidity. He had a mass of observation before him.
From this he developed his rational theory, which was
to explain everything by temperature and moisture in
analogy with the change of the seasons, and he admitted
nothing that did not square with his theory, and no
doubt he drew inferences from the theory as to what
the facts ought to be.

But every branch of science has made such tremen-
dous progress since Ptolemy's day, that I assume that
if he were living now he would entirely recast his theory,
correct his methods of procedure, discard certain ele-
ments, adopt others, and so bring the "Tetrabiblos" up
to date. As (for certain apparent reasons) he is unable
to do this work, I have presumed to attempt the task.
I know something of modern scientific facts and theo-
ries, and I take it for granted that Ptolemy was an
authority on ancient astrology. So between Ptolemy
and modern science, I trust the reader may be interested.


It may be objected that the microscope has not yet
revealed any minute crystals in protoplasm, but that

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Online LibraryA AlpheusWere you born under a lucky star? : a complete exposition of the science of astrology adapted from the four books of Ptolemy ... → online text (page 1 of 14)