Astrologers have often been reproached with their comparatively frequent failures to predict the time of death. The reason has never been made clear; for the problem has never been properly understood. 

Let us first consider how it has been treated. For example, the astrologer has looked at the Sun, or the Moon in the case of a woman, and at the eighth house, and the Lord of that house. From the radical afflictions of these, and from their afflictions by direction or transit, he has formulated his judgment. 

Now the reason of his error is a fundamental one. Except in the case of violent death, by accident, suicide or assassination, death is not a single isolated phenomenon but the culmination and climax of a long series of phenomena. When St. Paul said “I die daily,” he was speaking literal truth. All life involves metabolism, and the asymptote of the metabolic curve is called death. Death is the physiological goal; and pathology is only the history of short cuts upon the path. 

Now when a child is born into the world, its hold on life is of the {499} weakest. Very small accidents can cut short that life; and so frequently does this occur that until recently infant mortality was the standing shame of our race. But as a child grows, if it is healthy, this grip of life increases daily. It is well known what extremities of exposure, hunger and other trials may be endured by a strong man without the slightest permanent injury. Even self-inflicted wounds such as the drink and drug habits are borne by many for years before any visible damage to the physical constitution becomes apparent. In old age this hold again weakens, and is ultimately so tenuous that the cord snaps at an almost imperceptible strain. 

The astrologers of the past have unaccountably neglected to make these considerations, obvious as they are. It is not the fault of the science. So slight a matter as the opposition of Mercury to the Moon may kill a girl baby outright; so serious an affair as the transit of Uranus over the Sun may leave the native apparently untouched. It is obvious that Mars either passes over the radical Sun, or squares him, or opposes him several times in every year. And what with the other malefics, and directions, and so on, one might well exclaim: “In the midst of life we are in death.” Some of these attacks will be weak through being far out of parallel aspect; others will be mitigated by counterbalancing good aspects; but on the whole one may say that such caveats can only be entered against about one-half of the threats of life. It is moderate to say that, on the old astrological theories, it is a very good year when the native might not die at least three times. There is certainly never any difficulty in discovering why he did die after he is comfortably buried. 

Then why are these aspects inoperative? How is it that a man can survive a series of bad afflictions to succumb later to a trifle? The answer is, first, that it depends on his general vitality, and, second, we deny the fact. Death itself does not occur visibly; but something in the nature of death may occur invisibly and insensibly in the organism. Who can say that is the true birth-hour of a cancer or diabetes? At what moment does that first degenerative change in the supra-renal capsules take place which is recognized much later, and always too late, as Addison's disease? 

Such diseases, and there are very many such, have no symptoms discoverable (in the present state of medical knowledge) until the mischief is done. Here, then, astrology may render priceless service {500} to the native. It can warn him of the time of the threat and its nature, so that at that particular time he may take some special precaution. The weak part of the body is indicated by the sign involved, and the type of disease threatened by the planet which menaces the mischief. The native can therefore take measures to obviate the peculiar risk to which his attention is thus drawn. 

Forewarned is forearmed nowhere more than in astrology. The proper degree and quality of mental and moral action can take a most evil aspect and transmute its action, transform its character, and deflect its issue to a plane where all things visibly and unmistakably “work together for good to them that love God, and are called according to His purpose.”

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