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PART VII

FREE WILL VERSUS DESTINY

The questions asked the author most frequently are these – “Does Astrology teach fatality?” “Do the stars indicate circumstances or conditions over which the individual can have no control?” “Does Astrology help us find our true niche in the Universe?”

These queries have suggested this chapter. It should be clearly understood that the stars only indicate what will come to pass if intelligence and Free Will are not used to change the natural course of events. The wise man cooperates with the stars, the fool thinks he rules them. As William Henley says:

“It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishment the scroll,

I am the Master of my Fate,

I am the Captain of my Soul.”

The horoscope indicates the pattern on which the life is built, and if we are not familiar with this pattern, we are in danger of blurring it. Through Astrology we are not only made familiar with the details of it, but are helped to cooperate with its plan, and so we make our lives faithful to that plan, and by so doing, add to our own happiness, efficiency and usefulness in the world. While Astrology points out the potentialities, capabilities and limitations of the individual, how far we shall develop the desirable traits and overcome those which are undesirable, depends upon the exercise of {337} Free Will. In other words, Astrology points the way and helps us to maintain a balance between the mental and the physical.

Astrology points out the weak spots in our character, and gives the reason why we are not successful in reaching our goal. It also points out when we are in danger of suffering through our weakness and when misfortune is likely to overtake us. Character is Destiny, and “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

It is further possible through Astrology to ascertain for what work we are best fitted, and the times and seasons when opportunity will be presented for establishing ourselves in that work.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

(JULIUS CAESAR.)

Had Napoleon exercised intelligence and taken the warning of his professional astrologer that he would suffer defeat if he met Wellington at Waterloo, his whole destiny and that of France might have been changed. Had Abraham Lincoln been informed through Astrology that he was under accidental and treacherous vibrations (which was the case at the time), he might have exercised his Free Will and avoided making himself a target by appearing in so public a place as a theater the night he was assassinated.

In attempting to arrive at a solution of our problem, it is necessary to study man in his relation to the Universe. Grounded in the structure of the Cosmos is the {338} law of fatality. Life is a chain of successive causes and effects, link upon link. But whereas fatality is the process of Nature, freedom is the essence of “human nature.” Free Will is our highest possession. Free Will makes man a moral being; indeed morality is always a choice among alternatives. Otherwise, there would be Kismet, fatalism, helplessness, irresponsibility, leaving no justification for the punishment of crime or for paying the penalty of ignorance or wrong-doing, and, on the other hand, for awarding merit to intelligence and virtue.

Charles Fleischer, in his Essay on Human Nature, asserts this equation: “Animal nature plus Vision, plus Will, equals Human Nature.”

Perhaps the secret of the common readiness to accept fatality as a finality is, in what modern psychology calls “defense mechanism” – a willingness to blame the stars and circumstances and whatever appears to be outside of ourselves, as the ultimate determining forces and factors in our lives. Herein is the point of the suggestion of Cassius – “It is not in our stars, but in ourselves, dear Brutus, what we are underlings.”

In this connection I wish to remind the reader of Voltaire's subtle suggestion that if there were no God, mankind would invent one. So also it should be said to those who insist upon fatality that if there were no Free Will, we should have to invent it. Man is not really man, a child of the divine, unless he is a free moral agent, using intelligence and will to determine his own life. The old hymn reads: “My mind to me a kingdom is.” It might be added, my soul gives me dominion over life. To speak further in traditional terms, the real “sin against the Holy Ghost” is the refusal to recognize this supreme {339} truth – “that the soul's dominion and authority is the very essence and the meaning of human life.” In other words, each individual is finally responsible for his own choice of conduct.

Fatalism only exists on the material plane. The soul is not shackled by Fate. Through astrology we can ascertain what is likely to happen, but it is not the mission of the astrologer to determine how the events which are preordained shall influence each individual. This depends upon one's own Free Will and the degree of development one has attained and which will determine one's mental attitude toward anything which may happen. One will receive results through one's opportunities in proportion to the use one makes of them.

Knowledge is power, and Astrology is the Master Key to the lock of Truth. By knowing what our destiny indicates, and when we are headed straight for the rocks unless we use our intelligence and our Free Will to study the causes which threaten disaster, it behooves us first, to ascertain what pitfalls lie ahead, and then to exercise our choice to determine the best course to avert the catastrophe. If, for instance, we are told there has been a washout on the road and then we proceed heedlessly, we are exercising neither our Free Will nor our good judgment. It was inevitable that the washout occurred, but it depends upon us alone whether we shall succumb to the menace threatened.

On the other hand, Astrology points out the best and shortest and safest route to a given goal. Also, it offers solutions to our problems and it is the part of self-interested wisdom and enlightened Free Will to use gratefully this beneficent guidance of the stars. Astrology reveals {340} us to ourselves – our physical and psychical makeup, our tendencies and our possibilities. Astrology makes it possible for us to analyze and diagnose ourselves, and so to play the part of self-healing physicians, thus curing the causes of illness and fertilizing the roots of our well-being. Astrology might also be likened to the searchlight that brings to vision the iceberg, but in no way forces the captain to go around it.

With the help that Astrology brings, we may use our intelligence and Free Will both to avert dangers and to convert opportunity to our advantage. It opens wide fields of important knowledge regarding human life, and enlarges our sphere of consciousness, thus enabling one to be Master, rather than servant – dictator to, rather than victim of, circumstances. Destiny brings us experience, but Free Will determines what use we shall make of the experience in shaping our lives. Fate knocks at the door, but it is up to us to bid her enter or keep her out. Dryden says:

“Fortune at some hour to all is kind;

The lucky have whole days which still they choose;

The unlucky have but hours,

And those they lose.”

The “unlucky” can well be termed those unfortunate human beings who drift with the tide or oppose it, instead of adjusting their course to its ebb and flow by exercising intelligent Free Will.

“One ship drives east and another drives west

With the self-same winds that blow;

'Tis the set of the sails {341}

And not the gales

Which tell us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,

As we voyage along through life,

'Tis the set of the soul

That decides its goal,

And not the calm or the strife.”

Life is evolution, fostered by vision and will. Consider the seaman, equipped with chart, compass and rudder. He has marked advantage over one who tries to navigate without these helps, and who, therefore, drifts blindly at the mercy of wind and wave. So Astrology renders incalculable service to even self-directing human beings by furnishing them the informative equivalents of the mariner's chart, compass and rudder. Again, our career is like a voyage. It is as though we were embarking, let us say, for Cherbourg. Fate determines our destination, but with our Free Will we decide whether we shall spend the period on shipboard in indulging our appetites – perhaps to the point of debauch – or in using the time for valuable work, in making friends, or in rest and thought.

Astrology being the emancipator from ignorance, helps the individual to understand himself, and also, through understanding his fellowman better, to be more sympathetic and more tolerant. In a large sense, Astrology teaches the true meaning of the Brotherhood of Man – by knowing and respecting one's self and one's fellows.

The assistance that Astrology gives in diagnosing disease is of invaluable assistance to medicine. Those physicians and surgeons who have put aside their prejudice {342} and have taken advantage of the findings of Astrology (as did the physicians of old), have an added power in helping mankind, and in understanding their own science.

In the last analysis, the balance between fatalism and Free Will is suggested by Democracy, the idealistic expression of our American civilization and of the whole modern human trend. True Democracy means self-government, self-direction, self-control.

So this interpretation of the uses of Astrology makes Man, the Individual, the free arbiter of his fate through the use of vision, intelligence and will.

Character is Destiny. It is the resultant of the lifelong, conscious use of the Cosmic Forces that vibrate through our human stuff. This dowers you with that dynamic vitality, which is your normal heritage as a creative human being, and entitles you to YOUR PLACE IN THE SUN.

 

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Astrology: Your Place in the Stars | Foreword | Zodiacal Signs, Planets and their Symbols | The Signs of the Zodiac | Aries | Taurus | Gemini | Cancer | Leo | Virgo | Libra | Scorpio | Sagittarius | Capricorn | Aquarius | Pisces | The Planets | The Sun | The Moon | Mercury | Venus | Mars | Jupiter | Saturn | Uranus | Neptune | Influence of Neptune on the Individual | Table of Ascendants | How to Cast a Horoscope | Horary Astrology | Description of the Twelve Houses | Free Will versus Destiny

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