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Section 5

5. But perhaps the explanation of every particular act or event is rather that they are determined by the spheric movement- the Phora- and by the changing position of the heavenly bodies as these stand at setting or rising or in mid-course and in various aspects with each other.

Augury, it is urged, is able from these indications to foretell what is to happen not merely to the universe as a whole, but even to individuals, and this not merely as regards external conditions of fortune but even as to the events of the mind. We observe, too, how growth or check in other orders of beings- animals and Plants- is determined by their sympathetic relations with the heavenly bodies and how widely they are influenced by them, how, for example, the various countries show a different produce according to their situation on the earth and especially their lie towards the sun. And the effect of place is not limited to plants and animals; it rules human beings too, determining their appearance, their height and colour, their mentality and their desires, their pursuits and their moral habit. Thus the universal circuit would seem to be the monarch of the All.

Now a first answer to this theory is that its advocates have merely devised another shift to immolate to the heavenly bodies all that is ours, our acts of will and our states, all the evil in us, our entire personality; nothing is allowed to us; we are left to be stones set rolling, not men, not beings whose nature implies a task.

But we must be allowed our own- with the understanding that to what is primarily ours, our personal holding, there is added some influx from the All- the distinction must be made between our individual act and what is thrust upon us: we are not to be immolated to the stars.

Place and climate, no doubt, produce constitutions warmer or colder; and the parents tell on the offspring, as is seen in the resemblance between them, very general in personal appearance and noted also in some of the unreflecting states of the mind.

None the less, in spite of physical resemblance and similar environment, we observe the greatest difference in temperament and in ideas: this side of the human being, then, derives from some quite other Principle [than any external causation or destiny]. A further confirmation is found in the efforts we make to correct both bodily constitution and mental aspirations.

If the stars are held to be causing principles on the ground of the possibility of foretelling individual fate or fortune from observation of their positions, then the birds and all the other things which the soothsayer observes for divination must equally be taken as causing what they indicate.

Some further considerations will help to clarify this matter:

The heavens are observed at the moment of a birth and the individual fate is thence predicted in the idea that the stars are no mere indications, but active causes, of the future events. Sometimes the Astrologers tell of noble birth; "the child is born of highly placed parents"; yet how is it possible to make out the stars to be causes of a condition which existed in the father and mother previously to that star pattern on which the prediction is based?

And consider still further:

They are really announcing the fortunes of parents from the birth of children; the character and career of children are included in the predictions as to the parents- they predict for the yet unborn!- in the lot of one brother they are foretelling the death of another; a girl's fate includes that of a future husband, a boy's that of a wife.

Now, can we think that the star-grouping over any particular birth can be the cause of what stands already announced in the facts about the parents? Either the previous star-groupings were the determinants of the child's future career or, if they were not, then neither is the immediate grouping. And notice further that physical likeness to the parents- the Astrologers hold- is of purely domestic origin: this implies that ugliness and beauty are so caused and not by astral movements.

Again, there must at one and the same time be a widespread coming to birth- men, and the most varied forms of animal life at the same moment- and these should all be under the one destiny since the one pattern rules at the moment; how explain that identical star-groupings give here the human form, there the animal?

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