The subsequent discovery of the planets Uranus and Neptune by Herschel and Adams, widened the field of research and gave to later astrologers the clue to much that hitherto had been imperfectly understood.
Not that these discoveries overturned the whole system of astrology, as some have imagined and foolishly stated, or that they negatived the conclusions drawn from the observed effects of the seven anciently known bodies of the solar system, but it became possible after a lapse of time to fill in the blank spaces and to account for certain events which had not been traced to the action of any of the already known planets.
Incomplete as it must needs be, it is yet a veritable science both as to its principles and practice.
It claims for itself a place among the sciences for the sole reason that it is capable of mathematical demonstration, and deals only with the observed positions and motions of the heavenly bodies; and the man who holds to the principia of Newton, the solidarity of the solar system, the interaction of the planetary bodies and their consequent electrostatic effects upon the Earth, cannot, while subject to the air he breathes, deny the foundation principles of astrology.
As far back as the year 2154, we find mention of the great importance attaching to the celestial phenomena in the minds of Chinese rulers.
It is recorded in the Historical Classic of China that at that time the astrologers Hi and Ho neglected their duties so that when, on the 10th of October, there was a great eclipse of the Sun at Peking between seven and nine o’clock in the morning, the people were wholly unprepared for it, and “ran about here and there in the utmost consternation.” For this offence Hi and Ho were deprived of their offices, their estates were confiscated and they were driven from the kingdom.
The Greek mythology is nothing but a vast system of cosmographical astrology, and there is no other history in it than what you may read in the constellations of the heavens and the corresponding evolution of the human race. Hipparchus, Hippocrates, Thales, Galenius, and others subscribed an intelligent belief in its principles.
To Claudius Ptolemy, however, we are indebted for the first concise and scientific statement of its principles and practice, so far as Europe is concerned.
The equation itself depends on the eccentricity of the orbit, that is to say, its relation to a circle drawn around the same focal centre.
Mercury and Venus will then appear to revolve around the Sun while the Sun revolves around the Earth, sometimes being between the Earth and the Sun, which is called an Inferior conjunction, sometimes on the further side of the Sun away from the Earth, as at their Superior conjunction; and again, at other times to the right or left of the Sun, in East or West elongation.
The other planets, having orbits greater than that of the Earth, will appear to revolve around it at constantly varying distances and velocities.
It is not possible within the limits of a small handbook such as this to adequately consider the philosophic paradox which makes of Freewill in man a “necessity in play”; but it is obvious that the concept is not altogether unscientific, seeing that it is customary to speak of the “free path of vibration” in chemical atoms while at the same time it is known that these atoms have their restricted characteristics, modes of motion, &c., and are all subject to the general laws controlling the bodies of which they form integral parts.
Let it suffice that if we can trace an actual connectedness between the disposition of the heavenly bodies at the moment of a birth and the known life and character of the individual then born, and an exact correspondence between the course of events in that life with the changes occurring in the heavens subsequent to the moment of birth, we shall do well to accept the fact for what it is worth, and arrange our philosophic notions accordingly.