(This article has been adapted from the final chapter of John Addey's Harmonics in Astrology)
There has been, in the twentieth century, a great revival of interest in Astrology and, with this revival, a determined effort to re-examine, reformulate and extend the practical knowledge of the subject. For example, all sorts of new techniques and systems have been devised and attempts have been made to introduce new factors and clarify some of the major problems of the subject.
Nevertheless, there has been one over-riding obstacle to the complete success of these efforts, namely the lack of any clear understanding, not only of the great system. of First Causes upon which the fundamental truth of Astrology rests, but of the most basic laws and principles which determine the real nature of traditional astrological concepts such as signs, houses and aspects.
With regard to the great system of First Causes by which the foundations of astrological truth are established, this is a topic the illumination of which has not, to my knowledge, been adequately attempted in modern times. Yet without it, our knowledge must remain imperfect and shadowy like all knowledge which is not securely rooted in the vision of spiritual realities. Why should there be any relationship between the heavens and terrestrial life? What exactly is the nature of the `influences' which Astrology studies and by what energy are they communicated? If the effect is viewed as purely synchronistic, what is the basis of this synchronistic correspondence or bond? What is the precise relationship of the heavenly bodies to the human soul and to its corporeal vehicles? Where does their dominion over terrestrial life start and where does it end?
These and many similar questions remain largely unanswered and have not been touched upon in my book Harmonics in Astrology. Their elucidation depends, I believe, upon an understanding of the profound Doctrine of Substance whereby every effect in the entire universe is the result of the act of some kind of substance whether spiritual or corporeal, natural, human or Divine.
But if these primary issues remain uncertain, at least we can now have a much clearer idea of the right conceptual framework within which to study the secondary effects which follow from them and which are normally regarded as the main subject matter of Astrology.
To elucidate these secondary effects which tell us, so to speak, how Astrology works (as opposed to why it works) the author has, over the past 20 years, made collections of astrological birth data and made studies of these collections and others compiled by fellow researchers. By treating the planetary positions so obtained as if they were iron filings scattered over different astrological `force fields' it has been possible to form a clear conception, for the first time, of just how (that is to say, upon what model) the astrological forces at work in the nativity actually operate.
The picture so revealed and which we have tried to expound in Harmonics in Astrology is one of the harmonics (that is the rhythms and sub-rhythms) of cosmic circles. These cosmic circles or cycles are potentially of great variety, including, as they do, all celestial phenomena which are characterised by periodicity. But the ones we have particularly studied relate to those factors which form the basis of the recognised elements of horoscopic symbolism: the diurnal circles of the planets, their geocentric synodic periods (relating to their motion from conjunction to conjunction), and their geocentric zodiacal emplacements. All these are geocentric in character; what value heliocentric and other periodic factors have one cannot say, but one can assume the principle involved to be of universal validity once the right application of each factor is known.
The central principle which is seen to be involved in the symbolism of all astrological positions is the one illustrated in the figure below. Every circle in Astrology (represented by the motion or apparent motion of any body or point from a significant starting-point, through 360°, to the same relative position) can be understood as representing some whole or unity with symbolic correspondences in all those fields, such as human life and character, to which Astrology is applied. Furthermore, the division of these circles by different numbers can be understood as applying to the subordinate aspects of each of the wholes or unities so symbolised.
These symbolic divisions of circles can then be viewed as producing a number of positive and negative poles at equally spaced intervals round the circle (Fig. 1b) according to the number by which the circle is divided and the astrological effects follow from the positions of the planets in relation to these points.
For example, when, as in Figure 1, the number three is involved IT IS AS IF three positive points were established at equal distances around the circle. Once established these positive points imply the presence of three negative points midway between them (1b) and this again implies a gradual fluctuation between positive and negative poles as we move around the circle (1c).
Likewise we can see that where the symbolism of the number four is involved it is as if four positive and four negative points were established at equal distances round the circle with a fourfold fluctuation between them, and so on with every other number.
It is upon this principle that all astrological relationships in the circle of the horoscope are based.
There are two great benefits which accrue from this more distinct understanding of how Astrology works. The first is the realisation of the fact that all the traditional basic tools of horoscope interpretation (positions in the ecliptic circle, positions in the diurnal circle and aspects) are based on wave formations derived from the harmonics of cosmic circles (1). This knowledge enables one to clarify many areas of doubt; such as the way in which astrological `forces' build up in the various circles, throwing light on the nature, distribution and orbs of aspects, the character and limits of zodiacal and diurnal divisions and sensitive `areas' in these circles.
The second important benefit is the demonstration of the significance and value in Astrology of a far greater range of number symbolism than has hitherto been recognised and, with this, the provision of the means for testing and exploring the content of such number symbolism.
We have tried to show in our work that this vision of the basic principles of Astrology is thoroughly in harmony with the
findings in other disciplines which address themselves to the study of the occurrence of periodic phenomena in the life of man and nature.
The genetic code
Finally, we have indicated the significance of this enlarged view of astrological symbolism in relation to the study of genetics. Because the genetic code and the astrological code both provide a blueprint of the incarnating type they must be parallel expressions of the same theme and this correspondence can now be explored in far greater detail and should be productive of valuable results.
Incidentally, we may note in passing that the new insight into the true elements of astrological symbolism gives us a more credible view of how the nativity can coincide so precisely with the appropriate symbolic cosmic conditions. The major harmonic patterns, being relatively slow forming, determine the approximate time of birth; the higher frequency harmonics indicate possible appropriate moments of birth of shorter duration but which occur more often, so that in the case of, say, the 100th harmonic of the Ascendant, there will be one hundred moments in the day of equivalent value (in relation to that harmonic). Thus one after another the wards of a complex combination lock can engage, as it were, to yield a moment of birth which corresponds symbolically with the pattern of the life to be born.
To some, this kind of picture appears to introduce an element of rigid determinism into human life which is repugnant to one's sense of the truth about the human condition. It is in matters of this kind that those who are unaccustomed to the problems of mystical philosophy - which necessarily always involve the element of paradox since mystical truths are concerned with the relationship of two totally opposing things, spirit and matter - habitually fail to see the point. Fate and free will must always exist and operate side by side at all times. The total description of the former (in the horoscope) in terms of principles does not in any way inhibit the latter. The human will cannot be otherwise than perpetually free because it is the elective faculty of a free spiritual being (who may not however always make positive use of it!), and the principles of fate must equally operate at all times to provide the field of action in which free choices are to be made.
Books on occultism and the like are frequently the worst offenders in spreading misconceptions about these matters. They foolishly talk about certain events being `fated' and others being the result of free choice. This is nonsense! (2) All fate is freely chosen, being, as it is, the result of past volitional acts. In the present it provides the field of action in which free will can operate (could one make free choices in a vacuum?). All fate is beneficent in the sense that it provides ideal scope for willing the good. It is beneficent, too, in the sense that without the laws of fate there would be no certainty that any volition, good or bad, would ultimately be connected with its appropriate consequences and life would become a chaos. What was done with good intent might never bear good fruit; what was done with evil intent would not (as it inevitably does) produce those remedial and even punitive conditions in our lives which tend to redirect our efforts to return to the universal harmony.
The destiny with which we are born and which is fully described in principle in the nativity, is merely a special application of these general truths. All manifested life is a limitation in the sense that it introduces us to definite circumstantial conditions; but the good man is never a prisoner of fortune since what is a limitation from one point of view is an opportunity from another. To such a man all that he meets with is, from this larger viewpoint, good and affords him opportunities for exercising all the marvellous and varied powers of the soul, heroic and gentle, grave and gay:
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Let it not be thought - Heaven forbid - that we would seek to diminish the wonder of the soul's incarnation or try to express in a few neat rules and graphs the mysterious workings of Divine Providence in its all-wise and all-just apportionment of human destiny – although these are, in truth, under the law of the attraction of similars, simplicity itself:
Nevertheless, one of the noblest uses of Astrology is, as it has always been, its value as an aid to the contemplation of the great verities of man's estate and his relationship to the Cosmos and to God, and if my work has contributed a few insights into this great science and so enabled anyone to glimpse more clearly the mysteries and beauties of the Divine Order and Harmony, the author will be more than satisfied.
Notes and References
1 It is interesting that the revelation that astrological forces manifest as temporal rhythms which ebb and flow, rather than as simple divisions of duration of time, links up with the very oldest teachings. There can be little doubt that Egypt was the cradle or fountainhead of the esoteric teachings of at least the Western tradition. In this connection Isha Swaller de Lubicz (wife of R .A. Swaller de Lubicz, both deep students of Ancient Egyptian thought) provides, at the end of her book HerBak, Disciple, a number of lengthy commentaries written from her insights into Egyptian esoteric teaching. These commentaries were not translated by Sir Ronald Fraser with the books themselves and have only recently been done into English by a friend of the writer, Dorothy Smith of Prestatyn. In Commentary Six, on Astronomy - Astrology, the last section is headed Fate, Grace and Determinism and in this she says, speaking of the Egyptian view of epochs of time: "That which can be foreseen is the date of a change in the pattern of the times. But the times are, above all, rhythms and not [periods of] duration. And to these rhythms numbers can be assigned, which are functional values. . ."
2. It also provides the clearest evidence that occultism and mystical philosophy are two totally different things. Occultism, being concerned with the cryptic forces operating in nature and matter, retains an essentially materialistic way of looking at things, whereas mystical philosophy, being concerned with the relationship between spiritual and material aspects of truth , must embrace both and adopt paradoxical and mystical modes of thought and expression.
3. From the Lord Buddha's sermon in The Light of Asia (Book Eight).
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Copyright, the John Addey Estate.