Confidence In Fates And Nativities

It is not intended here to enter upon any laboured argument to prove the antiquity of the science of the Stars: it is enough for my present purpose (which is to teach the mere outline of the art, which may be filled up as the student has inclination) if I state that Astrology existed for many centuries prior to the Christian era, about which time it appears to have been taught chiefly by tradition, being handed down from father to son by word of mouth, as the art of palmistry now is among the gipsies. There is no good evidence of any perfect system of Astrology having been reduced to written rules, depending on mathematical principles, before the first century; though Sir Isaac Newton admits,in his Chronology, that it was in existence nearly 900 years before that period. Somewhere about the year 133, that celebrated astronomer, geographer, and astrologer, Claudius Ptolemy, compiled his notable work entitled " The Tetbabiblos, or Quadripartite, being Four Books of the Influence of the Stars."* In this work he seems to have collected all that appeared of importance to him which was then known of the science; but as Ptolemy did not devote the whole of his time to this study, which, however, would require the entire application of any man's time to make himself thoroughly and entirely master

* Translated by J. M. Ashmand.

of it, we may fairly suppose that some of the less important rules had not been tested by him personally, but were merely adopted as the current opinions of the day. This accounts for a few of his doctrines being in some degree erroneous; although the great majority of them are true to nature, and, if rightly understood, never did or can fail, while the system of the universe remains unchanged.

The principles of Ptolemy's doctrine do not appear to have been very clearly understood, or acted upon free from the superstitious trash of the Arab writers, before the years 1647 and 1657, when Placidus de Titus, a Spanish monk, first published the true system of astrology, founded on Ptolemy's mathematical calculations. His principal work was printed in Latin, and called the Primum Mobile, or First Mover.* It is remarkable that the only subsequent works of any value on that part of astrology which is of most importance, nativities, were written by an Englishman, Mr. Partridge, whose Almanac is still in existence. His works, the Opus Re/or-matum and the Defectio Geniturarum, are evidently made up from Placidus ; but they are full of the soundest doctrines, and contain numerous examples.

No good translation of Placidus appeared in English until that made by Mr. John Cooper in 1816 ; nor did any correct copy of Ptolemy's book, from which all we know of Astrology is originally derived, until 1822, when Mr. Ash-mand's excellent work appeared. The old translations of Ptolemy and Placidus, especially those by Dr. Sibly, are detestable, and have made numerous erring astrologers, and done the science infinite injury. All the host of English astrologers, such as Lilly, Colley, Sibly, Gadbury, White, &c.,f were immersed in error when they treated on nativities : they embraced the follies of the Arabian astrologers, * Translated by J. Cooper. f Partridge excepted.

which consisted in mixing up the system of divination, called horary questions, with the genethliacal art, or the science of nativities; and those who open any of their works only lose their time.

In short, there exists no brief, cheap, elementary work on the science, except the Grammar of Astrology. It contains nothing that is not founded on actual experience.

The science of Astrology consists of four branches, or distinct parts, which are essentially different from each other: they are—1, Nativities, or the art of foreseeing, from the figure of the heavens at the moment of birth, the future fate and character of individuals ; 2, Mundane Astrology, or the art of foreseeing, by . the positions of the heavenly bodies at certain periods, the circumstances of nations, such as wars, pestilences, inundations, earthquakes, &c. &c.; 3, Atmospherical Astrology, or the art of foreseeing, by the positions of the planets at the periods of the Sun and Moon being in mutual aspect, and some other circumstances, the quality of the weather at any required time or place; 4, Horary Astro-logy, or the art of foreseeing, by the positions of the heavens, at any period when an individual may be anxious about the matter, the result of any business or circumstance whatever.

The Grammar of Astrology is intended to teach the principles of the science of nativities; and to render them so plain, by divesting them of the trash which designing or ignorant men have introduced, that persons of an ordinary capacity and a common share of industry may examine and decide for themselves whether there be any truth in astrology or not. To those who consider it sufficient to decide without examination, merely because others have decided before them, this work has no recommendation, inasmuch as the gauntlet of argument is not thrown down. But to those who think experience a safer guide than reason in natural philosophy, a a it will be peculiarly acceptable; as herein they will find the briefest possible rules and the best decided principles for judging which have yet appeared before the world, as far as the author is capable of forming an opinion from many years' experience and the examination of many hundred nativities.

If the cause of truth should thereby be assisted, either through public demonstration by the test of experiment of the utter fallacy of the doctrines of Astrology, or, on the other hand, by the conviction of the honest portion of mankind that the Almighty does, indeed, choose the heavenly bodies as the instruments of his will in bringing about the ends of Providence, this little work will very well bear the lash of critics, whose pride will not believe that " There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in their philosophy."

In perfect but humble confidence in the purity of his intentions in endeavouring to gain a hearing for Astrology, the Author can contemplate with perfect calm the bitterness of abuse of some men who call themselves, par exceUence> philosophers; since he finds, by the steady sale of the first edition of this book, and the numerous other similar publications he has brought before the public, that there are many who will soar above prejudice, and resolve on seeing with their own eyes.

N.B.—To those who wish to pursue the science farther, I recommend the Tetrabiblos of Ptolemy and the Primum Mobile of Placidue, but let them avoid the translations by Whalley and Sibly. The best editions are those translated by Ashmand and Cooper.

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