|"Both astrology and the art of making talismans
were the guarded secrets of the Mysteries; they
were a part of a Sacred Science which was never
permitted to be abused by the profane."
|The Use and Abuse of Astrology
Let me say by way of preface that I write
neither as an astrologer nor as a sceptic, but
as an occultist who recognises astrology as necessary
to the practice of occultism. A deep knowledge of astrology can only be the fruit of lifelong study and
experience, but everyone who aspires to the practice
of the occult arts needs to know the. principles of
astrological science, although. if he be unable to
give time to the detailed study that it requires for
its proper mastery, he may be wise to consult an
astrologer for guidance rather than trust to a half knowledge
which is no less misleading in astrology than in other technical matters.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are all
the time reacting t the zodiacal and planetary
influences which are playing upon the earth; and
our reaction being determined by the relative
proportions of the different elements in our psychic
constitution, we need to know not only the general
influences affecting mundane conditions, but how
we ourselves are likely to be affected by them. For
this purpose both a natal and progressed horoscope
are necessary, but these horoscopes must be drawn.
up, not by the average professional astrologer, but
by one who approaches the subject from its esoteric
aspect and gives the information which is. needed
by a follower of the Path, instead of the usual advice
concerning mundane affairs, useful as this may be
If we consider, as Solomon bade us, the way of a
ship in the sea, we shall obtain enlightenment
concerning the problem of astrological influence
upon our lives. In the most primitive type of
sailing vessel a mat was hoisted on a pole to enable
it to take advantage of the force of the wind.iA
craft so rigged could only drive before the wind; it
could not avail itself of a side wind or tack against a
head wind. So it is with the unenlightened man,
he is at the mercy of the cosmic forces playing
about him. The enlightened man, however, is like a
boat in which the sails can be trimmed and made to
co-operate with the rudder. Between the two, such
a craft can avail itself of any breeze in order to make
progress towards its destination, and the sailing'
qualities of a ship are judged in large measure by
the closeness with which she can lie to the wind.
A clumsy boat has to have the wind pretty nearly
astern before she can make much speed, but a well designed
boat will tack almost into the eye of an
So it is with the enlightened man, he will make use,
of the opposing forces of the stars in order to
advance his evolution, and by his skilful sailing turn
an opposing influence into a co-operating one. If be
knows that there is a strong destructive influence
abroad at a certain time he will not, if he can help it,
start any constructive work. If, on the other hand,
he has before him the task of exposing and clearing
up evil, he will choose that particular season for his
operations. Thus he will have the cosmic influences
with him, instead of against him.
The occultist needs to know the set of the cosmic
tides in order that he may lay his course accordingly,
and it is in this that the astrologer can help him.
He does not, however, abandon himself to the drift
of the tides, but takes them into his calculation and
allows for their influence.
The planetary forces do not operate in the sphere
of external circumstances alone, but affect our lives
by stimulating or neutralising the different traits in
OUf natures. If we consider our lives in the light of
our horoscopes we shall see how much of our fate
was brought about by our own actions and reactions.
Our rashness mayhave precipitated quarrels attributable
to the influence of Mars; our emotions may have
stirred up certain happenings of the sphere of Venus.
We ourselves were the instruments of the stars.
From these observations we derive much illumination
in our dealings with the planets. It may not
be in our power to command external influences,
but it is well within the power of the trained will
and disciplined nature, guided by knowledge, to
neutralise the greater part, if not all of their effects.
The Macrocosm of the universe is ordered by God,
but of the microcosm of his own nature man should
aim to make himself the deity. "Ye shall be as
gods" said the Serpent, and he spoke the truth;
initiation develops the God within so that he may
rule the microcosm of our nature instead of leaving
it the prey of "chaos and old night" -the subconscious
past of the race.
The natal horoscope can be used to read the
karma which a soul has to work out in its present
incarnation, and we can see by. studying it that
certain problems are going to be set a soul, and that
certain favourable influences will aid it on its way.
We know, if we are occultists, that these conditions
have their roots in past actions. We therefore
regard the natal horoscope as the result of forces set
going in the past, and we approach the astrological
problems of a life from the standpoint of karma, as
forces to be neutralised by reaction and realisation.
We do not, therefore, regard malefic planets as
enemies, but as agents of karma, and we try to win
from them enlightenment, realisation, and discipline.
The part played by Saturn in initiations
is not sufficiently understood.
The initiate is not blindly driven by his karma,
he consciously co-operates with it for its working
out. He knows that the planetary influences will
cause his nature to react in a particalar way, and he
throws his trained and disciplined will, re-enforced
if possible by magical ceremonies) into the scale,
and thereby counterbalances the cosmic forces
"operating within his own microcosm. We cannot
influence the macrocosmic influences, but discipline
and knowledge can profoundly modify the micro..
cosmic reactions of our own inner world. We can so
discipline the martial element in ourselves that it will
not react to the stimulation of the planet Mars and
lead us into quarrels and disputes. A soft answer
turneth away the wrath even of a planetary spirit.
On the other hand, a disciplined fighting quality,
thus brought under the control of the will, is available
at the bidding of the will, even when there is no
stimulus forthcoming from the planet of its affinity,
and it can then be used to counteract the influence
of a planet of inertia, such as Saturn. Thus does the
adept balance the cosmic forces one against the
other and use his trained will to turn the scale.
He also knows how to re-enforce his will by
linking up with the corresponding cosmic forces,
and a large section of ritual magic is devoted to this
process. It is for this purpose that the construction
of talismans is undertaken. A talisman is a focussing
point for force of a particular type, and all the
processes of its manufacture are designed to that end.
This is why it is so much better to make your own
talismans than' to have them made for you. The
effect of a talisman is not upon external fate, but
upon the internal reactions of consciousness. We
do not affect fate by our magical operations, we
affect ourselves; we re-enforce those aspects of our
nature which are in sympathy with the powers we
Both astrology and the art of making talismans
were the guarded secrets of the Mysteries; they
were a part of a Sacred Science which was never
permitted to be abused by the profane. But knowledge,
especially snchas can be used for gain, is as
hard to confine as a subtle gas, and these branches
of the occult art have been debased to the. uses of
fortune-telling and superstition. Occultism itself
bas no more to do with superstition than has
medicine with the use of toads to cure warts.
Superstition is the tribute paid by ignorance to
knowledge of which it .recognises the value but
does not understand the significance.
No one deplores more than the occultist the soul-destroying
abuse of the occult arts. There is
nothing so destructive of a sound judgment, or so
paralysing to self-confidence and will-power as the
habit of consulting fortune-tellers of whatever kind.
Neither is the uninitiated soothsayer a very reliable
source of information. All divination ought to be
conducted under the guidance of the divinity
presiding over the particular operation undertaken.
This ruling genius is contacted with appropriate
invocations and the drawing of the correct sigils at
the head of the paper on which the calculation is
worked out. These methods are never used outside
the lodges of the Greater Mysteries. Therefore it
will be readily seen that the rule of thumb methods
of uninitiated soothsayers are not likely to penetrate
very deeply into the cosmic secrets.
The divination of the future by one who is in a
position to make proper use of the information thus
obtained is one thing, but a similar investigation by
another, unequipped in any way to profit by the
task, is on a different basis and productive of far
more harm than good. There are people who go to
psychics and astrologers as the hypochondriac goes
to doctors and patent medicine vendors. It is a
very unwholesome and harmful thing to do, and
productive of sickness of the soul.
The power of auto-suggestion is enormous, and
unless we have the training and knowledge necessary
to enable us to use astrological information as a chart
that enables us to avoid rocks, it is far better for our
peace of mind to be without that information.
The initiate, who is the only person who really
has the right to this knowledge, knows that by
its means he can neutralise or deflect the
forces thus revealed to him; the untrained man
is very apt to think that he is the helpless victim
of fate. Did the revelations of astrology stimulate
him to greater efforts, they would serve a useful
purpose, but how often is this the case? How much
oftener do we see their findings used as an excuse for laissez-faire?
I have no love for miscellaneous divinations by
irresponsible people; I think they do much more
harm than good. They are on a par with the
reading of medical literature by the laity. A
divination should be undertaken solely in relation
to spiritual development, after prayer and purification.
It should be done under the instruction of the
initiator responsible for the training of the pupil,
who should explain to his pupil the spiritual and
karmic signification of his chart and show him
the methods and meditations that counterbalance
adverse planetary influences and the disciplines
which shall enable him to turn his fate into his