This section is from the book "Faith - Healing. Christian Science And Kindred Phenomena", by James Monroe Buckley. Also available from Amazon: Faith-Healing, Christian Science and Kindred Phenomena.
The death of President Garfield, considered in connection with the appearance of comet B in his horoscope and also in the year of his death, is merely a proof that between the appearances of that comet sufficient time elapsed for the infant to grow to manhood and become President and for such modifications of political parties as then existed.
To give the statements concerning mental diseases value, thousands of cases should be adduced, and it should be proved that the majority of those who were insane were born under such aspects of the heavens, and that comparatively few born under other signs lost their reason. A score or five hundred coincidences of this kind are not sufficient to lay the foundation for a law.
The prediction of Zadkiel that earthquakes would occur in the 77th degree of west longitude, followed immediately by the earthquakes in this country, appears at first sight very-remarkable. Yet to read all the predictions in ZadkiePs Almanac for 1886 and compare them with subsequent events is sufficient to dissipate belief that there was a foreseeing of those events. The Almanac for 1886 predicted for England that an effort would be made to abolish hereditary peerages; that the revenue would not be satisfactory; that theaters would suffer; that the school-board would be in bad odor, and that certain of its members would find their chances of reelection very perilous; that some public buildings would be destroyed in Paris by fire; that German affairs would become entangled; that socialistic proceedings would cause trouble (a thing that has been true for several years, and no more true during 1886 and 1887 than it had been). An astounding prediction was made that there would be " some trouble in the Western States and a good deal of sickness, and that the President would find his office a burdensome one." The financial condition of Mexico was to be bad. In Australia there would be trouble connected with railroads, and serious accidents were only too probable. There would be a great outbreak of epidemic diseases, and naval forces would be increased. In Ottawa the Canadian government would find it difficult to maintain peace at home and abroad; and in Paris the Communists would resort to violence and the streets would be stained with blood. There is scarcely a fulfilment transcending the results of ordinary sagacity in conjecturing future events.
Much was made of the prediction of Zadkiel in his Almanac for 1853 of the fate of Louis Napoleon. That prediction was in the following words:
But let him not dream of lasting honors, power, or prosperity. He shall found no dynasty, he shall wear no durable crown, but in the midst of deeds of blood and slaughter, with affrighted Europe trembling beneath the weight of his daring martial hosts, he descends beneath the heavy hand of fate, and falls to rise no more.
Some of this language is extravagant, but as a whole it may be considered a correct description of the career and doom of Louis Napoleon. Yet Zadkiel was not alone in this prediction; for students of French history, and every one acquainted with the events of the preceding thirty years, anticipated the speedy downfall of the Empire. The observations of writers, statesmen, and philosophers concurred in the opinion that the career of Louis Napoleon would be terminated by revolution or foreign war. The world was not surprised at his overthrow, for all perceived that he lacked the genius of his great uncle, and that he had lost the power to fire the heart of his country; while the condition of France financially and morally for years was not such as to promise success in any serious conflict with any one of the great Powers. At the time of his fall, "affrighted Europe" did not tremble beneath the weight of his daring martial hosts.
From time immemorial the different characters and histories of twins have been alleged against astrology. Cicero quotes the stoic Diogenes, who, when contending against the Chaldean astrologers, says:
For instance, two twins may resemble each other in appearance, and yet their lives and fortunes be entirely dissimilar.
The characters and careers of Jacob and Esau are brought against them by Mr. Proctor and others. They answer ingeniously that a difference of five minutes in the time of the birth of twins may imply such a difference in the position of the planets as to indicate great dissimilarity in their careers.
They state this as follows: "It is well known to accoucheurs that the intervals between the births of twins vary greatly; in some cases three or four minutes, in other cases hours and even days. Every four minutes' interval brings another degree of right as-censiou on the meridian, consequently a difference of half an hour in the times of birth would make a great difference in the part of the sign of the Zodiac ascending (as one degree in arc represented one hour of life in directions) and would alter the periods of occurrence of the subsequent events. The whole sign of Aries only takes (in the latitude of London) about fifty-two minutes in ascending; hence it is evident that a difference of half an hour might give Aries at the birth of one child aud Taurus at the birth of the second".
If they adhered to this proposition it would be more consistent; but they advance in proof of the truth of astrology, in all their books, many instances of twins having similar careers when it was impossible for them to procure infallible data as to the precise moment of birth, and when they knew there must have been some difference.
This subject has of late been made interesting by the manner in which the astrologers of England have made use of Francis Galton's monograph on the " history of Twins." Mr. Galton sent out circulars to persons who were cither twins or near relatives of twins. He received "about eighty returns of close similarity, many of which entered into instructive details." From these replies he draws various conclusions, such as that "extreme similarity and extreme dissimilarity between twins of the same sex are nearly as common as moderate resemblance." He says that when twins are a boy and a girl they are never closely alike. In the thirty-five cases of great similarity, there were seven in which both twins suffered from some special ailment or some exceptional peculiarity. They were liable to sickness at the same time in nine out of thirty-five cases. Eleven pairs out of this number were remarkably similar in the association of ideas, making the same remarks on the same occasion. In sixteen cases their dispositions were very similar. He affirms that only a few retain their close resemblance through life, either physically or in disposition. Again, he says that it is a fact that " extreme dissimilarity, such as existed between Jacob and Esau, is a no less marked peculiarity in twins of the same sex than extreme similarity".
Since his views were published I have observed various twins, and have seen some instances of astonishing similarity, but in other children of the same parents, not twins, more instances which could readily be accounted for by heredity and the influence of similar surroundings and nurture. A number of instances could be given of distinguished men, now living or but recently deceased, where the physical and mental resemblances between them and their twin brothers are no greater than ordinarily exist between brothers. Is it not important in a general examination to collect with equal care instances of as great similarities between children who have the same parents but who are not twins ? If not, no light can be shed on an extraneous cause. Harmonies of disposition, similarity of personal appearance, and devotion to each other through life have been seen between brothers and sisters, not twins, more frequently between sisters, and occasionally between brothers.
Driven to concede these things, astrologers in modern times have been compelled to say:
Wo do not deny the existence of many difficulties and anomalies, and fully admit that astral science is incompetent to explain the divergences in the human constitution and character without a free use of the doctrine of heredity. Our contention is that the two theories complete each other, the latter accounting for the element of stability, the former for the element of variability.1
An illustration of the wild manner in which a person competent to edit ZadkieFs Almanac may reason can be found in the " Text-book of Astrology," p. 164:
Astrologers find that unless Mars afflicts either the ascendant or luminaries at birth (or in the fatal train of directions) thero is no liability to take the smallpox.
How this can be ascertained without an acquaintance with the nativities of an immense number of persons and their histories in relation to smallpox is not set forth. The investigation is so difficult that they could not possibly show that every person who ever took smallpox was born when Mars was in a certain relation to the birth. They are not kind enough to inform us whether the vaccination of persons born under these circumstances would or would not "take." They may hereafter carry it a little farther, and dispose of the liability to hydrophobia, cholera, yellow fever, etc., in a similar way!
Here is another case from the same source. An individual was born when the sun and moon were evilly configurated with Saturn and had no assistance from Jupiter. In harmony with theories of astrology, he did not prosper in Great Britain, hut afterward went to Australia, where he became one of the wealthiest and most highly respected citizens of Melbourne. How is this explained ? It is sufficiently easy:
1 Wilson, " Dictionary of Astrology".
At his birth the planets Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter were located in the fourth house (tho northern angle). By crossing the equator, and pitching his tent in a southern latitude (38°), he inverted his horoscope and thereby brought the benefics nearly to zenith.
When one declines to believe in astrology, he is disposed of without difficulty. For example, Luther condemned astrology. The " Text-book " says, perhaps this was owing to the very evil horoscope assigned to him by the great Cardan, and observes that Melanchthon believed in it, and that "phrenologists [!] will understand that Melanchthon's judgment on a scientific subject is entitled to far greater weight than Luther's".