the Ego of the regenerate man must dwell entirely
in the seventh (or spiritual) sphere, and, as the mystics of the
governed by laws in harmony with those which control the solar system whose offspring it is. So that heredity is no arbitrary or capricious effect appearing without adequate cause, but is the result and expression of foregone impetus, developing affinities and sympathies which infallibly compel the entity on which they act into a certain determinate course and direction so long as the energy of that impetus lasts. Expressed in terms of common physics, this is the law of gravitation and of polarisation. But without this explanation all appears as haphazard and confusion. No hermetist denies the doctrine of heredity as held and expounded by ordinary scientific materialists. But he recognises the sense intended by its inventors as comprising only the last term in a complex series of compelling causes and effects. The immediate cause of a low and afflicted birth is obviously the condition, physical and mental, of the parents responsible, on this plane, for the birth. But beyond this preliminary stage in the enquiry the ordinary scientific materialist does not go. He is unacquainted with the hermetic theorem that all physical effects and results are ultimates, which must, of necessity, have their first term in a formative sphere. The corporeal world is incapable of engendering causes, it can but transmit them; hence the beginning of things can never be discovered within the limits of material agencies. Therefore, regarding heredity as the ultimation in physical conditions of causes at work behind and beyond it, the hermetist is irresistibly forced to the conclusion that although a man may be born deaf, dumb, epileptic, idiotic, or otherwise afflicted, because his father or mother have been drunken, immoral, or “unfortunate,” these latter causes are immediate only, not mediate, and are themselves in their turn effects of previous causes not belonging to the physical sphere, but to one next above and behind it, that is, to the astral, and that this also in its turn has been influenced by the spiritual energies of the Ego whose “nativity” is involved. And he comes to these conclusions because they are consonant with all that he otherwise knows and has observed of the working of the universe. Many persons find it difficult to reconcile belief in the “ruling of the stars,” with belief in free-will. It appears at first sight arbitrary and unjust that certain lines of life – even vicious and base ones – should be indicated by the rulers of nativities as the only lines in which the “native” will prosper; and they ask incredulously whether it can be rationally supposed that the accident of the day and hour of birth is, by Divine wisdom and justice,
permitted to control and confine the whole career of an intelligent and responsible being. But the difficulties of astrological science, if viewed in the light of “Karma” – as Predestination – not only disappear, but give place to the unfoldment of a most lucid and admirable system of responsible causation. There is but one hypothesis capable of solving the enigma of Fate, and that hypothesis is common to all the great schools of thought – Vedic, Buddhist, Kabalistic, Hermetic, Platonic – the hypothesis, to wit, of multiple existences. Destiny, in the view of these philosophies, is not arbitrary but acquired. Every man makes his own fate, and nothing is truer than the saying that “Character is Destiny.” We must think, then, that it is by their own hands that the lines of some are cast in pleasant places, of some in vicious, and of some in virtuous conditions. For in what manner soever a soul conduct itself in one existence, by that conduct, by that order of thought and habit it builds for itself its destiny in a future existence. And the soul is enchained by these pre-natal influences, and by them irresistibly forced into a new nativity at the time of such conjunction of planets and signs as oblige it into certain courses, or incline it strongly thereunto. And if these courses be evil, and the ruling such as to favour only base propensities, the afflicted soul, even though undoubtedly reaping the just effect of its own demerit, is not left without a remedy. For it may oppose its will (1) to the stellar ruling, and heroically adopt a course contrary to the direction of the natal influences. Thereby it will, indeed, bring itself under a curse and much suffering for such period as those influences have power, but it will, at the same time, change or reverse its planetary affinities and give a new “set” to its predestination, that is, to the current of its “Karma.” So that the ruling signs of its next nativity will be propitious to virtuous endeavour. “From
a great heart,” says Emerson, “secret magnetisms flow incessantly to draw great events.”
The reason why the doctrine of Metempsychosis is not put forward as an article
of faith in the Christian dispensation appears to me to be because there is no
more death or birth for the man who is united with God in Christ. The Christian
religion was addressed to this end, and he who enters the
nothing in Christ. So that under Buddha we are born again and die again, but under Christ there are no re-births, for Christ saves us out of the world when we are united to God through His merits and sacrifice. (...)
• • • • • • • • • • •
It will be understood, in the light of what has already been said concerning Heredity, that, from the point of view I occupy, original sin should not be taken to imply a burden of corruption arbitrarily imputed to new-born babes as the consequence merely of transgression in a remote ancestry, but as that voluntarily acquired and self-imposed “Karma,” which every soul accretes in the course of its manifold experiences, and loaded with which it enters upon each nativity. This weight of original sin may be heavy or light; it may grow or decrease with each successive birth, according to the evolution of the soul concerned, and the progress it makes towards release and light. “If,” says Mr. W.S. Lilly, “a man submits to the law of moral development by choosing to act aright, he will finally be delivered from all evil. But if he rebels, and will not submit to the elevating redeeming influences, he thereby falls under those which degrade, stupefy, and materialise. And as he would cease to be man had he no free-will, and as moral good implies moral choice, it seems inevitable that he should remain the slave of the lower life as long as he will not choose to break away from it” (Ancient Religion and Modern Thought). The spirit of this passage is that of the teaching of Yama – or Death – in the Katha Upanishad: “They who are ignorant, but fancy themselves wise, go round and round with erring step as blind led by the blind. He who believes that this world is, and not the other, is again and again subject to the sway of Death.”
(220:1) From Anna Kingsford’s “Prefatory Essay” to her edition of Astrology Theologized, pp. 31-26, 42. – S.H.H.
(222:1) The power of the human will is the instrument by which Destiny may be controlled. In a note to an “Hermetic Fragment,” published in The Virgin of the World, Anna Kingsford says: “By continued and ardent striving towards the purely spiritual and intelligent, the Soul frees herself from the power of Destiny (Karma), and at length passes into beatitude. She transcends natural order, and enters into the divine. This is Saintship. Inversely, by attaching herself to sensible things, and by suffering herself to be borne away by passion and desire towards illusory existence, she becomes caught on the ever-rolling wheel of Destiny, and made subject to the order of Nature, which is that of Metamorphosis. Whereas her true duty and happiness are to aspire continually upwards, addressing herself by means of purified passion and desire towards the One, and away from the Manifold” (The Virgin of the World, p. 150). – S.H.H.