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(Excerpts selected and translated)
Dr. Kenneth G. Negus
Ed. N.: These excerpts have been translated and published by Ken Negus in 1987 (Eucopia Publications, Princeton, N. J.). They are published again here with his kind permission, copied down by Shelley Jordan, and checked by myself. [We are looking for a French translation of this text. Please contact us.]
1-1 Tertius Interveniens [Third-Party Intervention]
an etliche Theologos, Medicos und Philosophos,
D. PHILIPPUM FESELIUM,
dass sie bey billicher Verwerffung der Sternguckerischen
Aberglauben, nicht das Kindt mit dem Badt ausschütten und
hiermit ihrer Profession unwissendt zuwider handlen.
Mit vielen hochwichtigen zuvor nie erregten oder erörterten
Philosophischen Fragen gezieret,
Allen wahren Liebhabern der natürlichen Geheymnussen
zu nothwendigem Unterricht,
der Röm. Kays. Majest. Mathematicum.
Gedruckt zu Franckfurt am Mäyn, in Verlegung Godtfriedt Tampachs. Im Jahr 1610.
To wit, an admonition to several theologians, physicians,
and philosophers, especially Dr. Philipp Feselius,
that they, when quite properly rejecting the superstition
do not throw the baby out with the bath water
and therewith unwittingly undermine their professions.
For the necessary instruction of all true lovers
of the natural mysteries.
(This is the title page of a book defending serious astrology.)
1-2 Unfailing experience of mundane events in harmony with the changes occurring in the heavens, has compelled my unwilling belief.
(As quoted in Fred Gettings, The Book of the Zodiac [London: Triune Press, 1972], p. 115; date unknown)
1-3 The heavens do not act without mediation, for the vital power of the soul maintains its sovereignty as it brings its works into consonance with the heavenly harmonies, under this so-called 'influence' of the heavens. Unfortunately the term 'influence' has blinded philosophers to the extent that they would prefer to engage in mad ravings with the uneducated masses, than to think scientifically as I do.
(World Harmony, 1619)
1-4 This curiosity [predictive astrology of a frivolous kind] flourishes, and stimulates one to learn astronomy. And astronomy is not rejected, but highly praised, as is appropriate. Now, this Astrology is a foolish daughter (as I wrote in my book de Stella Cap. XII ). But dear Lord, what would happen to her mother, the highly reasonable Astronomy, if she did not have this foolish daughter. The world, after all, is much more foolish, indeed is so foolish, that this old sensible mother, Astronomy, is talked into things and lied to as a result of her daughter's foolish pranks...
The mathematician's pay would be so low, that the mother would starve, if the daughter did not earn anything. If formerly no one had been foolish enough to hope to learn of the future from the sky, then, Mr. Astronomer, you would not have gotten so clever as to think that the course of the heavens should be made known for God's honor and glory. In fact, you would have known nothing of the course of the heavens.
(Tertius Interveniens, 1610. It is important to note here that Kepler is referring to a particular kind of astrology ["this astrology"] and not all of astrology.)
1-5 It should not be considered unbelievable that one can retrieve useful knowledge and sacred relics from astrological folly and godlessness. From this filthy mud one can glean even an occasional escargot, oysters or an eel for one's nutrition; in this enormous heap of worm-castings there are silk-worms to be found; and, finally, out of this foul-smelling dung-heap a diligent hen can scratch up an occasional grain-seed -- indeed, even a pearl or a gold nugget.
1-6 I have often expressed what an ill-considered thing it is to reject something completely because of its imperfections; for by this process even the science of medicine would not be spared.
1-7 Herr von Taxus writes with the request to analyze the nativity [of Wallenstein] as extensively and with as much detail as possible. Furthermore, after I have rectified it, then I am supposed to discourse upon it at even greater length.
In carrying out this request, I limited the scope of the mundane particularities. Of course astrologers are not lacking in techniques for satisfying peoples' curiosity. But I have put such "rules" to the philosophical test, and I have no use for them whatsoever. Am I nevertheless supposed to let myself be used as a comedian, a performer, or some other kind of marketplace entertainer? There are plenty of young astrologers who are so inclined, and have faith in such games. Whoever wants to be fooled with eyes wide open, let him make use of their efforts and entertainment. Philosophy, and therefore genuine astrology, is a testimony of God's works, and is therefore holy. It is by no means a frivolous thing. And I, for my part, do not wish to dishonor it.
(Revised Delineation of This [Wallenstein's] Horoscope. Cast in January, 1625)
2. GEOMETRY, HARMONY, HARMONICS
2-1 May God free me from astronomy, so that I can devote myself to the effort of my work on the harmony of the world.
(As quoted by Franz Hammer, "Die Astrologie des Johannes Kepler," Sudhoffs Archiv 55,2 , p. 124; ca. 1610)
2-2 I have now completed my confessional work... I am releasing myself to holy madness... I am throwing the dice and writing my book for the present or future. I don't care which it is. It may have to wait 100 years for its reader!
2-3 The geometry or harmony of aspects is not between the stars in the sky, but is located rather down here on earth in the point that collects all these rays.
2-4 The strongest bond whereby this lower world is connected with the sky and is unified with it is that all powers are wielded from above according to Aristotle's teaching -- namely, that within this lower world a spiritual nature is concealed that can operate through geometry, which is vitalized through the geometrical and harmonic connections, originating in an interior urge implanted by the Creator, and which inspires and motivates the use of these powers.
Whether all plants and animals have this capability, as does the whole earth, I cannot say. It is not an unbelievable thing.
2-5 [There is] ... a much more noble and miraculous unity of the sky and the earth [than the material one]. This [unity] is incapable of doing anything material. It is formal. It moves through forms in this world below, and it does not do so simply through the mute forms, as are found in stone and bone, but rather through the spiritual powers, through soul, through reason -- indeed through the grasping of the most subtle things that are present in the whole geometry of things. For earthly creatures are so constituted, that they might thus be capable of channeling the celestial realm.
2-6 The quantities form the original structure of the world. [They] ... comprise a marvelous, indeed divine realm, and express in symbols the Divine and the human equally... I do not intend to prove anything about number mysticism: I consider it impossible to do so.
(World Harmony, 1619)
2-7 The harmonic qualities were exhaled by that original essential harmony, God Himself, in the creative process (as He is active essence), and He breathed them, in particles of His image, into all souls in greater or lesser measure.
2-8 We cannot find any body or other thing of this world that was made and specified by God on the basis of a septangle, nonangle [1/9 of a circle], or an undecangle [1/11 of a circle]. Therefore it is also the case that nature does not enjoy any proportion that would be derived from such rejected [geometrical] figures.
3. THE HOUSES
3-1 The astrologers have invented the division of the twelve houses so that they may give a variety of answers to anything that a human being may ask. But I consider this practice to be impossible, superstitious, predictive, and an appendage of Arabic sorcery, inasmuch as one can answer yes or no to any question that may occur to a person, and one can make an oracle out of astrology and consequently rely on the inspiration of a spirit from Heaven (or rather, from Hell).
(Report for Wallenstein, 1606)
4. THE ZODIAC
4-1 With the division of the zodiac into twelve signs, the art [of astrology] and the memory are rendered a service: the natural order of the sky, however, does not adhere to this order.
(Discourse on the Great Conjunction and Various Prophecies for 1623)
4-2 [In ancient times] the farmers had to seek their calendar in the sky... When the Moon was full, they could easily see, for example, that the first full moon appeared in the Ram's horns, the second near the Pleiades, the third near the Twins, etc. and finally that the thirteenth again appeared in the first constellation, the Ram's horns. Thus the full moons divided the whole circle into 12 parts.
The full moons, however, do not make exactly 12 pieces, but rather 37 pieces in 3 years; thus each year there is a different starting point. Nonetheless, the exact division of 12 remained, along with the same starting point... [Another] reason why there should be twelve parts is derived from the aspects. Experience and The Doctrine of Harmonics (which, God willing, I intend to finish soon) testify to the fact that when two planets aspect each other, for example, by one-fourth of the circle, there is a powerful effect; likewise, when separated by 1/3 and 1/6. Now, the difference between 1/4 and 1/3, as well as between 1/6 and 1/4, is 1/12. Thus here, too, the circle is divided into twelve, but not with any particular starting point. Thus there are more aspects than we have previously had... It appears that this ancient division of the zodiac into twelve equal parts rests mainly on human arbitrariness, and that the signs in reality or naturally are not so precisely separate from each other, or that their characteristics, as defined by these limits, overlap... As far as the cardinal point and the first point of Aries is concerned, that is indeed something natural.
(Report on the Fiery Triplicity, 1603)
4-3 If one turns to the planets or to nativities in order to prove the nature of the [zodiacal] signs, then the investigation is greatly obscured. It is comparable to the image of the sun in turbulent water, in which one sees a clear flashing of the sun far and wide, but no figure or image of the sun can be perceived, because the water is moving about. Likewise with nativities: that the sky is functioning within the human being can be seen clearly enough, but what it is doing specifically remains hidden, much less what quality each sign has, or at which points it begins and ends. This is because so many causes come together and are intermingled. Thus we stand by the statement that there is no experiment that proves that the twelve signs are divided up into various qualities -- especially in view of the fact that in the other [i.e. southern] temperate zone those signs that make us warm would have to be considered as cold, and visa versa...
(Response to the Discourse of Dr. Röslin, Physician and Philosopher, on the Nature of the Present Time, 1609)
4-4 One fantasy collides with another. Saturn gets Capricorn -- cold and dry -- but what has he to do with Aquarius -- warm and moist? What has Venus to do with him who likewise has to deal with such a pair? Poor Jupiter must guard fire and water, Sagittarius and Pisces, so that he gets well-tempered. But what is well-tempered about Mars, who also rules such a pair? If the signs are ascribed to the planets to which one attributes them, then they have these qualities; if they have these qualities, then they certainly must have other rulers, or none at all...
4-5 The bases for this division [of the zodiac into twelve equal parts] are not derived from the nature of that which is being divided, and they do not provide any natural division, but rather one that is purely geometrical or arithmetical. You astrologers, go and look for another one!
(As quoted by F. Hammer, Op. cit., p. 122)
4-6 In my book, I did indeed challenge the concept that the divisions of the sky into twelve signs and the distribution of the signs among the planets [i.e. as rulers] had some basis in nature. Nevertheless, since the human race has envisioned this partition from the time of the Chaldeans down to our own times, and among all nations, I submitted to the reader's consideration, whether God himself does not conform to it, even though this division is not a natural thing, and whether He does not wish to speak to human beings therewith in a language or method of communication that they understand.
(On the Nova in the Foot of Ophiucus, 1606)
4-7 I do not wish to be understood to have said that I wanted to abandon this ancient division [i.e. the Zodiac]; for I did add, that one must of necessity keep it for the sake of the memory. Much less did I attack it as aesthetically displeasing, or as cumbersome; but rather, I wished to express this idea: Although nature prepared the way for the division, it was human reason alone that created it, and in such a way that it always commenced from a certain starting point; it also did not have to refer to the natural properties that the signs are supposed to distinguish from each other. Although the sun, as it moves through the twelve signs, changes the seasons on earth according to the four qualities, this does not take place in that sequence [which was created by the astrologers]...
(Response to Dr. Röslin ..., Op. cit., 1609)
5. PLANETS AND ASPECTS
5-1 Experience, more than anything else, gives credibility to the effectiveness of aspects. This is so clear that it can be denied only by those who themselves have not tried them... I have said that astrology is, in a real sense, an art, and that it has its principles and evidence. Astrologers begin with their experience, judge according to their cases as they present themselves, and are silent about those cases that are yet missing. The procedure is the same as with other arts, when one is beginning to acquire knowledge -- especially as in medicine...
(From letters to Herwart and Feselius; dates unknown)
5-2 This capability which bestows power on aspects does not rest in the celestial bodies themselves; for the aspects ... are upon the earth and are pure figures, the essence of which does not stem from planetary motion, but rather is produced by the accidental position of each pair of bodies with respect to the earth. Just as the psyche, which moves the body, is not in the object, but rather is where the image of the object is imagined; in like manner that power that makes the aspects effective must be inherent to all sublunar bodies, indeed to the whole earth. The entire vital power is, you see, a reflection of God, who creates according to geometric principles, and is activated by this very geometry or harmony of the celestial aspects.
(On the More Certain Fundamentals of Astrology, 1602)
5-3 An aspect is a geometrical connection between the light beams of two planets here on earth. A geometrical connection is a relationship, a thing of the mind. A relationship has no effects. Thus it follows that the aspect does not create rain out of itself.
On the other hand, one sees that nature sweats rain out of the ground when there is an aspect. Before and after she is calm, even when the two lights beams are present [but not in aspect]. It thus follows that Nature is not moved by an aspect effectively, but rather objectively, just as a farmer is moved by music to dance. Whatever is objectively moved, however, experiences out of the object itself, and carries the principle of the motion in itself...
(Response to Dr. Röslin ..., Op. cit., 1609)
5-4 As God the Creator played music, in like manner he taught Nature to play after his likeness -- that is to say, precisely that piece of music that he has played for her. Therefore it is the case that in music no natural soul of a human being wants to play with a septangle, nor will he enjoy such if this proportion is given to the voices, because God did not play with these figures.
(World Harmony, 1619)
5-5 In order to prevent the number of aspects from becoming too great, thus creating confusion in practical application, one must stop with the square, the quintile and the biquintile, and not proceed to derived aspects to an extreme; such aspects are extremely weak.
5-6 Human souls, at the time of celestial aspects, are receiving a special impetus for carrying out their business and tasks with which they are occupied at the time. What a prod is for an ox, the spurs or reins for a horse, the drum and trumpet for the soldier, the fiery speech for the listener, the melody of a flute, bagpipe or fiddle for a group of farmers -- these things are for all the celestial configuration of the appropriate planets... They arouse people, but they are incapable of guaranteeing a result.
7-1 I believe that at the birth of children, and particularly of the first-born, the planets as well as the Ascendant and Midheaven usually are in the same zodiacal degree areas, or in square or opposition to those areas, as at the birth of the father, or (especially) of the mother. I believe also that the same or similar aspects occur... I was born when the Moon was short of an opposition to the Sun by forty degrees. With my first-born the Moon was short by the same amount of a conjunction with the Sun. With the second child the Moon had passed the opposition to the Sun by the same number of degrees. With the fourth child the Moon was 38 degrees from the opposition to the Sun. With the third child it was not much different, for the Moon was at a separation of 40 degrees from the Sun plus one day of lunar motion: the birth was expected the previous day. I pass over further examples that agree with these.
7. THE NATAL HOROSCOPE AND ITS IMPRINT
7-1 When a human being's life is first ignited, when he now has his own life, and can no longer remain in the womb -- then he receives a character and an imprint of all the celestial configurations (or the images of the rays intersecting on earth), and retains them unto his grave.
(Tertius Interveniens, 1610)
7-2 This character is not received in the body, which is much too ungainly for that, but rather in the nature of the soul itself, which is like a point. The soul can therefore transform herself in that point at which the rays converge, and can not only partake of that faculty of reason for which we alone among living creatures are called reasonable; she is also implanted with another kind of reason -- geometry, which can be perceived instantaneously in the rays as well as in the sound of music without a lengthy learning process.
7-3 A human being's nature, at the beginning of life, receives not only an instantaneous image of the sky, but also its motion, as it appears down here on earth, for several successive days; and derives from this motion the way in which it will discharge this or that humor; and the time at which this nature will, very accurately, time these developments, as determined by the directions based on the first few days of life.
7-4 The vital power that is ignited in the heart and burns there as long as a life lasts is, in a certain sense, a zodiac. It consists of energy and of a fiery outpouring. Thus the whole sensually perceptible figure of the zodiac flows into the vital functions as soon as they are ignited at birth, and grows into them completely. (The sky is then at liberty to move into other configurations and reshape itself)... At that point at which it [the vital power] begins to be what it was then (at birth), when it incorporated the harmonies into itself, then the sensually perceptible harmony of the planets' rays flows into it most strongly.
(World Harmony, 1619)
7-5 In the vital power of the human being that is ignited at birth there glows that remembered image to which I referred also in connection with the Earth-Soul. So great is the persistence of the celestial character-image and of all the details of the natal theme, and so durable is the natal image of the soul, that it is not forgotten until life's end. With all planetary transits over the more significant positions of the horoscope, the above-mentioned vital power is aroused, just as if those positions were not mere images of long-past things remaining in the soul, but rather real celestial bodies. Thus, for example, it is as if there were not one, but two suns in the sky which are unified into one, and which set into action, by their union, the nature of the vital power.
7-6 The birth constellation is merely an empty form. When the soul is poured into it, the human being does not take on this form immediately. He is unwieldy, maintains much from the thinking and feelings of the mother and mixes that with the nativity. Thus the nativity forms and shapes the soul, but it does not bring forth a new one, nor does it change the soul completely.
(Letter to Fabricius; date unknown)
7-7 People born at the time of numerous planetary aspects usually become industrious and restless – whether they become accustomed, from childhood on, to acquire wealth, or whether they are born or destined to be active in public life, or whether they dedicate themselves to learning... The natal horoscope is a marvelous thing.
(World Harmony, 1619)
7-8 It can be said in general that an unburdened and happy life can ensue only if the rays and the qualities of the planets harmonize with each other in an appropriate way -- that is to say, geometrically. This can come about only when the character of the whole celestial configuration is stamped upon the procreative, nutritive, formative, sensual and animal power of the human being. For the body is of too crude a raw material for it to be capable of absorbing the ever so subtle character of an intangible, but still perceiveable thing. This, I believe, is therefore the reason why -- although the sky is constantly making all kinds of possible changes -- nonetheless the character of that configuration is preserved, namely the configuration that was in the heavens when the life of the human being was ignited at birth and was, so to speak, poured into the mold... Somehow the images of celestial things are stamped upon the interior of the human being, by some hidden method of absorption... Furthermore, that which, in our memory, is the character of what was seen, heard and thought -- this is, in that particular faculty of the soul, the character of the sky which flowed into us at birth. On the other hand, whatever the act of thinking may be upon remembering [our birth], or whatever act of renewed feeling may move us to recall earlier sensations -- this is in any case, by some mysterious process, the renewed movement of the sky and the transit of the planets through the birth positions.
But all of this is an extremely difficult matter, with which one can easily slip into error, and therefore I do not wish to assert it with total certainty, and I am quite prepared to listen to the opinions of the sages thereon.
(On the Nova in the Foot of Ophiucus, 1606)
8. THE EARTH SPIRIT
8-1 Dr. Roeslin is in error when he says that the earth is nothing but a coarse body, and that it is not informed of essentials by the sky. My reply is that if the earth were nothing more than a coarse body, it would stop moving. She contains, however, a soul, which among other activities turns the roast (the earth) around the spit once each day so that it partakes of the sun's heat uniformly. Thus she is not of the sky, but is informed thereby because she is an entity of a type that has soul and spirit.
(Response to Dr. Röslin ..., Op. cit., 1609)
8-2 I would like to draw a comparison between the vital power of the human being and the World-Soul with respect to celestial influence. It appears to me that the Earth-Soul is a circle that has nowhere a beginning or an end, and it does not make connections anywhere. The vital power of the human being, on the other hand, can be compared to a circle that seems to be, as it were, tied together at several points. The reason for this is that the Earth-Soul does not have a nativity, since it always remains the same and is never born, is never ignited. The nativity of the human being, however, which may have just come into being and yet is moving toward death, takes on the character of its beginning, whereby certain points of the beginning and end are distributed throughout the zodiac.
9. PREDICTION, PREDICTIVE TECHNIQUES
9-1 Some few noteworthy predictions of future events (of a general nature) by prediction of celestial motion are well-founded in our experience. Anyone can devote as much industry to astrology as a botanist to herbal medicine -- who assures himself of the effects of herbs with his own person. Indeed, that much industry is necessary. And every day there is some corroboration, and experience adds more and more to our knowledge. Such examples from astrology as the few above-mentioned ones find their basis, more and more, in nature or in philosophy when we diligently ponder them.
(Tertius Interveniens, 1610)
9-2 As far as certain persons are concerned, it is not foolhardy to prognosticate general things about their future fortune and misfortune. The reason for this is that the astrologer naturally assumes that each is the creator of his own destiny, except where God steps in to maintain order in extraordinary instances. The astrologer can perceive, to a degree, the make-up and human nature of this creator, whose character is imprinted into nature at birth.
9-3 I must confess that many things that are supposed to happen according to astrologers' pronouncements are attributed to causes that are not their causes at all.
9-4 From this example [i.e. of my own life] anyone can easily conclude that astrology is hardly capable of providing precise answers, solely on the basis of the horoscope, to those questions with which one is usually presented: about parents, sex, property, children, the number of wives, about religion and government, about friends, enemies, inheritance, family, places of residence and an infinity of other things.
(World Harmony, 1619)
9-5 If, based on the birth horoscope, one can make sufficient assumptions about the characteristics of the soul, then one can draw quite useful conclusions about the broadly general destiny of a human being. These conclusions are, however, only assumptions and nothing more. One can, of course, deceive oneself when various conditions of a natural as well as supernatural kind intervene.
9-6 All the natural qualities of the five planets, as well as of some of the more prominent fixed stars ... can be grasped by the human understanding, although not perfectly, and can be integrated into a kind of science or body of knowledge, which can be used for prognostication of future events as well and as completely as can be done in medicine with the various and sundry herbs.
(Tertius Interveniens, 1610)
9-7 Each day after birth means one year; two days two years, and so on. It follows from this that the sun should be directed on the ecliptic according to its diurnal motion; the M.C. by right ascension; the ascendant by oblique ascension, and always, referring to the birth hour, to the right ascension of the directed place of the sun; thus the horoscope is always to be recast anew. The moon must also be directed on the ecliptic, consistent with the diurnal motion of the sun. The pars fortunae must, however, be eliminated and not be directed, because it is not a celestial body nor a part of the sky. One should also desist from directing the remaining planets, because they do not have, of themselves, anything in common with the earth's motion.
9-8 Natural predictions are more reliable than those of astrology, because they are derived from earthly and direct causes, and thus address the specific matter more accurately. Thus a military strategist knows about future fortune and misfortune [in war], a lawyer about the outcome of his cases, a historian about change in government, an elderly man about the future condition of his children, a physician about the outcome of illness, a farmer about anticipated fertility or about rainy weather on the next day -- each better able to make pronouncements about his special area than the astrologer... The astrologer's specialty is to examine the single general and universal cause, the course of the heavenly bodies.
(Almanac for the Year of Our Lord, 1598)
10-1 Astrologers recognize this [problem] and feel it strongly, but they also have methods of overcoming this uncertainty -- one better than the other... [It has been said] that if the error is only one minute it is too much, and it was calculated that many thousands of miles are overlooked here and pass by [in this time]. I have indicated that the size of the sky should not deceive us: the natural soul of the human being is no greater than a single point, and on this point the form and the character of the whole sky is potentially impressed, no matter if the sky were a hundred times greater. The error of one minute makes no greater difference than a quarter of a year. O how blessed would the astrologers consider themselves if they could predict correctly to within a quarter of a year!
(Tertius Interveniens, 1610)
11. MALEFICS AND BENEFICS
11-1 God did not create human beings until after he had created the planets. From there God proceeded to shape humankind. It would have been quite easy for Him to form us in such a way that we would have to deal only with the well-tempered Jupiter, and that we would experience Saturn or Mars as little as we would a dead stone. Thus it must be good and holy that man experiences not only well-tempered Jupiter, but also cold Saturn and hot Mars. And the latter two harm him as little as black gall and bile within his body. Both these humors [fluids] are decried by ordinary physicians as excrements, just as Saturn and Mars are decried as evil planets... I cannot conceive that bile would be an excrement, but rather a necessary substance that is part of the nutritional substances that flow through the blood vessels.
11-2 In the celestial bodies themselves there is nothing but light, colors, qualities as indicated by the colors, warmth, moisture and finally, (down here on earth in the combination of light rays) geometry or harmony. These are all good things: and no less so is the character of these things that is imprinted on the nature of the newborn human being; no less so is it, too, a good, salutary order of things as ordained by God, for everything that created by God is good. But human nature being what it is, and because human understanding misuses this and that quality or harmony -- that is not the fault of the sky, nor its light rays, nor its harmony, nor its character, but rather it is the ill will that permits itself to be aroused by the original sin, that is at fault.
11-3 I do not believe that there are malefics in the sky. I say this mainly ... because man is characterized by a nature that runs its course here on earth and that brings about, by itself, the effect emanating from the radiations of the planets. It is as with the sense of hearing which enables us to hear harmonies, and bestows such a power on music that it (music) impels the listener to dance.
12. FATE AND FREE WILL
12-1 By no means do I attribute the manipulation of earthly affairs to the heavens. Also in this respect my philosophical stance differs enormously from that folly which should preferably be called madness.
(World Harmony, 1619)
12-2 It appears that there are three things on which human destiny, insofar as it is natural, is founded: the soul, the body structure, and the guardian angel. No one will doubt the existence of the first; the second is somewhat hidden and is not so generally known; I can offer only assumptions for the third... For guardian angels Holy Scripture bears testimony (Job 33, Matthew 18, Luke 15) to the effect that some of them are appointed as protectors for individual human beings, and they are given the task of admonishing their wards, and mediating for them before the judgment seat of Divine Providence.
12-3 If the reader will imagine a true natural cause, and then ponder that the sky, with all its influences, does not operate any differently from any other natural cause as to how it may be used or misused, accepted or rejected -- then let each person, at certain [perilous] times, carefully consider those in his charge, and also rule his own heart and mind, so that he does not throw any straw into the fire...
(Prognostication for 1618 and 1619, 1618)
KEPLER'S INTERPRETATION OF HIS OWN CHART
Mercury in the seventh house means speed, and sloth because he is fast. The Sun in sextile with Saturn reveals meticulousness and endurance. The following two characteristics are opposed in the human being: constant regret about lost time and constant waste of time for which one is oneself to blame. Mercury causes devotion to jest and play, also resulting from joy in the more shallow things. For as a boy I devoted myself passionately to playing. As a youth other things delighted my mind, and therefore I devoted myself to other things; thus it is a matter of judgement as to what pleases the human being. Since, however, stinginess frightened me away from play, I often played alone. Here it should be noted that the goal of the stinginess was not the acquisition of wealth, but rather it was based on the fear of poverty -- although perhaps all possessiveness may stem from misapplied anxiety... Lust for money imprisons many. I took usefulness and honorableness into consideration. Perhaps much is rooted in the shame of poverty. I am, above all, not arrogant and contemptuous of public opinion, though of course my speech tends to be abrasive.
When, for example, Saturn aspects Mercury, he [Mercury] becomes cold, so that the mind is dulled; when Jupiter aspects Mercury, he [Mercury] makes one moist and hot. In the former case, everything is aimed at the lust for gain, in the latter case, it is the desire for fame and honor. When Mars comes into my view, he frightens. He causes the mind collapse and drags it into anger, play, inconstancy, story-telling, into wars, into excess, into foolhardiness, into busy-ness -- all things that adhere to mortal man: he [Mars] incites one to contrariness, fighting, disapproval of all order, criticism of custom. All is conspicuous that I engaged in with my studies: excitement in conversation, dispute, contempt, challenging all immoral habits of some person...
(From Kepler's autobiographical essay in Latin, written in 1597, when he was twenty-five. The sources is a manuscript in Latin that was apparently not intended for publication. This would explain the rough, note-like quality of the prose.)
All rights reserved © 1987-2001 Kenneth G. Negus