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vol. 1, p. 176
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< Another Book on "Art Magic" (continued from page 1-175) >

besides being heartily abased far my pains and losses, why should these circumstances contribute to injure my popularity or deprive me of my friends? I lamented the stringency of the author’s conditions, although he had good reasons, politically, socially, and spiritually considered, for his reticence; but I fast rated them only because I wished the whole reading world might have the advantage of his noble weak; I hoped, also, that a generous and self-sacrificing gentleman might not be the financial loser he has been in his undertaking. Does Mr. Cooper assume that it is the matter of the work which is so liable to endanger my standing with my Spiritualistic friends? On this point let him set his mind entirely at rest; my friend and myself fully anticipated the reception which his work would meet with from some classes of the community.

All those readers who expect to sin with impunity through the comfortable and convenient doctrine of Vicarious Atonement would of course hold up their hands and eyes in holy horror at the doctrines of “Art Magic;” those who think they know everything would cry, “He tells me nothing new;” and those who know nothing would say, " He tells so much that is new and strange, that! cannot understand or believe anything in it.” What the author of “Art Magic” did not know on the subject of literary criticism (?) his well-tried editor did, hence we entered upon the task of publication, well satisfied to put such a work in the hands of the few', not of the many. The result, even with all my experience and the author's modest distrust of himself, has been a genuine surprise to us both. Out of five hundred subscribers, not one of whom was called upon to express an opinion on the work, four hundred and sixty-two have written me letters of the most glowing and enthusiastic praise, thanking me far more than I deserve for my share in the work, entreating me to plead with the author for another volume from his pen, and in many instances assuring me that my conduct and services had endeared me to my friends, more in this thin in any other act of my public life. These letters are extant; their writers are the same; and the only sources from which I have as yet had reason to coincide with my friend in fears for my waning popularity are precisely those in which I would have deemed praise disgrace, and eulogy dishonor. These are in the criticisms of some obscene and slang journals, the editors of which I have long had the good fortune to classify as my personal enemies, and who. of course, would not lose so good an opportunity of venting their spite and malignity against me. That this noble book should fall into the hands of some who have reasons peculiar to themselves to dislike or misunderstand it, I could not of course do otherwise than expect. There is a mob element which ever arrays itself against all that is exclusive. The different classes of thinkers to whom I have before alluded, and those who, relying always on others to do their thinking for them, and finding that the Spiritual Press did not deem it worth their while to criticize a book they could not sell, have felt unable to make up their minds what' to think about it at all; —from such readers or non-readers as these, I have long been prepared to expect no favor for anything I could do in the publishing line; but the letters I have in my possession, and, above all, the noble book itself, form my best protest against Mr. Cooper’s third statement, and induces me to say, as an act of justice to myself, no less than to my brave and gallant five hundred and the dear friend In whose service I have borne no inconsiderable cross, that Mr. Cooper's opinions and misgivings are drawn from sources for which I have no consideration and no fear of injury.

How far the per contra of these opinions actually exists amongst my true friends and supporters mar be gathered from the fact that at their urgent and earnest solicitations I am now engaged in translating and preparing for speedy publication some fine MSS. given me by my esteemed and valued friend, the author of “Art Magic,” some four years since. One of these MSS. contains passages of this gentleman’s autobiography, and is an invaluable contribution to the spiritualistic literature of an age that Heaven knows has abundant need of all the light it can shed. It shall be given to the world, and that despite the abuse, slander, and misrepresentation that has already been poured upon me. These MSS. being my own, will be published free of all conditions and limitations, and that as no concession to the mob that has so shamefully persecuted me, but in the same spirit in which I could have wished “Art Magic” to have been read, namely, as its own best refutation to the meanness, illiberality, and all uncharitableness that have been hurled against it, and as an evidence that the writer and speaker—whose motto has ever been the truth against the world— is still ready to live and die by this axiom.

The deep and heartfelt admiration expressed for “Art Magic” by the great majority of its readers, may at present lack an organ for its public expressions, and timid conservatives may not know what to think about such an extraordinary work until some great authority instructs them; but those who imagine that coldness, neglect, misrepresentation, or slander can make me false to my friend, my duty, or my cause, have vet to learn a lesson concerning me, and the first chapter of that lesson will be another work from the pen of the author of “Art Magic,” with Emma Hardinge Britten as its translator and editor, just as soon as time and opportunity permit.

Good Mr. Cooper it of opinion that occultism is dying out. Could he learn all the occult concerned in the history of this wonderful work, he would perceive more of “Art Magic” in its publication, and the extraordinary circumstances that have placed it where and how it is before the world, than even its title implies. Perhaps he and other surface critics of its pages have yet to learn even its worst enemies have been made instruments in the hands of those who dared to put it forth, under the peculiar esoteric, as well as exoteric, conditions which hedged it in. All concerned in it “have builded wiser than they knew,'’ done the bidding of those they wot not of, and performed a work that future generations will know how to appreciate. Apologizing for the amount of space I have occupied in these long and personal remarks, — I am, dear sir, very truly and faithfully yours,

Emma Hardinge Britten.

118 West Chester Park, Boston, Mass., America, July, 1876.

What is Astrology?

by Buddha

A Little work has found its way into my hands, entitled “Your Future Foretold,” by Casael, and deserves a passing notice were it only for its freedom from bombast and protracted obscurity. “I, only I, am an astrologer; I only can give the true rendering of vox stellarum," is the charlatanical language of nearly all who have written on this outlawed branch of human investigation. The little book would be a gem had its author not fallen into another mistake which astrological, and other authors of limited experience have so often committed, that of doggerel rhymes of the old ballad style. There is neither force nor ornament in it, and disfigures any book, however faultless otherwise, the egotism of the author to the contrary, notwithstanding.

Casael introduces his subject by defending it against the most common objections, which are for the greater part of a Scriptural character. Had the work been written in America, very little space would have been given to Scriptural objections, as the average American cares very little whether a theory squares with the Holy Writ or not. Is it true, and can it be demonstrated? is the American query, and the Scriptures are left to take care of themselves.

Every one is aware that Astrology is of great antiquity, yet it is singular how little of ancient authority on the subject has been handed down to us, the only systematic treatise preserved for us being a para phase by Proclus of the Tetrabiblos by Claudius Ptolemy. It is spoken of by ancient writers, and astrological ideas are interwoven throughout ancient literature, but no other writer makes it a specialty. Cicero writes against it, but introduces objections which only prove his ignorance of the fundamental principles of Astrology, or dishonesty, as Voltaire has done in his Philosophical Dictionary. That so few men, comparatively, of ability and learning have devoted themselves to astrological study is not to be wondered at, obscured as it is with silly aphorisms and conceited theories; that so many have devoted their talents to its study, proves that beneath its surface silliness there lie principles of verity and utility.

The work of the modern author on Astrology should be to eliminate the obscurities and falsehoods which have gathered like barnacles on every work on the subject Thin, Casael has in part attempted, and his endeavor to modernize astrological terms is equally praiseworthy. The nodes of the moon and “the part of fortune,” an imaginary point in the heavens, bearing the same relation in distance and position to the eastern horizon that the Moon does to the Sun, are discarded by him. In this he is assuredly right, for what influence can nonentities have? But I may be permitted to ask Casael what influence " Houses and Signs” possess, for they are just as imaginary and at unreal as the nodes of the Moon and the Part of Fortune; also why the degrees of direction in a nativity are converted into time? How can space be converted into time; are they convertible? By what species of logic can a degree of celestial space be made to represent a solar year of time? I am not aware that any astrologer has ever given a rational explanation of these assumed principles in Astrology.

I do not need to be reminded that certain principles may exist, though neither I nor any one be able to give a reason therefor; and they may exist though my reason be opposed to them. And I do not need to remind the defender of Astrology, that all that is of Astrology is mostly dependent upon the obscure dictum of medieval writers and the experimental observation of modem artists, giving to it an empirical char- <... continues on page 1-177 >

Editor's notes

  1. What is Astrology? by unknown author (signed as Buddha), Spiritual Scientist, v. 5, No. 1, September 6, 1876, p. 9