- Not only the poor, but even rich men believe.
- The science dates from very ancient times.
- Shakespeare’s works have many allusions to this.
- But science does not admit any force in it.
It is usually the custom, among a section of Hindus to have the horoscope of a child drawn up at birth by an astrologer. In the large cities, many profess this old art, and advertise claims in the local press to foretell the future and to give advice regarding business, love affairs, and such things. While the uneducated people are the greatest believers, even well-to-do citizens are not above going to such men for their guidance. Reliable or otherwise, it is a scientific study on regular lines, and the training of an astrologer is long and thorough.
It is know, from old writings and inscriptions on pillars, that the ancient Egyptians and the Chaldees practiced the cult of astrology. They studied the phases of the planets, and left charts with the different signs of the Zodiac. A man’s life was thought to be strongly influenced for good or ill by the particular planet that happened to be predominant in the heavens at the time of his birth.
These practices spread to the western nations. In Scott’s novel Guy Mannerring, a child is born in Chapyer 1 and at once an astrologer draws up a horoscope for the lad, the events of which are wonderfully fulfilled. In Shakespeare, there are frequent references to the power of the stars over men. Shakespeare himself does not appear to have believed in this science. In the play, Julius Caesar, Cassius says to Brutus:
“The fault; dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings”.
and educated men, beginning to pry more and more deeply into the secrets of Nature, could not find that the stars exerted any influence other than the attraction of gravity, on the affairs of our world.
Even in advanced Europe, the cult is by no means dead. Scores of professed astrologers advertise in certain papers, and the credulous and simple among the people go to them and pay high fees for advice. But the educated sections of the people do not believe any longer, and hold that science has proved that there can be no sound reason for such beliefs. There will always be some, however, who believe that there is a mysterious and powerful sphere into which science cannot probe, and who will continue to rely on the supernatural.