Of these two laws, which, according to Theosophy rule the Universe and therefore man, a brief explanation is desirable.
We give in a few words the leading idea of these two laws, because they spread some light on the cause and the substance of the planetary influences. For the study of astrology it is absolutely unnecessary that one believes in reincarnation. Astrology needs no foundation of belief, astrology only asks thorough inquiry and this is inevitably followed by “believing” (“knowing”). I know a number of men who do not believe in reincarnation, yet nevertheless are convinced astrologers, though, in my opinion, they will after continued study acknowledge both these laws.
The law of Karma* is not likely to be a stumbling block to any one. What rational being does not accept the inexorable law of cause and effect? We see the proofs of it daily, round us.
Reincarnation is difficult to prove, one can become convinced of the truth of this law by logical reasoning only; for what somebody else thinks to have seen or experienced of former lives, is no proof for us personally.
The Law of Karma or of cause and effect, teaches that every action, every thought, carries its inexorable consequence with it; and for man, this consequence, this reaction, can be shown in the present or in a following earthly existence. So he creates, in his present life, the condition of the future, and the conditions of the present are the product of his actions in former earthly lives.
Man, the individual soul, the Ego** is, after a certain period born anew in a material body, which latter serves him as an instrument for observation and action, to have experiences which he cannot learn on the higher astral and mental planes. This being born again ought not to be mixed up with transmigration of souls, of which is said that a human soul can pass into a lower creature. There is no regression, but continuous evolution. We see this everywhere in nature. Man is born as man, and remains man, though in his former periods of evolution he had to go through the mineral-, plant- and animal condition, which does not mean that he was a mineral, a plant, or an animal. There are higher, no lower conditions to be reached by him; except in very rare cases. We must go along with the current of universal evolution on earth and we can only delay our own evolution, in spiritual and moral sense, by our thoughts and actions, but check it, we cannot. We shall see presently how we, by means of astrology, become able to take our evolution in hand, so that we, instead of being stragglers, get more and more in the front rows.
Every man has several weak points in his character and he feels intuitively that it is his moral duty to take up the hatchet against these faults, which, as occultism teaches, began for the greater part in former incarnations when he knew less of the cosmic laws than now. However low man may be morally, there is something in him which tells him what is good or bad, however much the conceptions of good and bad may differ with the many races and nations; for until man attains Perfection, these conceptions are only relative. His standpoint in evolution points out to him the correct place where he has to be and that standpoint, combined with the good and bad consequences created in former lives, determine his place and rule of conduct in this incarnation.
We usually speak of good and bad Karma, though the terms harmonious () and inharmonious () karma would be better. There can be no question of bad, because aim and final result are harmony.
So at a certain time, man becomes conscious of his duty to try and conquer his lower nature with all its faults and bad habits, until he no longer is the slave, but becomes the master. According to his success in this, he not only becomes gradually the ruler of his own destiny, but also, in time, he obtains the mastery of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdom and of the forces of nature which play a part in them. But in order to become the master of nature, he must first have conquered himself, i.e. he must be able to look upon his lower nature the non-self, unselfishly as that which is transitory and so subservient to the higher self, which is constant, universal the Ego.
This is the final purpose of our earth-evolution and whether we want or not we must go along with this earthly growth. As we have seen, we can co-operate and oppose. In the first case we bring ourselves in harmony with the Cosmos, i.e. the Source of all life, in the last we shut this Source off to ourselves and that means disharmony in the functions of our physical body, disturbances in our thinking, feeling, and will, and at length it means the death of our physical instrument our material body.
With the death of the material body man is deprived of the organs of observation and action on the physical plane, and so this matter disappears from his sphere of observation, he wakes in a world, previously invisible to him, the astral world, which permeates the material world. The astral world therefore is in the same place, but invisible to the organs of his material body.
He dwells now in the astral, or emotional body, with astral organs for observation. He already possessed this astral body during his earthly existence, but he could not then consciously make use of it, because the material body thwarted him. The duration of his abode in the astral world, with its various spheres, is determined by the moral standpoint which he occupied during his physical existence and at the end of it he also dies on this plane and he becomes conscious on the mental plane, which permeates both the astral and the physical sphere and so is in the same place. His body or vehicle is here the mental body which was already present during his earthly and astral life, but undeveloped. In this mental sphere, the true abode of man, he assimulates the experiences of the two preceding states; and these are transmuted into characteristics and potentialities, which combined with those obtained in former lives, must incarnate with him in a new body when the time has arrived.
So man has three bodies: the physical, the astral and the mental which correspond with the three worlds: the physical, the astral, and the mental worlds, which we therefore may regard as the three bodies of the earth.
It follows that man has already in his earthly existence a body for each of these three worlds.
Thus man (the Ego) is many times born in a different physical body, with long intervals, during which on earth the conditions change continuously. Thus does he undergo many-sided experiences.
The laws of Karma and Reincarnation rule our whole life; without them we cannot imagine a rational explanation of the different phases in our existence, nor answer the question why one is born in the deepest wretchedness with a bad character, a sick body, in surroundings where any moral progress seems impossible, whereas another sees the light in luxurious surroundings, which offer him all opportunities to develop; while at the same time he enjoys a healthy body and an excellent character. Are there greater contrasts imaginable and is there a reasonable explanation to be found without accepting the inexorable, but just law of cause and effect and the law of reincarnation?
But this is not the place to dwell at length on these things, for further study I refer to works on Theosophy. A few words, however, on these important points in question I thought necessary, because, in my opinion, they are to a certain degree inseparable from astrology; in order to understand the one well, the other is necessary. They supplement one another.
“Astrology is the “how” of life, Karma the “why”.”
*) The word Karma means “action”, which will later on become clear when we speak about the meaning of the aspect.
**) What is the Ego?
The occult science tells us that the Ego, the I, the Higher Self, all of them names for the same Principle is the God who lives in man; speaks when the soul acknowledges to be an I; in other words, it is the Divine spark in us, without, however, being God himself.
Dr. R. Steiner says as to this: ….”By that which precedes the misunderstanding that the occult science asserts that the I is one with God, is likely to arise. But it does not assert at all, that the I is God, but that it is of the same nature and the same substance as God. Does anybody assert that a drop of water taken from the sea is the sea, when he says that that drop is of the same substance as the sea? If one likes to use a comparison, one can say that the I is related to God, as the drop is to the sea. Man can find something divine in himself, because his inner substance is derived from that which is divine.”
Author: C. Aq. Libra
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