Implicit to the hermetic axiom, “as above so below” is the acceptance of a Principle that orders our lives as well as that of the macrocosm. One central question, if we take this axiom seriously is how any human being; past, present or future, comes to be born when he is. Does he have any choice, and if so to what extent?
There are some who say that we choose our chart before birth, but then it is set and the script of our lives is followed without fail. Others say that there is no choice at all, the why and when have been determined by a higher agency. All is determined from beginning to end. There are others, and I am one of them, who say that the extent of choice that we have cannot be fathomed by us, at least not while we are incarnate. Perhaps we may not be able to choose our chart, but we certainly may choose how to live it!
Here we must ask ourselves what attributes belong to the essence of a being and which are contingent. That which is contingent is what also may be termed accidental. We can say that that which truly expresses our essence is “I” and this “I” is the “I” of the “I am the I am”. Adam as the image of God. That which is not “I” is contingent. And that which is contingent reflects the state of man after the Fall.
Do we see the “I” in a chart? I think not. Perhaps we can say that the chart veils it. The chart in fact reveals only that which is ‘accidental’ in our lives, that which the “I”, that we do not see, is clothed with (among these are the accidents that are shown by directed charts, or progressed charts or in return charts). This means the possibility of choice, which is what eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is.
The Fall not only affected man but also all of Nature. What did Man and Nature fall into? Time. And so we can say that the movement of the planets and the course of the stars have their root here as does our mortality. Without time, there can be no birth and no death. No need and no possibility to cast a horoscope.
The movement of the planets seems to us unchangeable, so much so that we are able to calculate their positions centuries before and centuries after the present moment. For the ancient astrologer they were considered incorruptible, able to purely reveal their essence, untouched by mortality. But as we have seen they too are subject to ‘accident’. Through their movement they may have dignity or debility, they may go retrograde, become combust and when brought into reference with the sub-lunar sphere of mortality and corruption where we abide, they may become cadent. They determine but also strangely enough become determined. In one chart a planet rules wealth. In the next it is the ruler of death. And so on. Our contingency becomes their contingency. “As below, so above.”