Monday, 22 June 2009

Manilius on Hard Work

There would be no harm in emphasising Peter Stockinger's comment below on House Systems where he tells us that the secret to becoming a competent astrologer is hard work. It reminded me of a passage in Astronomica by Marcus Manilius which was written in the 1st century AD and which very eloquently explains the principle.

The object of your quest is God: you are seeking to scale the skies and, though born beneath the rule of fate, to gain knowledge of that fate; you are seeking to pass beyond your understanding and make yourself master of the universe. The toil involved matches the reward to be won, nor are such high attainments secured without a price; so wonder not at the winding route and the intricacy of things. It is enough that we have been given the power to make the search: let the rest be left to us. Unless you mine mountains, gold will elude your grasp, and the earth that is heaped above will bar access to the wealth it hides. Men will traverse the entire globe to make jewels available, and will not shrink from occupying the sea to gain the precious pearl. Each year the anxious farmer will utter every prayer he knows, and yet how small is the yield of the treacherous countryside! We shall face the perils of the sea-winds in our search for gain and follow the god of war in hope of booty. Ah, shame on those willing to pay so high a price for perishable goods! Luxury too entails a kind of military service: the glutton keeps sleepless watch over that which proves his ruin, and profligates oft pant for their own undoing. What then shall we give for heaven? What is the worth of that, with which we may purchase all? Man must expend his very self before God can dwell in him.
Nothing much has changed in 2000 years.

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