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The Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions & Answers
Infant Mortality

   Question: According to an article in a recent medical journal, girl babies seem to have a greater power of resistance with respect to the inimical influences which ravage the ranks of infants during the first years of life. It is stated: "Speaking generally, it may perhaps be said that the boy reacts more violently to disease than the girl, is more easily knocked over than the latter, does not recuperate as quickly when the illness takes a favorable turn, and does not offer as much resistance when suffering from chronic ailments." Can you explain this? (Vol. II, #2 8)

   Answer: To the occultist versed in the Western Wisdom Teachings concerning the polarity of the vital body the seeming anomaly is easily accounted for, with many other facts known to the medical profession, but not explained by them.

   Man, who has the positive physical body, has a negative vital (etheric) body. Thus he is not able to resist disease as well as woman, who has a negative physical body, but a positive vital vehicle. For that reason woman is able to endure a siege of sickness that would kill a man twice her weight and apparent vitality. She suffers more keenly than man, but bears pain with more fortitude. When the favorable turn comes, her positively polarized vital body seems to suck in, as with a million mouths, the solar energy. It swells and begins almost immediately to radiate the streamers so characteristic of health, with the result that the physical body recuperates apace.

   On the other hand, when a man has been brought very low by sickness and the turn of the tide sets in, his negatively polarized vital body is like a sponge. It will absorb all the solar energy it can get, but the avidity noticeable in the vital body of the woman is lacking. Therefore, he lingers a long while in the shadow of death, and as it is easier to give up than fight, he succumbs oftener.

   There is also another reason for greater mortality among boy babies. Students of the Higher Philosophy are acquainted with the law governing infant mortality, namely, that when the Ego which passes out at death is very much disturbed by the loud and hysterical lamentations of relatives, the turmoil incident to death through railway accidents, fires, wars, and the like, it cannot concentrate its attention on the panorama of life which then passes in review, much as a picture film thrown on a screen.

   This panorama should be etched into the desire body to form the basis of feelings of pain or pleasure in Purgatory and the First Heaven, the pain being transmuted to conscience to warn the Ego in future lives not to commit again the mistakes of the past. The pleasure felt on account of good deeds in life generates virtue to spur the Ego on to better things in later lives. When the Ego is seriously disturbed in its concentration on the life panorama, the etching does not work on the feelings as it should, and thus the life experience would be lost did not the higher Powers interfere and let it die in infancy when next it comes to rebirth. The subtle vehicles are not born at the same time as the physical body. The fruits of the former life are then incorporated into them, after death in infancy, and in a few years the Ego seeks a new embodiment and lives its normal span of time on Earth.

   Under this arrangement an enormous number of children are predestined to die in infancy, for wars and wakes over the dead, with lamentations, have deprived millions of Egos of peace at the time of death. This present war (WWI) will add more millions. Thus infant mortality must continue to grieve our hearts until we learn the science of death and how to help the passing Ego as we have learned to care for the incoming babe. We, with our small and finite minds, have already learned to use the lines of least resistance to attain our ends. We have studied the conservation of energy, and we may be sure that the great Divine Hierarchs who have charge of evolution make use of similar methods with greater efficiency. Hence, as babies must die for the reasons given, what more natural than to let as many as those predestined take a male body with a negative vital body which will more easily succumb to the rigors of physical existence?

   It is not to be denied, however, that a great many deaths in infancy are due to lack of understanding of the complex constitution of a human being which includes subtler vehicles than the one seen and commonly believed to constitute the whole organism. Although the vital body of an infant is still comparatively unorganized at the time of birth, the ether which is to be used for its completion is within the aura, ready to be assimilated, and if anyone in its surroundings happens to be weak and anemic, an unconscious vampire, he or she draws from the unassimilated store of ether of the infant much more easily than from that of an adult whose vital body if fully organized. Naturally the weak person draws more easily ether that is negatively polarized, as in the case of the boy baby, than the positive ether of the girl baby. Hence also in this way the greater mortality of boy babies is to be accounted for, together with man, deaths not due to the law as stated.

   If this were known and believed a long step would have been taken to save infants, for precautions could then be adopted. In the first place, infants should sleep in a crib as far from the mother as she can reach, so that her aura does not mingle with that of the child. A weak mother should not nurse her child, but obtain, if possible, milk fresh and warm from healthy well fed cows, or better still, goats, for fresh milk is supercharged with the ether of the animal and has a vital energy not appreciated by the chemist who makes a merely physical analysis of its chemical constituents. And last, but not least, massage of the spleen and stimulation of the splanchic nerves, carefully and conservatively practiced will aid the etheric counterpart of that organ in its activity of specializing the solar energy upon which the vital processes are as dependent as the lungs are on air.

Fate or Free Will?

   Question: Can we by force of will control the aspects shown in our horoscope? Have we any right thus to change the destiny brought over from our last life? (Vol. II, #30)

   Answer: Can we by force of will control the aspects in our horoscope? That is a pretty big question, but we may say that if the aspects in one's horoscope can't be controlled, and we have to do thus and so, then we might as well lie down and take our medicine and drift along. If fate rules and we are helpless on the sea of life, what in the world would be the use of studying astrology? But thank God, there is one factor that is not shown in the horoscope, and that is the will of man. That is what makes all the difference.

   Let us suppose that two people have the same aspects coming on in their horoscopes; they may have been born close to the same time and may get horoscopes that are very much alike in some respects. They have the same sign rising and the same planets are in conjunction. Suppose they have the same afflictions coming on to one of the major planets, and one sits down and says, "I can't help it. Here it is. I have simply got to go through with it. There is no use fighting." And the other would say, "I am not going to submit. I am going to stand up in my boots and fight." The mental attitude of the latter would change events entirely for him.

   That is why we never can predict with absolute certainty. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred we can predict with certainty because most people drift with the tide, but that is just the reason for studying astrology. By means of the stellar science we know what is coming, and if we see something evil, we can say, "I know there is a certain influence coming and I am not going to submit to it." We have seen, however, so many, many cases where people are ruled by their stars in spite of all. We have told people a certain influence would come up and that they would act rashly to their great hurt if they weren't careful, and at the very moment predicted they would go and do just the very thing they have been warned against.

   However, there is this great comfort; the stars impel but they cannot compel. That is the basis upon which we should work with the stars to bring out all the good of our horoscope. When we see the good aspects coming, something that makes for soul growth, try to work with it by all means. People are too often prone to let good aspects take care of themselves, as well as the evil. Whether we are going to take up our part, is something that can't be foretold.

   Have we any right to change destiny brought over? Certainly, that is what we are supposed to do. In a former life we drifted into a certain stellar position, and we had to bring it over with us. Now we are here just for the purpose of learning to guide ourselves and rule our stars, and that is just what the science of astrology is given to us for. We must all try to do the best we can with this knowledge, otherwise it may become a curse. There are people who constantly watch their horoscopes with the attitude of: "I am going to be sick and I can see death is certain," etc. If that is the way they are going to use it, it is better not to study astrology.

  — This article was adapted from "The Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions and Answers, Vol. II," by Max Heindel.

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