Early astrologers claimed that the dislike one feels for another person or thing is caused by the stars. Thus, two persons born under the same aspect will be mutually attracted and will love without knowing why. Others born under opposite conjunctions will feel an unreasoning hate for each other.
But what is the explanation for the antipathy people sometimes have for the commonest things? Lamothe-Levayer could not bear to hear the sound of any musical instrument. Caesar could not hear the crowing of a cock without shuddering; Lord Bacon fell into despondency during the eclipse of the moon; Marie de Medicis could not bear to look on a rose, even in a painting, although she loved all other flowers. Cardinal Henry of Cardonne had the same antipathy toward the odor of roses; Marshal d'Albret became ill at dinner when a young wild boar or a suckling pig was served; Henry III of France could not remain in the same room with a cat; Marshal de Schomberg had the same weakness; Ladislas, king of Poland, was much disturbed at the sight of apples; Scaliger trembled at the sight of cress; Erasmus could not taste fish without having the fever; Tycho-Brahe felt his knees give way when he met a hare or a fox; the duke of Epernon fainted at the sight of a leveret; Cardan could not stomach eggs; Ariosto, baths; the son of Croesus, bread; Caesar of Lescalle, the sound of the vielle or violin.
The causes of these antipathies might be found in childhood impressions. A lady who was very fond of pictures and engravings fainted when she found them in a book. She explained her terror thus: When she was a child her father had one day seen her turning over the leaves of the books in his library, in search of pictures. He had roughly taken the book from her hand, telling her in terrible tones that there were devils in these books who would strangle her if she dared touch them. Such threats may have lingering effects that cannot be overcome.
Karl von Reichenbach (1788-1869) investigated human antipathies and their opposite, sympathies, as they relate to colors, metals, magnetic poles, right and left hand polarities, and heat and cold. He distinguished specific antipathies and sympathies that were characteristic of sensitives (mediumistic individuals) and related his findings to animal magnetism and mesmerism.
an·tip·a·thy / anˈtipə[unvoicedth]ē/ • n. (pl. -thies) a deep-seated feeling of dislike; aversion: a thinly disguised mutual antipathy.ORIGIN: late 16th cent. (in the sense ‘opposition of feeling, nature, or disposition’): from French antipathie or Latin antipathia, from Greek antipatheia, from antipathēs ‘opposed in feeling,’ from anti ‘against’ + pathos ‘feeling.’
An emotional reaction of an individual who experiences aversion, repugnance, or dislike. It is a fixed attitude and may be based on either rational or irrational foundations. In the former case, the individual is usually aware of his or her feelings and the reason for them; in the latter case, the individual simply experiences an aversion for the object or person without any recognized justifiable reason. Whenever the individual finds himself or herself confronted with the object, he or she involuntarily shrinks from it. Antipathy usually includes some degree of hostility, inasmuch as it involves feelings of opposition.
[r. p. vaughan]