|Series Theme: The Occult|
Title: 8. Astrology
A simple consideration of this alternative approach to getting guidance in life
1. The Popularity of Reading the Stars
Astrology: "the art of judging reputed occult influence of stars upon human affairs”
(Concise Oxford Dictionary)
Astrology: “the art or pseudo-science of deciphering the influence that cosmic forces radiating from celestial bodies supposedly have on any part of the universe, particularly humans. Astrology originated at least 5,000 years ago, probably in Babylon. It is based on the erroneous belief that the Earth is the centre of the universe and is circled by the Zodiac.”
(Understanding the New Age by Russell Chandler)
“Well it's only a bit of fun. I don't take it seriously” is an often made comment, but if so why does virtually every national newspaper and many magazines have a section for “the stars” and why do so many people read their horoscope on a regular basis?
Why are “the stars” so popular? Because people need security, need a sense of destiny, and if they don't get it from a relationship with God, they will get it from the superstition that goes with star reading.
Is it too hard to speak of following “the stars” as superstition? What are the facts of astrology? What are the effects upon people who regularly or even occasionally follow their horoscope? Dare we face up to these things? Dare we confront the thing in a rational manner, free from fear? Let's do that!
2. How does Astrology seek to work?
It seeks to take the position of the planets and formulate the effect of unseen powers created by them upon our lives. How?
It starts with the zodiac, an imaginary “belt” of sky comprising the 12 astrological signs that the ancients illustrated by mythological figures, both human and animal.
In other word, these mythological “signs” of the zodiac are considered as viewed from the earth and are over-laid upon the clusters or constellations of stars viewed from earth. Everyone is said to be born under one of these signs which are often grouped by astrologers according to psychological types.
Then there are houses which are the 12 divisions of the zodiac that are said to correspond symbolically to every area of life. The houses, as the signs, are imaginary and the planets are said to travel through the houses influencing each area of life as they do.
Then there comes the horoscope, or map of the heavens for the time of birth or for any time thereafter declaring the destiny of the person.
Having produced the map the astrologer, using many very complex rules (which vary from astrologer to astrologer), gives a reading. Because the variants are so many, there tend to be as many readings as there are astrologers!
Many astrologers recognise the problems and to get around them they turn to another source of information. As one leading astrologer said, “Before interpreting the chart, it is very good to do one thing: either silently or aloud, ask for clear guidance from the powers you choose to create … from your higher self, from the divine…”, which immediately introduces a possible occult element.
3. Considering the problems
3.1 Why is the Occult Dangerous?
“Occult” means “hidden powers”, so when someone starts referring to unseen powers, unless it means God, it is referring to the occult, demonic, destructive forces (according to the Bible). A variety of other pages in this series highlight the problems that ensue from dabbling in the occult. In particular see the page "Occult Kickbacks".
3.2 Summarising the Problems
From what we've noted so far, the following are the main difficulties with astrology:
• It is based on the idea that all the planets create a power and that power affects our individual lives and destinies. For this there is no scientific evidence.
• The whole concept of the zodiac is based on imaginary “signs” that are said to exist irrespective of the actual positions of the constellations, i.e. they are entirely the figment of man's imagination.
• The ways of plotting the outcome of the star positions and their meanings are so diverse that there is little or no agreement as to what is true.
3.3 Why does my reading seem to be true?
Horoscopes can appear true for the following reasons:
• The horoscope reader is often wanting security and it is, therefore, in their interests for it to appear true.
• The reading is frequently in such general terms that it can be interpreted and applied to a variety of subsequent circumstances.
• There may be occult forces at work in the life of the person, of which they are not aware, that do influence outcomes and certainly blind them to the truth.
3.4 The Bible and Astrology
While the Bible acknowledges that various people throughout history used astrology, it never condones it.
Indeed, to the contrary, there are many places where it condemns it, often as it was associated with pagan worship
3.5 Forces at Work
As suggested above, reading the stars is an indication of a spiritual vacuum, a lack of security, and a desire to have a sense of destiny or order in life.
While it is important that we have a sense of security and a sense of purpose in life, if we obtain them from any source apart from God, they may be questionable. There are many spiritual forces at work in the world.
What are these spiritual forces? According to the Bible, there is, first of all, God, who works for good, and good angels who work under His direction. Then there are also fallen or rebellious angels, otherwise called evil spirits or demons, the chief of which we call Satan or the devil.
When we move into any area of forbidden activity we move into an area where Satan is allowed to work and can bring deception. Jesus Christ described him as a liar (Jn 8:44) and in his activities he always seeks to get us to believe things that aren't true. Belief in our destiny being governed by rocks in space rather than by Almighty God is just one of those forms of deception.