A Christian View of Astrology — Perspectives from a Catholic Social Scientist.
Despite my Catholic upbringing, I remain fascinated by Astrology.
Although I maintain a strong aversion to Tarot Cards, Psychic Readings, Mediums, Palmistry, Wicca and especially Ouija Boards — the Social Scientist in me cannot escape the accuracy and historical relevance of Astrology.
For me, Astrology has nothing to do with the New Age movement.
We are not talking about generic Newspaper Astrology in this article — as the focus here is more along the lines of Natal Charts and World Event Charts.
I do not worship the constellations, I do not place my faith in the Moon, I do not engage in Mythological Rituals and I do not pray to a celestial body.
Those activities are specifically and exclusively reserved for my Catholic Faith and my relationship with God.
The purpose that Astrology does serve, for me, is more of a statistical and analytical one, as someone who studies the individual and collective human condition.
Although the Biblical Scholar in me is ever weary of the purported “sorcery” element of Astrology, I can’t seem to get the past the idea that God was the one who created our Universe.
Within his infinite wisdom, could it be that there is a cosmic order to his creation? A cosmic order that, perhaps, we can learn from — to better understand World Events and the general themes of our life.
In many ways, Astrology brought me much closer to my Catholic faith and assisted me in developing a relationship with both God and Jesus Christ — the opposite of what the Church warns will happen if we “dabble with the stars.”
Astrology has a long history of being demonized by The Church, as a product of primitive misuse and primal misunderstanding.
Although the Mythology assigned to the constellations themselves is an ancient bone to be picked by the Catholic Church — the New Age Movement of the 1970’s, in particular, adopted a very fatalistic and dogmatic view of the discipline — one which was more reflective of primitive interpretation.
For example, when you read material published in the 1970’s by an astrologer like, Linda Goodman, for example, you’ll notice passages that sound similar to this:
“Being born in the Sixth house brings a primitive conflict with it. Either learn to serve your fellow man through Social Service or suffer severe health problems”.
Although I’m creating an exaggerated example to prove a point, we consistently find fatalistic, fear-based and polarized ideology in older Astrological texts.
But let’s re-frame for a moment and start with the basics.
What is Astrology? — Where did it originate?
Astrology is the study of planetary movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world. The discipline originated in Anicent Babylonia. Babylonian astrology was the first organized system of astrology, arising in the 2nd millennium BC. The history of Babylonian astrology shows the development of astronomical knowledge within the context of divination. A collection of 32 tablets with inscribed liver models, dating from about 1875 BC, are the oldest known detailed texts of Babylonian divination, and these demonstrate the same interpretational format as that employed in celestial omen analysis. Blemishes and marks found on the liver of the sacrificial animal were interpreted as symbolic signs which presented messages from the gods to the king.
As you can see, we run into a conflict with traditional Christianity, right off the bat.
The the underlying symbolism that gives Astrology its thematic relevance, has its origins rooted in Sacrificial animals, divination and mystical liver spots.
One could argue that, perhaps, God was the one communicating with the Babylonians, despite their Polytheistic beliefs and interpretations. There are also countless historical texts that discuss primitive civilizations and their observation of Planetary Movement, well before the Babylonians.
But let’s not forget Astrology’s precursor: Astronomy.
Although forever tied to Astrology and yet, completely separate from it — Astronomy reminds us of the natural placement of Stars, Constellations and Planets at the hand of our creator — regardless of interpretation.
The real issue with Astrology and Christianity is one of: interpretative origin.
Whatever interpretative origin you want to assign to Astrology, I have studied enough Astrological charts in my life to form the following conclusion: I believe that God, our creator, is the only one behind the placement of the stars and planets, as well as any potential meanings those placements might have.
For Christians, only God can truly “influence” the affairs of the natural world.
And in a sense, Astrology would purport that there is a bigger thematic system that God created — one which is constantly manifesting in our lives and interacting with our Free Will.
With that said, this is where I agree with Christianity, while still offering a Olive Branch to the study of Astrology.
Within the parameters of this article, I’ll specify my belief that: The Planets and Constellations do not influence human affairs, but instead, are simply symbols of the Personal, Collective and Cosmic Cycles that we, as humans, are actively experiencing at the hands of God.
For Example, the planet Pluto is representative of large, generational trends.
In 2024, we’ll find Pluto heading into the Sign Aquarius, which is Astrologically representative of Social Equality, Humanism, Unity and Brotherhood, ie: “The Age of Aquarius.”
Is it any surprise, that as we head toward this Planetary Movement, we see the Political Climate in our country shifting toward a more Socialistic and Equality focused paradigm?
The sign prior to Aquarius, is Capricorn — where Pluto currently sits.
Generationally speaking, Capricorn speaks to Responsibility, Consequences, and how Power and Success are utilized.
As we transition through the Me Too Movement, as well as the Black Lives Matter Movement — and deal with human equalizer that is COVID-19, we see how Astrology can better help us understand both current and forthcoming trends.
In a way, I have always viewed Astrology as a big, cosmic encyclopedia that God gave us to better understand the events of our life and our world.
As with everything else, it was never intended to be used as a tool to “predict” and “spiritualize” with.
When we review the Catechism of Catholic Church, we dig deeper into the conflict that Christians have historically had with Astrology:
“All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone” (CCC 2116).
The pagan world was dominated by belief in astrology. Pagans believed that the stars were divinities, or that they were controlled by divinities. Apollo was the god of the sun, his sister Diana was the goddess of the moon, and the known planets were named after gods as well (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). Because of this common pagan belief, the Old Testament contains repeated injunctions against star-worship (Deut. 4:19, 17:3; 2 Kgs. 17:16, 21:3–5, 23:4; Jer. 8:2, 19:12–13; Zeph. 1:4–6).
As someone who completely remains devoted to his relationship with God and Jesus Christ, in no way, shape or form does my relationship with Astrology have anything to do with Paganism, Unveiling the future or Contacting the Spiritual Realm. (All things that I actually view as potentially very dangerous).
We also acquire an understanding that the Pagan World utilized Astrology as an actual system of Polytheistic worship — something which has no relevance to this article.
Lets also take a moment and consider the Farmers Almanac, as well as popular beliefs about “Full Moon” madness and its tidal consequences. For some reason, nobody seems to really challenge those predictive interpretations of celestial movement.
And anyway, can someone actually “predict” or “prophesize” through looking at an Astrology chart?
The answer, for me, is a definitive: No.
Life manifests itself through many different registers, on many different levels, via many different potential outcomes.
Just because someone’s Natal Chart has “Pluto conjunct Uranus in the 8th House” for example — doesn’t mean they are going die an explosive (Pluto) and shocking (Uranus) death (8th House).
Absolutely nobody can predict something like that with certainty or even offer semi-relevant conjecture of the kind.
And Yes, there is a good reason for this conclusion: Our lives are and our choices are always evolving in the present moment. At any given time, we have the ability to make new choices and create different outcomes based on our Free Will and our Relationship with God.
The one “far out” thing (if we even want to call it that) — that is possible with Astrology, is the ability to anticipate future trends in both the collective and individual realm, based on planetary placement.
Astrology is thematic in nature. It is not definitive. It is irresponsible when used fatalistically. It is not, via modern utilization, designed to replace Spirituality or Religion.
The biggest risk a Human faces when exploring Astrology, is forgetting God’s warning that “we should be in this world and not of this world”.
I certainly am mindful of the bigger spiritual reality of this lifetime and would never utilize Astrology as a means to “create my own reality” or obsessively attach myself to my temporary Human Identity.
Such would mean forsaking my eternal “inner self” — something I believe is much greater than a temporary “human self.”
And just as with everything else God has given us .. it’s not so much what exists .. but instead, what we chose to do with what exists.
We are given a Sexuality — do we to use it to Love or to Lust?
We are given Resources — are we to use it for Human Betterment or for Greed?
We are given an Appetite — do we use it for Nourishment or for Gluttony?
Simply Stated: Astrology is a tool God has given us to help us understand our place in the world and the Universal themes we are living through at a given time. What we do with it and how we use it is the most important element of this discussion.
And besides, if I’m wrong about this, I’ll ask you to answer the following question: Why does the Vatican harbor the most expansive and advanced Astrological library on the Face of the Earth?