At first glance, astrology and the reading of horoscopes appear to be something a person can do for fun and a good laugh, seeing what the “stars” will tell you about your day. Open your local newspaper and you will find a daily horoscope reading nestled right beneath the comics or crossword puzzle. If you don’t get the newspaper, it can be found in the “entertainment” section of an online news site.
The Church, however, does not believe astrology is “all fun and games.” In fact, the Church firmly believes that there is something much more sinister going on that can invite a presence of evil into a person’s life.
First of all, what is astrology? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is “the study of how the positions of the stars and movements of the planets have a supposed influence on events and on the lives and behavior of people.” Astrology is an ancient practice that finds its roots before the birth of Christ in various pagan religions and has as a primary goal the prediction of the future based on the movement of the celestial bodies.
This places astrology in the category of “divination” and comes with the underlying hope that if a person can know how a particular day will occur, they possess a sort of “power” over time. This is where the reading of horoscopes falls right into the plan of the devil.
God alone knows the future, for he does not live inside of time, but outside of time in the eternal “now.” Satan and his minions do not have the capacity to know the future, but because they are spirits and have an amazing intellect, they can observe what happens on earth and offer individuals a prediction of what may happen. This is most overt in “palm readings” or “mediums” that actively seek the assistance of a spirit (a demon) to predict what will happen in a person’s life.
Those who participate in the creation of horoscopes may or may not have an overt relationship with evil, but at some level they are opening themselves up to the influence of a nefarious spirit. Satan, as far back as the Garden of Eden, constantly offers us the apple of “knowledge” in hopes of leading us away from God. The thought is, if we “know” more than God, we have power and that power can get us what we want.
The Church has always strongly opposed the practice of astrology and the reading of horoscopes, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “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).
Several years ago, Bishop Donald W. Montrose, Bishop of Stockton, CA at the time, wrote a pastoral letter strongly condemning the reading of horoscopes.
“Even though millions of people follow horoscopes with greater or lesser interest, this is still a type of fortune telling. Even if you say you do not believe in horoscopes, and only read your own for fun, you should abandon this practice. The daily horoscope can easily influence us from time to time. It is a way in which we open ourselves to the occult.”
In the end, let us take heed the words of Jeremiah, “Thus says the Lord: Do not learn the ways of the nations, and have no fear of the signs in the heavens, even though the nations fear them” (10:2). Horoscopes may appear in the “entertainment” part of a newspaper, but they are far from “fun and games” and can gravely endanger a person’s soul.