“ There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer ....And if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously“ (Deut. 18:10, 21-22).
The word "astrologer," comes from the Greek words "aster" meaning star and "logos" meaning discourse. A Hebrew word which means "gazer of the heavens" is found in Isaiah 47:13.
"You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons predict what shall befall you."
The whole field of astrology is a form of divination, using the stars to try to discover what the future holds. As it is a method of divination, it is contrary to God’s law, and is of course condemned by the Church. Astrology says that since the stars control what will happen in a person’s life, then really there is no such thing as free will, becuase the stars, and not the person, are in control. Also, there is no objective good or evil, again because every event is predetermined by the start.
The zodiac is an imaginary belt in the sky along which the sun, moon and planets were said to move. The zodiac is divided up into twelve divisions, one for each constellation that the sun anan planets pass through. These twelve divisions correspod to the twelve signs of the zodiac which are found in horoscopes.
The horoscope is a diagram of these twelve divisions which shows the relative position of the planets and signs of the zodiac. According to astrologers, this diagram then can tell a lot of information about a person’s life.
The origin of astrology can be traced back to the Chaldeans, who inhabited ancient Babylonia. Their beliefs were imported by the Greeks and Romans in time. Each heavenly body was cotrolled by a divinity, for example, in ancient Rome, Apollo was the God of the sun (Helios being the Greek counterpart), and the known planets wer named after Roman gods (Mercury the messenger of the gods, Venus the goddess of love, Mars the god of war, and also Jupiter and Saturn). Each of these had a corresponding counterpart in Greek belief, for example Mars was Ares to the Greeks.
Why the Popularity of Astrology?
What is sometimes rather surprising is that in a technologically and scientifically advanced age as ours, people are still as interested as ever in the subject of astrology. In fact, astrology is by far the most popular form of occcultic divination today. Many people do not realize that when the yread their horoscope in the morning newspaper, that they are taking part in occultic behaviour, but this is exactly what it is: consulting the stars to find out that which only God knows.
To understand the reason why astrology as an occult practise is so popular, we must first understand the nature of man. There are basically two aspects here which need to be considered.
The first is the desire for God that exists within the hearts of every person. In Acts 17:26-27 we read that:
"From man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."
So we see that God puts the desire for Him into man’s heart. When man does not respond to this call, or does not know the true God, he must seek to fulfill this desire in some other way, to satisfy his spirit. Hence the occult can come in to fill this emptiness.
The second reason is the desire to know what one is not allowed to know, specifically, the future. Genesis 2: 15-17 tells of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, from which Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat. However, through a desire to know what they were not allowed to know, they disobeyed God’s command. In fact in verses 1-5 of Genesis chapter 3, the serpent assures Adam and Eve that they would have divine knowledge, and would not die. Knowledge of the future, which astrology and all other occult practises claim to give, are all a lie, just as was the lie in Genesis 3:1-5. Yet people fall for it today, just as Adam and Eve did back then. Adam and Eve were in effect the first people to fall for the lie of the occult. And people are still falling for it.
A third reason, which perhaps explains why astrology as an occult form is so popular, is perhaps the idea that it is "only a bit of fun". This is compounded by the popular notion that each star-sign represents a specific personality type. However, doing something which is offensive to God can hardly be justified by calling it a "only a bit of fun". It is serious business.
Refutation of Astrology using faith and reason
a) Refutation based on reason:
No empirical basis
Since the basis for astrological calculations is the outdated Ptolemaic system which wrongly assumed the earth was the centre of the universe, it’s calculations cannot be in any sense correct. Further, the discovery in recent centuries of the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto throws the whole system off course completely. If these planets were there all along, but nobody reckoned them into their calculations, then it is obvious they did not have any idea what they were doing!
In addition, even if the astrologers knew how many planets there were, and that the earth was not the centre of the universe, it still does not make a formal connection between the movement of the heavenly bodies and the lives of peopl on earth. It is like the occult numerologists saying that just because 2 + 2 makes four, that this means adding up the digits of your year of birth means something in your lfe. What nonsense. There is no connection whatsoever.
Astrology and astrological predictions are almost invariably vagueThis means that it is possible to interpet a „prediction“ in a wide variety of ways, often resulting in what appears to be a match. At the same time, it means the prediction is hard to refute, its very vagueness being the reason for this. Example of this sort of vaueness abound. For example, you could be told "you are going to travel". When, today? Next week? This year? Of course people travel sooner or later . So the next time you travel, you think, wow, my horoscope was right. But it was so vague it could not be refuted. When astrology is called on to make accurate predictions, it fails. Much of the popularity of astrology lies also in the fact that people want to believe in it. This move us on to the next point.
Failure to predict major events, such as earthquakes, plane crashes, etc.
This point hardly needs extra comment. We never hear of astrologers warning of a coming disaster. Why not? Because when the prediction doesn’t come to pass, then astrology is shown to be false. I am reminded of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, when some people began to see this horror predicted in the writings of Nostradamus! What rubbish! Why didn’t they tell us all before Sept. 11, if that was the case?!
Refutation based on Revelation
Scripture The Sacred Scriptures contain many warnings against astrology ar star-worship. Verses include Jer. 29:8:
“For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream“
Also2 Kings. 17:16, 21:3–5, 23:4; Isaiah 47:11-15 ; Jeremiah 8:2, 19:12–13; Daniel chapter 2, Zephaniah 1:4–6. Verses which speak against idolatry, of which asrlogy is a type, include Exodus 20:4-5 and Leviticus 19:4. Isaiah 47:11-15 is an important passage, which tells of the judgment on astrologers. In the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar summoned his astrologers to reveal and interpret his dream (Dan. 2:1-6). However, this Book is one of the best books in Scripture to effectively demonstrate the falsehood of astrology. Daniel’s success, though he is made head of the Babylonian astrologers, is purely from God alone. It is worth quoting from the book of Daniel at length:
As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all letters and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnez'zar. And the king spoke with them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hanani'ah, Mish'a-el, and Azari'ah; therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.<
Daniel 2:2: Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
Daniel 2:10: The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
Daniel 2:27-28: Daniel answered the king, "No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery which the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days;
Daniel 4:7: Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in; and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation.
The reader is referred to Daniel 4:20-26 for Daniel's true and accurate interpretation.
Daniel 5:15: And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing
The reader is referred to Daniel 5:25-28. for Daniel's true and accurate interpretation. It can be seen from a study of Daniel that the astrologers were shown to be false by the power of God working in Daniel.
In the New Testament, the prohibition on astrology continues. In the missionary activities of St. Paul, astrology was on numerous times encountered among the people he preached to. See for example, the account of Paul’s visit to Lystra in Acts 14:11-15 and his trip to Ephesus in Acts 19:18-19, 23ff. While astrology is not specifically mentioned, nevertheless, because of the association of the pagan gods with star worship, Paul’s rejection of the pagan gods must be seenas an indictment of the practise of astrology also.
Canon 36 of the Council Laodecia in 369, casts out of the Church people who make, sell, buy or wear the zodiac signs.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads "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 Early Fathers of the Church.
For a list of writings of the Early Fathers on the subject of Astrology, see Catholic Answers: Astrology
We have seen from the point of view of both reason and the teaching of Sacred Scripture and the Church, that astrology is a false and occult practise, and should not be entertained for any reasons.