I’m a scorpio. As a teen, I enjoyed sneaking Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and all of those kinds of women’s magazines into my bedroom (my mom never liked me buying them), soaking-in the pages of fashion and latching on to my monthly Horoscope.
The horoscope would always read something along the lines of this:
As Saturn aligns with Jupiter this month, you will find yourself feeling more inspired to succeed… your love life will flourish… that thing you’ve been worrying about will solve itself…don’t take no for an answer. Even though you’re a dominant Scorpio, let someone else take the wheel this week….
Yes… I just made all of that up. right now.
I would live out my month, with that horoscope at the back of my mind, actually believing that it could predict some, if not all of the situations I faced. Because, you know, Jupiter and Saturn were aligned after all.
The next month, I would read my horoscope and realizing I must have done something wrong because of whatever problem that had arisen, I slowly found myself becoming superstitious about things.
I thought, “if I don’t do this, or I don’t do that, then something bad will happen.”
"If I listen to this song, or if I arrive at this time, or make a wish at 11:11, something good will happen to me.”
So I’ll just dive right into the problem with this kind of thinking then… as a Christian.
Christianity teaches us to have no false idols nor to put our faith in magic or spells and to avoid superstition.
Why is this? I wondered to myself, many years ago. Is horoscope reading becoming a false idol? Surely not!
"I am the Lord your God." (First commandment)
By putting even a tiny faith into anything by thinking that it actually has the divine power to alter my life for the better or worse, I am denying God as my Lord. Note that I use the word divine. Divine, as in, supernatural: from God. I don’t mean that putting faith into a band-aid to protect a scrape from injury makes it a false god. Divine power is the focus here.
God is my creator. Not my scorpion horoscope.
Only God can “giveth and taketh away”. Not the ladder I just walked under.
”Oh, Carolyn, I don’t actually believe that my horoscope is my God… I am a Christian, I enjoy having a little fun and reading my horoscope now and then. I don’t take it seriously.”
Are you sure about that? If I opened up an umbrella inside your house, would it make you twinge? Why is reading a prophesy from someone other than God amusing to you? To see if it actually comes true? …and what if it does? Then you may continue to read your horoscopes each month- just to see, just for fun. Then, unbeknownst to your initial intentions, you may (or may not, if you’re not particularly introspective) actually discover yourself somewhat depending on what these “harmless” fortune-telling amusements.
The lurking, much darker side to these seemingly harmless amusements is that they are encouraged by the evil one. As a Christian, it is important to recognize this.
It’s not comfortable to think about, but it is essential.
By ignoring evil, or the potential for evil to arise, we are giving the evil one exactly what he wants: sneaking into our lives, infiltrating in the most quiet way possible. The evil one is the one behind the true events occurring from our horoscope-reading. Oh yes, that’s right… if you “wish upon a star” and it comes true… who have you given your faith to by that wish? I read a book by Fr. Thomas Euteneuer (a nationally recognized exorcist) titled Exorcism and the Church Militant which expounds on all of these thoughts in intense detail and depth. (I may get some flack by referencing Euteneuer amid the scandal that closely followed the publication of his book but I do believe, on this issue he is genuine, although I recognize him to be just as failingly human as the rest of us.)
By recognizing evil in idolatry, horoscopes, superstition and magic -by acknowledging that it exists- it renders powerless the devil. I have read that the devil’s favorite type of evil is the kind that encourages apathy and lukewarmness, ignorance and even the denial of evil altogether. I believe it was C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters.
Let’s take the superstition thing a step further.
In praying to God, do we find ourself believing that if we forget to pray for someone that then, God won’t help that person? Do we recite off a list of the people who need cures or help, not ever truly opening our heart to God? Like a selfish teenager, do we dump our laundry at the bottom of the stairs demanding to our parents that it needs cleaning, and how to clean each article of clothing? "DO NOT machine-dry that shirt! Wash my jeans by themself!"
Or, do we pray a complete outpouring of our soul, surrendering our strengths, weaknesses, victories and failings- offering God our suffering, our anxieties, our fears, our gifts and talents- giving it all to Him, allowing those people to drift into our prayer out of love and not of a “If I don’t tell God, then it won’t get taken care of”?
This is what people mean when they say, “offer all that you are up to God”:
You give God complete control.
This takes a great ACT of faith. Having faith alone is not enough. One must ACT upon it. One must spiritually and mentally give God one’s faith. That is difficult.
I like to materialize it by thinking about Carrie Underwood’s song, Jesus Take the Wheel. (roll your eyes, whateverrr- it only takes listening to it once for it to stick for a long time)
By obstinately holding onto the wheel, your arms become exhausted, sore. They might even break. By holding onto that wheel, by mindlessly reading off that list of prayers, you can’t fully have complete faith in God- even if you profess that you do.
By holding onto that wheel, we are telling God, “I don’t really trust you.”
By reading a Horoscope “just for fun” or curiosity to see if it comes true, we are telling God, “I don’t have all of my faith in you, I just want to see if this will happen”.
By telling God that we don’t really trust Him, that we can’t let go of that control that we believe we have, we are telling him that we believe that WE have greater power.
False Idol. Have we created ourself a god?
Too far of a stretch? I don’t think so. I think I needed to recognize this in my life in order to be able to see and accept the gifts and graces that God has been trying to shower upon me my whole life. It only takes the faith of a mustard seed. tiny.
Again, this brings everything back to only putting our faith, our trust in something which gives Glory to God alone. Not to a shattered mirror. Not to hanging a wedding ring on a thread and seeing which way it spins to predict the sex of your baby.
Call me a prude, call me boring. It has no power over me.
As always, what I have written is merely an introduction, an elementary brief on these topics… there is a world of deeper info out there that is founded in legitimate resources. If you’re interested to know more, contact me.