What is astrology? Why do people keep asking me what my zodiac sign is? What do crystals, zodiac signs, tarot cards, and palm readings have to do with anything? Why are we seeing them everywhere in our culture? Why is everyone talking about it? These are all valid questions to be posing in our age.
Astrology is a New Age practice of old. The magi are pictured in Matthew 2 in some sort of astrological search for the Messiah as they look to the stars. Magi translates to magic. It is true, these were magicians looking to the stars and following their guidance. Astrology plainly and simply, is the study of the patterns of the stars and its influence on the natural world including human destiny. The “New Wave” has passed resurfacing and has taken center stage.
New Age culture has risen to the tops of global music charts specifically with Lorde’s latest album “Solar Power.”
“When I was listening to Lorde’s new album, I was shocked to hear the amount of new age influence,” senior Lily Huff said.
New Age ideas are seeping into every sphere of our society, specifically entertainment platforms.
In the 1950s and 1960s, following World War II the culture witnessed a loss of trust in the objectivity of the transcendentals and in faith. The zeitgeist or “spirit of the age” appeared to make a dramatic shift from the originally accepted form of pursuing a moderately organized religious affiliation to seeking personal spiritual fulfilment on your own. Many psychologists, philosophers, and entertainers such as Carl Jung, David Spangler and the Beatles played significant roles in normalizing this personal pursuit of transcendence and peace. The culture gravitated to the accepting and postmodern nature of the New Wave.
Modern astrology looks relatively similar, as it is cleverly disguised as playful, harmless, and even enlightening. Modern astrologists host classes and webinars to teach others how to follow in a similar journey of meditation, divination, and manifestation in order to harness the power of the universe to attain goals and spiritual enlightenment. Many contemporary new ageists seek personal affirmation through the guidance and placement of the stars and planets. A common saying in New Age thought is to keep what resonates and leave what does not so as to obtain your personal journey. The process of cleansing crystals to radiate particular energies and meditating in hopes of releasing bad energy appeals to the general public fashioning the narrative that we can save ourselves from the evils of this reality on our own.
Astrology has dramatically risen in popularity in contemporary theological discussions even at Oklahoma Baptist University.
Regarding astrology on campus, student Emily Rowan said, “As far as in the classroom, it’s been spoken about in some of my classes in Hobbes College as a really antiquated thing that people used to do back in the day in ancient times in eastern religions that practice divination which seems like an out of touch approach to what is happening with new wave religion today in our generation specifically. I would say in a classroom setting it is not treated as a modern issue or even a modern topic. It’s kind of seen as something that used to be a big deal and now is just horoscopes in the newspaper as if it’s not present and doesn’t have a foot hold, but it does”.
The conversation needs to be discussed and what better place than in an environment where it is possible to have open philosophical dialogue with strong biblical guidance? New Ageism is here. What do we do now?
The Bible clearly rebukes astrology and turning to other sources for guidance throughout the Old and New Testament. Isaiah 47:10-14 reads, “You felt secure in your wickedness; …your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing. Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed; perhaps you may inspire terror. 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 make known what shall come upon you. Behold, they are like stubble; the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before!”
Isaiah does not discount the power of astrology. The spirit realm can be accessed through good or through evil. Isaiah exposes the illusion of control inflicted by the deceptive source of evil. Due to the inability to regulate the inconsistencies of the spirit realm, it surely cannot be a place to seek answers and peace. Evidently, New Ageism does not appear as an explicit pentagram but is clouded with appealing aesthetic of individualism. Astrology excites the mantra of pursuing your own journey. You make the rules. You do you and the stars will be your guide. It’s easy to talk the talk with astrology but much harder to walk the walk.
“Some people know all of their houses and signs and the cardinal signs and all the different ascending dates for different planets and the moon phases. People are really into it or they are scared of it. There is a general feeling among people who aren’t interested in it that it is something to be afraid of and you shouldn’t even talk about. Either people incorporate it into their faith and use it as an accessory to their faith or they see it as something from Satan that is dangerous and shouldn’t even be spoke about academically or apologetically for fear of, I don’t know, giving it too much room or something. So, I would say on campus if you asked someone about it they either know their sign and their dogs sign or they hate that you brought it up,” Rowan said.
Clearly, the concept of astrology is palatable enough to sneak through the ideological security system of the Christian worldview. Astrology is enticing and can conceal itself as an addition to faith, seeing God as a teleological supervisor. One must refer to scripture as seen above for the answer. God appears to explicitly warn against any affiliation with sorcerers tapping into the evil of the spirit realm. It is better to be safe than sorry due to the gravity of the spirit realm. However, this does not mean we should not learn the ins and outs of New Ageism. This should provoke Christians to seek to fully understand the reasons as to why astrology does not hold substantial or consistent answers.
I can personally attest to seeing an increase in crystals even places as close to home as our own campus. Whether it is an innocent piece of jewelry or an intentional attempt to harness the energy of the planets in retro-grade, the signs of the times are projecting new wave energy. It is important to be informed on the ideologies of the current generation in order to know how to know how to engage is beneficial dialogue pointing towards the Truth. Due to the postmodern, post-Christian nature of our current society, most people will encounter astrology and new age culture in their everyday soon enough. We need to be aware of ideas on the rise in our secular culture because ideas shape generations.