It seems that modern society has still not been able to combine technology with the preservation of its traditions. Many have come to the point where they are content with what technological culture has to offer them and are trapped in their out of proportion self confidence, in the work of their hands. They have forgotten that technological "assurance" walks hand in hand with the consumeristic stress of insecurity, because it is natural for man not to be able to live in a spiritual vacuum. It follows then, that no one can find a deeper satisfaction in material goods if he/she does not seek this deeper satisfaction in it's true source, the revealed Christian Faith, but only in various substitutions. For us to be objective, we have to accept, that mentioning the various substitutions of faith, there are other reasons as well:
To this we will also add the theological ignorance of many "in name only" Orthodox Christians and the advertising of faith substitutes, e.g.. Astrology and other apocryphal phenomena through the mass media, which then completes the list.
Even though modern man has achieved tremendous development in all fields, it still seems that the words of the old Testament,
"Israel (the beloved people) became gorged and unruly. The people grew heavy, plump and stuffed. Then they abandoned God who had made them" (Deuteronomy 32:15), still apply.
Quite correctly, rejection of Faith has been compared with woodworm. Just as woodworm eats away the interior of wood, likewise, extended rejection of religion and indifference. leads to deeper distortion and perversion to the emotional life of man. Great psychiatrists like Karl Jung note the terrible results of this situation, which leads to "confrontation and neurosis". Even contemporary historians confess that "western culture has conquered all the world, but is extremely ill".
One thing that follows the rejection of religion is the exaltation of the Zodiac, observed in our time. In almost all the programs on our television stations we have advertisements by mediums etc., who claim to see and predict the future on the basis of the Zodiac This means that there must be a consumption for this matter since there is an increase in the propagation of it. Newspapers and periodicals advertise all kinds of information on the Zodiac for their readers. There are even coin operated machines that can "see" your future by the Zodiac. In other countries "Astrological Festivals" are held, where naive visitors are conned into parting with their money for a consultation with the astrologer of their choice. In other words we have a spread of Zodiomania.
What is the Zodiac, which we are commenting about? Originally the zodiac were the names or the twelve equal sections of the zodiac cycle which were given names of animals and each corresponded with one month of the year.
It is a matter of an equal number of constellations, which are equivalent with the zodiac of the same name. This natural phenomenon was combined with astrological ideas by some, who believe that this, somehow, has an influence in the future of man.
This, up to a certain point, astronomical phenomenon is used by those who are skilled in it, and who take advantage of those who are naive and wallowing in a spiritual vacuum created by rejection of religion .We have to stress that astronomy is one thing, and astrology another. Astrology always had an influence on primitive people who were ignorant of science and who associated themselves more to natural phenomena than the Creator of these phenomena. Astrology does not exert an influence wherever there is knowledge of astronomy.
It is noteworthy to say that astrology was condemned by the internationally famous German "Astronomical Company" back in 1929. Indeed at it's first general conference, after the second world war, this Company states: "The Astronomical Company as representing astronomical science and because of the continually spreading astrology, informs that the faith in the influence of the positions of these constellations, known as the zodiac, on the birth of human beings, and that it has an influence on their future, has been proven false long ago.
Whatever is passed over as astrology and zodiology today, is nothing more than a mixture of superstition, charlatanism and dishonest business". This condemnation against astrology is repeated every so often in the same fervour by all serious scientists.
It is very surprising and unexplainable, that although astrology has been condemned by astronomy today we have a return to its practice. It seems quite clear that we live in an age full of contradictions. Even though many are troubled by the metaphysical content of the Christian Faith, they parallelly become enslaved, without the least struggle, to the ridiculous nonsense of astrology and other pseudo-logies. One has to feel sorry for this great irrationality of these persons, who go about priding themselves for their spiritual independence and at the same time imprisoning themselves to the most ridiculous fabrications. It is time for those who claim spiritual maturity to sober themselves and to listen to the (dare we say) prophetic voice of St. John Chrysostom (5th cent) who states:
"Avoid genealogies, wizardry and astrology, which have come to us from idol worshippers (pagans) and from the Jews".
Will contemporary zodiomaniacs and others who delve into such ludicrous things wise up? We pray so, and let us all try our best to inform them of the truth.
adapted and translated by Fr. J.S. from an
article in the periodical PEIRAEKE ECCLESIA, Oct.
in The Orthodox Messenger, Nov/Dec 1997
published bi-monthly by the SA Central Youth
PO Box 269, GLENELG SA 5045 AUSTRALIA