The relationship between astrology and Christianity has long been a complicated one. At times in history, astrology was condemned as heretical by Christian authorities. However, a deeper look reveals some striking similarities between astrological and Christian beliefs that point to an underlying compatibility between the two systems.
In this post, we’ll explore the intersections between astrology and Christianity and make the case that they can coexist in harmony.
A Complex History
While astrology has ancient roots going back over 4000 years, its relationship with Christianity only began around 2000 years ago with the establishment of the Christian church. Early Christian authorities took a dim view of astrology, seeing it as conflicting with core church doctrines.
However, astrology continued to remain popular throughout the Middle Ages. Leading philosophers like Thomas Aquinas attempted to reconcile astrology with Christianity by framing it as a natural, rather than occult, science. Prominent church figures like popes and bishops often secretly consulted astrologers despite the church’s public condemnation of astrology.
Shared Concepts of Time and Seasons
One of the core similarities between astrology and Christianity is their recognition of specific times and seasons as carrying spiritual significance.
In astrology, the movement of the planets through the zodiac is used to determine auspicious times for human activity. Ancient astrologers developed the metaphysical concept of “planetary hours” where each daylight hour is ruled by a different planet. Likewise, astrology teaches that some zodiac signs are more compatible than others.
Christianity also has a strong focus on sacred seasons and times. The Sabbath day, Easter, Christmas, saints’ feast days all carry spiritual meaning. Advent and Lent are important seasons of preparation in the Christian calendar.
This shared notion of temporality reflects an understanding of life’s ebb and flow that both systems embrace.
Focus on the “Word”
Both astrology and Christianity place great significance on the “Word” – communication from a higher divine source.
In Christianity, the Bible is considered the Word of God – the primary means through which God reveals himself to humanity. Studying scripture is essential for understanding God’s nature and desires.
Likewise in astrology, the movements and relationships between celestial bodies constitute a divine language. Astrologers look for meaning in the planetary cycles and patterns. By interpreting this planetary Word, they believe we can better comprehend our life path.
This parallel reflects how both traditions see the cosmos as imbued with meaning, awaiting our interpretation.
Appreciation of Symbolism
Symbolism plays a key role in both astrology and Christianity as a way to touch the divine mystery.
Astrology uses symbols like the planets, zodiac signs, houses, and aspects to represent metaphysical concepts. By contemplating these symbols, astrologers can grasp the deeper reality of human existence.
Christianity is also filled with potent symbols, particularly around Jesus Christ. Images like the cross, the fish, the lamb, and the lion represent different aspects of Christ’s nature and ministry. Symbolic rites like communion embody complex spiritual beliefs.
This rich symbolic language points to a recognition that neither system can fully capture the infinite with words alone. Sacred symbols transcend the rational mind and hint at profound truths.
Receptiveness to Divine Guidance
A distinguishing feature of both astrology and Christianity is their emphasis on cultivating receptiveness to divine guidance.
Astrologers speak of being “attuned” to the celestial spheres, surrendering personal will to align with the cosmos. Flowing with the energies of the planets allows one to co-create one’s destiny with the divine.
Christians aim to become receptive vessels for the Holy Spirit by surrendering personal will to God’s will. A relationship with the Holy Spirit empowers believers to carry out God’s purposes on earth.
Rather than seeking to impose human will, both traditions seek communion with a Higher Power working through the universe.
A Meeting of Sacred Traditions
This exploration reveals some striking parallels between two ancient traditions. While differences remain, there is also common ground. Both systems view the universe as divinely ordered, speak in rich symbolism, honor sacred seasons, and aim to align human activity with a Higher Will.
Seen in this light, astrology and Christianity can mutually enrich each other. Astrology can help Christians better understand the “wise men from the East” who followed the star to Bethlehem. Christianity can open astrologers to additional divine archetypes like the Virgin Mary.
With openness and discernment, these two sacred paths can coexist and complement each other in honoring the Wonder that fills the cosmos. Perhaps in that spirit of unity, a new chapter in their complex relationship can unfold.
Campion, Nicholas. (2009). A History of Western Astrology, Volume II: The Medieval and Modern Worlds. London: Continuum.
Curry, Patrick. (1997). Astrology, Science and Culture: Pulling Down the Moon. Oxford: Berg.
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