What about horoscopes? Fortune tellers? Ouija boards? Tarot cards? Wicca? the Occult?
Now and then I get asked, Father, I looked at my horoscope today. Do I need to go to confession?
The question is asked because of some very clear prohibitions in the Old Testament against augury, fortune telling, necromancy, witchcraft, sorcery, and, as it happens, horoscopes.
This gets confusing however when we realize what the three wise men did for a living – they were astrologers. You see at that time, astrology was considered a legitimate science, not just superstition.
Anyway, we therefore have confusion – is it a sin to check my horoscope?
The answer, as with EVERYTHING we can do, is that it depends, not just on what we did, but WHY WE DID IT.
Horoscopes that are usually found in the newspapers or magazines, well, I’m sure you’ve noticed – they tend to be so general that they could apply to anyone. When I read a horoscope that says, “A change in my life will take place this month, this week health will be a factor, I will BREATHE AIR this month,” I tend not to get too excited.
Sometimes the horoscope is a little more specific, and then it becomes fun to see if they will happen or not – and that’s the point – its just for fun. It should ALWAYS BE only just for fun.
IF we take astrology any more seriously than that, then its problematic at the very least – because of the WHY? Why do we want to know the future so badly? Why aren’t we content with the present? Why don’t we TRUST that God will look after us?
The problem with someone who takes their horoscope seriously is that they don’t TRUST God – instead they want to be IN CONTROL – of the powers of the universe, ultimately control of their own fate.
See this is true for all SUPERSTITION, which includes horoscopes, Friday the 13th, black cats, broken mirrors – tarot cards, Ouija boards, séances, witchcraft, the occult.
There’s a difference between these SUPERSTITIONS and RELIGION – its that Superstition is about CONTROL – controlling the transcendental forces of nature and the Universe, whereas RELIGION is about being SUBJECT TO the supernatural.
The immediately analogy that comes to mind is from Star Wars, and its description of the FORCE – the difference between the good guys and the bad guys is that the good guys seek harmony with the Force, the bad guys want POWER, to control the Force, so they can use the Force to control their destinies.
A note should be made: some people use RELIGION in a superstitious way – this can be said of anyone who prayed a Rosary to avoid catching a cold, or had their car blessed to avoid getting in a car accident. Ultimately, these people are trying to CONTROL GOD – rather than subjecting themselves to the Will of God.
Jesus himself, the most powerful human in his connection to the supernatural, in Gethsemane, he was saying to God, let not MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE.
So – why do people use Ouija boards or Tarot cards, or consult fortune tellers? If they take these SERIOUSLY, its because they want to KNOW, they want to CONTROL, rather than say THY WILL BE DONE. And that’s just opening the door, to what they call – the DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE – opening the door to fear, to sin, to evil.
So better off staying away from these superstitions. They’re probably fake, meaningless, magic tricks, illusions – in which case your wasting your time. But they might not be, in which case I wouldn’t mess with them. In either case, being motivated by the desire for POWER – that’s the road to a very dark place.
P.S. Just a final comment – some have written to me recently citing the use of Witchcraft in Harry Potter – isn’t this the same as the kind of witchcraft we’re talking about? Doesn’t that make Harry Potter evil?
The answer, in my opinion, is no – bear in mind that this is my opinion. The “witchcraft” in the Harry Potter novels hardly resembles real-life witchcraft at all. In fact, the magic in Harry Potter far more closely resembles the Force of the Star Wars saga, and if you follow the novels and movies closely, you see again that the difference between evil and good is defined by POWER – the bad guys use magic to control everything, particularly DEATH ITSELF, whereas the good guys don’t seek power and instead seek humility and self-sacrifice, and this ends up being their REAL POWER – this is most strongly emphasized at the end of the last movie (SPOILER ALERT) when Harry, possessing the world’s most powerful wand decides to get rid of it rather than keeping it for himself. If one knows the stories well, they will see that this is the pattern throughout the series.
Nonetheless, I do personally wish that the terms “witchcraft” and “witches” had been avoided, simply because of their association with occult, and the possibility they could lead little ones to a fascination with it. This is my understanding of the Pope’s warning about Harry Potter as well.