Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Astrology, Fate, and the Star of Bethlehem

The appeal and power of astrology to man is and will remain perennial, and no more so than in today's world. The notion that we are part of an interconnecting universe where the movements of the planets and stars influence our behaviour and determine our fate is an extremely powerful one. No amount of empirical scientific explanation will eliminate this, and in reality it will do the opposite.

Why? It is a fact of our existence to find ourselves in a vast world which is often hostile, amidst powers of which we have no control and to which we are seemingly so small and insignificant. It seems that we are bound to a cruel and uncertain fate, whose only certainty is death. To have knowledge of what this fate may be for us enables a certain degree of control over our existence, for which we can plan our lives accordingly. Reading through Old Moore's Almanack, the same theme comes up again and again: control of one's life, prospects and relationships through knowledge of our fate.

To what extent the stars and planets influence us and our world in a source of endless debate. It could be real in an unknowable way, or it could be pure a superstition. But there is one thing that is rarely mentioned: whatever the stars' influence, there is one star whose existence has had and will have greater power than all the possible motions in the universe in history. It is the star that led the Magi to the saviour in Bethlehem.

In following this star the Magi were led to the one who is the creator of the starry skies, light of believers evermore, and by whose will and power they move and have their influence. In seeing and adoring the infant Christ, they saw that no longer is man ruled by the cruel yoke of blind fate, but by divine providence. Everything that happens good and evil is part of his greater plan, which will be fulfilled when he comes at the end to judge the living and the dead.

No longer must we look to the stars so we can have control, but instead we now trust in his will and his providence. For the epiphany of the divine saviour is the good news that God truly loves us and cares about us, that the cruel despair of fate has been brought to an end and every hair on our heads has been counted. To trust in astrology is refuse the love and hope he has brought. Later on, this divine providence was to be manifested in the miracle at the wedding at Cana, which I shall talk of tomorrow.

Jesu refulgit omnium, pius redemptor gentium. Nobis natus, nobis datus, lux et salus gentium.