Astrologers are reporting that Mercury is now “in retrograde” until 15th September, which they claim means disruptions for communication and travel. But what do Christians believe?
I used to read my star sign when I was a teenager. I would pour over the horoscopes page of Mizz magazine in the hope of finding out if my crush was about to make his move. Then when I was in my 20s – and by this time a fully-baptised Christian – I worked with a journalist who used to write for a women’s TV magazine. She told me that she had been sitting at her desk when someone shouted over at her to throw together the horoscopes for the next edition. So she did – with suitably generic “fortune cookie style” insights into people’s future.
Not all websites and magazines that claim to offer zodiac readings, do so with such a blatant disregard for the practice. When done by astrologers, I understand that there is a teachable system for creating the readings. An element of the astrological that has gained huge traction in recent years is predictions based on when Mercury is “in retrograde”.
I don’t believe horoscopes are compatible with my Christian faith.
This refers to the period when the planet Mercury appears to — but doesn’t actually — move backward. The planets all move in the same direction around the sun, but this optical illusion occurs because Mercury’s orbit is shorter than ours so it “laps” the Earth a few times a year, and when it does so, it appears to reverse course. To scientists, this is just a fun quirk of our universe, but to astrologers, this signals a period when our communication and travel are thrown into havoc. Astrologer Susan Miller, explained that this period can affect: “Listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, buying … all formal contracts and agreements, important documents … as well as transportation, shipping, and travel.” You may have heard people explaining a haphazard situation by saying: “Mercury’s in retrograde.” What they mean is: “I knew everything would be up the creek for these three weeks so that explains the problematic situation.”
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None of this is for me. Partly because I was always sceptical about horoscopes but mainly because I don’t believe it’s compatible with my Christian faith. I believe God gives us heavenly insights through the prophetic, but that’s to encourage, inspire and give us testimony. Not because we’re entitled to any foresight. On the whole, I believe God invites us to live in the present, trusting in his provision and guidance.
I also struggle with the idea that we can have a blanket excuse for poor communication or turbulent travel because of the current alignment of the planets. There is more freewill and agency than that. If you’re not communicating well, it’s important to recognise the issue and take some time to really listen to the other person, not disappear into a hole for three weeks and emerge when the stars say you’ll be able to relate to one another better.
I understand the need to believe in something greater than yourself. But for me, this is satisfied in Jesus.
I understand the fascination with getting sneak peeks into your future, particularly if there’s something you’ve been praying and hoping for. I also understand the need to believe in something greater than yourself. But for me, both of these are satisfied in Jesus. If I’m not communicating well, I probably need a good night’s sleep, not for Mercury to shift directions.