‘I was an astrologer – here’s how it really works and why I had to stop’

(photo from Pixabay)


Many are fascinated by astrology, but it is not the source of truth or real knowledge of the future.

The Guardian ran the following from a former astrologer named as Felicity Carter:

I was an astrologer – here’s how it really works and why I had to stop

Customers marvelled at my psychic abilities but was that really what was going on when I told their fortune? … the universe told me I wasn’t cut out for science, by sending me my second-year results. I dropped out to pursue theatre and also signed up for a one-year course at the Sydney Astrology Centre, a cavernous commercial building in a seedy part of town. …

Although astrologers use Nasa data for their calculations, horoscopes aren’t a true map of the heavens. The Babylonians who invented astrology believed the sun rotated round the Earth; modern astrologers still use Earth-centred charts, as if Copernicus had never existed. That’s only the start of the scientific problems.

The astrological meanings themselves derive from a principle called sympathetic magic, where things that look alike are linked together. Mars looks red, so it rules red things like blood. How do you get blood? You cut, so Mars rules surgery and war. …

Astrology is one big word association game.

I loved it, though I was losing interest in other mystical practices. …

When I saw the ad for a fortune teller, I pounced.

My credentials impressed the man on the counter (“My name is Ron,” he said. “My spirit guide is Blue Star. He’s on the intergalactic committee”) and I was hired.

We charged A$50 an hour, a significant sum at the time, and I wanted to offer value. No fishing for clues from me – I printed a horoscope or laid the cards and started interpreting immediately, intending to dazzle the customer with my insights.

Half the time, though, I couldn’t get a word in. It turned out what most people want is the chance to unload for an hour.

The range of problems faced by people who can afford $50 for fortune telling turned out to be limited: troubles with romance, troubles at work, trouble mustering the courage for a much-needed change. I heard these stories so often I could often guess what the problem was the moment someone walked in. Heartbroken young men, for example, talk about it to psychics, because it’s less risky than telling their friends. Sometimes I’d mischievously say, “Let her go. She’s not worth it,” as soon as one arrived. Once I heard, “Oh my God, oh my GOD!” as an amazed guy fell backwards down the stairs.

I also learned that intelligence and education do not protect against superstition. …

What broke the spell for me was, oddly, people swearing by my gift. Some repeat customers claimed I’d made very specific predictions, of a kind I never made. It dawned on me that my readings were a co-creation – I would weave a story and, later, the customer’s memory would add new elements. I got to test this theory after a friend raved about a reading she’d had, full of astonishingly accurate predictions. She had a tape of the session, so I asked her to play it.

The clairvoyant had said none of the things my friend claimed. Not a single one. My friend’s imagination had done all the work.

Yet sometimes I could be uncannily accurate – wasn’t that proof I was psychic? One Sunday, I went straight from work to a party, before I’d had time to shuck off my psychic persona. A student there mentioned she wasn’t sure what to specialize in – photography, graphic design or maybe industrial design?

“Do photography,” I said.

She looked at me, wide-eyed. “How did you know?” she said, explaining photography was her real love, but her parents didn’t approve.

I couldn’t say, “because my third eye is open”, so I reflected for a moment. Then it hit me. “You sounded happier when you said ‘photography’,” I said. My psychic teacher was right – the signals we pick up before conscious awareness kicks in can be accurate and valuable. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/nov/06/i-was-an-astrologer-how-it-works-psychics?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Felicity Carter is correct that astrology is not scientific. It is not even consistent with itself as the signs people supposedly were born under are all off by about a month.

Notice the following:

Another fact must also be pointed out. Everyone’s astrological “sign” is wrong! The Zodiac charts were set more than 2,000 years ago, but since then the position of the Earth relative to other heavenly bodies has shifted. The earth is spinning on its axis, wobbling like a top, completing one great loop every 26,000 years.(10) The constellations are no longer in the same relative viewing positions they were in when the Zodiac charts were devised. “In effect, all of the constellations have moved,” said Fraknoi. “This puts the signs of the Zodiac off by one whole sign.”(11) Astrologers have stuck with tradition, even though their maps of the heavens are out of step with reality. Thus, right now everybody is reading the wrong horoscope!

Its Claim to Analyze Character Is Deceptive

We are fascinated by astrology’s claim to be able to reveal a person’s character. However, the system is especially deceitful and manipulative in this regard. Astrologers tell people what they want to hear. This classic technique is used by salesman, hypnotists, advertising experts, and not a few preachers. Psychologist Ray Hyman said, “To be popular with your fellow man, tell him what he wants to hear. He wants to hear about himself. So tell him about himself. But not what you know to be true about him. Oh, no! Never tell him the truth. Rather, tell him what he would like to be true about himself!”(12) This is the key to manipulating other people. The human mind is more willing to accept what is would like to believe rather than what evidence indicates is the truth. As an example, Hyman cites the following astrological analysis:

Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other time you are introverted, wary and reserved. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. You pride yourself on being an independent thinker and do not accept others’ opinions without satisfactory proof. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety, and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. Disciplined and controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. . . While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a strong need for other people to like you and for them to admire you.(13)

Sound familiar? Does it describe your personality in any way? This spiel was first used in 1948, composed mostly from a news stand astrology book. Statements that supposedly would describe people born under various signs were combined together. This pitch is designed to apply to everyone but not seem that way. In a controlled study, psychologists gave a group of college students a detailed psychological questionnaire and then made a detailed analysis of each student. They gave the students a copy of their customized analysis and a copy of the fake psychological sketch found above. The students were then asked to identify which was which. Fifty-nine percent of the student thought the fake sketch was a more accurate description of their personalities.(14) (http://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume34/GOT034263.html#N_3_ viewed 01/15/15)

The last one shows why some people believe in astrology. Sometimes, it feels right to them–even when it is wrong or ‘lucky.’ The Prophet Jeremiah labeled the human heart “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9)–people can deceive themselves and allow themselves to be deceived by Satan and his devices, including astrology.

Is astrology scientific? Notice the following:

Some expectations generated by astrology are so general that any outcome could be interpreted as fitting the expectations; if treated this way, astrology is not testable. However, some have used astrology to generate very specific expectations that could be verified against outcomes in the natural world. For example, according to astrology, one’s zodiac sign impacts one’s ability to command respect and authority. Since these traits are important in politics, we might expect that if astrology really explained people’s personalities, scientists would be more likely to have zodiac signs that astrologers describe as “favorable” towards science.1 If used to generate specific expectations like this one, astrological ideas are testable.

Relies on evidence? In the few cases where astrology has been used to generate testable expectations and the results were examined in a careful study, the evidence did not support the validity of astrological ideas.2

1In fact, physicist John McGervey did this study and found no bias towards particular signs. Hence, the results did not support the validity of astrological explanations. You can read about this study in McGervey’s book “Probabilities in Everyday Life.”
2For example: Carlson, S. 1985. A double-blind test of astrology. Nature 318:419-425.

(Astrology: Is it scientific? http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/astrology_checklist viewed 07/10/13)

That being said, sometimes demonic forces provide assistance to fortune tellers of various times.

Some have confused astrology and astronomy.

While various ancient astronomers often engaged in astrology, there was then and now a difference between astrology and astronomy.

To try to make this clear, let’s notice the difference between the two:

astrology: the study of the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars, and the skill of describing the expected effect that some people believe these have on the character and lives of people (Definition from Cambridge Dictionaries Online. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/astronomy, viewed 7/10/13)

astronomy: the scientific study of the universe and of objects that exist naturally in space, such as the moon, the sun, planets, and stars (Definition from Cambridge Dictionaries Online. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/astrology, viewed 7/10/13)

Astronomy, logically noticing what happens in the sky, is endorsed by the Bible. Astrology, trying to make predictions on the sky’s affect on human beings, is not.

They are not the same, yet some try to get Christians to think that they are.

Notice some of what Jesus and His followers taught about astronomy:

1 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed. (Matthew 16:1-4)

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29-30)

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord (Acts 2:20).

Jesus did not teach that humans were to see how the position of heavenly bodies would affect them based upon their birth (astrology), but to notice that God would use certain signs in the heavens to show weather or His return. That is a use of astronomy, not astrology.

The children of Israel were warned not to pay attention to astrology as the heathen did.


19 And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. (Deuteronomy 4:19-20)

By changing one’s actions based upon what a horoscope says, one is serving the stars which God clearly tells people not to do.

Notice also:

2 Thus says the Lord:

“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. (Jeremiah 10:2)

Now, the above is not saying not to pay attention to weather patterns, as Jesus Himself endorsed that.

Nor is it saying that there cannot be any signs in the heavens to ever pay attention to from a prophetic perspective, as Jesus said to notice specific occurrences in the heavens before He returns.

What the Bible was warning about was to rely on astrological and similar interpretations of the heavens to affect your life or future.

The Bible condemns astrology, not astronomy. Notice a biblical purpose for various heavenly bodies:

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:14-15)

2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Exodus 12:2)

4 ‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:4-6)

The Bible clearly teaches that the heavenly bodies are involved with the seasons (including holy days) and that is part of why they were made. But signally the start of Spring or Fall for example, is not the same as suggesting that there is hidden meaning in the stars related to your date of birth.

Astrologers will not save you:

13 You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels;
Let now the astrologers, the stargazers,
And the monthly prognosticators
Stand up and save you
From what shall come upon you.
14 Behold, they shall be as stubble,
The fire shall burn them;
They shall not deliver themselves
From the power of the flame;
It shall not be a coal to be warmed by,
Nor a fire to sit before!
15 Thus shall they be to you
With whom you have labored,
Your merchants from your youth;
They shall wander each one to his quarter.
No one shall save you. (Isaiah 47:13-15)

If you want direction, trust in God:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

4 “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)

One is to trust God and His word, not some pagan-inspired horoscope.

One major difference between God’s predictions and those of astrologers is that God can make His come to pass:

9 Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:9-11)

3 “I have declared the former things from the beginning;
They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it.
Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. (Isaiah 48:3)

If you want to know more about the future, believe the word of God:

9 Behold, the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them. (Isaiah 42:9)

You should believe biblical prophecies that are properly explained by His true ministry (cf. Acts 8:30-31). Not astrologers.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Bible and Astrology Should Christians avoid participating in astrology or did God inspire it? Does the Bible encourage astrology? What does the Bible actually teach? What is astrology? How does astrology differ from astronomy? Here are links to two videos Astrology, the occult, tattoos, and pornography and Should Christians Be Involved In Astrology?
Where did astrology come from? Should you read your horoscope?
Does Astrology Work? Many believe and follow astrology–but does it work? Here is a link to the article in Mandarin Chinese: 占星术准确吗?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim This is information about various types of angelic beings.
Human Nature: Good or Evil? a Did God create humans evil or good? What is human nature? Where does it come from? Here are links to two related sermons: Human Nature: Its Cause and Solution and Human Nature: Where Did it Come From?
Did God Create a Devil? If not, what happened? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet.
Close Encounters of a ‘Spirit’ Kind discusses some experiences I believe were (demon) ‘spirit’ related. A video is also available titled: Poltergeists and Lying Wonders.
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Why Prophecy? Why is so much of the Bible devoted to prophecy? Some question or downplay the role of prophecy. This article gives some of the biblical reasons what it is important and explains why the world cannot end (the Great Tribulation will not start) until after biblically-required events occur.
How to Understand Prophecy This is the late Herbert W. Armstrong’s overview on understanding prophecy.
20 items to prophetically watch in 2020 Much is happening. Dr. Thiel points to 20 items to watch (cf. Mark 13:37) in this article. Here is a link to a related sermon: 20 Prophetic Items to Watch in 2020.

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