Recovering Mysticism: Part Three

As of the last post, the general consensus seems to be: ‘Mmmmmmm I’m not sure, but I’m still interested.’ Believe me, I know. That was me a year ago. The wariness is real. On the bright side, I didn’t get pitchforked, which is a good boost to carry on to part three!

ASTROLOGY

I bet the first thing that comes to mind is a horoscope. Some kind of fortune-telling sketchiness, whether it’s in a newspaper or pops up on your Instagram feed. Astrology, in our modern minds, is associated with divination – groundless, generally speaking. ‘Oh, you’re an Aquarius therefore if you were a tea, you’d be English Breakfast!’ or, ‘If you’re a Libra, today is a Good Day to Pluck Your Eyebrows.’ But here’s the thing – until the 16th century, astrology was just as respected and valid as astronomy. Why? Because it wasn’t the ‘astrology’ we know of today.

NOTE: Most of my notes on ‘astrology’ here are derived from Hillsdale University’s EXCELLENT lecture (and my favorite lecture in history), ‘C S Lewis on Medieval Cosmology.’ It’s the seventh lecture in their series on C. S. Lewis and I HIGHLY recommend the full lecture series to anyone. So if you want to have someone far more professional than I am, discussing someone far more intelligent than I am while covering the same subject matter, head on over and give it a listen!

Okay, back to the 16th century. For most of history, astrology (I’m going to call it Original Astrology, or OGA for short, because I know how hard it is to separate the conception of something from a different idea) was considered completely Biblical and valid by everyone, Christians included.

Professor of Apologetics Michael Ward says, “Astronomy and astrology weren’t really distinguishable until the Copernican revolution. And no Christian theologian before that time denied the general theory of planetary influences, or the significance of constellations. The planets obviously weren’t to be worshiped, and their influences were not to be regarded as determinative – overruling your free will and your responsibility before God; and the lucrative and politically undesirable practice of ‘astrologically grounded predictions’ was also to be avoided, but within these parameters the Christian church was quite content to sanction what we would now call Astrology. After all the Bible itself appeared to support the belief that there were seven planets, and that they possessed influences. The author of the book of Judges in the old Testament, for instance, chapter five verse twenty, records –

‘They fought from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.’”

He continues in the Cosmology lecture, “The author of the book of Job as translated in the King James version of the Bible, mentions the ‘sweet influences of Pliedes.’ (Job 38:31)….And throughout the Bible the stars are seen as signs; most notably at Bethlehem of course, signifying the birth of Christ, in Matthew’s gospel, and sometimes as a celestial court or angelic choir. Christ Himself is shown in the book of Revelation holding the seven stars – that is, the seven wandering stars, the planets – in His right hand. A vision which Austin Farrer, Lewis’s close friend and an expert in apocalyptic imagery, understood to be a portrayal of Christ’s lordship over time. For it’s after these seven planets that the weekdays are named.”

And yet modern Christianity has very little to say on this subject. It seems to think of it hardly at all, if ever, and I think that’s a great sorrow, and a great loss to us. In shunning ‘astrology’ as it is now known, we have also shunned OGA – which could be called a study of God’s heavenly workmanship. After all, it’s commonly known that a full moon affects people. If the moon has enough energy to draw the tides of our ocean, and if we ourselves are energetic beings, it’s downright irrational to claim the heavens have no affect on us whatsoever. Can the stars predict the future? I don’t know, but I DO know that predicting the future isn’t something God wants us to do. He says that multiple times in multiple ways. That’s for Him to know and us to find out, as it were.

But in shunning a word with bad connotations, we’ve also shunned a huge part of His glory and majesty as everyday knowledge. We’ve reduced the Heavens to mere ‘space’ with no intent or purpose other than to ‘be there’ and keep us hot or cold. We’ve removed the glory and majesty, the sheer magic, out of the whole idea and in doing so, we’ve lost something that Christianity accepted as important and part of daily life until the sixteenth century. And I believe we are the poorer for it.

The modern church has thrown the baby out with the bathwater in big, big ways – ways that affect how we perceive reality, how we live, and – most detrimental of all – how we know God – the Heavenly Father and the Morning Star.

And that baby-bathwater scenario is what I’m passionate to change, and what I hope to keep discussing through the rest of this series. Thank you all for sticking with me and listening to some ideas that probably sound crazy – I’m LOVING your IG messages and emails! If you have any questions, I can absolutely do my best to answer them!

See you all in the next post – whether it’s tomorrow or three days from now. I’m writing this series as the inspiration hits, so – stay tuned!

19 thoughts on “Recovering Mysticism: Part Three”

  1. I’ll admit to being in the “mmm, not sure, but still interested” category. XD

    So if we take away all the negative/unbiblical parts of astrology like star-worship and divination… I’m curious, what’s left? I guess I don’t know enough about it. You’ll probably be covering this in future instalments though, so I can wait and see if you like. ;)

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    1. AHA well, what’s left would be: acknowledging once again that God crafted the stars/planets for a reason, and that they ARE something ‘more’ than just planets (hello, they SING. We have actual AUDIO FOOTAGE of how they SOUND) and do actually affect life here on earth, including /us/ – without saying, ‘the heavens force you to do x or x’ or ‘the heavens predict the future.’ It’s re-acknowledging that God’s power is beyond what modern western Christianity is content with accepting. It’s not a huge move, but it’s an /important/ one, and an important piece in the overall cog that has fallen out of touch with SO MUCH of who God /is/.

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  2. I’m really liking this series and totally intrigued. I think I know where you’re going with this, and have much thoughts, but I’m holding off on them until the series is complete.

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  3. You should totally read The Discarded Image by C. S. Lewis which is exactly about your post, and then played out in his space trilogy and poetry. It’s fascinating; not sure how much I will agree with your posts, but the heavens declare the glory of God and it is definitely glorious. :)

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      1. I suppose I’ll have to read it before I judge it to get an idea of it. I’m afraid I’m only familiar with essays by other Lewis Scholars that disagreed with connecting the planets with Narnia. But maybe some day I’ll give it a look ;)

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  4. I’m thoroughly enjoying this series. It’s nice to see someone else with an open mind, though I must say, you’re definitely more open minded than I am XDDD I can see the truth in what you’re trying to convey, so I’m excited to see what else you have to say! Over the last year, since my crystal-discovery started, I’m learned sooooooo much about how big God really is and how 95% of Christians put Him in such a regimented box. So many of us deny such a large part of His creation, because we just can’t imagine that He created such amazing and profound things for us.

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    1. Isn’t it insane how much about God we’ve shoved aside?? ACK. I’M JUST. it’s so exciting to realize you’re wrong about so much when what’s right is so awe-inspiring

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  5. Will you be covering tarot in this series? Or is that something you haven’t delved into as far as your personal exploration goes?
    If you haven’t explored it yet, I hold to a similar view of that as you do of astrology. It doesn’t determine fate or the future and you don’t have to do it in a divination sense, but it still holds power.
    Looking forward to more of this!!

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  6. This is interesting in light of the alleged re-emergence of witchcraft. I personally think it false into romanticized reconstruction based on perception of past religion rather than knowledge.

    I grew up in a Christian household (that started out Southern Baptist then my father took us to a Reformed Baptist church) but do not profess. I’ve seen some bloggers who start out Baptist, some Southern, some Reformed (which tends to hyper-Calvinism) who get burned out and turned to Catholicism and its rituals and beauty. I personally tend to bend the other direction, away from mysticism/emotionalism into skepticism, logic, critical thinking, etc. That’s not merely my background, but my personality. It sounds like I’m a robot, but that’s not what I mean, think T rather the F in the Meyers-Briggs schema.

    I’ve also seen a lot about the re-emergence of witchcraft and learned of Heathens, and I have to say it alarms me, because Celtic Druidism is frightening, and I don’t think people have enough historical knowledge, period, much less of long dead “religions.” I think people also have a tendency to look at aspects of history, pick out what they like, and then romanticize everything ignoring huge issues (usually of extreme violence or disease or something). I’m all for studying everything, but I think the source matters. I also tend to think that some religions are more worshipping of a god and tend to have some mirror of Christianity however misguided and some, like witchcraft, that are closer to just plain devil worship. Some to me just “feel” worse. Also, that is a reason why I would differentiate between magic in books. Harry Potter feels like “white magic” or really something completely fantastical while other books definitely feel like “black magic” or something real and demonish. I could probably point out the reasons that make me feel so, but its also a strong feeling.

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    1. I agree with most of what you’re saying, actually. I mentioned the cultural sweep back toward paganism in part one of this series. I’m not coming from a place of romanticizing anything, I’m very careful to study from various historical angles for as much of the full truth as possible (and I love doing it). I also agree that our conscience CAN differentiate between good and bad when our rational brain can’t, thank God for that. That said, there is plenty of truth in religions that are “less true” than ours, and many views we’ve lost that I believe helped us see a much fuller picture of God. If a false religion has something of God in it, then so much the better for paganism, not so much the worse for Christianity.

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  7. You seem to be in the right path to discover that God is within us, regardless of circumstantial beliefs.
    Why I call beliefs circumstantial?
    Simply because they are subject to who we are, in this earthly realm, your parents, and the religion you inherited from, the environment you grew up, imagine if you were born in China, and your parents were Buddhist?
    Your views wouldn’t not be identical as to what you are today.

    I agree with what you say, the church has changed and made anathema of stuff like Astrology, you just have to read Marsilio Ficino to see how much the church was influenced by it, the old Catholics in the Vatican still are but they keep it quiet.

    Not to say that the whole Bible it’s full of passages that wouldn’t be understood without knowledge of Astrology.

    Unfortunately translations of the Bible are not to pare with knowledge of this Magna science.

    Like if you read Genesis 1- 16, 17 most translations give you a mild idea of what it says.

    ‘And God said: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate day and night: and let them be for signs, and for the seasons, and for days and years; 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was.’

    Most leave out the important part:

    ‘and let them be for signs, and for the seasons, and for days and years;’

    I could go on, and on, but you seem to be on the right path of Self discovery.

    You may want to read my blog, that have many posts talking about Spiritual issues from many angles, with an Universal mindset, rather than a sectarian, or dogmatic point of view.

    Keep the good work Miriam. :-)

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