ASTROLOGY – The occult and the contemporary idolatry

An interview given by father Arsenios Vliankoftis to the reporter Theodor Duca.

Not long time ago we went to the Holy Monastery of Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian from the locality of Vatopedi – Halkidikis and we had the opportunity to talk with  father Arsenios – an expert in subjects about heresies – relating to astrology. We had a cogent discussion of high concern for all of us.

Father Arsenios, in the past years astrology entered people’s lives for good. What’s the opinion of your holiness?

Considerable effort is being made for pushing it into our lives and for sure this is not coincidentally. It is a real problem and the media has a great responsibility. The public is overwhelmed by advertising messages on astrology, in the true sense of the word.

You said that considerable efforts are made so that  astrology enters our lives and that it’s not coincidentally. What do you mean?

Astrology is not neutral if talking in religious terms, but fully integrated to the wide space of occult. It believes in the so-called karma and in reincarnation. It is important that on the relevant ads we read: „psychic, astrologer, parapsychologist, tarot cards”. Therefore, all these go together, „in a single pack”, according to a modern cliché. In the same time, we must not forget that the antichristic movement of the „New Era of the Acquarius” is based on astrology. So this dark circle pushes astrology forward, pursuing to make people believe in it. First, we have to stress it out  that the belief in astrology is incompatible with the Orthodox Faith. Meaning that a real Christian cannot believe in the same time in astrology. And the Holy Scripture tells us this. Those who persist in being interested in astrology, magic and fortune telling are subject to heavy canons of repentance, in accordance with the Holy canons of our Church. They separate themselves from the Church.

Father Arsenios, we’d like you to tell us what does astrology believes more specifically?

Astrology believes that when someone is born, the position of the stars puts an indelible mark on his personality. The position of the stars decides his future. But it does not tell us how it happens. What kind of influence is this the stars exert upon us.  You saw it, we say „believe”. And it is indeed a belief in the occult and the ancient idolatry, which denies God and deifies nature. They don’t believe that there is a God  who takes care of man, nor that the man is free, but believe that everything is coordinated by a blind and impersonal fate.

Something similar to the Muslim kismet[1]-…

Exactly. Of course it’s a superstition. Besides this, astrology since the years of Renaissance in the West (XVIth century) separated itself from the science of astronomy. Astrology remained  stuck to the geocentric system, that is not accepted by any scientist, while astronomy adopted the heliocentric system. There is no scientist to accept astrology, on the contrary, there are some decisions of certain international  congresses that condemn astrology as a superstition and a quackery.

Despite these, many times the astrologers show diplomas.

It’s mere quackery. There is no recognized university in the world  to teach astrology or grant diplomas of astrologer. But it happens the following thing: Astrologers found associations with stilted names in Greece and other places, calling them institutes, academies, colleges. They become presidents, general secretaries etc. And then they give each other titles and diplomas.

How is it that sometimes the foresights of the astrologers „come true”?

Your question is opportune and I shall answer it. It’s not true that the predictions of the astrologers come true. Apart from the cases of fraud, we have the situations when the „prophecies come true”. Meaning that the astrologer tells you that you would get sick and you start behaving like a sick man. You adjust your status and the „prophecy” comes true naturally. But even in the case when it doesn’t come true, the astrologer tells you that the prediction didn’t come true because you had a negative attitude. Meaning that either white or black,  rightness is on their side.

You mean something like Pythia’s oracle[2]?

Exactly. The astrological language (that of the horoscope) is full of safety valves, so that the astrologer may be right in all cases. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that the words „is possible”, „maybe”, „you tend to” are commonly used in horoscopes. They also mention certain truths that might be accepted by anyone. The astrologer in the horoscope pursues to flatter someone and uses a very friendly tone with him. We have to say as well that astrology is based on a rational and scientifical error. Here we have what in Logic we call: „vicious circle”[3]. Meaning that the astrologer seeing some stars in the sky, with no real connection between themselves (one may be relatively close to us and the other one much farther), interconnects them and according to his imagination, he gives them shapes and names. For instance, he tells you that now we are in the sign of the Leo and the man who is born in a period when the sun passes through it is a lion and will have the attributes of the lion. Meaning that the astrologer assigns them qualities and then says that these represent the characteristics of those who belong to this astrological sign. You see, there is an obvious logical error and „a vicious circle”?

   However, anyone can give other names to the same groups of stars. For example today, when we don’t use the bow and arrow anymore, we cannot call the constellation of the Saggitarius in this way. We will give it another name.

In essence is about a kind of primitive magic thinking. In astrology there is something else that helps the astrologers to convince their victims. It’s the so called technique of multiple factors. So he analyzes you and notices certain traits of character he assigns for instance to the sign of the Aries and he tells you: „I think you’re an Aries”. If you say you’re not, he asks you: „Where is your moon positioned?” (meaning the position of the moon in the moment when you were born). If from what you tell him it turns out that it was positioned in the Aries, he tells you: „You see, I’ve found that out?”. But if you tell him: „I don’t know”, he would tell you: „I think you’re in the Aries”. If he doesn’t succeed he goes on by saying: „Actually very few know the precise time and place of their birth, so that they could give the astrologers all the information they require for making what they call a «scientific horoscope»”. Of course  it’s „scientific” just in their opinion.

In the end, can someone predict the future, to make all this discussion have a sense?

The belief of our Church is clear: Future is known only by God who is omniscient and this does not cancel human freedom.

Neither Satan, nor the demons or the astrologers know the truth.

Being initiated into the occult, the astrologers may be announced by the demons with whom they collaborate – there are times and words used for calling a certain demon –for facts from the past or the present. The „masters” of astrology are in reality magicians and satanists. In its common form, astrology acts a a light „spiritual narcotic”, that introduces the enthralled man in the wide occult space, for passing afterwards  through  maybe tougher „spiritual narcosis” like magic.

What do you mean by „spiritual narcotic”?

It’s a common expression and is used because the supporters – just like in the case of the common narcotics – are gradually led to total addiction. The true follower of astrology cannot make a step further in his life without consulting his astrologer beforehand.

Therefore, the consequences of the preoccupation for astrology are hard and dangerous.

That’s why who wants to start studying it out of mere curiosity, has to think well before.

We can’t play with the fire.

There’s involved the producer of the deceit as well, isn’t it so?

Of course it is. Let me give you a clear proof. There are TV shows with astrologers where while the show is on (assuming that’s a live show )it’s used a trailer announcing: „You’re watching the show (so-and-so) with recorded exemplary phone calls”. They do the same at the shows with fortune tellers. In this way the shrewd get money from the high costs of the phone calls.

What do you think? What’s the cause that pushes the people towards astrology?

I wanted to say exactly the same. When the man feels the need and desire to give a meaning to his life and find answers for the so-called existential questions (where do I come from, where am I going, what’s the meaning of life) and he doesn’t choose the right path, he doesn’t find the right answers, but gets tangled in the dangerous ways of the occult. Then  for sure this man would get interested in astrology too. Many people want easy solutions, for others freedom is a burden and others prefer to let the stars decide for themselves.

Father Arsenios, what would you recommend for dealing with this phenomenon or problem?

Only when someone is consciously and deeply present in the space of the Church, he is protected of all the occult and dangers.

But the state must assume its responsibility as well.

It’s harmful to allow advertising the occult even on the national TV channels.

Another question. What means what’s called by some people the moving of the astrological signs?

This as well as the so called third astrological sign have put the astrologers in difficulty lately, because they ruin their rookery.

This means that the people who according to the astrologers belong to a certain astrological sign, actually belong to the next one. It is commonly called mill.

This is bad news for astrology, but despite that, it irresistibly continues its journey.

And this thing is caused by the fact that it is part of an entire context of interpreting the world that addresses to the confused people who live far from God.

Many say: „I won’t fall victim to the magicians and astrologers. As for those who fell victims and were ruined, that’s their own business”. What do you say about this?

It’s not like this. This is a very serious matter. Besides the fact that indifference towards our neighbour and his problems is not a Christian behavior, I would tell those who say such things: let’s say that the teacher of your children is a follower of astrology.

Then he won’t take as much into account the conclusions of pedagogy in educating your children but would study their horoscope.

Of course, your children might be attracted in the space of astrology and occult by such a confused teacher. Something similar happens when you fall into the hands of a doctor who is a follower of astrology. He won’t study that carefully the blood tests and radiographs, but your horoscope.

And it happens the same with the politician who believes in astrology.

One like this would take stands in serious matters related to home and foreign policies only after studying the horoscope and consulting his astrologers.

So, you see that astrology raises serious problems with consequences not only for the fools who fall as its victims, but for all of us.

What recommendation would you make in the end of this interesting discussion?

When someone would ask us the question: „What’s your sign in the horoscope?”, let’s give him this answer: „I am not an animal, I am a human being” (In the ancient Greek zodio means a small animal) And let’s also take into account the following thing: If the time the astrologers waste on reading their newspaper: „What do the stars say about you”, with the consequence that they become enslaved from free, they would have spent it for reading a page from the Holy Scripture or any other book useful for our soul or they would have dedicated it to prayer, their life would have changed and they would have become actually free.

„PARAKATATHIKI” Magazine, May-June 2003.

[1] Faith, destiny.

[2] Pythia was a priestess of  Apollo who made forecasts in the Oracle from Delphi.

[3] In Logic, the circular reason, also known as circulus in probando, petitio principii or vicious circle, is a logical error in which the sentence to be demonstrated has already been stated implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises. As a notion of Logic, the circular reason was defined for the first time by Aristotle, in his book intitled Analytica Priora in Latin, around the year 350 b.c.

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