ASTROLOGY, or the belief that the planets and stars control or influence individuals, has been accepted and sincerely believed by a portion of mankind for centuries. The Old Testament of the Bible contains references to astrologers, as in the book of Daniel, where King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by a dream he couldn't remember. He sought out the astrologers, among others, to tell him what the dream was and what it meant. The astrologers were unable to help. But Daniel, praying to God to show him what needed to be revealed, brought the king relief.
What was the difference between the astrologers' approach and that of Daniel? The astrologers were looking for an answer outside the realm of human control, for a force or explanation of cosmic proportions. They were still, however, looking to matter and human knowledge for their guidance. Daniel, on the other hand, had learned to turn away from any form of matter or material energy and look to the one God, Spirit, for his answers.
Since God is Spirit, it logically follows that His creation must be wholly spiritual. God is the infinite, all-intelligent creator, and His creation must reflect His intelligence and dominion. Because God is purely good, man is subject only to good. The divine plan includes the perpetual unity and harmony of God and man.
This understanding of the inseverable relation between God and man gives us, as it did Daniel, the confidence to rely wholeheartedly on God, with positive results. And it keeps us from being taken in by the belief in astrology, which is as ineffective a help today as it was in Daniel's time. Astrology would have us believe in a power or influence apart from the one, true power, God.
I saw the effects of accepting this false belief in an incident that occurred while I was in college. At that time I read the horoscopes in a popular monthly magazine ``just for fun.'' While I never really believed horoscopes could forecast the future, one day I learned the wisdom of no longer indulging in even a casual acceptance of horoscopes and astrology.
For several weeks, my car had been in another city many miles away. A friend and I planned to take a bus trip of several hours to pick it up and then drive back to campus. The night before we were to leave, I picked up the magazine mentioned. As I read the horoscope for my zodiac sign, this warning jumped out at me: ``Don't take any long trips this month.''
To my surprise, I suddenly felt apprehensive about the next day's journey. This fear persisted, and so I turned to God in prayer as I'd learned to do in the Christian Science Sunday School. I knew that no matter what I was faced with, no matter what would cause me to be afraid, I could turn to God, who is right at hand, for comfort and answers.
The answer to my prayer, the reassurance I needed that God was in control, came (not surprisingly) from the Bible. As my friend and I began the long bus trip, we decided to read together the Sermon on the Mount. Although we were of different religious backgrounds, we had a common foundation in these teachings of Christ Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew.
As we read, I became more and more confident that God was omnipresent and we were safe in His care. It wasn't just the words, but the spirit of Christ that shined through, replacing the apprehension with a sense of assurance. God is the only power governing the universe, and a certain alignment of planets has no influence over me or anyone.
One of Jesus' statements in the Sermon on the Mount describes well what I learned from this experience. He says: ``The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness'' (Matthew 6:22, 23).
I realized that my eye, or in this case my thought, had not been singly focused on God. In casually reading my horoscope, I had temporarily diverted my attention to the contemplation of a possible cause or influence apart from and contrary to God. This had allowed a sense of darkness, fear, to creep into my experience. Once I turned wholeheartedly back to a recognition and reaffirmation of God's all-and-only power, the darkness was dispelled by the light of Truth.
The entire trip went smoothly. But more important, since then I've had no interest in or inclination to read a horoscope. I am completely free from curiosity about the predictions of astrology. I've learned, as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, states in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``The planets have no more power over man than over his Maker, since God governs the universe; but man, reflecting God's power, has dominion over all the earth and its hosts'' (p. 102).
No matter what form of superstition we may be laboring under, we can find freedom by turning unreservedly to God, acknowledging Him as the only true power. We can claim our dominion by understanding that man is subject to God, good, alone.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper:
the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
he shall preserve thy soul.