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Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


The pseudo-scientific study of the influence of the Celestial Bodies on the Earth and its inhabitants.

Astrology appears to be one of the most ancient of the surviving occult sciences, and evidence of a highly sophisticated system in Babylonian and Egyptian cultures has survived.

Western Astrology is concerned with the reading of a Horoscope - chart cast for the moment of birth - in some cases complex methods of progressing the planets of the birth chart enable the astrologer to predict the future for the person for whom the chart was cast.   The chart is interpreted in terms of the influence of the Zodiacal signs and the various different powers which the planets possess in these signs.

A variety of different house systems is linked with interpreting the directions in the person's life in which planetary and other influences will manifest themselves.   The planetary effects are not considered only in terms of Zodiacal placing (on the basis that Mars in Leo is different from Mars in Cancer, for example), but also in terms of the angles which they may or may not hold to each other; this realm of astrology is the study of Aspects.

A Biblical Perspective

The prophet Isaiah proclaimed:

"Let the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.   Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.   Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee," (Isaiah 47:13-15).

As Isaiah explains, the astrologer will not save anyone from their troubles.   Looking to the stars is not where man's hope and faith should be placed.

As early as the time of Moses, man had a spiritually unhealthy preoccupation with the stars.
"And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven," (Deuteronomy 4:19).

In similar fashion, the prophet Jeremiah declared, "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them," (Jeremiah 10:2).

The Lord makes it clear that to look to the movements of the planets rather than to look to Him, is the action of the pagan.

Finally, when astrology is tested side-by-side with turning to God for the answers, there should be no doubt as to which is the most accurate.
"And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.   Daniel answered in the presence of the kind, and said, The secret which the king hast demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days," (Daniel 1:20 and 2:27-28).

Throughout history, man has searched the stars, planets and heavenly bodies for the answers to life's questions.   Throughout history, God has condemned such practices as heathen and vain.

When will man realized that the answer to his questions lay not in the creation of the sun, moon and planets, but rather in the Creator of the sun, moon and planets?


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see also:
ASTROLOGY: Do the Heavens Declare the Destiny of Man? at Probe Ministries

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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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