EDITORIAL -- Seers, Sorcerers, and Seances (III)
In two previous articles, I have spoken of the scriptural proscriptions against sorcery, and of its modern day prevalence. In this closing article in this series, I wish to speak of some of the problems connected with astrology and future-telling, and of the perversity connected with some forms of it.
Most everybody has heard of a few of the famous successes of some who pretend to foretell the future. For example, Jeane Dixon predicted the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The British Astrologer, Maurice Woodruff, predicted Richard A Nixon's election as President eighteen months beforehand, and also foretold the marriage of Jacqueline Kennedy to a non-American on foreign soil.
Horoscopes and the predictions of astrologers and fortune-tellers are usually in such general terms that nearly whatever happens can be accounted as a fulfillment of prophecy. For some strange reason, these people who make themselves wealthy by preying upon man's great longing to know the future do not feature their equally famous prophetical goofs.
For example, astrologers predicted that a large slice of California would fall into the Pacific Ocean as the result of a devastating earthquake to occur in April, 1969. What happened in April, 1969? Nothing. Some had even predicted that the whole state would crash into the Pacific.
Jeane Dixon's October 20, 1968 syndicated column had to he hurriedly suppressed, for in it she had said: "I still stand on my New Year's prediction and see no marriage for Jackie in the near future." The problem was, October 20, 1968 turned out to be the very day of Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding to Aristotle Onassis.
Maurice Woodruff predicted the birth of a male child to Frank and Mia Sinatra, a year before they were divorced without any children. He also predicted that Lynda Bird Johnson would be married to actor George Hamilton. He predicted that the Vietnam War would end overnight in April, 1969. Jeane Dixon had already predicted peace in 1965. Deut. 18:2022 says the following about the false prophet: "But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if thou say in thy heart, how shall we know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him."
If one could predict the future, he would become fabulously rich just by proper investments on the stock market. I heard a famous stock-broker say one time that his company would pay $1,000,000 a year for someone who would just tell them when the "High" and the "Low" of the market was each year. Make no mistake about it, people like Jeane Dixon and Maurice Woodruff make a lot of money. But they make it off of gullible people who want to know their own future, not by making wise investments in the light of their own future.
But in addition to false prophecies, there is another serious defect in the astrological system. Astrology has not yet accepted the Copernican system; they still believe that the stars, sun, and planets move around the earth. That one "little blunder" would wreck the reliability of every 4 horoscope.
And Bayly adds: "Since 150 B.C., when the astrological system became crystallized, the zodiac has shifted by an entire house, because of a gradual shift in the sun's apparent orbit through the stars; This throws each house's calculation off by one month, a serious defect that would seem to affect the reliability of every horoscope, if you go by the theoretical system" (What About Horoscopes?, p. 17). I do not have the scientific expertise to express an opinion upon the validity of this interesting observation of Bayly.
Satanism is one of the manifestations of witchcraft about which one reads a good deal in the newspapers these days. Several years ago, Anton Szandor LaVey made headlines by founding the First Satanic Church in San Francisco. The Satanic church is dedicated to sensual indulgence, vengeance, and all other forms of Satan-induced sins. At first, some thought LaVey was only trying to get publicity, but then other churches of Satan began to spring up, and a whole new irreligious movement had been born in our enlightened age. Regular services are held in the San Francisco church of Satan, including what they call "Black masses" (which are a take-off from the masses of Roman Catholicism). Lectures are given on black magic to the assembled witches, and divination and sorcery are practiced.
The church of Satan is not open to regular visitors. Telephone inquirers are told that they must first read the Satanic Bible, and then if they are in agreement with its teaching, formal written application may be made for membership. Illustrative of the debauchery and blasphemy characteristic of this movement, Bayly described a visit to their meeting place on California Street in San Francisco: ". . . a visitor is shown to a dimly lighted living room. Its walls are painted black, the ceiling red. A black coffin stands on end beside the fireplace; from its top a stuffed owl surveys the room. The fireplace mantle is the 'living altar': a nude priestess reclines there during 'church' services."
Herbert Arthur Sloane, high priest of the Toledo, Ohio Satanic church, claims that he does not represent the biblical Satan, but that he brings news of an "ultimate god" which if "above and beyond the one that created the COSMOS."
The thousands of witches over the land hold regular meetings. A "coven" is the standard unit of witchcraft. It consists of twelve witches, six male and six female, with either a high priest or priestess making witch number thirteen. Meetings are held each month, with eight major festivals during the year. Halloween is their really big one!
The New York Times gave the following description of a Halloween sabbat at the Bucklands' home on Long Island, New York: "First the witches remove their clothes and bathe in salt water to purify themselves. Then, still nude (or 'skyclad,' as they call it), they descend to the basement and step inside a nine foot circle that is drawn about them with a 400year-old sword by Mrs. Buckland, the high priestess, who is known in the craft as Lady Rowen. A bewitching ambience is provided by music from a tape recorder and incense burned in a brass censer.
"Once inside the circle, the witches sing, chant, and dance with broomsticks; in commemoration of an ancient fertility rite, drink tea and wine, and listen to the high priestess read from the Book of Shadows.
"The ceremony ends after Lady Rowen, dressed only in a silver crown, bracelet, necklace and green leather garter belt, takes a horned helmet and places it on the head of her husband, the high priest, who is known as Robat. This signifies that power has been transferred from the high priestess who reigns during the six months of summer, to the high priest, who rules during the six winter months."
How any Christian can even light-heartedly play around with such perversity and irreverence, I do not know. - Yet as I travel over the country, I find many of my sisters (particularly) who can hardly wait to read their horoscope to see what kind of day they are going to have.
Having spoken of the proscriptions, prevalence, problems, and perversity of witchcraft and black magic, I guess I also should have included a section on its financial profit, for that is what it is all about. Steer clear of this religion of the Devil, in all its forms.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 30, pp. 3-5