Astrology Served with Fries: Silly Advertising with Serious Implications

By Milo Jones | Posted April 10, 2023

“If The Universe Can’t Be On Your Side, At Least A Free McChicken Can,” said a 2022 ad for a free McChicken or McDouble when purchased with a Medium Fries using the McDonald’s app. It was the Golden Arches’ way of preparing their customers for a period of Mercury in retrograde.

Because it takes only 88 days, compared with Earth’s 365 days, to circle the sun, Mercury goes into retrograde a few times each year, appearing to move backward in an optical illusion. The next three retrograde periods in 2023 are April 21–May 14, August 23–September 15, and December 13–January 1, each corresponding to a different zodiac sign. 

According to Murphy’s Law of astrology, everything that can go wrong will go wrong during Mercury’s illusory movements—except for a fast-food giant looking to profit from a superstitious faith held by nearly 30 percent of Americans.

Mercury—and McDonald’s—in Retrograde

Astrologer Emily Ridout explained that because “Mercury is the winged messenger of the gods in [Roman] mythology,” people should expect “complications surrounding communication and travel.” They may get into an argument with their significant other or be late for an appointment due to a traffic jam. But “nothing about Mercury in retrograde is catastrophic,” Ridout said. “It’s just annoying.” To offset these annoyances, she suggested reflection rather than interaction—avoid sending “a confessional text to your crush or standing up to your boss.” Also, take extra precautions when traveling, leaving earlier than usual and triple-checking itineraries.

Pausing before a difficult conversation or planning for the worst before traveling sounds like good common sense—regardless of how Mercury moves in relation to Earth. In fact, the Bible says that a wise person is someone who “holds his peace” (Proverbs 11:12) and “foresees evil and hides himself” (22:3). However, a foolish person is someone who worries about those things only when a planet appears to be moving backward.

One can only guess how many of the 45 million Americans eating at McDonald’s per day are foolish enough to believe in astrology. But based on the restaurant’s astrological advertising, there must be quite a few. For the retrograde beginning on May 10, 2022, the Golden Arches partnered with Tarot reader Madam Adam. “I don’t know about you, but for me, Mercury in retrograde can be a real difficult time,” he said in a TikTok video, shuffling a deck of Tarot cards behind a table supporting an unpackaged McDouble, McChicken, and Medium Fries. “And so, why not ease the discomfort with comfort food?”

Then, Adam offered to divine the lives of his viewers: “Want to know what the Tarot has in store for you? Join me and McDonald’s for a very special TikTok LIVE on Tuesday … to know—your—fate. Drop your name and your zodiac sign in the comments, and you could be one of the many that gets a reading from me.” 

In December 2022, McDonald’s again used astrology, this time offering a go-to menu based on one’s zodiac sign. For example, an Aries, being the fieriest, should cool down with an icy cold Oreo McFluffy; a Gemini, a social butterfly, should get a box of McNuggets to share with friends; and a Sagittarius, characterized by loyalty, should stick with the tried-and-true Big Mac. It all sounds like silliness—until we trace it to something seriously dark. 

One Demonic Package

When Madam Adam said “know—your—fate,” he was emphasizing a core tenet of paganism that counterfeits a core tenet of Christianity. While “fate” can describe an insensitive force that predetermines our problems, “providence” portrays a personal God who can overrule our problems for good. Hence, the slave-turned-governor Joseph could say to his brothers, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good … to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

But if providence and fate have no communion (see 2 Corinthians 6:14), then why, according to a Pew survey, do one in four Americans professing Christianity also believe in the zodiac? Like the ancient Israelites who “feared the LORD, yet served their own gods” (2 Kings 17:33), a quarter of Americans claiming to follow Jesus are breaking His law by bowing down to what “is in the heaven above” (Exodus 20:4, 5). 

Furthermore, Tarot readings are a form of soothsaying, something the Bible strongly condemns. According to Deuteronomy 18:10–12, “one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead … [is] an abomination to the LORD” (emphasis added). Here soothsaying is classified with every other demonic art. We shouldn’t excuse Tarot readers simply because they’re not casting spells or speaking to the dead. If they’re not part of the same demonic package, then why are they making money alongside “mediumship experts”—those who mediate communication between the living and the dead—on the same websites?

Despite the biblical warnings, Tarot experts will try to “demystify” their art in a way that overrides people’s concerns. “The future is not set in stone,” said expert Brigit Esselmont.“The Tarot can show you where you are headed based on where you are now. Don’t like where you’re headed? Then you can make changes right now to reshape your future!” But even though she stresses that such fortune-telling is vague, allowing for freedom of choice, she also emphasizes that those seeking guidance from Tarot must interpret the images on the cards by listening to “their intuition … their inner voice.” This is directly contrary to what the Bible teaches about seeking guidance. Listening to our sinful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), instead of acknowledging God and His Word (Proverbs 3:5, 6), will surely lead us astray.

Still confused about how astrology is part of the occult? Listen to Pastor Doug’s Bible Answers Live episode, “Does God Inspire Astrologers and Psychics.”

Milo Jones
Milo Jones is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and lives in College Place, WA.

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