Some people don’t believe in astrology. But they still find something in it.
The meme of astrology
The signs as french fries, the signs as cat breeds, the signs as Game of Thrones characters… and so on. Astrology is blooming in the current day and age, astrologers amass literally millions of followers, daily and weekly (and monthly, as well as yearly and… maybe, decadely?) predictions flourish. Astrology spreads like a meme.
But it isn’t the first time when astrology gets popular – it’s obviously been around for thousands of years. And more recently, the New Age movement of the ‘60s came with a heaping helping of astrology. In the decades between the ‘60s and now, astrology was still there – but a bit more in the background. Then something happened in the last 5 years that’s given astrology the edge it has now.
Nowadays many people believe that the stigma attached to astrology, while it still exists, has receded – especially for young people. Generally, it became less acceptable to bash some things just because they’re not 100% rational.
One can say that astrology is perfectly suited for the internet age: there’s a low barrier of entry and nearly endless depth to plumb.
It’s not scientifically proven...
Don’t forget that astrology is NOT actually a science – it’s more of a cultural and psychological phenomenon. But the system surely has its own kind of logic. Astrology ascribes meaning to the placement of celestial bodies within 12 sections of the sky. You probably know your sign even if you’re not an astrology expert – it’s based on where the sun was on your birthday, but the placement of the moon and each planet add some shades to the picture of your birth chart.
What astrology is supposed to do is give you information about what celestial bodies are doing and how it affects your sign. You can think of the planets as a party: some planets are dancing with each other, some are kissing each other, some arguing or even fighting. And the task of astrologers is to understand and explain what is going on.
...But people love it anyway
A small study by Graham Tyson in 1982 found that people who consult astrologers do it in response to some stressful events in their lives; particularly stress connected with the individual’s social roles and their relationships. So, some people use astrology as a coping device even though they often don’t believe in it under low-stress conditions.
According to some surveys, Americans have seen increased stress since 2010. The APA’s survey found that 63% of Americans said they were stressed about their country’s future. More and more people claim that reading news stresses them out. And if stress makes astrology look… well, nicer, it’s understandable that more people are drawn to it now.
Astrology offers to those under stress or in crisis the comfort of imagining a better future. Astrology tells you: it too shall pass.
Humans are narrative creatures and it’s natural for them to explain their lives by weaving together their past and present. And astrology does give one a pleasant orderly feeling because it allows one to slot random events and emotions into labeled shelves. Doesn’t saying something like “This day is so bad because my Mars is in Taurus” make life a bit easier? Even if you say it jokingly.
Astrology often basically tells you “Every little thing’s gonna be all right.” It is some kind of comforting magic to hold onto until you realize you can fly on your own.
Astrology is a paradox. It feels both cosmic and personal, spiritual and logical, real and unreal.
That so many people find astrology meaningful proves that something doesn’t have to be real to feel true. After all, don’t we all find truth in fiction?