The Rise of Astrology: Should We Be So Starry Eyed?

In the past few years, our relationship with astrology has changed drastically. Ever since its resurgence in the 1960s and 70s, horoscopes have rarely been seen outside of magazine columns. However, astrology has undergone a noticeable revival in the past few years. Astrology meme accounts are everywhere, and Tinder bios are rife with quippy one-liners referencing sign compatibility.

Interestingly, there’s been a shift away from focusing on an individual’s birth chart to looking at how the planetary movements might predict what will happen to them in the coming week or month. You might have heard of the upcoming “mercury retrograde” as an example. (If you find your tech plays up or you have a miscommunication with a friend in the next couple of weeks, you now know why)! Basically, we’re taking it a whole lot more seriously.

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Why is that?

Astrologer Rob Gilett had this to say about it in an interview with The Guardian: “I think what’s happened to people in their late teens and 20s, and younger people even more so, is a sense of betrayal by conventional knowledge. […] There is a lack of values everywhere you look. The things you relied on don’t seem to be reliable. In that sort of culture, you look for something underpinning everything.”

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I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Life nowadays is hectic. Astrology provides an anchor, a means of control. That, and many people (such as myself) are disillusioned with organised religion and are looking to alternative means to explore our spirituality.

There are, of course, dangers in using a system like this to ascribe labels to people. Criticisms have emerged that pinning fixed traits to people based on the stars encourages a kind of discrimination. I agree that Predeterminism can be dangerous. However, anyone using astrology this way is abusing it. No sign is inherently good or bad, and anyone who calls all Geminis fake or Scorpios manipulative are using astrology for their own personal gain. The popular app Co-Star, for example, has faced criticism for sending ominous notifications to people’s phones, calling them selfish or warning them to stay inside on certain days or else disaster may strike. The criticism it has faced for this is wholly justified.

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The signs are meant to give you a means of self-reflection. For example, my chart provides encouragement in knowing that my Capricorn sun sign enables me to be a hard worker when I apply myself and warns me to be careful of emotional isolation as my Aquarius moon often has me do. It gives me the agency to change myself for the better.

Why do people hate astrology so much? Well, I think it has something to do with the fact that it is an art dominated by women. The patriarchal society we live in has a fear of the unscientific and irrational. Women have often been pulled towards divination and mysticism. We have been healers, witches and diviners for as long as humanity has been around. I believe astrology is a way of getting in touch with something our frantically evolving world has neglected and scoffed at.

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No, I can’t prove that it’s real – nor do I want to. Isn’t it healthy for us not to have to know everything about the world? If you don’t start obsessing over the planetary movements or take it too seriously, I say there is great fun to be had in learning to read your birth chart. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find out.

If you’re interested, you can go to cafeastrology.com to have your birth chart analysed. Plus here are some awesome apps to get you started:

  • The Pattern (iOS)
  • AstroMatrix (iOS and Android)
  • Co-Star (iOS) (Just … disable notifications.)

Happy star-gazing!

– Rebecca Warner

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