Thompson: Astrology isn’t real or fake, it’s what you make of it

Madison Thompson

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

If you haven’t noticed, astrology is becoming mainstream. Did you hear about the last mercury retrograde? Brutal.

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Humans have practiced astrology for thousands of years, using the stars to guide harvests, signal weather events or simply as a compass. In Babylonia, for example, the rainy season was found to occur when the Sun was in a particular constellation, which was then named Aquarius or water bearer.

Nowadays, even Amazon is picking up on its resurgence by publishing monthly horoscopes for Prime members, directing them towards what they should purchase based on their signs.

Asking if someone “believes” in astrology is the wrong question to ask. It implies that people are abandoning rational thought for mystical calamity. Astrology is not a science, and it’s not trying to be. It offers comfort in times of uncertainty with the consistent, gentle reminder we all need sometimes: this too shall pass.

Millennials and Gen Zs are the most stressed generations to date. The 2017 edition of the APA’s survey found that 63% of Americans said they were significantly stressed about the country’s future, 56% said reading the news stresses them out, and Millennials and Gen Z were significantly more likely than older people to say so.

Younger generations are flocking to astrology because more and more people are recognizing that science can’t answer all of our questions, or even necessarily be a divine guide for humanity. Science is a magnificent tool, but it’s not the only one.

Just like the Enlightenment gave way to the Romantic Period, the scientization of the 19th century is giving way to 21st century spirituality.

There are barriers to entry for the scientific community, just like the astrology community. Understanding the jargon is essential to representing (and not explaining or predicting) human experiences and life events.

Humans are narrative creatures. Astrology is merely a way to mark time and track patterns, which is basically what humans have done with everything else since the beginning of time. We do the same thing with plants and animals— so why not personalities, relationship patterns and life cycles?

Walter Thompson’s intelligence group released a trend report in 2016 called “Unreality.

“We are increasingly turning to unreality as a form of escape and a way to search for other kinds of freedom, truth and meaning,” it reads. “What emerges is an appreciation for magic and spirituality, the knowingly unreal, and the intangible aspects of our lives that defy big data and the ultra-transparency of the web.”

Just like the Enlightenment gave way to the Romantic Period, the scientization of the 19th century is giving way to 21st century spirituality.

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As our planet deteriorates at an alarming rate, our generation has a deeper will to understand ourselves and our place in the universe. With atheism at an all time high, it’s no surprise that spiritual practices like meditation and astrology are on the rise.

Of course, some people are going to use astrology to judge others before they know them, but you don’t have to. Your birth chart can bring to light the things about yourself you don’t want to acknowledge, or that you didn’t understand about yourself in the first place. You can calculate yours for free at astro.com.

We should encourage people to embrace the things that resonate with them. We’re all just floating through space on a giant rock constantly figuring out what to do with our time and who we want to be. If using astrology helps you or shows you a new path you might not have considered before, all the power to you. 

Madison Thompson can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter at @madisongoeswest.