Though it may not be the most scientifically legitimate field of study out there, astrology can still help people on their personal journeys.
We’ve all done it. Whether you believe in it or not, it can be hard to resist looking at your horoscope. And why should it be? It proposes a glimpse at your future—an inside look at who you really are. For some, though, astrology is more than just a casual curiosity.
Chances are, you’ve noticed astrology become more integrated into daily interactions, especially on social media. Twitter accounts such as @poetastrologers and @milkstrology have hundreds of thousands of followers, racking up high numbers of retweets per post. The astrology hashtag on Instagram contains 3.3 million posts. Perhaps most visible is the recent popularity of Co-Star, a NASA data-powered birth chart app that proposes a “hyper-personalized” experience. But what exactly does mercury in retrograde mean, and why does it matter so much to people?
Astrology isn’t completely scientific, but it does use astronomy as a basis to its claims. The signs themselves date back to ancient Greece and remain unchanged, providing a strong core to the system. As the planets move, astrologers propose their placement influences happenings on earth. Therefore, your birth chart is a blueprint of how the stars were influencing the planet (and you) at the moment of your birth.
The birth chart is the primary object of study among those interested in astrology, as it provides more nuance and deeper inquiry into the self than just knowing your sun sign does. Those who follow astrology use the birth chart to explore more about themselves down to creative expression and romantic preferences.
The lack of a concrete scientific basis to the field contributes to distrust or even hostility toward astrology. A popular VICE article titled “Why Straight Men Hate Astrology So Much” points toward this rationality, citing annoyance at potential romantic partners and a clear marketing strategy toward women and the LGBTQ community as reasons for disliking the idea. But astrology can be for everyone—even those who don’t actually believe in it.
Astrology is not completely accurate. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t have value. Astrology allows you to explore different facets of your identity and acknowledge the depths of yourself.
This is where self-discovery comes in. The more of your birth chart you read, the more opportunity there is to think about what does and doesn’t apply to you and why these traits may be important.
Using astrology for self-reflection doesn’t always equate to being a believer, but being a believer isn’t a bad thing either. If it feels real to you, it shouldn’t have to be scientifically proven to inhabit a valid space within your life.
Regardless of what people think, astrology can be used for good. It can be entertaining or life changing depending on your level of engagement. Dismissing it on the grounds that it isn’t proven belittles its potential for empowerment and expression. It isn’t hurting anyone. In fact, it does quite the opposite.
Instead of dismissing astrology, try engaging with it next time you read your horoscope. You might discover something new about yourself.