I, like many others in their late teens or early 20s, have been fascinated by the intricacies of astrology.
As a middle-schooler, googling your zodiac sign and comparing yourself to others at the lunch table was a fun way to pass the time and be briefly astounded by how similar the sign and the person matched up. Reading predictions was like discovering some new, quirky truth about yourself.
But now, it seems, astrology has become a hot topic. Thousands of accounts on Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter are dedicated to horoscopes and trendy “the signs as…” posts. Many millennials appear to know astrology and the traits of the different zodiac signs like the backs of their hands.
As a result, astrology has become a new, relatively acceptable way to evaluate a person. Additionally, the practice has become much more than just a passing fad, and it instead now resembles more of a worldview.
So, why do millennials love the signs so much? Katie Bishop, a rising sophomore at Pratt Institute, is an expert on all things related to the sun, moon and stars. And according to Bishop, these are the five reasons why millennials have such a hankering for the celestial.
1. Explanation for an Uncertain World
KATIE BISHOP: Let’s face it, millennials are undergoing a lot of struggles. From our political climate to crippling student loans and debt, a lot of us look for some sort of explanation as to why certain events are happening.
Having an awful week? Check to see what’s going on. If Mercury is in retrograde, what does that mean for you? Knowledge of what is going on in astrology can better prepare us for how to handle the world.
LEXI ANDERSON: Exactly. I know I check my horoscope more and more when things are going particularly terrible. Would you say astrology is a type of coping mechanism for this stress, or is it more like a spiritual thing, such as believing in a religion in order to seek some kind of guidance? Or is it neither?
KB: Honestly, I think it’s a little bit of both because isn’t religion a way to approach and solve problems? Essentially, religion is composed of stories to help provide moral guidance. I think astrology is similar to religion in that way, but it isn’t primarily anecdotal; it’s more like certain things are assigned to different planetary spaces of time.
Then again, you could ask the question of who decides that, much like how you can ask who decided what to put in the Bible. At its core though, astrology is a way to try to figure out who you are in this wild time. I think religion tries to do that as well, but in a different way.
2. Insight into Yourself
KB: Although some people claim their sign has nothing to do with them, factors such as your moon sign and houses can provide you with a lot of information about your habits, inner feelings and priorities. What’s important to you and why that is can be found through analyzing your birth chart or where particular planets were located at the time and date of your birth.
LA: Sometimes I look at these charts, especially on some of the apps like Co-Star, which gives you updates on a day-to-day basis, and I feel like I know too much about myself, to the point where it stresses me out. Do you think there’s a line? Should some things remain a mystery?
KB: I don’t think everything is the hardcore truth. If I’m a Pisces and it says that means I’m shy, it doesn’t mean I’m shy in every situation; it’s just a general guideline. You can’t let it stress you out too much.
What if someone had a Bible app and it said, “Don’t be gay today,” even if that person was? That would obviously stress them out. If something was telling you how to live your life every single day, you would just turn your notifications off. Astrology is just a suggestion or direction to take; it isn’t law.
3. Help Figuring Out Relationships
KB: Millennials are known for finding and maintaining their relationships behind screens, but I don’t think that’s completely true. Some astrological signs infamously don’t get along with each other.
Saying what sign you are on your Tinder profile can give people who care about astrology a small idea of what your priorities are and what you might be like after getting to know you.
Also, learning what your ascendant sign is can be important because it shows how people view you when you first meet. For example, my sign is Pisces, but my ascendant is Cancer. This shows that how I’m perceived at first is different than my actual sign.
LA: I see that everywhere on Tinder, it’s wild. Have you ever avoided a relationship, platonic or romantic, because of someone’s sign? As millennials, do you think that reasoning might come off a little extreme or do you think it’s valid?
KB: Admittedly, I have. I had a crush on someone before and when they didn’t like me back I thought, “Oh they’re a Leo so that makes sense.”
But I don’t think you should be selective or exclude people from your life just because of their sign. It isn’t an end all be all situation. What it does best is allow you to make sense of situations and relationships you’re already in and how best to approach them.
4. Connection to Greater Forces
KB: I don’t really think the time and date you are born is a mere coincidence. Many millennials aren’t into organized religion because of the misogyny and homophobia that can occur. Although I’m not religious, I definitely believe in a greater universe in which everything is working together. When and where you’re born is a big part of that.
LA: I agree completely. I think one of the major appeals of astrology and why it’s become more and more mainstream is simply because it’s something that helps explain the intricacies of ourselves without us needing to subscribe to it wholeheartedly. Do you feel like astrology gives you a purpose?
KB: Yeah, a little bit. For me, mostly, it’s like, “Damn, why am I like this?” and astrology helps you know why. I know more about how I’m going to react in certain situations. It doesn’t exactly give me purpose, but it does allow me to be more mindful of how I interact with people in my life.
It’s also not strict and regulated, like in organized religion. You are allowed to do what you want with the information you have, and I think that’s why it attracts a lot of people.
5. Because It’s Fun!
LA: Finally, I want to talk about astrology’s newfound presence on social media platforms. I’ve come across tons of accounts on Instagram and Tumblr that are devoted to the signs and horoscopes. What do you think of this massive boom across the internet? Are these accounts legit?
KB: I think it’s okay that astrology has become more popular. It is a fun thing! It’s similar to when you play games like “MASH” that are supposed to “predict” your future — who am I going to marry, what’s my day going to be like today?
But those accounts are used more for entertainment value; they aren’t trustworthy. For instance, those Buzzfeed quizzes, such as “Your Favorite Donut Based on Your Zodiac Sign,” are definitely bullshit.
Also, a lot of the time, the people creating these accounts claim to know more than they do; they’re ignorant to the actual logistics of astrology and rather act like experts because it’s “cool” or “trendy.” It can be frustrating.
But if you like it, as a reader or viewer of these accounts, simply for entertainment value, then there’s no harm in that. Just have fun with it and see what you can find out. There’s a lot you can learn.