As a teenager, I was incredibly guilty of flicking immediately to the back of the latest issue of Shout or Teen Vogue on a desperate hunt to find out what the stars had in store for me in the upcoming months. Should I keep investing time with fake friends? Does my crush like me back? These were all very real questions that occupied my mind and to which, I believed I could find the answers hidden between the often-confusing prophesies of some unknown ‘mystic meg’. Looking back, I placed a comical amount of worth in these pages and drew incredibly tenuous connections between my current situation and the oddly specific predications of a teen magazine. These days, I find it difficult to comprehend horoscopes as an accurate indicator of fate and fortune.
I will admit, it’s easier than you might think to fall down the zodiac rabbit hole. Horoscopes are generally written so that they can always apply to their mass audience, being just vague enough so that it might resonate with our individual situation. The small glimmer of hope this provides is enough to entice mass audiences back for more.
In fact, the astrology industry is booming: the term ‘coronavirus astrology’ spiked on Google trends from the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and has not slowed down. Revenue for astrology apps (yes, they exist) grew by nearly $40 million in 2019 and marked a 64% increase in interest for sites like Sanctuary that provide live birth chart readings and daily horoscope updates. And I don’t know about you, but my tiktok ‘for you page’ is an endless stream of people telling me claiming to know exactly who I am based on the qualities associated with my birth month. The combination of narcissistic millennials and influencer obsessed Gen-zers have caused zodiac popularity to surge.
The explosion of pseudo ‘astrologers’ throughout the pandemic is hardly surprising. Now more than ever, people are searching for more optimism, comfort, and security everywhere but especially amongst the stars. The tumult and instability of the last two years has caused many to follow their daily horoscope to inspire hope and encourage a more positive outlook. Horoscopes demonstrate our need as humans to find meaning in everything, however, lumping all your ex-partners together because they’re Capricorns does not seem like a logical conclusion to me.
As a Sagittarius myself, I am naturally sceptical of astrology. I see little distinction between the speculation of a horoscope and the luck of a lottery ticket or fortune cookie. Undeniably, they can serve an entertaining purpose; it can be fun to read up on the traits associated with your sign or find out you and your friends’s compatibility. Yet making tangible life decisions and changes because of this seems nonsensical. It feels like too much of a fortunate escape to let life be governed by where your rising sign is each day.
The zodiac signs have further become a convenient means of condemning or excusing the behaviour of others, adding to the coining of the term ‘zodiac-shaming’. Not making friends with someone just because they’re a Leo or taking back your gaslighting ex-boyfriend just because he’s an Aries seems incredibly trivial. The internet is full of Buzzfeed listicles like ‘Which sign you definitely shouldn’t date’; living according to these rules is giving far too much power to something we have no control over. When did we start grouping together and judging mass groups solely because of some unrelated paradigm?
I have found that astrology tells us more about ourselves and what we choose to believe than the future itself. Horoscopes are a fun and creative means of encouraging optimism but should be noted with a grain of salt. For me, horoscopes will always be more hoax than help.