Astrology is not all bad
BY KAREN SUROS
Think back to when human beings existed mainly as hunters and gatherers. No television, internet or even books to entertain them. Back then, looking up at the night sky and all its stars was about as amusing as it got. As people gazed above, they began to find meaning in the darkness and all those orbs that loomed overhead. This meaning manifested itself in the form of horoscopes and the zodiac. Today, zodiac signs and horoscopes, regardless of their validity, captivate a wide audience, entertaining the human race just as it did in ancient times.
In fact, astrology played a role in many belief systems centuries ago. According to Time, Ancient China, Sumeria, Babylon and Egypt all looked to the stars in one way or another. It was in Ancient Greece that zodiac signs were organized into the 12 we know today: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.
NASA explains that the constellations are the stars that are seen from Earth as it rotates on its axis. Zodiac signs represent 12 of these constellations.
While it may be irrational to blame every single personality trait on something as trivial as a zodiac sign, basic generalities do no harm. There are exceptions to every rule, but perhaps those born under Scorpio are tougher than those born under, say, Cancer.
One learns to take pride in their zodiac.
Furthermore, zodiacs and horoscopes are much more complex than some may think them to be. Every individual has their own natal chart that takes into consideration the position of the stars at the precise moment of their birth. It turns out that it is not only the date of birth that matters, but also the location and time. This information generates much more than the typical sun sign people are used to researching.
Additionally, each planet, star or house in that chart accounts for a different area of life. For instance, the planet Mars rules over willpower and the urge to violence or wild activity, so the characteristics of one’s sign in Mars determines their behavior in that area. If more people understood the full extent of their zodiac sign, they would realize that astrology is not as phony as it appears.
On the not-so-rare occasion that there is truth to a horoscope, or when a zodiac happens to seem the perfect fit, there is a degree of gratification to which little can compare. It leads to a new interest in further exploring astrology. Eventually, one learns to take pride in their zodiac.
As ingenuine as they appear, there are trends in zodiac signs that show there may be some truth to them. For instance, statistics from the FBI show that some zodiac signs tend to be more dangerous than others.
If it just so happens that a Scorpio and a Taurus continually bump heads with each other, remember that the stars called it first.
Even if horoscopes are just fabricated nonsense, they are a lot of fun to look at. Hundreds upon hundreds of articles, quizzes and blogs on the ever-expansive internet are dedicated to predicting the future based on the 12 astrological signs. There is no use letting them go to waste, so why not take a gander at what they have to offer? Perhaps they are capable of surprising skeptics.
Many doubt the validity of astrology, with good reason. There is not sufficient evidence to back up astrology as a science, after all. However, astrology proves time and time again to be a good source of entertainment, if nothing else, and it leads to deeper questions in regards to personality. A little self-reflection never hurt anybody.
Then there are those that take it much too far. Zodiac signs and the compatibility between them alone are not worth ending relationships over. Taking it too far can leave a person lonely, with nothing but natal charts to provide them comfort. At the end of the day, it is best to make judgment calls based on a person’s character, which is shown through their actions and words. Still, if it just so happens that a Scorpio and a Taurus continually bump heads with each other, remember that the stars called it first.
At the end of the day, astrology and horoscopes can be a riveting escape for those open enough to give it a shot. Who really knows what secrets the stars hold if one never bothers to explore them?
It shouldn’t dictate your life choices
According to my horoscope, I am a nervous, inconsistent and indecisive Gemini with curious and affectionate tendencies. I don’t believe I’m alone in not letting the date on which I was born define my character traits, but those who oppose my logic are not small in number by any means.
Now truth be told, I don’t have a large understanding of astrology. Efforts to conduct a thorough search of what it is, how it works and where it originates from were seemingly fruitless— the end result being a slight understanding of the background of the study.
It seems that what was once a tool utilized to predict the occurrence of seasons and celestial events is now recognized as a social media trend on Instagram and Twitter. A search of #horoscope on Instagram brings up over one million posts.
Now, I sincerely doubt that behind all of these posts is an astrologist sharing their knowledge with the internet. Many are simply making lists of what they consider to be related to each sign; Aries are courageous and impulsive and Cancers are loyal but pessimistic. All of these are basic, open-ended characteristics that can easily be made into a quiz or text-post of sorts.
It seems that knowing these characteristics, and their corresponding birth dates, are the only qualifications necessary to tell people what outfit they should wear or what type of person they are.
The practice isn’t based on fact.
But, even for those who do understand the signs and know the topic well enough to practice it, the practice isn’t based on fact. However, this doesn’t seem to be deterring all of those who follow them almost religiously.
Astronomer and Director of Citizen Science at the NASA Space Science Education Consortium Sten Odenwald argues that, despite the lack of reality in astrology’s answers, people keep turning to it for something that is, in fact, real: Self-selection.
Self-selection, a term for a psychological phenomenon, is used by Odenwald to describe human tendencies to search for other interpretations of what they wish to be true.
“People magnify the positives, they forget the negatives,” Odenwald said. “That’s just how we’re designed.”
At the end of the day, this should not be a polarizing topic of conversation.
The fact is, horoscopes are not backed by science. The practice relies on factors that cannot be quantified. However, that’s not to say that there is any harm in following them.
Despite my personal belief that they are a fantastical fiction, I occasionally find myself looking for the Gemini section of the posts that pop up on my timeline. I will admit that I chuckle at a few poorly composed zodiac memes because even I can’t deny that they are a fun form of entertainment.
For many, horoscopes are just that: entertaining and nonsensical. For those who enjoy following them, I send you my sincerest apologies— this piece of text was not meant to target those who do believe, but instead to explain the opposition. Because, at the end of the day, this should not be a polarizing topic of conversation.
Some believe and follow, others don’t. The only foreseeable problem could be when either side instructs the other on how to go about expressing their beliefs or even processing them.
Astrology should not be forced onto people. At the end of the day, whether someone chooses to follow it or not is their choice and their choice alone.
Photo courtesy of National Public Radio