Astrology has been having a moment as of recent and that prompted me to think about its appeal. Who does astrology appeal to, and why does it captivate some and not others?
This isn’t the first time astrology has had a moment like this, and it won’t be the last. For thousands of years, the practice has existed in various forms. More recently, the New Age movement of the 1960s and 1970s included a heavy dose of astrology.
While astrology didn’t go away in the decades between the New Age boom and now, it did fade into the background. Then something happened in the last 5 years that has given it an edge, a significance for this time, and place that it hasn’t had in 35 years. The millennial generation has taken it and run with it.
Astrology is well-suited to the digital age in some aspects. If you feel like plunging down a Google research rabbit hole, there’s a low barrier to admission and practically infinite depths to dive. The availability of more in-depth knowledge online has given this contemporary wave of astrology a certain sophistication.
What is astrology? How does it work?
A quick overview: Astrology isn’t a science, and there’s no proof that one’s zodiac sign has anything to do with personality. However, the system has its own logic. The positioning of the sun, moon, and planets within 12 sectors of the sky—the zodiac signs—gives meaning to astrology.
Even if you’re not an astrology fan, you’re probably aware of your sun sign, the most well-known zodiac sign. It’s determined by the position of the sun on your birthday. However, the position of the moon and each of the other planets at the time and place of your birth adds further shades to who you are.
Horoscopes are designed to inform you about what the planets are doing now and in the future, as well as how this impacts each zodiac sign.
Astrology uses the planets and zodiac symbols to express complex ideas about personality, life cycles, and relationship patterns. That shorthand also works well online, where symbols and shorthand are frequently used.
Why some people are more into astrology
It is obvious that some people are more obsessed with astrology than others who could care less. Apparently, in times of stress, people are more inclined to consult astrology, making people who are perpetually stressed more prone to be into this pseudo-science.
According to a short 1982 research by psychologist Graham Tyson, “those who contact astrologers did so in response to pressures in their life, especially stress related to the individual’s social duties and relationships. […] Under high stress, the individual is willing to employ astrology as a coping mechanism, even though he does not believe in it under low stress.”
Millennials have been the most stressed generation since 2014, according to American Psychological Association survey data, and they are also the group most likely to claim their stress has increased in the past year since 2010. Since 2012, Millennials and Gen X-ers have been much more anxious than previous generations. Since the 2016 presidential election, Americans have been experiencing greater stress as a result of the political turmoil.
Astrology provides comfort to those in distress by allowing them to imagine a brighter future, a physical reminder of the clichéd adage that is difficult to remember when you’re in the middle of it: This, too, shall pass.
Want to know who you’re compatible with? Astrology lovers, here’s your zodiac sign compatibility breakdown.
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