Ah, the stars. Shining so bright in the sky. They've mesmerized us for millennia, leading us to reach great technological advancements and realizing that the universe is more vast than we could ever imagine. There's possibly nothing that has inspired poets and artists more than the scriptures of the night sky. How perplexing it is to look at constellations, watching their marvelous compositions transcend the ages and inspire the best of artists from all over the world. No wonder the Greeks looked for the forms of their collective imagination in their wonderful compositions, inspiring mythological creatures in their arrangements. Who would doubt of the power of their sparkling nature? They remind us just how small we really are. Some of us like to believe that their arrangements, next to the movement of the planets in our system, define our personality and our way through life from the moment of our birth. They're so foreboding yet vague that we confer them with the power of controlling all of our affairs, serving as a roadmap of how the life of every person should be.
In recent years, astrology has become increasingly popular. A study led by the University of Wales concluded that over 70% of adult Brits believe in it. Yet, isn't it strange that, in the secular age of information, a system of belief based on superstition has become so widespread?
There are several reasons that explain this question. Even though the popularity of scientific thought is now more attainable than ever before, astrology still enjoys a lot of popularity possibly because a lot of people actually think it is a scientific. According to The Independent, nearly 58% of Americans aged 18-24 believe this is so, and therefore, the fact that we live in a secular society is not detrimental for the popularity of the system of belief stating that the stars structure and control people's lives.
Living in an age of uncertainty regarding the social, political, and economic environments, there's also the possibility that we're turning into astrology because we like to commit to something that gives a nice sense of relief and that not everything in the world is random. It's a nice sensation to feel that your life is going somewhere without having to take full responsibility of it. Moreover, it also alleviates us by making us believe that many of our unlikable traits are not actually our fault. Isn't it comforting to think that our lives are part of a greater purpose: a destiny that has been written in the stars. That the person we are goes beyond the limits of our organic body.
We identify with what we read in our horoscopes. When we check them out, we focus on the positive aspects of our sign because that reinforces our personality. We read through vague lines that explain our fiery personality, and how the stars have determined us to feel truly likable justifies the way we are. It reminds us that all of us have positive traits that won't ever leave us. Further still, there's also a great deal of astrology that works retrospectively.
When we face the idea that perhaps our lack of luck through the last months was not plain random, but actually something that was caused by an astronomical phenomenon, we have a moment to breathe and relax. Just think about how we comfort our friends when they're in grief. What is the most common thing to say in particularly dire situations? "Everything's gonna be alright." That's exactly what we're looking for when we read our horoscopes, someone to tell us that things are going to get better. That the universe is going to take care of it.
Many of us see astrology as a safety blanket. It's a system of belief that can nurture our wounds, no matter how deep. If we're going through a creative rut, astrology has an answer. If we're not compatible with our romantic interests, astrology explains that this is happening because your zodiac signs were incompatible from the start.
Astrology has a warm narrative that can make anyone feel as if they've lived in a universe with order, where everything happens for a reason. In that sense, it's not that different from a religious system of belief. Yet, astrology is much more permissive. Whether you're Christian, Muslim, Jew, or an Atheist, you're not excluded from the realm of the zodiac. You're given a sign from your birth, and independently from your religious conception of the universe, it can say something meaningful and comforting to you if you're just willing to identify with what it says to you. Besides, it doesn't require the same level of commitment as any religion, so you don't to make any significant changes to your lifestyle to believe in it. You just do.
All of us can fall for what the stars might say about our life. But, wouldn't it be best to figure out what we should do for our own fulfillment, instead of consulting an astral chart to do so?
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Images by Jethro Alaba (@jethroalaba)