Astrology is fake, but also I’m obsessed


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My best friend knows practically all there is to astrology. It was always interesting to hear her talk about it. I never fully tried to understand what she would explain, but over time, I started to pick up on certain terms. Like “rising.” And “moon sign.”

During one conversation in particular, we were sitting in my room, and I couldn’t help but finally volunteer my own birth time and ask her to interpret my chart.

“Moon in Scorpio. Interesting.

“Wait, what?”

“Your rising is in Virgo, that definitely makes sense.”

“Peyton, please explain.”

“Venus in Cancer? Honestly wouldn’t have guessed it.”

I won’t bore you with the nuances of my own psyche and all that, but I will say that there were certain aspects of this conversation that struck a chord — and that I have since downloaded Co-Star, a hyperpersonalized app that provides astrological and horoscope information beyond your sun sign.

Do I totally believe in astrology? No… But has learning more about it been beneficial and interesting, enough to write a piece on it? Hard yes.

Do I totally believe in astrology? No. Would I fight for it as something beyond pseudoscience? No. But has learning more about it been beneficial and interesting, enough to write a piece on it? Hard yes. 

Many people laugh about the zodiac. I mean, I guess I am, I’m going for a sarcastic tone with all this. So am I saying it’s all nonsense? Or wait, maybe I actually totally subscribe to it, but the sarcasm just cushions judgment from all of you? Are you confused now? Great. Sorry, I digress. My Mercury is in Gemini, I can’t help it. 

Allow me to ground this piece in some substance for a second. It makes sense to me that astrology is increasingly used as a legitimate source of self-help. A recent piece in The New York Times explores the role it’s playing in contemporary therapy. There’s also a decent amount of commentary on how millennials, in particular, seek insight from their charts, regardless of fully believing.

But suppose someone does call astrology laughable. I would also argue that they are at least ever so slightly interested in what their chart could potentially reveal about them. Take my dad for example. We were in the kitchen over the summer, and he was giving me grief about my newfound interest in astrology.

“Oh, ha, so I’m a Pisces. What does that mean?”

Laugh at me all you want, dad. I guess I’m just an idealistic millennial anyway, but I hear that edge of curiosity in your voice. I see how your eyes soften for a second when I call you out for how when you “take offense, it is deeply.” You pause and have an impulse to ask for what more the stars can maybe tell you about your personhood.

Astrology has been a source of comic relief but not going to lie: It’s been a source of guidance, too.

All kidding aside, in learning about astrology, I’ve had a few realizations.

  1. We’re all wired differently. We all have different insecurities, different strengths, different ways of processing. A lot of interpersonal issues stem from these clashes, and a lot of resolve can emerge from recognizing the nuances of those close to us.
  2. There’s comfort in the idea that maybe, just maybe, we’re a part of something larger. Regardless of whether or not this is the case, that’s a whole other conversation of its own, it’s interesting that we all take part in this solace.
  3. It’s deeply valuable to better understand yourself. For example, I’m apparently a “lunar Scorpio,” which, according to Co-Star, means that my inner, emotional self is “intense, passionate, and a bit dramatic.” I’ve found myself taking note of this when I become upset with something. I take a step back and realize I’m probably making something a larger deal than it, in fact, is. This could all very well be made up, but more largely, it has prompted me to be more thoughtful about how I respond to situations, which I think is worth something.
  4. Sometimes you don’t know what you need to hear. There have been times when I’ve had a difficult day, then skimmed through my daily horoscope. Some parts of it, my eyes completely glaze over. But other parts of it resonate. This helps identify what is bothering me. Again, this could all very well be made up, but if some part of it manages to better my day or attitude, I’ll take it.

It’s not astrology I’m into but what it stands for. I’m a young adult figuring things out. And while figuring things out,  I feel lost sometimes. Actually, kind of often. Astrology has been a source of comic relief but not going to lie: It’s been a source of guidance, too. I’ll say it.

Contact Kathryn Kemp at [email protected].