I’ve always been drawn to the more esoteric side of life; tarot cards, spiritualism, the paranormal and most notably, astrology. Belief is a strong word, one I try to use sparingly in relation to my more mystical interests, but I can hardly deny the lure of the self-defined ‘great mysteries’. Of course, this curiosity comes hand-in-hand with a certain amount of backlash, or at the very least a few disapproving glances from the less mystically inclined. Fret not, I have no intention of converting you to Wicca or inviting you to join a devil-worshipping coven, I only intend to cast a light on how superstition-based systems, specifically the Zodiac, can be useful tools in times of discomfort.
To briefly summarise: according to astrology, the position of neighbouring planetary bodies upon the time of our birth, affects every aspect of our life. Most people are at least aware of their sun sign; fewer people are privy to their moon sign or their rising sign, knowledge which requires you look a little further than the newspaper horoscope slotted amongst the sudoku and comic strips. Whilst the notion of organising all seven billion people into twelve labelled boxes seems slightly reductive, this ancient practice has stood the test of time and is still thriving in a modern world, increasingly ruled by rationality.
The most obvious driving force behind our adoption of the zodiac is the need for a comfort blanket
The resurgence of astrology within millennial and Gen-Z culture is undeniable, just wander into any Urban Outfitters and it won’t be long before you stumble across paraphernalia adorned with constellations and astrological symbols. But why, in this increasingly logical era are we young people turning towards the illogical?
I think the most obvious driving force behind our adoption of the zodiac is the need for a comfort blanket. Much like a grieving person turning to a medium following the passing of a loved one, we can turn to astrology to find reassurance and hope for the future. People want someone or something to tell them everything is going to be okay: a hard thing to find in an age when we are unrelentingly bombarded with our impending doom, whether climate change or political instability. Yes, it may all just be an elaborate placebo effect, a mystical sugar pill to quell the negativity, but if it works why dismiss it as nonsense?
Sometimes our perceptions create our reality
On a lighter note, astrology’s new footing amongst youths is partially thanks to our favourite media: memes. The trend of ‘the signs as…’ is an internet culture staple, and even non-believers search through the lists to discover which breed of dog, or which Arthur character they’ve been assigned according to their sign (I accurately got D.W. If anybody was wondering). It may all be in jest, but any publicity is good publicity, so the Zodiac wriggling its way to the forefront of the internet was bound to encourage some to dive deeper into the astrological pool.
So, what are the benefits of astrology? Why do I stick with what most dismiss as a pseudoscience? And, how can you put astrology to use during my time at university? Well, sometimes the very act of opening yourself up to something, manifests said thing into your life. If you find out that Venus, the planet of love, has moved into your sign, be receptive to those amorous energies, and who knows you find yourself clicking with a special someone. Sometimes our perceptions create our reality.
I believe any activity that helps you learn more about yourself and how you interact with the world you occupy is one of value
Another way we can employ astrology is as a guide for self-examination; just think of it as a planetary ordained Briggs Meyers. Reading up on your sign you may identify with elements and traits within yourself that would otherwise go unobserved. I believe any activity that helps you learn more about yourself and how you interact with the world you occupy is one of value. In a way it’s all about self-awareness, just another form of mindfulness, helping you comprehend how you function and fit in the present moment- it’s not all about the future. People always say university is all about self-discovery, so why not get a helping hand in that arduous task?
Having said this, I advise against using astrology as your sole guide whilst at university; Discovering your flatmate’s and your own signs are incompatible is not sufficient reasoning to shut them out and Mercury being in retrograde is certainly not an excuse for handing in an essay after the deadline. Take it all with a grain of salt- but if the Zodiac helps provide any comfort or insight in this crazy transitional period, don’t let the naysayers discourage you, just keep looking to the stars.