Astrology/ Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Does astrology have a place in modern times?

“Try to cultivate authentic interest and care for others today” is the push notification I received upon checking my phone this morning. Is this not a warming, positive message? Surely it is much better than a barrage of bad news or social media notifications. This is something that can have an impact on your life and help you to have a better day.

This notification is the message I receive from Co-Star, an app that has taken the internet by storm over the past year for its popularity among millennials. It’s based around astrology, with a difference because of the detailed biographical information it asks for when you install the app. With this information, it can provide detailed astrological charts relevant to the exact time you were born.

Social media has been lit afire by the app, sparking countless memes and trendy discussions on why we hold certain character traits

After inputting information such as the time and place you were born, the app then gives you a detailed astrological chart, providing more than just your sun sign, which is what most people with a vague interest in astrology would be aware of as your main zodiac sign. This determines your identity and ‘role’ in life, and, as a Virgo, this means that I am responsible and hard-working. I like to think this is true, but this is perhaps something that I strive for more than anything. The app also provides your moon sign, which rules your emotions and feelings (mine is Libra, which means I am balanced but indecisive) and ascendant sign, as well as telling you several other signs based on which house the moon was in on your birth.

As someone who is passionate about astrology, I love the Co-Star app, because it gives so much information and explains a lot of astrological concepts very clearly. According to the app’s website, it gives an “astronomical snapshot of the sky based on the exact day, time, and place you were born.”

Social media has been lit afire by the app, sparking countless memes and trendy discussions on why we hold certain character traits. ‘Mystical services’ is now a $2.2 billion industry, clearly capitalising on the surge in interest among millennials. This summer, Co-Star had 5 million registered accounts, demonstrating its popularity.

Banu Guler, founder of Co-Star, argues that using astrology to explain yourself is powerful because “the crux of feeling like a human is being able to talk about your reality.” The app is so effective because it acknowledges the moons and different aspects of zodiac signs, not just using the sun sign which provides little information about all aspects of our character.

Social media has given astrology and horoscopes a platform, with #astrology used 4.1 million times

Astrology for many is a source of comfort and reassurance in times of personal hardship or uncertainty. It can also be used as a form of escapism in times of social and political unrest. The first newspaper astrology column was commissioned in 1930 after the stock market crash. Astrologer Colin Bedell argues that the 2016 US election changed things, with people turning to astrology for comfort in the age of Trump.

Millennials have given astrology a new lease of life, with a 2015 YouGov poll showing that 20% of Britons believe star signs show us something. However, only 8% believed they could predict the future. As much as I love astrology and find noticing patterns and reasons for characteristics or events in my life interesting, I have to agree that I don’t believe astrology can predict the future.

Social media has given astrology and horoscopes a platform, with #astrology used 4.1 million times. Apps like Co-Star are made to be shared on Twitter and Instagram. I discovered Co-Star through many funny tweets which shared the outrageously blunt notifications people had received.

I love the little confidence boost that comes with a notification from Co-Star, reassuring me that I am doing well

If it’s not already clear, I am a big fan of astrology, and apps such as Co-Star only foster this. I have read a lot about zodiac signs, and am fascinated with all things related to the stars and moon.

Although I can’t say that I use horoscopes and apps like Co-Star to predict my future and plan out my life, I love the little confidence boost that comes with a notification from Co-Star, reassuring me that I am doing well or reminding me to be a little kinder that day. Zodiac signs, horoscopes and psychic readings are definitely not for everyone, but the power of social media and the internet has revived millennial interest in astrology.

Adorno’s critique that astrology appealed to people who felt that they aren’t “self-determining subjects of their fate” is certainly outdated. Astrology appeals to millennials who use horoscopes and information about their zodiac to learn more about themselves. That is empowering.

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