Astrology divides the sky into 12 sections, the zodiac signs, and attributes meaning, to how the sun, moon, and the 12 planets align with the sections.
Birth Charts and Horoscopes
Our birth chart reveals how the stars and celestial bodies aligned when we were born. This formation presupposes certain personalities, traits, and life events. You can’t change the moment you were born or your zodiac sign, hence, your stars remain unchangeable.
Our signs purportedly reveal to us, who we are and why we do things. In this case, self-reflection takes a different meaning when it comes to understanding ourselves. We reflect on who we are through astrological reading.
Horoscopes offer another way to use astrology. Horoscopes provide a sense of comfort and motivation by predicting how our day, week, or month will look. Most horoscopes are “ambiguous and positive and written in such a generic manner“, that everyone can see themselves in a write-up, regardless of their sign. Nevertheless, those who believe in them feel that they have a leg up, since they have a sense of the future. Horoscopes deal with the predictive powers of celestial bodies.
In essence, astrology provides reassurance. In times of stress or loneliness, astrology dispenses answers, advice, and hope. Whether it’s an unrequited romantic relationship, career problems, or figuring out why someone lacks motivation, astrology seeks answers to these questions in the way planetary bodies align. In this sense, hope always lingers, since we are waiting for certain celestial bodies to be in the right place.
Astrology offers a “clear frame” for an explanation, which partly explains its draw. For example: the guy or girl isn’t texting you because Mercury is in retrograde, not because they are uninterested. This explanation protects our confidence, while dangling hope. It cushions the ego.
30% of Americans believe in astrology. Astrology attracts people who feel little control over their lives. In times of uncertainty, for some, astrology provides a mixture of the certainty of science through astronomy, with the mythical and devotional. Of course, astronomy is an academically accepted branch of science, and astrology, is not. Yes, astrology operates within a certain set of logic and patterns. It predicts what might happen given a certain celestial order, but outcomes can’t be scientifically proven.
This explains the cautionary words “for entertainment only” that you might come across horoscopes, numerology, or other mythical-based services.
On Wellness and Astrology
Astrology can act as a life-guide to help us get through the day or when we need to make tough decisions. Americans spend $2.2 billion annually, not just on astrology, but tarot cards, palmistry, tea leaf reading etc. We purchase a sense of assurance and certainty, which soothes our emotional and mental well-being.
In India, astrology plays an integral part in the marriage matchmaking process, with potential life partners weeded out based on their sign. It’s possible that knowing you and your partner are astrologically matched, will make you work harder on a relationship or perhaps be more tolerant.
Astrology gives us peace of mind and can energize our day. As a tool to help us cope, it works for some people. However, it becomes troublesome when we form opinions on people, situations, and ourselves, based on birth dates and signs. It makes you wonder if it deprives us from seeing people for who they really are. Or in our effort to find answers in the stars, we overshadow human agency. Or in looking to the mythical to address issues, we miss an opportunity to develop our own set of problem solving skills.
One of my favorite scenes in a movie is in A Knight’s Tale, when a father decides that for his son to live a better life, he must send him away. The father tells his son:”change your stars and live a better life than I have”. William Thatcher, a fisherman’s son, overcomes the odds, and becomes a knight.
There’s a charm in gleaning on the mystical and ancient wisdom for answers. Where we find our solace, hope, and inspirations may vary. Certain trends and beliefs might shelter us from life’s capricious nature–and that helps. But it doesn’t always mean it benefits our overall wellness and betterment. Something to consider when we embark on any wellness ritual.