What do the stars say about your future? The study and use of astrology has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. It begin as what many called “magical consciousness”, where there was believed to be “a blending, or overlapping, between one’s sense of self and the world outside.” (AstrologyClub.org) For many, their beliefs contribute to the way they interact and view their world.Even though this ‘reading of the stars’ has been around since long before our generations, it is still widely used and in some cases worshiped today. There are many people who live their lives all based off their astrological sign, fortunes of the stars, or even zodiac years and symbols. But is there any real evidence that any of this is even remotely true and not just make believe?
To begin, we better take a quick look at why people even believe in things like astrology and zodiac signs. It is said that 33% of Americans believe in astrology today, which equals out to around 104,940,000 people. Thats a lot of people for one country. (Huffington Post, 2016) Many people like to take comfort in a power larger then themselves. This is the reason for a lot of the appeal that individuals find in fortunes, it comes as a comfort to know that ones life is pre-determined, or there is a larger plan. Not to mention, some of the predictions are awfully enticing from time to time. Unfortunately though, astrology can be a profitable business, and some see the deception that is being sold within these books. Matthew Remski states “At worst, (astrology) it capitalizes upon every cognitive bias we have to serve magical thinking and the power imbalances of unacknowledged projection and transference.” (Matthew Remski, 2016)
AJ Agrawal writes that “it works in the same way as the movements of the moon control the tides of the oceans of the world. For example, Mars is the planet of passion. And Jupiter is the lucky star.” (2016) Astrology is classified as a pseudo science, and some believe that that alone serves as evidence that it’s all true. Though, I can not stand by that. The fact that astrology is considered a branch of science, does not mean all it’s predictions and theories cannot be false. There are though, countless reports of individuals claiming that what they read in their morning horoscope has come true throughout their day, and although the coincidences are fascinating, they do not serve as solid evidence. More often than not, these predictions coming true are the direct work of ‘the self fulfilling prophecy,’ which occurs “due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.” (Study.com/psychology) Individuals so strongly believe that it will happen, so they subconscious create it for themselves, or seek out situations where it might occur naturally that they otherwise wouldn’t have. It’s important to remember that the volume of accounts and stories from people claiming their horoscopes have come true does not make it fact. 1000 people could claim that the earth is flat while one claims it’s round. Does that mean that the earth is flat because the majority says or believes it is? Simply put, no. This soon begins a logical fallacy, in which one believes that if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. “My fortune said that I appear to be a bit too lazy, and my job performance would really improve with a bit more effort.” When the individuals increases their effort at work, then comes to find that their job performance did increase, it serves as proof for them that the horoscopes are true, even though in reality, they determined their own outcome.
On a more psychological side, many studies have found that certain months correlate positively with specific mental diseases. “ Some scientists noticed that schizophrenics were more likely than others to have February birthdays, then for bipolar disorder – winter and early spring birthdays have it worst.” (Ben Y Hayden Ph.D.) While this is fascinating, it is also known that many of these disorders are strongly linked to genetics, so regardless of which month one was born into, their chances of getting that particular mental illness are probably very similar. Now when depression is examined, there is no doubt that the winter months are connected, but that does not mean it’s because of the seasonal astrology. Winter is colder, darker and people go out less. Physical activity is also often decreased in these months, and people tend to hide away indoors. All these factors of winter can directly link to ones level of depression, often showing steady increases.
Many people base their everyday actions and events off their astrological predictions, and for many it provides comfort, stability and at the very least, mild entertainment. In most cases, the belief in astrology is not harmful and can actually have positive effects on peoples lives. And although there is no concrete evidence that astrology actually works, it has been used for hundreds of years, and will likely continue on for many more. It is human nature to want to feel looked after and protected, and for many that comes in the form of a higher power, lifting the weight of our shoulders of having to make all our decisions. While this is not true for everyone, and in this blog I am largely addressing those who swear by their daily horoscopes, it still goes to show that there is a large percentage of people who truly believe. Whether one wants to argue that it’s all based on faith and positive belief, or actual science, the fact of the matter is, there is no real answer to the validity go astrology as of today. So believe what you want to believe about astrology, as long as it makes you happy.