A girl looks at her horoscope and cries while astrological figures are shown in the background
Photo illustration by Tatiana Smith/Nevada Sagebrush
According to Bethany Haspel, it is time to recognize the role astrology is playing in modern life as a substitute for theology.

Astrology is all the rage. 

That’s no secret. Any highly intuitive Cancer or observant Virgo can see that many Millennials and GenZers now incorporate astrology into their basic identity. Zodiac merchandise is everywhere and you can even include your sign on certain dating app profiles.

But why? Why is it that we cling so tightly to something that may or may not even be true? 

Simple answer: we need guidance. 

In generations past, a huge source of moral and societal guidance was found through organized religions like Christianity and Catholicism. Beliefs were taught and values provided. However, as the most recent generations have grown up, we have been caught in the middle of a ton of religious and political chaos. 

As the importance of individuality and self-expression is stressed more and more, it has become harder for people to identify with strict ideals. We are learning how to think about things a little deeper and really develop our own viewpoints. Organized religion has a hard time keeping up with this and often leaves many of us feeling ostracized or misunderstood. For those in the LGBTQ+ community, religion and religious beliefs might even be a point of contention in their relationships with their families. 

I believe that this, coupled with the ever-growing challenges of human interaction in a technology-dominated age, are what have set the stage for a rise in astrology as a belief system.

Astrology itself is a very broad set of ideas. Based off of your birthday alone, you are presented with a set of personality traits and advice on how to best operate with them in the world. That sounds like a pretty good deal for people who have very little opportunity or help in figuring out who they are. 

Each person can delve as deeply or as shallowly as they choose, which is also big plus. Some people are fine with a quick daily horoscope while others use apps like Co-Star to formulate their entire birth chart. Sun signs, moon signs, rising, mercury, venus, houses, planets, etc. can explain elements of someone’s personality that they probably never even thought about before. 

The unfortunate truth is that we need things like astrology, as silly as it may seem, to help us piece together our identities.

It also somewhat aides us in understanding and connecting with others. One of the most common questions asked when meeting new people, along with “what’s your major,” and “where are you from,” is “what is your sign?”

For many people, it creates an avenue to “learn” about someone quickly without actually getting to know them. Like I said before, this is a form of guidance and comfort. We have become socially awkward and tense when it comes to talking in person. Being able to justify a friend’s confusing actions by referencing their astrological signs makes us feel comforted and allows us to fall deeper into our anti-confrontational habits. 

In the end, astrology is a fun form of coping. Whether or not any of it real, it’s a useful tool to give our generations some comfort and distraction from the dumpster fire of our society, so go out and enjoy it! Follow it closely or challenge zodiac expectations by befriending the wrong air sign for you. Be okay with being a hopeless romantic because of your Venus in Pisces.

If you’re ever in need of a push in literally any direction, just check your horoscope. It’s what we all do.

Bethaney Haspel can be reached at bethanyhaspel@gmail.com and on Twitter @bethanyhaspel.