Almost every human being is concerned about what the future holds for him or her and finds solace in anything that offers some assurance regarding the latter. Since ancient times, astrology has been a means of getting answers as to why circumstances in the life of an individual are the way they are or predicting the same so that they can be better navigated. Accurate or not, such answers provide psychological support for less-than-strong-willed beings and enable them to look forward to what lies ahead with renewed hope. Conversely, prophecies of unfavourable conditions can cause impressionable persons to become disillusioned about their future.
While astrology is popular among the public, a majority of the educated and rational-minded deem it as pseudoscience, with no concrete basis for the conclusions drawn by practitioners of the discipline. However, many cultures retain the belief that relative positions of celestial objects influence human lives and seek refuge in alleged remedies such as carrying out certain rituals or wearing gemstones or amulets believed to impart protection and benefits to the wearer.
Astrology in today’s times
While faith in astrology or other means of forecasting future events in the God-fearing days of yore is understandable, it is surprising to see millennials obsessing over zodiac signs and horoscopes, such as those published by yearly-horoscope.org. A recent study reveals that scepticism towards astrology has gone down amongst a majority of American young adults and this is evident from the vast number of trendy youngsters who take their horoscopes seriously. Websites and Facebook pages are cashing in on this fixation by offering astrology-based articles such as ‘Which Zodiac Sign Will Your Soulmate Be?’, ‘What Your Zodiac Sign Predicts for the New Year’, ‘What Does Your Zodiac Sign Reveal About Your Personality?’ or even something as absurd as ‘Which Sitcom Character You Are According To Your Sun Sign’. These are mostly for entertainment and seldom have any real significance whatsoever.
Some people justify instances of their undesirable behaviour by citing negative personality traits associated with their zodiac signs, but such claims have no basis at all. According to the relatively sensible believers, the likelihood of a positive change in their lives brings some amount of hope, albeit irrational, giving a sense of control over their future. While the number of naysayers may be just as many, the possible reason why astrology continues to thrive is that the growth of consumerism has brought about endless distractions and erosion of values and in the ensuing chaos, many people yearn for meaning and guidance. Astrology gives some meaningful direction to destiny or at least provides an illusion of the same, making itself attractive to those people.
Does astrology really work?
The effectiveness of the practice continues to be a controversial issue. Although it has been long established that astrology has no scientific validity, it still has its believers among those of an Orthodox mindset and has secured a foothold in online culture as well. Horoscope columns of newspapers have given way to periodic forecasts on the Internet. These can be misleading and therefore, should not be taken literally. A coincidence on more than one occasion does not mean it will work every time. Care should also be taken not to fall prey to fraudulent practices that abound in these times. There is no harm in indulging one’s belief, as long as he or she draws hope from it, but does not become wholly dependent on the same. Predictions may not always come true, but the promise of better times is often all that is needed to see someone through a stressful phase.
Ana Miller is a creative writer. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.