Why is the Ancient Philosophy of Astrology Still So Popular?

If you love astrology, you’re not alone: This ancient philosophy has enjoyed waves of popularity for centuries, and we’re in the midst of a resurgence of interest right now.

Similarly, if you think astrology is, to put it mildly, a bunch of baloney, you’re also not alone: Those who disagree with astrology often fervently deny it as silly at best, and potentially harmful to people at worst. But research has shown that people who turn to astrology often do so during rough patches in their lives, and often find solace in it. Here’s what researchers had to say.

The Point of Astrology

To someone who isn’t familiar with astrology, it may seem like the point of the philosophy is to read a daily (or monthly, or yearly) horoscope that attempts to predict the future. But followers of astrology know that this isn’t the case. Rather than working with future predictions, astrology aims to provide support for people when they have decisions to make, tragedies to cope with, or plans in the works.

Astrology is vary broad. The relationship of stars and planets to each other signify different themes or energies, and on a more personal level, they signify themes or energies that may be present in an individual’s life, based on their zodiac signs. Signs are determined by the positioning of the sun, moon and other celestial bodies at the time of one’s birth. Each sign, then, will theoretically experience the themes and energies astrology prescribes as it moves through the sky year after year.

So, when reading their horoscope, a person might see that the presence of a certain celestial body is putting them in the line to be affected by a theme — let’s say it’s decision-making. If the person reading their horoscope doesn’t have a big decision to make, they are likely to skim over this idea. But a person who does have a decision to make may be able to delve more deeply into its potential consequences by examining the astrological effects at play.

Why People Turn to Astrology

Because astrology deals in themes and concepts, rather than hard-and-fast predictions of the future, it can be easily accessed by almost anyone. While some may see this as proof that astrology isn’t meaningful (“Anyone could read that and feel like it described them!”), others would argue that this lends itself well to helping people cope with the ups and downs of life.

“{Astrology} provides a powerful vocabulary to capture not only personality and temperament but also life’s challenges and opportunities,” Bertram Malle, a social cognitive scientist at Brown University, told The Atlantic. “To the extent that one simply learns this vocabulary, it may be appealing as a rich way of representing (not explaining or predicting) human experiences and life events, and identifying some possible paths of coping.”

As it turns out, studies also show this to be true. One study examined people’s relationship with astrology, and found that the majority of people who consulted astrology did so when going through tough times. Many people find helpful hints in astrology: A person who is dissatisfied in their job might consult astrology, which may relay a theme of needing to make a big decision or let something go. This, in turn, could lead the person to pursue a different, more fulfilling career path.

So, when dissenters say that astrology is not a proven or reliable science for predicting the future, they’re kind of missing the point. If a school of thought can help us examine the larger themes and patterns that make up our lives, and allow us to make healthier decisions leading to better outcomes, the question isn’t whether or not the science is real: It’s how do you use it?

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50 comments

Kathy G
Kathy G25 days ago

Thank you

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Angela J
Angela Jabout a month ago

Thanks

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Janis K
Janis Kabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Trish K
Trish K1 months ago

So what's your sign ? Over the many years I have lived on this earth I have noticed that I can tell a persons sign by the way they act. It's characteristic and not absolute so have fun with it.

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silja s
silja salonen1 months ago

it's just plain silly fun for a rainy day ... peace and kindness always

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Shirley E
Shirley E1 months ago

I wouldn't base any important decisions on horoscopes but I love reading them nonetheless, especially those that tell me I'm going to feel inspired, or be lucky or have a nice surprise! The horrible ones just get blanked, of course.

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Tammy Andrews
Tammy Andrews2 months ago

Thanks... Free will, desired outcome, and choice is always more powerful than astrological probabilities which may be more likely when one operates on auto pilot or in lower levels. One can rise above astrological influences.

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RICKY SLOAN
RICKY S2 months ago

WOW

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Leanne K
Leanne K2 months ago

Horoscopes and clairvoyants in times of crisis, especially relationship troubles or break ups most definately seems the case

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Leanne K
Leanne K2 months ago

I cant say im a believer yet i will always read mine. Go figure.

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