Look up your horoscope for today. Does it seem accurate to you? Do you believe it? Why or why not? In “How Astrology Took Over the Internet,” Amanda Hess writes: I'm a Gemini, so I'm of two minds about the fact that astrology is suddenly trendy again ...
Credit Tracy MaLook up your horoscope for today. Does it seem accurate to you? Do you believe it? Why or why not?
In “How Astrology Took Over the Internet,” Amanda Hess writes:
I’m a Gemini, so I’m of two minds about the fact that astrology is suddenly trendy again. My curmudgeonly twin points out that astrology is fake. But my open-minded twin just downloaded a new horoscope app that solicited a few biographical details, indexed them with real-time NASA data, and then advised me to “get wasted and do something bad.” So who am I to argue with the wisdom of the universe?
That app is called Co-Star Astrology, and it’s one of a suite of new internet products rebranding the Zodiac for the digital set. Seemingly every cool-girl online brand — including Lenny, Bustle, Broadly, Girlboss and The Cut — features its own astrology column. An algorithm-powered subscription service, The Daily Hunch, offers personalized packages starting at $4.99 a month. Zodiac sign memes dominate Twitter, where popular accounts like @astrology serve “aesthetically pleasing astrology posts” and @poetastrologers rewrites horoscopes with literary flair. And a new set of internet-famous gurus are on the rise. Chani Nicholas — a kind of social-justice astrologer — has amassed a following with her chicly appointed newsletter, Twitter feed of self-help one-liners, and Instagram account where she shares empathic memes.
As astrology has caught on, justifications for its rise have swirled. Maybe young people are turning away from religion, and woo woo spirituality is filling the gap. Or maybe the unpredictable results of the last election have encouraged us to throw out traditional scientific methods and look to the stars.
But I think the astrology boomlet owes as much to the dynamics of the modern internet as it does to any sort of cosmic significance about the millennial’s place in the universe. Astrology checks several boxes for viral-happy content: It provides an easy framework for endlessly personalized material, targets women and accesses ’90s nostalgia. It’s the cosmic BuzzFeed quiz.
Students: Read the entire article, then tell us:
— Do you believe in astrology? Or do you think it is a hoax? Or are you somewhere in between — you might think astrology is fake, but you still like to read your horoscope? Why do you believe the way you do?
— If you do believe in astrology or read your horoscope regularly, what do you get from it? Does it provide you with a sense of spirituality, meaning, significance or connection to the universe? Is it a source of entertainment? If you don’t believe in astrology, why do you think some people are drawn to it?
— Why do you think astrology is on the rise in recent years? Is it because it offers a sense of order in an often unpredictable and seemingly chaotic world? Or, as Ms. Hess argues, is it simply because it makes “viral-happy content”? What evidence or personal experience do you have to support your opinion?
Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.
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