At a time when the world can feel uncertain, it's unsurprising people are looking for new ways to understand their lives.and more »
Admittedly, I never paid much serious attention to astrology when I was younger.I knew it existed, of course, and IÂ knew my mum would speak of her latest horoscope in hushed tones to her friends at the hairdresser.Â I certainly knew of the kind of reputation it had to non-believers.Â Thought of by most as a sort of pseudo-science or pop psychology/spirituality, I assumed astrology had nothing to offer me. Astrology is loosely defined as a form of stargazing. Based onÂ the positioning of planets, predictions are made about how individuals will behave and interact at a given time. You know, horoscopes andÂ star signs and those intimidating sounding "retrogrades" that everyone seems to talk about.However, at that point in my life I had no idea how frightening being an adultÂ in an uncaring world would be, and how freeing it could be to rely on an alternative framework of questioning, analysing and rationalising.Beyond checking our horoscopes in the paperÂ or ad-libbing with friends about which objects or animal figures apparently indicated our destiny and future love life, I wouldn't have said many other young people I knew were invested in astrology back then either. Yet, for whatever reason, that has changed over the past few years.Â In the US, for example,Â a number ofÂ Queer Astrology conferencesÂ have been held in recent times. TheÂ organisers call astrologyÂ and queerness "long lost twins" andÂ sayÂ they view astrology through the lenses ofÂ feminism, sex-positivity, class andÂ race among other issues.
An abundance of Twitter andÂ TumblrÂ accounts have popped up delivering earnest advice on star placements as well as self-aware jokes, often about the personality types attracted toÂ star signs. My personal favourite,Â Astro Poets, offers insights such as "CapricornÂ tweet draft: where's my money I can't find it like my soul". Publications likeÂ Teen VogueÂ and feminist websiteÂ Broadly also regularlyÂ publish horoscopes.I see people engaged in postgraduate university study, even philosophy majors, who utterly believe astrology is a valid way to understand their lives. I talk about star signs with my matches on Tinder, and with service workers when we're trying to pass the time. It can be a playfulÂ way to break the ice or get to know someone.Â Perhaps recognising astrology's roots in non-western cultures is valuable for some people and in some way responsible for this resurgence. Additionally, its connections to the stars and the wider universeÂ adds a romance and mystery to our lives which is seemingly being stripped away by things like social media.Â With the constant barrage ofÂ bad news -Â whether it's conflict in different parts of the world, climate change, the success ofÂ BrexitÂ or the election ofÂ Donald Trump -Â the future often feelsÂ increasingly frightening. On top of that, economic instability, underemployment and theÂ rising cost of housing means many youngÂ people feel their lives are plagued by instability. While I wouldn't say that's the only explanation, it's not surprisingÂ thatÂ in thisÂ context young people are looking for alternative ways to interpret their world.Â This resurgence seems especiallyÂ strongÂ among young womenÂ and queer people,Â whose lives have an added layer of insecurity.Â For those who feel alienated by institutional religions, certain types of spiritual awareness and astrology can offer an alternative. People are framingÂ moralsÂ set forth by religion in a way that feels more accessible and relevant to their lives. Astrology, for example, does not overtly punish or judge. It does notÂ categorise certain emotions or personality traits as "good" or "bad". It merely notes where they can be useful, and where they might be a weakness depending on the individual.â€‹I think it's important to note that people who are genuinely invested in astrology don't believe it's determining our every action. In fact, the way I look at it is often quite light-hearted and open-ended. It's more important to recognise how young people have reclaimed something that was otherwise ignored in larger culture. (It's also importantÂ to note thatÂ while astrology definitely seems very trendy right now, it has been practiced for years as a seriousÂ exploration by many people outside of the public eye.)By giving us different points of view, we can choose to take that information and ask ourselves hard questions - about our future, our relationships, our work -Â in ways that would have been more difficult if we were addressing them in the brutally logical, binary way our society Â encourages us to.Â