Article by: Tanvi Ajmera
Graphic from Vexels
“… that something lucky is going to happen to you today! You’ll stumble across a wonderful individual, who will transform into the love of your life. As the positioning of Mars is in your career chart, you will become financially balanced, or you will find the job of your dream. This month will act as a stepping stone towards a better life for you!”
Ever since I was little, I have encountered small passages, like the one I crafted above, in newspapers, news broadcasting shows, and told to me by my family members. The importance and over-dramaticized perception of astrology in India, my home country, motivated me to believe in the power of horoscopes and the ways in which my sun and moon signs could influence my life. As I grew older, however, I started to realize the humor and “pseudoscience” that comes with the claim of astrology being a science. Though the days of liking astrological readings on Instagram and researching my horoscope for the day have faded from my life, I still find it fascinating how historically, and even today, some people believed in astrological claims and shaped their life choices by them.
Recently, I watched an episode regarding astrology on the Netflix’s documentary series called “Explained.” The show depicted the prevalence of astrology and horoscopes, the ways in which they evolved, and how, inevitably, their claims were debunked due to the formation of the scientific method. I learned that individuals started to move away from astrology and instead focused their attention on astronomy due to the fact that Galileo Galilei proved his scientific claims through the use of a telescope. As astrology could not be proven, its prominence dwindled over time. Just like that, in the 1600s, astrology was not considered “mainstream” anymore. As time progressed, however, the use of astrology again became more and more prevalent and its coverage magnified through the use of social media, newspapers, and various other platforms. Though individuals in western countries first started associating their personal idiosyncrasies with the formation of stars, this type of knowledge transferred rapidly to countries like India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – countries that still staunchly believe in astrology and the power of horoscopes.
Many people can argue, however, that believing in astrology is a backward way of thinking and that “fate” cannot be determined as an individual’s choice plays a factor in the way their life will turn out. As an Indian, I’ve grown up on the belief that the formation of stars right during the second when we were born have set out a life path for us – a life path that dictates what letter my name would start with (a ‘T’), what my occupation will most likely be, the kind of man I will marry, and the way my life will be structured. Although the argument of astrology and the use of horoscopes being backward is valid, I believe that taking this shared knowledge away from communities would harm the ways in which they communicate with each other and inevitably create a dent in the cultural context of a specific society. Even though I don’t read horoscopes or try to relate my personality with my astrological sign, I understand the reasons for why individuals turn to believing in something that they think dictates their life and gives them a hope for the future.
To conclude, although some of us may view astrology or horoscopes as being non-scientific or a pseudoscience, the personal enjoyment and sense of hope that comes with reading horoscopes are things that pure logic simply cannot live up to. Think of it this way: imagine the ritual of eating your favourite breakfast every Sunday or drinking your morning cup of coffee before school starts. For some individuals, reading astrology and horoscopes daily is a part of a ritual that they cannot let go of. Reading their horoscopes provides a form of encouragement that their day will go smoothly and they will encounter no bumps or hardships along the way. Like enjoying your morning cup of coffee, they sip each word, absorb each meaning, and go on with their day more energized than before.