Whether you’re a believer or not, there’s no getting away from the fact that astrology seems to have become more popular than ever. Indeed, despite the influx of memes making a mockery of horoscopes during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown (you know the ones: every single star sign ‘predicts’ that ‘you will stay inside today’), more of us than ever have been searching for our own star sign, and drinking in everything that the astrologer has written for us that day.
But, while we used to just enjoy writing off the day’s blips as being down to the fact that “Mercury is in retrograde”, astrologers and psychologists alike believe that we are all consulting the zodiac for very different reasons right now.
Why are so many of us turning to astrology during lockdown?
“People turn to astrology to explain what they don’t understand, for context and comfort when we are tasked with processing changes that can induce fear,” explains Ophira Edut of The AstroTwins.
“We’ve been asked ‘when will this end?” and ‘why is this happening?’ more than ever. Not only does astrology empower us to peer into the future, but we’re also able to pinpoint astrological cycles throughout history that could be repeating now.
“For example, we traced some of the major pandemics for centuries to a Jupiter-Pluto meetup that’s happening this year and even have created a Covid-19 and astrology section on our site due to the demand.”
Pauline Gerosa, the consultant astrologer behind Astrology Oracle, agrees.
“Astrology recognises cycles,” she says. “For example, Pluto – which is a very slow moving planet – has returned to the same place it was during the time of the American Revolution. And we can almost see that energy coming through again in the USA: a rebellion against the elite, the lawmakers, and the rules that aren’t fair or relevant to the people anymore.
“And there are many other cycles colliding, too, which is what is bringing about this intense energy. Uranus – a planet which is traditionally associated with upheaval – has returned to the same Taurus-based position it was in during the 1930s, in the lead-up to the Second World War.”
But what about that ‘Groundhog Day’ effect?
“The challenge has been writing daily horoscopes, since we’ve had to edit away references to dating, travel, hanging out with friends and all the short-term things people do,” says Edut. “But as astrology columnists, our job is to provide relevant advice for what’s happening on this planet now. So we changed all of our ‘scopes to help people get through the day with some kind of hope, with guidance for where to put their energy. Horoscopes can act as daily affirmations, showing you how to use your energy proactively and peacefully.
“Even though some people have tried to claim that horoscopes are irrelevant now, we think they are more helpful than ever. They are just being consumed for a different purpose.”
So, how should we be reading our horoscopes differently in lockdown?
“There are two kinds of people who turn to astrology in times of crisis,” explains Gerosa. “The first is the kind who says, ‘My life is so chaotic, please tell me what’s going to happen next.’
“The others, though, instinctively see that this is a time of great transition and potential evolution. They know they should be doing something, but they’re not sure what that is. They want to know if they’re on the right track, and what else they can be doing. It’s much more about self-development and self-awareness.”
Warming to her theme, Gerosa continues: “Astrology is meant to empower you. You are not a victim of your life, you are a driver of your life. So keep this in mind and try to read between the lines of your sun sign horoscope. And, instead of slavishly obsessing over every little detail, remember that the advice given is very generic.
“Read it, enjoy it, and ask yourself if the advice is meaningful to you? Is it relevant? Then by all means take it. If you find yourself thinking ‘for goodness sake, how ridiculous’, then ignore it.”
“Think of it as if you’re setting out on a journey, and you’re checking the weather beforehand,” she adds. “You are the determiner of your own journey. The weather report is just something to bear in mind.”
And what do psychologists have to say about our newfound astrology obsession?
Those who tend to scoff at astrology may be surprised to know that psychologists have a pretty positive take on all of this.
As psychologist, author, and couples therapist Dr. Kalanit Ben-Ari tells me: “During times of crisis and uncertainty, people often experience feeling a lack of control over the situation and their lives as a whole. This sense of helplessness triggers anxiety at its core. As human beings, when we experience crisis or trauma, we naturally try to make sense of it. Why did it happen? Why did it happen to us? What is the meaning of it?
“Understanding the causes and meanings behind a crisis helps towards our wellbeing and strengthens resilience needed to get through it. We can see this in many areas of trauma or crises, where, for example if a loved one is seriously ill. People of faith or with a spiritual belief may look to astrology for answers or comfort, in a bid to better understand the situation from a higher conscious level, to discover why it is happening, and determine what will happen next. That sense of direction, however accurate it may be, creates an illusion of a sense of control, which reduces anxiety levels.”
Ben-Ari adds: “If people find that religion, spirituality, or astrology offers them comfort and the sense of wellbeing at an uncertain time, then that can be great to explore, so as long as it is a healthy path and not taken to the extreme.
“I do think it is just as important, however, to acknowledge the discomfort of the current situation (loss, sadness, anxiety and so on), learn to be with it, and to listen to your own wisdom to help guide you.”
Essentially, psychologists and astrologers alike agree that you are the captain of your own fate. And, while the stars may help to chart a course, it’s on you to steer the ship home.
Images: Getty/Jeremy Thomas/Unsplash