Love it or hate it: Astrology

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Love it

Astrology is ancient. Tons of old world cultures attached importance to astronomical events (Indians, Chinese, Maya). Of course, some aspects of astrology are stupid (Western astrology, in particular). Daily horoscopes are obviously bogus, and I never read them. Except The Onion’s, those are funny.

But it does make sense that the movements and positions of planets and stars should have a direct impact upon human life. Everything is connected. Being born in the same relative time and place as someone else – aka sharing an astrological “sign” – means you’ve experienced things in your life on a similar schedule. You have something in common and might even develop analogous personalities. Best of all, having a “sign” allows you to fit in somewhere. You have a group, a type, a place in the universal grand scheme. That’s helpful for insecure humans.

Part of astrology is intense projection – and frankly, that’s what I love most about it. You have the opportunity to self-mythologize. Seeing a psychic is a comparable sensation (though, by the way, some psychics are freakishly intuitive, while others are fakers who couldn’t even guess your natural hair color). Psychics discuss your past, future and present, and you make of that information what you will. It doesn’t ultimately matter what they say – you’ll assign your own fears, hopes and theories onto it. If you go in assuming it’s all B.S., you shall be proved right. If you enter with an open mind, you’re bound to hear or discover something of interest. Astrology is the same way.

— Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Hate it

I will not pretend to think that humans have this world, much less the universe, figured out. Science cannot provide every answer we seek. And what makes life interesting are the things we do not have testable answers for.

But astrology? The position of planets and stars having an effect on the kinds of people we are based on a set of weeks in which we’re born? Puh-leeze.

It’s a fun game to play, these signs that inform what kind of character and personality traits we have, determining how we interact with others, how we solve problems and events and situations we’ll encounter. But because these pronouncements are so purposely vague and applicable to just about anyone, they become rather laughable.

Like anything that requires belief and faith, we often seek information that confirms our worldview, bolsters what we already believe about ourselves and provides a sense of order, explanation and comfort in what can seem like a chaotic universe.

Yes, the month in which one is born does have determining effects. But these effects can be proven scientifically and sociologically: The seasonal weather, for instance, or your age when you start school (kids entering kindergarten closer to age 6 tend to be further developed mentally, emotionally and physically, which can have lifelong effects).

I have a number of friends who get into astrology to varying degrees. It’s fun, it’s comforting, let’s leave the door open to possibility, they say. Fair enough, but I ain’t buying.

— David Holub

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