4 Facts About Astrology You Should Know Before Calling It Fake

Astrology is a divisive topic for certain individuals, with many claiming that it is completely fake, while others consistently follow and believe in it. As someone who falls in the middle, believing in the possibility while not relying on it to get through my day, I have encountered several people who do not know much of anything about what astrology really is. Many of them have seen a zodiac meme or two that says that their sun sign is self-centered and wrote it off as fake immediately. Understanding astrology can be difficult and requires knowledge of how to read a birth chart and interpret the several signs and placements that go along with that. I am going to attempt to simplify the basic understanding of astrology, along with some facts that I have learned along my recent deep dive into the world of the zodiac.

  1. 1. Your sun sign does not define you.

    I often hear people (Ironically, they are often Aries) say that they do not align with the basic characteristics of “their sign.” When asked, “What is your zodiac sign?” the answer is usually your sun sign, which is a reflection of your personality. Co-Star (an app that is very helpful in understanding astrology in a more scientific way) says that “the sun determines your ego, identity, and ‘role’ in life. It's the core of who you are, and is the sign you’re most likely to already know.” So, while many people may resonate with the traits that go along with their sun sign, it is common to align strongly with one’s moon sign instead. Your moon sign is a more personal reflection of your emotions and feelings, especially when you are with people you feel that you can open up to or when you are alone. Some people are more in tune with their emotions and, as a result, could resonate with their moon sign more. If you don’t know the different signs in your chart, go to Cafe Astrology to find out. There are several other signs that are determined by the placement of those planets/stars at the time of your birth. Other signs to note include your rising or ascendant sign, which is supposed to show the way others perceive you when they first see you or meet you, and your Venus sign, which relates to the way you deal with relationships. Not every Leo is the same, and astrology is not trying to say that they are with the abundance of different signs that exist in our charts.

  2. 2. Mercury in retrograde is not just a meme.

    Have you ever seen those tweets about how someone cannot go to work/school today because Mercury is in retrograde? I have seen this used as an oversimplification of the actual event of the planet Mercury being in retrograde, and it has become a joke used against astrology in general. So, what is it really? The shifting of the different planets causes certain shifts in our behaviors, according to astrology. Mercury is the planet that rules communication and information, and there is a certain period where Mercury appears to be moving in a backward direction from our orbit called retrograde. The backward direction is associated with messed up communication and thinking patterns, which could result in losing things, communication errors and general frustration. Astrologers warn people of this time because it can mess with schedules and make people feel unbalanced, but popular culture has taken this concept a bit out of control.

  3. 3. Astrology is not a new thing.

    The zodiac has its roots in Ancient Greece, China and Babylonia as humans have always looked to the stars for inspiration. Sten Odenwald, director of Citizen Science at the NASA Space Science Education Consortium told TIME that during the time of Ancient Greece, spring started as the sun first entered the Aries sign, which to this day begins the zodiac. Since then, the Earth has moved on its axis but we still keep the dates of the signs as they were roughly during that time. As philosophers began to explore how astrology and horoscopes could help determine certain actions for individuals, the popularity began to increase. So, why is astrology so popular now? The answer is a bit unclear, as the culture of zodiac has shifted greatly to become more meme culture than astrological study. VICE cites a split in astrology with the rise of “pop astrology” centering more on humor surrounding the different signs. It’s important to realize that astrology is not a new trend made just for Instagram meme pages, but that it has more serious roots in our world’s history.

  4. 4. Horoscopes require research and science to determine.

    Interpreting the signs is not just a guessing game. If you have ever seen a birth chart before, you would know that it is very complex! Co-star merges the power of data from NASA about the placement of planets and stars with astrological insight, all powered by AI. This makes the horoscopes and readings from that app more logical and based in reason. For example, it associates certain angles like 45 degrees (semi-square) to feelings such as frustration and obstacles. This, combined with knowledge that Mars is 45 degrees from where Pluto was at my time of birth, is supposed to tell me that I will feel frustrated by an impulsive decision I have made as Mars rules action and Pluto rules power. However, many horoscopes are not nearly as well-researched or detailed, which results in those single sentence horoscopes you find on a random app. It is pretty easy to think of a vague claim that could impact anyone in the next week, and it is horoscopes like these that make astrology unreliable to many people. Astrology as a whole is much more detailed and has more merit than those types of horoscopes.

Astrology is much more than calling a Taurus “materialistic,” or a Leo “selfish” or an Aquarius “weird.” There is a rich complexity and history that goes into it, making it a fascinating concept to learn about. Going forward, I hope you can use this knowledge to understand the zodiac more clearly and have fun with the exciting world of astrology!