Why I Love Astrology (Even Though It’s Nonsense)

It’s not hurting anyone, so just leave me alone.

A blue-purple sky covered in stars. A dark treeline is at the bottom of the picture.

At first glance, studying a science degree and being into astrology may seem to be a contradiction. I can already hear you screaming from the rooftops: “Astrology isn’t real!!”, “There’s no scientific evidence!!”, “They’re all just vague statements that apply to almost anyone!!”. And yes, you’re most likely right. There is no scientific evidence for astrology, not a single study, not even a crumb. But that doesn’t change the fact that I enjoy it. Not everything in our lives has to be about science, it can be about enjoyment and to some degree, faith.

Disclaimer: Yes, the acknowledgement of scientific fact is obviously very important. We can’t turn into ‘fake news’ criers who ignore the truth simply because it’s inconvenient to them. When deciding what actions should be taken to tackle a global pandemic, science is essential. When scrolling the internet for memes you can tag your friends in, not so much.

Millions of people all over the world believe in things that have no scientific basis. Religion has no concrete evidence that can be pointed at to demonstrate that it’s true yet people will speak with absolute certainty about how their religion is the ‘real’, ‘true’ religion. Not all things have to be factual. I don’t believe in a god, but I know that the idea brings comfort to others, so I let them enjoy their beliefs. Unlike other ‘believers’ I’m happy to admit that I don’t take astrology that seriously and that I don’t think there’s any proof behind it. I don’t try and push anyone else to believe in it or judge people based on it. Astrology has started no wars, shamed no-one, exploited no-one — and yet some people still view it with complete contempt.

I understand opposing certain pseudosciences. Psychic mediums for instance, who make their money by exploiting people during vulnerable periods of grief. Or ‘herbal healing experts’ who advise parents to forgo vaccines in favour of rubbing some rosemary on their child’s forehead. But if something is doing no harm, why are people so invested in hating on it? If buying crystals helps you feel more in control of your emotions, go for it! If becoming a witch helps you be more positive, or reading your horoscope helps you be more introspective, that’s great!

Just because there’s no science behind something doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. I know that aside from the enjoyment I get from it, astrology helps me explore aspects of my personality that I hadn’t considered before. Yes, it’s based on vague generalisable statements, but these statements are normally positive. They encourage you to find confidence, seize opportunities, and take risks. Have you ever read a horoscope that told you to sit at home and feel bad about yourself? Didn’t think so.

The other benefit of having an interest in astrology is that it’s like spraying yourself with anti-asshole bug spray. It keeps away people who are judgemental and self-righteous and like to bash things that they aren’t interested in. I’ve also found it to be a pretty reliable sexist detector, men who tell me astrology is stupid also seem to follow it up with some spiel about how I believe in it because women are less ‘logical’ than men.

At the end of the day, astrology is a hobby. It’s interesting and can provide people with a sense of comfort or control in their lives. Part of me does believe that it’s real (mostly since I installed The Pattern and started getting weirdly specific advice) but most of me thinks it’s just a bit of fun. Yes, there will always be people who take any belief too far, like those who refuse to date someone who’d be great for them purely because their star signs ‘aren’t compatible’, but those people aren’t a majority. Most of us just want to read a horoscope, send astrology memes to our friends, and buy cute zodiac jewellery.

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