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Humans have looked to the stars for guidance since the beginning of time. In fact, astrology has been around for thousands of years. While it’s no longer regarded as the scholarly tradition it was centuries ago, many individuals continue to study the influence of celestial bodies on human activity. The general interest in astrology has grown steadily over the past few decades, building the foundation for its seemingly-sudden surge of popularity today.
Stress and uncertainty may foster an individual’s interest in astrology because having a method of making sense of what might otherwise seem chaotic and uncontrollable would be appealing. Astrology is often thought of as limiting, but on the contrary, various individuals may be drawn to it because it can help them gain more clarity about themselves and articulate ideas that are difficult to put into words. This might explain why people experiencing a lower self-awareness are more likely to endorse astrological beliefs. It’s possible that people engage in astrology with the intention of knowing themselves better and increasing their self-awareness. Studies show that astrology can greatly influence and even validate a person’s self-concept, as well as increase their certainty about their personal attributes. In short, the ruminative nature of astrology encourages self-reflection, enabling individuals to understand themselves and their environment more clearly. 
Of course, as with most things in the world, what’s beneficial for some people might not be the same way for others. The increasing popularity of astrology bolsters the need for public health research to go beyond assessing the scientific validity of astrology, and rather, elucidate how individuals engage with astrology and how this affects their overall health . Because of its sudden rise in popularity, assessing the reasons why people engage in astrology — and studying its effects on health and wellbeing — may be more important than ever.

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However, the popularity of astrology is often explained as the result of the decline of organized religion and the rise of economic precariousness, and as one aspect of a larger turn to New Age modalities. Then, there’s the matter of political panic. In times of crisis, it is often said, people search for something to believe in. For centuries, drawing an astrological chart required some familiarity with astronomy and geometry. Today, a chart can be generated instantly, and for free, on the Internet. Astrology is ubiquitous on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and in downloadable workshops, classes, and Webinars. A new frontier has opened with mobile apps.
Astrology expresses complex ideas about personality, life cycles, and relationship patterns through the shorthand of the planets and zodiac symbols. And that shorthand works well online, where symbols and shorthand are often baked into communication. Astrology offers those in crisis the comfort of imagining a better future, a tangible reminder of that clichéd truism that is nonetheless hard to remember when you’re in the thick of it: This too shall pass. There is a growing familiarity with the patterns and positions of the planets, and it’s not uncommon to hear people in their late teens and 20s talking about, say, “Mercury in retrograde” and “Saturn returns” with confidence and authority. They know that a “star sign” is a sun sign, and that for any half-decent attempt at a reading, you need to know your exact time and place of birth, so you can discuss, with equal reverence, the influence of your rising sign and moon sign, too. Whether you believe we’re ruled by the stars or not, thinking about your sign is a good introspective exercise when examining your relationships, priorities and attitude. It may even help you decide what strain of cannabis to buy if you need to help a Type A Virgo mellow out, or get a waffling Libra to focus.

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