COLUMN: Astrology is a pseudoscience and why that shouldn’t matter


Gisella Mancera

Gisella Mancera, Columnist

Astrology, a concept that originated in 3,000 B.C., has reemerged throughout millennia and seems to be particularly suited to 21st-century internet culture. But just like everything else on the internet, astrology is not immune to the relentless memes equating astrology to granola girl woo-woo beliefs.

Astrology is a popular form of divination in the Eastern hemisphere, often used for auspicious dates in which people will plan their weddings, pregnancies, and other big decisions.

However, the West, hell-bent on scientific validation, refuses to welcome astrology into the mainstream because it is a pseudoscience. Astrology is in fact a pseudoscience. The astronomy it is based on is scientific, yet, modern astrology doesn’t even follow its scientific base and therefore is outdated and not based on astronomical fact.

For example, the phenomena of precession, or changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis, pushes peoples’ sun signs back by about a month. Even NASA has commented on the Babylonians’ decision to intentionally leave out the 13th constellation because 12 fit better into the calendar year. Nasa said, “The Babylonians ignored the fact that the sun actually moves through 13 constellations, not 12… So, we didn’t change any zodiac signs…we just did the math.”

Despite new evidence in astronomy that backs the zodiac, people still follow the same zodiac calendar. There have also been empirical studies that show no correlation between astronomy and personality traits.

Overall, there are just too many loose strings. Consider differing gestation periods and how would that factor into the zodiac.

A suspension of disbelief is a must to adopt the values of the zodiac, but I would say it is no different than any other major religion. No one is aggressively asking Christians or Hindus to validate their beliefs nor are they under scientific scrutiny. All religions and belief systems require their members to be willfully ignorant to some extent.

Rather than fixating on the scientific validity of astrology, I think it is important to examine the social benefits astrology gives to Millennials and Gen Z. Our little monkey brains love picking up on patterns and astrology is full of them.

Astrology allows for people to dig deep and examine their own behavior patterns, identifying strengths and weaknesses. Astrology can be communal as well. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen astrology be used as a conversation starter at parties, but there is an emotional vulnerability that has to be present in order to talk about the inner workings of one’s personality with someone you barely know.

Because of this I believe astrology breeds personal growth and empathy, characteristics that will become increasingly useful for future leaders as global issues will become more demanding of cooperation. Any system that can be used as a self-reflection tool, a tool to examine oneself and their relationship to others is beneficial and should be welcomed.

Gisella Mancera is a senior sociology major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].