By Wesley Gilbride, Staff Writer
As early as 3000 BC, Babylonians used astrology to make sense of the universe; they believed that the constellations and planets at the moment someone was born could predict their character. Thousands of years later, teenagers—including Summit students—are using that same ideology to guide them through their lives and tell themselves about their personalities.
“Astrology is currently enjoying a broad cultural acceptance that hasn’t been seen since the nineteen-seventies. The shift began with the advent of the personal computer, accelerated with the Internet, and has reached new speeds through social media,” said Christine Smallwood, a writer for the New Yorker.
With many different platforms such as CoStar, Cafe Astrology, Nebula, TimePassages, it’s as simple as entering your birth date, time, and location and then you have your whole birth chart at your fingertips. A birth chart is a snapshot of the sky during the moment of someone’s birth. It’s a diagram that represents the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, aspects, and angles of the stars in the sky. In addition, users of dating apps like Tinder and Bumble now have a spot to put their astrological sign, among the other important deal-breakers like height and hobbies.
This rise in popularity from social media has only been intensified by the pandemic. In times of crisis, people often search for something to believe in. It is easy for teenagers to feel astray amidst a global pandemic, political division, climate change, and simply navigating their life as a teenager. Most recently, many Summit students have been turning to astrology for a sense of self; a way to understand their personality in a time where they’re trying to learn calculus from their couch, Republicans won’t pass a relief bill, and a new natural disaster is on the news every morning.
“I think my chart, planets and houses have helped me understand a little bit more about who I am, especially in a time like now where a lot of time spent is sitting with yourself and having to get to know yourself,” said junior Thalia Tarkwon. “Astrology tells me how I communicate, how I seem to others, how I am in relationships and a lot more. When I resonate with what astrology says, I can either work on something that I find negative about myself or improve and emphasize the good.”
Over quarantine many Summit students found astrology through social media. Using these outlets, astrology can provide an explanation to some of the uncertainties swirling around in their minds.
“At the start of quarantine when I first got into astrology, I was on my phone a lot so I saw a lot of astrology throughout different social media platforms,” said freshman Paige Parton. Reading horoscopes and about their birth chart can become very accessible with the use of social media.
“I was a casual user of astrology but I really started wanting to learn more about it when I saw a lot of astrology related content on Tik Tok, I learned a lot from the app and it made me more aware of the differences and similarities between the signs,” said junior Hannah Massey. Information about astrology can be found on Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest, Twitter, and various other platforms. And you can’t forget the popular memes claiming which sun sign is the funniest or which sign hates rap music. These memes draw people in and are entertaining, whether or not they contain accurate information.
For a generation that seems to practice a growing amount of spirituality, astrology provides a feeling of reassurance and connection to the entire universe.
“It helps me believe that the universe has a plan for me” said junior Hannah Higgins. “Crystals and meditation also help guide me into my best self and give me hope and reassurance that everything as of right now will be okay.”
Along with that, some people may start off their morning with a daily horoscope to guide them through the day.
“I check my horoscope everyday as sort of a variation of mindfulness, it lets me know what I should focus on for the day and put my energy into,” Massey said.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation serves as a form of relaxation, and helps with stress for teenagers that are overwhelmed from the pandemic and craziness in the world right now. Reading a daily horoscope or diving deep into learning how they communicate can give teenagers a stronger understanding of themselves, especially during a time of such extreme isolation.
Using astrology in one’s life could even be compared to a type of therapy, and Covid-19 is causing a spike in popularity for that sort of service.
“Unlike therapy, where a client might spend months or even years uncovering the roots of a symptom, astrology promises to get to answers more quickly,” said Christine Smallwood at the New Yorker.
“If it’s a root problem that actually needs working on, I’ll go through the steps I need to take to do that, but astrology does help in finding those issues, or creating those realizations,” Tarkwon said. “It’s more of the admitting part of therapy rather than the actual part of therapy of solving issues.” Astrology makes it easier for many adults and teenagers to admit, hear, and accept unpleasant aspects of their personalities as well as bad traits in other people.
Due to social media, information on astrology is accessible and easily spread. Whether Summit students and other teenagers across the country are using it right now as entertainment, meditation, therapy, reassurance, or any other reason, it’s evident that astrology’s popularity is soaring.