Horoscopes are all the rage, but why?
Like mass on Sunday, every Monday I head to the @AstroPoets Twitter page religiously to read my horoscope. In truth, the horoscope doesn't make any sense upon the first read. It is written in poem form which means it is a riddle.
However, fellow horoscope devotees do all of the hard work for you by translating the riddle into spoken English. It is the one horoscope that directly reflects the emotions I deal with at a specific time. Some might say I am twisting it to mean something prolific, but I really trust it. Word-for-word it gives me a sense of solace and calm, which is the power and outcome of believing in something.
To many, this sounds like mumbo jumbo–and more of you may think I need therapy–but I think this sudden fascination and dependence on horoscopes is due to the fact I am a lapsed Catholic. Now, before you bring out the holy beads and crucifixes and ring your parish Canon, I still frequent mass the odd time. It's mainly a social thing and stems from a pang of underlying guilt all Irish people are born with. I just don't know what I believe in anymore. And when you lose belief, you lose a safety net.
Twitter: A divine entity
As Catholics, it was pretty straightforward. You live, eat your holy bread, say your prayers, go to confession, die and go to heaven if you're lucky. When something went wrong in your life or you lost something, you prayed to Jesus and Saint Anthony. When you did something bad, you could blame in on the ten commandments and the known fact we were all born in sin.
When you begin to question the belief system that was once a constant in your life, the space that is left is quite unsettling. Where do you go when things go wrong? Who do you pray to or talk to for guidance? What divine entity can show you the way in life?
Well, it turns out, a lot of people on Twitter can tell you just that.
Related: Why are people so obsessed with horoscopes?
More and more, I find myself relying on the literary notions of the stars. I have convinced myself I am a Capricorn through-and-through. Reliable? Check. Ambitious? Check. Practical? Check. Pessimistic? Check. Sensitive? Check. Sometimes, I read my horoscope and get sad because I seem quite boring. Where is the spark? Where is my solid sense of humour? A Capricorn in the real world sense seems like someone who works in finance, wears pantsuits and drinks a small bottle of cheap merlot every night watching Beaches.
Monthy, weekly and day-to-day, I depend on the virtuosic melody of my Capricorn horoscope to explain to me why certain things are going wrong. Delayed emotional responses? Saturn is probably acting up. Losing my belongings and missing trains? Could not be anything other than mercury in retrograde.
In times of trouble, my horoscope is the astrological equivalent of lighting a candle. The relief and reassurance of just believing in something outside of the physical word are enough to calm any worries or anxieties I may have. And that is at the crux of it. For me, losing faith in a belief system left me hanging. You hold onto something for so long and can relate so much of your past to it, that when the blanket is snatched from beneath you it's a cold and vulnerable place.
Week of 8/25 in Capricorn: A long line adds up to time. But what about music? What about everything? You can’t be sure until you are.
— Astro Poets (@poetastrologers) August 26, 2019
An unstable world
It's a strange and slightly scary that a woman called Mystic Matilda can give me more guidance than I'm finding elsewhere in life. She tells me to take a self-care day or avoid travel arrangements and I oblige. Because what is written in the stars is the truth. Exaggeration? Probably. But the beauty of astrology is that it is written in an abstract form meaning you can always contort it to mean something to you.
"Mercury in retrograde is our horoscope equivalent of Easter and a well-written monthly outlook is our form of the gospel."
In an increasingly unstable and fragile world, many are seeking a place of calm. The dedicated horoscope app Co-Star was launched in 2017 and is growing month on month in popularity and investors have taken note.
In April this year, the app raised more than $5 million in funding from investment companies. There is money to be made in the stars.
Related: Here’s what your star sign says about your personality
However, not everyone in the world is a broken Catholic like me so why the sudden interest? Well, Brexit, Trump, climate change, Amazonian forest fires and the destruction of civilisation as we know it might just be the root cause of this sudden mystical uptake. Humans crave connection and in a detached world, seeking a deeper spiritual bond is a natural reaction to the madness.
When one feels helpless or overwhelmed placing the blame on the alignment of the stars is a weird form of vindication. Similar to Catholicism, where we could blame God, Adam and Eve for every devastation put upon us. Without spirituality or something to rely on, we are fully exposed to the cruelties of the world.
Something which was lost in the fall of my Catholic beliefs was mass. To me–outside of praising our Lord, obviously–mass meant community. Now, I have found a weird tribe of fellow horoscope devotees on the internet. We converse through memes that ridicule our astrological traits and congregate in the comment section over our weekly horoscope and what it all could mean.
"I may not rely on the word of God anymore, but I do think it's important to trust in something."
Mercury in retrograde is our horoscope equivalent of Easter and a well-written monthly outlook is our form of the gospel.
Knowing that there are thousands of people who trust in it and share similar beliefs makes the world seem smaller in the most wonderful sense. And in times of trouble – when I feel like I might just fall apart – reading that there is an unfavourable planetary alignment makes me believe that this feeling will pass and better days are ahead.
I may not rely on the word of God anymore, but I do think it's important to trust in something. Whether that be your work, your family, yoga, exercise, wine or the stars; if it makes you feel good and less afraid, then it can't be a bad thing.
Because in a world that seems continuously seems to fail us, it's nice to have something to believe in.
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