The new age of astrology

Astrology has become a buzzword, one that seems to be applied to every situation as of late. Trouble at work? Mercury is in retrograde. Love life in tatters? That’s so very Scorpio of you. But what does it all mean? Astrology seems to have suddenly become trendy, with the word constantly trending on Twitter, due to the rise of meme culture and the idea of ‘Astrology is fake but…’ poking fun at people’s personality traits. Astrology has always been a way of understanding the confusing thing we call life, but what exactly is astrology?
 


Image Credit: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock


The basics:
Essentially, astrology is the study of the stars and planets, analyzing their relationship and the ways in which their placement impacts what happens on earth in the future. Sounds confusing right? The easiest way to think about astrology is that it is less about telling the future and more about offering a way in which people can understand themselves. It does not claim to be a science, it just gives meaning to the placement of the sun, moon and surrounding planets.

 

The sky is spilt into 12 sections which all represent the 12 archetypes of the zodiac. Your zodiac sign is determined by which section of the sky the sun was the moment you were born, although it may characterise your personality to a certain degree, we all embody aspects of the other signs – and this is dependent on where the other planets were when you were born. But how did the art of astrology come about? 

 

A brief history of astrology:
Astrology was first traced back to 3rd millennium BC as an ancient way of knowledge. For centuries people have looked at the sky for guidance, with the maxim “As above, so below” supporting the central idea of astrology – that there is a connection between people and the universe. Before the rise of Christianity, it was used to understand life and its many mysteries, with Egyptians particularly making it their niche. Between the 3rd and 2nd century BC, Egyptian philosophy with merged with Babylonian to produce the horoscopic astrology we know today. The concept was considered a scholarly tradition up until the 17th century when the scientific world view was first introduced, which disputed the core of astrology. However, it remained a fairly popular concept due to its use in newspaper columns, offering people hope after despair, destruction and war.

 


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Is it nonsense?
Until very recently astrology was just a monthly column used to fill the backs of magazines, until the Millennial takeover, which seems to have given astrology relevance for now. Horoscopes have always been tailor made to their audiences, with the publication knowing who their reader is and molding the description accordingly. So why do we still seem to find horoscopes relevant to our own experiences? The Daily Hunch – a personalized horoscope service – suggests that “[While] physics isn’t happy with the idea that planets are meddling in our love affairs and confirmation bias keeps us from being dissuaded when horoscopes miss the mark”.

 

 

However, studies have shown that if you write a generic personality description and tell someone that it applies to them – they are more likely to perceive it as accurate. The term the “Barnum Effect” explains that people are more likely to believe a personality description if they are told it has been personally tailored to them, even if it is brief, generic and could apply to anyone reading it. With personalisation becoming an increasing consumer trend, astrology appears to be even more relevant. The concept of personalisation of astrology can be applied to anything, such as the perfect gift for your zodiac sign, or perfumes you should be wearing according to your personality.

 


The Millennial effect:
With reports of astrological acceptance rising among millennials, why is this generation the ones driving this sudden rise of interest?  Well firstly you don’t have to believe in astrology to be interested. Horoscopes feed our desire for answers and curiosity about ourselves and how we fit into this world. The astrology of today is as fast-paced as the internet, you can now access daily horoscopes as opposed to the monthly predictions of the past.
As human beings we seek comfort in times of stress and answers for things we do not understand. Therefore, it is no surprise that Millennials seem to behind the astrological boom, seeing as they have been reported to be the most stressed generation. Mysticism offers an alternative to the harsh realties of life and appears to be sparking humor and joy across social media through meme culture. Whether astrology offers any truth appears not to matter and shows no signs of going away any time soon.
 

The Power of the People: Guns in America

This image of a peaceful protester in Baton Rouge being arrested by heavily armoured police officers on Saturday has spread like fire on social media. Many have compared it to the iconic image of the man who stood in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989. In one hand, its saddening to think powerful images like these will be remembered for a dark time in our history, but this is what we are living through. It’s images like these that are necessary. It captures the excessive response to protesters across cities in America, but is also a metaphor for the excessive actions that have seen too many people die at the hands of police in the United States.

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Russia will not come to Rio – the future of world sport depended on it

Watching that last minute strike sneak into the near post of Wayne Hennessey’s goal yesterday afternoon was a moment of absolute elation. As an England fan and a sports lover, nothing comes close to witnessing a tournament match win, especially against our national neighbours. Fair play to Wales, and Gareth Bale had me worried throughout. But once the dust settled, I read about worrying allegations of corruption involving Seb Coe and his rise to IAAF presidency. For someone who eagerly watches every big sporting event possible, be it the World Cup or the Olympic games, you’d expect shock and heartbreak. But far from it, I wasn’t shocked at all. I was angry.

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7 of the best web hoaxes

The internet is a mysterious place, full of fun, tricksters and trolls. So you’ve got to keep your wits about you. “Don’t believe everything you read” is a good motto to live by when surfing the web, although it’s not just news stories we have to be wary of, it can be a video shared on Twitter, an image, or anything really. There are always bogus stories trying to fool us, to get viral coverage and internet notoriety. The internet has offered up some fantastic viral stories that we just couldn’t help but fall for.

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Businesses; don’t get left behind by our society of change

BHS filed for administration on Monday after a long battle to find a buyer for the struggling high-street institution. 11,000 people face job losses as yet another household name enters the retail graveyard; with fashion house Austin Reed following suit on BHS’s old-fashioned coattails. We’ve seen the likes of Woolworths, Blockbuster, JJB, Comet, HMV and many others close their doors or go into administration in the last decade. Why have these businesses failed to adapt to our society of change?

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Where to find quality journalism

Low-brow tabloids are infamous for spinning nonsense headlines and bending the truth to fit their agenda. It’s impossible to know who to trust anymore. Ultimately, with so many news sites and Twitter, the ability to find out what’s going on in the world has become instantaneous. Instead of having the time to analyse what we read and forming an opinion based on different types of journalism. We see a tweet from the Daily Mail, take the update as legit and move on. But surely, if the news we receive is manufactured for speed then those who produce it cannot guarantee its authenticity. So what if what we’re getting isn’t the whole truth or even worse, not the truth at all?

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