Astrology is a meme, and it’s spreading in that blooming, unfurling way in which memes do. On social media marketing, astrologers and จุดเจ้าชะตา meme machines amass tens or tens of thousands of followers, people joke about Mercury retrograde, and categorize “the signs as …” literally anything: cat breeds, Oscar Wilde quotes, Stranger Things characters, types of french fries. In online publications, daily, weekly, and monthly horoscopes, and zodiac-themed listicles flourish.
This isn’t the initial moment astrology’s had and it also won’t function as the last. The practice has been around in a variety of forms for thousands of years. More recently, the New Age movement of the 1960s and ’70s was included with a heaping helping of the zodiac. (Some also reference the New Age since the “Age of Aquarius”-the two,000-year period right after the Earth is said to go in to the Aquarius sign.)
In the decades in between the New Age boom and now, while astrology certainly didn’t vanish entirely-you might still regularly find horoscopes within the back pages of magazines-it “went back to being a little bit more in the background,” says Chani Nicholas, an astrologer based in Los Angeles. “Then there’s something that’s happened during the last five-years that’s given it an edginess, a relevance for this particular some time and place, which it hasn’t had for a good 35 years. Millennials have got it and run with it.”
Lots of people I spoke to for this particular piece said that they had a sense the stigma connected to โหราศาสตร์, while it still exists, had receded because the practice has grabbed a foothold in online culture, especially for younger people.
“Over the last two years, we’ve really seen a reframing of brand new Age practices, significantly geared toward a Millennial and young Gen X quotient,” says Lucie Greene, the worldwide director of J. Walter Thompson’s innovation group, which tracks and predicts cultural trends.
Callie Beusman, a senior editor at Broadly, says traffic for your site’s horoscopes “has grown really exponentially.” Stella Bugbee, the president and editor-in-chief in the Cut, says a normal horoscope post on the site got 150 percent more traffic in 2017 compared to year before.
In some ways, astrology is perfectly suited for the internet age. There’s a low barrier to entry, and nearly endless depths to plumb if you feel like falling down a Google research hole. The accessibility of more in-depth information online has given this cultural wave of astrology a particular erudition-more jokes about Saturn returns, fewer “Hey baby, what’s your sign?” pickup lines.
A fast primer: Astrology is not really a science; there’s no evidence that one’s zodiac sign actually correlates to personality. But the system has its own sort of logic. Astrology ascribes meaning towards the placement in the sun, the moon, and the planets within 12 sections of the sky-indications of the zodiac. You likely know your sun sign, the most famous zodiac sign, even when you’re no astrology buff. It’s based upon where the sun was on the birthday. But the placement of the moon and all the other planets at ensgza time as well as location of your own birth adds additional shades for the picture individuals painted by the “birth chart.”
“The kids today and their memes are similar to the ideal context for astrology.”
What horoscopes are supposed to do is offer you details about just what the planets are performing at this time, and down the road, and exactly how all that affects each sign. “Think in the planets as being a cocktail party,” explains Susan Miller, the most popular astrologer who founded the Uranian Astrology. “You could have three people talking together, two may be over inside the corner arguing, Venus and Mars could be kissing each other. I must make sense of those conversations which are happening every month for you.”