By: Sara Muharremi, Staff Writer
Throughout history, people have been looking to the skies for prophecies. What was once considered a complex science by wise men who had extensively studied celestial bodies and alignments, is now mainly considered “fluff” and found in the horoscope section in the back of a newspaper. Astrology dates back (and is credited) to the Babylonians and Mesopotamians in ~3000 BC. The Greeks also partook in these studies in the 4th century, and many famous philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle turned to astrology and divinity in the sky. It’s also important to note, however, that back then, astrology and astronomy were considered to be the same thing.
Over time, we have learned that one is a science, and one is a pseudoscience –“a system of theories, assumptions, and methods [that are] erroneously regarded as scientific.” Astrology involves people analyzing the sky and looking for signs and predictions based on the movements of celestial bodies, whereas astronomy deals with the scientific study of actual said bodies. It was not until Sir Isaac Newton discovered the laws of gravity and realized that gravity is acting as the control panel of the universe, that a new scientific approach to how we looked at the sky and the motion of celestial bodies, began.
If astrology isn’t considered a total science, then what umbrella does it fall into? Astrology has its own hypotheses, but no consistent body of supporting evidence to back it up. Some astrologers will argue that astrology is based on statistics (which already removes the accuracy for an individual) and that there is a correlation between the movements of celestial bodies and predictions. There have been multiple undertakings that scientists have tested to confirm various hypotheses, but no significant correlations have ever been discovered. There are rules within the scientific community that establish whether or not something can be considered a fact. To be considered a real science, astrology would need to be continuously verified through repeated experiments and observations, or have predictions that can be tested. Currently, astrology does not qualify.
As a whole, astrology refers to the placement of the sun, moon, and planets within 12 sections of the sky — these movements are known as the signs of the zodiac. Even if someone isn’t an astrological expert, they will most likely know what their sun sign is. A sun sign is based on where the sun was positioned on the day someone is born. For example, someone born in a March to April time frame would be an Aries. The placement of the moon and the other planets on said birthday, however, also adds significance to your birth chart and your personality (supposedly). Astrology says that in the natural world, human beings are influenced by the movements of celestial bodies through the heavens and our personality is shaped by the exact positions of these bodies at the time of our birth.
A full ‘natal’/ birth chart takes into account all the celestial variables, including exact angles that these bodies are making in the sky and how they relate to one another. This part of astrology does use logic, since it is using set mathematical formulas, and a New York Times article goes even further to say that this part of astrology is as “[…] objectively ‘real’ as any other time-related conception of Earth: It involves applying unchanging mathematical formulas to finite historical data. It’s the next part – the interpretation of those results — that plunges astrologers into the realm of what they might call inference or intuition, and what nonbelievers might call memorized random associations.”
While some aspects of astrology have true science and mathematics behind it, the interpretations should be taken with a grain of salt. Since 2017, there has been a skyrocketing of interest among Millennials and Generation X in regards to horoscopes. Many will credit that to the increase in stress levels amongst the population, and the vital need people have nowadays for validation and a speck of predictability, especially since we live such unpredictable lives.