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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Astrology should not be a means of explanation

Illustration+by+Rachel+Choi.+
Rachel Choi
Illustration by Rachel Choi.

A few weeks ago, I was browsing through an astrology magazine, mulling over year-old horoscopes and astrological book reviews when I stumbled upon an article putting the Russo-Ukrainian War in an astrological context. I was shocked: I had never seen astrology applied to such a serious matter before, and even though it definitely wasn’t the intention of the article, it felt like it was oversimplifying the entire situation, making it something of a game.

Using astrology to explain things is not a new concept. We know astrology can explain human behavior: “Yeah, she’s stubborn, but that’s because she’s a Taurus,” or, “Of course they’re a total bitch—they’re a Gemini.” 

And why wouldn’t we want to believe them? Who wouldn’t want to have their worst qualities explained away by something they can’t control? Who wouldn’t want a group of stars in the night sky to be held accountable for their poor decisions rather than them? Sure, for those of us who don’t understand astrology to the same extent, it seems sketchy. But otherwise, it seems mostly harmless, and it can sometimes allow for objective introspection and our relationships that can help us grow as people. 

But eventually we reach a place where a line must be drawn between what can be chalked up to astrology and what needs to be taken seriously. It’s okay to write off someone’s bad mood, gossip, or petty larceny as a symptom of their natal chart, but who could think it’s okay to be still explaining crimes, immoral actions, or entire wars as acts of astrology. 

We’ve all seen those TikToks that say things like “which signs are most likely to stab you in the back,” and it just seems a little grim when I find a video listing my star sign as one of those “most likely to be a serial killer,” and I can’t tell whether the creator is making a joke about astrology, making a joke about serial killers, or neither, and genuinely believe [insert your sign here] are more likely to be serial killers. But most of these people have little investment in astrology, and just want to go viral.

And when we think certain acts or situations are being ‘written off’ by astrology, they are not being written off by those who are actual astrologers. 

For most, astrology can help us deal with situations that would otherwise be difficult to confront. I still think there is a line that should not be crossed. Some situations need to be confronted, with mind to human nature and how despicable people can be when they have temptations like power dangled in front of them.

People who make serious decisions that impact other people need to assume accountability. We cannot forgive war crimes with a natal chart, with the position of Saturn or Mercury being in Retrograde. 

Allowing for war to be explained in articles riddled with predictions and analyses of major players makes it feel like a sports game, like they’re using astrology to bet on one side or the other. Astrology is used in actual gambling—there is an entire book dedicated to predicting the outcome of sports games using astrology. Maybe it has some merits. Maybe it provides some peace of mind to readers, makes them feel like their gambling is educated and justified rather than what it is: random. 

Using astrology in this situation might be likened to other ways of guessing things in a way that feels more informed that just random estimates. Choosing to use astrology as a guiding hand is just like choosing a lucky number for the lottery based on significant dates like birthdays or anniversaries. It’s a tactic, sure, but at the end of the day, it is no different than just randomly guessing.

Do people using astrology for sports betting not feel as though they are sending bad omens to certain players? When people believe in astrology, energies are able to affect the way players act and play. They end up projecting those beliefs onto a game that would otherwise be unaffected by those energies. By believing, they are condemning certain players to a loss, playing God for 60 or 90 minutes while they watch what they believe will come true play out. 

Does it not feel immoral to stake a claim in a game, when that very claim is affecting the game itself? And they must believe that their astrological reading of the game is correct and will come to be, because the only other option is to admit that they are wrong.

That same situation applies to the kind of articles that exist about astrology explaining and predicting wars. If a writer looks at the night sky and uses it to predict that Russia will make a move on a certain town in Ukraine, are they not condemning that town to its demise? If they believe it to be true, are they not actively praying on destruction, on death? This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

The same ultimatum still applies to everything else. If an astrologer verbalizes a destructive fate, they are either wishing ill upon real people with real lives and ambition, or are a liar. Which of those titles is less desirable, is up to them to decide.

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About the Contributor
Ella Duggan, Assistant Opinion Editor
Ella Duggan (she/her) is a freshman communication studies major from Wellington, New Zealand. She likes writing about sports, feminism, and pop culture. Outside of the Beacon, she sings tenor for the Emerson Acapellics, is an avid reader of romance novels, and loves hockey - Go Canucks!
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