Let’s Talk About It: The Rise, The Fall, and Rise Again of Astrology
Astrology has taken the internet by storm as of recent, and to some it really does feel like it came out of nowhere. While astrology itself is not a concept that’s new, its massive surge in popularity is certainly something we haven’t seen in a while. This undoubtedly leaves us with a few questions:
When were the golden years of modern astrology, and what made it suddenly vanish out of the public’s favor?
Why has it returned now, out of any other time?
In the beginning of the 1970’s, where everyone was really into individuality and fighting back against the status quo, astrology was really at its peak. The flower children of the ‘70s were all over the idea of having something cloaked in mysticality that spoke directly to them without needing a middle man to interpret anything. That all changed when news of Ted Bundy broke loose in 1974.
Newspapers had gotten wind that a murderer (later revealed to be Bundy) had allegedly lured a few of his victims to go with him by using his charm and starting conversations by asking what their astrological sign was. While this was never directly confirmed, it was sure to spark hysteria in small communities for quite a while, and the correlation between those articles and the decline in astrological talk during the mid-late 1970’s and extended to the 80’s is too strong to ignore.
The counterculture of the 90’s (grunge, alt. rock, living as rebellious underworlders, and full of self-expression) both hindered and helped astrology over the span of that decade. Everyone was tired of the old and everything related to it, and wanted something new and fresh. Astrology was kind of given an edge because of how quickly it was dropped; it wasn’t talked about for quite some time which gave it a very strong appeal to those of the underground scene. Slowly, conversations about astrology were coming back into relevancy as the turn of the century came around, but it still had a ways to go.
When I was younger, as a little baby Millennial who wasn’t aware of my label just yet, I distinctly remember logging onto my mom’s MSN homepage and looking at a small pinned section called “Horoscopes”; it had her sign and my dad’s sign displayed with advice and fortunes for each of them. Curious, I conducted my own research by cautiously typing in “november horoscopes” into the Bing (yes, I know) search engine and discovered my identity as a Scorpio. I was enthralled for a solid 10 minutes before losing interest, as all the information clearly applied to adults and as an 11 year old kid, that kind of stuff easily bored me. It wasn’t until college that I rekindled my fascination and admiration for astrology, this time with a much more mature mindset and more resilient curiosity. But what drew me to rekindle this passion?
That’s right, memes. I was on the Instagram explore page and saw a post with the caption “the signs and how they deal with rejection: please also check your moon and venus signs”. I was so confused: what the hell was a moon sign? And a venus sign? I had absolutely no idea what those were. So, much like my 11 year old self, I took to searching (this time using Google because I’m not an internet rookie anymore) and found myself falling into a rabbit hole of information. There were thousands upon thousands of articles on everything under the umbrella term “astrology”, from drawing natal charts to understanding retrogrades, learning about moon/venus compatibility in relationships and what your rising sign meant, and so much more. Compared to what I remembered reading back at the ripe age of 11, all of this stuff was extremely more in-depth and way more accessible. If you look up natal charts now, you’ll find over 20 different websites offering to calculate yours for free. But where did all this info come from? Has it really been around all this time?
The answer? Yes. Kind of. Depends on how you look at it.
As previously mentioned, astrology is no new concept. All of this information has been around for a very long time. But the popularity and circulation of it is something that it hasn’t seen before in the modern era. And with the age of the internet constantly blooming and expanding, astrology as found its perfect niche in it all. It has an easy entry point with all the articles available, and with online message boards and communities, people can easily talk with other more experienced astrologers and get information at rapid rates. This sudden boom of information definitely felt new to many people, and with the amazing ability that Millennials have of turning massive amounts of info into easily digestible formats (aka: memes) is the perfect context for astrology to thrive in. Combined with the stress of our heavily politicized society and constant awareness of all the bad things that occur on the daily, astrology is the perfect reassurance for people who need some kind of reminder of where they stand as an individual in our tumultuous world. It’s less serious than an organized religion, but can still provide a similar sense of solace that one might get otherwise.
In a time where everything seems uncertain, introspection and looking in on one’s place in the world can provide a sense of peace. Astrology can fill that gap that so many people seek to fill, and doing so is harmless as well. There’s no heavy commitment, there’s no immense sense of seriousness; it’s something fun people can indulge in to help them better understand themselves. Plus, it helps satisfy the mini narcissist inside us all: who doesn’t like being talked about?