Understanding the cosmos

Photo courtesy of Clare Chung

According to Allure magazine’s “Libra Horoscope 2024: What The Stars Predict For You,” I can look forward to a year of success because Venus will in fact, not be going into retrograde.

Tuesday, April 23, is an especially auspicious day for my career, as the “Scorpio full moon illuminates my 2nd
House of Possessions.”

But I’ll be having a bad day with the new moon and solar eclipse in Libra, on Wednesday, Oct. 2. There is a part of the modern subculture around all things astrology, manifestation and magic-related that feels somewhat gimmicky to me. From one-hour subliminals that claim “you can manifest anything you desire” to the “Don’t Skip This Sound” videos on TikTok that promise perfect skin, grades and a text back from your crush, it is easy to dismiss astrology and all the alike into something ridiculous and desperate. But astrology has existed since long before this. In ancient Babylonia, astrologers tracked the pattern of stars and constellations to answer the first questions about the universe. Horoscopes were birthed from these ancient observations and became ingrained in cultures all around the world.

From the popular Greek star signs to Chinese zodiacs to Indigenous shamanism across different cultures and religions, they all serve a similar purpose: to answer the unknowns about ourselves in relation to the universe.

As scientific knowledge evolved, modern physics and chemistry began to replace these ancient methods and astrology began to be looked down on in the academic world as an immature and “quack” science.

In recent decades, it lost even more credibility as it became associated with young women and online quizzes. But for such an ancient concept, astrology has maintained a surprisingly strong presence in modern pop culture.

Carl Sagan, the renowned astrologer and author once wrote, “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff.” In that sense, a full and true belief of astrology requires a complete surrender of self to the universe. Being so caught up in the rush and worries of daily life, it’s becoming easier to lose perspective of us in comparison to the entire cosmos. There is a disconnect between our material world and the pureness
of the natural universe. But we are a part of it ourselves, albeit small, and that physical and mental separation of superiority does not stand to sever us spiritually.

According to scientific belief, our universe is infinitely expanding, beyond our human comprehension of space and time. It’s not so easy then, to dismiss the potential impact of something so great and all-seeing on our
comparably immaterial lives.

But really, does the question of whether astrology is real or not even matter? After all, concepts like spirituality, religion and every other form of organized or personal faith impact the lives of the people who believe in them far more than those who don’t. Superstitions like knocking on wood have never made sense to me, but I also know people who go out of their way in the middle of a conversation to find wood to knock on.

If it makes them feel better, why should it matter to me? As long as there is no harm to others, superstitions about wood and beliefs in astrology alike, are personal and have a right to be respected and protected. And even without a deep understanding of horoscopes, I can still appreciate the history and art that is astrology and cosmic faith.