While the ancient art of astrology dates back thousands of years, the practice has had a revival in recent times. Interest has soared in the social media age as many more people turn their backs on traditional religion yet still seek spirituality and higher knowledge. ‘Modern Mystic’ is one of Pinterest’s top trends for 2021 with searches for Zodiac Sign Facts up six times.
“With life so dependent on technology, people are looking to get back to natural rhythms,” astrologer Francesca Oddie explains. Simultaneously, technology, specifically the Internet and social media, has brought astrology into the mainstream and available to a new generation. “Astrologers are no longer such society outsiders. The Internet has been amazing for these people to share their knowledge in an accessible way,” Oddie adds. For astrologer Jessica Adams, who has been working for over thirty years, the practice’s development has increased its popularity. “The growing interest in astrology is because it’s becoming more accurate,” she says. In the last three decades, Adams has seen how her past forecasts have come true again and again (her predictions about politics and world events have repeatedly been spot-on).
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A cynic may write off astrology as hocus pocus but using it as a tool to understand yourself can be powerful. “Astrology is a language that enables you to articulate things you know about yourself and other people but didn’t have the words to express,” Oddie explains. “With that language, you can get a greater understanding of your life and what is happening to you. Subsequently, you can experience acceptance,” she adds. In fact, it may save you time on lengthy soul-searching in the process. “Knowledge of astrology alone can cut through time and energy wasted on other ways of finding out who you are,” Adams notes.
Even if you know very little about astrology, it’s likely that you’ll be aware of your sun or star sign. These twelve signs determined by your birthday are a gateway into astrology and what you are most likely to see in newspaper or magazine horoscopes. However, the sun or star sign — determined by where the sun was positioned at your birth — is only really the tip of the iceberg. “Your sun sign gives you a general weather forecast whereas a personal birth chart goes much deeper,” Adams clarifies. A birth chart uses your exact time and place of birth to determine where all the planets were when you were born — as a snapshot of the sky at the moment of your birth (find your birth chart here). “It can help you understand how you express yourself, the certain type of person that you are, the sorts of people you attract and what you are going through at the moment,” Adams adds.
In astrology, different planets represent different things. The sun, for example, represents your identity hence why it has become the most well-known of the astrological counterparts.
However, other elements have significant importance too. The moon determines your inner self and emotional nature while your rising or ascendant sign reflects how you appear in the world. Others reflect different aspects of our lives. For instance, Mercury is all about logic and rationality, Venus sheds light on beauty, love, and money and Mercury symbolizes communication. You can see from your birth chart which aspect falls in each sign and therefore your way of being for each. How deep you dig is up to you. If you’re someone who has only ever known their sun sign, this can be a very exploratory and illuminating process.
As well as understanding your personality better, astrology affects us on a day-to-day basis because the planets are constantly moving. When you are born impacts how you deal with these planetary movements. Astrology can therefore be used to plan your life and make decisions on when, where and how to move forward on certain elements. “It’s all about swimming with the tide, going where life is easiest for you and not pushing against it,” Adams says. It is somewhat comforting to know that everything is in motion and consciously changing. Riding with this — going with the flow — is key and using astrology and tapping in with the greater universe can help you do this. “Everything is cyclical,” Oddie concurs. Both in astrology — and in life — things move in cycles with natural ups and downs.
If you’re new to astrology, having your chart (I got mine here) read by a seasoned professional can be very helpful.
Before I read my whole birth chart, I struggled to connect with astrology. My sun sign is a Leo, often associated with showing off and hugging the limelight. A stage-loving performer I am not so I assumed this sign didn’t suit my personality. However, when I read deeper into my chart it started to make more sense. The more I learned about Leo (which actually appears many times in my chart), the more it resonated. For example, being hard-working and creative coupled with an element of self-consciousness. My rising sign shed a lot of light too. It’s Cancer, a sign known for sensitivity and taking things too personally (tick, tick!) but also one that is warm and kind, two qualities I like to hope I have.
While you can read the chart yourself using the information found online, an experienced astrologer can give further clarity and nuance. Similarly, you can work with an astrologer over time for ongoing support and guidance. Much like finding any type of wellbeing practitioner whether that’s a therapist or a facialist, it’s all about choosing someone you click with. “Don’t judge astrology on just one astrologer,” Adams recommends. Instead, take recommendations from friends or find practitioners online and chat with a few before picking one that feels intuitively right to you.
Whether you live your life by the signs or cherry-pick some small elements, astrology is a useful self-care practice. It offers time to reflect, explore and think about how you want to live your life moving forward — an exercise that is hugely beneficial. As Adams says: “It is worth having your chart done so you can form an opinion on it and see if it is useful. Give yourself the luxury to make your mind up.”