Today: New Generations Take on Astrology

Hailee Munno, Feature Editor

The mystery of the night sky has left a world of uncertainty for thousands of years; the stars tell stories and hold knowledge far beyond human understanding. From mathematics, to defining personalities, the stars answered some of life’s most challenging questions.

Astrology, though now considered a pseudoscience, has been studied and observed for centuries. In recent years, astrology has become a popular way to determine personality traits or even predict the day’s events.

In the early days of astrology, it was one in the same as astronomy. Today, the two are very different; astronomy is a science that studies everything outside of the earth’s atmosphere, and the properties and relationships of those celestial bodies, while astrology is the belief that the positioning of the stars and planets affect the way events occur on Earth, according to

 “It is worth noting, and keeping in mind, that astronomy and astrology were not separated until early modern history,” ancient civilizations teacher Jodi Patel said. “In fact, though people often make ignorant comments about superstition in the Middle Ages, it’s not like the Middle Ages had a monopoly on superstitious practices.”

Astrology goes deeper than just a silly horoscope in the Sunday paper; it has been practiced through hundreds of different cultures, evolved and spread across the globe into the Westernized astrology practices that are used in the present day.

The first versions of astrology can be traced back to about 3000 B.C. in ancient Mesopotamia. The Babylonians used the stars to predict the movements and actions of their gods.

“The Mesopotamian gods were unpleasant on the whole,” Patel said. “Insofar as religion is man’s search for god, it makes sense that Mesopotamia’s gods were seen as temperamental and not altogether on the side of humanity. Why? Because Mesopotamian climate and geography made for some tough living.”

According to Patel, the unpredictability and severity of the weather around the Fertile Crescent caused flooding that destroyed all crops, and Mesopotamians turned to blame their gods in the sky.

“Mesopotamian life could be sweet at times, but it was unpredictable and violent at times,” Patel said. “If the world you are living in is unpredictable and randomly harsh, what might you extrapolate about the gods? Obviously, they are unpredictable and sometimes harsh as well. From there, it is quite reasonable to then look to avoid angering the deities.”

As a result, the divination of their gods was created; this allowed the Mesopotamians to personify the gods and predict the unruly weather. This divination is now what is known as the Zodiac. 

According to Theodoros Karasavvas author of “The 4,000 Year History of Horoscopes: How Astrology Has Been Shaped Throughout the Millennia”, “The Babylonians were the first people to systematically apply myths to constellations and astrology and describe the twelve signs of the zodiac. The Egyptians followed shortly after by refining the Babylonian system of astrology, but it was the Greeks who shaped it into its modern form. The Greeks borrowed some of their myths from the Babylonians and came up with their own.”

According to Ali Raff Farrar, author of “Why is astrology making a twenty-first century comeback?” Until the 17th century, astrology was considered a scholarly tradition. 

For centuries, astrology was considered basically the same thing as astronomy. For example, revolutionary 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler, who studied the motion of the planets, was at the time considered an astrologer. That changed around the beginning of the Enlightenment in the late 17th century,” according to Olivia B. Waxman, author of “Where Do Zodiac Signs Come From? Here’s the True History Behind Your Horoscope”.

Even though astrology lost favor after Newton’s discoveries of modern science, it didn’t take away from the comeback in popularity of the mystical Age of Aquarius beginning in the 1970s.

According to Julie Beck, author of “The New Age of Astrology”, “The New Age movement of the 1960s and ’70s came with a heaping helping of the zodiac.”

The ‘70s was one of the biggest times for astrology in pop culture. The hippie movement of the 1960s and ‘70s led to a lot of questioning of religion. 

The Age of Aquarius is a 2,000-year period that began in the 70s, it was a time of new beginnings, which led to the popularization of astrology. Now, about 50 years later, astrology is feeling a resurgence.

“Astrology is currently enjoying a broad cultural acceptance that hasn’t been seen since the nineteen-seventies,” According to Christine Smallwood at the New Yorker and author of “Astrology in the age of uncertainty.” “The shift began with the advent of the personal computer, accelerated with the Internet, and has reached new speeds through social media.”

Today, astrology is even bigger than it was during the Age of Aquarius. Gen Z and millennials have taken a particular interest in astrology, using it as a way for better self-understanding.

 “In a 2014 study conducted by the National Science Foundation, it was found that 58% of young people aged between 18-24 believed that astrology is a science. This isn’t surprising given that apps like Co – Star advertise themselves by stating that they use “NASA data” to “algorithmically generate insights” for their users. Although astrology is not a science, it is marketed as such. In a world dictated by reason and logic, this scientific turn has legitimized and popularized the practice,” according to Mona Jameel, author of Gen-Z, Zodiac: Why Teens are Turning to the Stars for Answers.”

Modern astrology has shied away from divination of the gods and towards how the movements of the planets affect individuals based on their zodiac sign. The zodiac consists of twelve signs: Capricorn, aquarius, pisces, aries, taurus, gemini, cancer, leo, virgo, libra, scorpio and sagittarius.

Each sign aligns with the months of the year; as Earth orbits the sun, it passes 12 different star constellations.  These are where each sign is derived.

“There’s so much to be said about each sign, they’re all so different and have their own unique traits,” senior Annalee Heckman said. “It also depends on what placement that sign is in. Each planet represents a different part of your personality.  If you get a birth chart reading done, it can actually be incredibly accurate.”

Birth charts are the composition of an individual’s “star make-up.” They tell what sign each planet was in at the time of birth which can be determined through the date of birth, time of birth and location of birth.

“Personally, my favorite way to find birth charts is through the website,,” junior Hannah Laube said. “It tells you your sun, moon, rising and all of your planet placements. They offer a lot of information about what each sign possesses and can tell you what each sign in each planet means.”

In recent times, people use technology that tracks the movements of the planets and coincide with their zodiac signs to determine the events of the day.

 “I have multiple apps that keep me informed on planet alignment and how it will affect my sign and it helps me maneuver through the day,” Lynch said. “Sometimes it lets me know, ‘today you will take things personally’, so these days I do my best to be mindful of the situations I get myself in, and I’ll be less confrontational with people. Other days it tells me to really push forward for my goals, so those days I put goals into action. Other days tell me to stay in bed and rest, and I totally respect those days too.”

Some people see astrology as complete nonsense, though; it is commonly argued that there is no real science behind astrological practices. According to a survey of 100 North students, only about 41 percent believe in astrology.

“I find it hard to believe that the time of the year I was born in impacts who I am as a person,” astronomy teacher Melissa O’Keefe said. “I personally like to believe that I am in control of how I behave and act. I think sometimes people like to use it as an excuse for their behavior and believe it is out of their control. I don’t know if this makes some people feel better; like they can’t help but act, behave, or think a certain way because of their astrological sign, but I want to believe that people can choose those behaviors and if that is the case, then our star signs cannot be dictating it.”

The resurgence of astrology has introduced a new hobby. Checking horoscopes and asking about zodiac signs has become a fun way for people, especially teenagers, to bond.

“My friends and I love to ask about people’s zodiac signs,” Heckman said. “It’s a fun way to mess around and see if we can guess their personalities. I never use astrology to make decisions, or plan my life around it, but it really is fun to play into.” 

The practices of astrology can be more than a hobby and are taken seriously. Some even use astrology to make decisions and revolve plans around the placement of the planets.

“I personally am not a scientist, so I don’t have the studies to back it up, but the stars have always been a fascination of scientists, and I truly believe from the time you are born, to the exact location and how the stars are aligned on the day of your birth hold the secrets of each individual’s existence,” astrologist and yoga instructor Sarah Lynch said.

Astrology has been used in different forms and various purposes for centuries, it has made its way through history and is still popular today.

“Our ancestors used the stars, moon and sun to know the time of year, month, day, the seasons,” Lynch said. “They also used them for direction, and before man knew of all the other religions, they worshipped the sun and moon gods, as well as so many more. But they all were aligned with the elements. We’re also made of stardust, so it’s really hard for me not to believe our identity was written in the stars.”