Astrology is fake, but the friendships we make through it are real

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Illustration courtesy of Margot Heron

You might remember the huge buzz on the internet several years ago when NASA declared there was a 13th Zodiac sign — Ophiuchus. NASA explained how the Earth’s axis had shifted from the gravitational pull of the moon, thus creating a whole new alignment for the zodiac signs. According to NASA, this shift of the constellations from our vantage point confirms that the constellation Ophiuchus is now the 13th star sign and a legit member of the zodiac. If the change is true, my Dec. 8 birthday means that my zodiac sign is not Sagittarius, but actually Ophiuchus, the serpent.

I immediately took to Google to research Ophiuchus traits and convince myself that this could be my new sign — passionate, rebellious, how couldn’t I relate? One website said Ophiuchus was “sexually magnetic with bedroom skills par excellence,” and I mean, who wouldn’t want to think that was written in the stars for them?

I identified with a whole set of different traits so easily that it made me realize all horoscope traits are general and vague. As human beings, we are all incredibly multifaceted. We identify with many traits, especially ones we want to see in ourselves. I could identify with Ophiuchus because those traits appealed to my ego. Although I have always been skeptical about the legitimacy of horoscopes, I had been told my whole life I was a fiery Sagittarius, the archer. When I was little, my dad would read me my horoscope, saying I was born to be a curious, energetic traveler. I moved across the country to go to college, something a true Sagittarius would do. But I think most of it is general enough to describe practically anyone. The way you want the world to see you determines how you identify with astrology.

Since the NASA article, astrologists everywhere seem to agree that the whole Ophiuchus thing is a complete hoax. I’ve gone back to telling people I’m a Sagittarius because no one acknowledges Ophiuchus as a legitimate sign. More importantly, there aren’t any good Ophiuchus Twitter memes. Bottom line, Ophiuchus may be a constellation, but is not the 13th zodiac. Sorry NASA, I ain’t no snake! I’m an archer for life.

Although there’s no scientific evidence that zodiac signs correlate to personality, something I always love to read about is compatibility. My best friend from home is a Gemini, a sign known for forming lifelong bonds with those who are Sagittarius. As an air sign, she spreads my Sagittarius fire like nothing else. She comes up with an idea and I jump right in, ready for something new. Even more, my new boo is a Gemini, too! Are these just coincidences? Probably. I know there’s nothing objective backing it up, I just think there’s something sweet about the fact that I often gravitate towards people who I’m “astrologically compatible” with.

In the current stressful and data-driven era, many young people have increasingly embraced astrology. Under conditions of high stress, millennials often use astrology as a coping mechanism, even though under low-stress conditions they do not believe in it. It makes sense to me that something as outlandish as astrology is taking on a new relevance in a world where all news is fake news and all facts are alternative.

I don’t find myself turning to astrology in times of stress, which seems to be a reflection of myself as a member of Generation Z. I typically only muse about astrology in low-stress situations, as I have a lot on my plate with trying to graduate college in four years to get a job then to pay off my ever-increasing student loans, on top of saving the earth and surviving the apocalypse. As a member of Gen Z, it’s hard for me to see college as a relaxing four years of self-discovery or star gazing. Anyway, you can’t see the constellations with all the smog that hovers over Los Angeles.

My generation likes astrology because it gives us a way to connect with others and ourselves, whether that be on the internet or in real life. Even if the science behind it is a bunch of crap, astrology creates a sense of community and connection I find extremely valid. I use it as a conversation topic to chat about with friends rather than an actual tool to divine my future. There’s nothing better than that moment when an astrology meme perfectly describes how you fit into your assigned traits, or you really hit it off with someone and then you find your zodiac signs are compatible. None of that will ever happen for you if you keep a closed mind to astrology. Astrology may be fake, but the connections we form through it are real.

Maeve Secor is an undeclared first year. She can be reached at msecor@oxy.edu.