Reading Between The Stars

Words by: Natasha Schapova
Art by: Gabrielle Poh

In an increasingly connected world, it’s ironic that so many of us find ourselves feeling lonely and misunderstood.

The hardest book to read is our own, and sometimes we feel as lost within ourselves as we do in a foreign country without a GPS.

I’m sure many of us wished we could be handed a comprehensive blueprint to study the intricacies of our soul and to understand what genre we’d be filed under in a library. Perhaps this desperation for a concrete description of our character is why so many of us seek clarity in our star signs and direction from horoscopes. They provide a false illusion that there’s some sort of structure to life and that it isn’t just a plethora of random events scattered in time. Star signs allow us to feel strategically placed within a relevant bookshelf, surrounded by novels of a similar nature.

But the categorical essence of star signs can lead astrology enthusiasts to use zodiac sign descriptions as a ‘cheat sheet’ to the intimate details of someone they just met. In a society that teaches us to avoid judging others, we are quick to make preemptive assumptions of people based on their date of birth.

For some, star signs can be the difference between avoiding or pursuing someone. Something so seemingly extraneous can be so significant, especially in Indian culture where horoscopes are matched before meeting a potential partner. This process, called ‘Kundali Matching,’ is used to predict whether a partnership will be successful using the Sidereal system, rather than Western astrology.

In terms of scientific evidence, a lack of research to support the authenticity of astrology means that it is known widely as a pseudoscience.

However, psychologists have confirmed that there is a tendency for people to assume their horoscopes as self-fulfilling prophecies: if a horoscope is positive, readers tend to mirror it in their behaviour, therefore realising their horoscope and reinforcing their belief in it.

But whatever star sign you may be, there is something to say about how weirdly accurate they are. Sure, we’re not a definite representation of our sign but it is amusing to see some similarities. People may argue that the descriptions are too general and therefore could be applied to nearly anyone, but how do you explain that sometimes you just know that someone is a Sagittarius?

I myself am a proud Aries, and I’ve often found myself blaming my occasionally short temper on the fiery nature of my sign. Too many times I’ve excused my actions by saying Well, I’m an Aries. Rather than addressing the possible lack of control over my emotions, my star sign allows me to revel in the false sense of my destined identity. This can definitely be cataclysmic if people surrender themselves to their negative traits, rather than attempting to improve them.

I relate to the passionate, ambitious and adventurous features of my sign, but I disagree with the claim that Aries lack patience and are impulsive. I am someone who thoroughly thinks through my options, and, at least somewhat, actively pursues my goals. Sure, if I’m making insignificant plans such as what waterfall to visit on the weekend, I can be spontaneous, but when it comes to something like choosing a degree, I’m far from impulsive.

All in all, I think that believing in horoscopes is healthy as long as you don’t perceive them as an assessment rubric that you need to fulfil, but rather as a brief prompt that lends you inspiration without repealing your creativity. Horoscopes are an insight into your personality, a recipe that should be very mildly followed, not a step by step guide.

And sure, there might not be any concrete evidence, but there are also many other things in life that are yet to be proven. Not everything in this world needs a formal explanation and sometimes it’s more fun to just accept things as they are, real or imaginary, but maybe that’s just the optimistic Aries in me.

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