health

There's a scientific reason why all of your mates are suddenly very into horoscopes.

It’s 2019 and never before has the threat of Mercury retrograde, super moons and an unattractive horoscope been such a danger to our daily wellbeing.

Astrology has made its way from a newspaper and magazine afterthought into the realms of meme culture, fashion and for some, even self help.

But as a Scorpio with her rising sign and moon in Pisces, who owns a daily horoscope app on her phone (it’s called Co – Star, get on it), it’s become very evident that people fall into two distinct groups: the growing numbers who are paying more attention to astrology and those who scoff and eye roll.

The latter are probably Capricorns.

For next level astrology fans, zodiac makeup exists, and we can’t look away.

Video by MMC

Jokes aside, whether or not you believe being a Leo genuinely impacts your personality, what’s more telling is the gravitas you put into astrology in general.

Speaking to Mamamia, clinical psychologist Amanda Gordon of Armchair Psychology refers to the term self-efficacy when explaining why some people are more drawn to the practice.

“If you’re a person with high self-efficacy then you believe it’s your actions that change the world. You’re less likely to look to the alternatives like astrology and the impacts of the planets to account for what’s happening,” she says.

“Whereas if you’re of low self-efficacy, you look at external events in the world to make more sense of it. You’d be the person more likely to believe something has happened outside of your control and astrology fits into that. Maybe you see yourself as a victim of the impact of planets.”

Given this information, does our growing willingness to entertain these cosmic theories indicate something more problematic? Gordon explains the potential dangers of this mindset.

“I think the risk is you lose belief in your own capacity to make changes in your own life and that’s where it’s dangerous. They say one of the great wisdoms is to know the things you have control of and which you don’t,” she says.

“If you’re poor at distinguishing those things, then you might not be making choices which are suitable for yourself. You might just assume the universe is going to make the choice for you.”

It’s not all bad news though.

“In some cases that’s helpful,” she adds.

“For example, if you surrender to grief for instance, you can breathe and be done, but if you’re always looking at what you should have been doing, that can be harder.”

horoscope 2019 astrology
Our obsession with horoscopes has reached a whole new level. Image: Getty.
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Far from its retro 70s and 90s roots the contemporary revival of astrology has been well-observed.

In early 2018, The Atlantic ran a viral story titled "The New Age of Astrology" which referenced a 1982 study which linked the likelihood of an individual's belief in astrology with increased external stresses. In this case, the research identified an "over representation" of females who were considered to be maritally marginal AKA unmarried and over the age of 30.

“Under conditions of high stress, the individual is prepared to use astrology as a coping device even though under low-stress conditions [they don't] believe in it,” stated the authoring psychologist, Graham Tyson.

Given the current climate of increased anxiety and mental health issues, financial concern (especially among millennials) and political unease, our social climate seems perfectly primed for a resurgence of astrology and its other New Age pals like crystals and tarot cards.

Gordon agrees, and adds another two factors - climate change and the breakdown of organised religion.

"Climate change can be seen as another 'big thing' we can't change," she says, adding that the disillusionment in political intervention can further increase feelings of "helplessness".

"I do think it's the fault of our leadership which have in some ways said it's all too hard and we're helpless. We haven't had strong leaders (not just in Australia, but around the world) who have been able to say, 'come on we can make a difference,' especially in areas like social welfare, wealth inequality and refugee issues.

"The other bit is that as more and more people see organised religion as an increasingly right-wing movement, people are seeking a different spiritual supplement to meet their needs."

Whether you're a complete cynic or a hopeless devotee, on a basic level horoscopes speak to the very human desire of wanting to organise our lives into a logical narrative. They hold an "explanatory power" which helps us "explain the phenomena about the world around us," says Gordon.

"Human beings are meaning-making creatures and if someone will make a meaning and make a story for you, than you're going to appreciate it and it doesn't matter if the story doesn't have any truth to it at all," she explains.

And if that looks like blaming the full moon for your psychopathic burst of foul mood or declaring your indecisive nature on the fact that you're a Libran, than maybe that's just your chosen coping mechanism.

As long as you're aware of it.

How much gravitas do you put into horoscopes? Tell us in a comment below.

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