Astrology is frequently lumped into the broad category of what many westerners believe to be false, fanciful fiction. The practice, present in several cultures over the past centuries, is based on the belief that the position of the stars in the sky can impact how one lives their life. Conceptually, it makes sense in a historical context. Ancient peoples, and even some remote modern ones, used the stars to navigate, tell the time of year and gave hints as to weather patterns that may come ahead. Some cultures even believed that their deities lived in the sky. To them, it would make sense that to believe that the stars ruled their lives because in many ways this was already true.
But now is the age of science, and a lot of people don’t believe in this type of spiritual “nonsense.” In 2016, NASA published a scathing article explaining that astrology is a pseudo-science and doesn’t actually have any weight behind any of the claims. In essence, they said these beliefs are incredibly outdated and ridiculous.
However, some scientists have found correlations between the months someone was born and certain illnesses or behaviors. According to Psychology Today, for example, those born in February are more likely to develop schizophrenia, winter and early spring birthdays have higher rates of bipolar disorder and dyslexia may be higher in the summer months.
A Japanese study found personality traits have tendencies to be higher in certain months as well. Agreeableness was found to be lower in December through February. A similar study done in Sweden reported February through April birthdays likely have increased novelty-seeking behavior. Some astrologers use this as “scientific proof” that the time and location of when and where we were born does have the power to rule our lives.
But does this mean that psychology and science has proven astrology to be true? Probably not. Correlation does not equal causation, meaning that just because something looks like it might be the cause of something, doesn’t mean it is. There’s plenty of other explanations for these findings— the age one enters school, the weather for their first few months of life and much more.
That doesn’t mean astrology is completely fake. Whether or not the stars and planets can control your life doesn’t necessarily have to be the question here— it’s whether or not you believe they do. If your horoscope tells you that you’re going to have a good day, and because you’ve been told that, you’ll project that idea onto yourself and maybe seek out things that will make your day better. On the other hand, if all the news outlets are declaring that all of your communications will run into the ground because mercury is in retrograde and you believe it, maybe you’ll be a little less careful with your messages. Whether or not you believe it’s real, the placebo effect is. If someone gets positive effects from believing in astrology, don’t use your angry internet science degree to rain on their good horoscope.