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Written in the stars? Astrology really only shapes your life if you let it.

Anybody who has ever cracked open a newspaper has probably looked at the horoscope section, whether they really believe in astrology, or not. 

Maybe it’s just because I’m a two-faced Gemini, but I’ve always found that reading horoscopes and learning about astrology tended to be a lot of fun, even though I lacked any actual belief in the subject. The stars only affect your life as much as you let them.

Astrology is the study and belief that the positions of stars and other celestial bodies at the time of a person’s birth have an influence on one’s life.

“The sun and moon and each of the planets all have a different function in our life, and their placement at our birth is fairly unique to us,” explains Donna Young, a professional astrologer who earned a degree in the subject from the online Kepler College. 

“All of the planets have their own role, and each of the signs tell us how that role is played out.”

For something that’s often seen as New Age pseudoscience, astrology has a long history that dates back to the Babylonians in the second millennium BCE, and has popped in and out of history since. 

Despite its reputation, Young says interest in astrology has apparently been increasing. 

“Where it was once the primary domain of middle aged women, there is now a huge increase in young people interested in astrology.”

Of course, she has dealt with her share of people who are skeptical of her work, or actively try to disprove it. Skeptics try to argue about the logic of dividing people into 12 groups, while others declare horoscopes to be nothing but vague guesses, and statements. 

However, Young offered some examples of practical astrology. 

“If they just don’t think that it works, I’ll ask them if their parents or grandparents used the farmers’ almanac and planted by the moon, because that’s astrology. If they read tide tables before they went kayaking in the ocean, that was also astrology. 

“Or if they knew of an emergency room nurse or EMS driver who dreaded full moons, that was also astrology.”

Despite these useful applications of astrology, basing one’s life and plans around it seems a little silly. It’s definitely possible to enjoy the subject without being a wholehearted devotee. In an increasingly-uncertain world, the idea that one’s fate is written in the stars is an attractive one.

However, it’s a person’s belief in the concept that gives it power over his or her life. It’s a placebo effect in the guise of charts and star maps. 

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