Astrology is a tool that only works when actively chosen for a distinct purpose; that of self-reflection or discernment. A professional astrologer delivers data and offers a unique and often collaborative interpretation with the client, so buying into the practice is necessary for its functionality.
Although under the radar, astrology has been a decision-making tool for a while, serving predominantly as a lamppost for times of strife. In the early 1400’s, Filippo Maria Visconti consulted astrological influences to determine everything from his daily regime to his wartime judgements.
In the 1970’s, western use of the zodiac began to transform into “psychological astrology,” and rather than a predictor of the future, the system became an instrument for self-analysis. A 1988 New York Times article explained that Mrs. Nancy Reagan consulted the stars to ensure her family would be safe on particular dates.
In 2020, amidst global unrest, there has been a surge in online astrological engagement, perhaps signaling a yearning for spirituality.
The self-enhancement theory states that humans want to see themselves in a positive light and therefore are drawn to fulfilling affirmative rather than negative external expectations of themselves (a teacher’s encouragement or a friend’s compliments.) One is also far more likely to be open to making life changes if they are already experiencing self-doubt and therefore are actively searching for guidance.
According to a 1982 study, people who have a "low internal locus of control," or who believe they do not have complete control over their lives, are more likely to believe in astrology.
The zodiac can galvanize people to act, but only if the need for inspiration or clarity was already there.