Written in The Stars: Students implement Astrology into their daily lives
By Lauren Nehorai
Virgo: (10/07-10/13) Strap on your seat-belt, you are in for a long ride! Monday will bring a new discovery, Wednesday may hold some speed bumps, but by Friday you will reach your goal as you move into your sixth house of success.
Astrology is defined as the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies that influence human affairs and the natural world. It was introduced to the Greeks in the 4th Century BC and became renowned through the studies of Plato and Aristotle. However, the use of astrology has greatly transformed beyond its original purpose of predicting the reoccurrence of seasons, now being used as a tool to predict the course of a week, the future of a relationship, the prosperity of a business deal and more. While some see astrology as a scam filling otherwise blank pages of tabloid magazines, many others use astrology as a means of exploring their inner selves and find deeper meaning in everyday moments.
Astrologist and President of the Los Angeles Council for Geocosmic Research Gaye Nelson has been doing readings for over 30 years and said she believes that astrology has enabled her to have a more peaceful and predictable life.
“Most people come to me seeking answers through electional astrology,” Nelson said. “Through this practice, I can assist decision making and date planning for a surgery, wedding, business deal and more. Through my calendar which is synced to the lunar cycles, I can see specific dates and times which I call ‘void periods’ and I urge them to stay away from committing to anything during those periods.”
Nelson creates charts based on 14 factors and 30 personality types. An individual’s chart is determined based on their birth date, place and time, which can provide insight into one’s strengths, weaknesses, and destiny, Nelson said. Charts can also be created to determine compatibility in relationships as well, Nelson said.
“Planets are divided into four quadrants, each with a different purpose and importance in one’s life,” Nelson said. “Planets above the horizon are outer-directed and career-oriented, whereas planets below the horizon are based on inner growth and self-development.”
Many Harvard-Westlake students implement astrology into their daily lives, looking to their horoscopes as a source of guidance and reassurance. Katie Frazee ’20 has a daily horoscope app and said she resonates with the characteristics of her sign.
“I check my horoscope everyday,” Frazee said. “Everything they say about a Capricorn’s personality is very applicable to my own [personality]. I usually base my day off of my horoscopes predictions, and if it says I am going to have a good and lucky day, that’s usually what happens.”
Frazee has ventured deeper into the world of astrology than the typical horoscope reader, she said. She said she has a collection of astrology books and devotes a lot of time to learning everything she can about her personality.
“I believe that astrology is very meaningful, and I now see the effects of small moments that I would typically overlook,” Frazee said. “I recently purchased a few books on astrology, horoscopes and interpreting dreams, and I have been reading them non-stop. I want to know everything I can not only about my own sign, but the signs of my friends and family too.”
Not all students buy into the hype, however.
Although Kylie Azizzadeh ’21 said she used to love horoscopes and personality quizzes, she said she outgrew the obsession a few years ago when she realized they were not having a visible effect on her life.
“It all used to be very exciting,” Azizzadeh said. “You were almost granted psychic powers and given the ability to see your fate for the upcoming week. Although my fortunes were often times accurate, I realized how general horoscopes can be. This makes them easy to resonate with, but when you find something to resonate with for every astrological sign, it makes you question their reliability.”
School Psychologist Tina McGraw said that some people use astrology as a method of validating characteristics and reducing anxiety about the uncertainty of the future.
“For some people, their horoscope becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” McGraw said. “If you are someone who is prone to believe that astrology has a palpable impact on life then it is possible to conclude that having a negative or positive daily horoscope may set up your expectations one way or another.”
Max Valdez ‘20 said he believes that astrology is a scam with no actual effect on people’s lives.
“I am very opposed to the idea of horoscopes,” Valdez said. “I don’t think that just because the stars align in a certain way or if the moon is a certain shape, it means that you will ace a math test, or that your crush will send you a message in an unexpected way.”
Nelson said she doesn’t deny the opinion that psychics and astrologists can be inaccurate. Despite having a background in therapy and psychology herself, Nelson warns against those who don’t share an equal amount of experience.
“A lot of my colleagues know what they are talking about, but I would never let them do a reading for me,” Nelson said. “Some of them use their knowledge against people, and some are smart but negative. While I try to be honest and warn clients when I see something harmful in their path, there is a proper way to say it that won’t permanently turn someone off from the entire field of astrology.”
Nelson also stressed the fact that most horoscope writers are not astrologists and that the horoscopes people find in magazines are often inaccurate.
“Horoscope means hour pointer,” Nelson said. “The idea of it is that a horoscope points to the time of your birth. Your chart is based on a snapshot of the sky from the exact time, date, and city of your birth and it gives insight on key personality traits. Not all people born with the same astrological sign have the same chart, which is why horoscopes are very general and imprecise.”
Some blame all negative events on the fact that mercury is in retrograde, and others hardly know the name of their astrological signs. Despite potential inaccuracies, Azizzadeh said she believes that following astrology can be fun and, in the end, it only affects people as much as they want it to.
“Although I am not a firm believer in astrology, I know I will always be tempted to read information about my sign whenever it is presented to me,” Azizzadeh continued. “It can be fun and reassuring as long as you don’t let it take over your life and attitude.”