crystal ball

You feel a buzz in your pocket. You take your phone out and check your notifications. Oh, just your Co-Star daily update. You half-mindedly check what the day has in store for you, according to the horoscope app that, based on your specific horoscope (taking into account your sun, moon and rising signs, obviously), gives you a prompt to lead the rest of your day by. 

Today, your Co-Star tells you to, “be a better person than you think you can be.” 

“What does that even mean?” you think to yourself, returning your phone to your pocket. 

The truth is, your Co-Star notification means nothing, seeing as in January of 2021 the Co-Star founder, Banu Guler, admitted to purposely making specific notifications more troubling in times of peace in one’s horoscope, simply to stir the pot. 

However, while problematic horoscope apps cannot be depended on to bring you an accurate representation of the life you lead, or may want to lead, a larger question remains — are horoscopes accurate representations of who we are as complex, unique human beings? 

Depending on the publication or media one consumes, one can easily find their horoscope for the specific month, week and, in cases such as Co-Star, the specific day. Even better, the horoscopes one receives are always consistent with their assigned personality traits. If you are a Leo, you are bold. A Taurus? Loyal. Cancers are emotional while Geminis are two-faced. And a Pisces man? Possibly the scum of the earth, according to the internet. 

While endearing, horoscopes have a way of grouping and generalizing those born within certain time frames into predetermined boxes. Without any say in our personality traits, zodiac signs tell us who we are and how we are perceived in the world. 

Where does this leave the shy Leo or the Cancer who has no trouble controlling their emotions? Do these individuals simply cease to exist? Horoscopes, while they may hold elements of truth and reality, are not law.

In a universe that is constantly proving to be more expansive and mysterious than we ever imagined it to be, it is comforting to think of ourselves as connected to something bigger than us. There is more out there, and we are connected to it, even if simply through the stars correlating to the time and date of our birth. 

However, it is not unfair to call zodiac signs a blatant form of stereotyping.

Possibly even more dangerous than the stereotyping of certain zodiac signs, which puts those who take it seriously into small, constricting boxes, is the fact that astrology often holds bigger implications in our current culture than we give it credit for. 

It is common on dating sites and social media to run into men stating that they would never date a woman who is into horoscopes, deeming her “crazy” and “unreasonable.” Why else would she believe in piddly, fake “magic” that has nothing to do with real life? 

On the flip side, in the most extreme of circumstances, are some whom use zodiac signs to decide who they want to — or do not want to — surround themselves with, based on the compatibility of the respective zodiac signs. One who decides their friends and partners based on star signs could be found uttering a sentence along the lines of “I would never be friends with a Capricorn, they are too moody for me.” 

Zodiac signs work as self-fulfilling prophecies. For those looking to find themselves, astrology is the perfect end to a quest for self-discovery. One need not worry about who they could be if their zodiac sign tells them what the world already perceives them as. 

Horoscopes, based on these zodiac signs, work as the same self-fulfilling prophecy. What lies awaiting you in your future is what has been laid out by your horoscope for the month. Your horoscope says, “this month, love is in my future.” You read your horoscope and think to yourself, “This month, love is in my future.” Regardless of whether you end up finding love or not, you are on the hunt for love, because it was predicted, after all. 

At the end of the day, zodiac signs are simply zodiac signs, and horoscopes are simply horoscopes. Like everything in life, the power we give something is the power it holds over us in return. While astrology is amusing and at times, undeniably accurate, we as humans are too amazingly complex to be described in a smattering of adjectives, haphazardly strung together at one point in time and taken to be true. 

Unless, of course, you are a Pisces man.

Harper Hamilton is a staff writer.

Staff Writer

Harper Hamilton is a sophomore from Portland, Oregon and is majoring in English and history. She is currently in her second year as a staff writer for the Bulletin.