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The Psychology Of Astrology

It’s common for people to seek guidance when they’re unsure of what action to take or when they have no idea what’s going to happen in their lives when they wake up the next day. For some people, this uncertainty makes them eager for some guidance that can help them get through what they’re facing or give them insight into what will happen next in their lives.  

When seeking guidance in life, some people turn to horoscopes and astrology for the answers they’re looking for. Astrologists believe that the position of the celestial bodies on the day we were born define our personal characteristics and our traits. In addition to believing that the position of sun, moon and stars play a role in the direction our lives take, astrologers also believe they can predict what’s going to occur in our daily lives based on factors like the alignment of the planets. Even though millions of people were born on the same day and at the same time, people relying on horoscopes believe that they’re going to read something unique about themselves which can help them make the right decisions in life.

The Barnum Effect

Horoscopes are a good example of the Barnum effect wherein people believe descriptions of their personality are accurate even if these descriptions are so vague that they apply to many people. The Barnum effect is named after American circus showman P.T. Barnum who had a simple formula for explaining his success: ‘Always have a little something for everybody’. The predictions offered by horoscopes do just that, as they are typically stated in such general terms that they can pretty much offer something for anyone.

Astrology Helps Fill a Void

Astrologists believe that nothing in life is truly coincidental and that everything that happens to us, happens for a reason. People who visit astrologists often report that their experience was fulfilling and personally satisfying. This type of reaction is not surprising as seeing an astrologist is a personal experience with the astrologist often telling the visitor flattering things about their character and their life. This often leaves the visitor happy that someone cares about them. In other words, the person is left to feel “connected” both to another person and to the world around them. Plus, the astrologer often provides the visitor with some useful (though vague) advice about their future.

Even though an astrologer or a horoscope typically offers advice that’s very vague and general, this advice can be better than no advice at all for some people. For example, someone who feels lonely much of the time and who may be feeling as though their life has no meaning, may turn to an astrologist so they have someone to listen to them, show some concern for their problems and offer some guidance.

The Problem with Astrology

People who firmly believe everything they read in their horoscopes can end up subconsciously sabotaging themselves because of their belief. As an example, let’s say that someone who completely believes in their horoscope reads something like “you need pampering so go buy yourself something nice”. That person could justify spending way too much money on something extravagant, which could have serious financial consequences for them. Or someone who thinks they are overly shy because their star sign always tells them that, may go through life never making any effort to overcome their shyness. Despite these potential issues, as long as a person is able to find a balance between the information they glean through astrology and their own capacity for self-initiative and making the necessary changes in their lives, then it can be a positive source of reinforcement in one’s life.  

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