“Why do all you girls put your sign in your dating profile?” I was on a date (yes, success!) and we veered into the category of “other people on the apps.” I made fun of all the pictures of dudes with fish, and the number of men seeking “ethically” non-monogamous relationships. My date wanted to know why the women he saw on the apps cared so much about his astrological sign. He thinks it’s full B.S., even less meaningful than a Meyers-Briggs or Enneagram delineation.
Ok, Does Anyone *Really* Date Based On Astrology?
It might seem like nobody is actually dating based on their zodiac sign and it’s all for the memes—Teen Vogue ran an article saying astrology doesn’t matter—and yet, next down on the Google search, was a piece from the same outlet on who one should date based on astrological signs. Still need more proof to know you’re not the only one filtering out Scorpios? Bumble says their star sign filter is their most used qualifier. MTV says one third of the young people (Gen Z) use astrology to determine their compatibility with a date.
I took to the internet to ask who believes the fault is in our stars when it comes to love. I got a wide range of responses. Maud Waterman, a Los Angeles based filmmaker, instead of bread baking or TikTok content creation, used her free time during the pandemic to study astrology. She says, “I’m definitely a believer! If you had asked about a year and a half ago I would have been a skeptic, but I did an unfathomable amount of studying (yeah, I’ve got textbooks) over quarantine and I now use astrology in my daily life.” I heard from several astrologers who operate in person, on the internet, or even on TV. I heard from an aura photographer (which I guess is a thing), crystal specialists, and psychics. What color is your aura, do you think? I hope mine’s purple.
I heard from skeptics who think, like my date, that it’s all a bunch of hocus pocus, and people like Michelle Davies—a life coach and editor of The Best Ever Guide to Life—who used to believe in astrology until it started negatively affecting her relationship. She says, “It’s because I was looking at our relationship dynamics through the lens of astrology, disregarding that certain things can be worked at through free will and effort.” Now she can think of astrology as a suggestion, but not a mandate.
I won’t name names, but some people have been dumped for their obsession with astrology, and there are people who swear by it anyway and would rather die (or stay single) than date an Aries. I interviewed two experts for further information on the psychology behind astrology and how it relates to the psychology of love: Clarissa Silva, Behavioral Scientist/Relationship Coach, who can be called a skeptic; and Maria Shaw, psychic astrologer and reality star, who has done readings on the eighth season of 90 Day Fiancé.
Ask The Experts
Even if you’re the most diehard horoscope checker, Silva says, “Astrological signs are labels, not dating deal breakers.” She adds, “Determining actual compatibility is far more complex.” I agree that it makes sense that one little piece of the personality puzzle is not enough to seal your fate, even if they are a Scorpio.
Shaw agrees. She says that, even if a reading shows that two people are not meant to be together, she would never tell someone what to do in their relationship. She also believes that you can’t simply look at someone’s sun sign to know compatibility. You need to do their full “star chart,” which entails using accurate info about the time, place, and day you were born. This gives a full picture of one’s past lives, present personality, and future path.
But What If You’re Dating A Skeptic… Or A Sagittarius?
Can you still use astrology to inform your decisions about the relationship if the other person thinks it’s woo-woo nonsense? Shaw says, “Use the astrology as a tool for yourself. Don’t push your opinions to get them to believe.” That said, you can still arm yourself with all the information, should you so choose: “Knowledge is power,” she says. If you simply can’t go on a second date without the full astrological picture, Shaw advises, “Get their birth information, find out about them, and decide if you want to go forward on this. You want to know where this thing is gonna lead.” She does emphasize getting consent from the person before charting their stars, but says it’s okay to use the information to inform yourself on whether or not you want to stay in a relationship—much like any other information you might find out in your routine pre-date social media stalking.
Silva, on the other hand, warns that this kind of judgment “can result in meaningless or erroneous predictions on compatibility.” She elaborates, “Astrology provides a layer of the complexity of personality but can’t make predictions on compatibility and long term happiness.” She says you can use astrology “as an entertainment source or a source of providing hope or direction for those that seek out this as guidance,” but that astrology is quite literally fake news: “a pseudoscience because it hasn’t passed the rigor of scientific inquiry to qualify as evidence-based.” Believers are going to say that something as intuitive as astrology cannot be studied by science, but many skeptics are going to insist on peer-reviewed evidence before committing to a life led by the stars.
Shaw has patience with the idea of skeptics. She says people who are getting wrong information are either not looking at the full picture or are getting information from a suboptimal source. Some websites copy info from other sources or from looking at only the sun sign instead of the sun, rising, and moon signs, not to mention the planetary alignment at the time of your birth. Still, when I summed this up on my next date with the skeptic, his eyes rolled so hard they got stuck that way and he had to go to the doctor (not fact).
Does Astrology Matter?
So, here’s why people use star charts to guide them in their relationships: either they truly believe in it, or they find it fun. None of us knows what we’re doing, so any guidance that gives us the answers we seek is going to be welcome. Just like I really shouldn’t be dating Slytherins anymore, someone might take a personality profile of a Taurus and use it as a reason to say, “Thank you, next.” Conversely, maybe a Ravenclaw with a Hufflepuff rising like myself can read an Aquarius’ profile and swoon, while knowing his sign won’t guarantee he isn’t a dick whistle.
As for me, I’m an astrology agnostic. I can’t know whether or not my tendency to multitask and chat is due to my being a Gemini or some other mix of nature and nurture. But isn’t it fun to dream? As we ended our call, Shaw said that, according to the planets, “We’re coming into a romantic period. We’re going to see people getting back to being romantic and wooing people. People want to fall in love and be in love.” Aw.
A skeptic might say that we’re getting into a romantic period because we’ve been locked in our houses in our sweatpants all winter. But either way, isn’t it nice to imagine that, as the plague recedes, there are people out there, maybe a soul mate or, as Shaw put it, “a past life connection,” ready to “walk your path?” Whether it is written in the stars or not, as we head into a potentially disease-free summer, full of starry nights and warm breezes, I wish you love, or, at least, some fun with a handsome Pisces.
Image: Lucas Ottone / Stocksy.com
Whether you believe Mercury retrograde is real, or just use it as an excuse to cancel plans and something you blame your problems on, Mercury is retrograde until November 20. If you believe in astrology, that means you might experience miscommunications, issues with tech, and general clumsiness and mishaps. It can also affect your finances, and many people try not to make big spending decisions during this astrological mess of a time. But not all of us can just not spend money for a three-week period just because one planet is moving backwards, so we consulted MassMutual to give advice on how Mercury retrograde will affect your sign, and how you should deal with it.
Rather than reaping the benefits of online financial systems like Paypal, don’t rely on these platforms while Mercury is in retrograde. (Take a few deep breaths if you pictured Venmo suddenly not working like I just did). Double-check that your bills were paid on time, and keep cash on-hand in case online payment systems malfunction. The key for you these next few days is due diligence and being flexible to adapt to technology malfunctions.
Taylor Swift really said it best: “you need to calm down”. Since Mercury being retrograde may set your temper through the roof, it’s best to acknowledge that patience is your friend these next few weeks. In this “culture of impatience,” do not get discouraged, set smaller financial goals, allow yourself to indulge a bit, and cut yourself some slack.
This will be an emotional few weeks for Cancers—and that’s not taking into account prepping to have every relative bombard you at the Thanksgiving table with questions on why you’re still single. It’s easier said than done, but try not to let your emotions get the best of you these next few weeks, especially when it comes to financial decisions. The best way to navigate this time period is to reframe your money-sabotaging emotions like anxiety, jealousy, and regret, and instead turn these into opportunities to self-reflect and let go of what you cannot control.
Rather than letting Mercury retrograde and other external factors impact your daily tasks, regain control by calculating your expenses and trimming the fat when it comes to your overall spending. By getting the control back in your hands and being able to determine your own success and security, Capricorns won’t just survive the retrograde, but they will thrive.
Gemini is one of the few signs that is built for a Mercury retrograde (and for that, we are all jealous). Continue staying flexible and adapting when there’s a financial roadblock or challenge. Rather than dwelling on decisions you regret, stay open-minded and remember that cultivating your financial knowledge will help you overcome challenges as well as positively shape your financial future.
Don’t let this retrograde be your bummer anthem (and please don’t throw a tantrum), because Taurus still have time to make it through this retrograde on top. Stick to a financial plan as closely as possible, and keep in mind that this is not the time to make impulsive money decisions. It’s best to wait out this retrograde before making any major purchases or deciding that it’s time to splurge on a vacation that you’ve been carefully saving up for.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. It’s going to be best to put extra effort into staying on track with your monthly budget, so keep your receipts, give yourself a weekly allowance and overestimate your necessary expenses. Taking proactive and careful measures like this will keep you on the right financial track.
Do not let Mercury retrograde come between you and your family—or BFFs, especially since a recent MassMutual survey shows that 71% of Americans include close friends in their personal definition of family. Whether it’s discussing monthly spending with your BFF or chatting about the cost of your upcoming college reunion trip, it’s best to tackle these conversations in-person. Technology can be very spotty during this time, and it’s best to have your receipts printed and prepared when going into these not-so-fun financial conversations.
A person’s intuition is one of the most powerful forces… right behind Mercury retrograde. Even though your intuition is one of your strongest drivers, your “gut instinct” may be off during Mercury retrograde, so be extra careful. During this time, stick to a financial plan rather than intuition when it comes to spending choices and making major financial decisions. And, consider tapping into your community, as one of our studies showed that people more involved in their communities are likely to have greater financial security.
First of all, take a deep breath. This retrograde cycle may test you, but preparing for the best course of action will allow you to continue your “go, go, go” mindset. Prepare a plan B when traveling, and leave early for appointments to prepare for transportation and mechanical failures. With extra transit time, knock out small financial to-dos such as paying your bills during your lengthier commutes, because #efficiency.
Stay the course financially, because your conservative approach when it comes to money will do you well while Mercury is in retrograde. Continue to stay cautious, stick to your financial goals, and save rather than spend. Build your wealth, not your #ragrets.
Grab your planner or spreadsheet, because this will be your saving grace. Even though you try to avoid chaos and uncertainty as much as possible, it may be tougher to escape it during Mercury retrograde. Therefore, write down all your upcoming deadlines and set alerts to keep the order. Closely manage your bills to ensure no late fees come up unexpectedly and keep up with routine maintenance to catch (and pay for) problems while they’re still small. Cutting clutter, especially the financial kind, truly makes such a difference in your day.
Images: Jp Valery / Unsplash; Giphy (12)