'To Make Meaning Of The World': Why More Young People Are Turning To Astrology
It was 1970 when one of Australia's most respected astrologers Lilith Rochas first started writing horoscopes, long before astrology Instagram accounts, apps and the internet (in its current form) even existed.
Despite growing up during a time when caring about retrogrades and moon signs “wasn’t really fashionable”, Lilith decided on her career path and enrolled to study at an astrological society.
But, in what she took as a sign from the universe, whenever she’d attempt to read the lines of the ephemeris (a table showing the positions of the planets used pre-internet), she’d pass out.
“I kept fainting and I’d never fainted before or since,” she told 10 daily, adding that “it became really embarrassing and I just took that as a very strong sign that I wasn’t meant to be a personal astrologer with people”.
Luckily, her interest in astrology never wavered and, a few years later, she was asked to write horoscopes for the Melbourne Sunday Observer -- where contributors included Barry Humphries and Michael Leunig -- and was “given carte blanche”.
“I very much wrote for myself, I had a particular style which was very cheeky and outrageous and it was much more taking the mickey out of it," Lilith explained.
As a writer and poet, Lilith has always played with the power of the English language, and during her early writing days, she managed to attract an audience of staunch believers and cynics, telling 10 daily that she "never cared whether people believed in astrology or not".
"I wanted to write something that was accurate but I also wanted to entertain them so that the column would work for people who didn’t believe in astrology.
"They would read it anyway and then say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s just like you’ or ‘My mother-in-law did that’, so it was a way of hooking them in.
Why Are Younger People Looking To The Stars?
Astrology has always had a way of hooking people in but has seen a steep resurgence thanks to the internet where, in recent years, astrology meme pages like Not All Geminis and Trashbag Astrology, and apps like Co-Star and The Pattern supply followers with a steady stream of bite-sized, instantly gratifying, specifically tailored astro advice.
“Humans are pattern tracking animals, everybody wants to make meaning of the world that we live in and our place in it,” Lilith told 10 daily.
“Everyone wants to understand other people and communicate with them, how to make a meaningful contribution to life with the gifts that we’ve been given, how to make the most of those gifts and, really, how to have the most fun doing that,” she added.
“It makes a lot of sense that it’s having a bit of a comeback because, on the internet, you can engage with astrology at whatever level suits you and whatever level works for you.”
In the past 50 years, Lilith has written horoscopes for publications including The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Women's Weekly but says she's been blissfully unaware of astrology's stranglehold on social media.
"It’s not that I’m not interested it’s just that I don’t follow them, life’s too short," she said. "I have my own favourite astrology writers who I might read occasionally to check out what they’re saying on an issue. I like to form my own opinions.
"There are so many brilliant things in life that I don’t want to be attached to a phone all the time."
Although we can technically indulge in as little or as much astrological internet content as we want, Instagram pages and apps have a calculated way of harnessing our attention with a neverending stream of viral photos and short, digestible sentences that often appeal to our ego.
Most, although not all, astrology meme accounts rely on 12 distinct stereotypes that allow followers to instantly identify with a set of traits that sets them apart, or connects them to other star signs.
A glance at these pages shows followers writing comments like, "I'm such a Cancer it's embarrassing" or "There aren’t ENOUGH mean Gemini memes in the world! I love them, deal me another! Hit me!!"
"I’ve noticed that everyone now seems to expect instant information to be supplied to them and, in a way, I feel that that doesn’t help you in thinking for yourself," Lilith told 10 daily.
"For me, and this is me, not everybody, if I’m having a problem, I might go to something and have a look but I don’t want that given to me every day," she said when we explained the nature of Co-star and The Pattern's daily, often scathing, notifications.
How Can We Engage With Astrology (If We Want To)?
Lilith explained that she finds astrology helpful as "a set of kind of fluid guidelines rather than mandatory rules".
"A kind of stellar weather report for those who want to take advantage of the prevailing conditions that provides information to us about how other people see the world," she told 10 daily.
And importantly, for Lilith, astrology is about studying all 12 star signs, "not just how the information applies to me".
"I think it’s incredibly helpful not to slot people into 12 rigid categories but to really understand the different approaches that different people have to the world which can be radically different," she said.
Main Image: Getty Images.