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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Fun or faith? Why millennials continue to read zodiac

Beyond belief: Why do people continue to find answers in zodiac? We reached out to millennials who help us decode the zodiac signs, and a lot more

Written by Jayashree Narayanan | Pune | Updated: October 5, 2020 7:20:02 pm
zodiac, astrology, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, zodiac signs and millennials, why do people read zodiac signs, signs and compatibility, libra and pisces, libra and gemini,Wondering what's with the affirmation towards zodiac? We have some interesting answers. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

The Moon’s occupation of your chart sets you up for the top job. Can you take the plunge?

If you are hoping to fall in love, hang on; it could just be your turn next.

Travel bug is likely to bite some and coax them to enjoy some interesting places.

These are some of the horoscope predictions that we picked from the inside pages of a daily and a website. But why is that zodiac and star signs continue to remain popular even among the millennials?

For the uninitiated, zodiac, which derives its meaning from the Latin word ‘zodiacus’ or ‘circle of animals’, is a part of astrological science which reflects the position of the sun when one is born. It comprises 12 animal-faced signs ranging from a goat (Aries) to fish (Pisces).

For 28-year-old Shweta Jain and her best friend, it started in school. “I read them just to know if there is something unique that is likely to happen during the day or if I have to be careful about an event which may have a relation to a situation I already may be in, or just to know about the day ahead.” Even today, the Piscean may not be reading it daily, but whenever she does, it is with the belief that “they may give me a sense of direction or some guidance”.

zodiac, astrology, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, zodiac signs and millennials, why do people read zodiac signs, signs and compatibility, libra and pisces, libra and gemini, Zodiac comprises 12 animal-faced signs ranging from a goat: Aries, to fish: Pisces. (Source: Getty Images)

So, while people may not entirely believe in them, zodiac or any form of astrology whets curiosity. Agreed a 27-year-old who didn’t wish to be named: “I read them only out of curiosity, I don’t dwell on them. If I feel the reading is in sync with my situation, then I believe in it. In any case, I do not blindly depend on the readings,” said the corporate professional, who started reading zodiacs at the age of 10 in newspapers, and has now subscribed to various online websites.

While zodiac readings are considered a Western concept since they are determined by just one’s date of birth, closer home, we have natal charts and horoscopes that people refer to for special occasions. As such, zodiac readings tend to be general predictions for thousands of people across the world about work, family, friends, travel and birthday month.

But such generalised readings can also throw up surprises.  “One day, my zodiac sign reading suggested that my day wouldn’t be as easy as I think and there will be some work pressure. On the same day, I had to stay late in the office because of a client crisis — that day was my birthday! So yes, all the plans had to be moved to the following day,” said Anish Choudhary, 23, a Gemini.

zodiac, astrology, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, zodiac signs and millennials, why do people read zodiac signs, signs and compatibility, libra and pisces, libra and gemini, Anish Choudhary on why is he intrigued by astrological predictions like zodiac. (Source: Anish Choudhary)

He said zodiacs can actually add a dash of fun to your mundane routine. “I remember back in 2018, once my zodiac reading suggested that my lucky colour is orange, and for some reason I was wearing an orange t-shirt that day. I was at a mall with friends and ‘Mad Over Donuts’ was giving free donuts to everyone who was dressed up in orange. Sounds silly, but it was worth it,” recalled Choudhary, an MBA student.

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Interestingly, people also point out how such understanding of zodiac act as an ice-breaker, a good conversation starter. “Zodiac also helps me understand other personalities, so it is easier for me to decode them without even having many conversations,” said the Gurgaon-based corporate professional.

“Knowledge of zodiac signs actually help you find someone who could connect with you well or have dealt with similar observations. Like, a Gemini instantly clicks with a Libra and Aquarius, or Gemini himself/herself,” shared Choudhary, who used to previously watch Aapke Taare, an astrology-based popular show on a news channel during his school time.

Like Jain, others also choose to count on them for basic guidance. “During childhood, it (readings) was for studies, friends, exams. During adolescence, it was for love, success and the scope for higher education. Now during adulthood, it’s all about success, future, taking important decisions, buying new stuff and above all, a positive mindset every morning,” said Choudhary, who follows a popular webpage called Ganesha Speaks, and also has a mobile application My Horoscope & Astrology.

“They do motivate us when one is feeling low but all of it cannot be taken as a prescription. Individual differences do count,” countered 25-year-old Aditi Khandelwal who makes sure to daily read what the stars have in store for her sign, Leo.

zodiac, astrology, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, zodiac signs and millennials, why do people read zodiac signs, signs and compatibility, libra and pisces, libra and gemini, Aditi Khandelwal shares more about her liking for zodiac. (Source: Aditi Khandelwal)

While many of the readings might tell you what your mother would have told you anyway each day, it is the “no-stakes approach” that’s drawing many, feels a 29-year-old content manager who didn’t wish to be named. “For example, they tell you ‘eat well this month’ or ‘work out’ and ‘stay calm’… I try to follow that kind of advice.. it’s like I won’t do it if my mom tells me to but hearing a person with no stakes in this relationship helps me feel motivated. On a funny note, I think sometimes I’m just trying to save therapy money and instead substituting it with ‘cheap horoscope vlogs’ but it does motivate me,” she said.

Call it a silly coincidence, a superstition, fun, abstract activity or an interesting way to read people, where does the curiosity stem from? “People still believe in destiny and what the star says about them. Every zodiac has some secretive effects, which are both positive and negative, and one is always curious to know the same. These little things help us to be alert and energetic to proceed towards our plans,” said Dr Aarti Dahiya, astrologer and vastu expert, Niyati by Aarti.

Zodiacs raise curiosity primarily because they refer to the basic attributes of any individual and accordingly gives details about what’s in store ahead. “They are certainly believable and hence have existed for hundreds of thousands of years. They provide a sort of guidance,” said Pandit Jagannath GuruJi, a Bengaluru-based astrologer, prophesier and philanthropist.

ALSO READ | Curiosity may influence people to make smarter decisions

Interestingly, in the books of American history, as per Library of Congress’ Research Guides, the period of 1914-1921, saw an all-time high popularity of astrology where famous “prophets” or “astrologists” ‘incorrectly predicted major political and cultural events such as the end date of World War I, the birth of the future “World’s President,” and the reappearance of the Star of Bethlehem’. Could something like that be indicative of the situation of the ongoing pandemic that the world is currently witnessing, and nobody was able to clearly predict? “Zodiacs and horoscopes are as relevant as ever even in the prevailing scenario.

The world has faced a lot of unprecedented situations over time. Horoscopes and zodiacs are more about how different people would tackle the same situations differently. And yes, on individual basis, solutions can be provided on the basis of astrology,” said Pandit Jagannath GuruJi.

From basic newspaper-based astrology and zodiac readings to TV shows and now online webpages and mobile applications, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly zodiacs have gone on to become really popular across a seemingly large subscribe base. Noida-based Rohit Mahajan, marketing and communication specialist, and founder, http://www.loofre.in, who analysed various astrology-based websites while being associated with a merchant aggregator site to add an astrology section http://www.loofreastro.in to his site, said mostly “youngsters are the subscriber base”. “Two most important questions revolve around career and marriage which are asked to our 40-odd panel of astrology experts each day. They are approximately 300 queries every day on our website,” said the 40-year-old.

Abhishek Mehta, Co-founder of LinkAstro, a marketplace for astrologers providing chat, call, and online report services, went on to highlight how the job losses owing to the pandemic have also made people turn towards such services. “Subscribers range from 18 to 50 years. They come across and discuss various issues related to their life and are getting solutions from our astrologers. Job losses, depression, and anxiety are some of the main issues at this time,” he remarked.

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