Keep your head out of the stars

All over the country the leaves are changing, and the wind is brisk. But in California the only things that have changed are Starbucks orders and barista’s will to live. Yet the surplus of fall content on my feed has reminded me that “it’s Scorpio szn.” This means it’s the time of year where fellow November babies are slandered for their unapologetic intensity. Before I completely denounce a cornerstone of pop culture, let’s explore what astrology is and why it is so popular.

Astrology is a study of how the positions of the planets affect our behavior on Earth. Zodiac enthusiasts think that the positions of the sun, moon, and stars can inform a person’s behavior. There are 12 star signs that correlate with different astrological seasons.

This leads me to one of my main qualms with placing unbridaled trust in the sun’s placement as a prediction of our lives. Astrology is general enough that virtually anyone should be able to find a characteristic they attribute to their zodiac sign.

Since I was born on November 1, I am a Scorpio. According to CoStar, a popular app amongst astrologists, I have a tendency to be manipulative or power-hungry due to my intensity and desire for the truth. The only thing that is intense about me is my intense discomfort with confrontation and manipulation. I would rather pour a scorching pumpkin spice latte directly into my eyes before even entertaining any confrontational activities.

In general, I see no merit to personality traits based on astrology. I find it problematic to let astrology dictate your life choices and relationships. Not pursuing a relationship with someone because they’re “a total Pisces,” is not a valid reason. A quick and easy method to replace the “what sign are you” conversation is to just ask what they’re favorite “Hunger Games” book was. If they say “Mockingjay,” run for the hills.

At the end of the day, astrology is a harmless pseudoscience. This means that, while there are common themes with astrological signs, the effectiveness of astrology is not measurable and has no scientific validity.

This doesn’t mean you should rush to delete the Costar app from your phone in a flurry of shame and Aries panic, but just start to examine how inherent traits affect your behavior and judgements, not the stars. If you are still yearning for a personality label, I find that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a more accurate representation of traits.

While the MBTI theory is still a pseudoscience, there are more psychological theories applied. The MBTI test generates a result based on a person’s preference. While it is more tailored to the individual, 16 personality types are far too general. Personality and human behavior is dynamic. As you grow as a person, your behavior may change and the MBTI reflects that. You can’t change the date you were born, but these personality tests can be a really comforting way to identify your quirks within a larger community.

So, next time you rearend your best friend’s car out of spite from an event that happened in 2015, don’t blame it on mercury being in retrograde, just pay for the insurance.

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