Astrology for students: a pseudoscience or a lifestyle?


Nicole Hasek

The astrological signs are Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Libra, Virgo, Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus and Aries.

Once a day, a notification pops up on Iowa State sophomore Caroline Pattison’s phone. It’s from CoStar, a personalized astrology app.

“You have all the skills you need to thrive,” the notification, personalized for Pattison reads. “Your life path is paved with good intentions. Let yourself be your curious self.”

CoStar is an app that gives you “the hyper-personalized social astrology experience,” according to their website.

The app gives you ice breakers, with phrases such as “your perfect day is….” Pattison, who is majoring in management, likes seeing the messages, as she thinks they are cute and often brighten her day.

On the other side of the spectrum, she also received one that said, “your relationships fail because you’re too critical.”

This resonates with her signs as she is a Virgo sun, Aquarius moon and a Scorpio rising. She described this one as a stab in the back.

In astrology, there are different signs, including the sun, moon and rising.

Pattison described the sun sign as who you are as a person, including core values and beliefs that shape you. She described the moon sign as more emotion-based, how you are when you’re not around people and how you think.

Elise O’Regan is a senior in women’s and gender studies and biology. They have been into astrology for three years and have dived deeper into it within the last year.

Rising signs rely heavily on the time you are born and change approximately every two hours, O’Regan said. They are connected to your outer appearance in the way you look and act. Pattison described rising signs as your “social mask,” O’Regan said.

“The solar bodies closest to us have a strong effect on the earth, in the way we see, the way the tides and climates change and in our orbit,” O’Regan said. “The same goes for astrology, in that the ones closest to us have the strongest effect on our moods and personalities.”

According to O’Regan, the most common study of astrology is natal astrology, which uses your birth chart. O’Regan has been studying generational and election astrology as well.

“I see astrology as more of a forecast than it is fate,” O’Regan said. “It can give you insight and help you prepare, but it is not always entirely accurate. The stars continue to move, as everything and everyone does, so basing everyday actions solely off of the time you were born can be counteractive.”

Trevor Kornfeld is a sophomore studying finance at Iowa State University. He does not believe in astrology.

“How does the alignment of stars have anything to do with my behavior?” Kornfeld said. “In what world does science back that up?”

Each sign has different traits and messages that go along with them.

“It’s basic human traits for each thing,” Kornfield said. “It’s way too broad. Just insert a basic human trait, and then it’s like, ‘oh my gosh, that’s so me today guys.’”

O’Regan said she enjoys CoStar because it will “rip you to shreds on any given day.” On Oct. 26, she read her ice breaker that said, “You daydream about telling off your boss,” right after her schedule was changed without her notice.

“It was such a strange thing because ice breakers on CoStar are not associated with time like horoscopes are, so maybe it was just a weird coincidence?” O’Regan said.

Coincidence or not, astrology is gaining more and more popularity in this day and age. According to YouGov, young people are more likely to believe in it. Thirty-seven percent of people under 30 believe, compared to 13% of people aged 65 and older.

Social media has been a big contributor, which is one reason Pattison got into it.

“I think it’s fun. I don’t think it’s necessarily something that I’m so into that I base everything off of it,” Pattison said.

Kornfeld said he doesn’t care if people are into it, especially as a hobby.

“But if you’re using that to guide your daily life, I think you need a new point of reference,” Kornfeld said.