By Jake Register
For thousands of years, people have turned to astrology, the language of the stars, for guidance through life’s ups and downs. An astrologer can put into words things you’ve known about yourself, your family, your goals, and your relationships, but could never verbalize, proving the practice to be a handy tool for informing decisions about your job, school, love life, anything. And today — when every cool-girl digital brand seems to have its own column and apps like Co-Star, iHoroscope, and Time Nomad are at our fingertips — this power is just a click away.
But with such a significant proliferation of accessible information about astrology in recent years, how much do millennials and Gen Zers really know about their signs? And, if everyone is keeping close tabs on their daily horoscopes, is anyone using that knowledge to actually make decisions?
The answer to the former is: quite a lot! An August 2019 survey conducted by MTV Insights found that, among the 1,000 participants between ages 14 and 29, 87 percent know their zodiac sign, 75 percent trust that astrology works, and 65 percent regularly check their horoscope. In other words, the majority of young people believe that by knowing the date, time, and location of your birth, an astrologer can cast your birth chart — commonly referred to as your personal horoscope or your “natal promise” — and show the location of every star, asteroid, and planet as it appeared in the sky. This paints a portrait of your personality, talents, motivations, and, particularly compelling for many, your approach to love. (If you’re curious about your birth chart, astro.com is a great resource that can read your entire personalized birth chart for free with its amazing AstroClick Portrait tool.)
In my work as an astrologer and horoscope author, it is not surprising that the majority of the questions I receive from clients and readers are about their love lives. Rather than questions about one’s personal horoscope, I am frequently asked how that information affects potential relationships. And it makes sense why: 66 percent of MTV Insights’ survey participants say astrology explains why some people are more romantically compatible than others. An astrologer can also compare your chart with your crush’s to see the potential, good and bad, of your relationship. And while not everyone has the time or information to dive deeply into their astro-compatibility, one-third of folks would be interested in dating someone simply because of their sign.
Likewise, 25 percent say they would decide to not date somebody based on their sign, a statistic that reveals how our biases factor into dating prospects. “My friend and I are definitely wary about Gemini men,” says one 21-year-old woman surveyed, “based on bad experiences with ones being very hot and cold or two-faced, which is what they are known for.” Approximately two-thirds of participants express similar preferences toward or against specific signs. Aquarians, you’re in luck: Yours is the sign considered most dateable, followed by Aries, Virgo, and Pisces. As a professional astrologer is not likely to explicitly instruct someone to avoid these two signs, this stigma, rather, is born from memes circulated online. The internet shapes how we understand just about everything these days, and astrology is no exception.
For skeptics of the stars, here’s a fun experiment that anyone can do, single or not. Try and remember a past boo’s birthday, and look up their sign. Everyone has a “type” to which they tend to be the most attracted, and it often lines up with what your birth chart has to say about your love life, as well as similarities in the birth charts of people you’ve dated in the past. “I’ve never avoided dating people because of our astrological compatibility,” says one 18-year-old woman surveyed. “But I have found that the last couple of people I’ve dated have the same sign.” This sentiment resonates significantly with Gen Z and millennials: 34 percent of survey participants say they use astrology to make decisions in their love lives. I’m not saying that you should use astrology to make major decisions about relationships, but it’s interesting to see how your past relationships were similar or different based on the sign of your then-partner.
If you’re single and there are traits to which you find yourself attracted, astrology can help you hone in on your best potential matches. If you’re looking for someone outdoorsy and adventurous, maybe a Sagittarius is the one for you. Perhaps you like the cute, nerdy type — you should go for an Aquarius. If you’re a hopeless romantic looking to hook up with someone just as idealistic, I’d direct you to the nearest Pisces.
Keep in mind that compatibility goes deeper than just your Sun sign — that’s the one most people know, based on your birthday. For example, you could be a Gemini interested in a Capricorn, two signs that have nothing in common, but if your Moon signs (which represents emotions) are the same, or your Venus (which rules over love) placements rest in two signs that are well-suited, then that may override the incompatibility of your Sun signs and hint at the possibility of a strong, healthy relationship. That said, no matter how in-depth a birth chart goes, astrology can never replace the experience of getting to know someone and feeling them out yourself when determining compatibility. Even if your favorite blog tells you to avoid Earth signs by any means necessary because you’re an Aquarius, don’t let it snuff the sparks for your latest Virgo crush!
Whether you believe in astrology or not, it’s having a renaissance today for the same reason it’s survived since Babylon: It’s an engaging tool for learning more about yourself and the world around you, and it consistently works for those who take the time to explore it. More than half of the millennial and Gen Z generations are at least aware of their zodiac, and there’s a third of us that are considering astrology when it comes to making decisions about relationships. So if you’re stuck trying to think of a way to break the ice with your crush or hoping to strike up a conversation with that dreamboat you met at the club, try asking simply, “What’s your sign?”
Welcome to VOL.UME: Love Now, a new series of stories chronicling how we find and experience romantic connections in the digital age. For the full experience, head to volume.mtv.com.