Growing up in a strict Catholic household, it was mandatory that I attend church every Sunday, pray before every meal and before I go to bed, and reference the Bible for just about everything. Like a true Aquarius, I constantly asked, "Why?" I never got an answer besides "because God said to."
Now, instead of attending weekly service, I turn to my daily horoscope every morning when I wake up. I read it twice to let it soak in before I start getting ready and let that be my guide. I have taken a great interest in astrology, as have most of my friends. In fact, it's a lot more popular than people realize.
According to an article published on Refinery29, astrology has a particularly strong following among millennials. A belief, that was once thought of as silly or just some "fluff" piece thrown in women's magazines, holds more weight and is taken more seriously during today's cultural and political climate for those in their early 20s to mid 30s.
"Millennials have grown up in the age of information. So much information is at our disposal, including spiritual information. We have so much access to so many different perspectives that it's not so foreign for us to dive into the more ethereal realms. It's simply just another realm to dive into," says astrological reader Felicia Sokol.
According to Sokol's site, The Lunar Rising, astrology should not be confused with fortune telling. It is a deeper look into your personality and life direction through the guiding influences in your life. "This is the basic idea of a horoscope: What are the energies entering into my life in the upcoming weeks?" she says. "It's like waves though. The tides will be what they are, but you can learn to surf and do what you will with it or you can drown. To me, that's free will, and that has a lot to do with our attitudes, which is something we choose."
It is that personalization that could explain why millennials are turning to astrology over something more structured like religion.
For quite some time now, there has been a gradual disillusionment with traditional religion. In a study done by the Pew Research Center, it is reported that 27% of Americans identify with being spiritual over religious; it is an 8% spike in just the last five years.
"The foundations of some of these religions are falling apart," says psychologist Vivian Diller, Ph.D. "Religion [used to be] relied upon to provide meaning and security in the meaningless of life. When the tenants of religion fail to provide that, [people turn against it]."
Diller, who isn't a fan of astrology, understands why millennials are turning to it. She says in uncertain times, it's in our human nature to look for something that will give one a sense of comfort.
"In order to survive, knowledge and feeling like you are safe and secure is what helps you continue to survive," she says. "When you're in a world with the unknown or chaos or if there is no guiding star, that creates an anxiety and sense of being lost and feeling like you're not going to survive."
It's hard to argue against the fact that we're living in such a tense cultural and political climate. In a study published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated, 12.7% of millennials were unemployed by September 2016, compared to the national average of 5%. The #MeToo and Time's Up movements shed light on the patriarchal injustice that's dominated society. In terms of what's going on with our government, you just have to log on to Twitter to feel anxious.
She says that the millennial set not only inherited the set of economic and societal problems left behind by the previous generation (something that happens from generation to generation), but they also grew up without two foundations that their parents had: family and religion.
"One out of every two children have divorced parents, and religion is seen as a means to do cruel things. [These institutions] used to have a way of centering and organizing people," she says. "What replaced it—the technology and social media world—is not that comforting."
Ophira Edut, one half of the astrology duo The AstroTwins, agrees with the notion that millennials are growing up in a chaotic and uncertain time.
"It's not an era where you only have a factory job that gives you a check. People have to create their own opportunity. So they're looking for tools of self-awareness that can help them know when the right timing is," Edut says. "Astrology taps into your personal power. It's about being conscious and having more choices and more tools."
I still say I'm Catholic, as I do believe it its principles. But astrology has given me a better sense of who I am (my birth chart describes every facet of my personality to perfection) and helps me navigate my future. I like the ability to choose my own path with some guidance without punishment from a higher being if I were to break unexplainable mandates. For when things do go wrong, I have a better understanding of why that might be.
So say what you want about astrology. If the numbers are any indication, it shows that we're all looking for something to believe in to comfort us when things are uncertain.
"People also want community. Human beings are wired to belong," she says. "People want hope."