By Talia Jacob
Astrology is the oldest ‘new’ trend. Not only has it been around for four-thousand years, but it used to grace the back pages of nearly every mid-adulthood magazine at the turn of the millennium. I vividly remember the infantile graphics and insultingly general predictions; the sketchy ‘psychics’ and the bizarre marketing ploys that belonged to the horoscopes section of my parents’ weekly newspaper. Needless to say, the column was scrapped a long time ago, and together with its subject matter, confined to the bargain basement.
Thankfully, astrology in 2021 is a slicker and more accessible affair. Nowadays, it’s what all the ‘cool girls’ are doing. Even Urban Outfitters, Gen Z’s favourite shop, has jumped on the bandwagon. Last I checked, they were selling a collection of manuals called ‘Astrosex: How To Have The Best Sex According To Your Star Sign’ – definitely need to know information. What fascinates us the most about astrology today, arguably more than previous generations, is how it pertains to sex and relationships. Could love be written in the stars for at least some, if not all of us?
The art of synastry, or astrological compatibility, claims to have all the answers. Every human being is born with a natal chart; essentially, a map of the planets’ locations, and their positions in the zodiac, at the time of their birth (in relation to where they were born). A person’s birth chart is the key to unlocking their personality; it tells you who they fundamentally ‘are’ and what makes them ‘tick’. Synastry compares the birth charts of two or more people, to see if they have, or don’t have, anything in common. Supposedly, it can predict whether you’ll enter into a casual relationship with someone, or a long-term partnership, or nothing at all.
Imagine a world where dating was governed by synastry. There’d be no such thing as ‘catfishing’ or ‘wasting your time’. Say goodbye to endless swiping with limited success. You’d only start seeing someone if you absolutely knew they were meant for you. Because the higher powers when you were born, whether by fate or chance, designed you to be perfect for each other. Sounds too good to be true, right? But is that because it is?
The answer, according to the popular astrology apps, is maybe? Moonzo is a US app that ‘puts a new spin on making friends and building connections’. It doesn’t guarantee that there’s anything but madness to the method. The app is sort of like a combined version of Tinder and Bumble BFF that’s built around synastry. It uses a percentage system to gauge your astrological compatibility with other users. Whether the app works or not entirely depends on what you believe, or more realistically if you like the people it thinks you should meet. Unfortunately, Moonzo isn’t available in the UK yet. However, their website has a fun feature where you can test your compatibility with popular celebrities. Turns out Harry Styles could be my soul-mate, but I won’t be buying seven rings for Ariana Grande anytime soon.
One app that is available in the UK is the much-discussed Co-Star. Co-Star is more of a general astrology app than Moonzo. It gives you the lowdown on your own natal chart and lets you compare it to friends’ as well as strangers’ – it’s social media synastry style. For £2.99 you can also add people manually – without their knowledge – provided you have the date, time, and location of their birth. It’s a great way to covertly discover the inner workings of your latest crush. In an interview with Vogue in 2019 Banu Guler, the founder of Co-Star, was quick to state that astrology isn’t a literal be-all-and-end-all though. In her mind ‘the magic’ is ‘not, can we predict if we’re going to fall in love forever?’, but ‘can we connect in a deeper way than we could without it?’.
Astrology forces us to be mindful about ourselves and our attitudes to dating; to examine where we’ve gone wrong in the past, and how we can find love in the future. That’s why astrology has returned with a vengeance, and is more relevant in its current incarnation. Not because the apps have made synastry accessible – although it’s important that they have – but because they’ve given us the tools to examine our relationships in a personalised way. Gone are the days of wishy-washy catch-all horoscopes; they’ve been replaced by a customised experience that promotes self-reflection.
This curated focus on the self, and how it interacts with other people, rather than any ability to preemptively matchmake, is astrology’s defining characteristic in the digital era. It fosters the kind of self-awareness that is a critical ingredient of any healthy, and life-defining relationship. Which believe it or not, is something we all need in our lives. So here’s my one and only prediction: Dating and astrology? Now that’s a match made in heaven.