Humans have been looking for meaning in the heavens for thousands of years. Those faraway lights in the sky moved in predictable ways and had clear effects on our seasons, tides, and harvests. So it seemed plausible that they might control other aspects of our lives too.
Nearly every ancient culture in the world invented a form of astrology. Today, some people plan their weddings or when they’ll give birth based on lucky zodiac signs. Millions of people can’t get enough of horoscope columns and Twitter accounts. And yes, people really use “What’s your sign?” as a pickup line.
But it’s 2018, and we know that astrology isn’t scientific. Your astrological sign is probably wrong. You can’t blame all your problems on Mercury in retrograde.
So if astrology isn’t backed up by science, why do so many of us still look for meaning in the stars?
Vox tackled this question on this week’s episode of our Netflix show, Explained. We have new episodes every Wednesday on topics ranging from gene editing to dieting to weed and more. If you like our videos, then you’ll love this show; it’s our most ambitious video project to date.
To watch, search “Explained” on Netflix or go to Netflix.com/explained. Click the “My List” button to make sure you don’t miss an episode.
Mercury retrograde, explained without astrology (Joss Fong and Gina Barton, Vox)
Why Dr. Oz’s astrology tweet was so disappointing (Brian Resnick, Vox)
How the Astro Poets Lit Up the Internet (Rachel Syme, New York Times)
The New Age of Astrology (Julie Beck, Atlantic)
Astrologer Chani Nicholas on Healing and Building a More Liberated Future (an interview with astrologer Chani Nicholas, whom we interviewed for this episode)
Susan Miller Came to Vogue and Gave Us Your Astrological Summer Forecast (an interview with astrologer Susan Miller, whom we also interviewed for this episode)
Sam Reynolds on Talking Astrology With Bill Nye (astrologer Sam Reynolds, whom we also interviewed for this episode, appears on The Astrology Podcast and discusses defending his craft to Bill Nye)
Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition (a book by psychology professor Stuart Vyse, whom we also interviewed for this episode)