Photo illustration by Bella Brouilette.
Photo illustration by Bella Brouilette.

Old practice star-ts anew

October 17, 2022

Professional astrologer and writer Leah Pellegrini is an Aquarius sun and moon with a Taurus rising, “to a tee,” as she says on her website, the Core Stories. When she sees an Aquarius refrigerator magnet, for example, the buzzwords — creative, rebellious, freedom — displayed on it resonate with her sense of self. 

In astrology, the sun and moon signs are identifiers of identity. The sun sign, Pellegrini says, is like the shining orb one can see in the sky: loud, overt and obvious. For Pellegrini, the Aquarius manifests in her creative avenues of work. One’s moon sign, on the other hand, indicates internal personality, like how one feels about the way they engage with the world. 

One’s rising sign is how they show up in their own bodies, as well as impressions of how they interact with the space around them. Through Taurus, Pellegrini is able to get more in touch with her sense of self through her current work on an organic farm because the sign is all about the body, grounding and touching the soil. 

All of these elements in Pellegrini’s chart manifest in her sense of self. 

“There’s an interesting complexity to it because all of [my chart] is contextualized within the desire for community,” Pellegrini said. “The sort of overall mentality for Aquarius is, ‘I want to be free, so we all can be free.’” 

She uses the knowledge of her birth chart to guide her decision-making process and stay true to herself. 

“[Astrology allows people] to make those decisions from a more authentic place that’s grounded in, ‘This is what I need; this is what I value; this is who I am,’  instead of trying to steer our lives according to rules that someone else made that don’t necessarily apply to our personalities,” Pellegrini said. 

When faced with skeptics, Pellegrini likes to remind people of astrology’s roots.

“The one thing to remember is that this is an ancient, ancient, ancient practice that has been around in multiple cultures since pretty much the beginning of human time. It’s not something that one person sat down and one day made up spontaneously,” Pellegrini said. 

It’s true; astrology was not pulled out of a magician’s hat. In fact, in several ancient cultures, it was inseparable from astronomy, according to Britannica. Originating from Mesopotamia, astrology spread to India before developing into its Western form in Greek civilization around 323 B.C. 

After extending its tendrils of influence during the Middle Ages, astrology also played a key role in ancient China when creating horoscopes for newborn children became standard practice in imperial times.

Nowadays, astrology is widely believed to influence personality. 

Astrology has risen in popularity in recent years, especially when it comes to spreading on the internet. The reason for this is simple: astrology’s buzzword-based form is in the perfect, quickly consumed language for the internet. According to a Knight Media survey of 391 students, 74.7% of students heard about astrology through social media.

Additionally, according to Business Insider, revenue for astrology apps grew to nearly $40 million in 2019, a 64% increase from previous years, with popular apps like Co-Star and Pattern leading the charge. Overwhelmingly, the search frequency for astrology has remained relatively high as well. 

However, a major spike in searches was recorded in 2016. This is because people tend to turn to astrology in times of stress, according to a small 1982 study by psychologist Graham Tyson. 

With the ongoing presidential election, stress was at a definite high; an American Psychological Association (APA) survey found that 63% of Americans said they were significantly stressed about the country’s future in 2016. Additionally, according to the same survey, 56% of people said reading the news stressed them out, and Millennials and Gen X-ers were significantly more likely than older people to say so. 

Millennials, as well, have been the most stressed generation, according to 2014 APA data, which explains the popularity of astrology within the generation. 

Through questions of, “What is my purpose?” and, “What am I here to do?” Pellegrini has also found the correlation between stress and turning to astrology to be the case for her practice.

What I tend to see in the calls that I’m having with people, the word stress [doesn’t come up],” Pellegrini said. “The way that it feels to me is [like an] existential crisis, which is something even bigger than stress.” 

The pandemic also played a role in this, Pellegrini says. Though the tide of clients coming to her during the pandemic definitely ebbed and flowed, Pellegrini thinks that the time at home forced people to indulge in some serious introspection. 

Whether clients see results right away or not — Pellegrini often gets emails up to six months later with updates about someone making a big life change — the process is ultimately rewarding. 

“[It’s] … witnessing people lean a little more into their wildness, their wild authenticity and their true humanity,” Pellegrini said. “Whether it’s in a big, dramatic way or a small way — usually it’s more a small, subtle slow way — shedding something that’s not serving them is getting them closer to the path they want to be on.”

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