24th October 2020
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Is Astrology the Religion of the Youth?
A reflection on how astral projection substituted the Catholic faith in my adult age.
IMG_2539

I grew up in a moderate Catholic Italian family. Holy figures were present throughout my early life. My mom and maternal grandmother would bring me a prayer card whenever they would visit a church with a different Saint Patron, and a token cross could be found hung randomly around my household.  My mother also kept (and does to this day) a bottle of Holy Water shaped like the Virgin Mary behind a picture frame on a shelf in my childhood kitchen. Sporadically, she would sprinkle a few drops around the house for “protection”.She hasn’t missed the opportunity to secretly hide a little container of sanctified water somewhere in any of the apartments I have inhabited since I moved out around twelve years ago. I was unaware of her little ritual until I spontaneously found a holy water container while cleaning one day. Once I brought it up, her response was a nonchalant “do not throw it away”. Obviously, I never dared go against the Holy Spirit.

In my youth, the town’s priest would come to bless the house yearly, usually between Fall and Winter. If I happened to be home from school, I would be forced to stand in a circle with the preacher, his assistant, and my mom, holding my hands up in prayer and mumbling the words to a supplication I completely freestyled and pretending to enjoy the moment. Despite the religious representation, I have very little recollection of my parents going to church any time other than for big celebrations like Christmas or Easter, and even then, it would be more for virtue-signaling than committed belief.

I was baptized, I attended a History of Religion class from elementary to high school (despite being able to opt-out), I was signed up for the most dreadful of the activities, aka Saturday Church school, in order to be eligible for Communion and then Confirmation and overall lived indoctrinated as a nonpracticing Catholic because my parents chose it for me. When I turned 18, I made the stupid decision to get a rosary tattoo around my ankle, (Nicole Ritchie, can you hear me? This is your fault.) in an attempt to pledge allegiance to a faith that was actually instilled into me by my environment, without truly understanding what I was claiming. I actually only spoke to God in moments of trivial distress. During surprise oral exams, in the still moment preceding free throws during a basketball game, or whenever something was bound not to go my way; I would appeal to Jesus and beg for help.

Fast forward to my early twenties; I started to think about religion in a radical way. I rejected it. I acknowledged the historical nature of how faith was born, but I harshly critiqued its application as a system of power and control over humanity. I questioned how could people possibly want me to believe in a religion that portrays a Middle Eastern man as a blonde, fair-skinned gentleman with hypnotizing blue eyes. I started laughing at the ink on my skin, dubbing it as a youthful, fashion faux-pas inspired by my style icon at the time. I think many girls my age can relate to. I appreciate Catholic architecture and art. I think the fear of the unknown pushed the creative boundaries of men when technology was extremely rudimental. Living in Italy, the proof of this mystical power awarded to artists by the ghostly hand of God is everywhere. In just over thirty minutes of walking outside my neighborhood, I am faced with the formidable reality of monotheism. Looking up at Milan’s Cathedral, your breath is taken away.

My need to believe in something otherworldly soon shifted from the Holy Trinity to the Universe and its constellations. Like many other millennials, in my darkest times, I became obsessed with Astrology, but my half-assed commitment to understanding what I was praising became prevalent in my worship once again. Despite being on track with the most popular Astrologers of the moment and eagerly waiting for the weekly prediction to be released, I never really delved into what my specific zodiac sign actually entailed. Up until recently, the most I knew about being a Virgo was that we’re hypercritical and picky and that being born on August 24th makes me a cusp. But yet again, I was meticulous in my consumption of astrology, and I was unhealthily relying on my weekly reading to find an answer to the misfortunes affecting my life.

I was never the type to try and match my astral chart with my crush or loved one, but I did expect popular mainstream astrology to be able to tell me why things were going the way they were. Somehow, I was always able to use their general forecasting as a justification for whatever messed up pattern recurrently disrupted my well being. Clearly, my own poor choices were never taken into consideration as a crucial factor. Knowing that the Universe was the matrix of my demise or depression relieved me in the same way that I would seek comfort in God as a teenager. Hoards of Astrology apps have started popping up out of nowhere over the past few years. Co-Star, the Pattern.. most of us have posted the wacky punchlines that pop-up on our phone screen at the same time every day, somehow always weirdly relevant to whatever we are going through that day. Coincidentally, these mystic phrases sometimes catch us off guard at 11:11 or 3:33, reiterating our addiction to aligning our fate with the storyline assigned to us at birth. How many times have you wasted your coffee break delving into your horoscope because of Co-star’s ambiguous daily check-in? What about the meme pages that jokingly tell you about yourself on Instagram pairing your zodiac characteristics with pictures of the Kardashians in different moments of your life? I for sure have. And let me tell you, I have helped perpetuate these beliefs by sharing them with my best friends.

There was a specific period of my life when I became intensely addicted to finding the answer to my romantic demise in the world of Astrology. Looking back at it, it was a pathetic era. I pathologically checked my Astral chart for flaws and reasons why I continued enduring certain behaviors. Other times, I would be on a quest for solace in the astrological buffoonery cooked and served to me by apps that based their esoteric taglines on data I unconsciously provided to them by giving the app access to my astrology data when signing up. It never occurred to me that whatever bullshit they were feeding me sounded relatable because my boyfriend was an asshole, and I was reaching hard to find a link to the events happening in my life. Needless to say, I stopped sweating my horoscope once I got rid of the shitty boyfriend.

Bored with the mundane and with plenty of time on my hands, I decided to get my first Natal Chart reading during the lockdown. I am not sure how I even stumbled upon it; however thanks to the wonders of Instagram, I found a lovely French lady to debunk the crooked alignment of the planets ruling my life. Because I am meticulous, I chose to attend two sessions. Armed with a smile, a spliff in her right hand like a true modern-day shaman, and a melodic accent, my new spiritual teacher taught me how to read the obscure symbols adorning the concentric circles making up my chart. One by one, she explained the meaning of my “houses,” the method in which to read them, and how each sign or planet counterbalances its opposite.

After many “Aha!” moments, I was able to link each and every design to something I experienced in my life or details of my character, but honestly, they were all open to interpretation. Your astral chart is a tool for guidance, but ultimately, you are the only one who can lead the way and make shit happen. Since these sessions, I have not opened Co-Star or checked my astrology online once. The only astral indulgence I’ve been partaking in is the ridiculous memes I find on Instagram, but just for laughs, of course. However, this experience made me think about how we allow the unknown to control us, and in moments of misery, we look for support and hope in the intangible even if deep down, we know the answer is in our own selves. Unfortunately, action and self-awareness hold us accountable hence the need to look for answers in something ethereal that allows us to unload our faults on the invisible. Is Astrology modern-day religion? 

Is Astrology the Religion of the Youth?
A reflection on how astral projection substituted the Catholic faith in my adult age.
IMG_2539

I grew up in a moderate Catholic Italian family. Holy figures were present throughout my early life. My mom and maternal grandmother would bring me a prayer card whenever they would visit a church with a different Saint Patron, and a token cross could be found hung randomly around my household.  My mother also kept (and does to this day) a bottle of Holy Water shaped like the Virgin Mary behind a picture frame on a shelf in my childhood kitchen. Sporadically, she would sprinkle a few drops around the house for “protection”.She hasn’t missed the opportunity to secretly hide a little container of sanctified water somewhere in any of the apartments I have inhabited since I moved out around twelve years ago. I was unaware of her little ritual until I spontaneously found a holy water container while cleaning one day. Once I brought it up, her response was a nonchalant “do not throw it away”. Obviously, I never dared go against the Holy Spirit.

In my youth, the town’s priest would come to bless the house yearly, usually between Fall and Winter. If I happened to be home from school, I would be forced to stand in a circle with the preacher, his assistant, and my mom, holding my hands up in prayer and mumbling the words to a supplication I completely freestyled and pretending to enjoy the moment. Despite the religious representation, I have very little recollection of my parents going to church any time other than for big celebrations like Christmas or Easter, and even then, it would be more for virtue-signaling than committed belief.

I was baptized, I attended a History of Religion class from elementary to high school (despite being able to opt-out), I was signed up for the most dreadful of the activities, aka Saturday Church school, in order to be eligible for Communion and then Confirmation and overall lived indoctrinated as a nonpracticing Catholic because my parents chose it for me. When I turned 18, I made the stupid decision to get a rosary tattoo around my ankle, (Nicole Ritchie, can you hear me? This is your fault.) in an attempt to pledge allegiance to a faith that was actually instilled into me by my environment, without truly understanding what I was claiming. I actually only spoke to God in moments of trivial distress. During surprise oral exams, in the still moment preceding free throws during a basketball game, or whenever something was bound not to go my way; I would appeal to Jesus and beg for help.

Fast forward to my early twenties; I started to think about religion in a radical way. I rejected it. I acknowledged the historical nature of how faith was born, but I harshly critiqued its application as a system of power and control over humanity. I questioned how could people possibly want me to believe in a religion that portrays a Middle Eastern man as a blonde, fair-skinned gentleman with hypnotizing blue eyes. I started laughing at the ink on my skin, dubbing it as a youthful, fashion faux-pas inspired by my style icon at the time. I think many girls my age can relate to. I appreciate Catholic architecture and art. I think the fear of the unknown pushed the creative boundaries of men when technology was extremely rudimental. Living in Italy, the proof of this mystical power awarded to artists by the ghostly hand of God is everywhere. In just over thirty minutes of walking outside my neighborhood, I am faced with the formidable reality of monotheism. Looking up at Milan’s Cathedral, your breath is taken away.

My need to believe in something otherworldly soon shifted from the Holy Trinity to the Universe and its constellations. Like many other millennials, in my darkest times, I became obsessed with Astrology, but my half-assed commitment to understanding what I was praising became prevalent in my worship once again. Despite being on track with the most popular Astrologers of the moment and eagerly waiting for the weekly prediction to be released, I never really delved into what my specific zodiac sign actually entailed. Up until recently, the most I knew about being a Virgo was that we’re hypercritical and picky and that being born on August 24th makes me a cusp. But yet again, I was meticulous in my consumption of astrology, and I was unhealthily relying on my weekly reading to find an answer to the misfortunes affecting my life.

I was never the type to try and match my astral chart with my crush or loved one, but I did expect popular mainstream astrology to be able to tell me why things were going the way they were. Somehow, I was always able to use their general forecasting as a justification for whatever messed up pattern recurrently disrupted my well being. Clearly, my own poor choices were never taken into consideration as a crucial factor. Knowing that the Universe was the matrix of my demise or depression relieved me in the same way that I would seek comfort in God as a teenager. Hoards of Astrology apps have started popping up out of nowhere over the past few years. Co-Star, the Pattern.. most of us have posted the wacky punchlines that pop-up on our phone screen at the same time every day, somehow always weirdly relevant to whatever we are going through that day. Coincidentally, these mystic phrases sometimes catch us off guard at 11:11 or 3:33, reiterating our addiction to aligning our fate with the storyline assigned to us at birth. How many times have you wasted your coffee break delving into your horoscope because of Co-star’s ambiguous daily check-in? What about the meme pages that jokingly tell you about yourself on Instagram pairing your zodiac characteristics with pictures of the Kardashians in different moments of your life? I for sure have. And let me tell you, I have helped perpetuate these beliefs by sharing them with my best friends.

There was a specific period of my life when I became intensely addicted to finding the answer to my romantic demise in the world of Astrology. Looking back at it, it was a pathetic era. I pathologically checked my Astral chart for flaws and reasons why I continued enduring certain behaviors. Other times, I would be on a quest for solace in the astrological buffoonery cooked and served to me by apps that based their esoteric taglines on data I unconsciously provided to them by giving the app access to my astrology data when signing up. It never occurred to me that whatever bullshit they were feeding me sounded relatable because my boyfriend was an asshole, and I was reaching hard to find a link to the events happening in my life. Needless to say, I stopped sweating my horoscope once I got rid of the shitty boyfriend.

Bored with the mundane and with plenty of time on my hands, I decided to get my first Natal Chart reading during the lockdown. I am not sure how I even stumbled upon it; however thanks to the wonders of Instagram, I found a lovely French lady to debunk the crooked alignment of the planets ruling my life. Because I am meticulous, I chose to attend two sessions. Armed with a smile, a spliff in her right hand like a true modern-day shaman, and a melodic accent, my new spiritual teacher taught me how to read the obscure symbols adorning the concentric circles making up my chart. One by one, she explained the meaning of my “houses,” the method in which to read them, and how each sign or planet counterbalances its opposite.

After many “Aha!” moments, I was able to link each and every design to something I experienced in my life or details of my character, but honestly, they were all open to interpretation. Your astral chart is a tool for guidance, but ultimately, you are the only one who can lead the way and make shit happen. Since these sessions, I have not opened Co-Star or checked my astrology online once. The only astral indulgence I’ve been partaking in is the ridiculous memes I find on Instagram, but just for laughs, of course. However, this experience made me think about how we allow the unknown to control us, and in moments of misery, we look for support and hope in the intangible even if deep down, we know the answer is in our own selves. Unfortunately, action and self-awareness hold us accountable hence the need to look for answers in something ethereal that allows us to unload our faults on the invisible. Is Astrology modern-day religion? 

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