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How to Use Astrology as a Tool for Self-Improvement

Millennials are loving the millennia-old art of astrology, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.
by Carrie M. King | Mar 13 2020

Astrology is having a day in the sun. If the beginning of the new millennium was marked by excitement about new technologies, a near dogmatic belief in rationality, and neoliberal faith in neverending progress, it seems that a decade of economic downturns and increasing global uncertainty have encouraged people to seek out less rigid, more human-centered alternatives. Reams of articles are now published about the power of empathy, about emotional intelligence as the skill of the future, and about ways to seek understanding of oneself and others.

One of those means of understanding is astrology. Millennials in particular have returned to the zodiac as a charming way of thinking about the world and finding guidance—even if they don’t exactly believe in it. We live in a world where data points track every aspect of our lives and, no doubt, Facebook has an algorithm that can probably predict your future actions better than any astrological chart. But in a topsy-turvy world, we’re not seeking prophecy, but meaning.

Malcolm Gladwell Outliers Quote

This isn’t the first time that astrology has had a moment due to global unrest in its 2,400-year history. The counterculture of the 1960s that gave way to the New Age movement of the ‘70s and ‘80s grew out of a direct reaction to a corrupt establishment, to civil and sexual oppression and to the Vietnam War. These years, too, marked a boom for astrology. And around the advent of the 20th century, and between the world wars, many people turned to astrology for guidance in uncertain times. Regardless of the era however, what doesn’t change is that people seek meaning, connection, and understanding of who they are.

It’s often argued that in this educated age, people should “know better” than to believe in astrology, but what is astrology but a personality test, an ancient version of what businesses often use to guide and develop employees? My Myers-Briggs type or number on the Enneagram is no more useful to me than my horoscope if I don’t use them to reflect and think about how I present in the world, what my values are, and how I want to grow.

Certain aspects of all these things resonate with me, just as some do not feel true at all, but if they give me food for thought, then surely the exercise has been useful? So, do I believe that I, as a Gemini, should avoid buying a washing machine on the 24th of April (an actual example I read once)? No. But do I think that I can use my weekly reading as a tool to think about aspects of my life that are probably on my mind anyway? Absolutely.

Astrologer of the moment, Chani Nicholas, who recently released a book, You Were Born For This, writes affirmation-style horoscopes that are designed to inspire rather than to instruct. “When we give our chart,” she writes “or anything or anyone in our life, too much power, we lose contact with our agency.” And agency is what many of us feel we are lacking as an often-overwhelming world froths and roils around us. Astrology allows people to hold all the complexity of their outer realities and their inner cosmos without oversimplifying or dictating what they should do. And as with every situation, it is our reaction that matters most. We get to choose how we grow and in what direction.

At Blinkist, we believe in using nonfiction books to help us expand our understanding and enhance our personal development. In the spirit of both this article and the company, I’ve chosen a book for each sign of the zodiac according to the traits most commonly associated with each one. I am not an astrologer and the books I choose may not resonate with you, but please feel free to interpret that however you wish. Regardless, I do believe that reading only ever has a positive impact so if the book I’ve chosen for your astrological sign doesn’t quite fit you, please feel free to disregard it and pick up another. You are the master of your own fate.

A Book for Aries

Aries are generally deemed to be confident, positive, strong leaders. They have clear ideas about what they want and have faith that they can figure out how to get there. They have boundless enthusiasm and the follow-through to make things happen. On the flip-side, they tend not to like when the attention isn’t on them, and can be selfish and impatient with other people who don’t operate at the same speed. For Aries, I’ve chosen a book that challenges leaders to consider the role of compassion in the workplace and shows how having it built into the company culture can have a significant positive impact on the organization.

A Book for Taurus

Taureans tend to be grounded, practical, determined, and extremely stubborn. This makes them dependable, hard-working colleagues and employees who will power through and persist—even when they maybe shouldn’t. This earth sign also takes a lot of pleasure from beauty, luxury, and generosity, which makes them wonderful companions for a hedonistic weekend but also a touch materialistic. The book I’ve chosen for Taurus is about why the human brain responds to beauty and art and how this shapes our world.

A Book for Gemini

Gemini people tend to be sociable and entertaining with a broad, though often shallow, range of knowledge and interests. They’re flexible and versatile, but can also be scatty and directionless, preferring to come up with new ideas rather than following through on execution of existing ones. Creative and curious, they’re endlessly interested in the world and people around them. The book I’ve chosen for Gemini takes a scientific look at common questions that people might dismiss as trivial, including, “what kind of impact does astrology really have on our lives?”

A Book for Cancer

Cancers are the homebodies of the zodiac who love to play house and take care of those around them. Cancers will have beautiful, carefully curated apartments that provide a sanctuary for them and those they love. Creative, loyal and loving, they’re wonderful friends and partners, but if you hurt a Cancer they can turn moody, clingy, or resentful. At work, they’re likely to be in creative or people-focused roles where they probably won’t exactly be the social butterflies at the office party, but will have intense relationships with a special few. The book I’ve chosen for Cancer is about how love functions in our lives and societies, and explains steps we can take to create a more loving and nurturing world.

A Book for Leo

Leos are optimistic, popular and love the limelight. Their naturally bright, warm personalities are magnets for those around them, and they’re natural leaders, if a little bit egotistical. However, Leos are extremely loyal and will protect you fiercely if you’re one of their own. They love honesty to the point of bluntness, so it’s important to be genuine with them as they will respect your integrity. Natural leadership skills and confidence can sometimes bleed into arrogance if they’re not careful, and even laziness if the conditions are right. The book I’ve chosen for Leo explores what it means to be an “I”, and how conditions around us shape our sense of self.

A Book for Virgo

Virgo people are hardworking, smart, analytical and reliable. They’re great employees and can be wonderful bosses, as long as they don’t lose the run of their tendency to criticize. Careful and analytical, they’re probably the most organized people you know and they tend not to leave things to chance. Though they have a tender heart, they’re not the most expressive of signs and have a tendency to value reason over feelings. The book I’ve chosen for Virgo explores the critical thinking tools scientists use to make their discoveries and explains the importance of science in education, popular culture and broader society.

A Book for Libra

Signified by the scales, Libras are all about balance. Diplomatic and fair, they seek harmony in all things which makes them the peacemakers of the zodiac. That also means they can be conflict-averse and avoidant. Intellectual with keen minds, Libras are glittering conversationalists and love to be around people, preferring a broad range of company to any alone time. Their ability to understand lots of different points of view can make them indecisive, but they’ll also be extremely fair in any decisions they do make. The book I’ve chosen for this idealistic lover of beauty, fairness and ideas is an examination of the birth of existentialism and explores how big philosophical questions can illuminate our lives.

A Book for Scorpio

Scorpios are passionate, resourceful, and determined, and though they get a lot of flack for being one of the less-likeable signs of the zodiac, they’re actually one of the most interesting. They enjoy feeling and expressing their emotions, but do so in ways that aren’t always clear to those around them. The rest of us would kill for an ounce of a Scorpio’s mystique. Calm and collected on the surface, this sign has a lot of depth, and will take any secret you tell them—as well as their own secrets—to the grave. They’re extremely brave and can be great leaders if they learn to trust those around them. The book I’ve chosen for Scorpio is an examination of how trust can improve all our lives.

A Book for Sagittarius

Sagittarians are fun and gregarious with a touch of a wild streak. They’re good-humored and funny with tons of energy and are probably the most likely of your friends to be off travelling in far-flung corners of the planet—and you’ll hear all about their exciting adventures! These extroverts love change and can get impatient when life moves too slowly. They’re experience-junkies who prize freedom above all else which can lead them to being a little careless in their day-to-day lives. The book I’ve chosen for Sagittarius is about how to hit the road for the long haul.

A Book for Capricorn

Capricorns are responsible, traditional, and can often come across as quite serious. They’re extremely self-possessed and independent which means they have little trouble making progress in life, both professionally and personally. They have a lot of self-control and are solid and realistic, but they can sometimes be a little rigid in their thinking, finding it hard to understand the motivations of others. They are dependable leaders and colleagues and you’ll never have to worry that they’re bullshitting you. The book I’ve chosen for Capricorn is about how optimism can be learned and that it benefits all aspects of our lives. Capricorns will probably roll their eyes at this.

A Book for Aquarius

Aquarians are open-minded, creative, and intellectual and though they’re often shy, they’ll usually have an eccentric streak. They’re extremely adaptable to those around them and find it easy to see situations from other people’s perspectives. Though they love people, they’ll often need some alone time to recharge. This visionary sign sees a whole world of possibilities, but can easily get bored if they’re not being mentally stimulated. The book I’ve chosen for Aquarius looks at the many benefits of taking a break, and why the rhetoric around constant productivity and achievement culture can be damaging.

A Book for Pisces

Pisces are all feels. Empathetic and friendly, they’re ruled by their emotions, which often makes them artistic and extremely intuitive. As a result, they’re often surrounded by a broad range of people who are drawn to the Pisces ability to make people feel seen. The most tolerant of all the astrological signs, Pisces sometimes will become victim of their own emotions and can be given to martyrdom or escapism. The book I’ve chosen for Pisces is all about how we lose ourselves in the flow state that occurs when we’re engrossed in artistic or creative endeavors.

In sum, astrology can be useful depending what you take from it. Treating anything as absolute truth in this day and age is naive, but using what the world has to offer as tools with which you can enhance your life doesn’t sound like too bad a way to predict the future.

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