Peoplestrology is a research and content platform that aims to reveal the deep cultural currents behind one of the most popular topics in anyone’s timeline. The goal is to reveal behavioral trends and their impact on culture. Peoplestrology uses methodologies from marketing research and cultural analysis to dive deeply into the relationship people have with Astrology.
The team behind the project includes researchers, psychologists, and professionals from creative endeavors: André Alves and Lucas Liedke, trend forecasters and founders of float, a company specialized in consumer trends and new behaviors; and Gabriela Namie and Jun Ioneda, designers and founders of the awarded graphic design studio Estúdio Barca.
In times of uncertainty, it’s common that we seek non-rational answers. It seems that these days, the occult has become less obscure.
Everyone has been talking about The Era of Emptiness for ages now, a widespread—and often desperate—search for meaning. Information has become a commodity. And even if it seems like we know everything, it feels like we don’t actually understand anything.
Peoplestrology’s mission is to investigate what’s real and human in the world’s most popular mystical culture. What’s behind astrology and why isn’t it measured? What can it tell us about present values or even how we see the world, others and ourselves?
What’s behind astrology and why isn’t it measured? What can it tell us about present values or even how we see the world, others and ourselves?
It’s time to explore the people behind the astrological archetypes. We’re not going to look to the planets or stars for answers. We’re going to talk to people.
IIIn the Beginning, There Were Stars.
Despite astrology’s complex history, which was forged by cultures that disappeared a long time ago, there’s no sign that it’s going away.
What if its origins are so profound that myth became fact—or at least common knowledge?
Those who are too critical, skeptical or just annoying will say that it’s all:
An illusion believed by those who don’t have any substantial knowledge or education;
Something sustained by mainstream culture to make us forget about what’s truly relevant;
All of the above.
But if astrology is really just a hoax, let’s remember we’re talking about something that’s managed to survive for more than 2,500 years.
Once upon a time, in the valleys and on the rivers of Euphrates and Tigris - where Iraq sits today - Mesopotamians and Babylonians noticed the existence of a cosmic clock. It was based on the movements of the Sun, Moon and planets across the sky. In the beginning, this observation was for hunting, fishing and agricultural rituals. Eventually, the first birth chart in human history was created. It was in April 29th, 410 B.C., on the site that is currently known as Baghdad, where a (lucky) child received the first map to the stars.
Over time, astrological analysis became a trend. Plato, Cesar, Nostradamus - just to name a few - built their reputations on this newfangled field. Astrology was gaining popularity at the speed of light. Then, suddenly, a guy named Nicolaus Copernicus made the stunning declaration that humanity was not at the center of the universe.
We finally understood that the stars that form the Libra or the Aquarius constellations actually occupy positions that don’t have any spatial relationship. Humanity was encouraging non-existing realities and to this day, apart from the Moon and the Sun’s influence, there is no proof of how other planets impact life on Earth.
Ironically, astrology was responsible for evolving science into a new discipline: astronomy.
Both fields went their separate ways during the Renaissance period and there’s absolutely no indication of any reconciliation to come.
But astrology’s potential was not dead. Quite the opposite, actually. In the beginning of the 20th century, Alan Leo, a British expert in vedic astrology, became one of the key voices that helped astrology culture break into the mainstream. It caught on because of his idea that the Sun’s position during one’s birth could be the strongest influence on his or her personality.
Since then, offer has met demand. Millions of people have been moved by curiosity, even if it was just committing the naive act of glancing at the daily horoscope. Global leaders such as Queen Elizabeth and Ronald Reagan were known for consulting astrology before making decisions that would impact millions of lives. Stop right there!
IIIScientific? Of Course Not.
Astrology is not scientific simply because it’s older than science. But does everything have to be scientific to be valuable and have a proper function? We know that it doesn’t.
"Astrology offers humanity the gift of trying to explain what science cannot - and doesn’t even try to - explain." Alexander Ruperti – Astrologer
Even so, research studies like the one published by NSF show that 50% of Americans - the highest index in the past 30 years - consider astrology to be a scientific discipline. Because of society’s fetish for scientific credibility, contemporary astrology followed the cause-and-effect mindset, which betrays its antique heritage of focusing on self-knowledge.
As the sociologist Michel Maffesoli arguments, "Astrology is not a scientific discipline, but a social fact."
Although it is based on astrophysics and mathematical knowledge, it also can be interpreted as a language or perhaps the most universal personality assessment ever created by humankind.
But what does science have to say? Does it even matter? Yes, it does.
Starting from the Renaissance period, a scientific way of thinking has dominated our minds. As a result, astrology has usually been swept under the carpet or dismissed, which is a waste of its full potential.
Countless scientists spent decades trying to discredit astrology.
Did it work? Yes and no.
Here’s a look at the different approaches that will shake your beliefs.
Singularity: Everyone Is Unique
One of the most famous—and controversial—studies on the astrology was published in Nature magazine in the ‘80s, conducted by the physicist Shawn Carson. In the research, 28 astrologists tried to compare 100 birth charts against personality tests, based on 480 questions that each respondent had to answer about his/her birth chart. The results? Very disappointing.
Many years later, scientists Peter Hartmann, Martin Reuter and Helmut Nyborg used a different approach. The psychologists analyzed 15,000 "astrological twins" - or people who were born on the same day, time and place - to see if they could discover correlations between birth charts and personality traits. However, they could find no evidence of any connection between people who were technically equal.
Matching Games: What Sign Is Most Compatible With ___?
The psychologist Bernard Silverman studied around 3,000 marriages and 500 divorces, comparing astrological compatibility between spouses. Needless to say, he didn’t find any correlation. Couples who were incompatible according to astrology got married and divorced at the same rate of those who were deemed compatible.
Online dating service OkCupid released data on matched couples based on astrology. The results arrived at the same conclusion: sun signs don’t make a difference in the success or failure of romantic relationships.
Born to Be a Doctor, Artist or Politician?
The physicist John McGervey analyzed the biographies and birthdates of 6,000 politicians and 17,000 scientists, only to find not a single connection between birth charts and professions.
The Dutch scientist Rob Manning asked astrologists to develop a foolproof test that correlated birthdates and professions. The challenge was to guess someone’s profession correctly, based on the respondent’s birth chart. The results were disastrous and even astrologists could not agree with each other on the study’s interpretations.
In the ’80s, astronomists Roger Culver and Philip Ianna, known for their book Astrology: True or False, documented forecasts published by famous astrologists for five years. By comparing the 3,000 analyzed forecasts against the life of famous politicians and celebrities during those years, they discovered that only 10% of the predictions actually came true.
It’s All So Generic.
There have been many tests done where respondents were asked to match certain personality traits and other characteristics to their own signs. The results were as unpredictable as a raffle.
Geoffrey Dean, an Australian researcher, reversed astrological definitions, substituting the original sentences with phrases that said exactly the opposite. Still, the respondents said the sentences were correct and could be applied to their personalitites, just as often as those who had access to the original content.
The British data journalist David McCandless analyzed 22,000 daily horoscopes and concluded that, in the end, horoscopes tell everyone basically the same thing.
The takeaway seems to be that personal validation fallacies are based on sentences that are too broad - even though they seem so specific - and are written in a way that anyone can identify with them.
The Discussion Around the 13th Sign
Here’s a final one, if you aren’t convinced already: One may also say that astrology is old now because the universe has changed. Astronomers argue that, in theory, there is a 13th sign between Scorpio and Sagittarius, called Serpentarius. Also, all the dates that separate the signs woud not be the same as they were.
The study about the transformations in constellations throughout time in very controversial. It’s a debate that never dies, but also doesn’t change a thing.
Anyone born under the Serpentarius sign? We’d love to hear from you.
In a nutshell, making science isn’t the same as fighting mysticism.
After realizing that all those attempts would not make astrology go away, most of these studies were forgotten—and scientists got back to what they do best: science.
Still, some contemporary astrologists try to connect astrology to recent knowledge from quantum physics. Like, as if the scientific endorsement were still necessary. We look forward to it.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how much assurance science can deliver, nor how much good it can do to the intellect, we need something to stimulate the human soul.
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." Albert Einstein
IVWhen Is Astrology Right?
"Astrology represents the sum of all the psychological knowledge of ancient times." C. G. Jung
We All Want to Be Special - and We Are, Indeed.
There’s something encouraging and flattering in the idea that our individual personality reflects some cosmic order. It’s the promise that our birth was a unique and particular event in the universe. And, in fact, it was.
It’s only natural that we’d want to conquer some sort of exclusive individuality. At the same time, we also seek to belong to groups that might reflect who we are. Astrology authorizes this crazy journey.
Why Read Your Horoscope If You Don’t Believe In It?
Because it’s something else that you are searching for. From a different spectrum. It’s not about what the horoscope actually says, but what it can evoke (or not) in every one of us.
It’s about how the information vibrates and pulsates… the result, the aftertaste, the entertainment, the poetic possibility. It’s a trigger for reflection and - worst-case scenario - a terrific topic for water-cooler talk.
The Stars May Lean One Way, But They’ll Never Push You
The cosmos will not condition us to act in one way or another, but we can use this in our favor. Believing in things only when it serves us or is convenient may seem hypocritical, but hey, that’s OK.
New astrology follows a more humanistic approach, which means assuming that predictability doesn’t contradict individual freedom. It’s all about making choices in the face of circumstances. Making a well-informed choice - or at least with more inspiration - is always better that not reflecting on things before making a decision.
As the psychologist Harvey Irwin said, astrology followers are just as smart, educated and critical as the rest of the population. The main difference is their creative potential.
If astrology doesn’t necessarily help us define a particular personality or predict the future, maybe it can help us build it.
V5 Final Takeaways.
After All, Is Astrology Real or Not?
It doesn’t matter, because 1) reality is something somehow relative nowadays and 2) we like the ambivalence of conflicting sentiments. Wether you believe in it or not, there’s definitely something about it in the collective unconscious. This is what Peoplestrology is about.
Remember: If you hate astrology to the bone and thus strike it completely from your life, you actually might be missing or denying something important that it’s trying to tell you. And on the flipside, if you’re an astrology-dogmatist, you might be fooling yourself by handing over to the stars the complete responsibility of your life.”
You Are Not Your Sign.
Astrology arduously defends the complexity of birth charts. The positions of all the planets at the moment of birth is what can possibly predict a person’s entire personality.
OK, yeah, you are not just your sun sign. But after all, what do we like and dislike about our sign? What does it say about us?
Each of the 12 archetypes carries an exclusive meaning. Our intention is to qualify and quantify these symbolic content.
A Play of Light and Shadow.
A simple list of virtues and flaws?
Better to think of gradients of light and shadow, with traits that can work for or against our favor. Considering that everything depends on the point of view, what’s good for one person may be bad for another. What’s ideal right now may not be ideal later.
Just think about the fine line between someone candid and someone rude, or between self-assurance and arrogance. These can lead to countless and never-ending debates.
If you are here to confirm what you already know, you’ve come to the wrong place.