Whether you’re a skeptic or an avid follower of zodiac signs and astrology, there’s something compelling about having your fate written in the stars. Astrology and the zodiac have existed for thousands of years but have been dismissed as a pseudoscience since the 18th century.
So, why are people so fascinated by horoscopes, birth charts, and star signs? Psychology has a partial answer. Suppose you’re interested in learning more about why people believe in these practices, or you find yourself drawn to the history of zodiac signs. In that case, you’ll love this list of 33 psychological facts about zodiac signs.
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33 Psychological Facts About Zodiac Signs
Can constellations and celestial events impact your life or your personality? You must be ready to find out. Continue reading to learn all there is to know about the psychology of zodiac signs.
And while you’re at it, look at these facts about yoga, another ever-popular ancient practice used today.
1. Zodiac Signs Have Been Used to Predict Future Events for Ages
The constellations of the zodiac were first charted in Babylonian astronomy in 450 BCE. They found that these groupings of stars wrapped across Earth’s path around the sun, known as the ecliptic.
Once discovered, these constellations were divided into 12 equal signs that each occupy 30° along the celestial longitude. Babylonians, then later ancient civilizations across Eurasia, began to follow the division of the 12 zodiac signs to mark equinoxes and begin to predict future events through astronomy.
Soon, this practice became a tool to explain behavioral changes throughout the year as a result of the Earth passing these constellations.
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2. Astrology and Zodiac Signs Were Used in Early Forms of Psychology
As people started to observe astronomical cycles, so began the practice of astrology, which used the zodiac as well as the locations of the planets to understand human behavior and predict events.
UNESCO explains the Silk Roads were a significant factor in exchanging these practices, and they would’ve probably begun as early as the third millennium BCE.
3. There Used to Be 13 Zodiac Signs
You’re probably familiar with the 12 zodiac signs: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. But did you know there used to be a 13th zodiac sign called Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer?
The sun passes before this constellation from 30 November to 18 December each year, but it’s disregarded in the tropical zodiac astrology commonly followed today. Who know’s, maybe you’re actually an Ophiuchus.
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4. Zodiac Signs Fall Into Four Elements Which Affect Your Personality
Each zodiac sign is classified into one of the four elements: earth, water, fire, and air. Astrologers claim that the element that rules your zodiac sign can influence your personality.
People born with an earth sign like Virgo, Capricorn, and Taurus, for example, are supposedly more realistic, hardworking, and detail-oriented. Fire signs like Leo, Aries, and Saggitarius are seen as passionate, bold, and fiery, as their element suggests.
5. Astronomers From the Middle Ages Used the Zodiac
Until the 17th century, astronomy and astrology worked as a singular academic discipline. Before the separation of these fields, people looked to the stars to understand themselves and current events.
Astronomy focuses on observing the phenomena beyond Earth’s atmosphere, while astrology functions as an interpreter for these celestial happenings. Despite their differences, 17th century astronomers used both practices to try to answer why things happened on Earth when they did.
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6. Some People Believe the Planets Can Change Your Mood
All the major planets have orbital paths that are within the belt of the zodiac. Every year, the planets go retrograde, which means they move in opposition to their usual course from west to east across Earth’s sky. When this happens, astrologers will often use this to explain your woes, financial issues, or technological trouble (especially during mercury retrograde).
7. Astrologers Say Your Time of Birth Is Important to Your Zodiac Sign
The exact time you were born says much more about you than your zodiac sign. With the exact time and location of your birth, astrologers can map an astrological natal chart for you.
This shows you what your ascendant or rising sign is, which explains how you navigate the world. Though the majority of people don’t look beyond their sun sign, many use their birth chart and ascendent to explain their personality.
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8. The Moon Has Been Proven to Affect You
Scientifically, we do know the moon impacts our tides and circadian rhythms. For example, the full moon can make you more restless as the light can interfere with sleep.
In astrology and the zodiac, the moon is the ruler of emotions. However, the evidence surrounding claims that the moon influences your emotions is purely anecdotal. Regardless of whether it’s a coincidence, the moon does affect us to some degree, such as its impact on women’s menstrual cycles.
9. Following Astrology Can Lead to Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
A common consequence of following horoscopes and astrology is that people enact what these readings suggest. Believing in astrology and aligning with your zodiac sign may influence your behavior subconsciously.
For example, if you read a horoscope that says you’ll have more confidence that month, you may unconsciously become more confident. This reinforces belief in astrology and keeps people coming back for more.
10. The Symbolism Associated With Zodiac Signs Make Them More Appealing
The way in which zodiac signs are presented in astrology creates incredible psychological appeal. This includes even minor details, like the mythological symbols representing each sign — the scales representing Libra, for instance.
The visual imagery, symbolic associations, cultural significance, and relation to the universe all boost people’s interest in this practice.
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11. People Are More Likely to Believe in Astrology Because It’s Trendy
People love pop culture and trends; it’s unavoidable in the Internet age. However, astrology and zodiac signs have been mentioned more frequently on television and social media in the last two decades than ever before. If your favorite celebrity is gushing about how astrology has helped them somehow, why wouldn’t it work for you?
12. People Use Astrology and the Zodiac for Life Guidance
People who follow astrology use their zodiac sign and birth chart for all sorts of guidance. Be it careers, friendships, or relationships, people use this practice to help guide them through indecision. Even though you can consult astrology for advice, be sure to do so with a realistic outlook on your goals and interests.
13. People Love Classifying Personalities With Zodiac Signs
Another reason people are enticed by astrology is the universal appeal of classification. You can agree that there’s something comforting about organizing information. Zodiac signs are appealing in that sense because they offer a framework by which to determine your personality and others.
Not only do people find a sense of structure in zodiac classifications, but it also provides entertainment and great conversational topics around personality and behavior.
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14. Following Astrology Gives People a Sense of Control
Life plagues us with all types of uncertainties, and astrology’s predictive nature offers a sense of control to those who feel helpless. There are positive and negative aspects to this, though. People who feel the need to have their lives under control are more likely to be gullible when it comes to astrology readings.
15. Confirmation Bias Can Affect How You Perceive Your Zodiac Sign
Confirmation bias explains that you’re more likely to look for information confirming your beliefs while dismissing information contradicting them. This can happen in any practice, including religion, science, and popular personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
If you follow astrology, you may have a selective focus on parts of your zodiac sign that align with your personality rather than the information that doesn’t.
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16. Astrology Can Offer People Psychological Comfort
Following astrology can offer psychological comfort during hard times. Having something to believe in and that you can rely on during periods of distress can be enticing to anyone looking for meaning in the world. Astrology can offer that to those looking for security, often opening up communities of people who want the same things.
17. Your Birth Month Can Seemingly Affect Your Personality
Some claim that depending on which month your zodiac sign falls under influences your personality under that star sign.
So, if your sign is Cancer, but you’re born right at the beginning of when the sun passes the constellation (21 June), you’re technically still on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer. This can affect your personality, possibly giving you traits of both Gemini and Cancer.
18. Astrologers Claim Your Zodiac Sign Can Affect Your Appearance
This branch of astrology is interesting in that it suggests the dominant signs in your birth chart can dictate your appearance. Never mind your parents’ genetics. If your sun is in Leo, you may have a flowing mane of hair, cat-like features, and a regal, lion-like appearance.
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19. Horoscopes Aren’t Psychologically Accurate
Horoscopes, though at times comforting and relatable, are notoriously broad and vague. They’re written to suit the large group of people reading them.
However, people are more likely to believe in them as it can offer them insights into their day and a sense of routine. Do be warned, though, horoscopes can also cause you anxiety if you are already prone to paranoia.
20. Stereotypes Around Zodiac Signs Can Have Negative Consequences
While it can be fun to categorize yourself and others into your respective zodiac signs, people inevitably create negative stereotypes about them, too.
People commonly misplace their bad experiences with individuals by attributing their behavior to their star sign. For example, if your partner has been unfaithful, you may attribute that to his star sign and decide every man with that sign is a cheater.
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21. Zodiac Signs Have Been Used to Measure Relationship Compatibility
People have been testing the compatibility between star signs for romantic relationships for decades. While you and your partner’s zodiac signs may not make a difference in your relationship, it is a make or break for some people.
22. Psychological Astrology Has Emerged as a New Field of Research
Psychological astrology combines psychology and astrology to further self-knowledge in a life-coaching environment. It uses several methods, from Carl Jung’s analytical psychology to Plato’s theory of ideas or forms, while using your birth chart to help you better understand yourself and others.
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23. Your Zodiac Sign Can Potentially Help You Make Decisions
People sometimes find valuable insights about themselves when researching their zodiac sign. People will use this information to help with minor decisions. For example, Virgos look best in earth tones, so if you’re a Virgo, perhaps you’ll wear more brown and green.
24. Western and Chinese Zodiac Signs Are Two Different Things
While most of Eurasia has been aware of the tropical zodiac since ancient times, many Westerners aren’t familiar with the Chinese zodiac.
The Chinese zodiac is based on the Chinese calendar, which works in a 12-year cycle. It’s said to be more accurate in determining psychological events and future predictions than the tropical zodiac.
Each year, a different animal will take its turn, offering unique attributes (psychological, emotional, financial) for the year to come. The cycle begins with the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig until it repeats itself.
25. People Turn to Astrology for a Sense of Identity
You’re more likely to adopt astrology if you don’t have a solid sense of self. Understanding your zodiac sign can lead to a better understanding of yourself and feeling like you belong to a group that shares your sign or traits.
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26. Those Who Follow Astrology Might Be Under the Barnum Effect
The Barnum Effect is a psychological phenomenon explaining why some people believe in highly unique and accurate generalized personality assessments. It shows that people tend to think that information given to us about our personalities is supposedly accurate when it could relate to anyone.
27. Astrology and the Zodiac Paved the Way for Predictive Analysis
Even if astrology and zodiac signs are dismissed as non-scientific, they have helped lead current science toward predictive analysis. Throughout history, the zodiac has been used to make predictions in astrology based on the constellations and planets.
However, today, that has translated into a more scientific approach. Predictive analysis uses data, statistical algorithms, and historical data to identify the likelihood of future outcomes in fields like finance, marketing, and healthcare.
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28. Virgo Is the Most Common Star Sign
Everyone knows a Virgo. The reason you may meet so many Virgos is that a large number of births occur between August and September.
Virgo happens to fall between the 23 August and 22 September. Many of these babies are conceived around holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, which leads to an increase in births from August onwards.
29. Geminis Have Won the Most Nobel Prizes
Coincidentally, 97 Nobel Prize Winners have their birthdays in Gemini, which falls between 21 May and 21 June. There isn’t a particular reason why Gemini babies win the most Nobel Prizes. However, here are some notable mentions for interest’s sake. Winners include Bob Dylan for literature, Francis Crick for physiology or medicine, and Betty Williams for peace.
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30. Aquarius Is the Rarest Sign
While rare might be pushing it, there are fewer Aquarians in the world than other star signs. Why, you ask? The answer simply lies in the fact that fewer babies are born in February.
Not only is February the least common birth month, but more babies are conceived around December to February, thanks to all the holidays (Valentine’s Day especially).
31. A Good Portion of Child Stars Are Saggitarians
Another interesting statistic shows that a large number of child stars have Saggitarius as their star sign. While the data is purely statistical, nearly one in five child stars are Saggitarians. Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and Brad Pitt are just a few examples.
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32. Most Billionaires Are Born Under Libra
You might not have guessed that out of 250 billionaires, 27 of them have Libra as their star sign. Astrologers would say it’s down to the tendency for Libras to be smart-witted and fair-minded, but it’s likely other factors at play. Forbes’ yearly billionaire list showed that while Librans held the majority, Pisces followed with 22, and Cancer, Taurus, and Leo tied with 20 each.
33. Astrology and Zodiac Signs Are Considered Pseudoscience
Since the rise of New Age spirituality, scientists and scholars have ruled out astrology and zodiac signs as scientifically valid. Clear lines have been drawn between practices like astrology and verified scientific theories to avoid associating what is considered “real” science with claims made without empirical evidence.
However, people continue the practice irrespective of scientific opinion, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
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