The internet has put astrology at people’s fingertips, but readings from a certified professional still carry clout. (Amy Lombard for The New York Times)
For Kiernan Shipka, everything is going to be all right. Her summer romance may have fizzled, but the actress is starring in the new Netflix series “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and is on a path to self-discovery.
At least that’s the advice from Ms. Shipka’s astrologist, David Scoroposki, who recently gave the Sagittarius a natal-chart reading from his New York apartment, The Times reported.
“Use this time to reflect and think: ‘What do I really want? What do I deserve?’ ” Mr. Scoroposki told Ms. Shipka, 18, who is best known for playing Don Draper’s daughter on “Mad Men.”
Even in 2018, more people like Ms. Shipka are turning to the long-debunked science of astrology, and there are plenty of chart readers looking to make money off the curious. But regardless of its truthfulness, astrology is considered quite rational — by skeptics and devotees alike.
“A lot of the appeal of this stuff isn’t really based in any strong-held belief in the occult,” Amanda Hess said in her Times video series, “Internetting.” “You don’t have to actually believe in astrology to be into it.”
With daily horoscopes online, it’s easy to plug into the metaphysical realm. On what Ms. Hess calls “the mystical internet,” apps like Co-Star Astrology and The Daily Hunch cater to the digital set, and astrologers reach thousands of followers.
“This is a content business as much as it is a spiritual practice,” Ms. Hess said.
But those who want to master the intricacies of astrology and turn it into a profession have to hit the books.
The actress Kiernan Shipka, a Sagittarius, should spend some time on self reflection, her astrologist told her. (Amy Lombard for The New York Times)
Some of the roughly 1,500 attendees at this summer’s United Astrology Conference in Chicago underwent years of intense preparation to take the International Society for Astrological Research’s proficiency exam, which assesses one’s ability to read the stars, Callie Beusman reported in The Times. Although it’s open-book, the six-hour test is compared to taking a college-entry exam, or getting accredited as a therapist, and it is called the most grueling in the field.
“Since astrology tends to be something people perceive as mystical and magical, maybe a bit made-up, I just really thought that having a certification would show due diligence,” Debbie Stapleton, an industrious Capricorn from Canada, told The Times.
Today, star charts can be generated online, but to do them by hand takes an expert. A natal chart, for example, identifies the location of the planets in the sky at the time and place of someone’s birth, and then cross-references them with the 12 astrological houses of the celestial sphere and the 12 zodiac signs moving through those houses.
It applies mathematics to historical data and is as real as it gets. That’s before the interpretation of how all this stuff affects one’s personality, psychological patterns and life path.
“We can say things that can inspire people,” said Ms. Stapleton. “But if we’re not careful, we can say things that frighten and damage and alienate people.” (The International Society for Astrological Research forbids scary prophesies.)
“The bottom line is astrology is not for the impatient or faint of heart,” Shelley Ackerman, a conference spokeswoman and diplomatic Libra, told The Times. “You have got to love puzzles, math, myth, and the complexity of life. You can’t be in a rush and be a good astrologer,” Ms. Ackerman said, before adding, “It is not for morons.”