One Sunday night in June, astrologer Aliza Kelly, 29, was preparing to broadcast a live broadcast of Astrology 101 from her apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. A bright SpectroLED light panel turned the living room into a small movie set. “My manager took me to pick up these lights at B&H,” she said.
On a window sill were gifts from customers: an illustrated zodiac, a white orchid. Kelly was sitting cross-legged on a taupe ottoman, complete with cat eyeliner and large hoop earrings, greeting people and greeting them when they appeared in the online chat room. “This is one of my favorite things, as a Leo and as a person: building a community,” she said. It was about eight thirty, and some of the fifty-two attendees – who had paid between $ 19.99 and $ 39.99 each – were writing greetings; a woman in Europe had set her alarm at 2:30 am to log in. Once she started the lesson, Kelly clicked on a slide about ancient Babylon; William Lilly, the “English Merlin”, consulted by both sides during the English Civil War; and the signs of the zodiac. To explain Aries traits, she posted a photo of Mariah Carey (“She loves to receive gifts”). For Pisces, she had Rihanna and Steve Jobs. “My main favorite thing is to talk about the posters as celebrities,” she said. “Because they are modern mythological figures. In ancient Greece, if you said “Athena”, everyone knew, Oh, that’s what Athena is like. ”
Kelly’s program is typical of a millennial astrologer. She writes books (on zodiac-themed cocktails); she holds events (at the private Soho House club); she offers individual chart readings (one hundred and seventy-five dollars an hour); presents a podcast (“Stars Like Us”); create meme (“for lolz”); she runs a “virtual coven” called the Constellation Club, with membership levels ranging from five dollars to two hundred; and she worked as a consultant for the astrology app Sanctuary. She also writes an advice column for Cosmopolitan and occasionally hosts a series of Cosmo videos in which she guesses the signs of celebrities based on her answers to twelve questions. According to editor-in-chief Jessica Pels, who has expanded the print coverage of astrology to nine pages in each issue, 74% of Cosmo readers report being “obsessed” with astrology; Seventy-two percent consult his horoscope every day.
Astrology now enjoys wide cultural acceptance that has not been seen since the 1970s. The change began with the advent of the personal computer, accelerated with the Internet, and reached new speeds through social media. According to a 2017 Pew Research Center poll, nearly thirty percent of Americans believe in astrology. But, as scholar Nicholas Campion, author of “Astrology and Popular Religion in the Modern West,” has argued, the number of people who know their sun sign, consult their horoscope, or read about their romantic partner’s sign is very large. higher. “The new spirituality is the new norm,” the trend forecasting company WGSN said two years ago when it announced a report on millennials and spirituality that charted trends such as full moon parties and alternative therapies. Last year, the Times, in an article titled “How Astrology Took Over the Internet,” announced “the return of astrology as a compelling content business as much as a traditional spiritual practice.” The Atlantic proclaimed: “Astrology is a meme.” As a meme, its life cycle was unusually long. “My account, it was supposed to be fun for me while I was a production assistant,” said Courtney Perkins, who runs the Not All Geminis Instagram account, which has more than 500,000 followers. “Then it exploded and now it’s like … I don’t know. I didn’t want it to be like this … life.”