The social media platform TikTok shows its users videos of a wide array. From funny cat videos to influencers showing off their wealth, you name it: it will probably show up on the app. I wound up in a whirlwind of psychic readings, horoscopes and tarot card readings. Apparently, this side of the app has become so popular, it has its own tag: #TikTarot. As a total sceptic, I decided to take a deep dive into the world of astrology…

Astrology: what does it entail?

According to astrology, a person’s life is influenced by the movements of the sun, the moon and the stars. Better yet, the date of birth determines someone’s personality traits. A so-called ‘natal star chart’ focuses on the position of the stars on the exact date and time of a person’s birth, and affects specific character traits, as well as predictions for the future. Most popularized horoscopes are based on a person’s sun and/or moon chart, aka the zodiac sign. There are twelve astrological zodiac signs, one for every month of the year. This simplest ‘position of the stars’ zooms in on a person’s birth month. However, ‘accuracy’ is not the best-chosen term. How can a million (if not more) people from all kinds of social and cultural backgrounds have the same character traits, solemnly based on the fact that they were all born in, for instance, October? The first ‘real’ horoscope was written by British astrologer R. H. Naylor for the British Sunday Express newspaper for princess Margeret. In the column, Naylor predicted the then three-year-old princess’ future. Since the 70s, when horoscopes were first popularized for a bigger audience, whether they predict on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis, consist of somewhat vague and ordinary messages that resonate with everyone that reads it: because the messages are vague. “You will overcome a setback today” can resonate with a number of people: for one person the ‘setback’ could mean getting ill, for another losing a quarter on the bus. Many studies have found that

-surprise, surprise – astrology is not based off of science. Positioning of the stars do not determine a person’s personality traits; these studies have found. However, a 2014 study by the National Science Foundation in America has found that in the last decade the number of sceptics has shrunk.  The rise in popularity over the years could have to do with the overall love for wellbeing and especially mental health. 

Along with horoscopes, tarot card readings have risen in popularity as well. Here, a psychic reader can predict a client’s past, present or future by reading tarot cards. The cards are drawn for an interpretation after asking simple yes or no questions. Some readers even go as far as asking the Universe or their client’s spirits to show them the specific cards during a reading (believe me, I have seen them ask in TikTok videos). 

Rise in popularity

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, these terms have become even more popular than before. Better yet, the word ‘psychic’ was the most-searched word in the span of a year on March 8, 2020 according to Spectrum News 1. The lockdown gave many people around the world time for self-reflection. Paired with the uncertainty of the present and especially of the future gave people a reason to dive into the world of psychics and crystals. In fact, it has become such a hot topic that “the market for crystals outshined that of diamonds in the Covid era” if we have to believe a particular Bloomberg article. James Hyslop, the head of the science and nature department at auction house Christie’s believes that the “Coronavirus has only strengthened a market that has been “historically undervalued. The sense that everyone has is that interest in the market for minerals and fossils and meteorites is at an all-time high”. Of course, Christie’s regular buyers have a bigger budget than most; but the fact that this market has not decreased its sales since the start of the pandemic shows just how much faith people put in these stones. They are not items of necessity, yet people keep spending money on them. Seeing that wellbeing and self-love have become greatly impactful topics over the last decade, it comes as no surprise that astrology fits right in. Mental health has been declining since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Especially teenagers and young adults struggle with their mental health since the various lockdowns around the world. Believing in the unknown, such as the Universe, can be a relief. Affirming to the Universe and your spirit angels that everything will be all right after having seen a video in which you were told that your zodiac sign would meet the love of their life ‘soon’ gives you hope, especially if you have been feeling rather alone during lockdown. 

But, is it real?

I must admit, I have tried it, too. During the lockdown, I watched tons of tarot card readings on TikTok, before paying one of the psychics on there to read my future. I must say that the accuracy of my past and present was staggering. Asking the Universe for a specific sign regarding something I was doubtful about gave me positive results, too. Did it make me feel better (even though I do not fully believe that a girl on Etsy charging me 20$ for a reading has the ability to read my future)? It did. Would I do it again? Probably, if I feel sad. 

Personally, I think that believing in astrology is just that: believing. If you believe it is real, then it is.