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Students and experts talk astrology, misconceptions surrounding the practice

October 19, 2022
<p>Design by Madison Echlin. </p>

Design by Madison Echlin.

Photo by Madison Echlin | The State News

From ancient Babylon all the way to modern day East Lansing, the study of celestial bodies and their impact on humans remains a significant tool for those finding meaning through the stars in the sky. 

Sophomore advertising major Cairington Stahl uses astrological practices to interpret human nature. 

“I’m a big believer in the fact that astrology and zodiac and all that can explain a lot about a person,” Stahl said. “It can help, especially for negative things, to bring peace of mind to people.”

Stahl said many people associate their zodiac sign with only their sun sign, which is just one of many aspects of reading a birth chart.

Your sun sign, which is based on your birth date, is said to provide insight into your core personality. Your birth chart is based off of the position of the 12 planets at your exact time, location and date of birth. Understanding the entire birth chart provides those who practice astrology with more insight.

According to MSU alumna and professional astrologist Laura Lynn Crandall, your birth chart can be best explained metaphorically as “twelve pieces of pie”. There are twelve pieces to a birth chart, with a planet ruling each piece of the “pie”.

“So you go and you look at what's happening to those, then some of the cycles will be very good and make it easy for great things to happen to you,” Crandall said. “Or other times, there'll be big challenges. In astrology, we don't say anything is bad.”

Commonly referred to as your ‘big three’, the ‘pieces of the pie’ that are usually cited as most relevant are your sun, moon and rising signs. The moon sign relates to emotions and the rising sign relates to how one is perceived, especially first impressions. Venus, another commonly known sign, relates to love.

Crandall said paying attention to the movements of the planets ruling the pieces of your birth chart can help you prepare for different periods of your life – those that bring fortune and challenges. This is observed based on the angles the planets move in. She refers to this practice as “cycle forecasting”, rather than “fortune telling”, which she said it is commonly misrepresented as.

“As the planets move through the sky, they make different angles like 45 degrees, 90 degrees, 120, 180." Crandall said. "Those angles that they make to the planets where you were born tell you whether something's going to be difficult, or helpful, or easier, benevolent or things like that."

Reading tarot cards is often practiced in conjunction with astrological studies. Tarot involves pulling cards in order to receive guidance and information, according to Crandall. 

Crandall teaches the process of reading Tarot cards to students as a way to strengthen their intuition. She explains her interpretation of communicating with guides throughout the readings. 

“Everybody has a guardian angel that follows you throughout the entire entirety of your soul ... It could be your guardian angel. That could be all it is. But a lot of times, I think there are helpers, sometimes ancestors, sometimes just guides that I think have been assigned to us," Crandall said. "And they give us suggestions about the right direction. And I feel like a lot of times, that's your intuition.”

Stahl said a common misconception about Tarot is that it is used as a fortune-telling mechanism.

“I feel like a lot of people think that, or have that preconceived notion that it is (used to tell the future), when in actuality it's very hard to predict the future concretely," Stahl said. "Because it's so subject to change just based off of our human nature.”

Junior journalism major Gabriella Lopez explains that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding astrology and the people who practice it.

“I think people think people that practice (astrology) are crazy” Lopez said. “People see it as pseudoscience and (think) it's not real, but for many, many people, including myself it is real ... It should work for whoever and if they want it to work, it should work for them. And if it doesn't, it doesn't. That's how most things should go.”

Lopez said that another misconception surrounding astrology is that people who practice astrology make judgments about people based on their signs, and decide if they like someone based on their sign alone.

“That's not how most people are … It's not a huge judgment factor," Lopez said. "It's more or less just being like, ‘Oh, so that's why you're very orderly and doing things like that.”

Stahl said that those wanting to learn more about astrology and tarot should be catious about looking for information on social media.

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“Take what you hear on (social media) with a grain of salt because not everyone knows what they are talking about," Stahl said. "If you take the time to read books, or at least go on websites that are run by people who know what they are doing, or at least platforms where people know what they are doing and seem genuine about their practice, then it’s a wonderful thing to definitely explore and get into and it’s really cool when you really get down to the bare bones of it."

Crandall said that misconceptions regarding astrology and tarot lead people to not take the time to learn about it past the surface.

“If you really learn astrology ... it changes your life. But even if you have an astrologer work with you, I'll tell you one thing, it'll help you stay on the right path,” Crandall said. 

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