Are horoscopes real and good for you? (Psychology meets Astrology)

Are horoscopes real and good for you? (Psychology meets Astrology)

Right after I was born in the 70’s, one of the very first things my dear dad did was that he draw my astrological birth chart. He wanted to know my character based on my horoscope. Yes, since my birth, horoscopes have been a part of my life. But are they really real? Or are horoscopes good for you? Can believing in horoscopes do more harm than good for you? If good, then what are the benefits for our mental wellbeing, success in life,…?

And what psychological phenomenon are related to astrology? Is the effect of horoscopes no more than placebo? Or in the worst case, nosebo effect?

Author, Blogger, Hypnotherapist, NLP Coach Kati Niemi
Kati Niemi, Founder of (R)evolution for Love, Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer, Author, M.Sc., CPA, Executive Coach

First in this article, I’ll share my personal life story related to horoscopes. Then I’ll review this worldwide phenomenon through the lenses of psychology, including hypnosis. After all, I’m a Clinical Hypnotherapist & NLP Trainer interested in all belief systems. And horoscopes may be the oldest, traditional form of ‘self-help literature’.

In my childhood, I grew in a home with a large bookshelf full of books in astronomy, astrology and horoscopes. My mathematically-intelligent dad investigated those books and draw colorful zodiac birth charts to anyone who was interested in them. 

Those colors were probably needed to highlight different kind of charts in comparison to others, but actually I don’t know their meanings because it all seemed so complicated that I didn’t have the energy to study them myself.

(Later I’ll tell you why rich colors are important also in my own zodiac designs)

Clinical hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer, Amazon author Kati Niemi
What might be the benefits if I believe in horoscopes?

Horoscopes were my dad’s dear hobby. And like all of us who love our hobbies, we want to talk about them – naturally! 

Whenever I met a new boyfriend, my dad asked immediately when was he born. And so he drew birth charts to my boyfriends, too! An interesting way for a father to check our compatibility, don’t you think…? 🙂

So, yes, my dad drew the birth charts even to my boyfriends, ex-husband and my kids. And whenever we had any major life events, he marked them immediately into his calendar and checked how those events could be interpreted from the horoscope charts.

And at some difficult stages in my life, whenever I had problems I sometimes asked my dad if he could look at the horoscope charts and tell me anything wise. When I was young, I wanted to believe in horoscopes, because they made the prediction of my future easier, and I felt that there were stronger super powers always supporting me if I had problems.

But somehow I always stayed skeptical. (Yes, that’s in my nature – in my horoscope, one could say…?)

My dad often said that “of course these may not tell anything but let’s still have a look!” or “no, this is not visible in the charts now”.

In the 1990’s or 2000’s, my dad invested in horoscope IT tools as he has always loved technology, too. Those zodiac analysis/interpretation tools were much easier to use than drawing on paper. The tool gave in seconds massive reports of both your birth charts’ all signs, their positions and shifts throughout your years. You could also print out a report how the coming months seem to be, and if you should avoid or concentrate anything during the coming period.

It was weird that – indeed – there were sometimes some signs of synchronicity between the birth horoscope, the current planet shifts and what was happening in my life at that time. 

But more often the reports (with some 50 pages or so!) included so much data, that actually it was no wonder that I could imagine parts of them also relating to my own life events.

And then suddenly a year ago, the surprising day came when my 70+ year old dad just said that he will donate all his astronomy-, astrology- and horoscope books to the Astrological Association of Finland, because he doesn’t believe in astrology anymore. No, he wasn’t getting dementia or anything – the horoscopes “period” was just over for him then.

What had happened? Are the horoscopes really real or not? And do they do more harm than good for people who believe in them? And what are the benefits in such symbols as the wellknown zodiac signs? 

And why have I designed beautiful, colorful clothes, objects etc to support my clients in their positive mindset growth? 🙂

Based on all what I had experienced about horoscopes, what did I learn about astrology and horoscope signs?

Even though I never studied the horoscopes any deeper “technically”, I understood that:

  • Horoscopes are based on real planet shifts and that’s why also technology can support you in making horoscopes. When planets move all the time, the charts naturally change – like our life events throughout life! 🙂
  • When there is this scientific background of horoscopes (or astrology actually), it gives some logic to the stories. That’s why also scientifically talented, intelligent people may start believing in horoscopes.
  • Since ages, people have believed in horoscopes and some people are very eager and enthusiastic about them. It’s embedded in many cultures still as of today.
  • All people have characters of each horoscope signs. And we all face different kind of problems in life. We all can relate.
  • People who draw, analyse or interpret horoscopes truly believe in them. That’s why they can also convince you to believe in the same story.
  • But even the most eager horoscope fans may get suspicious about the whole thing later in life. And that may be disappointing for the person to realise then, that “okay, maybe I believed in bogus…” But still, what’s the harm in believing in such magic? Perhaps no harm done?

When I studied psychology, I learned why people want to believe in many such things like astrological signs…

When I look at the world of astrology and horoscopes through the lenses of psychology, I can see why people fall for them:

  • For all human beings, our main goal in life is to stay alive. To stay safe, we want to avoid dangers and survive from difficulties the best way we can.
  • To avoid dangers, we have the tendency of trying to predict the future. We don’t want to be uncertain of the next events happening to us.
  • So that we could trust in our future even in times of difficulties, we want to understand why those difficulties happened in the first place. We need explanations!
  • If we thought that e.g. unnatural negative surprises in our lives were just bad luck, it would make us feel even more insecure because it would mean that we cannot control our future.

That’s why people have the tendency to believe even in the most hilarious conspiracy theories.

In the moments of insecurity and stress, we cannot see all the possibilities for survival. Then we search for help even from the places were no actual, real-life help can be given to us.

Any help is better than no help, right?

When we get help from an authority who can explain our problems logically and give at least some scientific facts to support the story (e.g. the actual planet shifts are really real!), it makes the story more credible. 

An experienced astrologist may have strong authority in the eyes of your best friend, so then you are also more prone to believe in the stories of that astrologist.

That’s natural. You want to stay safe, so it means you should stay with the people who will protect you. Your friends and family are usually such people. You want to have the feeling of belonging with them, because you don’t want to be left out. 

The feeling of belonging comes from sharing the same beliefs. If you questioned their beliefs, you might feel yourself lonely or lost.

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Click the photo for more info - A Colorful Taurus Woman T-Shirt Gift for Taurean Females

We are usually skeptical against new things, because we (again!) want to avoid dangers. We want trusted information. If (and when!) horoscopes are everywhere in our lives (newspapers etc), we have been raised in a world where it’s okay to believe in horoscopes, too. 

In other words, horoscopes are nothing new to afraid of, right…? 🙂

And when you cannot say for 100% certainty that horoscopes are nonsense bogus, then there is always the chance that what if they are real…!

And if your family and friends think horoscopes are true, important and good, why would you take the risk of questioning your own safe harbour?

The positive benefits: What is the good thing about horoscopes?

Do horoscopes do more harm than good? Well, this is a hard question. Let’s look at this through a couple of points. Let’s focus on the good things first!

First, based on research in psychology, focusing on the positive things in life is a real strength. You can manage through hell on earth if you can carry on and focus on the way out of the hell, right?

Focus is a brain function, where it has been noted that the synapses (connections) between neurons (brain cells) actually get stronger the more you use that same “bridge”. So, the more you focus on the positive trust in your future and your good actions towards the solution, you will actually also gain inner strength (measurable also in scientific, neurobiological way!) to survive most probably even better next time, in new situations.

Horoscopes are usually very positive and good. Yes, they may sometimes also “warn” you of some risky things but usually saying the warning in a positive way: “consider X carefully” or “avoid unhealthy habits during this period” or “relax and you will overcome the stressful event”.

Even if you read novels or listen to podcasts with positive stories like these, you will more probably remember to focus on the good, healthy life even in the times of difficulties. So, from this perspective, horoscopes can do good, too!

Horoscopes and placebo / nosebo?

Well, you have most probably heard of placebo and nosebo, right?

Just in case, a couple of practical examples, shortly:

  • If you believe that e.g. a medicine will cure you, you will get cured more probably. (=positive placebo)
  • If you believe that the medicine will give you those awful symptoms printed in small letter on the back of the pill bottle, you are more probable to suffer from them. (=negative nosebo)

The stronger you believe in something, the stronger its said effect.

The stronger you believe in horoscopes, the more positive you will stay when your horoscope says “something good will happen, just notice the small signs of it”. And vice versa.

The same goes with e.g. amulets or rituals people have always had. There is a real psychological placebo effect of e.g. amulet that give you “energy” or “positive spirit”, and that’s why you may get really upset if you lose your special ring, necklace or “happy socks”.

That’s how we humans are. That’s natural and normal.

There’s nothing bad in wearing your “special t-shirt” that will remind you of positive mindset, because actually it may truly help you! Whenever you look at your special t-shirt or “mug of happiness”, it reminds you of the feeling you have attached to that. 

Those are called mindset anchors, and e.g. in NLP (Neuro-Linquistic Programming) and hypnosis we create them for different purposes to improve our wellbeing and to keep our focus on our goals and strengths.

And the more often you remind yourself of that feeling, the more probably you will feel that way throughout the day. Nice, right? Indeed!

That’s why we therapists help our clients to create such powerful rituals or gestures etc which make the natural creation of the good feeling easier for you. And for that reason also I have created many concrete objects (e.g. inspiring clothes, beautiful shirts and mugs with powerful, positive messages) for my clients. You can find them in the (R)evolution for Love Shop.

Oh, and yes, I do use such practical “everyday amulets” in my own personal life as well, because I know they truly work! Sometimes I select a certain hoodie or shirt, sometimes definitely something else from my designs. 

That’s the beauty of placebo, which may also be related to the help some people feel they get from the horoscopes.

Can horoscopes do more harm than good?

If your horoscopes say some astrological signs match better together romantically, the more prone you are to navigate in your love life if you truly believe that.

You may miss a great partner, if s/he’s not the perfect match by his/her zodiac sign. You may focus on his/her bad personality traits if they match with the negative sides of his/her horoscope sign. 

And if you focus on the negatives, remember what you train to your brain cells and synapses…? Exactly…!

You might also stay much too long together with an abusive partner, if your horoscope signs were to be a perfect match and your horoscope for this period says “you may be facing some problems but those will pass, just carry on”. Sometimes focusing on negatives is really important to get the extra energy boost for making changes in life.

There are people who ask for marriage advice from astrologists and trust they “marriage horoscopes”, because – like I said earlier – we all want to be safe and avoid problems.

We want to predict a happy future us even with ways that can never promise us that.

There are also people who make career choices based on their horoscopes.

Sometimes the horoscopes may say “now it may be a good time to make changes in your work life or private life”, and we all interpretate that based on our own current situation, so no wonder why horoscopes seem to match so well!

We all can at least think about some potential good changes in our lives (either at work or at home, hobbies, people relationships…) even if we didn’t make any changes after all. But if horoscope texts seem to match our situation, thoughts and hopes once, twice, and then for many times, it all seems true, logical and real, right?

And then the day may come, when we are prone to believe even stronger in the horoscope and make even our life choices based on that.

What I personally think about horoscopes?

I love dreaming and I love magic. And I truly wish many lovely magical fairy tales were true in this world!

Magical Hypnosis is Real - Not Magic
Magical Hypnosis? Hypnosis is real - not a magic trick even if it feels like it!

In fact, I was very disappointed when I heard there is no real Santa Claus, and no treasures in the end of rainbows…! Those stories can be proven untrue, but who could prove there are no fairies or unicorns? As long as those cannot be proven non-existing, all those can be true! Right…? 🙂

And wouldn’t it be magical and fun, if we were protected by such beautiful creatures? Oh, yes! I truly would like to meet them! If you can introduce some of them to me, I’d be happy! 🙂

The same goes with horoscopes. It would be really nice to feel that we are not living on this lonely planet called Earth in the middle (or corner) of the enormous universe without any logical map. I’d like to believe that everything in life has a reason. 

And it would be easy to believe that sometimes bad things just happen to me because of my sign or that someone treated me badly because of his “horoscope nature”- not because s/he just wanted to be mean to me. 

And during the difficulties, I’d like to look for solutions written in reports which would first explain my difficulties in a logical way and then also guide me towards a better future.

Positive self-development carries you much further than following any horoscope can.

However, I believe more in myself than in horoscopes. That’s why I’ve studied the science of psychology and learned so many therapeutic techniques to help myself to keep the positive mindset focusing on solutions and solving problems.

When I face problems in my life, I don’t look for easy answers from horoscopes, but the most difficult, deeper answers within myself. And when I have difficulties in my relationships, I don’t blame the mismatching horoscopes but focus on our similarities on which we could try to create the stronger bond between us again. And if I cannot build bridges with someone I have once loved strongly, I definitely do not stick to them just because some horoscopes told me otherwise.

Looking at your own self and listening to your intuition in those moments is much harder than reading horoscopes. And drawing your own map for life is much harder than printing out and reading some 50 pages of “what to do this year in love/career/…” Right? 🙂

Whatever your astrological sign or birth chart says you should be like or what you would experience in life, it’s much more rewarding to create your own life story based on your needs and wishes. 

You are not your horoscope sign nor similar to those others with the same sign. Not even with the people with the same birth chart (of course “not even possible” by astrologists…). 

You are unique. And you can develop yourself further if your current strengths are not yet adequate to build your road towards your dreams.

If horoscopes are not really real, how could you gain inner strength in times of difficulties?

You can learn new things throughout your life. And you can also unlearn believing in “external” horoscopes and learn to believe in your true inner self. 

You can help yourself with practical daily tricks of training your brain cells to focus on the positive more often, more easily, and stronger every day. (Mindset anchors, such as those found in our Shop)

There are several ways to train new routines of thinking to your brain cells. But if you combine the things I mentioned earlier – the focus and the placebo effect – strategically wisely, you may make your life a lot easier going forward.

So that you’d remember to stay positive, make your surroundings to support your positive mindset. Let your brain cells learn to notice the positive things more easily by reminding yourself of that goal of positivity and self-development. 

Increase your happiness and feeling of positive adventures with happy, funny and colorful clothes and objects you notice during your day at home or at the office.

When you want to feel more confident, read and listen to the messages that remind you of self-confidence. You can wear a shirt with an encouraging message or a positive picture, so whenever you look at yourself in the mirror, you’ll remember your main aim – the focus on good future and the trust in yourself.

These are very easy tricks you can use wherever you are. Even if you don’t have yet the energy to study self-development or strengthen yourself in therapy. And even in therapy (not even in hypnosis!) the therapists won’t do wonders for you if you don’t train your mind by yourself as well. Also in therapeutic sessions we therapists teach you practical things you can do for yourself, to support yourself.

Even without the encouraging stories of the horoscopes 🙂

Do you believe in magic? I love magic!

Like I already said, I love magical things in life. 

I believe in magic we humans create by ourselves. And I also believe in the magic of the nature. I don’t need to understand all in the universe because I know I never could even if I tried.

So, if you strongly believe in horoscopes, that’s totally fine. If you believe, you have probably received good things from them, so that’s perfect! 

When you wear a t-shirt with your horoscope sign, you may easily remember the positive traits of your own natural personality if you have found out that you have some of those good characteristics that are said to be the traits of your astrological sign.

Or if you drink your morning coffee/tea in a mug reminding you of your birth sign, you may remember the positive horoscope you just read in the newspaper and start your morning with good energy. 

What would be the harm in that? Nothing! 

Use whatever tactics make you trust in your inner strengths and look positively towards your future even in the times of difficulties. And especially during those times!

But even if you believe in horoscopes, remember to believe in yourself always more, okay?

Your inner magic will help you carry on. And whenever you want a positive reminder of your inner powers, you can visit my blog or the shop with all beautiful, colorful stuff reminding us all of all the magic in this universe! (Yes, those fairies and unicorns and all, of course!)

Because after all:

You never know if they all are true, right…? 🙂

Kati Niemi, Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer, Author, Blogger, Founder of (R)evolution for Love

With Love,
Your Coach Kati
Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer, Executive Coach, Author, M.Sc., CPA
[email protected]