One of the basic premises of existentialist philosophy is that we are the creators of our own destinies. We are not victims of circumstance; rather we are to a large extent that which we choose to be. We continually make decisions that shape and re-create ourselves. We are in a constant state of evolving, emerging, becoming, and discovering. As human beings, we possess the capacity to reflect and make choices because we have self-awareness.
It is commonly held belief that it is necessary to build an anchor in self-understanding in order to make healthy choices; choices that contribute to expanding consciousness and positively influence the environment around us. Without this anchor we can get lost in others’ preconceived notions and definitions of who we are. If we are passive, we may let them convince us. Rather than opt for the security of dependence, it is important to face the anxiety of choosing for one’s self.
The vast sea of information on the internet is the devil’s playground for this concept of existential freedom. The anxiety one may experience in the real world is assuaged on the internet with the anonymity that is available. The power to make personal decisions is at one’s fingertips. It is a digital world to explore, to entertain, to learn, to communicate, and to learn about one’s Self.
The quest for self-definition by using the Internet as a tool started at a young age for me. One very useful and entertaining sources of self-knowledge are astrological personality profiles. If the creators of Google tracked my search history since 1997, they would have no doubt in their minds that I am a Pisces. At first I was quite skeptical about identifying with this label. However, I am not afraid to identify with it for the purposes of understanding the differences between myself and other people. I oddly, yet heartily identify with a vast amount of qualities pertaining to this astrological sign.
There are many beliefs and arguments in regards to astrological personality types. For those that are occult, it is a way of understanding how humans are connected to the universe. We can learn about something bigger than ourselves, like the patterns and relativity of the universe or the influence of the planets on personalities. For the skeptics, Astrology can make an excellent topic for debate, especially among those who deem themselves to be more logically-based. For the light at heart, it is a fun party trick to break the ice.
Because it is human nature to categorize and clump our experiences and perceptions into groups, astrology is a fun way to understand who we are and look at why people are different. We can choose to identify with our signs or not. We can connect with other people through understanding similarities and differences. Any function of looking into the personality profiles of each sign can help us to question who we are, define or redefine ourselves, and question our destiny.
Ultimately, we are the masters of own destinies (which is why I read yesterday’s horoscope), but learning about and strengthening the self is a vital factor in making the right decisions. It absolutely okay to not identify with astrology, but we cannot deny the evolution of human consciousness. Anchoring and strengthening the Self fosters healthy choices which can help us grow in a positive, fulfilling direction.
Some links that I’ve come back to over the years:
Danielle is a student at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She is the Art Therapy intern at the Awakening Center who runs the Body Image Group on Tuesdays and the Art Therapy Group on Thursdays. For more info about these groups, call Danielle at (773) 929-6262 x 12.