How Seriously Should You Really Take Your Horoscope?

Photographed by Rochelle Brock.
It can happen to anyone: You innocently open up your weekly horoscope, hoping for news of romantic prospects and career opportunities to come. Instead, you're greeted with warnings of stalled progress in your life, multiple retrogrades, and, in the most extreme cases, a total change of your sign. So, do you freak out?
The debate around how seriously to take horoscopes has been around for nearly as long as people have been poring over their birth charts. Some astrology enthusiasts treat it like a rational school of thought, while others accept it as an imperfect science that, nevertheless, can offer a special kind of insight into our lives.
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As is the case with all spiritual beliefs, it's a matter of personal preference whether you choose to invest meaning in astrology or not. But, for the record, nothing you read in your 'scope should ever be cause for genuine alarm. If you're committed to reading and following the astrological developments in your life, there are ways to roll with the punches without fretting over what the planets have in store.
Tali Edut, one half of the Astrotwins, tells Refinery29 that no reading, even one that foretells of an extremely challenging cycle like a Mercury retrograde, consists exclusively of ill omens. "These are the times where we actually have our biggest growth spurts," she says. Of course, the trick isn't just to find the silver lining — that alone won't change your future.
Issues may still arise in your relationship, you might not get that promotion, or you could encounter a tricky financial situation. "The challenge comes in not falling into a 'woe is me' mindset, but rather gathering strength and getting proactive," Edut says. In other words, bad stuff is still going to happen, but if you're willing to adapt and learn (instead of running for cover), you'll probably be fine.
In fact, Edut says you may even be better off after enduring a difficult period. A hardship in your personal life might be the nudge you need to leave a toxic relationship or go back to school. Challenges — especially retrogrades — give us "a refreshing pause to review and revamp" what's going on in our lives, she says.
So, the next time your horoscope alludes to tough times ahead, that's your cue to get tough as well (and not to stress out). And, if you really hate what it has to say for your sign, it never hurts to consult another astrologer.
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