In the age of technology (and coronavirus), dating apps are getting a ton of use. In September 2019 (pre-coronavirus), I would have said that meeting someone IRL seems antiquated. In September 2020 (post-coronavirus), I'd say it seems basically impossible. Luckily, there's a dating app for every segment of the population. No matter your religion, sexuality, gender identity, kink — there's an app that wants to help you find your match. That includes astrology dating apps.
Rachel Lo tells Refinery29 that she came up with the idea for the astrology dating app Struck during her Saturn return, which seems fitting: That's a time when people tend to cross major thresholds and enter into new stages of their lives. She had just started getting into astrology when she a conversation with friends about astrological compatibilities when she had her eureka moment: an app that pairs you with your zodiac matches. The idea, she says, struck her.
Lo's app goes way beyond comparing sun signs. Its algorithm — which Lo says contains over 200 lines of code and was created with the help of astrologer Nadine Jane — compares all of the major aspects in your birth chart chart and then some: It looks into North Node, South Node, and chiron the asteroid.
There’s a minimum threshold in which Struck will consider two people to be compatible, and the app only shows you up to four prospects a day. You'll see their profile — and their entire birth chart (which, honestly, is almost more intense than getting full access to their public Instagram and Facebook, in terms of getting to know someone). "We want to slow down dating, knowing that people who are into astrology like having deeper conversations and are more open-minded," Lo explains. "We wanted to make a dating app that would result in better connections.”
When Colin Henderson co-founded Starcrossed, another astrology-based dating app, he saw an opening in an interesting market. "On Bumble, you can say your sun sign and then filter specific zodiac signs saying, 'I don’t want to match with Libras' and stuff, but there aren’t really any apps out there that dive deep into why you’re astrologically compatible with a match," he explains.
With the help of friends, astrologers, and his own research into the zodiac, he wrote a code that created a five-star rating system for your potential matches based on (you guessed it) your astrological compatibility. Each star correlates to how you connect with one another regarding communication, love, emotions, sex, and personality. They're based on your Mercury, Venus, Moon, Mars, and Rising signs, respectively. You're shown prospects Tinder-style, with the option to swipe left for no and right for yes. Like Struck, you'll also be able to see each users' birth chart.
"That’s a lot of personal information right off the bat. Your birth chart is very personal," Annabel Gat, astrologer and author of The Astrology of Love & Sex: A Modern Compatibility Guide, tells Refinery29. "I don’t want strangers to know what’s in my full birth chart, Google it, and then make assumptions about me.” (We toldja it was deeper than Instagram.)
But she also says that of course anyone can try out any kind of dating app that they want. “I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with an astrology dating app, but for me personally, when I meet someone and I’m interested, I don’t want to know what their chart is at all,” Gat says. She’d rather get to know a prospective partner as a person rather than assume things based on their birth chart or zodiac sign. “I want to give them the chance to show me who they are,” she says.
Jessica Lanyadoo, astrologer and author of Astrology for Real Relationships, agrees. “When I first meet someone, I do not look at their birth chart or ask what their sign is. I get to know them as a person instead," she says. "Once you get to know a person and you start to trust them and start build toward something with them, then turn to astrology because at that point you can be like, oh the reason they’re always late is because of their Mercury in Pisces. Can I tolerate that?"
When it comes to astrology dating apps, you also don't know how exactly the code is comparing and contrasting each user's birth chart. "There are aspects in a chart that might seem very difficult. But what on paper might seem like a 'bad' aspect in practice can create a lot of sexual chemistry," Gat points out.
Plus, different astrologers might interpret compatibility in different ways. One might say you and your partner are a perfect match while another says that there's doom on the horizon, get out ASAP — so you may be missing out on your actual soulmate if you tie yourself to the stars.
For example, Lanyadoo tells Refinery29 that she uses composite charts over synastry, which is what many astrology apps use. "A composite chart is not just based on your birth date and my birth date; it’s also based on the location that our relationship is taking place, which I think is really essential," she says. "I do not use the kinds of compatibility charts that could be done by AI." She also notes that people shouldn’t be idealistic using these apps. Just because the app uses astrology and the stars doesn't mean it’s a 100% matchmaker. That’s not how life works.
“I really do not believe that compatibility is relevant in finding a partner. I’m finding in my practice that people who don’t have great compatibility [on paper] are drawn to each other and are able to have long lasting relationships,” astrologer Lisa Stardust tells Refinery29. “Love trumps astrology. Astrology is just descriptive of what your chart is in the mood for and wants. It’s all about projection.”
Okay, so maybe that astrology app you just downloaded won't exactly point you to the perfect match, soul mate, or twin flame that you've been searching for — and that's okay. But at least you're on an app where you know you're both interested and appreciate astrology, right?
“If we’re just talking about dating apps as a way to be introduced to new people, an astrology dating app is so smart,” Lanyadoo says. "I like the idea that at least this requires people to have an interest in communicating with each other about astrology. It inclines people to have certain kinds of values and interests."
"You’re going to get rid of the people who are like, ew astrology isn’t real, what’s that?" Lo adds. "There’s something really nice there about having a group of people who are open-minded and want to talk about their emotions and want to be more introspective than maybe your average dating app."
Henderson agrees. "If you do want to find that certain someone that you want to have a serious connection with, it’s better to find someone on a niche dating app because you know that person is into the same thing you’re into, no matter what it is.” There's Tastebuds for music lovers, Bark for dog people, and in this case, both Struck and Starcrossed for those intrigued by the stars.
"We want astrology to make life simple, but life isn’t simple, especially when it comes to love," Lanyadoo says. She's right — it’s complicated. At the end of the day, dating apps are meant for meeting new people, seeing what's out there, and ultimately finding someone to have fun with. And if they happen to like astrology? Well, that's just a plus.