The use of social media has taken astrology to new heights. Quizzes, guides and other articles written around the Zodiac signs tend to be a running theme on young media sites like Buzzfeed, babe and Refinery29, which are widely circulated on social media platforms.
Facebook groups are popular for users interested in a particular topic, and some of the more dedicated groups can foster a sense of community.
Enter “the stars say you’re a loser,” one of the largest and most active astrology communities on Facebook. With 7,000+ members and thousands more added each month, it’s hard to believe that it has only been around for a year.
“The stars say you’re a loser” is the brainchild of Megan Elizabeth Sims, a senior at Harvard University. Her once-small group has grown remarkably fast since last November.
“It’s my child,” Sims said. “My problem child, but still my child.”
Sims, 22, started TSSYAL because she saw the need for a safe, inclusive forum for people like her to engage with others and learn about themselves. It would provide a sense of community, along with some lighthearted fun.
"Astrology is something bigger than us that can be used to form connection between individuals and understand how to relate to others.
“This is so important for isolated queer kids who may never have fit in," said Sims, alluding to her own personal struggles growing up.
"Beyond being a deeply closeted lesbian, I was a liberal Jew growing up in very conservative, very Christian Dallas. I struggled a lot with finding my place and figuring out who I was because of this."
Sims spent her teenage years not only grappling with conflicted feelings about her own sexuality, but also with the idea of God. For several of these years she identified as an atheist.
While in college, however, Sims began privately exploring astrology and "fell in love" with the ancient practice. The more she learned, the more it became a useful tool to understand and reorient herself as she navigated through mental health and sexuality issues.
"I started the stars say you’re a loser to have that sort of community, honestly. I mostly just wanted to be seen and understood."
At its core, she sees astrology as a system that can help individuals make sense of themselves and the world around them. It felt like a way to understand others and make herself legible to them.
“Astrology felt like a way to make myself legible to others and to understand others,” Sims said.
“I think what draws me and a lot of other millennials, especially LGBTQ+ ones, to astrology is the fact that it’s a system that makes sense but that no one told us to believe. Most people are raised in a religion, and for some, this can be actively hostile to their personal identity," Sims said.
With this in mind, Sims and her small team of group moderators go to great lengths to keep TSSYAL a safe space for all. This includes a screening process in which hopeful members must submit a short questionnaire to be approved by an admin in order to join. This is meant to ensure that new members will interact with the community respectfully and follow the rules of conduct.
Additionally, Sims is not afraid to ban users who flout the rules or make others feel bad for taking astrology seriously.
Then, in her mid-teens, Sims began connecting more with her faith and with her Jewish peers. This community provided a safe place for her, and gave her a sense of belonging she had never felt before. Her synagogue was also the first place she met openly gay people, she said, and she still feels connected to Judaism.
Sims has though felt more connected more recently to astrology. “I’ve started to pay more attention to transits and other elements of spirituality, and I can identify the influence of the planets on my life beyond as a tool for self-exploration,” she said. “But I don’t think everyone necessarily focuses on this part, which makes sense too.”