Anna Cullen looks into the history of astrology and asks if star signs can teach us anything about our relationships.

People often turn to astrology in a bid to gain greater insight and a deeper understanding of themselves, their friends, family and romantic partners.

While scientific testing has found no evidence to support astrology, and many remain extremely sceptical, you only have to look at some of the astrology influencers on TikTok to know that others appear to live their life by their signs.

So, what exactly is astrology and is there anything to be learned from it?

What is astrology?
It can be defined as the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies, interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world. One of the very first concepts of astrology, the 12 zodiac signs, was invented by the Babylonians in 1894 BC.

To find out more about zodiac signs, and to see whether we really should invest our time into learning about astrology, I spoke with Psychic Inbaal Honigman from Yorkshire in England.

Inbaal uses tarot, astrology, palmistry, clairvoyance, and other methods of divination in her readings. She explains that each reading is completely individual and no two readings are the same. She says she likes to know people's star signs, to give her some background information about the person, and contextualise their actions and reactions.

Relationship compatibility
Born in March, I am a Pisces. While I don’t base my relationships entirely on star-sign compatibility, I do like to have an idea of who I am talking to. So, when I meet someone for the first time I tend to ask what month they were born. I am aware of what star signs I am most compatible with, but it isn’t a priority of mine to date or make friends based on this.

In contrast, however, Inbaal says she "absolutely wouldn’t" date someone whose star sign was incompatible with hers. As a fellow Pisces, when she was dating online she set her profile to only be visible to Pisces and Sagittarius men.

"Friends, I can accept, but I’d keep new friendships at arm’s length if I saw Zodiac incompatibility. I will develop bonds with people from a variety of Zodiacal affiliations, but very interestingly, three of the closest friends I’ve had in my life were all born on the same date, but different years. Even though not everyone is an exact model of their Zodiac traits, a person’s star sign will inform their actions and perceptions," says Inbaal.

"If something is very important to me, for example, that a partner is romantic or loves to travel, I will then prioritise Pisces and Sagittarius above others. If I need someone to help me organise something, I’ll favour Earth signs, who are naturally organised. If I like to have friends who have a strong moral compass, I’ll pick Aquarians," she adds.

We all know how it feels when dating doesn’t go to plan, but do star signs really have a part to play in this?

Inbaal thinks it absolutely does: "I dated a Gemini in my past, which was very difficult. Pisceans like me like to blend with their partner, and share everything, whereas Geminis need to keep their private stuff separate and sometimes secret. On our first date, when he told me his star sign, I asked if he would cheat on me. Some months later, he did," she states.

"Star signs, in the most simplistic way, inform your rough and obvious personality traits. From here to determining compatibility, the path is short. A sign that loves travel and a sign that loves staying home won’t thrive together. A sign that enjoys crass humour can’t forge a long-term alliance with a sign that loves gentle communication.

"When I met my husband, who is a Pisces like me, it took my breath away. At long last, I met someone who shared my deep and profound love of love. He was loyal, loving and emotionally generous with me. It felt amazing. A further compatibility was that his Sagittarius rising sign complimented my Sagittarius moon sign – Sagi is a sign that loves to laugh and loves to travel. We laughed a lot and love to travel together," she adds.

Diagnosing Incompatibility
Inbaal reckons that whether people believe in star signs or not, they are "true" and they "work". She says that we can choose to use them to our advantage, or we can ignore them at our own peril.

"I find that people tend to show you all their worst traits early on in the relationship, but the first rush of love makes those characteristics seem unimportant or charming. Comparing and contrasting the core values of both parties in a relationship, the core values of their star signs, can save a lot of heartaches later on," she states.

Inbaal explains that each sign has core values that really matter to them. Taureans, for example, can’t abide drama, and therefore won’t accept loud friends: "Without listing each sign’s less-than-flattering traits, we’ve all got them".

She continues: "I believe that star signs are quite accurate. People of the same sign will be drawn to similar industries, similar pastimes, and common political beliefs. The six US presidents of the past 30 years include two Democrat Leos, a sign that loves to be in the lead, and two Republican Geminis, a sign that can charm anyone into anything. The Queen of England was a Taurus, a sign that loves tradition and rules, and so are the Kings of Sweden, the Netherlands and Cambodia".

Inbaal states that if we "paid more attention" to star signs, then we can make "more sense of the world".

The Birth Chart

According to Inbaal, the star sign is only part of the jigsaw. Each person has "a full chart of different planets in different signs".

By observing the full chart, you can get a much more accurate representation of a person’s full character. In astrology, your 'sun sign’ is usually what people want to know when they ask for your star sign. This is where the sun was located in the zodiac on the day you were born, and it shows your ego or personality, it dictates the way you present yourself to others and shows what you want and need in life.

The ‘moon sign’ shows the inner you, one you may keep hidden from others or who you are when you are alone. To calculate your moon sign you will need to find out the exact time you were born, as well as the date and the location. This is likely to differ from your ‘sun sign’.

The ‘rising sign’ reveals the qualities you most visibly show to others when you first meet or how you interact or view the world. This sign shows how you react to certain situations based on your abilities, potentials or intuition. The ‘rising sign’ is calculated by knowing the exact time and location of birth.

While the scientific community has dismissed astrology, Inbaal reckons that by understanding your full birth chart, you can gain more insight into your personality, and form stronger relationships with others as a result.