Admit it, we’re all suckers for astrology: We know you checked your Spotify Affinity or got a self-care diagnosis from Cosmic Rx. It’s fun to explore the meaning behind our birth charts (they are snapshots of our complex personalities, after all), and we have tons of apps and sites we can use for that.
With so many resources out there, some offer features to help them stand out from the astrology app pool―like “trolling” its users, as Co-Star Astrology founder Banu Guler puts it.
Guler appeared on the 286th episode of The Astrology Podcast on Jan. 6 to discuss the making of Co-Star Astrology, an app launched in 2017 that uses artificial intelligence and NASA’s data to analyze one’s birth chart and give simplified, real-time interpretations.
Co-Star’s known for its wild and exaggerated push notifications, which the host Chris Brennan brought up on the podcast. Guler confirmed it, adding that when someone has trines and sextiles present in their birth chart, the app “will troll you a little bit.”
Trines and sextiles are astrological aspects meant to represent harmony, talent and ease of communication, both good elements in a birth chart. You’d naturally be expecting to read a good forecast, but instead you may get push notifications like “start a cult,” which the host found funny and satirical.
Guler explained Co-Star didn’t always have these edgy notifs when it launched. She and her writers tested multiple versions of copy, some of them edgy, which she supports. “Yeah, I totally want to spend my mornings thinking about worms crawling out of my lover’s eyes. I think it makes me care about my lover more,” she said.
(“Scorpio humor,” as the podcast host put it.)
We get dragged by the stars all the time, but astrology helps us interpret ourselves and the people around us, presumably in the best possible light.
“I’m definitely the source of, yeah, let’s push people. Like, I think it’s healthy to think about the worst thing that can happen and become comfortable with that sort of fundamental impermanence,” she said.
I don’t know about you but that’s not the kind of edgy humor I’d be expecting an astrology app to tell me. Sure, notifs like ‘start a cult’ will be appreciated by some, but lots of people use astrology to find some degree of comfort.
We get dragged by the stars all the time, but astrology helps us interpret ourselves and the people around us, presumably in the best possible light. I wouldn’t want an astrology app telling me scary shit like starting a cult or trivializing a civil rights movement in a mood post.
Though Guler said that they’ve toned the edginess down during quarantine (as they should, as we’ve already had enough of 2020 to even think of the worst), a lot of astrology enthusiasts online have been calling out Co-Star even before the trolling for various reasons: not showing the entire birth chart, using a confusing house system, and of course, making a zodiac prompt post about police brutality. Even Sza is calling them out.
I TOLD YALL ??? nothing but cap https://t.co/MVVt20gbbl
— SZA (@sza) January 10, 2021
They did make valid points on other topics, like the apparent gatekeeping of astrology and whether or not it should be accessible to the public. Like scientific journals, a lot of astrology sources have a paywall for more intimate interpretations.
“It’s 2021, like, everyone should have access to tools that make them feel better and give them new ways to think about their lives,” Guler said. Which is valid. But people would feel a lot better about themselves if the tools they use provide helpful ways to gain fresh perspectives.
We love to joke about our zodiac signs, but in reality, lots of people are enthused about astrology for how it helps them interpret the world, understand themselves and think about the choices they make daily.
In the wise words of astrologer Zenaida Seva, “Hindi hawak ng mga bituin ang ating kapalaran. Gabay lamang sila. Mayroon tayong free will, gamitin natin ito.”
(The stars don’t dictate our fate, but simply guide us. We have free will, and we should use it.)
Photo from Pixabay