Asking “what’s your sign?” is no longer a cheesy pickup line, but a legitimate question to vet your potential s/o in the early stages of dating. Using astrology to navigate the perilous dating scene, whether that’s IRL or on the apps, has become mainstream in 2022 — and the existence of Discovery+’s new reality TV show “Written in the Stars” proves it.
Hosted by TV presenter Clara Amfo, “Written in the Stars” is essentially a “Love Island” premise with a sprinkling of mysticism. Airing every Sunday from 24 Nov. for eight weeks, we’ll see 12 singles (one for each zodiac sign, obvs) living in a sunny Greek villa — and the twist is they’ve been coupled up by three astrologers (Francesca Oddie, Michele Knight, and Colin Bedel).
The show comes as a welcome change to the tired appearance-led dating show format we’re accustomed to. Two-thirds of Brits reckon the existing dating shows do not portray love in a realistic or positive way, according to a survey by Hunkemöller, and the success rates of these shows vary dramatically. Interestingly, it’s non-aesthetic or expert-led dating shows that seem to have the most success.
“Written in the Stars” has, however, been met with criticism, although the experts welcome cynics. Even some of the contestants express a disbelief in pseudoscience in episode one. Lucy Golding and Rosie Bray, co-creative directors of the show, say the series’ purpose isn’t to legitimise astrology as the perfect match-making service, but to “bring people together who are genuinely looking for love and to explore dating and relationships through the lens of astrology, which is a romantic and insightful tool in understanding different personality types and how they date”.
So, how were the couples matched up in the first place, and how can we apply this logic to our own lives in the hope of finding a meaningful and successful relationship? The show’s astrologers reveal all.
How Can Astrology Help With Finding Love?
“Astrology will tell you how someone ticks and what they need, but you will then need to talk with them about how they’re experiencing and expressing that because astrology isn’t that formulaic,” Knight tells POPSUGAR. “Astrology is a conversation starter on how you communicate, how you feel about different communication or love styles, and a way to make yourself aware of your own difficult traits too: stubbornness, oversensitive, aloofness, for example. You can work on these and evolve to improve the chances of your relationship working.”
How to Tell if You’re Compatible With Someone Using Astrology?
Put simply, astrology is a true indicator of “your type on paper” and acts as a mirror showing you who you really are — the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it’s not just about star signs. Everyone has a birth chart which is a map of the sky at the time you entered the world. This tells you which constellations each planet was in, the placement of each planet, the astrological House it was in (from one to 12), and the degree it was at. This all impacts who you are and who you have the potential to become.
For example, you may be a Pisces moon, a Libra rising, a Gemini venus, and so on. Each piece of the puzzle reveals something about your personality to create a larger picture, and it’s the combination of these signs that determines what sort of people you get on with.
When pairing up the couples for “Written in the Stars”, the astrologers compared their birth charts in their entirety. “We were looking for couples who had synergy, not chalk and cheese or carbon copies of each other,” Oddie says. “You want to be two materials that blend well together.”
It’s the yin (earth and water signs like Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces) and the yang (fire and air signs like Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius) with signs in the same group that generally go well together, since they typically have an “easy rapport”. Yet this applies to every single sign in your chart. You can download your birth chart anywhere online, from sites like Cafe Astrology and Astro Charts, just by filling in your name, date of birth, time of birth, and location of birth.
What’s the Proof That Astrological Matches Actually Work in Relationships?
Take a look at Barack and Michelle Obama. They aren’t compatible at a first glance. He’s a fiery Leo who is comfortable in the limelight and a natural born leader, while she’s a sensible and pragmatic, down-to-earth Xapricorn — he’s yang and she’s yin. If the rest of their charts followed this pattern, they wouldn’t be a cohesive pairing.
However, they both have moons in air signs (Barack’s is in chatty, sociable Gemini and Michelle’s is in humanitarian Aquarius), so they speak the same emotional language and have a deep understanding. Equally, they both have venus in water signs (his in Cancer and hers in Pisces), so there’s a natural empathy and they both want the same things out of a relationship.
You’ll see similar synergies in the charts of other happy long-lasting couples. The Prince and Princess of Wales, for example, have matching moon signs in Cancer and are both fire risings. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are another strong example, with his rising sign being her sun and moon sign.
While working on the show, Knight says the proof of compatibility was in the pudding. “What surprised me the most is how it was less nuanced than I imagined,” she says. “All the individuals had all the character traits in their chart. They were a walking talking replica of their charts. It was thrilling to see.”
When Should you Consult a Partner’s Birth Chart?
Contrary to popular belief, you should not be using astrology to rule out entire star signs or placements. Memes and pop culture have made judging someone by their sign feel acceptable, but it’s not fair and is doing yourself and others a disservice.
“Behaviour speaks louder than astrology sometimes, so we should pay attention to someone’s behaviour rather than their birth chart initially,” Bedel reveals. “You shouldn’t necessarily ask other people’s astrological sun signs and profiles from the beginning. Focus on the person being the best version of their astrology.”
To curb judgemental tendencies, Bedel actually recommends following an eight-month rule. “Researchers say that it takes approximately eight months before somebody has earned our trust, so this is where skeptics have a point about astrology being too judgemental,” he says. “Go into every dating scenario with open-mindedness and curiosity.”
When it is time to bring astrology into the picture, Knight says this should be done with “consent and respect”. Don’t rifle through their belongings to find their time of birth on their birth certificate. Make it a joint activity and pitch it as a chance to discuss your compatibility.
The most important thing to do is focus on your own birth chart first and foremost. “On Written in the Stars, I think you’ll find that fundamentally, we’re teaching people about themselves, which then helps them relate to the other person and will respect that the other person doesn’t have to be an exact copy of them because no individual is,” Knight explains. “So the more you know about yourself, and the more you can be open to listening to the other person’s needs, which isn’t a reflection on you, the more likely you are to have a healthy and happy relationship.”
“Written in the Stars” is available to stream now exclusively on discovery+