With the health crisis, more and more young French people are seeking refuge in the stars. According to an Ifop poll, 70% of them believe in parasciences, in particular astrology. If for some it remains an entertainment, for others, it becomes a real religion.
March 16, 2020. France is entering its first period of confinement to fight against Covid-19. Théotime Sorgato decides to leave Paris for Brittany. In his suitcases, in addition to a ton of clothes, books and his computer, he slips a tarot de Marseille.
The 22-year-old, designer and head of jewelry production, developed a passion for fortune-telling. Each day, confined, he draws a card from his Tarot de Marseille and learns its symbols and their meaning.
Yet long considered outdated or even marginal, astrology is attracting more and more young people like Theotimus. According to a survey carried out by Ifop and published in December 2020, 70% of 18-24 year olds say they believe in parasciences, such as astrology, reading the lines of the hand, cartomancy or even numerology and witchcraft. A figure that has been on the rise for twenty years.
This is not confined to young people: 58% of French people, all ages combined, say they believe in at least one of the disciplines. Among them, they are 41% to adhere to astrology, that is to say eight points more than in the years 2000. By comparison, this figure drops to 30% in the United States.
Despite everything, the interest of the French in astrology is not new. When he was president, François Mitterrand consulted the astrologer Élisabeth Tessier, asking his opinion on the Maastricht Treaty or the Gulf War. Before him, General de Gaulle also used to seek advice from an astrologer, Maurice Vasset. It is even said that the latter would have advised him against holding a referendum in 1969, an attempt for the president to restore his prestige after the demonstrations of 1968. De Gaulle had finally lost the referendum and resigned shortly after his resignation.
A psychological tool
Beyond the question of divination, Theotimus uses astrology as a psychological tool. “It really makes our subconscious speak,” he explains to France 24. “Young people of my generation are looking for ways to reconnect with themselves, and they are on the lookout for symbols that can help them understand what is going on in their head. We are thus witnessing a revival of the occult sciences. “
“And the pandemic has pushed us to introspection,” he continues. “People tried to figure out who they were.”
Nina Dotti and Ysée Eichhorn, both film students in Paris, had started to be interested in astrology long before the pandemic. So, when we ask Ysée if she found confinement difficult, she replies that she experienced it rather well, before explaining simply: “I am a Capricorn! We are homeowners. We like solitude. . We have old fashioned habits. “
During the pandemic, the 24-year-old had to undergo leg surgery, followed by a long period of rehabilitation. Like many young people, the one who describes herself as shy, introverted, has turned to social networks to seek, all the same, a little company. “Like many, I joined TikTok”, she tells France 24. “I saw a lot of memes on astrology, but also jokes and videos. I realized that a lot of people was talking about it, ”she recalls.
When the second confinement was declared, Ysée and Nina had fun organizing every Monday, with their friends, direct messages on their Instagram account, @lastrotrorigolo, to discuss different subjects related to astrology. On the program: compare how everyone experiences the period according to their astrological sign, guess if a certain character from “Harry Potter” or “Friends” is a scorpion, fish, capricorn …
It must be said that the two friends are the kind of people who can not help asking everyone they meet their astrological sign and their date of birth. “As soon as I learned that from my boyfriend, I made his birth chart,” Nina laughs. And to rejoice: “It turns out that his and mine are totally opposed, perfectly complementary… It’s great.”
“It is very useful to know how to guess the sign of the people”, she insists again, assuring that it is thanks to this that she managed to obtain an internship in a casting agency.
“Some people laugh at us when we ask them the question,” Ysée abounds. “But the more you develop the subject, the more they end up being attracted and interested. Especially when you develop their birth chart.”
“They need to believe in something”
For Stefan Mickael, fortune-teller and medium in Seine-Saint-Denis, this renewed interest in the occult sciences can be explained by a greater openness of mind on the part of the population. “Thirty years ago, it was very difficult to build a career in cartomancy,” he recalls. “I started out by drawing cards to my aunts and their friends. It was just word of mouth. The internet didn’t exist and I wasn’t ready to take up my practice.”
For her part, Madame Morin, fortune-teller in the XVIIIe arrondissement of Paris, sees the resurgence of this practice as a way of reassuring itself. As if astrology had become a new religion. “Before, people went to church and prayed. Now, this is not really the case. Many of my clients explain to me that I am replacing a priest”, she explains to France 24. And to summarize : “Young people need to believe in something.”
“Our astral chart is like an esoteric identity card”, concludes Ysée. “I see astrology as psychology. I’m sure the two are related. I want to believe it, I have faith.”
This article has been adapted from the original English article by Charlotte Wilkins and available here.