If you’ve been on the internet in the last five years, you’ve probably seen a specific style of Tumblr post – the Zodiac signs as various objects/gifs/vegetables/feelings/actions/Mario Kart characters/and so forth. Some people put faith in their Zodiac sign as defining their fate, or influencing their daily lives, and the mindset they should go out into the world with. That is perfectly okay – belief is belief, and whatever makes you a better, more motivated and healthy person is a good thing in my book (except capital crimes…..usually).
But Tumblr has taken this pseudo-religious/spiritual belief about zodiac signs and warped it into comedy, which then again has been warped into it’s own spiritual truth, AND as a tool for making fun of itself, which originally was a tool for making fun of itself…..it’s complicated, to say the least. I have collated a few examples of the different sub-types of tumblr zodiac posts, and will go through them now, to give you a sense of how they should be looked at, and how they are seen within the larger sense of the meme itself.
Probably just made for the pun, this example of the meme is fairly standard. It goes through each of the signs, and assigns them a trait that is tangentially related to the stereotypes of each sign. For instance, as a gemini, I know that the “cross walk” I am assigned refers to the fact that Geminis are twins, and often walk both sides of the spiritual border of many things, from emotions, actions, and sin (my favorite). This kind of post is very hit-or-miss though, as some people who are a certain sign will then disagree with their assigned attribute (or in this case, physical sign), and won’t appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this fine internet post.
Another example is separating the signs into groups, which usually range from two to six total. This kind of grouping separates by stereotype as well, but is less definitive and allows for more flexibility.
Here, we get into the subversions of the meme itself – this post groups all of the signs together with a fairly common trait. The subversion of the well-known and defined meme AND the collective experience shared by those on Tumblr both add to the humor of this post.
Here’s where it gets interesting – this post is going back to the roots of astrological signs and defining them in a way that those who have only been exposed to them on tumblr can understand. It’s like Sufi Islam being spread to the masses all across the globe, while Sunni and Shi’ite Islam coming along later as more traditional methods once people are comfortable with the concept of Islam. This is part of the circling I was talking about earlier.
But really, who cares if it’s accurate. The reason why the Tumblr zodiac meme has lasted so long and weathered so much is the same reason that Zodiac signs and astrology in general have lasted – it’s not about the actual results, but about the mindset you get out of it. Yes, the Tumblr post is much more heretical than its source, but it maintains the flexibility to be relatable by many, and adaptable to all. Everyone has a birthday, and everyone can relate to a shared human experience.