There’s a big misconception about astrology — that there are only 12 zodiac signs, and therefore, only 12 personalities. In actuality, the logic behind astrology is a little bit more complex than that.
“A birth chart is more than your sun sign — like, ‘I’m a Libra,’” says Rachel Lo. “It’s your sun, moon, rising, Mars, Mercury. It’s the whole solar system of the time you’re born.”
Lo is one of the founders of Struck, a new dating app that uses birth charts to pair its users with potential matches. The app is currently only available in a few regions, including the Bay Area, and has celebrity astrologer Nadine Jane as a consultant.
Lo continues her explanation: “In synastry, which is the study of astrological compatibility, you’re asking are the two sun signs compatible? Yes or no? Is the sun of person A and the moon of person B compatible? Yes or no? Is the sun of person A and the Mars of person B compatible? Yes or no? You literally have to go through every single planet and star of everyone’s chart to see if they’re compatible or not.”
That doesn’t mean that Struck is trying to force chemistry through the alignment of the stars, according to Lo. A birth chart is less of a destined path, and more of a “blueprint of your personality,” with tools you can use or leave behind. “We don’t want this to be the end all be all. We never use the word ‘soulmate’ in our copy because that’s so deterministic.”
If anything, free will was something the Struck creators wanted to emphasize through the design of their app. Most dating apps on the market have similar palettes. These carefully curated color schemes are designed to keep users pressing buttons: minimalistic white backgrounds juxtaposed with bold accent hues encourage you to “doomswipe” or tap, and award you with bright stimuli and graphics when you’ve made a match. But Struck intentionally picked pastel pinks and lavenders and a ’90s rom-com inspired aesthetic — something that would create a “refreshing” experience, something that would require the user to be more intentional about opening the app and staying engaged with it.
“We don’t want this app to take over anyone’s life,” Lo says. “We want it to be a more mindful and thoughtful way of connecting with people.” While you might get dozens of swipes elsewhere, Struck limits your matches to up to four a day, hoping that fewer pairings will give users the time to have more meaningful meet-cutes.
Struck, of course, won’t appeal to everyone, though their App Store tagline is “skeptics welcome.”
“There’s been some questions as to whether men will use an app like this, especially one that has so much pink in the palette,” Lo says. “To me, it’s kind of absurd that we’re still having these conversations.” If pink is scaring away a potential partner solely because the color feels too “feminine” to them, then, Lo argues, perhaps that individual wouldn’t have made a great partner in the first place. Furthermore, she says, if Struck ends up appealing to women, that may have something to do with the fact that in a straight male-dominated tech industry, this app was actually designed mostly by women.
“Our team that built the app was mostly women, women of color, and queer women,” Lo says. She believes that ultimately impacted Struck’s divergence from generic online dating spaces. “Most dating apps have an issue with getting women onto their app, and I think that’s indicative of who the app is designed for. We wanted to flip the script on that.”
Lo’s also noticed that — regardless of whether you’re a hardcore astrologist who maps celestial transits on a monthly basis, or a mildly interested bystander who would download Co-Star just to learn more, astrology can be an avenue for communication. “I thought the intersection of astrology and dating apps was a cool space because people who are personally interested in astrology, or at least open-minded to it, tend to be more open-minded, tend to be more empathetic, and are willing to talk about your emotions and touchy feely topics. And those are traits that form well for a strong, healthy relationship.” That’s always a good thing to keep in mind for anyone hoping for a little bit of romance.