Sunday, 19 July 2009

Astrology and Blooming, Buzzing Confusion

Researching novels leads you down strange pathways.

Star signs? All nonsense of course. But which of us does not have the desire for some 12-pisces[1]shape, some purpose in the randomised pick-and-mix of human experience? We might discover that shape in the certainties of organised religion or the world of science and the academy.

Last week I talked with David S about coincidence. He doesn’t believe in it. He thinks there is something more than coincidence behind coincidences. We talked about ideas from CJ Jung which refer to synchronicity and the conscience collective – a kind well of human experience, wisdom and perception which, some say now, may be genetically accumulated.

So far, so unscientific!

But we seem to need it. Look at the way some of us unscientific folk embrace the work Einstein, Schrödinger and others, who have challenged to notion of a linear time in warping, bending, reversing, and even breaking the received wisdom of time’s straight arrow, using the mechanics of relativity and quantum physics.

It seems we live in this world of blooming, buzzing confusion and look always for patterns which will explain it all. Religions of every sort - as well as the schools of scientific theory and academic concepts – flaunt their holy books, their heroes and their villains and offer us comfort, in that if we follow their rules they will make shapely sense for us, out of our individual confusion.

Reading the stars in the night sky and interpreting them to ascribe character and to predict the future - if time’s not linear then the future is there to see! - is the most immediate and possibly primitive of these processes. And like many people, over my morning coffee, I read my stars in newspapers and magazines. There is a lady in Easington who has offered to do it for me in person but I haven’t as yet taken her up on it. She calls her self a shaman, which is interesting,

My own favourite thing is to check out personality types designated by the stars . I am Pisces -‘ impressionable, compassionate, sensitive, artistic, mystical, meditative, spiritual, a medium, also escapist - tendency to flight, dependent , masochistic. Can be mendacious. (ie tendency to tell lies – come to think of it I tell lies (ie stories) for a living!) And paranoid. (eg Why is nobody in Germany reading my deathless prose?)

I have to tell you that, in my case, all these aspects of personality are more or less true. I might have dozens of other characteristics but even these link back to these qualities one way or another.

Looking at other Pisceans I can see these qualities coming through. Lots of actors (including Ellen Terry, Elizabeth Taylor and Bruce Willis); many writers(including Anais Nin, the inspiration for this whole blog); politicians (including Gordon Brown and Bill Clinton); inventers and thinkers (including the aforementioned Albert Einstein). I imagine as well that prisons and psychiatric units will have their fair share of rather more anonymous Pisceans, with their mendacity, paranoia and desire to escape.

du_scorpionhy1b Talking of prisons, the joint star sign of the Kray Twins (see my novel The Lavender House) was Scorpioresourcefulness, penetrating insight, strength in crisis, psychic power, charisma, strong sexuality, interest in occult, secretiveness, jealousy.’ This case illustrates that given characteristics are not value free. They can be turned on their heads and applied with death-dealing negativity.

So far, so very unscientific, you might say.

But I am preoccupied by all this at the moment because Stella, the central character in my new novel At The Villa d’Estella, is a professional astrologer. Even through her life-changing adventures in France she still posts her astrological columns to the magazines that employ her. Although she is somewhat creative in generating her copy – she’s a Piscean, after all – she has taken to the work like a duck to water because all through her life she has sensed dead people and seen through time.

As I say, researching a novel takes you down the strangest pathways but this might be the strangest yet…


PS To leave a comment click on 'Comments' below. A window will come on your screen. Scroll down in the window until you come to the empty comment box. Write your comment in the box and, if you don't have a website, choose to click on Anonymous (below) and leave your name (or nom de plume) at the bottom of the message. Then hit Publish.


  1. Ah well, it may or may not be nonsense, but as a Cancerian I have chosen a life and career which goes perfectly with my sign - the homemaker, nurturing, generous, creative, but also sensitive and secretive and, erm, with a tendency to be crabby!

  2. Hi Wendy, My grandson was a Piscean perhaps that is why I get on well with you - I understand you a little. Me, I am Libran, loves peace but if I know what is right I will fight to prove it. The scales- well balanced but can go right up or down. Artistic well I try. M. Thatcher is a Libran which also proves we Librans can change our minds if we want to. Mmmm
    hope I have some of the traits. Great blog. Mary x

  3. Hi Debora and Mary
    Great! You both seem to confirm my notion that many of us identify with our star sign, if only as a piece of fun! So for, so helpful for my research.

    To other friends including Joanna (jamagenie) - I have now changed my comment procedure so it SHOULD be easier. Sorry of it has been frutrating for some visitors. I try my best. Thank you Joanna for the tip.

    It would be brillianr if visitors could try it soon and let me know.

  4. Testing this system using 'Anonymous'

  5. (The comment I tried to leave earlier.)

    I'm a Gemini with Cancer ascending, in other words a life-of-the-party homebody. An insatiably curious hermit. Takes an Act of Congress to get me to leave the house, but once out I can talk to strangers with ease.

    As for research taking one down strange paths, it's the same with family history and blog posts. I'm ever amazed at the things I learn that I didn't know I needed to know!



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