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A Writer’s Astrology

September 3, 2013

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Writing takes imagination. It goes without saying that writers are magical thinkers. This means that we tend to be superstitious. We may love haunted houses and wild speculations, antiques and termite-hollowed logs. Many of us like astrology almost as much as we love gossip and the luxurious smell of new paperbacks. Unfortunately, most astrological sources do not gear their standard sign descriptions to the particularities of the novelist or poet. Everybody knows about the stubbornness of the Taurus. But how does that play out in terms of the writer’s life? What happens to the sexual energies of the Scorpio when translated into poetry? These are questions writers want answered, but there aren’t many places to go for the astrological skinny on the writing zodiac. Until now. Herewith, a writer’s astrology to satisfy all of your star-crossed curiosities.

Capricorn Dec. 22 to January 19

The Dweller of Lofty Heights. A reliable, steady producer. The perseverance of Capricorn writers sometimes leads them to become too involved in editorial or professional matters. Ambitious and sensitive, they are prone to long hiatuses (we’re looking at you Salinger). The Capricornian writer seeks success but may not always like celebrity. A philosophical bent governs the Capricorn’s imagination–moreso than with any other sign. Expect Capricorn writers to explore a range of forms expertly and sometimes to develop a burdensome sense of obligation when working in the form they’ve excelled at most. Although not always recognizable, a wealth of humor enriches every subject they touch.

Sandra Cisneros December 20, 1954
Mary Higgins Clark December 24, 1929
Henry Miller December 26, 1891
David Sedaris December 26, 1956
Nicholas Sparks December 31, 1965
J.D. Salinger January 1, 1919
Isaac Asimov January 2, 1920
J.R.R. Tolkien January 3, 1892
Carl Sandburg January 6, 1878
Zora Neal Hurston January 7, 1891
ZZ Packer January 12, 1973
Tillie Olsen January 14, 1912
Susan Sontag January 16, 1933
Edgar Allen Poe January 19, 1809

Aquarius January 20 to Feb. 18

The Mighty Word Warrior. Pioneer of literary movements and defender of the new and the righteous. The Aquarian writer is impossible to deter once motivated (although a lack of motivation may plague Aquarians throughout their careers, along with eccentricity and over-socializing).  Moral wrongs ignite their intelligence and impassion their pens. This is because the Aquarian mind is highly-attuned to the fluid connections that bind us all together. Given this consciousness, expect the Aquarius to craft elaborate stories peopled by a variety of characters whose shared humanity is sensitively, and in some cases obsessively, laid bare by the Aquarian. Few poets are as perceptive when it comes to the musical qualities of language as the Aquarian, nor as gifted at innovation–though rarely for its own sake. In fact, Aquarians flounder most when they veer off into experimentation, adrift from the human concerns that fuel them.

Lord Byron January 22, 1788
Edith Wharton January 24, 1862
Virginia Woolf January 25, 1882
Langston Hughes February 1, 1902
James Joyce February 2, 1882
Gertrude Stein February 3, 1874
William Burroughs February 5, 1914
Charles Dickens February 7, 1812
Kate Chopin February 8, 1850
Elizabeth Bishop February 8, 1911
J.M. Coetzee February 9, 1940
Alice Walker February 9, 1944
Maryse Conde February 11, 1937
Toni Morrison February 18, 1931

Pisces Feb. 19 to March 20

A restless, indefatigable knowledge seeker. The Pisces writer is The Master Chronicler. Pisces writers tend to produce collections with quiet, seemingly effortless grace. Their process conceals a great deal of philosophical brewing and internal struggle, however. If the Piscean writer aims for a single work rather than a series, expect that piece to be a tour de force. More typically, Pisces are generous storytellers who take a long view of their output as writers. They are chroniclers of their generation, born with the gifts and the impulse to explain the deep stirrings of a whole class of people to the world. With a flair for wordplay, Piscean writers are uniquely receptive to the musicality of speech. Patois and pathos come easily to them, but they must beware lest their precision with words turns to mere pretentiousness.

Carson McCullers February 19, 1917
W.H. Auden February 21, 1907
Chuck Palahniuk February 21, 1962
Victor Hugo February 22, 1802
Ishmael Reed February 22, 1938
W.E.B. Dubois February 23, 1868
John Steinbeck February 27, 1902
Robert Lowell March 1, 1917
Ralph Ellison March 1, 1914
Dr. Seuss March 2, 1904
Leslie Marmon Silko March 5, 1948
Jack Kerouac March 12, 1922
John Updike March 18, 1932
Henrik Ibsen March 20, 1828

Aries March 21 to April 19

Idealistic. Passionate.  The Great Ironist. The Aries writer is a force to be reckoned with. Aries are prolific writers who burrow into a genre or a style and stick to it. From this position they innovate writing trends on a larger scale. Aries prefer broad canvases and big ideas. Their capacity for satire is legendary. Sometimes, the ironic undercurrents of the Aries are so well crafted as to be missed by less patient readers. Aries writers are disposed to disabling love-hate relationships with readers both real and imagined. More auspiciously, the Aries writer matures with age. Many Aries late-bloomers accomplish masterworks much later in life than other writers.

Billy Collins March 22, 1941
Toni Cade Bambara March 25, 1939
Flannery O’Connor March 25, 1925
Robert Frost March 26, 1874
Marge Piercy March 31, 1936
Maya Angelou April 4, 1928
William Wordsworth April 7, 1770
Beverly Cleary April 12, 1916
Tom Clancy April 12, 1947
Seamus Heaney April 13, 1939
Eudora Welty April 13, 1909
Samuel Beckett April 13, 1906
Henry James April 15, 1843
Thornton Wilder April 17, 1897

Taurus April 20 to May 20

The Professional Writer par excellence. Taurus writers are steadfast, efficient, and tenacious. Their skills bring them success and their innate practicality helps to make that success lasting. Other writers would do well to study the calm with which the Tauruan writer meets rejection headlong and relatively unfazed. Their equanimity is as strong as their stubbornness. Female Tauruans are especially imperturbable in the face of obstacles. Look closely at the common biographies of Taurus writers and you will find a close circle of artistic support–with the Tauran’s Olympian capacities for love holding steady at the nucleus.  Although Tauruan writers are somewhat rarer to come across than other signs, when one encounters a Taurus writer expect high quality writing coupled with a sensible, rigorous plan for publication.

Charlotte Bronte April 21, 1816
Vladimir Nabokov April 22, 1899
Louise Gluck April 22, 1943
Anthony Trollope April 24, 1815
William Shakespeare baptized April 26, 1564
Harper Lee April 28, 1926
Terry Pratchett April 28, 1948
Robert Browning May 7, 1812
Thomas Pynchon May 8, 1937
L. Frank Baum May 15, 1856
Katherine Anne Porter May 15, 1890
Adrienne Rich May 16, 1929
Honore Balzac May 20, 1799

Gemini May 21 to June 20

The Pathfinder. The Great Innovator. The Libidinal Lyricist. Geminis overpopulate the world of writers. This should come as no surprise since their natural passions and intuitive grasp of human interactions set them up for success in the writing world. Geminis are emotional and smart with no lack of imaginative energy. Gemini writings are characterized by a grand exuberance and a sharpness of spirit. As people, Geminis have swagger and it shows in their work. They are at their best when inventing a new way of saying or seeing something; and suffer most when their innovations meet with disapproval or, worse yet, misunderstanding. Like the Aquarius, Gemini writers take dramatic stands on issues, sometimes injuring their careers in the process.

Raymond Carver May 25, 1938
Jamaica Kincaid May 25, 1949
Walt Whitman May 31, 1819
Thomas Hardy June 2, 1840
Allen Ginsberg June 3, 1926
Thomas Mann June 6, 1875
Gwendolyn Brooks June 7, 1917
Louise Erdrich June 7, 1954
Nikki Giovanni June 7, 1943
W.B. Yeats June 13, 1865
Harriet Beecher Stowe June 14, 1811
Jerzy Kosinsky June 14, 1933
Joyce Carol Oates June 16, 1938
Salman Rushdie June 19, 1947
George Orwell June 25, 1903

Cancer June 21 to July 22

The Great Allegorist. Sensitive, driven by the heart, pleasantly reserved, the Cancer is a consummate writer. As poets, they have deep-seeded romantic tendencies, aware of beauty and the pull of a universal truth even when experimenting at the edges of reality. However modernistic or postmodern the primary strains of their writing may be, Cancers seek the truth.  Typically prepossessing as individuals known for their beauty, the Cancer is suspicious of surfaces, grasping instead for that which lies beneath fair exteriors. This tendency lends their work a noticeable darkness, which contrasts against that other remarkable trait in their writing—a penchant for rigid moralizing. Many Cancer writers burst onto the scene with a blockbuster or a masterwork and then retire, crablike, to a more comfortable seclusion.

Octavia Butler June 22, 1947
Anita Desai June 24, 1937
Pearl S. Buck June 26, 1892
Franz Kafka July 3, 1883
Nathaniel Hawthorne July 4, 1804
Robert Heinlein July 7, 1907
Marcel Proust July 10, 1871
Alice Munro July 10, 1931
Pablo Neruda July 12, 1904
Cormac McCarthy July 20, 1933
Ernest Hemingway July 21, 1899
Buchi Emecheta July 21, 1944
Raymond Chandler July 23, 1888
John Ashbery July 28, 1927
Emily Bronte July 30 1818

Leo July 23 to August 22

The Philosopher Giant. Whether a veteran writer or just a first year MFA, the Leo writer sees him or herself standing at the top of a field of writers. The Leo finds it easy to see experience in terms of a contest. And as writers, Leos are up for the competition. They bring ample stores of imaginative insight to their writing as well as a great appreciation for the philosophical and commercial demands of the craft. Leos see their writing as a means to an end. Most want their writing to do more than simply entertain readers. Perhaps one of the most idealistic of all the writer signs, many Leos seek nothing less than to change the world through their writing. Grandiosity has obvious failings, but if you’ve ever been in the presence of a great Leo writer (or if you are one) you know that the results are worth it.

Aldous Huxley July 26, 1894
J.K. Rowling July 31, 1965
Herman Melville August 1, 1819
James Baldwin August 2, 1924
Robert Hayden August 4, 1913
Percy Shelley August 4, 1792
Alfred Lord Tennyson August 6, 1809
Danielle Steel August 14, 1947
Stieg Larsson August 15, 1954
Charles Bukowski August 16, 1920
V.S. Naipaul August 17, 1932
H.P. Lovecraft August 20, 1890
Ray Bradbury August 22, 1920
Dorothy Parker August 22, 1893

Virgo August 23 to Sept. 22

The Intellectual of Mystery. The master of suspense, magic, and blood curdling ideas. Political allegory is the star under which many Virgo storytellers shine. Prolificity and industry is the name of the game for them. As experimenters this group tends so much toward the intellectual that it’s a surprise not to find Ezra Pound among them. Virgo writers are resilient, enduring writers with great range. While they can be just as effective at being poets as they are at prosier forms, many Virgo writers are drawn to non-fiction, dabbling if not mastering the essay along with other forms. Ingenious, precise, frequently moody, Virgos work best after establishing some semblance of security in their careers. Like Aries, they can be late bloomers and impressively prodigious.

Jorge Luis Borges August 24,1899
Theodore Dreiser August 27, 1871
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe August 28, 1749
Janet Frame August 28, 1924
Mary Shelley August 30, 1797
Edgar Rice Burroughs September 1, 1875
Antonin Artaud September 4, 1896
Edith Sitwell September 7, 1887
Leo Tolstoy September 9, 1828
H.D. September 10, 1886
D.H. Lawrence September 11, 1885
O. Henry September 11, 1862
H.L. Mencken September 12, 1880
Agatha Christie September 15, 1890
William Carlos Williams September 17, 1883
H.G. Wells September 21, 1866
Stephen King September 21, 1947

Libra Sept. 23 to October 22

The Expert Experimenter. Throw your scales away. As writers Libras love to render experience slightly askew. Imbalances of time, nature, language, and knowledge thrill the Libran mind. And yet, there is still order in their work, typically imposed by the unparalleled achievements in craft that many Librans excel at, which makes them rival the Gemini when it comes to innovation. Few writers are as pithy as the Libra, although this love for wordplay can lead to over-experimentation and a loss of readers. As poets, Librans cultivate a philosophical approach to language that may find wider expression in essays later in life. As novelists, Libras are matched only by the Pisces for taking in vast tracts of the human condition with soaring bird’s eye views.

F. Scott Fitzgerald September 24, 1896
Shel Silverstein September 25, 1930
William Faulkner September 25, 1897
T.S. Eliot September 26, 1888
Wallace Stevens October 2, 1879
Gore Vidal October 3, 1925
Anne Rice October 4, 1941
Ann Petry October 12, 1908
ee cummings October 14, 1894
Oscar Wilde October 16, 1854
Eugene O’Neill October 16, 1888
Samuel Taylor Coleridge October 21, 1772
Doris Lessing October 22, 1919
Gerald Vizenor October 22, 1934

Scorpio October 23 to Nov. 21

The Haunted Mythologist. The past looms crucially as both treasure and trouble for many Scorpio writers. Whether personal or historical, realistic or surrealistically rendered, the workings of the Scorpio mind reach out to grasp some of the most difficult events of the past. Scorpios love to mine grand scale ethical quandaries for redemption and glimmers of magic and humor. Although not always able to fully extricate themselves from their own complex histories, Scorpios are passionate, dedicated writers. They love nothing more than to translate personal hardship into the universal registers of art. One shortcoming of the Scorpio arises when the urge to redeem the past leads to decadence or self-indulgence.

Sylvia Plath October 27, 1932
Maxine Hong Kingston October 27, 1940
John Keats October 31, 1795
Stephen Crane November 1, 1871
Margaret Mitchell November 8, 1900
Anne Sexton November 9, 1928
Neil Gaiman November 10, 1960
Fyodor Dostoevsky November 11, 1821
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. November 11, 1922
Robert Louis Stevenson November 13, 1850
Chinua Achebe November 16, 1930
Margaret Atwood November 18, 1939
Nadine Gordimer November 20,1923
Voltaire November 21, 1694

Sagittarius Nov. 22 to Dec. 21

The Incomparable Satirist. The Sagittarian writer is a careful observer of social niceties and nastiness. With a cunning, ingenious knack for imitating some of the worst expressions of human nature, the Sagittarian writer punishes injustice and rewards the virtuous. No common moralist, however, the Sagittarian is a champion of uncommon virtues, loving contrarities such as silliness and death, especially when these are held together in order to make a beautifully-worded but much needed corrective point about the world. Aside from portraiture and social satire, Sagittarians may be expected to immortalize the indomitable and are prone to find that quality in the least likely places. Pensive, humorous, and never as bombastic in life as they are on the page, Sagittarian writers are sagacious progressives. They may also be shy, sometimes painfully so.

George Eliot November 22, 1819
C.S. Lewis November 29, 1898
Jonathan Swift November 30, 1667
Mark Twain November 30, 1835
Rainer Maria Rilke December 4, 1875
Willa Cather December 7, 1873
Emily Dickinson December 10, 1830
Grace Paley December 11, 1922
Nostradamus December 14, 1503
Shirley Jackson December 14, 1916
Jane Austen  December 16, 1775
Noel Coward December 16, 1899
Arthur C. Clark December 16, 1917
Philip K. Dick December 16, 1928

 

Check out my analyses of graphic novels and comics in my book Reading Lessons in Seeing: Mirrors, Masks, and Mazes in the Autobiographical Graphic Novel (University Press of Mississippi, 2017).

From → Archives, Pop Culture

43 Comments
  1. I cannot imagine how long this post took you, by the time you acquired the birth dates of all the writers, I loved it! I am a Sagittarius and had to grin when I saw the word shy.

  2. This is great!

  3. This was really fun!

  4. Brieuse Bernhard Piers-Gûdmönd permalink

    As an incomparable satirist and a sagacious progressive, I would just like to say that although astrology is a load of mammal turds, I thought your blog was absolutely fantastic. And to be born under the same sign as Jane Austen is (almost) enough for me. I might even consider finishing her unfinished novel off for her.

  5. entertaining read !

  6. jaschmehl permalink

    Love this! Don’t believe a word of it, but I love it all the same.

  7. Nice write! However, I would disagree with :”Aries are prolific writers who burrow into a genre or a style and stick to it”. but then again, I cannot say I am a real writer, just an Aries 🙂

    • Many of the Aries listed yearned for literary success in a genre other than the ones that made them famous. Most stuck to the styles that won them acclaim without bitterness. I find that admirable.

      • I think that goes for Aries in all aspects. A song I like from Something Corporate has a line that explains it best and it goes:”You marry a role and you give up your soul till you break down”.
        You reminded me nicely tho, and got me a little bit worried, about my own genres.

  8. Pisces was pretty dead on . . . (and, as a left-handed writer and horsewoman, I’m SO superstitious I usually refuse to check my horoscope)

  9. I love this! I am a Cancer and agree with my horoscope. I love to write, but have retreated into my shell for awhile. i use to write everyday. You have inspired me to continue. I think I will start a new blog! Thanks!

  10. I like that I lumped in w/John Steinbeck AND Dr. Seuss. Abolutely perfect!

  11. Reblogged this on kas-say.

  12. Kev permalink

    Sagittarius. You got me! 😉

  13. This is a great post. Always loved to see how closely (or not so closely) I followed my sign. I’m and Aries and was a bit disheartened when I began reading that section.

    “a force to be reckoned with” I’d like to think so but not yet, at least.

    “Aries are prolific writers…” Yeah… still working on that one.

    “who burrow into a genre or a style and stick to it” Genre? No. Style? Well kinda.

    But by the second half, I recognized some familiar traits, especially, “Many Aries [are] late-bloomers…”

    Fun post!

  14. Ooh, ooh – THRILLED to hear both that I share a birthday with William Wordsworth and can put down any lack of success thus far to late-blooming credentials! Surely literary greatness beckons? I shall be back in search of further affirmation…

  15. PS Will there be weekly horoscopes? I’m counting on them.

  16. KidazzleInk permalink

    A campaign…can I help? If not maybe I could help you write your weekly Horoscopes …or with your kids or something!! Sorry I’m Pisces, I like to HELP!

  17. Mia Avramut permalink

    Perfect! Aquarius. Right between Lord Byron and Edith Wharton..

  18. This. Is. Awesome.

  19. “The Mighty Word Warrior”
    wow! 🙂

  20. Wow! What an interesting post. I’m a Sagittarius and it describes me exactly! That’s crazy!

  21. Hilary permalink

    Hi. That was interesting+different+surprizing. (Libra) I do writ Essays off+on. I ony writ (social commentary) only when what I have to say is different. I am fascinated with how people think. I first look to Mercury in the Chart, the to how Uranus connects with Mercury, and on and on. You had an interesting perspective.

  22. Aisha permalink

    I am a sagittarius and i agree with being bombastic on paper and shy in person,, true indeed

    • Indeed, one can argue with friends, even lovers and mothers, but one cannot quibble with the stars. Their truths glimmer for eons.

  23. Reblogged this on r0sequartz.

  24. Reblogged this on Jude's Threshold and commented:
    A great idea to list famous writers by Astrology signs!

  25. plumage permalink

    Thanks for this. Reads like a whole lot of ego massage, but I can never have enough of that.
    I’m a pisces writer 7th march and share a birthday with Brett easton Ellis, Robert Harris, Andrea levy, and e.l. James. (same year as Ellis).

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