I have studied astrology since 1987 and received a certificate from the Faculty of Astrological Studies on completing their syllabus and passing their exam in 1989. Since then, I have worked on many birth charts, mainly general character profiles and others emphasising areas for development such as potential, skills and talents. Among these have been Freddie Fox, son of the actor James Fox and Michael Portillo after he left politics.
In the past few years I have become more interested in combining astrology with the creative, mainly through poetry. At a time when much outside ourselves is uncertain I wanted to focus on the power and resources of the individual, how they come across, make themselves known and what makes them unique. The sign of Leo (my own sign) spends a great deal of time and energy trying to be special, to be noticed. Ruled by the Sun, they are very much at the centre of their own world.
My idea is to express astrology creatively, bringing it to life and encouraging others to do this as well. I want astrology to inspire other types of artists, musicians and writers of all kinds. I'm in the process of publishing my first poetry book, 'Singular Voices'. In the first section of the book I focus on the individual signs, poems with their own ‘voice’ and unique illustrations for each one. In the second part, I concentrate on poems inspired by astrology showing how poetry can express a variety of signs, aspects and energies.
Other than poetry I also write articles and reviews inspired by astrology. Examples of these work include ‘The Writers’ Idea Store of Writers Forum (2010), an article ‘Signs of Inspiration’ from The New Writer magazine (2004) and finally ‘Words, Music, Action’ featured in the Astrological Association’s Transit magazine (2000).
The Zodiac Signs from Singular Voices
The Writers’ Idea Store
A reader tells Paula Williams to look to the stars for inspiration
‘I’m reaching for the stars this month, thanks to reader Nicola Wood, who e-mailed me to tell me how she uses astrology as inspiration for her writing. ‘My ideas for stories, poems and other forms of writing are inspired by astrology, a subject I have studied for many years’, she writes. ‘I have written a poem for each sign as well as using the signs for birthday cards, a script and even as the basis of a novel.
Astrology covers almost every aspect of human nature from the individual, through family life to how we communicate, form relationships, our career patterns and even the unconscious. We are all unique with our own energies, attitudes, conflicts and talents. Astrology could be used as a format or blueprint to create a CV for characters. So a Piscean character could be sensitive, easily influenced and a bit of a dreamer. The Canceria in your story could be a nurse in a domestic situation who falls for a rather fussy, analytical Virgo teacher.
If the writer was interested they could look at the ‘houses’ on a birth chart, the area where things happen. For example the seventh house of relationships could be the focus.Maybe it’s an exotic travel location or a university campus as represented by the ninth house of higher learning and faraway locations.
These are just a few examples. The writer could take as much or as little as they wanted from the subject.Astrology can be used to create interesting, fully rounded characters, and at the very least I hope it could be a catalyst for kickstarting the imagination.
From ‘Writers Forum’ magazine March 2010
Signs of Inspiration
A solider, a builder, a journalist, a housewife, a rock star, a servant, a diplomat, a spy, a traveller, a company director, an inventor and a priest. Not house guests in an Agatha Christie murder mystery but characters designed to represent each sign of the zodiac and hopefully brainstormers which will also inspire you. As a writer who studies the subject I’ve found it a great inspiration. I’ve created poetry, a children’s story, birthday card ideas and even an idea for a drama script.
Astrology and writing are not as unlikely a partnership as you might imagine. The symbolism of signs and ruling planets (like literature) cover such a wide variety of human experience you can draw on them for almost any story, character or situation. Is the character someone who is patient, who takes things slowly (Sun sign Taurus) or a free spirit who hates to be tied down? (Sun Sign Sagittarius). Try creating a story using two of the signs and see how it develops. Perhaps the housewife (Cancer) opens her door to a wandering traveller (Sagittarius) who changes her life. Or the priest (Pisces) meets a diplomat (Libra) on a train and is drawn into a murder mystery. The possibilities are endless.
If you want to make things more interesting you could devise an astrological profile for your character. You could look at planets (the WHAT we do) in the different signs (the HOW we do it.) The planets represent aspects of life we all have in common. We are all individuals (Sun), we all feel, (Moon), communicate (Mercury), relate (Venus) and act (Mars). We all grow in some way (Jupiter) and come across barriers (Saturn). We all have dreams (Neptune) and we all encounter the darker side of life either personally or through papers and television (Pluto). Does your character have Venus in Scorpio, does he or she relate to others secretively, even obcessively? Perhaps they are stalking the object of their affections. Or is their Venus in Gemini, fickle, light-hearted, looking for variety and fun? They might well have more than one relationship on the go at a time. He or she might communicate logically and precisely as a Virgo or as an argumentative, impatient Aries. Endless permutations. Take your pick.
Blending the literary and the astrological can be fun and a powerful tool for stimulating the creative juices. If you’re stuck for ideas on characters, plots or both you might like to look at a basic book on star signs and/or the ruling planets. You never know it might just kick start the imagination.
From ‘The New Writer; January/February 2004
‘WORDS, MUSIC, ACTION!’
See the Picture, Meet the Stars
I was delighted to receive along with my copy of the AA Journal and Transit Magazine leaflet on behalf of Flare Publications for two books, ‘Shorthand of the Soul’ and ‘The Sun Sign Reader.’ Both link astrology with literature. As a strong Leo (four planets) and several planets in the ninth house my creative fiery side has always been interested in using astrology together with other creative disciplines. I use the subject frequently as a catalyst for my own writing, it has inspired me to write several poems, not to mention a children’s fantasy story.
There are several examples of astrology combining with the worlds of music, art, writing and drama. Jonathan Cainer’s partnership with New World Music has produced a series of tapes where each sign of the zodiac is explained and represented by musical pieces. I’ve seen a book of poetry by Linda Goodman and Paul Wade’s Literary Zodiac combines sun sign with literary works in some depth. There are strong associations with symbolism in all areas of the arts and hopefully this will also help to encourage the use of astrology as an experiential process.
Being creative myself I am somewhat biased but as well as astrodrama I would like to see the arts generally included in more astrological events. Some time ago around 1990 the late Patrick Walker ran a competition in The Mail on Sunday You Magazine inviting poets and artists to submit their interpretation of a sun sign. I thought this was both innovative and ground breaking. There has recently been a multi media event ‘In the Steps of Hercules’ involving artists, dancers and writers interpreting the astrological signs so who knows in the future there may be further events of this kind. I’ve also recently had a list of films published in Transit magazine with their possible astrological influences.
I’m not denying the fundamental bedrock of astrology which lies in birthchart interpretation and/or counselling but apart from adding a fresh dimension, the creative ars might open things up to a wider, more receptive audience, even encouraging them to take a further look at the subject as a whole.
A slightly amended version of this article appeared in Transit, a magazine published by The Astrological Association in January 2000.