Sunday, July 25, 2010
A few months ago, when I was mulling over which sign I wanted to focus on for my next novel, I found myself wondering about the astrological characteristics of Romance writers. Were certain signs more common on their charts?
To gather data that might answer this question, I posted a question on a discussion group frequented by published Romance writers. Rather than look at their entire chart--which would be fascinating but also extremely time consuming--I asked them to send me their Sun sign, Moon sign and the sign of their Ascendant.
These are what many astrologers consider the most significant placements on a chart (though personally I am starting to think that the position of and aspects to Moon's Nodes are just as essential.) To help them find this information, I included a link to an excellent site that computes free charts and gives a brief explanation of the meaning of each planetary placement. You can visit that link here:
Astrolabe: Free Birth Chart & Astrology Report Data Input
Thirty-four writers contributed their data. This is a small sample, but still large enough to be worth examining. There was also a "selection bias" involved. Because this data was collected via a voluntary survey people chose whether or not to participate, and it's likely people with certain kinds of personalities would be more prone to contribute data. With those caveats in mind, here's what the data showed.
At the most general level, the authors who submitted data had more chart elements in Leo than any other sign--14, followed by Capricorn-12, Pisces-11 and Sagittarius-10. At the other end of the spectrum, Gemini-4, Aquarius-4 and Taurus-4 were the most scarce.
The Sun, Moon, and Rising sign (also called the ascendant) point to different elements in personality, though, so it is worth looking at the frequency with which they occur in these individual factors.
The Sun sign describes the central ego drive--your main motivation for action.
The most frequently reported Sun signs (5 each) were Leo and Virgo.
Finding Leo here is no surprise. Leo is associated with performing and acting, self expression and creativity. Leo is also associated with love affairs, so it makes sense that Leos would write stories about those affairs. Many Leos act out the characters they create as they write, too.
Virgo is associated with Mercury--which rules writing. Virgo is also very thorough and detail oriented and these are traits which really come in useful if you intend to write a book someone else will pay money to read.
However, the Virgo Sun can get overly analytical and consumed with trivia. I note that most of the people with Virgo Suns who have published Romances also have Moons or Rising signs in the more emotional signs that are most common among romance writers, especially Scorpio or Leo. Without some other chart influence to direct their intellectual energy towards describing emotion, the Virgo writer may prefer to use her skills for something more practical, like documenting software--which pays better.
The least frequent Sun signs reported were Taurus, Capricorn, Aries and Aquarius with 1 each. The scarcity of Taurus is interesting, as it is associated with Venus which you'd think would give an interest in love, but perhaps there's something to its reputation for being a bit lazy and too prone to seeking comfort unless there are other strong chart influences counteracting those tendencies. Writing books is hard work! The Taurus also may find love so easily she doesn't need to fantasize about it or read stories about it.
Aries is known for its short attention span. It starts out with a bang and loses interest (again unless there are other counterbalancing strong chart elements). This, too, works against finishing novels. Aries is also more interested in energetic fun sex without emotional complexity. As my favorite Aries asks, "Why do romance writers show men thinking emotional thoughts during sex scenes?" if you don't know the answer to that, you aren't going to sell the classic romance novel.
Aquarius isn't all that interested in "love stuff" and many people with Aquarius Suns find dwelling on emotion annoying. They are more interested in group enterprises and when they pair off it often isn't in a way acceptable to Romance reader expectations. Capricorn Suns may avoid expressing emotion, too, and tend to denigrate its importance. They'll marry for reasons besides emotional love--social position, wealth, security.
The Moon describes the conditioned behavior patterns we learned in the course of our upbringing. Often it describes the way we experienced our mothers. It describes, too, how we respond emotionally to the outside world and the environment in which we will be most comfortable.
The most common Moon sign found among these authors was a surprise: Capricorn, with 6. Why is this a surprise? Because Capricorn is the most "afflicted" Moon placement--the one that finds it most difficult to operate. People with Capricorn Moons usually grow up in an environment where there is a scarcity of affection and emotional support and they learn to keep their feelings to themselves. They can be very loving, but they give without asking anything in return and may have trouble letting others know what they feel.
So it is possible that some people are drawn to write romance out of a need for more emotion and affection than they have received in childhood. Writing about romance is a safe way to learn more about emotion. A person with a Capricorn moon may be most comfortable in a private, safe, secure, lonely place--which sounds a lot like the room where many of us write. The Capricorn Moon is also a very hard worker. A longing for emotional experience combined with the ability to work very hard may be the perfect combination for getting published.
Pisces--another very difficult Moon position--came next with 5. People with Pisces moons are very happy hidden way in their offices imagining beautiful things because it can be too painful to engage with the real world which tends to overwhelm them. They can also be addictive readers. It isn't possible to be a good writer unless you have read enough books to know what good writing looks like. People with Pisces moons also have the ability to drift out into other dimensions and sometimes to channel, both skills which help when writing fiction. For someone with a Pisces moon, the phrase, "The characters came alive" is not a metaphor. The characters may become so real they threaten to draw the Pisces Moon person into their dimension and keep them there.
Scorpio Moons were next, with 4. This is yet another "afflicted moon." It feels things extremely intensely but is often misunderstood and rejected by others because of its emotional intensity and tendency to get into power games with others. This might incline someone with this placement to get involved with imaginary characters who are more likely to do exactly what they are told. Writing stories also allows the writer with a Scorpio Moon to fully explore the most intense, discomfort-causing emotions without having to deal with that push back that they get when they try to do this with real people.
LEAST COMMON MOON SIGNS
Virgo: none. The Virgo moon is very unemotional and dissects and criticizes emotion in a way that doesn't make for enjoyable romance novels unless there are a lot of counterbalancing water or fire signs elsewhere on the chart.
Cancer 1--The person with a Cancer moon is very emotional--it's the Moon's favorite sign and it functions well there. Perhaps it functions so well, it gives a person with this Moon placement little incentive to go through all the hard work it takes to create emotion on paper. The person with a Cancer Moon is more likely to bake brownies when it's time to create--Cancer Moons love to feed others (and self), though they may enjoy reading the Romance novels other people write.
Gemini 1--This is a very intellectual Moon sign and one with a short attention span. The Gemini moon isn't all that interested in emotion and is too busy running around visiting friends and family to find time to write unless something else is going on elsewhere on the chart.
The rising sign anchors the house distribution of the chart and is the most important of all three factors. The word "horoscope" actually translates from Greek to mean "Rising sign." Until the 19th century if you asked someone "What's your sign" you would probably be told their rising sign.
The Rising sign describes what the person looks like to others physically and the overall way they strike others who don't know them very well. It describes the social role the person takes on rather than the way the person feels deep within themselves (which the Sun and Moon describe better.)
The most common Rising Signs reported were Leo 6, Scorpio 5, Sagittarius 5 and Capricorn 5. The least common were Aries 1, Aquarius 1, and Gemini 0.
Sagittarius would fit the "storyteller" archetype, though its scarcity in the deeper parts of the personality probably is due to the fact that when expressed in Sun or Moon, its tendency is to create people who "love 'em and leave 'em" and who are more interested in adventures than commitment. The Sag rising sign, however, makes the person be seen an explainer, a story teller, a reader, and a traveler. This is a person who thinks deeply about things and seeks an organizing principle to make sense out of detail.
Capricorn is something of a surprise here, too, all I can think of to explain it is that people with Capricorn Rising signs work very hard and are comfortable with frustration and delay, which is a personality type that makes it possible to keep writing until you break through. Authors have to tolerate years of rejection before their books sell, and the frustration and delay doesn't stop after they find a publisher
Leo and Scorpio are more self-explanatory. Scorpios are seen as very sexy and emotionally complex and Leos are seen as entertainers and lovers, though of course, if they aren't careful, they may also come across as prima donnas or spoiled brats.
The signs break down into Earth, Air, Fire and Water Signs. Out of curiosity, I analyzed frequencies by elements. The distribution was pretty even except for a definite shortage of Air signs.
The Air signs are Aquarius, Libra and Gemini. Libra was the best represented, and because it is the sign of marriage and partnership and associated with Venus, you'd expect that. But Air signs are focused on thought rather than experience and the Libra way of connecting with others is more likely to be a sports team than an emotionally wrenching relationship (again, unless other strong emotional chart elements are present.)
Aquarius and Gemini just don't get it when it comes to the kind of emotional conflict that drives romance. They might have liked the old Regency Trads, especially humorous ones, filled with detail and little sex but not today's kind of passionate sensual romance.
READERS VS WRITERS?
Though all Romance writers start out as Romance readers, my guess is that the astrological characteristics of the broader audience for Romance is a bit different than what we see with these authors. Many of the authors' traits are those that incline people to write Romance and gives them the dedication it takes to get published. Readers don't need anything more than some disposable income and a love of reading.
What astrological traits would you expect to find in people who love to read Romance?