Weird Tales: Three Imaginers

Greetings, and welcome back to journeys for the month of May 2018! This month at the request of some students I have decided to share with you some practical examples of reading charts, and this month I will be looking at the topic of creativity and myth building in horror fiction using three examples. If these examples are helpful I will provide further examples on different topics in the future.

Weird_Tales_October_1939

For this topic we will be looking at the charts of three well-known creators of dark fantasy, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King and Clive Barker. Fair warning: spoilers of these authors works will take place, although I will omit specific plot details I will be laying out the principles of the worlds they have created. I will attempt to show how each of these individuals has been inspired to create key elements of their artistic output under specific astrological conditions. I’ve chosen these three individuals because the body of work which each of them has created can be said to comprise a “mythos”, a connected series of individual stories with an overarching set of themes, characters, ideas and locations, and I want to explore this idea of mythos creation from an astrological perspective, looking at both the natal charts and the activations to their keys. Other authors considered as examples were J. K. Rowling and Tad Williams, but I settled on these three because of their connecting interest in horror. If you wanted to continue this research those two authors would be good charts to work with.

From the beginning it will be useful to know that as an astrologer we go into this investigation with some assumptions. In any venture of the imagination, especially one involving the creation of myths or fantasies, we would expect to see significant involvement somewhere by Neptune. Furthermore, creative output is a property of the 5th temple and so we would also be looking at this area, and many writers work from home which may emphasise the 4th temple somehow. However, world building or myth building can also be attributed to the 9th temple (as can publishing books), and writing is a property of the 3rd temple while the seclusion and inner reflection involved is a property of the 12th temple and murky, scary topics like death and forbidden knowledge a thing of the 8th, so these areas may also be factors which yield information. Additionally, given that all three of these writers explore the macabre, we would also expect to see some involvement by Saturn or Pluto and/or the sign of Scorpio, and also Mars which traditionally is associated with horrific and violent situations. Mercury as a planet of writing and Gemini and Sagittarius as signs of writing and publishing may also be expected to feature, as may Libra as a sign of the arts. I feel it is important to set out that I have established these criteria *before* writing this article and before even looking at these charts with the article in mind. Although I have seen them all before, I am writing about these charts as I look at them and I am very confident that what we will find will arise from these areas of the charts in an appropriately expressive way.

HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT

Here is the chart for H.P. Lovecraft, the data for which was provided by S.T. Joshi in his biography “The Life of a Gentleman of Providence”.

HPL chart

It’s possible but seems unlikely that Lovecraft was born exactly at 9 AM, it is always suspicious when such a rounded time is presented. The difference of four minutes of time roughly translates to 1° passing over the ascendant so in some cases where the ascendant is near a sign boundary accuracy can be critical. Other house cusps positioned near sign boundaries can also be affected by an inaccurate birth time in significant ways but nothing is more significant than the way a different ascendant alters the chart. However, we are fortunate in that in Lovecraft’s case (using Placidus house calculation) none of the house cusps are near sign boundaries, so we can be confident that so long as the time is at least approximately accurate we have a valid chart as far as sign and temple or house rulerships go.

HPLThis gives Lovecraft a Libra ascendant with Venus in her own sign exactly rising (he was very polite, somewhat effeminate, outwardly composed and placid, and enjoyed writing poetry) and the Moon conjunct Uranus in Libra rising in the 1st temple (eccentric, awkward and alienated when interacting with other people), with the Sun in Leo in the 11th (his social life with his few friends cheered him up a lot, and he was quite proud in many ways) near to Saturn in Virgo (he was also hyper-critical, a staunch perfectionist and often expressed the fear that his writing was fatally flawed). Mercury is on the cusp of the 12th in Virgo (he was highly reclusive and drew writing inspiration from troubling dreams), the 3rd is ruled by Sagittarius and strongly dominated by Mars in Sagittarius (a kind of puritanical crusading spirit is impressed into his rambling and wordy sentences, which are crammed with adjectives) and the 5th is empty but ruled by the aforementioned Saturn via Aquarius. Neptune is in a powerful conjunction with Pluto in Gemini in the 8th and entering the 9th, and both are opposing that Mars.

It’s this super rare conjunction of Neptune with Pluto in Gemini in the 8th and nearing the 9th that draws the initial astrological attention as far as the mythos is concerned. There is something deeply otherworldly, cosmic and plain weird about this combination, and it manifests in his fiction in very obvious ways but was also a plague in his personal life. The mythos Lovecraft artistically initiated holds that there is no meaning to existence, life is purposeless and humans are insignificant and will eventually amount to precisely nothing in the overall scheme of things, and that additionally there are indescribable and incomprehensible entities beyond the scope of human understanding whose very visage causes our minds and our sanity to break, entities who manipulate and feed upon us as we do upon microbes. Lovecrafts writing style in describing these horrors is often to use an incredible pallet of long winded purple prose to put across the essential idea that what he is describing in his tales supersedes our ability to comprehend it. Like Neptune and Pluto in Gemini, it is simply too vast for words to contain in even the merest form. Even the names of these beings are often difficult to pronounce or have an alien syllabic nature, like Cthulhu or Yog-Sothoth. For Lovecraft, the abstract strangeness of imagined and obscure words helps to put across an uneasy feeling of nihilistic dread.

This nihilistic horror is part of what distinguishes Lovecraft’s mythos from that of King and Barker, whose tales are often tinged with more hopeful and optimistic outcomes, views and themes. His Neptunian mythos has a deep, 8th temple dose of Pluto lending it jaws and tentacles of mind devouring despair. We are in too deep, and the Deep Ones will ultimately consume us, better for us all to commit suicide and get it over with on our own terms, as some of his narrators do. Death, madness and horror are their fates as well as ours, and could there be a more apt astrological code than a Neptune-Pluto conjunction in Gemini in the 8th underlying his famous invention of The Necronomicon, a book of forbidden lore famed for its couplet: “That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons, even death may die.”

Lovecraft was also a poet, a critic (both of his own work and others as well as the literary scene he was operating in) and a staggeringly voluminous letter writer. His ideas about the mythos were shared with his correspondents and developed alongside these trusted friends (one of whom, Robert E. Howard – the creator of Conan – committed suicide shortly before Lovecraft’s death, affecting him profoundly), but a major source of his inspiration were his inner reflections and the psychologically disturbing dreams and nightmares he regularly endured – again, the 8th temple Pluto influence over Neptune, with Gemini leading him to write about them, but also note Mercury on the 12th cusp (in Virgo, the other writers sign) square the Moons nodal axis, with the South Node in the 3rd (writing again). These must have been truly terrifying dreams that emerged violently from his imagination and unconscious and the only way to exorcise them was to write them down. He was also mostly broke, suffering ongoing financial difficulties (he had an inheritance which was almost gone by the time of his death), was rejected by publishers often and saw no major publication of his work except in ‘Weird Tales’ and other pulp magazines, and so did not attain significant recognition until after his demise. However his legacy has been enduring and seems unassailable, and more than 80 years after his death he is quite rightly regarded as one of the most important figures in dark fantasy literature, having now become a cultural icon along with his most well known creation, Cthulhu. This posthumous success also sets him apart from Barker and King, as does the emphasis that Lovecrafts tales place on science fiction elements, which the other two imaginers have largely steered away from.

HP_Lovecraft_(par_Dominique_Signoret)

HP Lovecraft (par Dominique Signoret)

The astrological imprints of these situations can be traced to the 5th and the placement of its ruler Saturn in Virgo in the 11th. Firstly, Aquarius on the 5th accounts for the interest in science (especially futuristic science) and its employment in fiction and works of creativity. Lovecraft was personally fascinated by modern science and at the same time cynical or critical of its advances, fearing that it would unleash chaos and destruction upon the world and lead to doom for humanity (remember, he died before World War 2, so ultimately he was quite visionary in this respect). This pessimism and fear we can trace back to the rulership of the 5th temple by Saturn, as well as his artistic poverty and lack of recognition, the enduring legacy he left, and his capacity to be critical (especially of his own work) we can trace to the sign Saturn is in, Virgo, while the continuation of the mythos and establishment of his enduring legacy after an early death by a circle of writing friends now called the ‘Lovecraft Circle’ can be seen to be an expression of Saturn in Virgo in the 11th, ruling the 5th through Aquarius, with Saturn itself being ruled by Mercury.

The mythos which Lovecraft originated is controversially tainted with his personal racism which he occasionally projects forcefully through his prose, characters and even into his themes and plots. He regarded people of English race and descent (i.e. himself) to be biologically and intellectually superior and was consistently prejudiced toward Irish Catholics, German immigrants and African-Americans. Over the years he only softened this approach to include those who had been ennobled by education and culture, so there was a snobbishness behind this arrogance. While to some degree it must be true that this was the product of his environment living in Providence during the 1920s where these attitudes were not uncommon, it seems clear that Lovecraft’s passion for his racism was a cut above the norm, and he was far from shy about broadcasting it. He is also justifiably criticized for being terrible at dialog and character.

These flaws can be traced to his Mars in Sagittarius in the 3rd being opposed by Neptune and Pluto in Gemini, near the cusp of the 9th. Mars is being heavily afflicted here, and the phobia of and revulsion towards foreign cultures implicit in Neptune and Pluto in Gemini near the 9th are being stirred up, poked by the constant thrusting of Mars in Sagittarius. It’s like a mindworm, a thought he could not get out of his head, and the involvement of the Dragons Tail in the 3rd temple in Sagittarius (immigrant, gypsy, wanderer), with ruler Jupiter in Aquarius (outsider, alien) in the 4th (homeland, ancestry, family), is an indication that this is sourced in a prior incarnation (note also that Jupiter in Aquarius in the 4th is ruler of the 3rd, and that the mythos frequently refers to alien involvement in the past and ancient history as well as the previously mentioned science fiction tropes). Perhaps he had lived a very unhappy life as an outsider and immigrant himself and had a high degree of self-loathing and self-hatred programmed into his behaviour which he then catastrophically ended up projecting onto others, or perhaps he had some other extremely bitter experience connected with being away from a homeland and family, or was just a racist for some time. Whatever the case, Lovecraft literally projects the darker potential of his Neptune/Pluto in Gemini through Mars in Sagittarius in the 3rd, using it as a vehicle to voice his distaste of variety and his fear of cultural contamination. On the positive side, this Mars was expressed through a love of rambling travel in and around his neighbourhood, and the information he gained from his travels was funneled into his fiction giving rise to memorable locations like Arkham and the Miskatonic Valley, and is also part of the thrust behind the dispassionate and uncaring violence of the mythos he initiated as well as the energy he put into (international, world class) letter writing.

Shoggoth_by_Nottsuo

Shoggoth by Nottsuo

Aside from being influenced by dreams and nightmares the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and ultimately his mythos focuses heavily on dreams as a subject matter. Analysts divide the literature of Lovecraft into two overlapping arcs, one being the gradual development of what came to be called the Cthulhu Mythos and another called his Dream Cycle in which he established the setting of the Dreamlands, an otherworldly realm which ultimately is part of the overall mythos. The Dream Cycle begins in 1918 (perhaps in May) when he writes “Polaris”, while the first appearance of an element of the Cthulhu Mythos was about a year earlier in July when he penned “Dagon” (first published in November 1919). However the development of the mythos does not take off until the 1920s, in particular with the writing of “The Nameless City” in January 1921 (first published in November 1921) and the central tale “The Call of Cthulhu” in the summer of 1926 (first published in February 1928). Roughly speaking the period from 1917 to 1918 is when Lovecraft first creates the Dream Cycle while the period from about 1921-26 is the period in which he establishes the overall Cthulhu Mythos, with 1926 representing the crowning achievement of the legacy he eventually left behind (in terms of popularity at least).

His astrological activations in these times are extremely apt. The Dream Cycle begins with Saturn at the midheaven during his progressed lunar return (so in the New Moon phase of genesis) as the progressed Moon crosses over his Venus and Libra ascendant (art) on its way to its own natal position and the planet Uranus (lunar inspiration from dreams, which is where he says “Polaris” came from). More strikingly, transiting Jupiter is in Gemini and conjunct his natal Neptune/Pluto – he has Jupiter activation of both the Neptune and the Pluto keys, in addition to all of those progressed Moon activations. This is very expressive of the genesis of his Dream Cycle. In his personal life it is also the period in which his mother’s mental health begins to deteriorate (she sees “weird and fantastic creatures that rushed out from behind buildings and from corners at dark”) and she is separated from Lovecraft for the first time in his life (she goes to live with an aunt) and eventually enters an asylum in the spring of 1919, a fate from which she never emerges.

The first mention of an element of the Cthulhu Mythos (“Dagon”) which took place about a year earlier in July 1917 also took place during the activation of Jupiter to the Neptune/Pluto keys thanks to the fact that Jupiter was retrograding in this period over those keys. In this period of 1917/18 he was also separating from but still within the window of opportunity of a Neptune activation of his Chiron key (Chiron is in the 10th, and thus so is Neptune in the entire period of his life discussed in this article). Transiting Neptune is also in an opposition with his natal Jupiter and in a sextile with its own natal position. Fragments of the mythos were beginning to emerge out of this rich Moon/Jupiter/Neptune atmosphere.

The genesis of the Cthulhu Mythos is chronologically in 1921 with both the writing and publication of “The Nameless City” while the key point is “The Call of Cthulhu” in August of 1926, plotted a year earlier on August 12-13, 1925 and first published in 1928. As astute minds and people who know Jupiter well will already realise, 1928/9 is going to put Jupiter in Gemini on top of the Neptune/Pluto keys once again, since Jupiter has an orbital period of about 11-12 years. What was seeded the last time Jupiter was there goes through major expansion and growth, and the Cthulhu Mythos is born into the world. In fact this return of Jupiter to the Neptune/Pluto area of his chart is not complete until summer 1929 to January/February 1930, a creatively quiet period when he is working on what many consider his most archetypal or paradigmatic mythos story “The Whisperer in Darkness” and has already produced what many (even himself) consider his finest work, “The Colour Out of Space” (March 1927).

Looking back at its gradual development prior to this, “The Nameless City” of 1921 sees Neptune cruising through the 10th throwing out a trine to natal 3rd house Mars in Sagittarius and a sextile to the Venus/ascendant angle. Mars on the 3rd is also being spotlighted by the progressed Moon which is moving into the 3rd and so activating the entire 3rd temple with Moon/Mars energy just as Neptune is pouring something imaginative into it as well. Jupiter and Saturn are conjoined in activation of his Mercury, and by 1922 have reached his ascendant/Venus. Its also worth noting that thanks to his natal configuration that progressed Moon is also opposing his natal Neptune/Pluto at this time and that the phase of this progressed Moon is moving out of the Crescent stage (when the seed planted in 1917 becomes more visible) and into the waxing First Quarter Moon where there will be greater activity.

As he plots the story “The Call of Cthulhu” in August 1925, this progressed First Quarter Moon is in Aquarius passing over his natal Jupiter and trining that critical Neptune/Pluto, while transiting Neptune is making a sextile to his Moon and Uranus. He has a Jupiter return going on as well. A year later as he writes it down in August 1926 this progressed Moon is activating his 5th temple key (creative expression), and transiting Neptune in Leo is in sextile to his natal Moon, Uranus and Dragons Head in Libra. His progressed Mercury has also retrograded to the degree of the ascendant. For this entire period of the mid 1920s but especially throughout 1927 and 1928 when he writes his most satisfying work, Neptune in Leo activates his Sun key. Neptune has finally made it to the light and delivers the promise of its natal conjunction with Pluto.

Thus I would argue that the record shows that the astrological genesis of the Cthulhu Mythos and the Dream Cycle, while being composed of other factors, is really a chain of mostly Neptunian and progressed lunar events beginning in 1917-18 that culminates in the Neptune activation of his Sun key in 1927, and that the axis of his chart that is most strongly involved in its creation is Mars opposite Neptune and Pluto, with Jupiter being a major activator. The mythos has emerged mainly from the planets in Libra and Gemini, the conjunctions of ascendant/Venus and the natal Neptune/Pluto being a core engine of its delivery, particularly with respect to transiting Jupiter, transiting Neptune and the progressed Moon.

STEPHEN KING

Below is the chart for Stephen King, the time of which comes from the author himself when asked during a book signing.

Stephen King chart

We have significant trouble with this chart because the ascendant is just a whisker away from a sign boundary, the cusp of Cancer and Leo. The timing of this chart also casts some doubt over the 6th and 12th houses because the cusps of those temples are very close to a sign boundary. The bottom line is that if King is born just 42 seconds later at 1:30:42 am, then Leo rises and the Sun is the chart ruler instead of the Moon, and a significantly later time of 1:38:47 am changes the 6th/12th temples as well. It is a difficult call to make because his Sun in Virgo in the 3rd temple and his Moon in Sagittarius in the 5th temple could be his chart ruler not just by timing but also by their symbolism. My instinct, based on watching interviews of King in preparation for this work, is that this chart is slightly incorrect and that Leo rises and the Sun is the chart ruler. The Sun in Virgo in the 3rd temple is a clear choice because everything about it points to writing, and King himself has said that he could not imagine himself doing anything else, humbly claiming it’s all he can do. The fluid and mutable gregarious nature of the Sagittarius Moon compared to the self critical, precise and perfectionist nature of the Virgo Sun also inclines me to trust in a later time, as does the healthy head of hair he has even later in life and something catlike in his eyes (Leo rising). Whatever the truth is, the main points I will make in this writing will not be radically altered.

Stephen_King,_ComiconJust as with Lovecraft the salient part of the chart as far as the development of Kings mythos is concerned is a conjunction of Neptune in an Air sign, this time that sign being Libra (Libra is so powerful in any of the arts). Unlike Lovecraft, however, it is Mercury and not Pluto which forms the conjunction, and it is powerfully placed at an angle on the cusp of the 4th temple. This immediately gives it more emphasis. Mercury takes rulership of the important 3rd temple of communications and writing as well as the 12th temple of seclusion and inner reflection, and the 12th also houses Mars in Cancer as ruler of the midheaven and thus the leading planet of the profession (Mars is also close enough to the ascendant to be in a conjunction with it, similar to how Venus was placed for Lovecraft, but if Kings time grows late this falls away). The Sun is in the 3rd in Virgo and the Moon is in the 5th in Sagittarius, each of which directly and unambiguously supply energies for writing, thinking and publishing creative ideas, both intuitively via a kind of internalized philosophical seeking and mentally through an analytical process of observing details and asking questions. The 5th temple also has a formidable bouncer checking all the traffic at the door of creative output in the form of Jupiter in Scorpio in a conjunction with the Dragons Tail, both of which connect with that insular, hidden Mars and give it a means for creative form of expression while also reaching out to stimulate and support the Sun in Virgo in the 3rd through a sextile. Also significant is the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Leo which makes a sextile with the Mercury/Neptune conjunction, with Saturn ruling the 8th – added to that Jupiter/Tail in Scorpio and Mars ruling the midheaven from the 12th, this explains the fascination with mystery and horror. We could also note Uranus in Gemini on the cusp of the 12th in a square with the Sun in Virgo as being a recipe for being mysteriously (unconsciously) driven to write about the weird and the cursed.

Incidentally, both King and Barker cheerfully admit to being heavily influenced by Lovecraft, with King saying that the notion that he was a writer and nothing else was a sudden realization that occurred when he came across a collection of H.P. Lovecraft short stories called ‘The Lurker in the Shadows’ while exploring an attic with his older brother. This volume had belonged to his father, who had abandoned the family when King was very young – he just chose to vanish one day. He described this moment of self discovery in the attic in metaphor by saying it was like the way his uncle would douse for water using apple branches, in other words there was an internal crossing of his own dousing rods over a spot that he was seeking or resonant with. He just knew ‘it’ was right there in his hands. During a 2009 interview he said “I knew that I’d found home when I read that book.” He also credits his mom Nellie with giving him a love of reading and encouraging him to use his imagination. All of these facts including the disappearing father are obviously and clearly an expression of Mercury and Neptune on the 4th house cusp. Unfortunately, I do not know the year in which this attic experience occurred, but it was sometime in his childhood. In this respect it’s pretty striking that Kings Mercury/Neptune is in the same place as Lovecrafts Venus/ascendant – the artistic transmission of Lovecraft finds its way to shape the mythos genesis of another writer.

In order to proceed further in understanding how this chart expresses his creative output we need to first understand that output a little and so we have to spend some time here talking about the elements of the mythos that King has created. This is not as easy as it is with Lovecraft, as King has written 56 novels and over 200 short stories to date. He is as far from Lovecraft in terms of volume of output as he can be, and also as far as he can be from Lovecraft in terms of recognition in life, having sold over 350 million books and having an estimated net worth of 400 million dollars. His output is staggering and mountainous, defying easy categorization or summary, and will certainly be studied for many years after his death, being packed with what many people find a surprising amount of philosophical inquiry. However, it is possible to identify several key elements of the mythos that King has created and to show that they map with cutting accuracy to the symbolism in his birth chart. It’s also possible to look at when some of these key elements appear in print and map those times back to what is happening to the chart as we did with Lovecraft. However, that Mercury/Neptune combo is amorphous, ideas can have origins far earlier than their appearance in print, and it becomes very tricky or impossible to separate one strand from another, even I think for King. The mythos emerges differently, filtering and percolating in his mind over 4-5 decades, perhaps ever since he went into that attic.

Image by Michael Whelan

The key books in the King mythos are the Dark Tower series of books, but a first important initial point is that it seems clear to me that in Kings mind all his books are mysteriously connected. He gives us evidence for this by framing them in a multiverse, so that even though different events occur in different books because they are different worlds, those worlds are all connected by an underlying, often invisible metaphysical framework. This framework has gradually filtered into form particle by particle, with King making a reference to something in one tale and then alluding to it in another completely separate one, but the Dark Tower series is where he attempts to tie as much of it together as possible. So the first thing to note is that this mythos exists to hint at a larger picture in the background while still leaving the author complete creative freedom each time he sits down to write a new tale. The Mercury/Neptune mythos of Stephen King takes place in an interconnected multiverse and it is possible to travel from one world to another much as a reader does when picking up a book or King himself does when he imagines one and writes it down. The most striking expression of this idea comes in the Dark Tower series when Stephen King the author shows up as a character, and the reader realizes that the fictional characters have found their way into a fictional version of our world.

This multiverse is also a hall of mirrors in other ways. Central to many of the stories King has written is the concept of ‘Twinners’, doppelgängers who exist as reflections of the same entity in different dimensions or worlds. These pairs of beings are not identical – a man in one world can be a dog in another – and can include locations as well as people and objects. They are not ‘good’ and ‘evil’ but somehow complementary halves of a greater whole.

The notion of the Dark Tower itself provides one of the most striking examples of astrological symbolism in art I have ever come across. The Dark Tower of Kings fiction is a metaphysical Axis Mundi, a spinal column which connects all the worlds of the multiverse together. From this central Tower, the nexus of all universes, 6 Beams girder the structure and at each end of each of the Beams there is a Guardian represented by an animal. This is so clearly a representation of astrology that I can’t help but conclude it was intentional, but I somehow doubt that King knew the structure of his own birth chart, with the myth building combination of Mercury/Neptune at the base of the IC and so placed literally on the charts spine or vertical axis, in Libra (a sign not just of arts but also of paired opposites, balance and mirror images) so aptly describes his creations.

Location is a huge part of this mythos, with King creating a fictional Maine (where he lives in real life) as the setting for many of his tales. Additionally, there is a repeated emphasis on childhood, its innocence and magic, and the loss of this power during adolescence. Both of these major characteristics of the mythos also arise from this placement of the Mercury/Neptune effect on the IC of the chart, since the 4th temple is associated with location, home, family and childhood. His weaving of stories explores the relationships (Libra) of people in small town America (4th), and hints at mysterious realities behind closed doors and under the metaphysical floorboards (Mercury/Neptune). His protagonists – often children, or innocents – are faced with evil and must overcome it through co-operation. In the process, they invariably draw closer together and forge relationships, and in Kings’ narratives ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they get this right. The concept of bringing things into balance also comes up as two elemental forces, the Purpose and the Random, which are constantly at war with each other in a cosmic battle which affects all worlds and every life. The goal of the Random is to erode the Beams and bring about the destruction of all worlds whereas the goal of the Purpose is to hold the Random in check and maintain a balance between the two forces (thus it must hold itself in check too). Again, these themes are obviously of Libra, the Scales and the Balancer. The concept of Ka, a kind of fate and karma which acts as a life force, is also a recurring idea in this mythos, and again it is clearly a representation of Libra. Incidentally, the personal loss of childhood innocence may be a core factor in why King writes horror: as a child he apparently came home one day after going out to play with a friend, speechless and in shock. Later his family learned that the friend he had been playing with had been killed by a train, and it seems King had witnessed it. He says he has no memory of the event. These are all 4th temple themed happenings and if the story is true his loss of memory seems connected with Mercury/Neptune.

Existence is portrayed as cyclical, perhaps infinitely so, and all things are mysteriously interconnected. The Mercury/Neptune fusion in Libra is more optimistic than Lovecrafts Neptune/Pluto, and more liberal too, seeing a glimmer of hope in truth and innocence, the capacity of sacrifice and love, the forming of genuine connection and the possibility of redemption. The monsters in this mythos can be defeated, but it always comes at a high price. A balance must be observed here, too. Part of goodness in Kings writing is that it is ready to sacrifice itself (Neptune is often about martyrdom).

Crimson king

Image by Michael Whelan

The evil in this cyclical multiverse arises from the deeds and machinations of the servants of the Random, and often they share the characteristic of being in powerful positions of authority and relishing in the victimisation of the weak below them. This is also one of the main traits of pure evil and the corrupted humans in the stories, and their abused victims are often the innocent or children around them, who can often expect no rescue from outside (especially from the adults or other authority figures) and must deliver themselves from the insidious evil. However, these innocents are often greatly empowered magically or psychically gifted with great insights because they are closer to the Purpose (which is probably why they are often the preferred victims of the forces of the Random). These traits connected to the villains and the challenges they present are resonant with Saturn in conjunction with Pluto in Leo – Leo provides the dominance and the power of command over life and death, while Saturn and Pluto represent the malevolence and the evil which wields this power of command. The principal antagonist of the Dark Tower and indeed of the entire mythos that King has created is called the Crimson King, another nod towards Leo, and it also feels appropriate here to again point out that the ruler of the midheaven and the lead planet of Stephen Kings profession is Mars (whose colour is red), that the Crimson King rules from a realm called Discordia but has become trapped in the Towers lower levels and is insane (Mars is in Fall in Cancer and in the 12th). A terrifying and violent descent into madness is also a common theme throughout Stephen Kings work (“The Shining”, “Misery”, “Rose Madder”, “Insomnia”, etc).

A lot more could be said about how Kings astrology is reflected in his artistic creations but these are some of the main points which I think serve to illustrate how important that Mercury/Neptune conjunction is, how central it is to the mythos his mind has delivered. In terms of the timeline under which this creation has been born or emerged, the key years I have chosen to look at are in 1973-4 (his breakthrough with the acceptance of “Carrie” for publication and also around the time he begins to think out the Dark Tower series), 1977 (in which “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger” began to be initially published in five installments by a magazine), the years in which the Dark Tower books were serially published (1982, 1987, 1991, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2012) and the publication of “Insomnia” in 1994, wherein the Crimson King appears by name for the first time. In the following look into these times I will restrict myself to looking at transits and leave progressions aside because there is a great deal more to look at in this case.

In 1973 the planet Uranus was in Libra just beginning to move away from activation of Kings Mercury/Neptune, which it had been activating for about 2-3 years before, since the 70s began – suddenly there is a breakthrough and a new life begins for him. Pluto will follow up this activation of Mercury/Neptune throughout the mid to late 70s and early 80s. In 1973 it came as a shock, as he had thrown the manuscript in the trash (his wife – Libra again – retrieved it). In the same time period, Neptune is activating both the Jupiter/Tail and 5th temple in Scorpio. The horrifying stuff is just creatively flowing out, he gets lucky, and the rest of the 70s see him writing and publishing his most well known novels while regrettably being enabled to indulge a cocaine and alcohol addiction, a situation which continued through most of the 80s and led to him contemplating suicide, until there was intervention by his family (here we are seeing another much more private side of that Mercury/Neptune in the 4th and Mars in Cancer in the 12th).

Initial publication of the Dark Tower in 1977 takes place when Neptune has made it deep into the 5th temple and is activating his Moon (which in the chart supplied here is the chart ruler), while Pluto is right on top of the Mercury/Neptune area of the chart. Neptune is also in a sextile with Mercury /Neptune. The first publication of the Dark Tower as a book series in 1982 (“The Gunslinger”) has both Saturn and Jupiter in the Mercury/Neptune in Libra zone with Jupiter moving off to enter the 5th and complete a return of Jupiter to natal Jupiter in Scorpio, which Uranus is already activating. 1987 (“The Drawing of the Three”) has Saturn activating the 5th temple Moon while Jupiter is on the midheaven, 1991 (“The Waste Lands”) sees Pluto in Scorpio playing with Jupiter in the 5th while Jupiter is activating the villainous Saturn/Pluto in Leo and Chiron is activating Mars and the ascendant (thats one tough looking year by the way, as Neptune is also square the Mercury/Neptune area). During 1993/1994 when “Insomnia” appears and the Crimson King is mentioned for the first time, Jupiter is back on top of Saturn/Pluto and transitions to activate Mercury/Neptune once more, just as it did when the Dark Tower series began publication. In 1997 (“Wizard and Glass”) , Saturn is on the midheaven during a Chiron return (note that Chiron is in Scorpio), and Neptune is in a trine with his Sun. 2003 (“Wolves of the Calla”) and 2004 (“Song of Susannah” and the concluding volume, “The Dark Tower”) see Jupiter for a third time beginning in Leo on top of that Saturn/Pluto point of villainy again (at the same time Saturn is on the cusp of the 12th with natal Uranus) and ending the series with a final activation of Jupiter to Mercury/Neptune (with Saturn on Mars and the ascendant) just as Neptune itself is in a trine with Mercury/Neptune. In 2012, King revisits the series but does not continue it, instead placing a story (“The Wind Through the Keyhole”) between “Wizard and Glass” and “Wolves of the Calla”, just as Saturn is passing through the Mercury/Neptune area.

As can be seen it is the activation of the Mercury/Neptune area that matters most to this mythos, just as it was with Lovecraft and Neptune/Pluto. It’s activated shockingly by Uranus when King explodes onto the scene, its activated by Pluto when The Dark Tower begins its journey into print, and by Jupiter both when it becomes a book series and when it concludes, as well as when the Crimson King is first named. The 5th temple with the Moon and Jupiter in Scorpio also prominently feature in the emergence, as does the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Leo, but on a lesser scale, and the pattern is one of Jupiter starting in Leo and moving through Virgo and Libra on its way to an ending (and a Jupiter return) in Scorpio. Of course, I am aware that King writes these things before they are published, but King himself has said it is the publication that is the final act of writing, the sharing of it with an audience being its true birth into the world, and I am inclined to agree, especially as he himself sees it that way. 

CLIVE BARKER

The final example in this examination of mythos building has, you guessed it, a major conjunction of Neptune in their chart. Here is the horoscope for Clive Barker, from a time supplied by the author. This chart does not have any house cusps near sign boundaries, so after King we can be a little bit more relaxed as far as rulerships and accuracy of birth time are concerned. Also notice how whereas the chart for Lovecraft and King have overall aspect shapes that point in a general direction, the chart for Barker displays more of an explosion effect. This is very significant in terms of their individual experience in creating art.

Clive Barker chart

We are struck by some remarkable similarities to Kings chart – there is another Mercury/Neptune fusion in Libra near the IC axis (what are the odds of this happening ?!?) but with Saturn added and the Sun shedding light upon it all, Scorpio is again on the 5th, and Pluto is again in Leo on the cusp of the 2nd (if we accept that King is born with Leo rising, they have the same ascendant), yet not with Saturn but instead the Tail. Uranus has moved on to Cancer from Gemini but is still placed in the 12th temple. If we take the chart for King, move Saturn to the nexus point with Mercury/Neptune and replace it with the Tail, swap the Moon for Mars in Sagittarius and Jupiter for Venus in Scorpio, they become very similar. They are eerily alike but for the two different Sun signs and Moon signs, which really says a lot about how significant the Lights are, with (Libran Sun/Taurus Moon) Barker being more sociable outwardly and generally but the more cautious and slow to open up personally, and (Virgo Sun/Sagittarius Moon) King being inversely more outwardly reserved in general but giving the impression of being more open and swift to proceed when getting to know him personally.

Note that we are talking about not just the same sign but roughly the same degrees as Lovecrafts ascendant/Venus (roughly 10°-20°, the second decan), and take a look back at Lovecraft’s chart and you will realise this means the Mercury/Neptune of King and the Mercury/Saturn/Neptune of Barker are not only in a conjunction with one another and Lovecrafts ascendant/Venus, but everything is also in trine with Lovecrafts Neptune/Pluto. These world-builders speak to one another with ease and the core means is via Neptune, Air, Gemini, Libra, – imagination, thoughts and words formed into art. Time is irrelevant here as the muses breeze across its oceans making little waves and rippling them into new minds ready to receive them.

CliveBarkerClive Barker stands apart from the previous two authors in that he is also a playwright, film maker, painter and creator of visual art like comics. Taken together I would argue that compared to Lovecraft and King his works comprise the more varied, artistically driven and passionate expressions of the imagination. Barker is driven by the fire of his imagination, and it often delves deep into the Scorpio territory (horror) of that 5th temple, with the traditional ruler of Scorpio – Mars – placed inside and also ruling the midheaven, but in Sagittarius rather than Scorpio. He has the same Martian leanings as Lovecraft in that he goes off on philosophical tangents and his writing is peppered with philosophical statements (compare the opening of “The Call of Cthulhu” with the opening of “Imajica” or “Everville” for good examples), but with Lovecraft this energy is supremely mental and leads him to draft long winded sentences while with Barker it’s more sensual, visceral and less mental, channeled as raw creativity than the mental and intellectual gymnastics of Lovecraft. Here is the visionary zeal, the burning hunger, the restless philosophical questing of an artist who is driven to paint, driven to write, driven to give an expression to the occulted but seductive muse that will both lead him into unfamiliar territory and reveal itself to him along the journey. It is a Mars that also sees Barkers Pluto/Tail in Leo, acknowledging the darkness – welcoming it – and finding a relatively easy and comfortable way to let it flow into creativity, and it also sees the crucial world-building cluster of Mercury/Saturn/Neptune in Libra. King has the Moon in Sagittarius in the 5th, but the Moon is fickle and he must await her inspiration, observe the rhythms. Barkers’ Mars is by comparison a whip wielding taskmaster that lashes and forces him to be creatively expressive and rarely lets him rest until he is burned out. Creative expression is more of an exhausting battle of wills, a gladiatorial arena in which Barker is an enthusiastic warrior, a crusader and a seeker of legends. He has to find ways to channel and control his creative impulses or they overwhelm his will and he becomes too much a pawn of the muses. He needs discipline and a powerful Saturn to tame that Mars or it becomes something that engulfs his life in destructive ways, and he is lucky enough to get it with an exalted Saturn in Libra bringing focus and cohesion to the Mercury/Neptune conjunction. With this fortune and a lot of hard work over long hours, Barker has forged a creative mythos of his own.

Barker’s chart is more of a puzzle than the other two given its explosive shape – it has to be played with and investigated, unlocked much like one of his more famous creations, the Lament Configuration or Lemarchand’s Box, a fiendishly sublime Chinese puzzle box that opens a passage to Hell and unleashes its monsters. However, once we understand the central impetus to create mythic worlds of the imagination is sourced in that Mercury/Saturn/Neptune focal point, the rest slots into place gradually.

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The artist at work

Compared to the previous two artists the body of work created by Clive Barker has fewer interconnecting strands. He is not writing specifically about a multiverse with some connecting points like King (although he touches on that notion) nor about a singular and cohesive world like Lovecraft. Instead Barker’s imagination is pulled in many different directions at once and must intuitively fathom which one feels right to follow. This manifests not only in his plotting of stories but also before then because he has to intuit what particular art form this particular inspiration is destined to be or wants to be. Is it a painting, a sketch, short story, a comic, a novel, an epic novel series, a computer game, some unique fusion of them..? The traditional lead planet of his creative juices, the intuitive, fiery Mars in Sagittarius as ruler of Scorpio on the 5th, is courageously pulled towards dark boundaries and taboo horizons, but another one of its features is that like an arrow loosed into air it doesn’t really know where it is going until it gets there. The story or painting emerges not only through Barker but to him in a revelatory way which makes the journey transformative for him. This means that he sometimes struggles with the creative process because he doesn’t have enough information to proceed in the initial stages, but he overcomes this by trusting in the journey and by being excited by the prospect of becoming something else at the end of it.

The fact that his imagination is lured in many directions at once, literally erotically tempted by that Scorpio and a roguish Mars in the 5th, also means that Barker has created a mythos with several rich but independent worlds. Over the years some of his works have been revealed to exist in the same world as others by having the same characters show up, but generally speaking Barker creates unique visions connected more by themes and style than character and location. That said, most people associate Barker with the Hellraiser mythos named after the film “Hellraiser”. This article will look at that, but also at what many readers (and in past interviews Barker himself) have considered his best work, “Imajica”, the “Abarat” series and his impactful and enduring debut of short stories, the award winning “Books of Blood”. I will also look at the film “Nightbreed”, which has a particularly interesting astrological background.

Barker’s creations have some distinguishing features in comparison to Lovecraft and King. Firstly, his work is far more sexual, especially with respect to the imagery of piercing, bondage and S&M, but more essentially with the power of sex to transform us physically and spiritually. His work also focuses on violent transformations of the flesh as catalysts for transformations of the soul. These overall traits arise not only from the placement of Scorpio on the 5th temple with its ruler Mars in Sagittarius in the same temple but also from the powerful binding influence of Saturn over the Mercury/Neptune conjunction. With Mars in Sagittarius and Scorpio he is exploring the transformative power of crossing taboo boundaries and with Saturn present at the conjunction of Mercury/Neptune those boundaries are often informed by the way bondage affects his imagination. Note that Saturn is also ruler of the 8th, which in modern astrology is the place of sexuality, survival instincts, taboos and the processes leading up to the transformation of the soul i.e. death followed by eventual rebirth (in other words, things which both terrify and compell at the same time). Pluto in Leo with the Tail as modern ruler of the 5th is also suggestive of some kind of glamour or shining beauty with a commanding force of domination and an intense but controlled power which has both horrific and transformational potential. In Barkers creations the concepts of pleasure and pain intertwine and transform into one another like the mouth and tail of an uroboros. Any reader or viewer of Barker will quickly encounter these notions. Barker eloquently expresses his imaginations connection to Saturn in many interviews, but he gives it a particularly clear expression in the following quote, showing a high degree of conscious awareness of what he is doing:

“I want to be remembered as an imaginer, someone who used his imagination as a way to journey beyond the limits of self, beyond the limits of flesh and blood, beyond the limits of even perhaps life itself, in order to discover some sense of order in what appears to be a disordered universe. I’m using my imagination to find meaning, both for myself and, I hope, for my readers.”

Like King and Lovecraft the mythos that Barker imagines comprises many spiritual worlds beyond the physical world that we know and it is when the membrane that separates us from these metaphysical worlds becomes perforated that things can come through, which in Barkers case inevitably lead to the aforementioned transformations of flesh, soul and existence. The boundary or barrier between worlds however seems overall to be less permeable than in the Dark Tower series, for with Barker there is frequently a heavy price to pay in crossing, a pound of flesh at least, and innocence and purity offer no protection. There are also strict metaphysical rules. If these rules are followed, something happens. If you open the box, they come. This is Saturn. Barker also likes to write about objects as a means of passage between one reality and another – in “Weaveworld” it is a magic carpet within which the fabric of an entire reality is woven, while in the “Hellraiser” series it is that hellish box. Here again we can see fingerprints of Saturn in Libra, because the objects are never dull but always masterfully made, beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. They may hide despair and torment, even hell, but their outer form is artistic and often alluring.

This points to a core polarity in Barkers work in that pleasure and pain, awe and revulsion, heaven and hell are intermingled and reflect one another. The Libra emphasis of the Mercury/Saturn/Neptune is concerned with the numinous boundary between polarized ideas and the ecstasies of swinging from one end of the scale to another. It is being fair and asking, frequently, whether the real monsters are the humans. The monsters of Barker frequently evoke a sympathetic connection from the reader, they are beautiful and we relate to them even when they are horrors that terrify. That is because they are his lovers, he loves them all into being like a husband. An exalted Saturn is able to show in art what is usually unpalatable. It does so seriously, responsibly, tastefully and with a stylish elegance, and it poses difficult but troublingly fair questions. Barker also maturely explores relationships, with many of his stories actually being tales of epic romances that just happen to be set amidst fantastical realms and subversive horrors.

The 4th temples focus on home, children, location, tribe and family shows up in the fact that a considerable portion of his dark fantasy output (“The Thief of Always” and the “Abarat” series) are for both children and adults and (as with King) feature children as the main characters, but more significantly the buried matters of the past also show up in his work frequently, and place or location (like a magical object) is important and often contains a door into supernatural realms (see the graveyard of Midian in “Cabal” and its film, “Nightbreed: the Directors Cut” for a good example of this). In the original short story which began the Hellraiser mythos (“The Hellbound Heart”) these themes are very prominent with the tale being set largely in a house and being about a dysfunctional family, but the concept of finding a home, a family, a decent relationship or just a place to belong (especially when you are a freak or a monster) also play a role in many characters quests into the otherworlds, and they frequently have to come to terms with their past. Whatever its form, once you cross that threshold you are forever changed, and characters are then often confronted with a Saturnine manifestation of what they most fear in all its exalted glory. It coldly delivers judgments and tells them Libran truth, and this truth is what makes its judgment powerful and compelling but terrifying at the same time. It is often orderly, non-negotiable, disciplined, cold, bound, restrained, pierced, composed, leather clad, part of a sect, patient, it talks about pushing you beyond your limits to break you or displays other Saturn like traits.

atreefullofsky2006

Clive Barker – A Tree Full Of Sky, [2006]

Venus in Scorpio is a major part of the eroticism that shows up. Barker’s prose, paintings and films are not only often erotically charged, frequently in uncomfortable or taboo ways as far as mainstream culture is concerned, they are also richly sensual things. They celebrate the sensual world and its tactile wonders just as much as they celebrate the magic of the imagination. Despite being visionary he is grounded and (especially with Mars in Sagittarius) he works to the point of physical exhaustion but he is much slower to produce in comparison to King (writing is very often a slow process anyway, King is just fast). These traits emerge from his Moon and Jupiter in Taurus. The richness of his prose (exalted Moon and Jupiter in Taurus) and a visionary pursuit of philosophical matters (Mars in Sagittarius) are two very prominent features of his writing style. Things need their time to develop, but once work starts he is committed and prone to being a workaholic, and he is keen to go places with his muse so he avoids getting stuck. Personally he is also known for his love of animals and the natural world, both of which are features of Taurus and Sagittarius. The Sun by comparison is very much connected with the main event in Libra in the 4th, in fact for practical purposes I would consider it part of the conjunction. It acts to add energy, illumination and even more focus to the Mercury/Saturn/Neptune, and it brings more joy to add to that generated by Mars in the 5th, the joy of creating art (especially visually, given the Fire sign nature of this Mars). A Sun/Mercury/Saturn/Neptune stellium in Libra really underscores the art of imaginative writing which has been central to Barkers success, and he works from a base of operations in a beautiful home filled with art, plants and animals. Home is hugely important creatively to each of these writers, with all three having the ruler of the 3rd in the 4th. For both King and Barker, that planet is Mercury.

In the early 1980s Barker is inspired and in 1982 starts to write the “Books of Blood” for friends while working in the theatre scene in London. These short stories catapulted him to fame, with Stephen King providing a priceless endorsement when he said “I have seen the future of horror and its name is Clive Barker”, a quote which appeared on the cover of the first editions when they were published in 1984 (here again is that helpful connection between their mutual Mercury/Neptune conjunction). These stories are loosely connected tales which introduce the first appearance of a character in the Hellraiser universe, detective Harry D’Amour. They are widely regarded as being among Barkers best work.

At this time Pluto is just 3° away from his natal Neptune and so on top of the Sun/Mercury/Saturn/Neptune cluster, and it only gradually moves off throughout the 80s, additionally in 1981/82 both Jupiter and Saturn are there too. Neptune is also conjunct his Mars. This incredible alignment is what launches him into the world of recognizable faces. The “Books of Blood” he writes in 1982 are published in 1984 when Jupiter has moved on to his Mars in Sagittarius, and suddenly he is a published author with a worldwide following. Kings Mercury/Neptune has the activation by Pluto occurring from the mid to late 1970s, but it persists through the early 1980s to about 1982 as well and so he has the triple conjunction of Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto at about the same time, which is when Dark Tower makes it into book form. So both authors have the Mercury/Neptune parts of their chart being activated by Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto when they originally publish their mythos, and both have Pluto on Mercury/Neptune when they are catapulted to fame and wealth. The essence of this is that in the mid 70s to early 80s Pluto, the planet of horror, latches onto their Mercury/Neptune antenna and begins transmitting, first turning its gaze to King and then King directs its gaze onto Barker. Pluto brings both of them riches and fame as dark imaginers.

In 1986, when “The Hellbound Heart” is published, Pluto is now activating the erotically charged Venus in Scorpio and Jupiter is approaching his midheaven while Neptune is activating Chiron. This is when the antagonist known as Pinhead first appears. In 1987, he is turning it into the film “Hellraiser” while Neptune continues to activate Chiron as both Saturn and Uranus are conjunct his Mars and Jupiter is in Taurus at the midheaven, eventually activating the Moon and bringing a Jupiter return.

imajicapb-minBy 1991, this Jupiter has found its way to his ascendant and Pluto, and Chiron is with it. He is also having a conjunction of both Uranus and Neptune over his Mars in Sagittarius. Neptune has been near his Mars from the time he is launched and is now drifting away, but with the sudden addition of Uranus it receives a fresh supply of energy. This is when “Imajica” appears. According to Barker, “Imajica” came to him in dreams and was written fast, over about a year. It is a standalone epic and widely considered his best written work.

The currently published two “Books of the Art” (the final part remains unpublished) appear in 1989 and 1994. Both of these books contain characters who show up in the Hellraiser stories Barker has written, and so can be considered a part of or connected to that same world while also standing alone as their own series. In 1989 Barker has the last part of his activation of Mars by Uranus, which began when he released the film “Hellraiser” as well as a continuing activation of Pluto to Venus from that time. When the next and so far current title in the series appears in 1993/1994, Jupiter is in the process of crossing over the Sun/Mercury/Saturn/Neptune area and then moving on to pick up with that Venus where Pluto left off.

Barker brings an ending to the story he started in ‘The Hellbound Heart’ (1986) in 2015 with the publication of ‘The Scarlet Gospels’, which he spends a couple of years polishing before then. He probably starts to plot it out around 2011, when Saturn is at the stellium in Libra and about to reach Venus in Scorpio (2013). Jupiter is once again in the process of crossing the ascendant (2014), activating Pluto (2015), and activating the Sun/Mercury/Saturn/Neptune nexus (2016-17).

The ‘Abarat’ books are easily his most ambitious undertakings. These books are unique in that they arise from a powerful subversion of the normal creative process. As both an illustrator and writer Barker has often drawn images for his tales, but at some point he had the genius to imagine it the other way around, to paint the images first and then arrange them into a narrative, writing a story from them. These are the works of the ‘Abarat’, and he began painting them into existence in 1995. They are really works of fantasy, not horror, although there are horror elements. The first book was published in 2002, the next in 2004 and the most recent volume in 2011, with a 4th currently in production and a 5th in drafts. In 1995, Chiron is at the Libra stellium (during the previous two years Jupiter crossed the stellium, as explained earlier). When the world of ‘Abarat’ is released to the public in 2002, Barker is having a Chiron return as Jupiter is once again at the ascendant (as it was when he released ‘Imajica’). The second volume in 2004 comes into existence at the time Jupiter has moved on to activate the stellium in Libra again. The third volume in 2011? Saturn crossing the stellium (with Jupiter at the midheaven). Astrology is so much like music, with the same strings that get plucked by different instruments at different times. Barker may release the fourth book soon having just had Jupiter cross the ascendant (2015) and Libra stellium (2017), and possibly the final book in this series around 2026-2028, when Jupiter reaches the ascendant and begins its journey to the stellium again.

Jupiter seems to reward Barker – when he released his film “Nightbreed” in 1990, he was deeply dissatisfied with what the studio did to his creative work. They tacked on a happier ending and eroded much of the essential meaning of the film. Barkers version was lost when the footage went missing and was presumed gone forever. This was a heartbreaking (Leo rising) experience for the artist. Jupiter was at his ascendant, but Chiron was also on his ascendant while Uranus was at his natal Chiron – a painful experience. However, the lost footage was miraculously recovered in 2009 (Pluto was activating Mars, and he described it as like watching the film come back from the dead) and 5 years later in 2014 his film is actually released containing the real ending and 40m of extra material. Jupiter is at the Leo ascendant again but without Chiron this time, instead having breakthrough support from Uranus at the midheaven. This was a very happy occasion for the artist.

As can be seen from this, Barkers Sun/Mercury/Saturn/Neptune Libra stellium is once again the core factor that receives stimulus during his imaginative world building, with the 5th, its ruler and contents, and the ascendant and midheaven also being significant.

CONCLUSION

As we have seen throughout this article, the major turning points in the world or mythos building output of these three imaginers is symbolised by major conjunctions to planetary clusters around Neptune, planets of the 5th, and the midheaven and ascendant. The conjunction of planets with Neptune in their natal charts makes them receptive to these events from birth and allows them to find a way to ‘pin down’ the nebulous and elusive power of Neptune, giving it form. Jupiter often plays a major role in timing their inspiration and Gemini, Virgo, Libra and Scorpio have been important signs.

Authors write their own lives, even when they heavily disguise them. Some artists use their astrological aspects creatively and express the tensions in the more difficult placements of their personalities in their artistic creations. This may well mitigate the trouble they could potentially cause in real life, and thus be an act of magic. Our lives are inner stories we are in the creative process of giving form to and externally telling, and so the stories we tell with them in art express that inner story. 

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The Temples (part 1)

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! I have had repeated requests to say more about the 12 houses, and am planning a number of articles on the subject. Today I present the first part of a three part series on the houses (or temples as I call them) with parts 2 and 3 to follow in the coming months. I hope these will give learners at all stages something to think about. This month, temples 1-4 are under discussion.

journey deeper…