The Birthchart Of A Fictional Character
Many times, I have invented a character for a story by working on a fictional ascendant, Sun and Moon. This is fun to do, as I usually choose them at random and then work out the likely personality that would result. However, when I came to write The Greek Boy there were certain drawbacks to this method. He had to be Greek, a native of the 15th century and with enough potential in his chart to support his gift of the Sight. I also wanted him to be strongly Scorpionic. This is what I told Pamela Crane and it was she who came up with the birth chart printed here. It was more than adequate. In fact, it fitted so perfectly that I couldn't help feeling it had been inspired.
For some time I had wanted to give something back to astrology for all the pleasure and profit it had given me. In particular, I wanted to get through to the general public, giving them some information as to how astrology can be used, debunking some of the more obvious misconceptions and showing how important it has been considered in the past. I reasoned that I would be more likely to get my message across in a novel. I had written a lot of non-fiction, much of it astrological, but this was my first novel (even though I had a later one published first). When I saw the chart I felt that the gods were smiling on the project. I experienced, as so many writers have done, that the novel had a life of its own. The characters dictated what they should do, frequently waking me up with an incident I should include. I got very fond of them and even found myself touched as I wrote of the death of Mad Jack.
Because the novel is intended for everyone, I used the chart only as I needed it, not progressing it, for instance. However, I felt that my astrological colleagues were entitled to know the full birthchart, and, of course, Lyss would have known it except for the outer planets. The rising sign in Aquarius, ruled by Uranus, the astrologers' own sign, always seems to me to be the Magician of the Tarot, though I am aware that not everyone will agree. Rachel Pollack describes the Magician in the Waites pack as follows: 'he stands with one hand raised to heaven and the other pointed to the green earth. He is a lightning rod. By opening himself up to the spirit he draws it down to himself then runs the energy into the earth. Into reality.'
My husband, who is a healer, describes his gift in much the same way: 'I am only the conductor. I plug into the Source of all power and it flows out through me to the patient'. So I felt that Aquarius, by itself, would account for the gift of foreseeing which Lyss had from birth, though it would be reinforced by Pluto in Cancer, in trine to the Sun in Scorpio. All the water signs are emotional and intuitive. The Sun, Mercury and Venus all in Scorpio gave him the character I wanted. Scorpio, with its 'need to know', its passion and a habit of bottling up emotions until they explode, was just right for my eponymous hero. This showed particularly in his anger after Mad Jack's death, culminating in his first sexual experience.
Mars in Sagittarius reinforces his habit of wanting to know it all. Jupiter doesn't make any 'good' aspects and perhaps accounts for his sorrow in his neglect of those he loves, though it is not his fault. Finally, the Moon in Gemini accounts for his adaptability - after all, he is only ten when he is taken from Greece to England - and his dexterity. I did not give the other characters complete birth charts, but they all have recognisable strong signs, from the young Arian, Ian, who has never wanted to be anything but a soldier and engages in the war with enthusiasm, to Lyss's father, a Taurean Sun vine grower, who quickly reverts to his Arian ascendant when the Turks invade his homeland and who becomes the leader of the Resistance fighters.
I have not mentioned the alchemists who were the people Lyss was first employed by and perhaps I should not in an astrological article, but they were part of the reason why I wanted to set the novel in the 15th century. It was an exciting time in the world of ideas - alchemy was separating into two streams, of which one was becoming chemistry - and a time when, as one of the characters says, 'it is still possible to know everything worth knowing'.
My hope for this book is that it will succeed in bringing a truer idea of astrology to many people.
Sheila Geddes D.F. Astrol. S. has been a professional astrologer since 1964. In the 1970s she was Secretary of The Faculty of Astrological Studies and was later on the examining board of the Faculty and the Examinations Chairman. She has written Astrology, The Art of Astrology, Astrology and Health, Self-Development with Astrology, To See How Far It Is (on travel), and A Strange Alchemy (fiction)