Early on in my planning for The Angel of Secrets, I decided to explore the possibility of using astrology as a way to discover aspects of my characters’ motivations. An astrological birth chart, or horoscope, provides an in-depth description of a personality and their probable reactions to circumstances. Because astrology is based on intricate patterns and multi-layered relationships between a sweeping pantheon of archetypes, the opportunities for an author are breathtaking in their scope. A character can really step off the page when they have a ‘real’ life, a unique signature described by a horoscope, the place, date and time of which has been chosen by the character’s creator – the author. Or, perhaps, the character has stepped into the author’s mind and brings her or his birth data with them!
A natal horoscope, a map of celestial activities drawn up for the moment of birth and located from the perspective of the place of birth, describes the archetypal potentials arising in that moment. When an individual is born, they are entering a vast cosmic pattern, with multivalent opportunities expressing themselves in unison. At certain moments in time, wars are started or peace treaties can be signed; aeroplanes may crash, or new ships will be launched; skyscrapers are demolished or hospitals opened. There is such a wide variety of human activity happening all the time that astrologers are challenged to unpick the archetypal patterns and make some sense of what is going on.
The attempt to describe the potential political meaning of astrological configurations dates back to ancient Babylonian sky watchers, nearly five thousand years ago. The Babylonians described the ever-changing sky patterns they observed as the ‘heavenly script’. Mostly the Babylonians used astrology for mundane purposes – they were employed by kings and emperors who wanted to know how to plan their strategies. There are a very limited number of individual birth charts from that period and personal horoscopic interpretation has a shorter history – the earliest texts date to the Hellenistic era, around two thousand years ago.
Astrology as a psycho-spiritual language arrived in my life when I was very young, after my aunt Betty sent me a mysterious birthday card. Over the years I have developed my skills, and my experience has allowed me to observe character traits in real-life clients and predict likely behaviour, leading to possible events unfolding. I have found that I can summon up an imaginary character and easily establish their birth data – whether I have chosen it for them I can’t really say! But the chart will allow me to get to know this fictional person at a subtle level.